Definitions for Medes

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  1. Medes

    The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who lived in an area known as Media and who spoke a northwestern Iranian language referred to as the Median language. Their arrival to the region is associated with the first wave of Iranian tribes in the late 2nd millennium BCE through the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE. From the 10th to late 7th centuries BCE, the Iranian Medes and Persians fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire based in Mesopotamia. After the fall of the Assyrian Empire, between 616 BCE and 605 BCE, a unified Median state was formed, which, together with Babylonia, Lydia, and Egypt became one of the four major powers of the ancient Near East. An alliance with the Babylonians and the Scythians helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BCE which resulted in the collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median kingdom beyond their original homeland and had eventually a territory stretching roughly from northeastern Iran to the Halys River in Anatolia. The Median kingdom was conquered in 550 BCE by Cyrus the Great, who established the next Iranian dynasty—the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

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