The Info List - Darius III

Darius III
Darius III
(c. 380 – July 330 BC), originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks,[1] was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
of Persia
from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name.[1] His empire was unstable, with large portions governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying their capital, Persepolis, by fire in 330 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed by his cousin Satrap


1 Early reign 2 Conflict with the Greeks

2.1 Philip's campaign 2.2 Alexander's campaign

3 Flight, imprisonment and death 4 References 5 Bibliography 6 External links

Early reign[edit]

nomen or birth name

Darius[2] in hieroglyphs

Artashata was the son of Arsames, son of Ostanes; and Sisygambis, daughter of Artaxerxes II Mnemon. He had distinguished himself in a combat of champions in a war against the Cadusii[3] and was serving at the time as a royal courier.[4] However, prior to being appointed as a royal courier, he had served as a satrap of Armenia.[5][6] He may have been promoted from his satrapy to the postal service after the ascension of Arses, for he is referred to as one of the king's "friends" at court after that occasion.[6] In 336 BC, he took the throne at the age of 43 after the death of Artaxerxes III
Artaxerxes III
and Arses. According to Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily, Artashata was installed by the vizier Bagoas, after the latter had poisoned the king Artaxerxes III
Artaxerxes III
and subsequently his sons, including Arses, who had succeeded him on the throne. However, a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests that Artaxerxes died from natural causes.[7] Artashata took the regnal name Darius III,[1] and quickly demonstrated his independence from his possible assassin benefactor. Bagoas then tried to poison Darius as well, when he learned that even Darius couldn't be controlled, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself.[8] The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects, such as Khabash
in Egypt. Compared to his ancestors and his fellow heirs who had since perished, Darius had a distinct lack of experience ruling an empire, and a lack of any previous ambition to do so. Darius was a ruler of entirely average stamp, without the striking talents and qualities which the administration of a vast empire required during that period of crisis.[9] Conflict with the Greeks[edit] Philip's campaign[edit] In 336 BC Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
was authorized by the League of Corinth as its Hegemon
to initiate a sacred war of vengeance against the Persians for desecrating and burning the Athenian temples during the Second Persian War, over a century before. He sent an advance force into Asia Minor under the command of his generals Parmenion and Attalus to "liberate" the Greeks living under Persian control. After they took the Greek cities of Asia from Troy
to the Maiandros river, Philip was assassinated and his campaign was suspended while his heir consolidated his control of Macedonia and the rest of Greece. Alexander's campaign[edit]

Darius III
Darius III
portrayed (in the middle) in battle against Alexander in a Greek depiction; Possible illustration of either Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
or Battle of Gaugamela

Darius’s flight at the Battle of Gaugamela
Battle of Gaugamela
(18th-century ivory relief)

