People > Astyages of Media

Astyages of Media


Astyages was a significant historical figure in the ancient Near East, known primarily as the last king of the Median Empire, which was one of the major powers in the region before the rise of the Persian Empire. Astyages' reign is notable for its connection to the rise of the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia, particularly through his daughter Mandane, who married the Persian king, Cambyses I, and gave birth to Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Astyages was a member of the Median royal family, belonging to the dynasty founded by Deioces, who unified the Medes and established the Median Empire. He succeeded his father Cyaxares as king of the Medes, inheriting a kingdom that was one of the dominant powers in the ancient Near East.

Astyages ruled over the Median Empire during a period of relative stability and prosperity. He is credited with maintaining and expanding the empire's territories through military campaigns and diplomatic alliances with neighboring states. Astyages is said to have been a patron of the arts and culture, fostering the development of literature, music, and religious practices within the Median Empire. He supported the worship of various gods and goddesses, including the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda.

Fall of the Median Empire

Astyages' reign came to an end with the rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great. According to Herodotus, Cyrus led a rebellion against Astyages, eventually defeating him in battle and capturing him. One of the key factors in Cyrus' victory over Astyages was his marriage alliance with Astyages' daughter, Mandane. Mandane's marriage to Cyrus strengthened the ties between the Persians and the Medes and provided Cyrus with a claim to the Median throne through his son, Cambyses II. Astyages' defeat marked the end of the Median Empire and the beginning of the Achaemenid Empire, which would go on to become one of the largest and most powerful empires in history. His daughter Mandane's marriage to Cyrus the Great played a pivotal role in the transfer of power from the Medes to the Persians.


Astyages is primarily known through classical sources such as Herodotus' "Histories," which provide valuable insights into his life and reign. His legacy is intertwined with the rise of the Persian Empire and the establishment of the Achaemenid dynasty under Cyrus the Great.

In summary, Astyages was the last king of the Median Empire, ruling during a period of relative prosperity before his defeat by Cyrus the Great of Persia. His reign marked the transition from the Median Empire to the Achaemenid Empire, and his daughter's marriage alliance with Cyrus played a crucial role in this historical shift. Astyages' legacy is thus closely tied to the rise of the Persian Empire and the subsequent dominance of the Achaemenid dynasty in the ancient Near East.

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