Darius the Great Background Basics

Gift of James T. Worlton Unknown, Daric, Near Eastern, Achaemenid (Persian), 5th - 4th century B.C., Gold, 0.0083 kg (0.0183 lb.), 83.NH.425.2. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.
Gift of James T. Worlton
Unknown, Daric, Near Eastern, Achaemenid (Persian), 5th – 4th century B.C., Gold, 0.0083 kg (0.0183 lb.), 83.NH.425.2. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Here are some basics on Darius the Great (Dārayavauš).

  1. Sources on Darius are Herodotus, the records from Darius’ relief at Bīsotūn, texts and monuments from Persepolis and elsewhere, and occasional literary references.
  2. He was born in c. 550 B.C. to Vištāspa (Hystaspes) and Vardagauna.
  3. He ousted the successor of Cambyses and became the third/fourth ruler of the Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia in 522.
  4. He was related to the earlier Achaemenids through marriage and possibly a shared ancestor, the eponymous Achaemenes.
  5. He established a strong military-based government for his empire, the largest to date (ppn. estimate 50 million), divided into satrapies.
  6. He is considered to have been a follower of Ahura Mazda, and perhaps a Zoroastrian.
  7. His rule ended in 486 B.C.