Median Empire
Median Kingdom

678 BC–549 BC
A map of the Median Empire at its greatest extent (6th century BC), according to Herodotus
A map of the Median Empire at its greatest extent (6th century BC), according to Herodotus
Common languagesMedian
Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism)
• 678–665 BC
Deioces or Kashtariti
• 665–633 BC
• 625–585 BC
• 589–549 BC
Historical eraIron Age
• Established
678 BC
• Conquered by Cyrus the Great
549 BC
585 BC[1][2]2,800,000 km2 (1,100,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Apadana Palace, northern stairway, 5th century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier, in Persepolis, Iran

The Medes[N 1] (z/, Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι, Hebrew: מָדַיMadai) were an ancient Iranian people[N 2] who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.[5]

In the 7th century BC, Media's tribes came together to form the Median Kingdom, which remained a Neo-Assyrian vassal. Between 616 and 609 BC, King Cyaxares (624–585 BC), allied with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, after which the Median Empire stretched across the Iranian Plateau as far as Anatolia. Its precise geographical extent remains unknown.[5]

A few archaeological sites (discovered in the "Median triangle" in western Iran) and textual sources (from contemporary Assyrians and also ancient Greeks in later centuries) provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state. Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an ancient Iranian religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as "Magi". Later during the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran.[citation needed]


According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes:[6]

The six Median tribes resided in Media proper, the triangular area between Rhagae, Aspadana and Ecbatana.[7] In present-day Iran,[8] that is the area between Tehran, Isfahan and Hamadan, respectively. Of the Median tribes, the Magi resided in Rhaga,[9] modern Tehran.[10] They were of a sacred caste which ministered to the spiritual needs of the Medes.[11] The Paretaceni tribe resided in and around Aspadana, modern Isfahan,[7][12][13] the Arizanti lived in and around Kashan (Isfahan Province),[7] and the Busae tribe lived in and around the future Median capital of Ecbatana, near modern Hamadan.[7] The Struchates and the Budii lived in villages in the Median triangle.[14]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mede
አማርኛ: ሜዶን
العربية: ميديون
aragonés: Medians
azərbaycanca: Madaylar
башҡортса: Мидиялылар
български: Мидийци
brezhoneg: Meded
català: Medes
Cebuano: Mga Medo
dansk: Mederne
Ελληνικά: Μήδοι
Esperanto: Medoj
euskara: Media
فارسی: ماد
français: Mèdes
Frysk: Meden
Gaeilge: Méidigh
한국어: 메디아
hrvatski: Medijci
Bahasa Indonesia: Bangsa Mede
íslenska: Medar
italiano: Medi
עברית: מדי
ქართული: მიდია
Kiswahili: Umedi
kurdî: Mêd
Кыргызча: Мидиялыктар
لۊری شومالی: ماد
Latina: Media
latviešu: Mīdieši
lietuvių: Medija
magyar: Médek
Malagasy: Mediana
Bahasa Melayu: Medes
Nederlands: Meden
norsk: Medere
norsk nynorsk: Medarar
پنجابی: ماد
polski: Medowie
português: Medos
română: Mezi
русский: Мидийцы
Scots: Medes
Simple English: Medes
slovenčina: Médi
slovenščina: Medijci
کوردی: ماد
српски / srpski: Међани
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Medijci
svenska: Medien
Tagalog: Mga Medo
тоҷикӣ: Давлати Мод
українська: Мідійці (народ)
اردو: ماد
Tiếng Việt: Người Media
Winaray: Medes
吴语: 米底王国
中文: 米底王国