The Achaemenian rulers of Iran, who expanded their empire at the same time as the Magadan kings, took advantage of the political disunity on the north-west frontier.
Cyrus (558 – 530 B.C)
- Cyrus the Great was the greatest conqueror of the Achaemenian Empire.
- He was the first conqueror who led an expedition and entered into India.
- He captured the Gandhara region.
- All Indian tribes to the west of the Indus river submitted to him and paid tribute.
Darius I (522 – 486 B.C.)
- Darius I, the grandson of Cyrus, conquered the Indus valley in 518 B.C. & annexed the Punjab and Sindh.
- This region became the 20th Satrapy of his empire.
- It was the most fertile and populous province of the Achaemenian Empire.
- Darius sent a naval expedition under Skylas to explore the Indus.
Xerxes (465-456 B.C.)
- Xerxes utilized his Indian province to strengthen his position.
- He deployed Indian infantry and cavalry to Greece to fight his opponents.
- But they retreated after Xerxes faced a defeat in Greece.
Effects of the Persian Invasion:
- Persian invasion provided an impulse to the growth of Indo-Iranian commerce.
- Kharoshti script, a form of Iranian writing became popular in northwestern India and some of Asoka’s edicts were written in that script.
- Promotion of Indo-Iranian trade.
- Impact of Buddhism on the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia.