Darius (Da-rayawuš) I "the Great" HAKAMANISHIYA Emperor of Persia (521-486BC)
- Born: 550 B.C.
- Died: 486 B.C.
Darius belonged to a cadet branch of the Achaemenid dynasty. A relative of Cambyses, Darius belonged to one of the high-ranking Persian families that made up the nobility of the Persian Empire. When, after the suicide of Cambyses II (March 522 BC), the usurper Gaumata ruled undisturbed over the whole empire under the name of Bardiya (Smerdis), son of Cyrus, no one dared to gainsay him. None, that is, except Darius. Darius, "with the help of Ahuramazda", attempted to regain the kingdom for the royal family. His father Hystaspes was still alive, but evidently had not the courage to urge his claims. Actually, according to his inscription found at Susa, both Darius's father Hystaspes and his grandfather Arsames, were alive when he became king. Assisted by six noble Persians, whose names he proclaims at the end of the Behistun inscription, he surprised and killed the usurper in a Median fortress (October 521), and gained the crown. He also married Atossa, the widow of the false Smerdis and daughter of King Cyrus the Great. In time, Xerxes, Darius's son by Atossa, would succeed his father on the throne.
This sudden change in the central authority was perceived by the rulers of the eastern provinces as an opportunity to regain their independence. In Susiana, Babylon, Media, Sagartia, and Margiana, usurpers arose, pretending to be of the old royal race, and gathered large armies around them; in Persia itself Vahyazdata imitated the example of Gaumata and was acknowledged by the majority of the people as the true Bardiya. Darius, with only a small army of Persians and Medes and some trustworthy generals, overcame all these difficulties. By 520 BC/519 BC all the rebellions were put down. Even Babylon—which had rebelled twice—and Susiana, which had risen three times, both submitted, and the authority of Darius was established throughout the empire.
Darius in his inscriptions appears as a fervent believer in the monotheistic religion of Zoroaster. He was also a great statesman and organizer. Darius thoroughly revised the Persian system of administration and also the legal code. His revisions of the legal code revolved around laws of evidence, slave sales, deposits, bribery, and assault. The time of conquests had come to an end; the wars which Darius undertook, like those of Augustus, only served the purpose of gaining strong natural frontiers for the empire and keeping down the barbarous tribes on its borders. Thus Darius subjugated the wild nations of the Pontic and Armenian mountains, and extended the Persian dominion to the Caucasus; for the same reasons he fought against the Saka and other Iranian steppe tribes, as well as the mysterious Turanians from beyond the Oxus. In the process of these campaigns he made military reforms such as introducing conscription, pay for soldiers, military training and he also made changes in the army and navy. But by the organization which he gave to the empire he became the true successor of the great Cyrus. His organization of the provinces and the fixing of the tributes is described by Herodotus (iii. 90 if.), evidently from good official sources. He divided the Persian Empire into twenty provinces, each under the supervision of a governor or satrap. The satrap position was usually hereditary and largely autonomous, allowing each province its own distinct laws, traditions, and elite class. Every region, however, was responsible for paying a gold or silver tribute to the emperor; many areas, such as Babylonia, underwent severe economic decline resulting from these quotas. Each satrapy also had an independent financial controller, an independent military coordinator as well as the satrap, who controlled administration and the law. All three probably reported directly to the king. This more evenly distributed power within the satrapy and lowered the chance of revolt. Darius also increased the bureaucracy of the empire, with many scribes employed to provide records of the administration.
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Darius married Artystone HAKAMANISHIYA Princess of Persia, daughter of Cyrus (Koroush) II "the Great" HAKAMANISHIYA and Princess Neithiyti of Egypt.
Darius also married Unnamed Persian Princess, daughter of Gobryas II, Prince of Persia and Rhadasname HAKAMANISHIYA Princess of Persia. (Unnamed Persian Princess was born in 540 B.C..)
Darius also married Parmys HAKAMANISHIYA Princess of Persia.
Darius also married Atossa HAKAMANISHIYA Princess of Persia, daughter of Cyrus (Koroush) II "the Great" HAKAMANISHIYA and Princess Neithiyti of Egypt.