Darius I

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Darius I

(Darius the Great) (dərī`əs), d. 486 B.C., king of ancient Persia (521–486 B.C.), called also Dariavaush and Darius Hystaspis (after his father, Hystaspes or Vishtaspa). A distant cousin of Cambyses II (see under CambysesCambyses
, two kings of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia. Cambyses I was king (c.600 B.C.) of Ansham, ruling as a vassal of Media. According to Herodotus he married the daughter of the Median king Astyages; some scholars dispute this. Cambyses' son was Cyrus the Great.
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), he succeeded to the throne after the fall of the impostor claiming to be SmerdisSmerdis
, d. c.528 B.C., second son of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. He is also called Bardiya. He was assassinated by his brother Cambyses II, who kept the murder a secret.
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. The first years of his reign were spent in putting down revolts in Persia, Media, Babylonia, and the East. He then proved himself the true successor of Cyrus the GreatCyrus the Great
, d. 529 B.C., king of Persia, founder of the greatness of the Achaemenids and of the Persian Empire. According to Herodotus, he was the son of an Iranian noble, the elder Cambyses, and a Median princess, daughter of Astyages.
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 and one of the most able of the AchaemenidsAchaemenids
, dynasty of ancient Persia. They were descended presumably from one Achaemenes, a minor ruler in a mountainous district of SW Iran. His successors, when Elam declined, spread their power westward.
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 by revising and increasing Cyrus' use of the satrapies. These provinces were ruled by satraps, who functioned as viceroys and were responsible only to the Great King; the satraps were, however, checked by generals, ministers of home affairs, and secret police, all of whom were responsible to Darius alone. This system proved so efficient that it was later adopted by Alexander the Great and, still later, by the Parthians. Darius also undertook lengthy campaigns; an incursion against the Scythians began in 512 B.C., and it involved taking Thrace and Macedonia and building a bridge across the Danube. He was involved in a dispute with the Greeks after giving refuge to the tyrant HippiasHippias
, tyrant (527 B.C.–510 B.C.) of Athens, eldest son of Pisistratus. Hippias governed Athens after the death of his father. His younger brother Hipparchus was closely associated in office with him until Hipparchus was assassinated in 514 B.C.
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, but more serious quarrels began with the revolt (c.500 B.C.) of the Ionian cities against Persian rule. Having put down the rebels, Darius set out to punish the Greek city-states that had aided in the insurrection (see Persian WarsPersian Wars,
500 B.C.–449 B.C., series of conflicts fought between Greek states and the Persian Empire. The writings of Herodotus, who was born c.484 B.C., are the great source of knowledge of the history of the wars.
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). His first expedition was turned back by storms; his second met defeat in the memorable battle of Marathon (490 B.C.). Darius consolidated Persian power in the East, including NW India. He continued Cyrus' policy of restoring the Jewish state, and under his auspices the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem was completed in 515 B.C. For this reason he is mentioned warmly in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. He left the Behistun InscriptionBehistun Inscription
or Bisutun Inscription
, cuneiform text, the decipherment of which was the key to all cuneiform script and opened to scholars the study of the written works of ancient Mesopotamia.
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. Written in Old Persian, Assyrian, and Susian (the Iranian language of Elam), it provided the key for deciphering Babylonian cuneiform. Upon his death he was succeeded by his son Xerxes IXerxes I
(Xerxes the Great) , d. 465 B.C., king of ancient Persia (486–465 B.C.). His name in Old Persian is Khshayarsha, in the Bible Ahasuerus. He was the son of Darius I and Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great. After bringing (484 BC.
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Darius I

known as Darius the Great, surname Hystaspis. ?550--486 bc, king of Persia (521--486), who extended the Persian empire and crushed the revolt of the Ionian city states (500). He led two expeditions against Greece but was defeated at Marathon (490)