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(Greek form of the Old Persian Khshayarsha). Died 465 B.C. Ancient Persian king from 486 to 465 B.C., of the Achaemenid dynasty. Son of Darius I.
Xerxes suppressed a rebellion in Egypt (486–84). After a revolt broke out among the Babylonians in 482, he destroyed Babylon and made the Babylonian kingdom a Persian satrapy. In 480 he launched a campaign against Greece, which ended in the defeat of the Persian fleet at Salamis (480) and Mycale (479) and of the Persian Army at Plataea (479). Attempting to arrest the decline of Achaemenid power after these failures in the Greco-Persian Wars, Xerxes introduced a religious reform. The reform amounted to a ban on the worship of local clan deities and a strengthening of the cult of the general Iranian god Ahura Mazda. Xerxes was killed as a result of a palace conspiracy.