Persian Rule

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In the 6th century Urartu fell to the Medes, but not long after, the Persian conquest of the Medes, led by Cyrus the Great, displaced them. Persia ruled over Armenia from the 6th century until the 4th century B.C. Its culture and Zoroastrian religion greatly influenced the spiritual life of the Armenian people who absorbed features of Zoroastrianism into their polytheistic and animistic indigenous beliefs. As part of the Persian Empire, Armenia was divided into provinces called satrapies, each with a local governing satrap (viceroy) supervised by a Persian. The Armenians paid heavy tribute to the Persians, who continually requisitioned silver, rugs, horses and military supplies. The governing satraps of Armenia’s royal Orontid family governed the country for some 200 years, while Asia became acquainted with invading Greeks from the west.

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