Close up of Darius the Great

Close Up of Darius the Great
Is this stone carving a portrait of Darius the King mentioned in the Book of Ezra?

This painting is a close up of a stone relief from ancient Persepolis (Persia) reveals Darius I seated on his throne, Persepolis, Iran. Notice he holds his scepter while an audience of delegates  bring him tribute honoring the king by holding his mouth.

Darius the Great is seated on his throne in his reception chamber while an audience of delegates from provinces around his mighty empire approach him to bring him tribute. This particular dignitary is raising one hand to his mouth as a token of respect and honor and with the other hand he holds his staff of office showing that he was a commander and prime minister of the Medes, as seen by his round cap and uniform. Behind him are two Persian attendants holding a spear and a container of incense. Notice Darius the Great is holding his scepter of authority in his right hand and a budding flower in his left. Behind Darius stands the crown-prince Xerxes. This relief of king Darius I Seated is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology and confirms what the Bible says regarding Darius and the Persian Empire.

Map of Ancient Persia

"They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace."  Ezra 5:7 

Esther 4:11 "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days."

Esther 5:2 "And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."

Material: Dark Gray Limestone Relief
Period: Time of Darius I
Date: 522-486 BC.
Site: Ancient Persepolis. Iran
Reception Chamber of the Treasury of Darius
Height: 8.25 feet

Oriental Institute Excerpt

PERSEPOLIS AND ANCIENT IRAN
The Treasury

Adjacent to the Throne Hall is the Treasury, part of which served as an armory and especially as a royal storehouse of the Achaemenian kings. The tremendous wealth stored here came from the booty of conquered nations and from the annual tribute sent by the peoples of the empire to the king on the occasion of the New Year's feast. Before the Throne Hall was finished, the most spacious room of the Treasury was used as a Court of Reception. Two large stone reliefs were discovered here that attested to its function. These depict Darius I, seated on his throne, being approached by a high dignitary whose hand is raised to his mouth in a gesture of respectful greeting. Behind the king stands Crown Prince Xerxes, followed by court officials.

 

 Darius Sketch from Vase
Darius I from a vase.

 

List of Kings from the Achaemenid Dynasty

Achaemenid Dynasty
Achaemenes
Teispes
Cyrus I
Cambyses I (Kambiz)

Achaemenid Become an Empire
Cyrus II the Great, 559BC -530BC
Kambiz II, 530BC - 522BC
Smerdis (the Magian), 522BC
Darius I the Great, 522BC - 486BC
Xerxes I (Khashyar), 486BC - 465BC
Artaxerxes I , 465BC - 425BC
Xerxes II, 425BC - 424BC (45 days)
Darius II, 423BC - 404BC
Artaxerxes II, 404BC - 359BC
Artaxerxes III, 359BC - 339BC
Arses, 338BC - 336BC
Darius III, 336BC - 330BC

Note: Esther became queen of Persia around 478 B.C. during the reign of Xerxes I (Ahasuerus).

 

Battle of Issus Mosaic
Battle of Issus Mosaic from Pompeii showing Darius on his chariot.

 

Achamenid Empire
Map of the Achamenid Empire or the Persian Empire, 500 BC.

 

Apadana Audience Relief
Apadana Audience Relief of Darius I, Northern stairs of the Apadana of Persepolis (Archaeological museum, Tehran)

 

The Rock of Behistun
The Rock of Behistun Sketch. Naqsh-e Rostam, and Naqsh-e Rajab are rock cut tombs carved into a cliff near Persepolis with inscriptions. The tombs belonged to Persian kings: Darius I, Darius II, Xerxes I and Ataxerxes I.

 

Relief from the Achamenid Period
Photo of the Rock of Behistun

 

The Behistin Stone Relief
The Behistin Stone Relief depicting king Darius I the Great


The Behistin Relief Inscription translation:

I am Darius, the great king, king of kings, the king of Persia, the king of countries, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenid.

King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes.

King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal.

King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession we have been kings.

King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda am I king; Ahuramazda has granted me the kingdom.

King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject unto me, and by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king of them: Persia, Elam, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, the countries by the Sea, Lydia, the Greeks, Media, Armenia, Cappadocia, Parthia, Drangiana, Aria, Chorasmia, Bactria, Sogdia, Gandara, Scythia, Sattagydia, Arachosia and Maka; twenty-three lands in all.

King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject to me; by the grace of Ahuramazda they became subject to me; they brought tribute unto me. Whatsoever commands have been laid on them by me, by night or by day, have been performed by them.

King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazda these lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done.

King Darius says: Ahuramazda has granted unto me this empire. Ahuramazda brought me help, until I gained this empire; by the grace of Ahuramazda do I hold this empire.

Translated by R. W. Rogers [1912]


Relief in the Palace of Persepolis
Relief in the doorway of the palace in Persepolis, 485-465 BC.

