Achaemenid Rule, Ca. 550-331 B.C.
The area that is present-day Afghanistan comprised several satrapies(provinces) of the Achaemenid Empire when it was at its most extensive, underDarius the Great (ca. 500 B.C.). Bactriana, with its capital at Bactria (whichlater became Balkh), was reputedly the home of Zoroaster, who founded thereligion that bears his name.
By the fourth century B.C., Iranian control of outlying areas and theinternal cohesion of the empire had become tenuous. Although outlying areas likeBactriana had always been restless under Achaemenid rule, Bactrian troopsnevertheless fought on the Iranian side in the decisive Battle of Gaugamela (330B.C.). They were defeated by Alexander the Great.
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