747BC Feb 26, Origin of Era of Nabonassar.
605BC-562BC Nebuchadnezzar ruled over his empire
centered at Babylon.
(SFC, 12/25/98, p.B5)
600BC Cyrus I, king of Persia, was succeeded by
his son Cambyses I who reigned until 559 BC.
600BC The first polo game was recorded in north
Persia about this time.
(Hem., 7/95, p.87)
c600 BC Zoroaster introduced a new religion in
Bactria (Balkh), also known as ancient Afghanistan. Zoroastrianism
is a Monotheistic religion. [see 1500-1200BCE]
586BC Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, ruler of
Mesopotamia, destroyed Jerusalem and recorded his deeds at the Nahr
al Kalb (Dog River) cliff face between Beirut and Byblos. He
destroyed the first Temple, built by Solomon and took the Jewish
people into captivity.
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.157)(SFC, 12/31/96,
p.A11)(Econ, 12/20/03, p.26)
586BC Ezekial, in exile at Babylon, described Tyre
as it was before Nebuchadnezzar's attack in the Bible: (Ezekial
27:1-25). This time is known as the "Babylonian Captivity."
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.162)(eawc, p.8)
560-546BC The rule of Croesus. The first coins
were produced in Lydia under the rule of Croesus. It was a kingdom
in western Turkey. Croesus made a treaty with the Spartans and
attacked Persia and was defeated.
(SFEC, 1/19/96, Par p.5)(WUD, 1994, p.345)(WSJ,
559BC Cyrus the Great (d.530BC), the son of
Cambyses I, began his rule Persia. Cyrus II established his capital
546BC The Persians destroyed Egypt’s alliance with
the Chaldeans, Lydia and Sparta by first capturing Lydia then the
c539BC Cyrus the Great founded Persia’s
Achaemenian Empire which he expanded into India, Libya and Egypt.
Pasargadae was his first capital.
(SFEC, 7/5/98, p.T4)
539BC Babylon, under Chaldean rule since 612BC,
fell to the Persians. Cyrus the Persian captured Babylon after the
New Babylonian leader, Belshazaar, failed to read "the handwriting
on the wall." The Persian Empire under Cyrus lasted to 331BC, when
it was conquered by Alexander the Great. Cyrus returned some of the
exiled Jews to Palestine, while other Jews preferred to stay and
establish a 2nd Jewish center, the first being in Jerusalem. The
Cyrus Cylinder was created following the Persian conquest of
Babylon, when Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian king Nabonidus and
replaced him as ruler, ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It was
discovered in 1879 and became considered as the world's first
declaration of human rights.
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.174)(eawc,
537BC Cyrus the Persian campaigned west of the
530BC Dec, Cyrus the Great, ruler of Persia, died
in battle, fighting the Scythians along the Syr Darya. He was
succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the empire
by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.
525BC Cambyses, king of Persia, met and defeated
the Egyptians in front of their city at Pelusium just a few weeks
after the death of Pharaoh Amasis. This marked the beginning of
Egypt’s 27th Dynasty. Psammetichus III tried to revolt against
Cambyses and was killed.
525BC-522BC Cambyses II, son of Cyrus and ruler of
Persia, served as the 1st ruler of Egypt’s 27th Dynasty. Cambyses
added to his Persian empire by conquering Egypt. During his rule an
army sent to Siwa Oasis was overcome by sandstorm and buried.
Herodotus said the army numbered 50,000 men. A Jewish document from
407 BC known as 'The Demotic Chronicle' speaks of the Cambyses
destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods. Herodotus informs
us that Cambyses II was a monster of cruelty and impiety.
(eawc.edu, p.9)(Arch, 9/00,
522 Mar, Bardiya (Smerdis),
another son of Cyrus and pretender to the throne, seized power in
Persia as Cambyses was returning home.
522BC Aug, Cambyses II, son of Cyrus of Persia and
the 1st ruler of Egypt’s 27th Dynasty, died from a dagger wound in
522BC Sep, Darius hastened to Media, Persia, and
with the help of six Persian nobles, killed Bardiya (Smerdis),
another son of Cyrus, who had usurped the throne. Darius defended
this deed and his own assumption of kingship on the grounds that the
usurper was actually Gaumata, a Magian, who had impersonated Bardiya
after Bardiya had been murdered secretly by Cambyses.
522BC A revolt broke out in Egypt following the
death of Cambyses, but it was put down by a Persian general named
Darius, who succeeded Cambyses.
522BC Darius the Great (558-486), son of
Hystaspes, succeeded Cambyses as emperor of Persia. He engaged in
many large building programs including a system of roads and
instituted the first postal system.
(WUD, 1994, p.367)(eawc.edu, p.9)(ON, 4/04, p.9)
c522BC Zoroaster died during a nomadic invasion
near Balkh [ancient Afghanistan].
522BC - 486BC Darius the Great expanded the
Achaemenid (Persian) empire to its peak, when it took most of
Afghanistan, including Aria (Herat), Bactriana (Balk, and
present-day Mazar-i-Shariff), Margiana (Merv), Gandhara (Kabul,
Jalalabad and Peshawar), Sattagydia (Ghazni to the Indus river),
Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta), and Drangiana (Sistan). The
Persian empire was plagued by constant bitter and bloody tribal
revolts from Afghans living in Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta).
521BC Darius of Persia made Susa his
administrative capital. He restored the fortifications and built an
audience hall (apadana) and a residential palace.
521BC The name Armenian was mentioned for
the first time in the Behistan (Behistun) inscription of the Mede
(Persian) Emperor Darius from this year: "I defeated the Armenians."