Darius I of Persia in Wikipedia Darius I was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire. Darius held the empire at its peak, then including Egypt, and parts of Greece. The decay and downfall of the empire commenced with his death and the coronation of his son, Xerxes I.[1] Darius ascended the throne by assassinating the alleged usurper Gaumata with the assistance of six other Persian noble families; Darius was crowned the following morning. The new emperor met with rebellions throughout his kingdom, and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius' life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria and subjugate Greece (an attempt which failed). Darius expanded his empire by conquering Thrace and Macedon, and invading the Saka, Iranian tribes who had invaded Medes and even killed Cyrus the Great. [2] Darius organized the empire, by dividing it into provinces and placing governors to govern it. He organized a new monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Babylon, and Egypt. Darius created a codification of laws for Egypt. He also carved the cliff-face Behistun Inscription, an autobiography of great modern linguistic significance...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_I_of_Persia

Darius II of Persia in Wikipedia (Dārayavahu?), originally called Ochus and often surnamed Nothus (from Greek νόθος), was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 BC. Artaxerxes I, who died on December 25, 424 BC, was followed by his son Xerxes II. After a month and a half Xerxes II was murdered by his brother Secydianus or Sogdianus (the form of the name is uncertain). His illegitimate brother, Ochus, satrap of Hyrcania, rebelled against Sogdianus, and after a short fight killed him, and suppressed by treachery the attempt of his own brother Arsites to imitate his example. Ochus adopted the name Darius (in the chronicles he is called Nothos"). Neither Xerxes II nor Secydianus occurs in the dates of the numerous Babylonian tablets from Nippur; here the reign of Darius II follows immediately after that of Artaxerxes I. Prospective tomb of Darius II of Persia in Naqsh-e Rustam Of Darius's reign historians know very little (a rebellion of the Medes in 409 BC is mentioned by Xenophon), except that he was quite dependent on his wife Parysatis. In the excerpts from Ctesias some harem intrigues are recorded, in which he played a disreputable part. As long as the power of Athens remained intact he did not meddle in Greek affairs; even the support which the Athenians in 413 BC gave to the rebel Amorges in Caria would not have roused him, had not the Athenian power been broken in the same year before Syracuse. He gave orders to his satraps in Asia Minor, Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus, to send in the overdue tribute of the Greek towns, and to begin a war with Athens; for this purpose they entered into an alliance with Sparta. In 408 BC he sent his son Cyrus to Asia Minor, to carry on the war with greater energy. In 404 BC Darius II died after a reign of nineteen years, and was followed by Artaxerxes II...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_II_of_Persia

Darius III of Persia in Wikipedia (Artashata) (c. 380?330 BC, Persian داریوش Dāriū?, pronounced [dɔːriˈuːʃ]) was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC. It was under his rule that the Persian Empire was conquered during the Wars of Alexander the Great (for more information on the name, see the entry for Darius I.)...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_III_of_Persia

Darius in Easton's Bible Dictionary the holder or supporter, the name of several Persian kings. (1.) Darius the Mede (Dan. 11:1), "the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes" (9:1). On the death of Belshazzar the Chaldean he "received the kingdom" of Babylon as viceroy from Cyrus. During his brief reign (B.C. 538-536) Daniel was promoted to the highest dignity (Dan. 6:1, 2); but on account of the malice of his enemies he was cast into the den of lions. After his miraculous escape, a decree was issued by Darius enjoining "reverence for the God of Daniel" (6:26). This king was probably the "Astyages" of the Greek historians. Nothing can, however, be with certainty affirmed regarding him. Some are of opinion that the name "Darius" is simply a name of office, equivalent to "governor," and that the "Gobryas" of the inscriptions was the person intended by the name. (2.) Darius, king of Persia, was the son of Hystaspes, of the royal family of the Achaemenidae. He did not immediately succeed Cyrus on the throne. There were two intermediate kings, viz., Cambyses (the Ahasuerus of Ezra), the son of Cyrus, who reigned from B.C. 529-522, and was succeeded by a usurper named Smerdis, who occupied the throne only ten months, and was succeeded by this Darius (B.C. 521-486). Smerdis was a Margian, and therefore had no sympathy with Cyrus and Cambyses in the manner in which they had treated the Jews. He issued a decree prohibiting the restoration of the temple and of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:17-22). But soon after his death and the accession of Darius, the Jews resumed their work, thinking that the edict of Smerdis would be now null and void, as Darius was in known harmony with the religious policy of Cyrus. The enemies of the Jews lost no time in bringing the matter under the notice of Darius, who caused search to be made for the decree of Cyrus (q.v.). It was not found at Babylon, but at Achmetha (Ezra 6:2); and Darius forthwith issued a new decree, giving the Jews full liberty to prosecute their work, at the same time requiring the Syrian satrap and his subordinates to give them all needed help. It was with the army of this king that the Greeks fought the famous battle of Marathon (B.C. 490). During his reign the Jews enjoyed much peace and prosperity. He was succeeded by Ahasuerus, known to the Greeks as Xerxes, who reigned for twenty-one years. (3.) Darius the Persian (Neh. 12:22) was probably the Darius II. (Ochus or Nothus) of profane history, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was the son and successor of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). There are some, however, who think that the king here meant was Darius III. (Codomannus), the antagonist of Alexander the Great (B.C. 336-331).
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/D/Darius/

