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Persia under the Achaemenid Dynasty (559 BC - ??? AD) was the most powerful empire of the ancient era, ruling over several areas considered to be cradles of civilization like Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley.
Cyrus the Great founded the first Persian Empire in 559 BC by overthrowing his Median overlords. This first Persian dynasty left its cultural and political footprints on most of West Asia for centuries to come and laid the basis for the many Persian dynasties to come.