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Medes

The Medes[]

History[]

The Medes were an ancient Iranian people associated with the first wave of migrating Iranic Aryan tribes into Ancient Iran from the late 2nd millenium BC through the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE. The western parts of Media fell under the domination of the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire based in northern Mesopotamia. Assyrian kings imposed Vassal Treaties upon the Median rulers, but during the reign of Sinsharishkun, the Assyrian empire, which had been in a state of constant civil war since 626 BC, began to unravel. Subject peoples, such as the Medes, quietly ceased to pay tribute. An alliance of the Medes with other rebelling peoples allowed Cyaxares to captured Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, resulting in the collapse of Assyria; the Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median kingdom (with Ecbatana as their royal centre) beyond their original homeland and had eventually a territory stretching roughly from northeastern Iran to the Halys River in Anatolia. The Median kingdom was conquered in 550 BCE by Cyrus the Great, who established the even larger Achaemenid Empire. The Medes had almost the same equipment as the Persians and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median.

Cyaxares[]

History[]

Cyaxares, the son of King Phraortes, and according to Herodotus was the third and most capable king of Media. By uniting most of the Iranian tribes of ancient Iran and conquering neighbouring territories, Cyaxares transformed the Median Empire into a regional power, by ousting the Scythians who conquered his land and defeating the Neo-Assyrian Empire with his allies. After the victory in Assyria, the Medes conquered Northern Mesopotamia, Armenia and the parts of Asia Minor east of the Halys River, which was the border established with Lydia after a decisive battle between Lydia and Media, the Battle of Halys ended with an eclipse on May 28, 585 BC.

Unique Components[]

Magus[]

Originally denoting a person from the religious Mede caste of the Magi, the term Magus soon became applied to defer generally to any follower of Zoroastrianism and ancient Iranian fire-worship religions. On the west, due to Greek mystification of eastern cultures, the Magi became associated to magic and sorcery, and were seen as anything ranging from all-knowing scholars to necromants.

Karez[]

A Karez (Persian) or Qanat (Arabic) is a gently sloping underground channel with a series of vertical access shafts, used to transport water from an aquifer under a hill. They create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates, known to have been developed by the Persian people sometime in the early 1st millennium BC. Much of the population of Iran and other arid countries in Asia and North Africa historically depended upon the water from the Karez; the areas of population corresponded closely to the areas where they are possible. Although expensive to construct, its long-term value to the community, and thereby to the group that invested in building and maintaining it, was substantial.

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