Darius in Fausset's Bible Dictionary A common name of several Medo-Persian kings, from a Persian root darvesh, "restraint;" Sanskrit, dhari, "firmly holding." 1. Darius the Mede. (See DANIEL; BABYLON; BELSHAZZAR; CYRUS.) Daniel 5:31; Daniel 6:1; Daniel 9:1; Daniel 11:1. This Darius "received the kingdom" (Daniel 5:31) of Babylon as viceroy from Cyrus, according to G. Rawlinson, which may be favored by Daniel 9:1; "Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldaeans." He in this view gave up the kingdom to his superior Cyrus, after holding it from 538 to 536 B.C. Abydenus makes Nebuchadnezzar prophesy that a Persian and a Mede," the pride of the Assyrians," should take Babylon, i.e. a prince who had ruled over the Medes and Assyrians. Cyrus, having taken such a prince 20 years before Babylon's capture, advanced him to be deputy king of Babylon. Hence he retained the royal title and is called "king" by Daniel. Thus Astyages (the last king of the Medes, and having no issue, according to Herodotus, 1:73, 109,127) will be this Darius, and Ahasuerus (Achashverosh) = Cyaxares (Huwakshatra), father of Astyages. Aeschylus (Persae, 766, 767) represents Cyaxares as the first founder of the empire and a Mede, and Sir H. Rawlinson proves the same in opposition to Herodotus. Aeschylus describes Cyaxares' son as having "a mind guided by wisdom"; this is applicable both to Darius in Daniel 6:1-3, and to Astyages in Herodotus. The chronology however requires one junior to Astyages to correspond to Darius the Mede and Cyrus' viceroy, whether a son or one next in succession after Astyages, probably Cyaxares...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/D/Darius/

Darius in Hitchcock's Bible Names he that informs himself
http://www.bible-history.com/hitchcock/D/Darius/

Darius in Naves Topical Bible 1. The Mede, king of Persia Da 5:31; 6; 9:1 -2. King of Persia Emancipates the Jews Ezr 5; 6; Hag 1:1,15; Zec 1:1 -3. The Persian Ne 12:22
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/D/DARIUS/

Darius in Smiths Bible Dictionary (lord), the name of several kings of Media and Persia. 1. DARIUS THE MEDE, Da 6:1; 11:1 "the son of Ahasuerus," Da 9:1 who succeeded to the Babylonian kingdom ont he death of Belshazzar, being then sixty-two years old. Da 5:31; 9:1 (B.C. 538.) Only one year of his reign is mentioned, Da 9:1; 11:1 but that was of great importance for the Jews. Daniel was advanced by the king to the highest dignity, Da 6:1 ff., and in his reign was cast into the lions' den. Dan. 6. This Darius is probably the same as "Astyages," the last king of the Medes. 2. DARIUS, the son of Hystaspes the founder of the Perso-Arian dynasty. Upon the usurpation of the magian Smerdis, he conspired with six other Persian chiefs to overthrow the impostor and on the success of the plot was placed upon the throne, B.C. 521. With regard to the Jews, Darius Hystaspes pursued the same policy as Cyrus, and restored to them the privileges which they had lost. Ezr 5:1 etc.; Ezra 6:1 etc. 3. DARIUS THE PERSIAN, Ne 12:22 may be identified with Darius II. Nothus (Ochus), king of Persia B.C. 424-3 to 405-4; but it is not improbable that it points to Darius III. Codomannus, the antagonist of Alexander and the last king of Persia, B.C. 336-330.
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/D/Darius/

Darius in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE da-ri'-us: The name of three or four kings mentioned in the Old Testament. In the original Persian it is spelled "Darayavaush"; in Babylonian, usually "Dariamush"; in Susian(?), "Tariyamaush"; in Egyptian "Antaryuash"; on Aramaic inscriptions, d-r-y-h-w-sh or d-r-y-w-h-w-sh; in Hebrew, dareyawesh; in Greek, Dareios; in Latin, "Darius." In meaning it is probably connected with the new Persian word Dara, "king." Herodotus says it means in Greek, Erxeies, coercitor, "restrainer," "compeller," "commander." (1) Darius the Mede (Dan 6:1; 11:1) was the son of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of the seed of the Medes (Dan 9:1). He received the government of Belshazzar the Chaldean upon the death of that prince (Dan 5:30,31; 6:1), and was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans. From Dan 6:28 we may infer that Darius was king contemporaneously with Cyrus. Outside of the Book of Daniel there is no mention of Darius the Mede by name, though there are good reasons for identifying him with Gubaru, or Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium, who is said in the Nabunaid-Cyrus Chronicle to have been appointed by Cyrus as his governor of Babylon after its capture from the Chaldeans. Some reasons for this identification are as follows:...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/D/DARIUS/

