ARYAN TRIBES IN IRAN (3000-1000 B.C.)
The beginning of the Iron Age in Iran is marked by major dislocations of cultural and historical patterns, caused by the Aryans’ arrival. Most probably, the Aryans came to Iran via routes around the Caspian Sea and through the Caucasian Mountains. The Aryans started to migrate about 3000 B.C. and, in three major and successive movements, finally settled on the Iranian plateau around 1000 B.C. Cold, population pressures, overgrazing in their home areas, and hostile neighbors may have prompted these migrations. The natives of the Iranian plateau enthusiastically greeted the newcomers, who brought with them the technologies that could help them to survive. Among the Aryan tribes in Iran, three major groups are identifiable — the Scythians, the Medes, and the Persians. The Scythians established themselves in the northern Zagros Mountains and clung to a seminomadic existence in which raiding was the chief form of economic enterprise. The Medes settled over a huge area, reaching as far as modern Tabriz in the north and Esfahan in the south. The Persians settled in three areas: to the south of Lake Orumiyeh, on the northern border of the Elamite kingdom, and in the environs of modern Shiraz, where they established their main settlements, to which they gave the name Parsa (or Persia, in Greek). Gradually Iranian tribes, especially under the pressure of constant Assyrian attacks, started to reorganize themselves into kingdoms and then empires. The first-known Iranian empire was that of the Medes.