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Cyaxares(sīăk`sərēz), d. 585 B.C., king of Media (c.625–585 B.C.). His name also appears as Umakishtar and Huyakhshtara. In the course of his reign he raised the kingdom of the Medes to a major power in the Middle East. Cyaxares reorganized Median military forces, developing the cavalry especially, and renewed war with Assyria. He captured and leveled (614) Ashur and after joining forces with Nabopolassar of Babylonia as well as with the Scythians, who were former enemies, besieged Nineveh, occupying and pillaging the city in 612. Fighting continued (612–605) in N Mesopotamia and ended in the defeat of the Assyrians, with Cyaxares claiming Assyria proper as Media's share of the spoils. Hostilities later erupted between Media and the neighboring kingdom of Lydia in the northwest; they lasted from 590 to 585, ending in a stalemate. Cyaxares was succeeded by his son AstyagesAstyages
, fl. 6th cent. B.C., king of the Medes (584–c.550 B.C.), son and successor of Cyaxares. His rule was harsh, and he was unpopular. His daughter is alleged to have married the elder Cambyses and was said to be the mother of Cyrus the Great, who rebelled against
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(in Persian, Uvakhshatra). King of Media from 625 or 624 B.C. to 585 or 584 B.C.
During Cyaxares’ reign, Media became a major power in Southwest Asia, and the hegemony of the Scythians in the northern part of Southwest Asia was ended. The Medes, in alliance with the Babylonians, crushed Assyria (616–605 B.C.); during this period, Media also annexed Manna and Urartu. The Medes subsequently annexed the eastern part of Asia Minor (590–585 B.C.).