DARIUS (Pers. Darayavaush; Old Test. Daryavesh) , the name of three Persian kings . 1 . DARIUS THE GREAT, the son of Hystaspes (q.v.) . The principal source for his history is his own inscriptions, especially the great inscription of Behistun (q.v.), in which he relates how he gained the crown and put down the rebellions . In modern times his veracity has often been doubted, but without any sufficient reason; the whole tenor of his words shows that we can rely upon his account . The accounts given by Herodotus and Ctesias of his accession are in many points evidently dependent on this official version, with many legendary stories interwoven, e.g. that Darius and his allies left the question as to which of them should become king to the decision of their horses, and that Darius won the crown by a trick of his groom. Darius belonged to a younger branch of the royal family of the Achaemenidae . When, after the suicide of Cambyses ( March 521), the usurper Gaumata ruled undisturbed over the whole empire under the name of Bardiya ( Smerdis), son of Cyrus, and no one dared to gainsay him, Darius, " with the help of Ahuramazda," attempted to regain the kingdom for the royal race. His father Hystaspes was still alive, but evidently had not the courage to urge his claims . Assisted by six noble Persians, whose names he proclaims at the end of the Behistun inscription, he surprised and killed the usurper in a Median fortress ( October 521; for the chronology of these times cf . E . Meyer, Forschungen zur aiten Geschichte, ii . 472 ff.), and gained the crown . But this sudden change was the signal for an attempt on the part of all the eastern provinces to regain their independence . In Susiana, Babylon, Media, Sagartia, Margiana, usurpers arose, pretending to be of the old royal race, and gathered large armies around them; in Persia itself Vahyazdata imitated the example of Gaumata and was acknowledged by the majority of the people as the true Bardiya . Darius with only a small army of Persians and Medes and some trustworthy generals overcame all difficulties, and in 520 and 519 all the rebellions were put down (Babylon rebelled twice, Susiana even three times), and the authority of Darius was established throughout the empire . Darius in his inscriptions appears as a fervent believer in the true religion of Zoroaster . But he was also a great statesman and organizer . The time of conquests had come to an end; the wars which Darius undertook, like those of Augustus, only served the purpose of gaining strong natural frontiers for the empire and keeping down the barbarous tribes on its borders . Thus Darius subjugated the wild nations of the Pontic and Armenian mountains, and extended the Persian dominion to the Caucasus; for the same reasons he fought against the Sacae and other Turanian tribes . But by the organization which he gave to the empire he became the true successor of the great Cyrus . His organization of the provinces and the fixing of the tributes is described by Herodotus iii . 90 if., evidently from good official sources. He fixed the coinage and introduced the gold coinage of the Daric (which is not named after him, as the Greeks believed, but derived from a Persian word meaning " gold "; in Middle Persian it is called zarig) . He tried to develop the commerce of the empire, and sent an expedition down the Kabul and the Indus, led by the Carian captain Scylax of Caryanda, who explored the Indian Ocean from the mouth of the Indus to Suez. He dug a canal from the Nile to Suez, and, as the fragments of a hieroglyphic inscription found there show, his ships sailed from the Nile through the Red Sea by Saba to Persia . He had connexions with Carthage (i.e. the Kark? of the Nakshi Rustam inscr.), and explored the shores of Sicily and Italy . At the same time he attempted to gain the good-will of the subject nations, and for this purpose promoted the aims of their priests . He allowed the Jews to build the Temple of Jerusalem . In Egypt his name appears on the temples which he built in Memphis, Edfu and the Great Oasis . He called the high- priest of Sais, Uzahor, to Susa (as we learn from his inscription in the Vatican), and gave him full powers to reorganize the " house of life," the great medical school of the temple of Sais . In the Egyptian traditions he is considered as one of the great benefactors and lawgivers of the country ( Herod. ii . 1 ro, Diod. i . 95) . In similar relations he stood to the Greek sanctuaries (cf. his rescript to "his slave " Godatas, the inspector of a royal park near Magnesia, on the Maeander, in which he grants freedom of taxes and forced labour to the sacred territory of Apollo . Read more: DARIUS (Pers. Darayava... - Online Information article about DARIUS (Pers. Darayava... [Ency Brit 1911]

Darius the Great (Darayawush I) (ca. 549 B.C.E. ? 485/486 B.C.E.; Old Persian Dārayawu?: "He Who Holds Firm the Good"), was the son of Hystaspes and Persian Emperor from 521 B.C.E. to 485/486 B.C.E. His name in Modern Persian is داریوش (Dariush), in Hebrew דַּרְיָוֵשׁ (Daryawesh) and the ancient Greek sources call him Dareios. Darius ruled over some 50 million people and the largest empire that the world had known. He did much to promote trade and commerce. He developed the infrastructure of the empire by constructing canals, underground waterways and roads. He practiced religious tolerance, did not allow slavery and although he invaded Greece, he promoted the idea that the Greeks and Persians were members of kindred peoples. He employed some Greeks in senior positions. He listened to the opinions of non-Persians but mainly depended on Persians to administer the empire, building on the work of Cyrus the Great who divided the territory into provinces (Satrapies). Making Susa his capital, he left behind a rich architectural legacy. Famously, he allowed the Jews to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. [New World Encyclopedia]

