Darius the Great: Ancient Ruler of the Persian Empire by Jacob AbbottThe chronicles of Darius the Great are some of the greatest annals in Persian history. In about 600 B.C., the founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great was on a campaign to expand his dominion and obtain some additional glory by defeating certain uncivilized tribes to the north, beyond the Araxes. One night, after he had crossed a mighty river, on the way to his triumphs, he had a remarkable dream. His dream was that Darius, the son of one of his advisers, and a non-heir to the throne, appeared to him with vast wings growing from his shoulders, overshadowing the whole known world. To Cyrus, it seemed that Darius would eventually hold sway over his empire, and immediately sent for Hystaspes, the father of Darius, to keep a close eye on him until such a time as Cyrus could return. Cyrus, in fact, was killed in a battle, never to return. The heir-ship was passed to one of Cyrus two rightful sons, Cambyses.
Under his new reign, Cambyses undertook to expand his empire and conquer new lands. He set his sights on Egypt, whose king he felt, had betrayed his father in a convoluted scheme. While there he achieved great victories against the people of Egypt, however, on his way back, he heard of a conspiracy that his brother Smerdis had been killed and an impostor had usurped the throne back in Susa, the capital city. A local magician also named Smerdis who bore a remarkable likeness to the heir, had taken his place. In his haste to return to the capital, and with great irony, Cambyses suffered a nasty wound while mounting his horse as his blade fell from its sheath. Unfortunately, the wound turned out to be fatal, and the impersonator was then firmly in power.
Amongst the conspirators that helped put the false Smerdis in power, was
the distant cousin of Cambyses, and thus of Cyrus, the same Darius who
appeared in the prophetic vision which Cyrus had dreamt of some time
before. In the end, a contest was decided to determine the next king of
the Persian Empire. As the story goes, Darius played a deception at the
competition, and thus succeeded to the throne, and the rest, as they
say, is history. The narrative of his achievements were first found,
engraved in multiple scripts, high on a rock wall in on Behistun
mountain, on the main highway between present-day Iraq and Iran. First
discovered in 1621 by an Italian traveler, it wasnt until the early
18th century that Sir Henry Rawlinson was able to use the trilingual
translation to finally unlock the secrets of cuneiform writing, and thus
the fertile history of the Middle East. 286 pages o illustrated
DARIUS THE GREAT - PERSIA RISES PART 3 - ACHAEMENID EMPIRE
Rulers of the Persian Empire: Expansionism of Cyrus and Darius
Darius the Mede is mentioned in the Book of Daniel as king of Babylon between Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great , but he is not known to history, and no additional king can be placed between the known figures of Belshazzar and Cyrus. Darius the Mede is first mentioned in the story of Belshazzar's feast Daniel 5. Daniel interprets the words: Belshazzar has been weighed and found wanting, and his kingdom is to be divided between the Medes and Persians. The story concludes: "That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean Babylonian king was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom. In the story of Daniel in the lions' den Daniel 6 , Daniel has continued to serve at the royal court under Darius, and has been raised to high office.
From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. The coup therefore took place between these two events. The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted c. He led an expedition into Central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered.
Cyrus and Perspolis The Achaemenid Persian empire was the largest that the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia. Much of our evidence for Persian history is dependent on contemporary Greek sources and later classical writers, whose main focus is the relations between Persia and the Greek states, as well as tales of Persian court intrigues, moral decadence, and unrestrained luxury. Metropolitan Museum of Art, October , metmuseum.
It also included modern-day Iraq ancient Mesopotamia , Afghanistan, as well as probably modern-day Yemen and Asia Minor. The impact of the expansionism of the Persians was felt in when Reza Shah Pahlavi changed the name of the country known as Persia to Iran. The original Persians were Aryan speakers, a linguistic group that encompassed a large number of sedentary and nomadic people of Central Asia. The beginning of the Persian empire has been set at different times by different scholars, but the real force behind the expansion was Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great ca. The Persian Empire was the largest in history for the next two centuries until it was conquered by Macedonian adventurer, Alexander the Great , who established an even greater empire, in which Persia was only a part.
Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing Gaumata , a claimed usurper. 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 and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Although ultimately ending in failure at the Battle of Marathon , Darius succeeded in the re-subjugation of Thrace , expansion of the empire through the conquest of Macedon , the Cyclades and the island of Naxos and the sacking of the city of Eretria. Darius organized the empire by dividing it into provinces and placing satraps to govern it. He organized Achaemenid coinage as a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. He also put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weights and measures.