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Shanshah Afrand (Vαͽnα Ηραϗ)

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Afrand
Aϕραϗδ
Timeline: Vαͽnα Ηραϗ

OTL equivalent: N/A

Persian Partisan Knight
7th century painting by Xia Ji Ren based on Afrand's description at the Battle of Yerevan

Empress of the Achaemenid Empire
641 B.C. (859 A.A.) – 559 B.C. (941 A.A.)

Predecessor: Cyaxares, King of Media
Successor: Cyrus II of Anshan
Born: 13th July 660 B.C. (14th Aspayaha 840 A.A.)
Artacana, Kingdom of Aria
Died: 17th August 559 B.C. (19th Kurusaha 941 A.A.)
House of Isaac, Pasargadae
Spouse: Ourania Shahbanu
Religion: Zoroastrianism
Afrand (Aϕραϗδ, possibly Aϕρѻϗδι) (13th July 660 B.C.-17th August 559 B.C.) commonly known as Afrand of Ariana and also known as Afrand the Glorious, Afrand the Pious and (in Mongolia) Afrand the Herder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under her rule the Eranic Peoples (Persians, Parthians Medians and Cteisans), along with the Kingdom of Armenia were united under the banner of the Achaemenids. Whilst her empirical gains were much less significant than those of her successors, she set the precedent for how wars were to be fought. Her conquests started when she raised an army of only 3,000 untrained soldiers and marched upon Media. She never destroyed the Median Empire, but removed it from Eran and destroyed its army. She then marched upon Armenia, famously being surrounded and engaged by 800 Armenian soldiers when she herself was alone at the battle of Yerevan. An Armenian historian commented that 'This 19 year old girl was fighting 800 of (Ardashir, King of Armenia)'s men. After killing 400 hundred her mace broke, so killed the rest with her bare hands.' She finally moved to subjugate Parthia, which had declared independence after the destruction of the Medes. After this she declared herself 'Queen of all Aryans'.
Standard of Cyrus the Great (Achaemenid Empire)

Standard of Afrand of Ariana

AfrandMap

The Achaemenid Empire under Afrand of Ariana in Red, Babylon in Pink, Median Empire in Yellow and the Kingdom of Aria in Cyan

For the remainder of her reign Afrand spent her time building infrastructure in place for future generations. Every city was connected via an expanse of paved roads, cities were reorganized and vital facilities built. Afrand restored the ancient Mausoleum of Yazada and made the surrounding area a prosperous town, which would be renamed as capital by Darius I. She also poured money into building religious buildings for her subjects. She was markedly different from her Median predecessors, being very tolerant of all religions and customs in her empire, for example building the Fazhedun Temple for the Parthian God Harash and the Platform of Yakerzidi in Armavir for the Armenian God Yakerzidi. She also engaged in the formal Parthian ritual for becoming queen, a thing which never had been done by Median Kings. She stated herself that 'The only way for Eran to succeed is tolerant and supportive leadership'.

Afrand died at the age of 101 at the House of Isaac, a former Jewish slave from Babylon she had smuggled out as a baby during a diplomatic visit, in 559 B.C.. She left a will that there would be no public mourning and her adopted son Cyrus would at once become Emperor. She also declared that she did not want her body on public display (as is Zoroastrian tradition), but instead wanted to be interred inside the Naqsh Rostam Necropolis with her wife and parents. Within 2 months of her death, Cyrus had conquered the remainder of the Median Empire, Babylon, much of Central Asia and Scythia, forming the largest empire in history. Her legacy of human rights, tolerance, light handed rule and military strategy have endured throughout history, and she is one of the most celebrated figures of history. She is often used as a symbol of LGBT pride due to her lesbianism and is greatly revered in Eran for, in their opinion, bringing them 'out of the dark ages and into a position of dominance that has lasted ever since.'

Background

Etymology and name debate

'Afrand' is thought to be a Sanskrit term meaning 'bright' or 'shining', and was a commonly used name from 800 B.C. in the Kingdom of Aria, Bactria and Parthia. 

Since roughly 200 B.C. there has been a debate about whether or not her birth name was Afrand. There is some thought that her name was Afrandih, wife of the ancient hero Yazada, based on several inscriptions written after her death which used Cuneiform which is generally believed to be pronounced Afrandih, and the fact that Afrand was not a common name in Cteisia where she grew up, where as Afrandih was. However it is generally believed she was born with the name Afrand

Birth and Early Life

Afrand was born on 

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