Darius the Great

Darius I (Old Persian: 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, romanized: Dārayava(h)uš; New Persian: داریوش Dāryuš; Hebrew: דָּרְיָוֶשׁ, Modern: Darəyaveš, Tiberian: Dāreyāweš; c. 550 – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was the third Persian King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, reigning from 522 BCE until his death in 486 BCE. He ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, parts of the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans (Thrace-Macedonia, and Paeonia), most of the Black Sea coastal regions, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya, and coastal Sudan.[2][3]

Darius the Great
𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁
King of Kings
Great King
King of Persia
King of Babylon
Pharaoh of Egypt
King of Countries
The relief stone of Darius the Great in the Behistun Inscription
King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire
Reign29 September 522 BCE – October 486 BCE
CoronationPasargadae
PredecessorBardiya
SuccessorXerxes I
Pharaoh of Egypt
ReignSeptember 522 BCE – October 486 BCE
PredecessorBardiya
SuccessorXerxes I
[1]
Born550 BCE
DiedOctober 486 BCE
(aged approximately 64)
Burial
Spouse
Issue
Names
Dārayava(h)uš
DynastyAchaemenid
FatherHystaspes
MotherRhodogune or Irdabama
ReligionIndo-Iranian religion
(possibly Zoroastrianism)

Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing the legitimate Achaemenid monarch Bardiya, whom he later fabricated to be an imposter named Gaumata. 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. Through these changes, the empire was centralized and unified.[4] 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.