In the spring of 334 BC, Philip's heir, Alexander, who had himself been confirmed as Hegemon
by the League of Corinth, invaded Asia Minor at the head of an army of Macedonian and other Greek soldiers. This invasion, which marked the beginning of the Wars of Alexander the Great, was followed almost immediately by the victory of Alexander over the Persians at Battle of the Granicus. Darius never showed up for the battle, because there was no reason for him to suppose that Alexander intended to conquer the whole of Asia, and Darius may well have supposed that the satraps of the ‘lower’ satrapies could deal with the crisis,[10] so he instead decided to remain at home in Persepolis
and let his satraps handle it. In the previous invasion of Asia Minor by the Spartan king Agesilaus II, the Persians had pinned him in Asia Minor while fomenting rebellion in Greece. Darius attempted to employ the same strategy, with the Spartans rebelling against the Macedonians, but the Spartans were defeated at Megalopolis. Darius did not actually take the field against Alexander’s army until a year and a half after Granicus, at the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
in 333 BC. His forces outnumbered Alexander's soldiers by at least a 2 to 1 ratio, but Darius was still outflanked, defeated, and forced to flee. It is told by Arrian
that at the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
the moment the Persian left went to pieces under Alexander’s attack and Darius, in his war-chariot, saw that it was cut off, he incontinently fled – indeed, he led the race for safety.[11] On the way, he left behind his chariot, his bow, and his royal mantle, all of which were later picked up by Alexander. Greek sources such as Diodorus Siculus' Library of History and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum recount that Darius fled out of fear at the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
and again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela
Battle of Gaugamela
despite commanding a larger force in a defensive position each time.[12] At the Battle of Issus, Darius III
Darius III
even caught Alexander by surprise and failed to defeat Alexander's forces.[13] Darius fled so far so fast that Alexander was able to capture Darius’s headquarters and take Darius’s family as prisoners in the process. Darius petitioned to Alexander through letters several times to get his family back, but Alexander refused to do so unless Darius would acknowledge him as the new emperor of Persia. Circumstances were more in Darius’s favor at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. He had a good number of troops who had been organized on the battlefield properly, he had the support of the armies of several of his satraps, and the ground on the battlefield was almost perfectly even, so as not to impede movement of his scythed chariots. Despite all these beneficial factors, he still fled the battle before any victor had been decided and deserted his experienced commanders as well as one of the largest armies ever assembled.[14] Another source accounts that when Darius perceived the fierce attack of Alexander, as at Issus he turned his chariot around, and was the first to flee,[15] once again abandoning all of his soldiers and his property to be taken by Alexander. Many Persian soldiers lost their lives that day, so many in fact that after the battle the casualties of the enemy ensured that Darius would never again raise an imperial army.[16] Darius then fled to Ecbatana
and attempted to raise a third army, while Alexander took possession of Babylon, Susa, and the Persian capital at Persepolis. Darius reportedly offered all of his empire west of the Euphrates River to Alexander in exchange for peace several times, each time denied by Alexander against the advice of his senior commanders.[17] Alexander could have declared victory after the capture of Persepolis, but he instead decided to pursue Darius. The Battle of Gaugamela, in which Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
defeated Darius III of Persia
in 331 BC, took place approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Erbil, Iraq. After the battle, Darius managed to flee to the city. However, somewhat inaccurately, the confrontation is sometimes known as the "Battle of Arbela." Flight, imprisonment and death[edit]

Murder of Darius and Alexander at the side of the dying king depicted in a 15th-century manuscript

Darius did attempt to restore his once great army after his defeat at the hands of Alexander, but he failed to raise a force comparable to that which had fought at Gaugamela, partly because the defeat had undermined his authority, and also because Alexander’s liberal policy, for instance in Babylonia and in Persis, offered an acceptable alternative to Persian policies.[16] When at Ecbatana, Darius learned of Alexander's approaching army, he decided to retreat to Bactria
where he could better use his cavalry and mercenary forces on the more even ground of the plains of Asia. He led his army through the Caspian Gates, the main road through the mountains that would work to slow a following army.[18] Persian forces became increasingly demoralized with the constant threat of a surprise attack from Alexander, leading to many desertions and eventually a coup led by Bessus, a satrap, and Nabarzanes, who managed all audiences with the King and was in charge of the palace guard.[19] The two men suggested to Darius that the army regroup under Bessus
and that power would be transferred back to the King once Alexander was defeated. Darius obviously did not accept this plan and his conspirators became more anxious to remove him for his successive failures against Alexander and his forces. Patron, a Greek mercenary, encouraged Darius to accept a bodyguard of Greek mercenaries rather than his usual Persian guard to protect him from Bessus
and Nabarzanes, but the King could not accept for political reasons and grew accustomed to his fate.[20] Bessus
and Nabarzanes eventually bound Darius and threw him in an ox-cart while they ordered the Persian forces to continue on. According to Curtius' History of Alexander, at this point Alexander and a small, mobile force arrived and threw the Persians into a panic, leading Bessus
and two other conspirators, Satibarzanes and Barsaentes, to wound the king with their javelins and leave him to die.[21]

Alexander covers the corpse of Darius with his cloak (18th-century engraving)