Darius I (circa550?486 bc), king of Persia 521?486 bc; known as Darius the Great. After a revolt by the Greek cities in Ionia (499?494 bc) he invaded Greece but was defeated at Marathon (490 bc). [Oxford Dictionary]

Darius I - King of Persia from 521 to 485 B.C.; son of Hystaspes. The sources for the history of Darius are his own trilingual inscription at Behistun, the Babylonian contract tablets, and the accounts which the Greeks from Herodotus onward have given. Herodotus is corrected repeatedly by Ctesias. The older branch of the Ach?menides died out with Cambyses and his brother, the true Smerdis, while the head of the younger branch, which traced its descent to Teispes, was Hystaspes, governor of Parthia, who submitted to the new ruler. His son Darius, however, undertook to win back the scepter from the Magian Gaumata, who had assumed the title of king and had married Cyrus' daughter. Darius and six intimate companions of noble blood, relying on the protection of Ahuramazda, attacked the usurper on the 10th of Tishri (Oct. 16), 521, at a city in Media, and killed him; Darius now became king. In Persia itself Darius was confronted by a new pretender, a second pseudo-Smerdis. In addition, the subject nations throughout the East (for instance, the Elamites, Medians, Parthians, Hyrkauians) tried to win back their independence, and placed at their head men who claimed descent from the royal family. The most serious rebellion was the one in Babylon under Nidintabel, who called himself Nebuchadnezzar III., the son of Nabonid. The first Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzar III.'s reign is dated Tishri 17 (Oct. 23) of the year of his accession, 521. [Jewish Encyclopedia]

Darius I "the Great" (549-486 BC) was a king of Persia who ruled for 35 years, from September 522 BC to October 486 BC. He was the third Achaemenian king and was considered by many to be ?the greatest of the Achaemenian kings.? During his reign, Darius completed the work of his predecessors and not only did he ?hold together the empire,? but he also extended it in all directions. Thus, with Darius as Great King, Achaemenian Persia became the largest empire in the world. Darius was responsible for more than just the expansion of the empire. He also centralized the administration of the empire, encouraged cultural and artistic pursuits, introduced legal reforms and developed juridical systems. In addition, many large building projects were started under Darius? rule, including the construction of a new capital city called Persepolis. As much as Darius? reign can be characterized by these achievements, it can also be characterized by a number of upheavals and battles, and general unrest among the citizens. There were two revolts in Babylonia and three in Susania. The Ionian Revolt lasted from 499 to 493 BC, and was a large-scale rebellion by many regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule. Darius planned an expedition to Greece in order to punish the Greeks for supporting the Ionian Revolt. His health, however, began to fail and he chose Xerxes I, his oldest son by Atossa, to be his successor. He never went to Greece as he died in Persis in October 486 BC. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]

Cyrus [the brilliancy of the suri], a prince, conqueror and statesman of great renown, and an instrument chosen by Jehovah to execute his purposes of
mercy toward the Jews (Isa. 44 : 28 ; 45 : 1 ; Dan. 6 : 28). The early life of Cyrus is involved in obscurity. According to the common legend, he was the
son of Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, the last king of Media, and Cambyses, a Persian of the royal family of Achaemenidae. In consequence of a dream,
Astyages, it is said, designed the death of Cyrene. his infant grandson, but the child was spared by those whom he charged with the commission of the
crime, and was reared in obscurity under the name of Agradates. When he grew up to manhood his courage and genius placed him at the head of the Persians.
The tyranny of Astyages had, at that time, alienated a large faction of the Medes, and Cyrus headed a revolt which ended in the defeat and capture of the
Median king, B. c. 559. After consolidating the enqire which he had thus gained, Cyrus entered on that career of conquest which has made him the hero of
the East. His conquests extended over all Western Asia, but the most brilliant of them was that of Babylon, B.C. 538. After the reduction of Babylon he
ordered a return to their own land of the Jews, who had been seventy years in captivity, and furnished them very liberally with the means of rebuilding
their temple (Ezra 1 : 1-4). Hitherto, the great kings with whom the Jews had been brought into contact had been open oppressors or seductive allies, but
Cyrus was a generous liberator and a just guardian of their rights. He fell in battle B. c. 529, and his tomb is still shown at Pasargadae, the scene of
his victory over Astyages. [Westminster Bible Dictionary]

