Prepare Ye the Way
600 - 500 BC, the Middle East
Babylonia was greater than it had ever been. Egypt was driven back to its old frontiers. Judah was crushed in 586 BC and its rebellious population transplanted to Babylon itself, where the Jews became useful, if self-segregaed, subjects under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar.
A still greater power lay to the east. Around mid-century, King Cyrus of Persia seized the throne of the Medes. The Persian Empire began an inexorable rise to supremacy in the middle-east. Lydia and the Greek coast of Anatolia fell; Chaldean Babylon had simply melted away by 539. Egypt was taken by Cambyses of Persia in 525. By the century's end, except for the city-states of Greece and the far-off kingdoms of Etruria and Carthage, Persia ruled the whole civilized western world.