Civilization VI: Cyrus II Leads Persia

Cyrus II of Persia, more commonly known as Cyrus the Great, founded the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire. Prior to the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Persian Empire was the largest the world had ever seen.

He built his empire through a series of brilliant military campaigns, starting with the surprise invasion of his Median grandfather, Astyages, followed by conquest of the lands of the Lydians, Elamites, Babylonians, Syria, Judea, and Patrea, after which he felt comfortable enough to declare himself “King of the Four Corners of the World.”

Although he has something of a reputation for ruthlessness, even by the standard of the ancient world (some of his conquests had been against one-time allies or distant family), Cyrus was also known for respecting the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. His call for the repatriation of Jewish people following his conquest of the Babylonian Empire is easily one of the more famous examples of this.

His death is given in a story by Herodotus at the hands of Tomyris of Scythia, so you may want to go back and check out our entry on the Scythian queen to refresh your memory.

Unique Unit: The Immortal

Persia’s elite heavy foot soldier, the Immortal, served as both guard of sovereign and state. It is said that Persia’s army consisted of 10,000 Immortals, and that each Immortal was equipped with both long-range and short-range armaments.

Unique Improvement: The Pairidaeza

The Pairidaeza, or Persian Gardens, are closed collections of exquisite foliage meant to convey the feeling of paradise on Earth. Persian Gardens are represented throughout Persian literature and culture as places of relaxation, both in the sense of leisure and spirituality.

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