Persia, the great empire founded by Cyrus, whicli at the period of its greatest prosperity comprehended all the Asiatic countries from the Mediterranean
to the Indus, and from the Black and Caspian seas to Arabia and the Indian Ocean. It was divided into several provinces. The Medes and Persians are
generally mentioned in Scripture in conjunction, and most probably were kindred branches of that great Aryan family, which under different names ruled the
A-ast region between Mesopotamia and what is now known as Burmah. In the time of Cyrus (b. c. 558) the Persian empire held sway over both Media and
Persia. The most interesting circumstance to the biblical student connected with this empire and its royal master was the permission granted by Cyrus to
the captive Jews to return to their own land (2 Chron. 36 : 22, 23; Ezra 6:3-5; Isa. 44 : 28). He was the special instrument also in the hand of the
Almighty in fulfilling the threatenings against Babylon (Isa. 45 : 1-4; 46 : 1, 2; 47 : 1-15 ; Jer. chs. 50, and 51). The Persian monarch who permitted
the Jews to rebuild their temple was Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6 : 1-15). Upon his death (b. c. 485) Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of Esther and Mordecai and the
defeated invader of Greece, ascended the throne. After a reign of twenty years Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus, who, reigning but seven pionths, was
succeeded by Artaxerxes Longimanus, the king wlio stood in such friendly relations toward Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 7 : 11-28; Neh. 2 : 1-9). This is the
last of the Persian kings who had any special connection with the Jews. The empire was finally overthrown by Alexander the Great. In later ages the name
and power of Persia revived, and at the present time the ancient country of Cyrus has a Mohammedan sovereign and most of its inhabitants are bigoted
adherents of Islamism. [Westminster Bible Dictionary]

Map of the Persian Empire
Map of the Persian Empire


Kings of the Bible

David
Solomon

 

The Kings of Israel (all wicked)

Jeroboam I (933-911 BC) twenty-two years

Nadab (911-910) two years

Baasha (910-887) twenty-four years

Elah (887-886) two years

Zimri (886) seven days

Omri (886-875) twelve years

Ahab (875-854) twenty-two years

Ahaziah (855-854) two years

Jehoram (Joram) (854-843) twelve years

Jehu (843-816) twenty-eight years

Jehoahaz (820-804) seventeen years

Jehoash (Joash) (806-790) sixteen years

Jeroboam II (790-749) forty-one years

Zechariah' (748) six months

Shallum (748) one month

Menahem (748-738) ten years

Pekahiah (738-736) two years

Pekah (748-730) twenty years

Hoshea (730-721) nine years

 

The Kings of Judah (8 were good)

Rehoboam (933-916 BC) seventeen years

Abijam (915-913) three years

Asa (Good) (912-872) forty-one years

Jehoshaphat (Good) (874-850) twenty-five years

Jehoram (850-843) eight years

Ahaziah (843) one year

Athaliah (843-837) six years

Joash (Good) (843-803) forty years

Amaziah (Good) (803-775) 29 years

Azariah (Uzziah) (Good) (787-735) fifty-two years

Jotham (Good) (749-734) sixteen years

Ahaz (741-726) sixteen years

Hezekiah (Good) (726-697) 29 years

Manasseh (697-642) fifty-five years

Amon (641-640) two years

Josiah (Good) (639-608) thirty-one years

Jehoahaz (608) three months

Jehoiachim (608-597) eleven years

Jehoiachin (597) three months

Zedekiah (597-586) eleven years

 


 

Some Scriptures mentioning the name "Darius"

 

Ezra 6:14 - And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Ezra 4:5 - And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 5:6 - The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which [were] on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:

Haggia 1:1 - In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,

Ezra 6:12 - And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter [and] to destroy this house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.

Zechariah 1:7 - Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which [is] the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

Zechariah 7:1 - And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, [that] the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth [day] of the ninth month, [even] in Chisleu;

Daniel 6:1 - It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

Daniel 6:6 - Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.

Daniel 6:28 - So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Ezra 6:1 - Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.

Ezra 4:24 - Then ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 5:5 - But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this [matter].

Nehemiah 12:22 - The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, [were] recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian.

Daniel 6:25 - Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

Zechariah 1:1 - In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

Ezra 6:13 - Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.

Ezra 6:15 - And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

Daniel 9:1 - In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Haggia 2:10 - In the four and twentieth [day] of the ninth [month], in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

Daniel 6:9 - Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Daniel 11:1 - Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, [even] I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Haggia 1:15 - In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

Ezra 5:7 - They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.

Daniel 5:31 - And Darius the Median took the kingdom, [being] about threescore and two years old.

 

Some Scriptures mentioning "Persia"

 

Ezra 4:7 - And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter [was] written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

Ezra 4:3 - But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Ezra 9:9 - For we [were] bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

Ezra 6:14 - And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

2 Chronicles 36:23 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD his God [be] with him, and let him go up.

Daniel 10:1 - In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing [was] true, but the time appointed [was] long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Ezra 1:2 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah.

Esther 1:3 - In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, [being] before him:

Ezra 3:7 - They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

Ezra 4:24 - Then ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Daniel 10:20 - Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

Esther 10:2 - And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

Daniel 11:2 - And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than [they] all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

Esther 1:14 - And the next unto him [was] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, [and] which sat the first in the kingdom;)

Esther 1:18 - [Likewise] shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus [shall there arise] too much contempt and wrath.