A Macedonian soldier found Darius either dead or dying in the wagon shortly thereafter—a disappointment to Alexander, who wanted to capture Darius alive. Alexander saw Darius’s dead body in the wagon, and took the signet ring off the dead king’s finger. Afterwards he sent Darius’s body back to Persepolis, gave him a magnificent funeral and ordered that he be buried, like all his royal predecessors, in the royal tombs.[22] Darius’s tomb has not yet been discovered.[23] Alexander eventually married Darius' daughter Stateira at Susa
in 324 BC. With the old king defeated and given a proper burial, Alexander's rulership of Persia
became official. This led to Darius being regarded by some historians as cowardly and inefficient,[24] as under his rulership, the entirety of the Persian Empire fell to a foreign invader. After killing Darius, Bessus
took the regal name Artaxerxes V and began calling himself the King of Asia.[16] He was subsequently captured by Alexander, tortured, and executed. Another of Darius' generals ingratiated himself to Alexander by giving the conqueror Darius' favored companion, Bagoas.[25] References[edit]

^ a b c Heckel, Waldemar (2002). The Wars of Alexander the Great. p. 24. ISBN 978-1841764733. Retrieved 19 June 2012.  ^ Jürgen von Beckerath, Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen (= Münchner ägyptologische Studien, vol 46), Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1999. ISBN 3-8053-2310-7, pp. 230–31. ^ Justin 10.3; cf. Diod. 17.6.1–2 ^ Plutarch, Life of Alexander 18.7–8, First Oration on the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander, 326.D. ^ Kia, Mehrdad (2016). The Persian Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 160. ISBN 978-1610693912.  ^ a b "Darius v. Darius III". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VI, Fasc. 1. 1994. pp. 51–54.  ^ Lendering, Jona. " Artaxerxes IV Arses". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.  ^ Diodorus 17.5.6. ^ Hermann Bengtson, History of Greece from the Beginnings to the Byzantine Era, p. 205. ^ George Cawkwell, The Greek Wars: The Failure of Persia, p. 209 ^ Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander. ^ John Prevas, Envy of the Gods: Alexander's Ill-fated Journey across Asia (Da Capo Press, 2004), 47. ^ Prevas 47. ^ Prevas 48 ^ Ulrich Wilcken, Alexander the Great. ^ a b c N.G.L. Hammond, The Genius of Alexander the Great. ^ Prevas 52 ^ Prevas 55 ^ Prevas 60 ^ Prevas 64–65 ^ Prevas 69 ^ Prevas 71 ^ Siegfried Lauffer, Alexander der Große. third edition, Dtv, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-423-04298-2, p. 114 ^ W.W. Tarn, Alexander the Great. ^ This was a different Bagoas than the unfaithful minister mentioned above. Crompton, Louis. Homosexuality & Civilization (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 76.


Prevas, John. Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-fated Journey across Asia. Da Capo Press, 2004.

External links[edit]

A detailed biography of Darius A genealogy of Darius Pothos.org: Darius III
Darius III

Darius III Achaemenid dynasty Born: ca. 380 BC Died: 330 BC

Preceded by Artaxerxes IV Arses King of Kings of Persia 336–330 BC Succeeded by Artaxerxes V Bessus

of Egypt 336–330 BC

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 3276940 GND: 119263491

v t e

Median and Achaemenid kings

Family tree

Median (728–550 BC)

Deioces Phraortes Madius Cyaxares Astyages

Achaemenid (550–330 BC)

Achaemenes Ariaramnes Arsames Teispes Cyrus I Cambyses I Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
(Cyrus II) Cambyses II Smerdis Gaumata Darius the Great (Darius I) Xerxes the Great (Xerxes I) Artaxerxes I Xerxes II Sogdianus Darius II
Darius II
Nothus Artaxerxes II Mnemon Artaxerxes III
Artaxerxes III
Ochus Artaxerxes IV Arses Darius III
Darius III
Codomannus Artaxerxes V Bessus

Italics indicate kings not directly attested and so possibly legendary.

v t e


Protodynastic to First Intermediate Period  (<3150–2040 BC)



Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Protodynastic (pre-3150 BC)


Hsekiu Khayu Tiu Thesh Neheb Wazner Mekh Double Falcon


Scorpion I Crocodile Iry-Hor Ka Scorpion II Narmer
/ Menes

Early Dynastic (3150–2686 BC)


/ Menes Hor-Aha Djer Djet Merneith
Den Anedjib Semerkhet Qa'a Sneferka Horus Bird


