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The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- (Middle Persian) and ary- (Parthian), both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya- (meaning "Aryan", i.e.
"of the Iranians"), As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted, even long after the Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC).
Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as the fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire.
The empire fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states.
Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch.
Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia.
Iran's major contributions to art, philosophy, and science spread throughout the Muslim world and beyond during the Islamic Golden Age.
Over the next two centuries, a series of native Muslim dynasties emerged before the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols conquered the region.