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Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ;
New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or re ...
: ''Dāryuš''; grc, Δαρεῖος ; ; c. 550 – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was the third
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known as name of Iran, Persia in Western world, the West), especially the Achae ...
of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
, reigning from 522 BCE until his death in 486 BCE. He ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of
West Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hem ...
, parts of the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
, parts of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
(
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
-
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
, and Paeonia), most of the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
coastal regions, Central Asia, as far as the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...
in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
(Mudrâya), eastern
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...
, and coastal
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...
. Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing the legitimate Achaemenid monarch
Bardiya Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cam ...

Bardiya
, whom he later fabricated to be an imposter named
Gaumata Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Camb ...
. The new king met with rebellions throughout his kingdom and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius's life was his expedition to punish
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
and
Eretria Eretria (; el, Ερέτρια, ''Eretria'', literally "city of the rowers" grc, Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th cent ...
for their aid in the
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
and subjugate
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
. Although ultimately ending in failure at the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Pla ...

Battle of Marathon
, Darius succeeded in the re-subjugation of
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
, expansion of the empire through the conquest of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
, the
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of technologies, based on phys ...

Cyclades
and the island of
Naxos Naxos (; el, Νάξος, ) is a list of islands of Greece, Greek island and the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. The island is famous as a source of Emery (rock), emery, a rock rich in corundum, which un ...

Naxos
and the sacking of the city of Eretria. Darius organized the empire by dividing it into provinces and placing
satraps Satraps () were the governors of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of ...
to govern it. He organized
Achaemenid coinage The Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west ...
as a new uniform monetary system, along with making
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
the official language of the empire. He also put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weights and measures. Through these changes, the empire was centralized and unified. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
,
Pasargadae Pasargadae (from grc, Πασαργάδαι, from Old Persian ''Pāθra-gadā'', "protective club" or "strong club"; Modern Persian: ''Pāsārgād'') was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, tr ...
,
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
,
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
. He had the cliff-face
Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian ...

Behistun Inscription
carved to record his conquests, an important testimony of the
Old Persian language Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (previously Wold and be ...
. Darius is mentioned in the
biblical books
biblical books
of
Haggai Haggai (; he, חַגַּי – ''Ḥaggay''; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common su ...
, Zechariah, and
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra–Nehemiah ( he, עזרא נחמיה , ') is a book in the Hebrew Bible found in the Ketuvim section, originally with the Hebrew title of Ezra ( he, עזרא, '). The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the seco ...
.


Etymology

and are the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
forms of the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(), itself from
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
(, ), which is a shortened form of ''Dārayavaʰuš'' (, ). The longer form is also seen to have been reflected in the
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record after Alexander the Great ...
, Babylonian ,
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
(), and possibly the longer Greek form (). The name is a nominative form meaning "he who holds firm the good(ness)", which can be seen by the first part , meaning "holder", and the adverb , meaning "goodness".


Primary sources

At some time between his
coronation A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the stand ...

coronation
and his death, Darius left a tri-lingual monumental
relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the ...
on
Mount Behistun Mount Bisotoun (or Behistun and Bisotun) is a mountain of the Zagros Mountains range, located in Kermanshah Province of western Iran. It is located west of Tehran. Cultural history It is well known for the famous Behistun Inscription and rock r ...

Mount Behistun
, which was written in
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record after Alexander the Great ...
,
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
and
Babylonian
Babylonian
. The inscription begins with a brief autobiography including his
ancestry An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessaril ...
and lineage. To aid the presentation of his ancestry, Darius wrote down the sequence of events that occurred after the death of
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
. Darius mentions several times that he is the rightful king by the grace of the supreme deity
Ahura Mazda Ahura Mazda (; ae, , translit=Ahura Mazdā also known as Oromasdes, Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz) is the creator deity A creator deity or creator god (often called the Creator) is a deity A deity or god is a su ...

Ahura Mazda
. In addition, further texts and monuments from
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
have been found, as well as a clay tablet containing an
Old Persian cuneiform Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age ...

Old Persian cuneiform
of Darius from
Gherla Gherla (; hu, Szamosújvár; german: Neuschloss) is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subna ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(Harmatta) and a letter from Darius to Gadates, preserved in a
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
text of the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...
. In the foundation tablets of
Apadana Palace Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iran ...

Apadana Palace
, Darius described in
Old Persian cuneiform Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age ...

Old Persian cuneiform
the extent of his Empire in broad geographical terms:
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, a Greek historian and author of '' The Histories'', provided an account of many
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
kings and the
Greco-Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empi ...
. He wrote extensively on Darius, spanning half of Book 3 along with Books 4, 5 and 6. It begins with the removal of the alleged
usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of ...
Gaumata Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Camb ...
and continues to the end of Darius's reign.