520BC - 519BC Darius of Persia authorized the
Jews to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, in accordance with an
earlier decree of Cyrus. The Hebrew’s began to rebuild Solomon’s
Temple destroyed in the sack of 586BCE. The Second Temple in
Jerusalem was begun. It was remodeled many times and destroyed in
(SFC, 5/23/95, p.A-10)(eawc,
520BC - 486BC Darius, ruler of Persia, occupied
Egypt and is considered the 2nd ruler of the 27th Dynasty. During
his rule a canal from the Nile River to the Red Sea, probably begun
by Necho I in the 7th century BC, was repaired and completed.
519BC Darius put down a third rising in Susiana,
Persia, and established his authority in the east.
519BC Darius of Persia authorized the Jews to
rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, in accordance with an earlier
decree of Cyrus.
519BC Darius of Persia attacked the Scythians
east of the Caspian Sea and a few years later conquered the Indus
518BC Darius visited Egypt and put to death its
518BC Persian leader Darius the Great founded
Persepolis as his ceremonial capital.
(SSFC, 11/27/05, p.A26)
517BC-509BC Darius the Persian conquered the Indus
513BC Darius, after subduing eastern Thrace and
the Getae, crossed the Danube River into European Scythia, but the
Scythian nomads devastated the country as they retreated from him,
and he was forced, for lack of supplies, to abandon the campaign.
512BC Darius the Great began
constructing the Persian city of Persepolis. Construction lasted
nearly 150 years. In 330BC the army of Alexander the Great burned it
to the ground.
(SSFC, 1/14/07, p.G5)
500BC-400BC Mordechai, a Jew, became the prime
minister of Persia during this period.
(SFC, 10/21/00, p.C1)
500BC-400BC Haman is described as the son of
Hammedatha the Agagite. In the Biblical story, Haman and his wife
Zeresh instigate a plot to kill all of the Jews of ancient Persia.
Haman attempts to convince Ahasuerus to order the killing of
Mordecai and all the Jews of the lands he ruled. The plot is foiled
by Queen Esther, the king's recent wife, who is herself a Jew. Haman
is hanged from the gallows that had originally been built to hang
Mordecai. Court councilor Haman warned Persia’s King Ahasuerus
(Xerxes I) against strangers whose laws are diverse from all people.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Esther)(SFC, 5/29/15, p.D4)
499BC Athens and Eretria supported an Ionian
revolt against Persian rule.
492BC Darius put his son-in-law, Mardonius, in
charge of a Persian expedition against Athens and Eretria, but the
loss of the fleet in a storm off Mount Athos forced him to abandon
490BC Sep 9, First Persian attack on Greece.
Greeks led by Miltiades defeated the Persians at the Battle of
Marathon. Pheidipiddes, a hemerodromi or long-distance foot
messenger, was dispatched to run 26 miles from marathon to Athens to
announce the victory. He reached Athens and proclaimed: “Rejoice! We
conquer!" The he dropped dead. In the Battle of Marathon Darius the
Great of Persia was defeated by the Greeks. The Greeks initiated the
war when Persia, the strongest power in western Asia, established
rule over Greek-speaking cities in Asia Minor. [see Sep 12]
(HFA, '96, p.38)(V.D.-H.K.p.49)(SFC, 7/14/96,
490BC Sep 12, Athenian and Plataean Hoplites
commanded by General Miltiades drove back a Persian invasion force
under General Datis at Marathon. [see Sep 9]
490BC A Persian force under Datis, a Mede,
destroyed Eretria and enslaved its inhabitants but was defeated by
the Athenians at Marathon.
490-479BC The Greco-Persian War is commonly
regarded as one of the most significant wars in all of history. The
Greeks emerged victorious and put an end to the possibility of
486BC Darius (b.550), ruler of Persia, died. His
preparations for a 3rd expedition against Greece were delayed by an
insurrection in Egypt. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.
486BC-465BC Xerxes the Great (b.519BC), king
of Persia, ruled Egypt as the 3rd king of the 27th Dynasty. His rule
extended from India to the lands below the Caspian and Black seas,
to the east coast of the Mediterranean including Egypt and Thrace.
Persia’s great cities Sardis, Ninevah, Babylon, and Susa were joined
by the Royal Road. East of Susa was Persopolis, a vast religious
monument. To the north of Persia were the Scythians.
484-420BC Herodotus mentioned gold-digging ants
and that some were kept at the palace of the Persian king. It was
later learned that the Persian word for marmot is equivalent to
mountain ant, and that marmots in the Dansar plain of northern
Pakistan bring up gold dust from their burrows.
(SFC, 11/25/96, p.A10)
483BC Themistocles, fearing destruction at the
hands of the Persians, persuaded his fellow Athenians to build a
navy of one hundred triremes. He also oversaw the fortification of
the harbor at Piraeus, which then replaced Phaleron as the port of
480BC Aug 9, The Persian army defeated Leonidas
and his Spartan army at the battle Thermopylae, Persia. In 1998
Steven Pressfield authored: "Gates of Fire, An Epic Novel of the
Battle of Thermopylae." In 2006 Paul Cartledge authored
“Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World."
(HN, 8/9/98)(SFEC, 11/29/98, BR p.3)(WSJ,
480 BC Sep 20, Themistocles and his Greek fleet
won one of history's first decisive naval victories over Xerxes'
Persian force off Salamis. Persia under Xerxes attacked Greece.
Athens got burned but the Athenian fleet under Themistocles trapped
and destroyed the Persian navy at Salamis. Phoenician squadrons were
at the heart of Xerxes’ fleet; the king of Sidon was among his
(V.D.-H.K.p.49), (NG, Aug., 1974, S.W. Matthews,
480BC Oct 20, Greeks defeated the Persians in a
naval battle at Salamis. [see Sep 20]
480BC Xerxes performed a sacrifice at the site of
Troy on his way to battle the Greeks.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.50)
479BC Aug 27, A combined Greek army stopped the
Persians at the battle at Plataea.
(V.D.-H.K.p.49), (NG, Aug., 1974, S.W. Matthews,
465BC Xerxes the Great, king of Persia, was
465BC-424BC Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes I, ruled
Persia in the Achaemenis dynasty and Egypt as the 4th king of the
455BC Artaxerxes, ruler of Persia, put down a
revolt in Egypt.
