According to Herodotus Kuroush was born the son of Kambujiha(Cambyses), a Persian king. His mother was the duaghter of the Median overlord, Astyages. Asytages, bore a vision in which he forsaw that Kuroush was to grow up into a strong leader, and eventually overthrow him. In fear, Asytages gave the baby king to the executioner to be killed. The executioner could not bear to butcher the baby, so he gave him to a local ruler, Harpaguas, to take care of. Many years later when the boy grew older, he learned of his past and also witnessed the tyranny of Asytages' rule. When Astyages found out that his grand son was still alive he killed Harpaguas' son. Soon, forging an alliance with local Iranian tribes, particularly the Persians, Kuroush made his way to the capital at Ecbatana ( near modern-day Hamadan). Seeing his grand arrival many Medes joined his ranks. Harpaguas was the main force behind this insurrection. Astyages was forced to surrender.
Though the story is stretched and skewed by Herodotus, we can discern a few things. Kuroush was most likely a descended from both Persian and Median tribes. If not he surely showed respect for both. Historical records also agree that Kuroush got into a conflict with Astyages and overthrew the tyrant, uniting the Persian and Median tribes. In all likelihood the reason for revolt was more likely a growing dissatisfation among the Iranian nobles with their overlord. Astyages was most likely a very self-centered and indulgent leader who was not as ambitious as the local leader would've liked. In any case they did back Kuroush. Most anals also agree that Kuroush was light-handed in dealing punishment to Astyages.
After finishing off Lydia, Kuroush moved onto to expand the eastern border of his empire.Hystaspes, the local ruler of Iranian tribes on the eastern plateau and in Hycrania and Parthia, allied himself with Kuroush. They were of like descendence, and Kuroush would offer him protection and a position as satrap. In addition to this, these eastern Iranians spoke a similar language and shared the customs of their western brothers. Kuroush expanded to about in between the Oxus and Jaxartes rivers. His war against these eastern nomads is not as well recorded as other battles, as these peoples were not sedentary like the civilized peoples in the west. From what we can discern of these peoples, both from myths, historical evidence, and modern legacy, they were Turanid peoples. Probably compromising a mixture of Iranid tribes with Mongolian plainsmen (especially as one moved to the north and east), and Altaic peoples. Most likely in physical appearance shorter, robust cheeks with slanted eyes, straight black hair, wider noses than their Iranian Opponents, and longer trunks with shorter limbs. But in reality the plains of central Asia have long been a melting pot for many racial stocks, and blonde, nordic nomads are not out of question. Closer to Iran, these people were more Iranid, indeed the Khwarezmians, Arians, Bactrians spoke an Iranian language. Beyond the Oxus river was more likely the domain of Mongoloid tribes. In any event the wars with these Turanian peoples takes on legendary proportions in Ferdows's [i]Shahnameh[/i] which recounts the legends or Iran, particularly from Khorassan region. The fertile land was irrigated by introducing the qanat systems of irrigation that were often used on the plateau. Kuroush conquered south towards Pakistan and northern India in the region called Gandara.
As time drew on Kuroush grew older. From what is known he had a few kids. From here it not known how he died. Herodotus states that he died while fighting the forces of queen Tomyris of the Massagetae. Supposedly he asked for Tomyris' hand in marriage so that he could acquire her territory. When she refused the two went to war and Kuroush was killed and carried away by the Massagetae on a shield. While this makes another great story, it has not been substantiated at all. In fact Kuroush's tomb remains to this day at Pasargad in Iran. Regardless of how he died, on his deathbed Kuroush had an empire that stretched from the Indus north to the Oxus river, west to Anatolia and Palestine. Harboring almost all the known world with many diverse people his subjects.His grave read...
for that thou wilt come I know, I am Cyrus, who founded the
empire of the Persians. Grudge me not therefore, this little
earth that covers my body.”
Kabujiyahya (cambyses), the son of Kuroush took reign of the empire after his father's death. His father had an attack on Egypt in the works. So his move against Egypt was swift and brutal. He defeated the emperor at Pelusium and then Memphis. Kabujiyahya tried to continue expansion into Libya, Nubia with mixed success. Although both times nature played heavily against him. Apparently an attack on Carthage was intended, but the Phoenicians refused to sail against their fellow country-men in the Carthage colony. Kabujiyahya garrisoned Egypt and fortified his strongholds just as news got to him of an imposter on the throne. This imposter claimed to be Bardiya (Smerdis), or Kabujiyahya's brother. In any event Kabujiyahya rushed back to regain the throne just as he died.
Much of the historical data is highly false. In light of recent findings, most of Herodotus' sources were Egyptian and spoke propaganda against Kabujiyahya. From claims that Kabujiyahya desecreated temples and taunted the Egyptians to claims of insanity and incest, all these are general regarded as propoganda.
And with the empire in turmoil, the death of Kabujiyahya, and the ascent of an imposter to the throne, the Persian empire seemed to be in a sea of troubles...click here to continue.