H6 W19 – Persian Wars

In the past week I learned about the major battles in the Persian Wars, and I had a little bit of a break about in the middle where I learned about Esther (whose name was apparently Hadassah).  My writing assignment today is to summarize the life of Esther (Hadassah).  So here goes…

King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) called a 180 day feast in celebration of going to conquer Greece, and he called for his queen, Vashti.  She refused to come, and he had her exiled, as he was probably on a lot of wine.  So he did that and decided to marry a new queen.  He ordered all the young women in the city at the time to come to the palace, to be viewed by the king.  One of these women was named Hadassah, or, in Persian, Esther.  All the women were allowed to put on jewelry, silk, and gold to make themselves more appealing to the king.  Esther took only a silk dress and earrings.  Despite less jewelry, the king liked Hadassah the most and had her made his queen.  It would all end happily here, if not for Haman, the king’s advisor.  He saw Mordecai, Esther’s cousin not give Haman the respect he thought required – and in turn, asked the king to make a decree proclaiming that all Jews were to be killed on an appointed day, and the Persians got to take the Jews’ belongings.  Xerxes agreed, giving Haman the signet ring to sign it.  Mordecai saw this decree, and warned Esther.  She in turn approached the king, asking if he and Haman could dine with her that night.  They agreed, and they ate dinner together.  At the end of dinner, she asked them to do it again in a week.  They did so, and that’s when she revealed Haman’s plot and that she herself was a Jew.  Xerxes was furious at this, and hanged Haman for it, and the Jews fought back and were saved, as another decree had been posted after Haman’s hanging, and it told Jews to fight back.  And that is the story of Esther.

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H6 W18 – Persian Kings

This week, I learned about the lives and accomplishments of the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius, and the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah.  I am supposed to write on the life  and achievements of one of them.  I chose Darius, so he’s the one I’ll write about today.

Darius the Great started out as a simple wealthy noble, a descendant of both Cyrus and Cambyses.  He used this ancestry to gain a claim to the throne of Persia.  He also had a lot of support to sit on the throne as he was a cousin to most of the other nobles, and those he weren’t cousins with recognized his military skill.  Once on the throne, he started by boosting the economy with better roads, a form of money called the Daric, and repairing public PoI’s (Points of Interest).  He then created a hierarchy with satraps (governors).  Each satrap had a different area that he governed, and they were not to fight.

Finished with the economy, he started taking land from other countries, starting with Babylon. He afterwards attacked Scythia, and failed miserably.  This first defeat stole his appetite for victory and conquest.  He didn’t attack anywhere in eastern Europe for a good long time.

The next few events  were the Ionian Rebellion.  The Greeks were tired of being under Persian control, and so they rebelled against Persia.  The Rebellion lasted about five years, or until the Persians won.  this returned Darius’ taste for victory, and he tried to take all of Greece.   He planned to invade by sea, but the Greeks saw it coming and crushed his fleet before it got even a league away from the target shore.  The next battle picked with the Greeks, renowned as one of the most important battles in BC history, the Battle of Marathon, is the last one he tried with the Greeks, literally destroyed his army and naval fleet, only a few years before the end of the reign of Darius the Great.