Cambyses was the oldest son of Cyrus the Great, the first king of the Achaemenid empire (559-530). The name of Cambyses' mother is not known. The Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus calls her Cassandane, but Ctesias of Cnidus states she was Amytis, the daughter of the last king of independent Media, Astyages. Cyrus' career was dazzling. In 559, he became king of Persia; in 550, he subdued his overlord, Astyages the Mede. Three years later, he conquered Lydia (western Turkey) and in 539, he added Babylonia to his empire.

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