Darius the Great

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Emma Bolton Historical Investigation Ancient History

Was Darius the Great's Accession of the Persian Throne Legitimate?

Darius I or Darius the Great was one of the great kings of Persia and the Achaemenid Empire that flourished during his reign of 36 years between the 29th of September 522 B.C and October 486 B.C. Darius the Great was one of the greatest kings that Persia had ever seen, he even contributed many of the technologies such as roads. As Darius the Great swept through and conquered much of the near east, he was compassionate enough to let the people of other nations under the Achaemenid Empire retain their customs, language and religious beliefs. But there are debating and differing opinions in both modern and ancient texts to do with the legitimacy of Darius the Great's accession to the throne and reign.

An ancient text; Book 3 of Herodotus' Histories tells of Darius the Great's accession of the Persian throne.

In Herodotus' novel, he states that Darius along with Gobyrus killed the Magus that was disguising himself as Cambyses' brother Smerdis. The seven 'conspirators' including Darius discussed alternate ruling methods to a monarchy though Darius insisted that a monarchy was the most ideal and would avoid all the mishaps that a democracy or an oligarchy would create. 'Darius said he wanted the rule of one "my sentence is that we keep to the rule of one"'. Such fervency for the monarchy can be implied or misinterpreted to mean that Darius the Great wanted to take the kingship for himself. 'The Persians say that Darius was a huckster, Cambyses a master and Cyrus a father' 'for Darius looked to making a gain in everything; Cambyses harsh and reckless while Cyrus was gentle and procured them all manner of goods.' These extracts from Book...