Ezra 1:8 - Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

2 Chronicles 36:20 - And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

Ezra 7:1 - Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

Ezekiel 27:10 - They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.

Daniel 8:20 - The ram which thou sawest having [two] horns [are] the kings of Media and Persia.

Ezekiel 38:5 - Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Ezra 1:1 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

2 Chronicles 36:22 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD [spoken] by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

Ezra 4:5 - And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Daniel 10:13 - But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

 

Persia in Easton's Bible Dictionary an ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/P/Persia/

Persia in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 38:5. "Persia proper" was originally a small territory (Herodot. 9:22). On the N. and N.E. lay Media, on the S. the Persian gulf, Elam on the W., on the E. Carmania. Now Furs, Farsistan. Rugged, with pleasant valleys and plains in the mid region and mountains in the N. The S. toward the sea is a hot sandy plain, in places covered with salt. Persepolis (in the beautiful valley of the Bendamir), under Darius Hystaspes, took the place of Pasargadae the ancient capital; of its palace "Chehl Minar," "forty columns," still exist. Alexander in a drunken fit, to please a courtesan, burned the palace. Pasargadae, 40 miles to the N., was noted for Cyrus' tomb (Arrian) with the inscription, "I am Cyrus the Achaemenian." (See CYRUS.) The Persians came originally from the E., from the vicinity of the Sutlej (before the first contact of the Assyrians with Aryan tribes E. of Mount Zagros, 880 B.C.), down the Oxus, then S. of the Caspian Sea to India. There were ten castes or tribes: three noble, three agricultural, four nomadic; of the last were the "Dehavites" or Dali (Ezra 4:9). The Pasargadae were the noble tribes, in which the chief house was that of the Achaemenidae. Darius on the rock of Behistun inscribed: "from antiquity our race have been kings. There are eight of our race who have been kings before me, I am the ninth." frontELAM on its relation to Persia.) The Persian empire stretched at one time from India to Egypt and Thrace, including all western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian, the Jaxartes upon the N., the Arabian desert, Persian gulf, and Indian ocean on the S. Darius in the inscription on his tomb at Nakhsh- irustam enumerates thirty countries besides Persia subject to him, Media, Susiana, Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdiana, Chorasmia, Zarangia, Arachosia, Sattagydia, Gaudaria, India, Scythia, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, Saparda, Ionia, the Aegean isles, the country of the Scodrae (European), Ionia, the Tacabri, Budians, Cushites, Mardians, and Colchians. The organization of the Persian kingdom and court as they appear in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, accords with independent secular historians. The king, a despot, had a council, "seven princes of Persia and Media which see his face and sit the first in the kingdom" (Esther 1:14; Ezra 7:14). So Herodotus (iii. 70-79) and Behistun inscription mention seven chiefs who organized the revolt against Smerdis (the Behistun rock W. of Media has one inscription in three languages, Persian, Babylonian, and Stythic, read by Grotefend). "The law of the Persians and Medes which alters not" (Esther 1:19) also controlled him in some measure. In Scripture we read of 127 provinces (Esther 1:1) with satraps (Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Xerxes in boasting enlarged the list; 60 are the nations in his armament according to Herodotus) maintained from the palace (Ezra 4:14), having charge of the revenue, paid partly in money...
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Persia in Hitchcock's Bible Names that cuts or divides; a nail; a gryphon; a horseman
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Persia in Naves Topical Bible An empire which extended from India to Ethiopia, comprising one-hundred and twenty-seven provinces Es 1:1; Da 6:1 -Government of, restricted by constitutional limitations Es 8:8; Da 6:8-12 -Municipal governments in, provided with dual governors Ne 3:9,12,16-18 -The princes were advisors in matters of administration Da 6:1-7 -Status of women in; queen sat on the throne with the king Ne 2:6 -Vashti was divorced for refusing to appear before the king's courtiers Es 1:10-22; 2:4 -Israel captive in 2Ch 36:20 -Captivity foretold Ho 13:16 -Men of, in the Tyrian army Eze 27:10 -Rulers of Ahasuerus Es 1:3 -Darius Da 5:31; 6; 9:1 -Artaxerxes I Ezr 4:7-24 -Artaxerxes II Ezr 7; Ne 2; 5:14 -Cyrus 2Ch 36:22,23; Ezr 1; 3:7; 4:3; 5:13,14,17; 6:3; Isa 41:2,3; 44:28; 45:1-4,13; 46:11; 48:14,15 -Princes of Es 1:14 -System of justice Ezr 7:25 -Prophecies concerning Isa 13:17; 21:1-10; Jer 49:34-39; 51:11-64; Eze 32:24,25; 38:5; Da 2:31-45; 5:28; 7; 8; 11:1-4
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/P/PERSIA/