423BC-404BC Darius II, son of Artaxerxes, ruled
Persia and Egypt.
420BC Pissuthnes, satrap of Lydia, revolted
against the Persian king Darius II. The Persian soldier and
statesman Tissaphernes a grandson of Hydarnes, was sent by Darius II
to Lydia to arrest and execute Pissuthnes. Tissaphernes became
satrap of Lydia in 415 BC and continue to fight Amorges, son of
413BC Darius II, ruler of Persia, quelled a revolt
410BC Darius II, ruler of Persia, quelled a revolt
in Media but lost control of Egypt.
404BC Artaxerxes II succeeded Darius II over
Persia and ruled to 358BC. It was during this 45-year period of
relative peace that many of the monuments of the era were
(Amyrtaeus), believed to be a Libyan, ruled Egypt following the
death of Darius II from Sais as the 1st and only ruler of the 28th
401BC In the Battle of Cunaxa Cyrus, king of
Persia, attempted to oust his brother Artaxerxes from rule over
Babylon. Greek forces, hired to help Cyrus, were left stranded when
Cyrus died. The Greek army elected Xenophon to lead them back home.
Xenophon later authored his “Anabasis" (expedition up country),
which told the story of return home. In 2005 Tim Rood authored “The
Sea, The Sea," an analysis of Xenophon’s life story following his
(WSJ, 5/4/05, p.D10)(Econ, 3/23/13, p.89)
400 - 300BC The Greek writer Ephorus referred to
the Celts, Scythians, Persians and Libyans as the four great
barbarian peoples in the known world.
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.11)
399BC - 393BC Nepherites served as the 1st ruler
of Egypt’s 29th Dynasty. During his rule he entered into an alliance
with Sparta against the Persians.
393BC - 380BC Hakoris (Hakor) served as the 2nd or
3rd ruler of Egypt’s 29th Dynasty. There is some confusion because a
king named Psammuthis ruled in 393BC. During Hakoris’ reign there
was a 3 year war with Persia.
391BC - 377BC Hecatomnus, satrap of Caria, ruled
over Mylasa about this time. The Persian king Artaxerxes II Mnemon
appointed Hecatomnus as satrap of this part of the Achaemenid
Empire. A 2,800-year-old tomb and carved coffin, decorated with
reliefs of a bearded reclining man, believed to be Hecatomnus, was
discovered in 2010.
373BC The Persian army moved to attack Egypt. They
abandoned the effort when the Nile flooded over the Delta.
365BC - -360BC Teos, son of Nectanebo, served as
the 2nd ruler of Egypt’s 30th Dynasty. He failed in an attempted
attack on Persia and was deserted by the Egyptians and Greek
mercenaries. He fled to Persia where Artaxerxes II gave him refuge.
363BC Artaxerxes III (Ochus), son of Artaxerxes
II, became king of Persia.
356BC Alexander the Great (d.323BCE) was born in
354 BC Xenophon (b. 430BC), Greek historian, died.
His work included the “Cyropaedia," a biography of Cyrus the
343BC Artaxerxes III of Persia led a successful
campaign against Egypt and Nectanebo II fled to Ethiopia. Artaxerxes
appointed Pherendares as satrap of Egypt and returned to Babylon
laden with treasures.
343BC - 338BC Artaxerxes III (Ochus), king of
Persia, served as 1st ruler of Egypt’s 31st Dynasty.
343-332BC In Egypt the Persians ruled for a 2nd
338BC Artaxerxes III (Ochus), king of Persia, was
murdered by his own commander Bagoas.
338BC Arses, the youngest son of Ochus, succeeded
his father as king of Persia. He served as the 2nd ruler of Egypt’s
336BC Arses, king of Persia and ruler of Egypt’s
31st Dynasty, was murdered by his commander Bagoas.
335BC-332BC Darius III was raised to the throne of
Persia by the eunuch Bagoas, who had killed the 2 previous rulers.
Darius in turn had Bagoas murdered.
333BC Alexander first confronted Darius, king of
Persia, and defeated him at the battlefield of Issus. During the
Renaissance German painter Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538) painted a
depiction of the battle.
(NG, Jan, 1968 , p.18)(WSJ, 5/15/98, p.W11)
333BC Alexander the Great (353BC-323BC), married a
barbarian (Sogdian) princess, Roxana, the daughter of the Bactrian
chief Oxyartes. Alexander also married the daughter of Darius, whom
he defeated in 333, while staying firmly attached to his comrade,
(V.D.-H.K.p.68)(Hem., 2/97, p.116)(WSJ, 5/15/98,
331BC Oct 1, Alexander the Great decisively
shattered King Darius III's Persian army at Gaugamela (Arbela), in a
tactical masterstroke that left him master of the Persian Empire.
331BC Alexander conquered the Persian Empire and
then made his way to India and conquered part of it.
331BC The Achaemenid King of Persia, Darius III,
died in Bactria. Bessus, the satrap of Bactria had him
330BC The army of Alexander the Great reached
Persopolis, the capital of Persia, and looted the city. After a
4-month stay there he ordered his army to burn the palace of
323BC Jun 10, Alexander died in Persia at Babylon
at the age of 32. His general, Ptolemy, took possession of Egypt.
Apelles was a painter in Alexander's court. He had been commissioned
by Alexander to paint a portrait of Campaspe, Alexander's concubine.
Apelles fell in love with Campaspe and Alexander granted her to him
in marriage. In 1984 Curtius Quintas Rufus authored "the History of
Alexander." In 1991 Peter Green authored "Alexander of Macedon, A
Historical Biography." “Alexander the Great" by Norman F. Cantor
(d.2004) was published in 2005.
