The Eastern Mediterranean Region, Middle East into Asia- An enormous empire established in large part due to the expansive conquests of Cyrus the Great. The Persians had conquered nearly every Middle-Eastern civilization and created a huge empire by 500 BCE. The Persians were an Indo-European speaking people related to the Medes, they lived on the Western Iranian plateau South of the Caspian Sea. The Persians Empire lasted for nearly three centuries, 550 - 331 BCE. Cyrus the Great was the most notable leader of the Persians, but other leaders, such as Cyrus' son Cambyses, are responsible for further expansion of the Empire. The Persians were said to have allowed greater freedom in subject kingdoms, and established a system of hierarchical rule allowing individual subject kingdoms to retain a degree of autonomy. The individual freedoms allowed under the rule of the Persians is widely attributed as one of the many reasons for the success of this empire.