Early life

Darius was the eldest of five sons to Hystaspes. The identity of his mother is uncertain. According to the modern historian
Alireza Shapour Shahbazi) , image = Shahbazi 3.jpg , image_size = 220px , alt = , caption = , birth_date = , birth_place = Shiraz, Iran , death_date = , death_place = Washington D.C., United St ...
(1994), Darius' mother was a certain Rhodogune. However, according to Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (2013), recently uncovered texts in Persepolis indicate that his mother was Irdabama, an affluent landowner descended from a family of local Elamite rulers. Richard Stoneman likewise refers Irdabama to as the mother of Darius. The
Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian ...

Behistun Inscription
of Darius states that his father was
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
in 522 BCE. According to Herodotus (III.139), Darius, prior to seizing power and "of no consequence at the time", had served as a spearman (''doryphoros'') in the Egyptian campaign (528–525 BCE) of
Cambyses II Cambyses II ( peo, 𐎣𐎲𐎢𐎪𐎡𐎹 ''Kabūjiya'') was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, wa ...

Cambyses II
, then the Persian Great King; this is often interpreted to mean he was the king's personal spear-carrier, an important role. Hystaspes was an officer in
Cyrus Cyrus (Persian language, Persian: کوروش) is a male given name. It is the given name of a number of Persian Kings, Persian kings. Most notably it refers to Cyrus the Great (circa 600-530 BC). Cyrus is also the name of Cyrus I, Cyrus I of Ansh ...

Cyrus
' army and a noble of his court. Before Cyrus and his army crossed the
Aras River The Aras or Araxes or Araks is a river that starts in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. ...

Aras River
to battle with the Armenians, he installed his son
Cambyses II Cambyses II ( peo, 𐎣𐎲𐎢𐎪𐎡𐎹 ''Kabūjiya'') was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, wa ...

Cambyses II
as king in case he should not return from battle. However, once Cyrus had crossed the Aras River, he had a vision in which Darius had wings atop his shoulders and stood upon the confines of Europe and Asia (the known world). When Cyrus awoke from the dream, he inferred it as a great danger to the future security of the empire, as it meant that Darius would one day rule the whole world. However, his son Cambyses was the heir to the throne, not Darius, causing Cyrus to wonder if Darius was forming treasonable and ambitious designs. This led Cyrus to order Hystaspes to go back to
Persis Persis ( grc-gre, , ''Persís''), better known in English as Persia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Irania ...
and watch over his son strictly, until Cyrus himself returned. Darius did not seem to have any treasonous thoughts as Cambyses II ascended the throne peacefully; and, through promotion, Darius was eventually elevated to be Cambyses's personal
lancer A lancer was a type of cavalryman who fought with a lance. Lances were used for mounted warfare in Assyria as early as and subsequently by Persia, India, Egypt, China, Hippeus, Greece, and Roman horsemen, Rome. The weapon was widely used throug ...

lancer
.


Accession

There are different accounts of the rise of Darius to the throne from both Darius himself and Greek historians. The oldest records report a convoluted sequence of events in which Cambyses II lost his mind, murdered his brother
Bardiya Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cam ...

Bardiya
, and was killed by an infected leg wound. After this, Darius and a group of six nobles traveled to Sikayauvati to kill an usurper,
Gaumata Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Camb ...
, who had taken the throne by pretending to be Bardiya during the true king's absence. Darius's account, written at the Behistun Inscription, states that Cambyses II killed his own brother Bardiya, but that this murder was not known among the
Iranian people The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse Indo-European languages, Indo-European ethnolinguistic group who are identified by their use of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities. The Proto-Iranian language, Proto-Ira ...
. A would-be
usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of ...
named Gaumata came and lied to the people, stating he was Bardiya. The Iranians had grown rebellious against Cambyses's rule and on 11 March 522 BCE a revolt against Cambyses broke out in his absence. On 1 July, the Iranian people chose to be under the leadership of Gaumata, as "Bardiya". No member of the Achaemenid family would rise against Gaumata for the safety of their own life. Darius, who had served Cambyses as his lance-bearer until the deposed ruler's death, prayed for aid and in September 522 BCE, along with
OtanesOtanes (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages, it w ...
,
Intaphrenes Intaphrenes ( peo, 𐎻𐎡𐎭𐎳𐎼𐎴𐎠, translit=Vindafarnâ, grc, Ἰνταφρένης, Ἰνταφέρνης, translit=Intaphrénēs, Intaphérnēs) was one of the seven who in September 522 BCE helped Darius I Darius I ( peo, ...
,
Gobryas Gobryas ( grc, Γοβρύας; peo, 𐎥𐎢𐎲𐎽𐎢𐎺 g-u-b-ru-u-v, reads as ''Gaub(a)ruva''?; Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southweste ...

