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.