Persian Empire

The ancient Persian Empire included areas far beyond modern Persia, now called Iran. At some times they controlled much of the Middle East they were a main antagonist of Ancient Greece a few centuries BCE (and later the Roman Empire), and ruled Egypt at one point as well as much of the Caucasus and parts of what are now Pakistan and India.

They had a huge influence on Central Asia, much of which they ruled for centuries. Marco Polo, for example, describes cities like Bukhara and Balkh as Persian. Even today, one dialect of Persian is the main language of Tajikistan and another is widely used in Afghanistan. They also had a tremendous influence on South Asia which was repeatedly invaded by Persian speakers, from Darius taking Gandhara in the 6th century BCE to the Mughal Empire which ruled much of the subcontinent from the 16th century CE into the 19th.


Peak of Achaemenid Empire

At its peak, around 500 BCE, the Empire was enormous. Here we list some areas that retained Persian culture for centuries beyond that.


See Iran#Cities for the main modern towns there. This section lists only places not on that list.


See also


The main dialects of Persian are Farsi in Iran, Tajik in Tajikistan and Dari in Afghanistan. They are different enough to create difficulties, but not to completely prevent understanding.

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