Gobryas
, Hydarnes,
Megabyzus Megabyzus ( grc, Μεγάβυζος, a folk-etymological alteration of Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian ...
and
Aspathines
Aspathines
, killed Gaumata in the fortress of Sikayauvati. Herodotus provides a dubious account of Darius's ascension: Several days after Gaumata had been assassinated, Darius and the other six nobles discussed the fate of the empire. At first, the seven discussed the form of government; a
democratic republic A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state ...
(''
Isonomia ''Isonomia'' (ἰσονομία "equality of political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' political freedom, freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. ...
'') was strongly pushed by
OtanesOtanes (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages, it w ...
, an
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in ...
was pushed by Megabyzus, while Darius pushed for a monarchy. After stating that a republic would lead to corruption and internal fighting, while a monarchy would be led with a single-mindedness not possible in other governments, Darius was able to convince the other nobles. To decide who would become the monarch, six of them decided on a test, with Otanes abstaining, as he had no interest in being king. They were to gather outside the palace, mounted on their horses at sunrise, and the man whose horse neighed first in recognition of the rising sun would become king. According to Herodotus, Darius had a slave, Oebares, who rubbed his hand over the genitals of a mare that Darius's horse favored. When the six gathered, Oebares placed his hands beside the nostrils of Darius' horse, who became excited at the scent and neighed. This was followed by lightning and thunder, leading the others to dismount and kneel before Darius in recognition of his apparent
divine providence In theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
. In this account, Darius himself claimed that he achieved the throne not through fraud, but cunning, even erecting a statue of himself mounted on his neighing horse with the inscription: "Darius, son of Hystaspes, obtained the sovereignty of Persia by the sagacity of his horse and the ingenious contrivance of Oebares, his groom." According to the accounts of Greek historians, Cambyses II had left Patizeithes in charge of the kingdom when he headed for Egypt. He later sent Prexaspes to murder Bardiya. After the killing, Patizeithes put his brother Gaumata, a
Magian Magi (; singular magus ; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
who resembled Bardiya, on the throne and declared him the Great King. Otanes discovered that Gaumata was an impostor, and along with six other Iranian nobles including Darius, created a plan to oust the pseudo-Bardiya. After killing the impostor along with his brother Patizeithes and other Magians, Darius was crowned king the following morning. The details regarding Darius' rise to power is generally acknowledged as forgery and was in reality used as a concealment of his overthrow and murder of Cyrus' rightful successor, Bardiya. To legitimize his rule, Darius had a common origin fabricated between himself and Cyrus by designating
Achaemenes Achaemenes ( peo, 𐏃𐎧𐎠𐎶𐎴𐎡𐏁, translit=Haxāmaniš) was the apical ancestor Common descent is a concept in evolutionary biology applicable when one species is the ancestor of two or more species later in time. All living be ...
as the eponymous founder of their dynasty. In reality, Darius was not from the same house as Cyrus and his forebears, the rulers of
Anshan Anshan () is an inland prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic ...
.


Early reign


Early revolts

Following his coronation at
Pasargadae Pasargadae (from grc, Πασαργάδαι, from Old Persian ''Pāθra-gadā'', "protective club" or "strong club"; Modern Persian: ''Pāsārgād'') was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, tr ...
, Darius moved to
Ecbatana Ecbatana (; peo, 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 ''Hagmatāna'' or ''Haŋmatāna'', literally "the place of gathering"; Elamite language, Elamite: 𒀝𒈠𒁕𒈾 ''Ag-ma-da-na''; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭧𐭬𐭲𐭠𐭭; Parthian language, Parthian: ...

Ecbatana
. He soon learned that support for
Bardiya Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cam ...

Bardiya
was strong, and revolts in
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Br ...

Elam
and
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
had broken out. Darius ended the Elamite revolt when the revolutionary leader Aschina was captured and executed in
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
. After three months the revolt in Babylonia had ended. While in Babylonia, Darius learned a revolution had broken out in
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
, a
satrapy Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
which had always been in favour of Darius, and had initially volunteered an army of soldiers to quell revolts. Following this, revolts broke out in
Persis Persis ( grc-gre, , ''Persís''), better known in English as Persia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Irania ...
, the homeland of the Persians and Darius and then in Elam and Babylonia, followed by in
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
,
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and offici ...

Parthia
,
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
, and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. By 522 BCE, there were revolts against Darius in most parts of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
leaving the empire in turmoil. Even though Darius did not seem to have the support of the
populace In biology, a population is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represen ...
, Darius had a loyal army, led by close confidants and nobles (including the six nobles who had helped him remove Gaumata). With their support, Darius was able to suppress and quell all revolts within a year. In Darius's words, he had killed a total of nine "lying kings" through the quelling of revolutions. Darius left a detailed account of these revolutions in the
Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian ...

Behistun Inscription
.


