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(mē`dēə), ancient country of W Asia whose actual boundaries cannot be defined, occupying generally what is now W Iran and S Azerbaijan. It extended from the Caspian Sea to the Zagros Mts. The Medes were an Indo-European people who spoke an Iranian language closely akin to old Persian. Some scholars claim they were an Aryanized people from Turan. Since there are no Median records, Assyrian and Greek sources must be relied upon for Median history. The Medes extended their rule over PersiaPersia
, old alternate name for the Asian country Iran. The article Iran contains a description of the geography and economy of the modern country and a short account of its history since the Arab invasion of the 7th cent.
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 during the reign of Sargon (d. 705 B.C.) and under Cyaxares captured Nineveh in 612 B.C.; they were the first people subject to Assyria to secure their freedom. The dynasty continued until the rule of 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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, when it was overthrown (c.550 B.C.) by Cyrus the Great and united with the Persian Empire. In the 2d cent. B.C. Media became part of the Parthian kingdom and was later ruled by the Romans.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a historical region, later a kingdom in the northwestern part of the Iran Plateau.

The Medes are first mentioned in Assyrian annals of the second half of the ninth century B.C. As early as the ninth and eighth centuries B.C., an Iranian-speaking element appeared in Media, later becoming predominant. The ninth and eighth centuries B.C. in Media evidently constituted a period of transition from a military democracy to an early slaveholding society. During that time, the Medes waged a struggle against Assyria, which had seized part of their lands.

Judging from Assyrian sources, the kingdom of Media arose in the 670’s B.C., and Ecbatana became its capital. Under King Cyaxares (ruled from 625 or 624 to 584 B.C.), Media became a great power in the ancient East. In a short time the Medes seized Manna and, in alliance with Babylonia, crushed the Assyrian state and conquered Urartu and other territories.

In 550 or 549 B.C., Media was conquered by the Persians and made a satrapy of the Achaemenid empire. An independent Median state was restored only in the last quarter of the fourth century B.C., but it occupied only part of the former territory of Media, that in southern Azerbaijan, which later came to be called Media (or Media Minor, Median Atropatene, and Atropatene).

Media occupies a prominent place in the political, economic, and cultural history of antiquity. Zoroastrianism became widespread in Media. The Avesta was evidently codified in Atropatene in the fourth century B.C. Some of the Medes, having merged into the autochthonic tribes of Atropatene, played a significant role in the ethnogenesis of the Azerbaijanis.


D’iakonov, I. M. Istoriia Midii ot drevneishikh vremen do kontsa IVveka do n. e. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Aliev, I. Istoriia Midii. Baku, 1960.
Grantovskii, E. A. Ranniaia istoriia iranskikh piemen Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1970.
Cameron, G. G. History of Early Iran. Chicago, 1936.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The middle, muscular layer in the wall of a vein, artery, or lymph vessel.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the middle layer of the wall of a blood or lymph vessel
2. one of the main veins in the wing of an insect


an ancient country of SW Asia, south of the Caspian Sea: inhabited by the Medes; overthrew the Assyrian Empire in 612 bc in alliance with Babylonia; conquered by Cyrus the Great in 550 bc; corresponds to present-day NW Iran
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(1) See social media.

(2) Materials that hold data in any form or that allow data to pass through them. Media includes paper, transparencies, multipart forms, hard drives, solid state drives (SSDs), optical discs, magnetic tape, wire, cable and fiber. Media is the plural of "medium."

(3) Prerecorded information. Media may refer to material on CDs, DVDs and videotapes. See multimedia.

(4) The trade press. Media may refer to magazines, newspapers and websites that disseminate the news. See electronic media.
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