Portal:Ancient Near East

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[[Image:|140x170px|left|Main stairway at Persepolis palace]]The Achaemenid Empire (550 – 330 BC) was forged by Cyrus the Great, and became territorially the largest empire in antiquity, stretching from Pakistan and Central Asia to the Black sea, Asia Minor and Thrace, and much of Egypt going as far west as Libya. It is noted in western history as the foe of the Greek city states in the Greco-Persian Wars, for freeing the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting Aramaic as the empire's official language. This era saw the spread of Persian culture, and the beginning of the decline of ancient Near East culture centered in Babylon. Two centuries later, after Alexander the Great's conquest, Greece would eclipse both.

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Achaemenid Empire at the end of Artaxerxes III's reign.
Artaxerxes III Ochus (Old Persian: Artaxšaçrā, reigned 358 – 338 BC) was the eleventh king of the Achaemenid Dynasty and the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. Before ascending the throne he was a satrap and commander of his father Artaxerxes II's army. Artaxerxes III came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last brother was murdered and his father died at the age of 90. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all the royal family to secure his place on the throne.

After ascending the throne, he started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed by rebellions throughout the western empire. However, in 343 BC, he defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from the country, and stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way. Later, he countered Philip II of Macedon who was gaining power in Greece.

In his later life, he renewed building activity at Persepolis, erecting a new palace and building his tomb. It is generally assumed he was poisoned by his minister Bagoas, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests he died of natural causes.

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Woman Spinning
Credit: Jastrow
Woman Spinning
Neo-Elamite, ca. 8th to 6th century BC (Louvre)

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Silver cup from Marvdasht with Linear Elamite inscription on it, c. 3rd millennium BC (National Museum of Iran)
...that the ancient Elamite language is proposed to be distantly related to the modern Dravidian languages? It is attested from c. 2500 BC, and a still undeciphered "proto-Elamite" goes back to c. 3000 BC.

...that the earliest attested Semitic language is Akkadian, c. 2500 BC?

...that the earliest attested Indo-European language is Hittite, from c. the 18th century BC?

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