Elimination of Intaphernes

One of the significant events of Darius's early reign was the slaying of Intaphernes, one of the seven noblemen who had deposed the previous ruler and installed Darius as the new monarch. The seven had made an agreement that they could all visit the new king whenever they pleased, except when he was with a woman. One evening, Intaphernes went to the palace to meet Darius, but was stopped by two officers who stated that Darius was with a woman. Becoming enraged and insulted, Intaphernes drew his sword and cut off the ears and noses of the two officers. While leaving the palace, he took the
bridle A bridle is a piece of equipment used to direct a horse. As defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary'', the "bridle" includes both the that holds a Bit (horse), bit that goes in the mouth of a horse, and the reins that are attached to the bit. ...

bridle
from his horse, and tied the two officers together. The officers went to the king and showed him what Intaphernes had done to them. Darius began to fear for his own safety; he thought that all seven noblemen had banded together to rebel against him and that the attack against his officers was the first sign of revolt. He sent a messenger to each of the noblemen, asking them if they approved of Intaphernes's actions. They denied and disavowed any connection with Intaphernes's actions, stating that they stood by their decision to appoint Darius as King of Kings. Darius' choice to ask the noblemen indicates that he was not yet completely sure of his authority. Taking precautions against further resistance, Darius sent soldiers to seize Intaphernes, along with his son, family members, relatives and any friends who were capable of arming themselves. Darius believed that Intaphernes was planning a rebellion, but when he was brought to the court, there was no proof of any such plan. Nonetheless, Darius killed Intaphernes's entire family, excluding his wife's brother and son. She was asked to choose between her brother and son. She chose her brother to live. Her reasoning for doing so was that she could have another husband and another son, but she would always have but one brother. Darius was impressed by her response and spared both her brother's and her son's life.


Military campaigns


Egyptian campaign

After securing his authority over the
entire empire
entire empire
, Darius embarked on a campaign to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
where he defeated the armies of the Pharaoh and secured the lands that Cambyses had conquered while incorporating a large portion of Egypt into the Achaemenid Empire. Through another series of campaigns, Darius I would eventually reign over the territorial apex of the empire, when it stretched from parts of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
(
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
-
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
ia,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
- Paeonia) in the west, to the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus Valley
in the east.


Invasion of the Indus Valley

In 516 BCE, Darius embarked on a campaign to Central Asia,
Aria In music, an aria (; it, air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at ...

Aria
and
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
and then marched into
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
to
Taxila Taxila (from Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan inva ...
in modern-day
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. Darius spent the winter of 516–515 BCE in
Gandhara Gandhāra was an ancient region in the Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between ...

Gandhara
, preparing to conquer the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus Valley
. Darius conquered the lands surrounding the Indus River in 515 BCE. Darius I controlled the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus Valley
from
Gandhara Gandhāra was an ancient region in the Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between ...

Gandhara
to modern
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to re ...

Karachi
and appointed the Greek
Scylax of Caryanda Scylax of Caryanda ( el, Σκύλαξ ο Καρυανδεύς) was a Greek people, Greek exploration, explorer and writer of the late 6th and early 5th centuries BCE. His own writings are lost, though occasionally cited or quoted by later Greek an ...
to explore the Indian Ocean from the mouth of the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus
to
Suez Suez ( ar, السويس '; ) is a Port#Seaport, seaport city (population of about 750,000 ) in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez (a branch of the Red Sea), near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having ...

Suez
. Darius then marched through the
Bolan Pass The Bolān Pass ( ur, ) is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar range of Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan province in western Pakistan, from the Afghanistan border. The pass is an stretch of the Bolan river valley from Dhadar, Rindli in the ...
and returned through
Arachosia Arachosia is the Hellenized Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the historical spread of ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical ...
and
Drangiana Drangiana or Zarangiana ( el, Δραγγιανή, ''Drangianē''; also attested in Old Western Iranian as 𐏀𐎼𐎣, ''Zraka'' or ''Zranka'', was a historical region and administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Em ...
back to
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
.


Babylonian revolt

After
Bardiya Bardiya ( peo, 𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ''Bạrdiya''), also known as Smerdis among the Greeks ( grc, wikt:Σμέρδις#Ancient Greek, Σμέρδις ''Smerdis'') (possibly died 522 BC), was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cam ...

Bardiya
was murdered, widespread revolts occurred throughout
the empire
the empire
, especially on the eastern side. Darius asserted his position as king by force, taking his armies throughout the empire, suppressing each revolt individually. The most notable of all these revolts was the Babylonian revolt which was led by
Nebuchadnezzar III Nebuchadnezzar III (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-kudurri-uṣur'', meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir", Old Persian: ''Nabukudracara''), alternatively spelled Nebuchadrezzar III and also known by his original name Nidintu-Bêl (Old Persian: ''Nadi ...
. This revolt occurred when Otanes withdrew much of the army from
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
to aid Darius in suppressing other revolts. Darius felt that the Babylonian people had taken advantage of him and deceived him, which resulted in Darius gathering a large army and marching to
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
. At Babylon, Darius was met with closed gates and a series of defences to keep him and his armies out. Darius encountered mockery and taunting from the rebels, including the famous saying "Oh yes, you will capture our city, when mules shall have foals." For a year and a half, Darius and his armies were unable to retake the city, though he attempted many tricks and strategies—even copying that which
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
had employed when he captured Babylon. However, the situation changed in Darius's favour when, according to the story, a mule owned by
Zopyrus Zopyrus (; el, wikt:Ζώπυρος, Ζώπυρος) (fl. 522 BC-500 BC) was a Persian peoples, Persian nobleman mentioned in Herodotus' ''Histories (Herodotus), Histories''. He was son of Megabyzus I, who helped Darius I in his ascension. Acco ...

