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8 major accomplishments of Darius the Great

Darius the Great-like image

The first king of Achaemenid Empire was Cyrus the Great.

To learn more about Cyrus the Great,

Please read this article.

The third king of the Cyrus the Great line is Darius I.

His name has a meaning below.

Anonymous image

The person who holds fast to goodness.

Darius the Great is described in detail in several languages in the "Behistun Inscription".

He was also the king who initiated the construction of Persepolis, a famous world heritage site.

Here is a detailed summary of Darius the Great, one of the most famous of these Achaemenid Empire!

Meaning of the Title of Darius the Great

Darius the Great was given various titles that strongly identified him as the king of a world empire.

Cyrus the Great also had similar titles, but there was a crucial difference between the two.

The difference is who the title was intended for.

  • The title of Cyrus the Great: political propaganda for Babylonia by the support of the Mesopotamian gods.
  • The title of Darius the Great: for Persians who believed in a religion unique to Iranian descent.

The implication of this change is that Darius the Great is not the heir to the throne, but most likely the one who usurped it.

What was Darius the Great like?

The childhood of Darius the Great is still not well known.

According to Herodotus, Darius the Great was a spear-bearer to Cambyses II.

This position seems to have been a high occupation reserved for those close to the king.

He also married two Babylonian daughters and had three children.

Darius the Great was active during the struggle for the throne after the death of Cambyses II.

The story of this period is preserved in an anecdote in Herodotus' "Histories" and in the "Behistun inscription" left by Darius the Great himself.

To learn more about this story,

Please read this article.

Suppressing rebellions throughout the kingdom

After defeating the impostor Smerdis (Cambyses II's brother), Darius the Great became king and had to put down a series of rebellions throughout the kingdom.

These circumstances are described in detail in the Behistun inscription.

The month following the death of the false Smerdis, there was a revolt in Elam and a movement for Babylonian independence.

In both cities, these events featured figures claiming to be self-proclaimed kings.

Darius the Great arrested the main perpetrators of the revolt in Elam and then also defeated the Babylonian army.

He also killed the self-proclaimed king of Babylonia.

Thus, Darius the Great crushed the rebellions in both cities.

During his stay in Babylonia, more rebellions broke out in rapid succession.

All of them were started by self-proclaimed kings.

The self-proclaimed king of Elam is killed by the treachery of his men.

So the suppression of this rebellion ended quickly.

The rebellion started by the self-proclaimed King of Media became a large-scale one, involving as far as Armenia and the Assyrian region.

After many offensives and defenses, the self-proclaimed King of Media, who had fled in the final battle in Media, was captured.

Naturally, he was killed, but the way he was killed was truly egregious.

They cut off his nose, ears, and tongue, and finally skewered him.

Perhaps this method of killing served as an example, and the rebellion was finally put down.

The rebellion continued, but Darius the Great put down one rebellion after another.

It is said that these violent revolts occurred within the year of Darius the Great's accession to the throne, although this may or may not be true.

By suppressing these numerous rebellions, he achieved complete domination of the kingdom.

The Eye, the Ear and the Way of the King

Darius the Great married two of Cyrus the Great's daughters to stabilize the throne he had seized.

He also married the daughter of the murdered Smerdis (brother of Cambyses II), who had become the wife of Cambyses II.

By doing so, he sought to monopolize the royal bloodline.

His kingdom was divided into 20 to 29, each of which had an appointed administrator.

To monitor their movements, there were bureaucrats directly under the king, called the "King's Eyes" and the "King's Ears".

In addition, a network of roads called the "King's Roads" was established for the establishment of the state system and the rapid movement of the army.

There were as many as 111 stations along the 2,400-kilometer route.

It is said that the horse-drawn wagons were used as vehicles during this period, and it is said that a road that would normally take 90 days to travel could be traveled in 7 days by a fast horse.

Another factor that supported centralization was the development of a monetary system.

Although the system was imperfect, silver and copper coins were issued by local administrators, and Darius the Great himself issued gold coins.

ALsom he began building Persepolis as a new capital city.

The reason why he chose Persepolis is unknown, but the construction of the city continued in subsequent generations.

Numerous architectural inscriptions and a large statue of Darius the Great can be found here.

Expedition to India and Scythia

Darius the Great had money to spare.

To avenge the Scythians' invasion of Asia Minor, he decided to launch an expedition to Scythia, where the Scythians lived.

However, Darius the Great's brother tried to stop him.

Ancient male image

No, such the expedition is absurd!

King image

No, we can go!

Darius the Great rather pressed ahead with the attack.

As a result, the Thracian tribes that were in the path surrendered without a fight.

People image

We surrender...!

And the Getae, who were the only ones who resisted, were soon conquered.

So it was thought that they could conquer Scythia with a comfortable margin.

