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Median Empire

c. 625 BCE–549 BCE
Median Empire, ca. 600 BC
Median Empire, ca. 600 BC
Capital Ecbatana
Zoroastrianism, possibly also Proto-Indo-Iranian religion
Government Monarchy
Historical era Iron Age
• Cyaxares united Median tribes
c. 625 BCE
549 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Achaemenid Empire

The Medes were an ancient Arian and Kurdish people who lived in the northwestern portions of present-day Iran. This area was known in Greek as Media or Medea They entered this region with the first wave of Iranian tribes, in the late second millennium BC (at the end of the Bronze Age).

By the 6th century BC, the Medes were able to make their own empire. It stretched from southern shore of the Black Sea and Aran province (in modern Azerbaijan) to north and central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The Medes had many tributary states, including the Persians, who eventually took over the Median empire as part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

The Medes are credited with the foundation of the first Iranian empire, the largest of its day until Cyrus the Great established a unified Iranian empire of the Medes and Persians, often referred to as the Achaemenid Empire.

Median language

Strabo mentions the affinity of Mede with other Iranian languages in his "Geography":

The name of Ariana is farther extended to a part of Persia and of Media, as also to the Bactrians and Sogdians on the north; for these speak approximately the same language, with but slight variations.

Geography, 15.8

Herodotus, mentions the word "Spaka" ("Dog", still present in current Iranian languages such as Kurdish and talysh, and different from Persian)

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