Zopyrus
, a high-ranking soldier, foaled. Following this, a plan was hatched for
Zopyrus Zopyrus (; el, wikt:Ζώπυρος, Ζώπυρος) (fl. 522 BC-500 BC) was a Persian peoples, Persian nobleman mentioned in Herodotus' ''Histories (Herodotus), Histories''. He was son of Megabyzus I, who helped Darius I in his ascension. Acco ...

Zopyrus
to pretend to be a deserter, enter the Babylonian camp, and gain the trust of the Babylonians. The plan was successful and Darius's army eventually surrounded the city and overcame the rebels. During this revolt,
Scythian The Scythians (from grc, wiktionary:Σκύθης, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, wiktionary:sk#Etymology 2, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉, translit=sk, italic=no, ; grc, wikt:Σάκαι, Σάκαι ; la, Sacae), a ...
nomads took advantage of the disorder and chaos and invaded Persia. Darius first finished defeating the rebels in Elam, Assyria, and Babylon and then attacked the Scythian invaders. He pursued the invaders, who led him to a marsh; there he found no known enemies but an enigmatic Scythian tribe.


European Scythian campaign

The
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
were a group of north Iranian nomadic tribes, speaking an
Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Ira ...
(
Scythian languages The Scythian languages ( or ) are a group of Eastern Iranian languages of the classical antiquity, classical and late antiquity, late antique period (the Middle Iranian languages, Middle Iranian period), spoken in a vast region of Eurasia named ...
) who had invaded
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
, killed
Cyrus Cyrus (Persian language, Persian: کوروش) is a male given name. It is the given name of a number of Persian Kings, Persian kings. Most notably it refers to Cyrus the Great (circa 600-530 BC). Cyrus is also the name of Cyrus I, Cyrus I of Ansh ...

Cyrus
in battle, revolted against Darius and threatened to disrupt trade between Central Asia and the shores of the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
as they lived between the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
River, River
Don Don, don or DON and variants may refer to: Places *Don, BeninDon is a town in Benin, Africa. It has a population of 696,969. Nearest large airports are Cadjehoun Airport, Cotonou Cadjehoun in Cotonou and Lomé-Tokoin Airport, Lomé-Tokoin in Lom ...
and the Black Sea. Darius crossed the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
at the
Bosphorus The Bosporus () or Bosphorus (;The spelling ''Bosporus'' is listed first or exclusively in all major British and American dictionaries (e.gOxford Online Dictionaries
Straits using a bridge of boats. Darius conquered large portions of Eastern Europe, even crossing the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
to wage war on the
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
. Darius invaded European
Scythia Scythia (, ; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
in 513 BC, where the Scythians evaded Darius's army, using feints and retreating eastwards while laying waste to the countryside, by blocking wells, intercepting convoys, destroying pastures and continuous skirmishes against Darius's army. Seeking to fight with the Scythians, Darius's army chased the Scythian army deep into Scythian lands, where there were no cities to conquer and no supplies to forage. In frustration Darius sent a letter to the Scythian ruler Idanthyrsus to fight or surrender. The ruler replied that he would not stand and fight with Darius until they found the graves of their fathers and tried to destroy them. Until then, they would continue their strategy as they had no cities or cultivated lands to lose. Despite the evading tactics of the Scythians, Darius' campaign was so far relatively successful. As presented by
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, the tactics used by the Scythians resulted in the loss of their best lands and of damage to their loyal allies. This gave Darius the initiative. As he moved eastwards in the cultivated lands of the Scythians in Eastern Europe proper, he remained resupplied by his fleet and lived to an extent off the land. While moving eastwards in the European Scythian lands, he captured the large fortified city of the
Budini The Budini (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refe ...
, one of the allies of the Scythians, and burnt it. Darius eventually ordered a halt at the banks of Oarus, where he built "eight great forts, some distant from each other", no doubt as a frontier defence. In his ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'',
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
states that the ruins of the forts were still standing in his day. After chasing the Scythians for a month, Darius's army was suffering losses due to fatigue, privation and sickness. Concerned about losing more of his troops, Darius halted the march at the banks of the
Volga River The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the longest river in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention ra ...
and headed towards
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
. He had conquered enough Scythian territory to force the Scythians to respect the Persian forces.


