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The Achaemid Family Tree showing the merging or the royal houses of the Medes and the Persians to create the Medo-Persian Empire; known to many as simply the Persian Empire.

The Medes, sometimes also known as the kingdom of Media were an ancient Indo-European population that originated from central Asia with their capital at Ecbatana. They became well known at the first for being legendary cavalry men. Then for destroying the Assyrian Empire and settling Northern Mesopotamia along with their Aramaic speaking Chaldean (Babylonian) allies in the 7th century BC.[Citation Needed] Later in 6th century BC they in self-defence to Assyrian (Babylonian aggression) they recruited their Persian ally and young Cyrus "The Great" as leader of the allied forces[1] which later resulted in the fall of the city off Babylon and conquest of said empire.

Many modern Iranians and Kurds identify with the Medes.


The Median kingdom was ruled in the fashion of a traditional tyranny/monarchy with its capital in Ecbatana.

Military Activity

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Defence against Babylon

This campaign recorded in great detail in Xenophon's Cyropedia tells the story of what began as a defence of the homeland under the traditionally unrecognised son and successor of Astyages (see chart), quickly became an offensive defence resulting in the death of the "Assyrian King" and the birth of the renown of Cyrus "the Great".

Modern customs said to originate with the Medes

Xenophon asserted that the tradition of holding a wine glass with three fingers[Citation Needed] (and therefore of necessity the cup style) originated amidst the Medes. He also claims that the classic royal cape of scarlet and purple with fine white fur trim to be of Median origin.

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  1. Xenophon, 'Cyropedia, Book II,