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Timeline of the Ancient Rulers of Persia (Modern Iran)

Successive Dynasties of Persia, from the Achaemenids to the Arab Conquest

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The Immortals of Persian King Darius

The Immortals of Persian King Darius

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In ancient history, there were 3 main dynasties that controlled ancient Persia, a western name for the area that is modern Iran: Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sasanids. There was also a period when the Hellenistic Macedonian and Greek successors of Alexander the Great, known as Seleucids, ruled Persia.

Early mention of the area is from Assyria c. 835 B.C., when the Medes occupied the Zagros Mountains. The Medes gained control of an area extending from the Zagros Mountains to include Persis, Armenia, and eastern Anatolia. In 612, they captured the Assyrian city of Ninevah.

Here are the rulers of ancient Persia, by dynasty, based on Dynasties of the World, by John E. Morby; Oxford University Press, 2002.

Achaemenid Dynasty

  • 559-530 - Cyrus the Great
  • 529-522 - Cambyses (son)
  • 522 - Smerdis (Bardiya) (brother)
  • 521-486 - Darius I, the Great
  • 485-465 - Xerxes I (son)
  • 464-424 - Artaxerxes I, Longimanus (son)
  • 424 - Xerxes II (son)
  • 424 - Sogdianus (brother)
  • 423-405 - Darius II, Nothus (brother)
  • 404-359 - Artaxerxes II, Mnemon (son)
  • 358-338 - Artaxerxes III (Ochus) (son)
  • 337-336 - Artaxerxes IV ( Arses) (son)
  • 335-330 - Darius III (Codomannus) (great-grandson of Darius II)

Macedonian conquest of the Persian empire 330

Seleucids

  • 305-281 B.C. - Seleucus I Nicator
  • 281-261 - Antiochus I Soter
  • 261-246 - Antiochus II Theos
  • 246-225 - Seleucus II Callinicus

Parthian Empire - Arsacid Dynasty

  • 247-211 - Arsaces I (conquered Parthia c. 238)
  • 211-191 - Arsaces II (son)
  • 191-176 - Priapatius (son)
  • 176-171 - Phraates I (son)
  • 171-138 - Mithridates I (brother)
  • 138-128 - Phraates II (son)
  • 128-123 - Artabanus I (son of Priapatius)
  • 123-87 - Mithridates II, the Great (son)
  • 90-80 - Gotarzes I
  • 80-77 - Orodes I
  • 77-70 - Sinatruces
  • 70-57 - Phraates III (son)
  • 57-54 - Mithridates III (son)
  • 57-38 - Orodes II (brother)
  • 38-2 - Phraates IV (son)
  • 2-AD 4 - Phraates V (son)
  • 4-7 - Orodes III
  • 7-12 - Vonones I (son of Phraates IV)
  • 12-38 - Artabanus II
  • 38-45 - Vardanes I (son)
  • 45-51 - Gotarzes II (brother)
  • 51 - Vonones II
  • 51-78 - Vologases I (son or brother)
  • 55-58 - Vardanes II
  • 77-80 - Vologases II
  • 78-110 - Pacorus (son of Vologases I)
  • 80-90 - Artabanus III (brother)
  • 109-129 - Osroes
  • 112-147 - Vologases III
  • 129-147 - Mithridates IV
  • 147-191 - Vologases IV
  • 191-208 - Vologases V (son)
  • 208-222 - Vologases VI (son)
  • 213-224 - Artabanus IV (brother)

Sasanid Dynasty

  • 224-241 - Ardashir I
  • 241-272 - Shapur I (son; co-regent 240)
  • 272-273 - Hormizd I (son)
  • 273-276 - Bahram I (brother)
  • 276-293 - Bahram II (son)
  • 293 - Bahram III (son; deposed)
  • 293-302 - Narseh (son of Shapur I)
  • 302-309 - Hormizd II (son)
  • 310-379 - Shapur II (son)
  • 379-383 - Ardashir II (nephew)
  • 383-388 - Shapur III (son of Shapur II)
  • 388-399 - Bahram IV (son)
  • 399-420 - Yazdgard I (son)
  • 420-438 - Bahram V, the Wild Ass (son)
  • 438-457 - Yazdgard II (son)
  • 457-459 - Hormizd III (son)
  • 459-484 - Peroz I (brother)
  • 484-488 - Balash (brother)
  • 488-497 - Kavad I (son of Peroz; deposed)
  • 497-499 - Zamasp (brother)
  • 499-531 - Kavad I (restored)
  • 531-579 - Khusrau I, Anushirvan (son)
  • 579-590 - Hormizd IV (son; deposed)
  • 590-591 - Bahram VI , Chbn (usurper; deposed)
  • 590-628 - Khusrau II , the Victorious (son of Hormizd IV; deposed and died 628)
  • 628 - Kavad II, Shiroe (son)
  • 628-630 - Ardashir III (son)
  • 630 - Shahrbaraz (usurper)
  • 630-631 - Boran (daughter of Khusrau II)
  • 631 - Peroz II (cousin)
  • 631-632 - Azarmedukht (daughter of Khusrau II)
  • 632-651 - Yazdgard III (nephew)

651 - Arab conquest of the Sasanid Empire

In the end of the ancient period, war with Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire weakened the Persians enough that the Arabs gained control.

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