Darius I

Darius I
King of Persia 521-486 BC.
    The conflict over the succession and *Cambyses' death brought Darius I to the Achaemenid throne; during his long reign, he devoted much time and energy to the organisation of his great empire.
    He appears to have taken a considerable interest in Egypt's ancient civilisation and, unlike other *Persian rulers, he actively tried to promote Egypt's own interests. One of his first acts was to send a satrap (governor) to Egypt to bring together the wisest amongst the soldiers, priests and scribes so that they could write down and preserve the country's laws down to Year 44 of the reign of *Amasis. This information is inscribed on the back of a much later papyrus known as the 'Demotic Chronicle', and there are comments on the role of Darius as a great law-giver in another source—the writings of the Classical author *Diodorus Siculus (i:95).
    Darius I also made additions to the Egyptian gods' temples and encouraged their worship; he tried to act as a proper king and personally supervised the government of the country rather than delegating these duties entirely to satraps. By this period, soldiers and officials from many parts of the Persian empire would have visited Egypt and, in turn, Egyptian doctors and officials were received at the Persian Court; the royal Achaemenid palaces were decorated by artists and craftsmen from Egypt and other areas of the empire.
    Darius I undertook a major practical scheme in Egypt when, in 518 BC, a canal was completed to link the Nile and the Red Sea—this project had been started under *Necho II who had been forced to abandon it. Darius' achievement is recorded in both hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts on a series of stelae which were set up along the banks of the canal, and it is also mentioned by *Herodotus. On completion of the canal, a fleet stocked with tribute sailed down its length and around Arabia to Persia, thus demonstrating how the communications between the Persian homeland and Egypt had been improved.
    Events outside Egypt—the revolt of the Ionian cities in 499 BC and the defeat of Darius' nephew at Marathon in 490 BC—set the scene for the Egyptian uprisings of 486 BC. Also in that year, Darius I was succeeded by his son, *Xerxes, who in his second year subdued the Egyptian revolt.
BIBL. Posener G. La premiere domination Perse en Egypte. Cairo: 1936; Herodotus, The Histories, Bk ii, 158; Bk iv, 39.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(reigned 522–486 BC)
   King of Persia and ruler of Egypt. Throne name in Egypt Setutre. Son of Hystaspes and Rhodogune. He supposedly came from a junior line of the royal family. He accompanied Cambyseson his conquest of Egypt. Darius I seized the throne in September 522 after the ephemeral reign of Bardiya, alleged brother of Cambyses, whom Darius denounced as an imposter. His forces spent the early years of his rule resisting revolts in the empire, including Egypt, which he may have visited c. 518 BC and perhaps on a second occasion. He ordered the codification of Egyptian law and the completion of a canal between the Nileand Red Sea begun by Nekau II. Darius I is best known for his military campaign in Greece, which resulted in the defeat of the Persians at the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. There appears to have been further unrest in Egypt at the end of his reign. He died in October 486 and was succeeded by his son, Xerxes I, born to his chief wife Atossa, daughter of Cyrus and sister of Cambyses.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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