(BS, 5/3/98, p.12E)(WSJ, 2/11/00, p.W6) (ON,
1/01, p.11)(SSFC, 12/25/05, p.M3)
250BC In Persia about this time two brothers,
Arashk (Arash Pers. Arsaces, Lat.) and Tirdat (Tiridates), with
their forces under the command of five other chiefs, occupied the
district of upper Tejen. Arashk (Arsaces) was to become the first
king of the Ashkanian (Arsacid or Parthian) dynasty. In 2005 the
Ashkali community in Kosovo claimed roots to this period.
247BC – 224CE The Parthian Empire, also known as
the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power
in ancient Iran.
238BC - 227CE The Parthians ruled the Persian
Empire despite attempts by the Roman Republic (133-27 B.C.), the
Roman Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 476) to conquer it. During the
centuries-long struggle, border towns and provinces in the Near East
passed back and forth like Alsace-Lorraine or the Polish Corridor
would in nineteenth-and twentieth-century Europe. Rarely in the
history of human conflict has a feud such as the one between the
empires of Rome and Persia lasted so long and accomplished so
c200BC Drawings in stone of this time showed women
milking elk in what later became northern Iran.
(SFEC, 7/19/98, Z1 p.8)
53BC The Persians defeated the
Romans in the Battle of Carrhae. Some 20,000 Romans under Crassus
were killed by the Parthian army and 10,000 were captured. The
Parthians then used the Romans as guards on their eastern frontier
in what later became Turkmenistan.
(ATC, p.33)(HC, 9/3/04)(Econ, 12/18/04, p.59)
3CE Feb 19, Sadiq Hidajat,
Persian writer (Blind Person Owl), was born.
116 Hatra, a fortified city of
the Parthian Empire and later part of Iraq, withstood a Roman
invasion due to its high and thick walls. The Parthian Empire (247
BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire was a major Iranian
political and cultural power in ancient Iran.
198 Hatra, a fortified city of
the Parthian Empire, withstood a second Roman invasion due to its
high and thick walls.
(SSFC, 4/5/15, p.A7)
c216-276 Manes, aka Manicheus or Mani, Persian
profit and founder of the dualistic religious system called
Manichaeism. It was a combination of Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism
and Zoroastrianism and other elements. The basic doctrine was based
on a conflict between light and dark, with matter being regarded as
dark and evil.
(WUD, 1994, p.871)
226CE The Iranians [Persians] conquered the
(WUD, 1994, p.1051)
c226 In Iran Zoroastrianism was
revitalized as a state religion under the Sassanians.
(WSJ, 2/2/00, p.A24)
227-261CE The Sassanids (A.D. 227-651), ruled the Persian Empire
despite attempts by the Roman Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 476) and later
the Byzantine (or Eastern Roman) Empire to conquer it. Bam was
founded during the Sassanian Period along one of the East-West trade
routes collectively known as the Silk Road.
(HNQ, 12/22/00)(SFC, 12/27/03, p.A12)
256 The Anatolian city of
Zeugma on the Euphrates was sacked by Persian King Shapur I. This
was soon followed by a devastating fire and an earthquake and Zeugma
was abandoned. In 2000 the area was submerged as part of the
Southeast Anatolia Project of dams for power.
(SFEC, 5/7/00, p.A23)(Arch, 9/00, p.41)
258 A red agate cup with gold
handles, the Santo Caliz, was sent to Spain by Pope Sixtus II and
St. Laurence as Rome went under siege by the Persians. In 1437 the
church moved it to the Cathedral of Valencia.
(SSFC, 5/27/06, p.G3)
258-260 Persia and Rome engaged in a 2-year war.
(WUD, 1994 ed., p.1667)
260 Persia’s King Shapur I
captured Roman Emp. Valerian.
(Arch, 9/00, p.41)
363CE Jun 27, The death of Roman Emperor Julian
brought an end to the Pagan Revival. Julian received a mortal wound
in battle with the Sassanian Persians, whom he tried to conquer.
(HN, 6/27/98)(WSJ, 3/24/99, p.A27)
387CE The Parthians and Romans agreed to settle
the Armenian question by the drastic expedient of partition. The
Sassanid kings of Persia (who had superseded the Parthians in the
Empire of Iran) secured the lion's share of the spoils, while the
Romans only received a strip of country on the western border which
gave them Erzeroum and Diyarbekir for their frontier fortresses.
421-438CE King Bahram V ruled Persia.
428CE The Arsacid (Arshakuni) monarchy of Armenia
ended and control fell to the rule of the Persian Sassanids.
438-457 The Persian King Yazdegird II ruled. He
pressured the Armenians to accept Zoroastrianism and worship the
supreme god Ahura Mazda. Mihr-Nerseh, the Persian grand vizier,
promulgated an edict that enjoined the Armenians to convert.
449CE The Armenians held a General Assembly to
ponder the Persian edict that demanded conversion to Zoroastrianism.
They chose to remain Christian and their leaders were summoned to
Persia to answer to the king. The leaders opted to yield under heavy
pressure but were renounced on their return home.
451CE Apr 13, A Persian Army of 300,000 men under
Mushkan Nusalavurd arrived at a place between Her and Zarevand (now
Khoy and Salmast in Iran) to face the Armenian forces.
451CE May 26, The Battle of Avarair. Vardan
Mamikonian, son of Sparapet (general) Hamazasp Mamikonian and
Sahakanush, daughter of the Catholicos Sahak Bartev, led a force of
66,000 Armenians to face the Persians. Prior to battle Vardan read
aloud the story of the Jewish Maccabees. Persian losses tripled the
Armenian dead, but Mushkan won and Vardan was killed.
451-484 Vahan Mamikonian led the Armenians in a
33-year guerrilla war. The Persian Sassanids underwent 3 rulers and
pressure from the Ephthalites, White Huns, and when King Peroz was
killed by the White Huns, his successor, Balash, sued for peace.
Vahan demanded and was granted religious freedom.
