Xerxes I


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Xerxes I

(Xerxes the Great) (zûrk`sēz), d. 465 B.C., king of ancient Persia (486–465 B.C.). His name in Old Persian is Khshayarsha, in the Bible AhasuerusAhasuerus
, Hebrew form of the name Xerxes, as used in the Bible. The Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther is probably Xerxes I. That in the Book of Tobit may be Cyaxares I, destroyer of Nineveh. The name of the father of Darius the Mede is also given as Ahasuerus.
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. He was the son of Darius I and Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great. After bringing (484 BC.) Egypt once more under Persian rule, Xerxes prepared for an invasion of Greece (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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) by constructing a bridge of boats across the Hellespont and cutting a canal through the isthmus of Athos. Setting out from Sardis, he marched through Thrace and Macedonia and, despite the bravery of LeonidasLeonidas
, d. 480 B.C., king of Sparta. He succeeded (c.491 B.C.) his half-brother, Cleomenes I. When the Persians invaded Greece under Xerxes (480 B.C.), Leonidas with 300 Spartans and 5,000 auxiliaries was given the pass at Thermopylae to hold. There was treachery.
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 and his 300 Spartans, overthrew (480) the Lacedaemonians at ThermopylaeThermopylae
[Gr.,=hot gates, from hot mineral springs nearby], pass, E central Greece, SE of Lamía, between the cliffs of Mt. Oeta and the Malic Gulf. Silt accumulation has gradually widened the once-narrow pass.
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. He then occupied and pillaged Athens. In the same year his fleet was destroyed at Salamis. Leaving an army under his general, Mardonius, he retired into Asia. He was slain by the captain of his bodyguard and was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes IArtaxerxes I
, d. 425 B.C., king of ancient Persia (464–425 B.C.), of the dynasty of the Achaemenis. Artaxerxes is the Greek form of "Ardashir the Persian." He succeeded his father, Xerxes I, in whose assassination he had no part.
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.

Bibliography

See P. Green, Xerxes at Salamis (1970).

Xerxes I

?519--465 bc, king of Persia (485--465), who led a vast army against Greece. His forces were victorious at Thermopylae but his fleet was defeated at Salamis (480) and his army at Plataea (479)