Rock art at Gobustan, close to Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea coast, dates from as early as 20,000 BC. Part of southern Azerbaijan came under the influence of the Assyrian Empire around 800 BC and was later subsumed into the ancient kingdoms of Manue, Urartu and Medea. During the 6th century BC the Persian Akhemenid dynasty held sway in what was known as Caucasian Albania, fortified by the Zoroastrian religion. Persian influence continued in the form of the Parthian Empire from around 200 BC, followed by periods of Roman rule. The Arshakid dynasty, installed by the Romans to control much of the Caucasus, survived until the Persian Sassanid Empire asserted dominance in the 4th century AD.
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