484CE The Armenians signed a treaty in the village
of Nuwarsak with the Persians and Vahan Mamikonian was appointed
marzban of Armenia.
614 Christian Palestine was
invaded by the Persians. The 5th century monastery of St. Theodosius
east of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem was destroyed by the Persians.
The Jews of Jerusalem allied with the Persians during the invasion
and entered into the cave beneath the tomb of Christ in the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre.
(SFEC, 12/22/96, p.T3)(WSJ, 4/5/02, p.W12)(SFC,
626 Aug 7, Battle at
Constantinople: Slavs, Persians and Avars were defeated. Emp.
Heraclius repelled the attacks. The attacks began in 625.
(PCh, 1992, p.60)(MC, 8/7/02)
628 Apr 3, In Persia Kavadh
sued for peace with the Byzantines. He handed back Armenia,
Byzantine Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
628 Apr 3, Chosroes II, emperor
of Persia (579-628), was murdered by his son.
630 Mar 21, Heraclius restored
the True Cross, which he had recaptured from the Persians.
632 Jun 16, Origin of Persian
632-661 The Rashidun Caliphate, also known as the
Rightly Guided Caliphate, comprising the first four caliphs in
Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death. At its height,
the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant,
Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and
Central Asia in the east. It was the one of the largest empires in
history up until that time.
651 Yazdegird III, the last
Sassanian king, was murdered.
(WSJ, 2/2/00, p.A24)
661 The Umayyad regime was
founded by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan (602-680, long-time governor of
Syria, after the end of the First Muslim Civil War.
661 Muawija became caliph. He
moved the capital from Medina to Damascus. His followers were called
the Umayyads. Muawija was one of the soldiers who helped capture
Damascus and for 25 years he had served as governor of Syria.
Muawija began the practice of appointing his own son as the next
caliph, and so the Umayyads ruled for the next 90 years. Muslim
forces expanded into North Africa and completely conquered Persia.
The Islamic Empire continued to expand into Afghanistan and
Pakistan. After the Omayyad Caliphs conquered Damascus, they build
the palace at Qasr Al-Kharaneh (in Jordan) as a recreational lodge.
(ATC, p.67,78)(SFEC, 4/11/99, p.9)
748 Wasil ibn Ata, Muslim
theologian and jurist, died. He had left the teaching lessons of
Hasan al-Basri after a theological dispute regarding the issue of
Al-Manzilah bayna al-Manzilatayn. He and his followers, including
Amr ibn Ubayd (d.761), were labeled Mu'tazili. The adherents of the
Mu'tazili school (Mutazilites) are best known for their having
asserted that, because of the perfect unity and eternal nature of
God, the Qur'an must therefore have been created, as it could not be
co-eternal with God. Mutazilites stressed human reason.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasil_ibn_Ata)(Econ, 8/6/11, p.22)
750-1258AD Muslim power in Persia was held by the
Abbassid family headed by al Abbas. One Abbasid general, Abdullah,
invited 80 Umayyad leaders to a banquet where they were killed by
Abdullah’s men. Only one Umayyad, Abd al Rahman, was able to escape.
He fled all the way to Spain where he united the warring Muslin
groups there and built a new Umayyad government. So now the Muslims
were split in two groups. The Abbassid dynasty of the Moslem Empire
ruled Arabia and the eastern empire. All of the caliphs of this era
claim descended from Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed.
(AHD, 1971, p.2)(ATC, p.84)
770 The Syrian Orthodox Church
of St. Thomas (Mar Toma) was built in Mosul.
(SFC, 12/24/09, p.A3)
776 Al-Jahiz (d.868), Muslim
theologian and scholar, was born in Basra about this time. He is
credited with writing nearly two hundred works, although fewer than
one hundred survive today. His most famous work is Al-Hayawan" (The
Book of animals), which merges discussions of zoology with
803 Harun al-Rashid (~763-809),
the fifth Abbasid Caliph and the last to make Raqqa his capital, had
his most loyal adviser cut into three pieces.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harun_al-Rashid)(Econ, 3/25/17, p.40)
809 Mar 24, Harun al-Rashid
(Arabic for The Rightly Guided), caliph of the Abbasid empire
(786-809), died at age 44. His reign is immortalized in The Book of
One Thousand and One Nights. His work included the construction of a
House of Wisdom in Baghdad.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harun_al-Rashid)(WSJ, 2/8/06, p.D12)
814 Abu-Nuwas al-Hasan ben Hani
al-Hakami (b.756), one of the greatest of classical Arabic poets,
died. He also composed in Persian on occasion. Born in the city of
Ahvaz in Persia, of an Arab father and a Persian mother, he became a
master of all the contemporary genres of Arabic poetry. Abu Nuwas
has entered the folkloric tradition, and he appears several times in
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. His witty and humorous
poetry, which dealt not with the traditional desert themes, but with
urban life and the joys of wine and drinking (khamriyyat -
khamriyaat), and ribald humor (mujuniyyat).
12/20/03, p.68)(Econ, 8/18/12, p.55)
818 Imam Reza, a descendant of
the Prophet Muhammad, died. Shiites later believed that he was fed
poisonous grapes by a Sunni leader of the Muslim world. Reza was
buried in Sanabad, which later became known as Mashad, “place of
martyrdom." A major shrine grew at the site and by 2007 the Imam
Reza Shrine Foundation was the largest (bonyad) in Iran and
accounted for 7.1% of the country’s GDP.
(WSJ, 6/2/07, p.A12)
836 Caliph al-Mutasim built a
new capital at Samarra to replace Baghdad as the capital of the
Abbasid Caliphate. It was abandoned by Caliph al-Mutamid in 892.
(SFC, 2/23/06, p.A15)
838 Jan 4, Babak, Persian
social and religious reformer, was martyred.
