|King Achaemenes (Haxa-maniš) of Anshan (Elam)
King Achaemenes (Haxa-maniš) of Anshan (Elam)
the eponymous ancestor of the royal house of the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenids. He lived about 2700 years ago. Achaemenes did not rule all of Iran, but a small place in the northwestern part of the country near Lake Urmia, which Assyrian inscriptions call Parsumaš "Land of the Parsu 'Persians'."
Due to the lack of historical sources on Achaemenes, his rule and existence are sometimes doubted. He may have been legendary. Darius I the Great may even have invented him so as to legitimize his rule. Since Darius was not an heir to the previous Shah, Cyrus the Great, it is contended that Darius invented an earlier ancestor shared by Cyrus and himself. In this way he was able to claim royal ancestry.
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 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 mentions that the Assyrian king repelled a raid by the Parsu, who may have been led by Achaemenes.
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.