The Medes are first mentioned in records of the ninth century BC. The Persians also appear in records from this time but appear to be less important than the Medes. The Medes first appeared in the eastern Zagros Mountains and moved westwards into Mesopotamia. The Medes established a capital at Ecbatana (modern Hamadan). They raided the eastern Assyrian frontier. Assyria finally fell to a combined force of Babylonians and Medes around 612 BC. The Medes controlled the highlands and central Anatolia until overthrown by Cyrus II of Persia in 550 BC. (2) Ecbatana became a royal city during the Persian period. With an elevation of 6,000 feet above sea level, Ecbatana was favored as a summer resort and capital. Alexander the Great later destroyed the city and a new city was built. (3)
Median Male Names
Artasari - Median name in an Assyrian inscription from Salmanassar III (800sBC) (4)
Astyages - Last king of the Medes (2)
Cyaxares - King of the Medes and father of Astyages (2)
Deioces - Early, possibly mythical king of the Medes (2)
Phraortes - Early, possibly mythical king of the Medes (2)
(2) The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, ed. Arthur Cotterell, New York: Penguin Books, 1980, 1988.
(3) Concise Bible Atlas: A Geographical Survey of Bible History, J. Carl Laney, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988, 1999.
(4) Some Earliest Traces of the Aryan: Evidence from the 4th and 3rd Millennium BC, by Jahanshah Derakhshani.
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Updated November 30, 2009