The Behistun Inscriptions and the Truth about Darius' Reign
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The paper relates that the Behistun Inscriptions challenge the traditional views regarding the character of Darius and the dynamics of the Persian court. The paper presents the thesis that the discrepancies between Herodotus' "Histories" and the Behistun Inscriptions reveal, at worst, that Darius was an illegitimate king and liar, and at best, that Darius was insecure about his claim to the throne and that he feared the six noble families at the Persian Court. After analyzing the Behistun Inscriptions closely, the paper finds that they do little to tarnish the legacy of Darius' reign; the paper asserts that Darius derived his reputation not from his legitimacy, but from his indisputably just rule as king of all kings. The paper concludes, therefore, that the Behistun Inscriptions are perhaps more valuable for their similarities with Herodotus' histories than from their differences.
From the Paper:"According to Herodotus, Cambyses acceded to the throne after the death of Cyrus. Cambyses appointed the Magian Patizeithes the steward of his household before leaving on a military expedition to Egypt. From Egypt, Cambyses ordered his subordinate, Prexaspes, to murder his brother Bardiya in secret. Because the murder of Bardiya was a secret, the steward Patizeithes was able to present his own brother as Bardiya and placed him on the throne.
"Eight months into his reign, the impostor Bardiya was discovered by the Persian noble Otanes. Otanes, along with five other Persian nobles (Gobyras, Aspathines, Intaphernes, Megabyzus, and Hydarnes) opposed the impostor Bardiya. Darius joined the group of Persian nobles in Susa and triggered a plot to assassinate the impostor Bardiya. It appears that those who knew of the impostor were too frightened to act on this knowledge.
"Herodotus relates that Darius and the other nobles entered the imposter Bardiya's castle and slew him and his brother themselves. Afterwards, the group proceeded to slaughter any other Magians they could find. It was only the Persians who celebrated the death of the impostor Bardiya, even commemorating the date of his slaughter. Most of the empire's subjects in Asia mourned the loss of the impostor Bardiya, according to Herodotus."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Herodotus, The Histories of Herodotus of Halicanarssus,( tr. George Rawlinson). Ames: Omphaloskepsis (2000)
- Darius the Great, The Sculptures and Inscription of Darius the Great on Behistun on the Rock of Behistun in Persia. London: Oxford University Press (1907)
Cite this Analytical Essay:
The Behistun Inscriptions and the Truth about Darius' Reign (2013, May 09) Retrieved May 26, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-behistun-inscriptions-and-the-truth-about-darius-reign-153247/
"The Behistun Inscriptions and the Truth about Darius' Reign" 09 May 2013. Web. 26 May. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-behistun-inscriptions-and-the-truth-about-darius-reign-153247/>