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PERSIA

The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Persian empire has become what we know today as Persia or more commonly, Iran.

Cyrus prtraitThe most widespread entity considered to have been a Persian Empire was the Achaemenid Empire (648–330 BC) — famous in antiquity as the foe of the classical Greek states — a united Aryan kingdom that originated in the region now known as Pars province of Iran. It was formed under Cyrus the Great, who overthrew the empire of the Medes, and conquered the entire Middle East, including the territories of the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, and the Lydians. Babylonia was the only part of the Assyrian empire that had not been conquered by Cyrus' Mede grandfather, Astyages. Cyrus' son, Cambyses, continued Cyrus' conquests by conquering Egypt.

One of the symbols of the Persian Empire — Homa griffin.

Homa ruinsHoma is a griffin-like mythologicalcreature and symbol in Persian art. The history of the creature's depiction dates back to the Achaemenid Persians, most notably at the palace of Persepolis where many sculptures of Homa were constructed, e.g. at the top of columns[citation needed]. In Iranian legends, Homa would fly and then land on the head or shoulder of a king-elect upon death of a king, although this is sometimes attributed to the other Persian mythological bird Huma.

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