The ancient Persian Empire originated in the region currently known as Iran. At its peak, the Persian Empire encompassed most of the Middle East, Asia Minor and parts of Central Asia and India.
Early Persians inhabited the ancient region of Persis, and it was in that region that Cyrus the Great founded the first Persian dynasty. This Achaemenid Dynasty ruled in the Middle East until Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia in 331 B.C. at the battle of Gaugamela.
The Persian Empire rose to power again in the century following the death of Alexander the Great. The Empire maintained power in the Middle East until the Arab conquests of the 7th century A.D.