However, Darius the Great's side suffered heavy losses in the attack on the Scythians' stronghold.

Finally, they were forced to retreat.

Thrace, which was secured at this time, became the foundation for the later Greek expedition.

Although it is not known when this took place, an expedition to the Indus River also took place.

Prior to this expedition, Darius the Great ordered the identification of the Indus River basin, its mouth, and the route from India to Egypt.

It is not known where in India he actually conquered.

In any case, India became the most taxed region of Achaemenid Empire.

India alone is said to have equaled the total tax collections of the other regions.

The Process Leading Up to the Ionian Revolt

The Ionians, a branch of the Greeks, were originally docile followers of Achaemenid Empire.

Achaemenid Empire also granted autonomy to the Ionian polis (city-state), but dominated tyrants as ruler.

Anonymous image

What is a tyrant?

If you are wondering so, please read this article.

What is the presumptive government? A simple, easy-to-understand history!

During Darius the Great's expedition to Scythia, the Scythians made political maneuvers to the Greek troops in the army of Achaemenid Empire,

Anonymous image

Why don't we betray Persia and leave?

They recommended so.

In response to this suggestion,

People image

Yeah, we guess so. we can't keep following Persia!

Some tyrants agreed it.

On the other hand, the tyrant of the Ionian capital insists below.

Ancient male image

Our position is secure by Darius the Great.

People image

Mm-hmm. Yes, we suppose so. When you think like that, well...

To this the other tyrants agreed, and as a result no revolt occurred at this time.

After the army of Darius the Great withdrew from the Scythian expedition, the remaining Persian army was left to pacify the surrounding areas.

Megabazos was appointed as the commander.

He had almost conquered the Thracian provinces and ruled as far as the front of Macedonia.

King image

He did a great job, didn't he? I am very impressed with his great achievement!

When Megabazos returned, the tyrant of the Ionian capital had been given a new territory by Darius the Great.

Megabazos saw this and

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What the...? That happened while I was gone!

He considered that the tyrant could be dangerous.

He then had the tyrant of the Ionian capital moved to his home country.

Megabazos's successors then proceeded to conquer more and more territory, and the dominion of Achaemenid Empire expanded.

In 499 B.C., the Achaemenid Persian administrators and temporal tyrants of the Ionian capital conspired together.

Three people image

The Persian king is getting too good. Let's do it around here!

The plot was to take advantage of the civil strife in the city of Naxos and conquer it.

However, the two are at odds due to differences in policy.

Furthermore, they ran out of funds and were forced to retreat.

Ancient male image

I wonder if I will be held responsible.... What should I do? Oh my God, I'm so scared...!

Thus, the temporal tyrant of the Ionian capital stepped into rebellion.

He also involved other Ionian cities, so it came to be known as the "Ionian Revolt".

He also requested support from Athens and Sparta.

  • Sparta: cooperation NG
  • Athens and Eretria: military support OK

This was the result.

However, Athens abandoned Ionia after seeing the defeat in the first battle.

As a result, the Ionian rebellion was put down with the fall of the Ionian capital in 494 BC.

Triggers of the Persian War

The Ionian Revolt led to the Persian Wars.

This battle is the most famous of Darius the Great's achievements.

The Persian War was a large scale battle and was fought several times.

Among those wars, the battle of his time was the first.

To learn more about the causes and details that led to the start of such the Persian War.

What was the Persian War?

Please also read this article.

The Death of Darius the Great

Darius the Great made two expeditions during the Persian Wars, but those expeditions failed.

King image

Kiiiii! What a blunder! I'm going to do it now, aren't I?

He organized a large expeditionary force and attempted to go there himself.

However, a revolt broke out in Egypt while he was preparing for the expedition.

King image

What? Which should I prioritize, Greece or Egypt?

Darius the Great wondered so.

However, he died suddenly without waiting for the decision.

So, both the Greek expedition and the suppression of the Egyptian uprising were left in the hands of his successor.

The successor was the son of Cyrus the Great's daughter, who became a prince.

Before Darius the Great ascended the throne, he had actually married another wife and had three sons with her.

After all, he had been obsessed with Persian blood, and it was perhaps a natural consequence that he chose a son with Cyrus the Great's blood.

Darius the Great was undoubtedly a great Persian king.

He continued to make a great impression on the Greeks.

Herodotus recorded Darius the Great from his accession to the throne to his death, with some minor details.

Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king who destroyed Achaemenid Empire, also mentioned like below.

Alexander the Great Image

How wonderful Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great are....

He was impressed by the achievements of the two founders.

When he visited their tombs, he ordered the inscription on the tomb of Darius the Great to be translated into Greek.

There are still numerous other histories of Mesopotamian civilization.

To learn more about the history of the Mesopotamian civilization,

What is the Mesopotamian civilization? I explain in detail what kind of civilization it is!

Please also read this article.