Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Oxus Treasure

Cyrus the Great
The Oxus treasure is a collection of about 180 pieces of metalwork in gold and silver from the Achaemenid Persian period, found by the Oxus river about 1877-1880 in Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan.

It is the most important surviving collection of gold and silver from the Achaemenid period.
The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE), was an empire in Western and Central Asia, founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great. The dynasty draws its name from king Achaemenes, who ruled Persis between 705 BCE and 675 BCE.

The empire expanded to eventually rule over much of the ancient world which at around 500 BC stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece, making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen. The Achaemenid Empire would eventually control Egypt as well.
At its peak the empire spanned three continents. In sheer land mass, the Achaemenid Empire was the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen until 331-330 BC, when Alexander the Great toppled it on his eastward march from the Mediterranean through Afghanistan to India.

It is estimated that 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire or about 44% of the world's population at the time.





Ayaz Kala of Khwarezm (Chorasmia), today desert but in ancient times green and lush.
Kaakha fortress, overlooking the Panj river.
The formidable walls surrounding the ruins of Bactra, adjacent to modern-day Balkh.
Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) defeated the Persian armies at Granicus (334 BCE), followed by Issus (333 BCE), and lastly at Gaugamela (331 BCE). Afterwards, he marched on Susa and Persepolis which surrendered in early 330 BCE.