Iran’s ancient history may be difficult to grasp through modern perception especially with the Western mainstream knowledge of the Roman Empire, scholars are exposing an impressively liberal and powerful administration without boundaries.
The establishment of Achaemenid Iran was the alliance of Iranian tribes in 539 BC when Cyrus the Great became King of the known world. Iran did not have one administrative centre: there was no single capital. The Royal cities of Susa, Persepolis, Babylon, Ekbatana and Sardis were all political, economic and military centres of the known world with the exception of Persepolis which was mostly a ceremonial capital for religious events.
It is probably better to think of Achaemenid Iran as a diverse collection of sub-cultures living in a supreme cultural environment. The administration encouraged a multilingual society. Aramaic was the written administrative language in the Iranian courts rather than ancient Farsi or ancient Kurdish which was the language of the people dominating world affairs. In addition to Zoroastrianism which was the religion of the Iranian monarchy the Kings encouraged the rituals of all religions and funded the building of religious sites such as the construction of temples for Assyrians in Babylon and Jews in Palestine.
Ancient Iran consisted of states including Armenia, India, Fars, Greece, Kurdistan, Anatolia, Cyprus, Arabia, Turkestan, Ethiopia, Egypt and states presently part of China and Russia. Every nation state maintained its own way of rule, religion, and culture. When dominating the known world Achaemenids did not imprison, exile or kill other Kings. Supreme rulers of Iran would often engage other Kings in diplomacy with the priority to embrace nations in harmony, as a result enhancing their alliance. Every nation state was ordered to preserve its own Kingship. Although some regional conflicts occurred security and trade was rarely affected. Iranians created the idea of having a ruler who could maintain security and social stability. This person consulted with religious clerics, collaborated with state Kings and ordered the supreme military 'Immortals’ which consisted of the best fighters from different regions of ancient Iran. The world referred to this supreme leader as the ‘King of Kings’.
It was common for Iranian leaders to have intercultural marriage with neighbouring ethnicities from all over the region and power in Iran was not limited to the Fars or Kurds as described by Western historians who tend to draw Fars (Persians) parallels with Imperial Romans.
The Western and Iranian perspective of Achaemenid history also tends to make a great deal of misunderstanding about Alexander the Great in his rise as a king of the Achaemenid dynasty.
Any state within the realm of the Achaemenid dynasty was regarded to be part of the supreme state of Iran and Greek-Macedonia was within the realm but for a person to ascend to Achaemenid royalty an engagement had to be made to establish a royal bond, which was formed by Alexander's mother.
Every year a festival would be held where state kings from Egypt to China would send their ambassadors with a unique gift to the King of Kings. On one occasion a Greek King offered his daughter to the supreme king. Her name was Olympias and Darius III, Achaemenid king at the time accepted her but then due to impolite behaviour from Olympias, he decided to send her as a gift to Phillip of Macedon who married her. However before making this decision, Darius impregnated Olympias. Knowing this Phillip still married Olympias who barred Darius' child and kept Alexander's lineage a secret until he grew older.
When Alexander had knowledge of his real father he decided its his right to claim his title as a royal Achaemenid and began his campaign to fight for the throne. First reluctant to accept a grown up Alexander to take his position Darius confronted Alexander in a war. Nearing the end of this confrontation Alexander received a letter from Darius calling him his son and requesting that he marries his daughter. Alexander followed his real father's instructions, adopted customs of an Achaemenid king and continued to rule the kingdom like his predecessors.
Alexander's Greek generals became increasingly aggravated over his decision to remain in the Achaemenid palaces, not returning to Macedon with the royal treasury. Furthermore he adopted Darius' advisors over his Greek Macedonians and then requested his generals to integrate into the Achaemenid administration, to become satraps in the provinces of the kingdom and to take a wife there.
Alexander's wife Queen Statira was not able to provide Alexander with a child forcing Alexander to marry again, this time the daughter of Bactrian nobleman named Roxanne. At this point distrust had grown between Alexander and his generals due to maintaining iranian policies like his Achaemenid predecessors. This lead to assassination attempts from his Greek generals until a successful poisoning of wine led to his death. Soon after, a power struggle occurred with the generals seizing their place as the next king of kings. Having conveniently planned Alexander's murder, Cassander took the throne as ruler of Iran. Shortly after Alexander's death, Roxanne gave birth to a boy who would become heir to the throne. When the boy reached the age of 12, Cassander ordered his death.
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