Hotepsekhemwy Nebra/Raneb Nynetjer Ba Nubnefer Horus Sa Weneg-Nebty Wadjenes Senedj Seth-Peribsen Sekhemib-Perenmaat Neferkara I Neferkasokar Hudjefa I Khasekhemwy

Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)


Nebka Djoser Sekhemkhet Sanakht Khaba Qahedjet Huni


Snefru Khufu Djedefre Khafre Bikheris Menkaure Shepseskaf Thamphthis


Userkaf Sahure Neferirkare
Kakai Neferefre Shepseskare Nyuserre Ini Menkauhor Kaiu Djedkare Isesi Unas


Teti Userkare Pepi I Merenre Nemtyemsaf I Pepi II Merenre Nemtyemsaf II Netjerkare Siptah

1st Intermediate (2181–2040 BC)


Menkare Neferkare II Neferkare III Neby Djedkare Shemai Neferkare IV Khendu Merenhor Neferkamin Nikare Neferkare V Tereru Neferkahor Neferkare VI Pepiseneb Neferkamin
Anu Qakare Iby Neferkaure Neferkauhor Neferirkare Wadjkare Khuiqer Khui


Meryibre Khety Neferkare VII Nebkaure Khety Setut


Meryhathor Neferkare VIII Wahkare Khety Merykare

Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period  (2040–1550 BC)



Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Middle Kingdom (2040–1802 BC)


Mentuhotep I Intef I Intef II Intef III Mentuhotep II Mentuhotep III Mentuhotep IV


Segerseni Qakare Ini Iyibkhentre


Amenemhat I Senusret I Amenemhat II Senusret II Senusret III Amenemhat III Amenemhat IV Sobekneferu

2nd Intermediate (1802–1550 BC)


Sekhemrekhutawy Sobekhotep Sonbef Nerikare Sekhemkare
Amenemhat V Ameny Qemau Hotepibre Iufni Ameny Antef Amenemhet VI Semenkare Nebnuni Sehetepibre Sewadjkare Nedjemibre Khaankhre Sobekhotep Renseneb Hor Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw Djedkheperew Sebkay Sedjefakare Wegaf Khendjer Imyremeshaw Sehetepkare Intef Seth Meribre Sobekhotep III Neferhotep I Sihathor Sobekhotep IV Merhotepre Sobekhotep Khahotepre Sobekhotep Wahibre Ibiau Merneferre Ay Merhotepre Ini Sankhenre Sewadjtu Mersekhemre Ined Sewadjkare Hori Merkawre Sobekhotep Mershepsesre Ini II Sewahenre Senebmiu Merkheperre Merkare Sewadjare Mentuhotep Seheqenre Sankhptahi


Yakbim Sekhaenre Ya'ammu Nubwoserre Qareh Khawoserre 'Ammu Ahotepre Maaibre Sheshi Nehesy Khakherewre Nebefawre Sehebre Merdjefare Sewadjkare III Nebdjefare Webenre Nebsenre Sekheperenre Djedkherewre Bebnum 'Apepi Nuya Wazad Sheneh Shenshek Khamure Yakareb Yaqub-Har


Semqen 'Aper-'Anati Sakir-Har Khyan Apepi Khamudi


Djehuti Sobekhotep VIII Neferhotep III Mentuhotepi Nebiryraw I Nebiriau II Semenre Bebiankh Sekhemre Shedwast Dedumose I Dedumose II Montuemsaf Merankhre Mentuhotep Senusret IV Pepi III


Senebkay Wepwawetemsaf Pantjeny Snaaib


Rahotep Nebmaatre Sobekemsaf I Sobekemsaf II Sekhemre-Wepmaat Intef Nubkheperre Intef Sekhemre-Heruhirmaat Intef Senakhtenre Ahmose Seqenenre Tao Kamose

New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period  (1550–664 BC)



Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

New Kingdom (1550–1070 BC)


Ahmose I Amenhotep I Thutmose I Thutmose II Thutmose III Hatshepsut
Amenhotep II Thutmose IV Amenhotep III Akhenaten Smenkhkare Neferneferuaten
Tutankhamun Ay Horemheb