868 The 10th imam, Ali al-Hadi,
died. His remains were placed in the Askariya shrine in Samarra
889 Ibn Qutayba (b.828), a
renowned Islamic scholar from Kufa, Iraq, died.
874 The 11th imam, Hassan
al-Askari, son of Ali al-Hadi, died. His remains were also placed in
the Askariya shrine in Samarra (Persia-Iraq). Hassan al-Askari was
the father of Al-Mahdi, the hidden imam. Al Mahdi, the 12th imam,
disappeared in 941.
(AP, 2/22/06)(Econ, 10/29/16, p.44)
892 Caliph al-Mutamid abandoned
Samarra, established in 836, as the capital of the Abassid
(SFC, 2/23/06, p.A15)
922 Mar 27, Al-Hallaj
al-Mughith-al-Hsayn Mansur (64), Persian mystic, was beheaded.
936 Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari
(b.1874), Muslim theologian, died. He had become a pupil of the
great Mutazalite teacher al-Jubba'i (d.915), and himself remained a
Mutazalite until his fortieth year. Disciples of his school are
known as Asharites. It held that complete comprehension of the
unique nature and attributes of God is beyond the capacity of human
reasoning and sense experience.
941 The 12th imam, Muhammad ibn
Hasan al-Mahdi (b.1869), disappeared. He is believed by Twelver
Shi‘a Muslims to be the Mahdi, an ultimate savior of humankind and
the final Imam of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus
Christ) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and
justice to the world.
(Econ, 10/29/16, p.44)
945 The Buyids (Buwayhids) came
to power in Baghdad. They were ousted by the Seljuks in 1055 under
c996 The Astan Ghods Ravazi
religious foundation was started.
(WSJ, 7/11/96, p.A4)
1010 Abolqasem Firdawsi
(Ferdowsi), a Persian poet, completed the “Shahnameh," or “Book of
Kings." It is an epic of more than 50,000 rhyming couplets weaving
the history of ancient shahs with myth and legend. One might call it
the Iliad of Persia. Over the centuries shahs have had the poem
copied and illustrated by the best artists of the day. In 2006 Dick
Harris made an abridged translation to English in prose.
(WSJ, p. A-18, 10/13/94)(WSJ, 3/7/06, p.D8)
1019-20 BabaTaher, Persian poet, died.
(WSJ, 1/25/00, p.A18)
1037 Jun 21, Avicenna (b.980),
a Persian polymath, died in Iran. Of the 450 works he is known to
have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy
and 40 on medicine.
1055 The Seljuks under Tughril
Beg ousted the Buyids (Buwayhids) in Baghdad. The nomadic Turks from
Central Asia, descended from a warrior named Seljuk, took control of
the government and continued governing the empire in the tradition
of Islamic law.
1100-1200 Era of the 12 century Persian poet
Nizami of Ganja.
(SFC, 5/19/96, p.C-13)
1123 Omar Khayyam, Persian poet
and mathematician, died.
(WUD, 1994, p.1005)
1174 Nureddin, the ruler of
Syria died. Saladin, the vizier of Egypt, married Nureddin’s widow
and assumed control of both state. The Ayyubids under Saladin spent
the next decade launching conquests throughout the region and by
1183, the territories under their control included Egypt, Syria,
northern Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and the North African coast up
to the borders of modern-day Tunisia.
1200s Persia introduced polo to
Arabia, China and India.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)
1207 Sep 30, Jalal ud-din Rumi
(Jelaluddin Rumi, d.1273), Persian poet and mystic was born in the
area of Balkh, Afghanistan. He later fled the Mongol invasions with
his family to Konya (Iconium), Anatolia. His work “Mathwani"
(Spiritual Couplets) filled 6 volumes and had a great impact on
Islamic civilization. He founded the Mevlevi order of Sufis, later
known as the “whirling dervishes." In 1998 a film was made about the
Sufi poet’s influence on the 20th century. In 1998 Kabir Helminski
edited “The Rumi Collection" with translation by Robert Bly and
others. His work also included the “Shams I-Tabriz" in which he
dismissed the terminology of Jew, Christian and Muslim as “false
distinctions." The poet Rumi was also known as Mowlana.
(SFC, 7/9/96, p.B5)(SFEC, 9/20/98, DB p.50)(SFEC,
10/25/98, BR p.6)(WSJ, 9/7/01, p.A14)(SSFC, 10/28/01, p.B7)(SSFC,
1258 Feb 10, Huegu (Hulega
Khan), a Mongol leader and grandson of Genghis Khan, seized Baghdad
following a 4-day assault. Mongol invaders from Central Asia took
over Baghdad and ended the Abbasid-Seljuk Empire. They included
Uzbeks, Kazaks, Georgians and other groups. Some 200 to 800 thousand
people were killed and looting lasted 17 days. Their destruction
included the razing of Baghdad’s House of Wisdom.
(ATC, p.91)(AP, 2/10/99)(SFC, 4/12/03, p.A1)(WSJ,
1291 Mar 5, Sa'ad al'Da'ulah,
Jewish grand vizier of Persia, was assassinated.
1371 Ubaid Zakani, Persian
writer, died. His work included “Mush va Gorbeh" (Mouse and Cat), a
match for Rabelais when it comes to mocking religion.
1389-1390 Hafez (Khwaja Shams ud-Din Hafiz)
(b.1325/26), Persian poet, died about this time.
1418 The Gawhar Shad Mosque in
Meshed, Iran was completed by the wife of Shah Rukh.
(NG, Sept. 1939, Baroness Ravensdale, p.353)
1512 Shi’ism became the state
religion of Persia.
1514 Selim I, Sultan of Turkey,
declared war on Persia.
1515 Afonso d’Albuquerque,
Viceroy of the Portuguese Indies, captured Hormuz (Ormuz) and forced
all other traders to round the Cape of Good Hope. This established
Portugal’s supremacy in trade with the Far East. Hormuz is the
strait between Iran and Trucial Oman.