Persian invasion of Greece

Darius's European expedition was a major event in his reign, which began with the invasion of
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
. Darius also conquered many cities of the northern Aegean, Paeonia, while
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
submitted voluntarily, after the demand of
earth and water In the writings of the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following per ...

earth and water
, becoming a
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
kingdom.Joseph Roisman, Ian Worthington
"A companion to Ancient Macedonia"
John Wiley & Sons, 2011. pp 135–138, p 343
He then left
Megabyzus Megabyzus ( grc, Μεγάβυζος, a folk-etymological alteration of Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian ...
to conquer Thrace, returning to
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
to spend the winter. The Greeks living in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
and some of the Greek islands had submitted to Persian rule already by 510 BCE. Nonetheless, there were certain Greeks who were pro-Persian, although these were largely based in
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
. To improve Greek-Persian relations, Darius opened his court and treasuries to those Greeks who wanted to serve him. These Greeks served as soldiers, artisans, statesmen and mariners for Darius. However, the increasing concerns amongst the Greeks over the strength of Darius's kingdom along with the constant interference by the Greeks in
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
and
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...

Lydia
were stepping stones towards the conflict that was yet to come between Persia and certain of the leading Greek city states. When
Aristagoras Aristagoras ( grc-gre, Ἀρισταγόρας ὁ Μιλήσιος), d. 497/496 BC, was the leader of the Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔː.ní.aː/, ''Iōnía'' or Ἰωνίη, ''I ...
organized the
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
,
Eretria Eretria (; el, Ερέτρια, ''Eretria'', literally "city of the rowers" grc, Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th cent ...
and Athens supported him by sending ships and troops to Ionia and by burning
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
. Persian military and naval operations to quell the revolt ended in the Persian reoccupation of Ionian and Greek islands, as well as the re-subjugation of Thrace and the conquering of Macedonia in 492 BC under Mardonius. Macedon had been a vassal kingdom of the Persians since the late 6th century BC, but retained autonomy. Mardonius' 492 campaign made it a fully subordinate part of the Persian kingdom. These military actions, coming as a direct response to the revolt in Ionia, were the beginning of the First Persian invasion of (mainland) Greece. At the same time, anti-Persian parties gained more power in Athens, and pro-Persian aristocrats were exiled from Athens and Sparta. Darius responded by sending troops led by his son-in-law across the
Hellespont The Dardanelles (; tr, Çanakkale Boğazı, lit=Strait of Çanakkale, el, Δαρδανέλλια, translit=Dardanéllia), also known as Strait of Gallipoli from the Gallipoli peninsula or from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; gr ...
. However, a violent storm and harassment by the
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
forced the troops to return to Persia. Seeking revenge on Athens and Eretria, Darius assembled another army of 20,000 men under his Admiral,
Datis Datis or Datus ( el, Δάτης, Old Iranian The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages The Indo-Iranian languages (also Indo-Iranic languages or Aryan languages) constitute the largest and south ...
, and his nephew
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
, who met success when they captured Eretria and advanced to Marathon. In 490 BCE, at the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Pla ...

Battle of Marathon
, the Persian army was defeated by a heavily armed Athenian army, with 9,000 men who were supported by 600
Plataea Plataea or Plataia (; grc, wikt:Πλάταια, Πλάταια), also Plataeae or Plataiai (; grc, wikt:Πλαταιαί, Πλαταιαί), was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes (Boeotia), Thebes.Mi ...

Plataea
ns and 10,000 lightly armed soldiers led by
Miltiades Miltiades (; grc-gre, Μιλτιάδης; c. 550 – 489 BC), also known as Miltiades the Younger, was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Repub ...
. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece. Darius began preparations for a second force which he would command, instead of his generals; however, before the preparations were complete, Darius died, thus leaving the task to his son
Xerxes
Xerxes
.


Family

Darius was the son of Hystaspes and the grandson of
Arsames Arsames ( peo, 𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠𐎶 Aršāma, modern Persian Persian (), also known by its exonym and endonym, endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian languages, Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian languages, Iranian branc ...
. Darius married Atossa, daughter of
Cyrus Cyrus (Persian language, Persian: کوروش) is a male given name. It is the given name of a number of Persian Kings, Persian kings. Most notably it refers to Cyrus the Great (circa 600-530 BC). Cyrus is also the name of Cyrus I, Cyrus I of Ansh ...

Cyrus
, with whom he had four sons:
Xerxes
Xerxes
, Achaemenes (satrap), Achaemenes, Masistes and Hystaspes. He also married Artystone, another daughter of Cyrus, with whom he had two sons, Arsames and Gobryas. Darius married Parmys, the daughter of Bardiya, with whom he had a son, Ariomardus. Furthermore, Darius married Phratagune, with whom he had two sons, Abrokomas and Hyperantes. He also married another woman of the nobility, Phaidyme, the daughter of
OtanesOtanes (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages, it w ...
. It is unknown if he had any children with her. Before these royal marriages, Darius had married an unknown daughter of his good friend and lance carrier
Gobryas Gobryas ( grc, Γοβρύας; peo, 𐎥𐎢𐎲𐎽𐎢𐎺 g-u-b-ru-u-v, reads as ''Gaub(a)ruva''?; Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southweste ...