Ramesses I Seti I Ramesses II Merneptah Amenmesses Seti II Siptah Twosret


Setnakhte Ramesses III Ramesses IV Ramesses V Ramesses VI Ramesses VII Ramesses VIII Ramesses IX Ramesses X Ramesses XI

3rd Intermediate (1069–664 BC)


Smendes Amenemnisu Psusennes I Amenemope Osorkon the Elder Siamun Psusennes II


Shoshenq I Osorkon I Shoshenq II Takelot I Osorkon II Shoshenq III Shoshenq IV Pami Shoshenq V Osorkon IV


Harsiese A Takelot II Pedubast I Shoshenq VI Osorkon III Takelot III Rudamun Menkheperre Ini


Tefnakht Bakenranef


Piye Shebitku Shabaka Taharqa Tanutamun

Late Period and Hellenistic Period  (664–30 BC)



Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Late (664–332 BC)


Necho I Psamtik I Necho II Psamtik II Wahibre Ahmose II Psamtik III


Cambyses II Petubastis III Darius I Xerxes Artaxerxes I Darius II




Nepherites I Hakor Psammuthes Nepherites II


Nectanebo I Teos Nectanebo II


Artaxerxes III Khabash Arses Darius III

Hellenistic (332–30 BC)


Alexander the Great Philip III Arrhidaeus Alexander IV


Ptolemy I Soter Ptolemy II Philadelphus Ptolemy III Euergetes Ptolemy IV Philopator Ptolemy V Epiphanes Ptolemy VI Philometor Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator Ptolemy VIII Euergetes Ptolemy IX Soter Ptolemy X Alexander I Ptolemy XI Alexander II Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos Berenice IV Cleopatra
Ptolemy XV Caesarion

Dynastic genealogies

1st 4th 11th 12th 18th 19th 20th 21st to 23rd 25th 26th 27th 30th 31st Ptolemaic

List of pharaohs

v t e

of Ferdowsi



Keyumars Hushang Tahmuras Jamshid Fereydun Iraj Manuchehr Nowzar Zaav Garshasp


Kay Kawād Kay Kāvus Kay Khosrow Kay Lohrasp Goshtāsb Kay Bahman Homai Kay Darab Dara


Siamak Mardas Zahhak Shahrasp Abtin Kayanoush Kāve Arash Salm Tur Qobád Qaren Tous Gostaham Nariman Sām Zāl Rostam Sohrab Esfandiyār Pashotan Faramarz Fariborz Siyâvash Farud Zangay-i Shavaran Kashvad Goudarz Rohham Hojir Bahram Giv Bizhan Japasp Garshasp Gorgin Mehrab Kaboli Zavara Shaghad Rostam


Faranak Arnavāz Shahrnāz Sindukht Rudaba Sudabeh Tahmina Gordafarid Farangis Manizheh Katāyoun


Zadashm Pashang Aghrirat Garsivaz Afrasiab Shideh Arjasp Viseh Nastihan Piran Viseh Houman Barman Biderafsh

Clans and families

Kashvadian House of Goudarz House of Viseh House of Nowzar House of Sasan House of Sām

Creatures & animals

Akvan Div Khazawran-i Div Arzhang Div Div-e Sepid Koulad-Ghandi Huma bird Simurgh Rakhsh Shabdiz Shabrang


Iran Turan Zabulistan Sistan Kabul Balkh Ctesiphon Estakhr Mazandaran Alborzkouh Mount Damavand Tammisha Kasa-Roud ...


Gonbadan Castle Dez-i Roein White Castle Bahman Castle Dez-i Alanan Kang-dez


Baysonghor Shahnameh Shahnameh
of Shah Tahmasp Florence Shahnameh Shahnameh
of Rashida Windsor Shahnameh Great Mongol Shahnameh
(or Demotte) Shahnameh
of Ghavam al-Din

See also

Abu-Mansur Daqiqi Abu-Mansuri Shahnameh Derafsh Kaviani Babr-e Bayan Zal and Rudabeh Rostam
and Sohrab Rostam's Seven Labours Davazdah Rokh Khosrow and Shirin Bijan and Manijeh Persian mythology