(TL-MB, p.11)(WUD, 1994, p.684)
1520-1530 The “Shahnameh" (Persian Book of Kings),
completed in 1010AD by Persian poet Firdawsi (Ferdowsi) was
commissioned to be illustrated for Shah Tahmasp by more than a dozen
artists. 258 miniatures were made with 750 folios of Farsi text. In
1568 it was given to the Ottoman Sultan. In 1981 Stuart Cary Welch
and martin Dickinson published “The Houghton Shahnameh," a 2-volume
p. A18,)(Econ, 4/9/11, p.95)
1524 Shah Ismail, ruler of
1571 Jan 27, Shah Abbas, King
of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, was born. He established a
monopoly on the production and sale of silk and used the wealth to
develop the city of Isfahan. Fearful of assassination he turned on
his own family, executed one son, and blinded 2 sons, his father and
1587 Abbas I (16) became Shah
of Persia following the forced abdication of his father, Shah
Muhammad Khodabandeh. A revolt by Qizilbash leaders finally removed
Khodabandeh from power and installed his son Abbas as shah.
1587 Mohammad Khodabandeh, Shah
of Persia, died.
(PC, 1992 ed, p.203)
1612 The square of Esfahan,
Persia, was built.
(SSFC, 1/14/07, p.G5)
1615 The Persians sacked the
monastic complex of David Gareja in Georgia.
1629 Jan 21, Abbas I (b.1571),
Shah of Persia (1588-1629), died.
1638 Dec 24, The Ottomans under
Murad IV recaptured Baghdad from Safavid Persia.
1650 The Khaju bridge in
Esfahan, Persia (Iran), was built over the Zayandeh Rood river.
(SSFC, 1/14/07, p.G5)
1722 Mar 8, Afghan monarch Mir
Mahmud occupied Persia.
1722 Sep 12, The Treaty of St.
Petersburg put an end to the Russo-Persian War.
1722 Oct 12, Shah Sultan Husayn
surrendered the Persian capital of Isfahan to Afghan rebels after a
seven month siege. Mir Wais' son, Mir Mahmud of Afghanistan, had
invaded Persia and occupied Isfahan. At the same time, the Durranis
revolted, and terminated the Persian occupation of Herat.
(www.afghan, 5/25/98)(HN, 10/12/98)
1725 Apr 25, Mir Mahmud of
Afghanistan was mysteriously killed after going mad. Afghans started
to lose control of Persia.
1736 Nadir Shah (head of
Persia) occupied southwest Afghanistan, and southeast Persia.
1738 Nadir Shah (head of
Persia) took Kandahar [Afghanistan].
1739 Mar 20, In India, Nadir
Shah of Persia occupied Delhi and took possession of the Peacock
thrown. King Nadir Shah later took the golden Peacock Throne back to
(HN, 3/20/99)(SFEC, 5/21/00, p.T8)
1743 In Mosul as many as 150
monks who refused to convert to Islam were massacred at St. Elijah's
Monastery by a Persian general.
1747 Jul 10, Persian ruler
Nadir Shah was assassinated at Fathabad in Persia. The Afghans rise
rose again in revolt under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Abdali and
retook Kandahar to establish modern Afghanistan.
(www.afghan, 5/25/98)(HN, 7/10/98)
1747-1773 Rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani).
Ahmad Shah consolidated and enlarged Afghanistan. He defeated the
Moghuls in the west of the Indus, and he takes Herat away from the
Persians. Ahmad Shah Durrani's empire extended from Central Asia to
Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian sea. It became the greatest
Muslim empire in the second half of the 18th century.
1785-1925 The Qajar Epoch.
(WSJ, 10/29/98, p.A20)
1795 Persians invaded Khurasan
(province) in Afghanistan.
1795 Georgia’s Narikala
Fortress and the buildings of Old Tbilisi suffered at the hands of
1797 Jun 17, Aga Mohammed Khan,
cruel ruler of Persia, was castrated and killed.
1809 Mar 12, Great Britain
signed a treaty with Persia forcing the French out of the country.
1814 Mir Ali created a
full-length portrait of Persia’s Fath-Ali Shah (1771) shortly after
Shah’s loss of a major battle against the Russians.
1815-1819 Mirza Saleh Shirazi, a Persian court
intellectual, made a court-sponsored trip to Europe via Iran and the
Caucasus during this period. He wrote one of the first books in
Persian about a Christian country under the title of Travelogue
(Safarnāmeh), narrating his journey.
1820s The last jihad started by
mullahs alone forced the Persian Empire to war against Christian
Russia. Persia lost the Caucasus.
(WSJ, 10/10/01, p.A10)
1824 James Morier authored “The
Adventures of Haji Bab of Ispahan," the tale of a barber’s son who
seeks his fortunes in Persia.
(WSJ, 10/6/07, p.W8)
1826 Sep 26, The Persian
cavalry was routed by the Russians at the Battle of Ganja in the
1828 Russia conquered the
Armenian provinces of Persia, and this brought within her frontier
the Monastery of Etchmiadzin, in the Khanate of Erivan, which was
the seat of the Katholikos of All the Armenians.
1829 Feb 11, Alexander
Griboyedov (b.1795), Russian diplomat, playwright and composer, was
beheaded by a mob attack on the Russian embassy in Tehran.
Griboyedov was protecting an Armenian eunuch, who had escaped from
the harem of the Persian shah along with 2 Armenian girls. The
Russians let the incident pass after an Iranian apology. They were
already at war with the Turks and in regional competition with the
1833 Sir Henry C. Rawlinson was
sent to Persia as one of a group of British officers charged with
reorganizing the Shah’s army.
1835 Lt. Henry Creswicke
Rawlinson (25) began examining the ancient inscriptions on the rock
of Behistun in the Kurdish foothills of the Zagros mountain range.
He soon found that they had been made to honor Darius the Great,
Persian ruler in the 5th century BCE.