Gobryas
from an early marriage, with whom he had three sons, Artobazanes, Ariabignes and Arsamenes. Any daughters he had with her are not known. Although Artobazanes was Darius's first-born, Xerxes became heir and the next king through the influence of Atossa; she had great authority in the kingdom as Darius loved her the most of all his wives.


Death

After becoming aware of the Persian defeat at the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Pla ...

Battle of Marathon
, Darius began planning another expedition against the Greek-city states; this time, he, not Datis, would command the imperial armies. Darius had spent three years preparing men and ships for war when a revolt broke out in Egypt. This revolt in Egypt worsened his failing health and prevented the possibility of his leading another army. Soon afterwards, Darius died. In October 486 BCE, his body was Embalming, embalmed and entombed in the rock-cut tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam, which he had been preparing. An inscription on his tomb introduces him as "Great King, King of Kings, King of countries containing all kinds of men, King in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan [Iranian], having Aryan lineage." A relief under his tomb portraying an equestrian combat was later carved during the reign of the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings, Bahram II (). Xerxes, the eldest son of Darius and Atossa, succeeded to the throne as Xerxes I; before his accession, he had contested the succession with his elder half-brother Artobarzanes, Darius's eldest son, who was born to his first wife before Darius rose to power. With Xerxes' accession, the empire was again ruled by a member of the house of Cyrus.


Government


Organization

Early in his reign, Darius wanted to reorganize the structure of the empire and reform the system of taxation he inherited from Cyrus and Cambyses. To do this, Darius created twenty provinces called satrapies (or ''archi'') which were each assigned to a
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
(''archon'') and specified fixed tributes that the satrapies were required to pay. List of revenues of Darius I of Persia, A complete list is preserved in the catalogue of Herodotus, beginning with Ionia and listing the other satrapies from west to east excluding
Persis Persis ( grc-gre, , ''Persís''), better known in English as Persia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Irania ...
which was the land of the Persians and the only province which was not a conquered land. Tributes were paid in both silver and gold talents. Tributes in silver from each satrap were measured with the Babylonian Talent (measurement), talent. Those paid in gold were measured with the Euboea, Euboic talent. The total tribute from the satraps came to an amount less than 15,000 silver talents. The majority of the satraps were of Persian people, Persian origin and were members of the royal house or the six great noble families. These satraps were personally picked by Darius to monitor these provinces. Each of these provinces were divided into sub-provinces with their own governors which were chosen either by the royal court or by the satrap. To assess tributes, a commission evaluated the expenses and revenues of each satrap. To ensure that one person did not gain too much power, each satrap had a secretary who observed the affairs of the state and communicated with Darius, a treasurer who safeguarded provincial revenues and a garrison commander who was responsible for the troops. Additionally, royal inspectors who were the "eyes and ears" of Darius completed further checks on each satrap. The imperial administration was coordinated by the chancery with headquarters at Persepolis, Susa, and Babylon with Bactria, Ecbatana, Sardis, Dascylium and Memphis having branches. Darius kept Aramaic as the common language, which soon spread throughout the empire. However, Darius gathered a group of scholars to create a separate language system only used for Persis and the Persians, which was called Aryan script and was only used for official inscriptions. Before this, the accomplishments of the king were addressed in Persian solely through narration and hymns and through the "masters of memory". Indeed, oral history continued to play an important role throughout the history of Iran.


Economy

Darius introduced a new universal currency, the Persian daric, daric, sometime before 500 BCE. Darius used the coinage system as a transnational currency to regulate trade and commerce throughout his empire. The Daric was also recognized beyond the borders of the empire, in places such as Celtic Central Europe and Eastern Europe. There were two types of darics, a gold daric and a silver daric. Only the king could mint gold darics. Important generals and satraps minted silver darics, the latter usually to recruit Greek mercenaries in Anatolia. The daric was a major boost to international trade. Trade goods such as textiles, carpets, tools and metalworking, metal objects began to travel throughout Asia, Europe and Africa. To further improve trade, Darius built the Royal Road, a postal system and Phoenician-based commercial shipping. The daric also improved government revenues as the introduction of the daric made it easier to collect new taxes on land, livestock and marketplaces. This led to the registration of land which was measured and then taxed. The increased government revenues helped maintain and improve existing infrastructure and helped fund irrigation projects in dry lands. This new tax system also led to the formation of state banking and the creation of banking firms. One of the most famous banking firms was Murashu and Sons, Murashu Sons, based in the Babylonian city of Nippur. These banking firms provided loans and credit to clients. In an effort to further improve trade, Darius built canals, underground Traditional water sources of Persian antiquity, waterways and a powerful navy. He further improved and expanded the network of roads and Angarium, way stations throughout the empire, so that there was a system of travel authorization for the King, satraps and other high officials, which entitled the traveller to draw provisions at daily stopping places.


