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The effect of Scythian culture is seen in the mixed form of what survives of Median art, which demonstrates strong barbarian motifs. Cyaxares overcame his Scythian overlords and annexed the regions of the Persians and the Mannai to his kingdom apparently using Gr. ̓Αγβάτανα, modern Pers. Hamadan, as his capital. In 615 b.c. he had marched on Nineveh but had been repulsed. He turned N and captured Aššus on the Tigris River. The Babylonian king, Nabopolassar, concluded a treaty with Cyaxares which was sealed by the marriage of Amytis, granddaughter of Cyaxares with the son and heir of Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar II. In the inscrs. from this period the general term, Umman-manda is used by the Assyro-Babylonian scribes for Scythians, Cimmerians and at least in this instance for the Medes. (D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings in the British Museum [1956], 16.) The hoped-for attack of the Medes upon Babylon, the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 13:17-19), came to pass after the Median power had been combined with that of Persia in 539 b.c. Cyaxares’ kingdom passed to his successor Arshtivaiga (Astyages) under whom the Median state gave way and fell to its former vassal, Persia. For a brief period Media had shared the rule of Western Asia with the Chaldeans, Lydians and Egyptians and had built a number of great city-states. Media, however, finally fell to Persia under Cyrus II in 550 b.c. The name Media was used in later times by the Sassanians and their successors. It appears in Rom. lit. and in Acts 2:9.


E. Herzfeld, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Vol. I (1929); F. W. König, Älteste Geschichte der Meder und Perser (1934); G. G. Cameron, History of Early Iran (1936); I. M. D’yakonov, Istoriia Midii (1956) in Russian; R. Ghirshman, Iran (1961); E. Porada, Alt-Iran, Die Kunst in vorislamischer Zeit (1962).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Lay to the West and Southwest of the Caspian, and extended thence to the Zagrus Mountains on the West On the North in later times it was bounded by the rivers Araxes and Cyrus, which separated it from Armenia. Its eastern boundaries were formed by Hyrcania and the Great Salt Desert (now called the Kavir), and it was bounded on the South by Susiana. In earlier times its limits were somewhat indefinite. It included Atropatene, (Armenian Atrpatakan, the name, "Fire-guarding," showing devotion to the worship of Fire) to the North, and Media Magna to the South, the former being the present A’zarbaijan. Near the Caspian the country is low, damp and unhealthy, but inland most of it is high and mountainous, Mt. Demavand in the Alburz range reaching 18,600 ft. Atropatene was famed for the fertility of its valleys and table-lands, except toward the North. Media Magna is high; it has fruitful tracts along the course of the streams, but suffers much from want of water, though this was doubtless more abundant in antiquity. It contained the Nisaean Plain, famous for its breed of horses. The chief cities of ancient Media were Ecbatana, Gazaea, and Ragae. The Orontes range near Ecbatana is the present Alvand. Lake Spauta is now known as Urmi (Urumiah).

W. St. Clair Tisdall