(ON, 4/04, p.7)
1837 May, Mirza Saleh Shirazi,
a Persian court intellectual and the first reporter in Iran,
published his newspaper kaqaz-i akhbar.
1863 In Iran the Bahai faith
was founded by Hussain Ali. It reflected the attitudes of the Shiah
sect with an emphasis on tolerance. Among its principles are full
equality between the sexes, universal education and the
establishment of a world of a world federal system.
(WUD, 1994, p.111)(SFC, 10/30/98, p.A20)
1879 The Cyrus Cylinder was
discovered by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in the
foundations of the Esagila, the main temple of Babylon, and was
later placed in the British Museum in London. The cylinder was
created following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when
Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian king Nabonidus and replaced him as
ruler, ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It was later
considered as the world's first declaration of human rights.
1892 May 29, Baha'u'llah [Mirza
HA Noeri], Persian founder of Baha’i faith, died at 74.
1895 Mar 5, Henry Creswicke
Rawlinson (85), soldier and scholar, died in England. In 1835 he had
begun examining the ancient inscriptions on the rock of Behistun in
the Kurdish foothills of the Zagros mountain range and found that
they had been made to honor Darius the Great, Persian ruler in the
5th century BCE. He deciphered text from Old Akkadian cuneiform. In
2004 Lesley Adkins authored “Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson
and the Lost Languages of Babylon."
4/04, p.9)(WSJ, 12/21/04, p.D8)
1896 May 1, Nasr-ed-Din (65),
shah of Persia, was murdered.
1902 Mar 22, Great Britain and
Persia agreed to link Europe and India by telegraph.
1907 Britain and Russia carved
Iran into spheres of influence.
(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)
1908 May 26, The first major
oil strike in the Middle East took place as engineers working for
British entrepreneur William Knox D'Arcy and led by George B.
Reynolds hit a gusher more than 1,100 feet below ground in
Masjid-i-Suleiman, Persia (Iran). The Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Struck
oil in Iran.
(WSJ, 9/13/99, p.R4)(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)(AP,
1908 Jun 26, Shah Muhammad
Ali’s forces squelched the reform elements of Parliament in Persia.
1909 Mar 26, Russian troops
invaded Persia to support Muhammad Ali as the Shah in place of the
1909 Apr 19, In Persia Howard
Baskerville (b.1885), an American Presbyterian preacher, was shot
dead while trying to break the siege of Tabriz as a defender of the
new Iranian constitution.
1910 Jan 21, A British-Russian
military intervention took place in Persia.
1910 A portrait was painted of
Princess Taj al-Saltaneh, a memoirist and founder of the Society for
the Emancipation of Women.
(WSJ, 10/29/98, p.A20)
1911 May, Morgan Shuster
(1877-1960), an American lawyer, began serving as treasurer-general
of the Persian empire. In December under Russian and British
pressure, the vice-regent of Persia expelled Shuster from office
against the will of the Persian parliament.
(Econ, 7/17/10, p.87)
1912 Morgan Shuster, American
financial expert, authored “The Strangling of Persia." He describes
his failed efforts to introduce virtuous financial practices in Iran
in the face of British and Russian barriers.
(WSJ, 10/6/07, p.W8)
1916 Feb 26, Russian troops
conquered Kermansjah, Persia.
1916 Aug 7, Persia formed an
alliance with Britain and Russia.
1921 Feb 20, Riza Khan Pahlevi
seized control of Iran. Pahlevi marched into Tehran with 2,500
soldiers and took over the government. Britain helped topple the
Qajar dynasty and replaced it with Reza Shah Pahlavi, a former
military officer. Five years later he was crowned Shah and placed
the crown upon his head with his own hands, as did Napoleon.
(NG, Sept. 1939, p.330)(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)
1926 Apr 25, In Iran (Persia),
Reza Kahn was crowned Shah and chose the name "Pehlevi".
1926 Aug 20, There was an
uprising against Reza Shah Pahlavi in Persia.
1932 Reza Shah revoked the
Anglo-Persian Co. oil monopoly.
(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)
1935 Mar 22, Persia was renamed
(SFC,11/19/97, Z1 p.7)(HN, 3/22/97)
1941 Aug 27, The Shah of Iran
abdicated the throne to his son Reza Pahlavi. Britain forced Reza
Shah to abdicate and installed his son Mohammed.
1951 Mar 15, The Iranian
parliament (the Majlis) voted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company (AIOC) and its holdings, and shortly thereafter elected a
widely respected statesman and champion of nationalization, Mohammed
Mossadegh as Prime Minister.
1953 Aug 15, In Iran a CIA
plot, masterminded by Kermit Roosevelt, to unseat PM Mossadeq
failed. A 2nd attempt succeeded on August 19.
(Econ, 5/15/10, p.92)
1953 Aug 19, Gen'l. Zahedi
ousted PM Mossadegh and became the Premier of Iran in a bloody coup
that left 300 dead. Britain and the US CIA under Allen Dulles
planned a secret mission to overthrow the government. PM Mossadeq
had sought to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. The US
government made a formal apology for the coup in 2000. A 1954 CIA
description of the coup was made public in 2000. In 1979 Kermit
Roosevelt (d.2000) published “Countercoup: The Struggle for the
Control of Iran," an account of his role in the coup. In 2010
Darioush Bayandor authored “Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mossadeq
(SFC, 11/20/53, p.A1)(SFC, 11/15/99, p.E6)(SFC,
5/29/97, p.A4)(WSJ, 3/20/00, p.A1)(SFEC, 4/16/00, p.A18)(SFEC,
6/11/00, p.D6)(WSJ, 4/2/07, p.A6)(Econ, 5/15/10, p.91)
1953 Aug 20, Iran’s PM Mossadeq
was arrested. He was soon tried for treason, and sentenced to three
years in prison.
1953 Aug 22, Shah of Persia
returned to Teheran.