Darius the Great is a classic biography of the great Persian leader, Darius the Great, by Jacob Abbott. About five or six hundred years before Christ, almost the whole of the interior of Asia was united in one vast empire. The founder of this empire was Cyrus the Great. He was originally a Persian; and the whole empire is often called the Persian monarchy, taking its name from its founder's native land. Darius ( c. 550-486 BCE) was the fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Also called Darius the Great, he ...
Darius the Great is a classic biography of the great Persian leader, Darius the Great, by Jacob Abbott. About five or six hundred years before Christ, almost the whole of the interior of Asia was united in one vast empire. The founder of this empire was Cyrus the Great. He was originally a Persian; and the whole empire is often called the Persian monarchy, taking its name from its founder's native land. Darius ( c. 550-486 BCE) was the fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Also called Darius the Great, he ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans (Thrace-Macedonia and Paeonia), most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east, and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudr???ya), eastern Libya and coastal Sudan. Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing Gaumata, the alleged magus usurper of Bardiya with the assistance of six other Persian noble families; Darius was crowned the following morning. 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 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. Through these changes the empire was centralized and unified. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon and Egypt. He had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved to record his conquests, an important testimony of the Old Persian language. Darius is mentioned in the biblical books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra-Nehemiah. Darius was the eldest of five sons to Hystaspes and Rhodugune in 550 BCE. Hystaspes was a leading figure of authority in Persia, which was the homeland of the Persians. Darius's inscription states that his father was satrap of Bactria in 522 BCE. According to Herodotus, Hystaspes was the satrap of Persis, although most historians state that this is an error. Also according to Herodotus, Darius, prior to seizing power and "of no consequence at the time," had served as a spearman (doryphoros) in the Egyptian campaign (528-525 BCE) of Cambyses II, then the Persian Great King. Hystaspes was an officer in Cyrus's army and a noble of his court. Before Cyrus and his army crossed the Aras River to battle with the Armenians, he installed his son Cambyses II as king in case he should not return from battle. However, once Cyrus had crossed the Aras River, he had a vision in which Darius had wings atop his shoulders and stood upon the confines of Europe and Asia (the known world). When Cyrus awoke from the dream, he inferred it as a great danger to the future security of the empire, as it meant that Darius would one day rule the whole world. However, his son Cambyses was the heir to the throne, not Darius, causing Cyrus to wonder if Darius was forming treasonable and ambitious designs. This led Cyrus to order Hystaspes to go back to Persis and watch over his son strictly, until Cyrus himself returned.Darius did not seem to have any treasonous thoughts as Cambyses II ascended the throne peacefully; and, through promotion, Darius was eventually elevated to be Cambyses's personal lancer.
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