Middle East 500 BCE

A succession of great empires - the Assyrian, the Babylonian, and now the Persian - have dominated the Middle East for the past few centuries.

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What is happening in Middle East in 500BCE

The history of the Middle East over the past 500 years or so has been one of imperial powers following one another in succession: first the Assyrians, then the Babylonians and Medes, and now the Persian empire, the largest state in the history of the Ancient World.

The conquest of this huge empire was the achievement of the Persian king Cyrus the Great, the first great ruler of the Achaemenid dynasty (hence another common name for the state he founded is the Achaemenid empire).

His successor, Darius the Great now sits on the Persian throne, and is reorganising the empire along more centralised lines. The Persian empire now covers the entire region and beyond. The Lydians, Phrygians and Ionian Greeks of Asia Minor, the Phoenicians and Jews (newly restored to their homeland) of Syria and the Levant, the Egyptians, the Babylonians of Mesopotamia, and the different Iranian peoples, are now all under one regime.

This succession of great empires – and the policy that the Assyrians and Babylonians pursued of re-settling conquered peoples in scattered groups throughout their territories – has resulted in the upheaval of populations on a vast scale. As a result, old languages have vanished and Aramaean has become the lingua-franca of the region. With its simple-to-learn alphabet, this has greatly stimulated international trade and inter-regional communications.

Middle Eastern civilization, by now three millennia old in its Mesopotamian heartland, has reached new heights.

Next map: Middle East 200 BCE

 

Dig Deeper:

The Ancient Middle East

The History of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Palestine

Ancient Assyria

Ancient Babylon

The Persian Empire

The Phoenicians

The History of Ancient Turkey

The History of Ancient Syria

The History of Elam

The History of Arabia

A Panoramic Overview of Early Civilizations  (Premium resource)

Age of Empire: The Middle East c.1000 BCE to 500 BCE (Premium resource)

 

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