|Partner:||Achaemenes + (490-c. 675)|
|Children:||Teispes + (675-640)|
|Father:||Xerxes I + (510-465)|
|Mother:||Amestris + (505-425)|
|Title||frm 0705 B.C. to 0675 B.C. (age -216--185)||King of Anshan|
|Death||0675 B.C. (est) (age -186--185)|
|Cause: murdered by Egyptians|
|Occupation||King of Anshan|
|Birth||0675 B.C.||Anshan, Iran|
|Occupation||King of Anshan|
|Title||King of Anshan|
|Death||0640 B.C. (age 34-35)||Anshan, Iran|
Achaemenes was the eponymous ancestor of the Achaemenid Dynasty, who ruled Persia between 705 BC and 675 BC.
The name is a bahuvrihi compound literally translating to "having a friend's mind," or "characterized by a follower's spirit"
As the eponymous ancestor of the clan, Achaemenes is very often held to be legendary. Achaemenes is generally known as the leader of one of the clans of one of the ten to fifteen Persian tribes, the Pasargadae. Persian royal inscriptions such as the Behistun Inscription place him five generations before Darius the Great. Therefore, according to the Inscriptions, Achaemenes could have lived around 700 BC. The inscriptions do label him as a "king," which may mean that he was the first official king of the Iranians.
Apart from Persian royal inscriptions, there is very limited historical sources on Achaemenes therefore not much about him is known for certain. It has also been proposed that Achaemenes could be only a "mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house". In Babylonian Cyrus Cylinder, Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II) does not talk about Achaemenes at all in his detailed genealogy.
When Darius rose to the position of Shah (i.e. King) of Persia in 522 BC by killing a so called imposter of Bardiya, son of the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great, Darius was able to claim legitimacy by pointing to his descent from Achaemenes. Consequently, Darius had much to gain by pointing to an ancestor shared by Cyrus and himself. It is sometimes thought that Achaemenes is an invention of Darius. An inscription from Pasargadae mentions Cyrus calling himself as descended from Achaemenes, However, Bruce Lincoln suggests that these inscriptions of Cyrus in Pasargadae were engraved during the reign of Darius in ca. 510.
In any case, the Persian royal dynasty from Darius onward revered Achaemenes and credited him as the founder of their dynasty. Very little, however, was remembered about his life or actions. Assuming he existed, Achaemenes was most likely a 7th century BC warrior-chieftain, or the probable first king, who led the Persians, or a tribe of Persians, as a vassal of the Median Empire. An Assyrian inscription from the time of King Sennacherib in 691 BC, mentions that the Assyrian king almost repelled an attack by Parsuamash and Anzan, with the Medians and others on the city of Halule. Historians contend that if he existed, Achaemenes had to be one of the commanders, leading his Persians with the independent troops of Anshan, during the indecisive Battle of Halule in 691 BC.
Ancient Greek writers provide some legendary information about Achaemenes: they call his tribe the Pasargadae, and say that he was "raised by an eagle". Plato, when writing about the Persians, identified Achaemenes with Perses, ancestor of the Persians in Greek mythology. According to Plato, Achaemenes/Perses was the son of the Ethiopian queen Andromeda and the Greek hero Perseus, and a grandson of Zeus. Later writers believed that Achaemenes and Perses were different people, and that Perses was an ancestor of the king.
Persian and Greek sources state that Achaemenes was succeeded by his son Teispes, who would lead the Persians to conquer and settle in the Elamite city of Anshan in southern Iran. Teispes' great-grandson Cyrus conquered the Medes and established the Persian Empire. Teispes is referred to as a son of Achaemenes in the Old Persian texts at Behistun.