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Ahura Mazda. the Iranian sky god, the Wise Lord, and god of order, depicted as a bearded man on a winged disk, was the principal god of the ancient Zoroastrians. He was one of the Indo-Iranian spiritual lords who also included Mithra and Varuna. Achaemenid Persians worshiped him as Ahuramazda, giver of kingship. Later dynasties worshiped him as a perfect and omniscient spirit. He came to be depicted in human form.

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Amitis - Shahbanu Wife of Cyrus the Great http://www.pinterest.com/yaldashab/women-of-persia/

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The Persian Empire The Achaemenids were the first line of Persian rulers, founded by the chieftain Achaemenes (Hakaimanish) around 700 BCE. Around 653 BCE the Medes came under the domination of the Scythians, and the son of Achaemenes, a certain Teispes, seems to have led the nomadic Persians to settle in southern Iran around this time -- eventually establishing the first organized Persian state in the important region of Anshan.

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ACHAEMENID SILVER SPOON, 4TH CENTURY BC With a duck’s head (at the bowl), a leaping lion and a griffin.

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Gold plaque with horned lion-griffins, Achaemenid, ca. 6th-4th century B.C., Iran. In the sixth century B.C., under the leadership of Cyrus the Great (r. 538–530 B.C.), the Achaemenid Persian dynasty overthrew Median kings and established an empire that would eventually extend from eastern Europe and Egypt to India. They built palaces and ceremonial centers at Pasargadae, Persepolis, Susa, and Babylon.

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