Religion

While there is no general consensus in scholarship whether Darius and his predecessors had been influenced by Zoroastrianism, it is well established that Darius was a firm believer in
Ahura Mazda Ahura Mazda (; ae, , translit=Ahura Mazdā also known as Oromasdes, Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz) is the creator deity A creator deity or creator god (often called the Creator) is a deity A deity or god is a su ...

Ahura Mazda
, whom he saw as the supreme deity. However, Ahura Mazda was also worshipped by adherents of the Indo-Iranians, (Indo-)Iranian religious tradition. As can be seen at the
Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian ...

Behistun Inscription
, Darius believed that Ahura Mazda had appointed him to rule the Achaemenid Empire. Darius had dualistic philosophical convictions and believed that each rebellion in his kingdom was the work of druj, the enemy of Asha. Darius believed that because he lived righteously by Asha, Ahura Mazda supported him. In many cuneiform inscriptions denoting his achievements, he presents himself as a devout believer, perhaps even convinced that he had a divine right to rule over the world. In the lands that were conquered by his empire, Darius followed the same Achaemenid tolerance that Cyrus had shown and later Achaemenid kings would show. He supported faiths and religions that were "alien" as long as the adherents were "submissive and peaceable", sometimes giving them grants from his treasury for their purposes. He had funded the restoration of the Second Temple, Israelite temple which had originally been decreed by Cyrus, was supportive towards Greek cults which can be seen in his letter to Gadatas, and supported Elamite priests. He had also observed Egyptian religious rites related to kingship and had built the temple for the Egyptian god, Amun.


Building projects

During First Persian invasion of Greece, Darius's Greek expedition, he had begun construction projects in
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
and
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
. He had linked the Red Sea to the river Nile by building a canal (Darius Canal) which ran from modern Zagazig, Zaqāzīq to modern
Suez Suez ( ar, السويس '; ) is a Port#Seaport, seaport city (population of about 750,000 ) in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez (a branch of the Red Sea), near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having ...

Suez
. To open this canal, he travelled to Egypt in 497 BCE, where the inauguration was carried out with great fanfare and celebration. Darius also built a canal to connect the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean. On this visit to Egypt he erected Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions, monuments and executed Aryandes on the charge of treason. When Darius returned to Persis, he found that the codification of Egyptian law had been finished. Additionally, Darius sponsored large construction projects in Susa,
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, Egypt, and Persepolis. In Susa, Darius built Palace of Darius in Susa, a new palace complex in the north of the city. An inscription states that the palace was destroyed during the reign of Artaxerxes I, but was rebuilt. Today only glazed bricks of the palace remain, the majority of them in the Musée du Louvre, Louvre. In
Pasargadae Pasargadae (from grc, Πασαργάδαι, from Old Persian ''Pāθra-gadā'', "protective club" or "strong club"; Modern Persian: ''Pāsārgād'') was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, tr ...
Darius finished all incomplete construction projects from the reign of
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
. A palace was also built during the reign of Darius, with an inscription in the name of Cyrus the Great. It was previously believed that Cyrus had constructed this building, however due to the cuneiform script being used, the palace is believed to have been constructed by Darius. In Egypt Darius built many temples and restored those that had previously been destroyed. Even though Darius was a believer of Ahura Mazda, he built temples dedicated to the Gods of the Ancient Egyptian religion. Several temples found were dedicated to Ptah and Nekhbet. Darius also created several roads and routes in Egypt. The monuments that Darius built were often inscribed in the official languages of the Persian Empire,
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
, Elamite and
Babylonian
Babylonian
and Egyptian hieroglyphs. To construct these monuments Darius employed a large number of workers and artisans of diverse nationalities. Several of these workers were deportees who had been employed specifically for these projects. These deportees enhanced the empire's economy and improved inter-cultural relations. At the time of Darius's death construction projects were still under way. Xerxes completed these works and in some cases expanded his father's projects by erecting new buildings of his own. File:National Meusem Darafsh 6 (42).JPG, upEgyptian statue of Darius I, Egyptian statue of Darius I, as Pharaoh of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt; 522–486 BC; greywacke; height: 2.46 m; National Museum of Iran (Teheran) File:Flickr - isawnyu - Hibis, Temple Decorations (III).jpg, Darius as Pharaoh of Egypt at the Temple of Hibis File:HibisGate3Dareios1AmunRaKamutef.jpg, Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis


See also

* Darius the Mede * List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * *


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Darius 01 of Persia Darius the Great, 550s BC births 486 BC deaths Year of birth uncertain 6th-century BC Kings of the Achaemenid Empire 5th-century BC Kings of the Achaemenid Empire 6th-century BC Pharaohs 5th-century BC Pharaohs 6th-century BC Babylonian kings 5th-century BC Babylonian kings Dhul-Qarnayn Ezra–Nehemiah City founders Pharaohs of the Achaemenid dynasty of Egypt Persian people of the Greco-Persian Wars