Persia in Smiths Bible Dictionary (pure, splended), Per'sians. Persia proper was a tract of no very large dimensions on the Persian Gulf, which is still known as Fars or Farsistan, a corruption of the ancient appellation. This tract was bounded on the west by Susiana or Elam, on the north by Media on the south by the Persian Gulf and on the east by Carmania. But the name is more commonly applied, both in Scripture and by profane authors to the entire tract which came by degrees to be included within the limits of the Persian empire. This empire extended at one time from India on the east to Egypt and Thrace on the west, and included. besides portions of Europe and Africa, the whole of western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian and the Jaxartes on the north, the Arabian desert the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean on the south. The only passage in Scripture where Persia designates the tract which has been called above "Persia proper" is Eze 38:5 Elsewhere the empire is intended. The Persians were of the same race as the Medes, both being branches of the great Aryan stock. 1. Character of the nation. --The Persians were a people of lively and impressible minds, brave and impetuous in war, witty, passionate, for Orientals truthful, not without some spirit of generosity: and of more intellectual capacity than the generality of Asiatics. In the times anterior to Cyrus they were noted for the simplicity of their habits, which offered a strong contrast to the luxuriousness of the Medes; but from the late of the Median overthrow this simplicity began to decline. Polygamy was commonly practiced among them. They were fond of the pleasures of the table. In war they fought bravely, but without discipline. 2. Religion. --The religion which the Persians brought with there into Persia proper seems to have been of a very simple character, differing from natural religion in little except that it was deeply tainted with Dualism. Like the other Aryans, the Persians worshipped one supreme God. They had few temples, and no altars or images. 3. Language. --The Persian language was closely akin to the Sanskrit, or ancient language of India. Modern Persian is its degenerate representative, being largely impregnated with Arabic. 4. History. --The history of Persia begins with the revolt from the Medes and the accession of Cyrus the Great, B.C. 558. Cyrus defeated Croesus, and added the Lydian empire to his dominions. This conquest was followed closely by the submission of the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast, and by the reduction of Caria and Lycia The empire was soon afterward extended greatly toward the northeast and east. In B.C. 539 or 538, Babylon was attacked, and after a stout defence fell into the hands of Cyrus. This victory first brought the Persians into co...
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Persia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE pur'-sha, (parats; Persia; in Assyrian Parsu, Parsua; in Achemenian Persian Parsa, modern Fars): In the Bible (2 Ch 36:20,22,23; Ezr 1:1,8; Est 1:3,14,18; 10:2; Ezek 27:10; 38:5; Dan 8:20; 10:1; 11:2) this name denotes properly the modern province of Fars, not the whole Persian empire. The latter was by its people called Airyaria, the present Iran (from the Sanskrit word arya, "noble"); and even now the Persians never call their country anything but Iran, never "Persia." The province of Persis lay to the East of Elam (Susiana), and stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Great Salt Desert, having Carmania on the Southeast. Its chief cities were Persepolis and Pasargadae. Along the Persian Gulf the land is low, hot and unhealthy, but it soon begins to rise as one travels inland. Most of the province consists of high and steep mountains and plateaus, with fertile valleys. The table-lands in which lie the modern city of Shiraz and the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae are well watered and productive. Nearer the desert, however, cultivation grows scanty for want of water. Persia was doubtless in early times included in Elam, and its population was then either Semitic or allied to the Accadians, who founded more than one state in the Babylonian plain. The Aryan Persians seem to have occupied the country in the 8th or 9th century BC.
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/P/PERSIA/

 

PERSEPOLIS, an ancient city of Persia, situated some 40 m. N.E. of Shiraz, not far from where the small river Pulwar flows into the Kur (Kyrus). The site is marked by a large terrace with its east side leaning on Kuhi Rahmet (" the Mount of Grace "). The other three sides are formed by a retaining wall, varying in height with the slope of the ground from 14 to 41 ft.; on the west side a magnificent double stair, of very easy steps, leads to the top. On this terrace are the ruins of a number of colossal buildings, all constructed of dark-grey marble from the adjacent mountain. The stones were laid without mortar, and many of them are still in situ. Especially striking are the huge pillars, of which a number still stand erect. Several of the buildings were never finished. F. Stolze has shown that in some cases even the mason's rubbish has not been removed.' These ruins, for which the name Kizil minare or Chihil menare (" the forty columns or minarets "), can be traced back to the 13th century, are now known as Takhti Jamshid (" the throne of Jamshid "). That they represent the Persepolis captured and partly destroyed by Alexander the Great has been beyond dispute at least since the time of Pietro della Valle.2 Behind Takhti Jamshid are three sepulchres hewn out of the rock in the hillside, the facades, one of which is incomplete, being richly ornamented with reliefs. About 8 m. N.N.E., on the opposite side of the Pulwar, rises a perpendicular wall of rock, in which four similar tombs are cut, at a considerable height from the bottom of the valley. The modern Persians call this place Nakshi Rustam (" the picture of Rustam ") from the Sassanian reliefs beneath the opening, which they take to be a representation of the mythical hero Rustam. That the ' Cf. J. Chardin, E. Kaempfer, C. Niebuhr and W. Ouseley. Niebuhr's drawings, though good, are, for the purposes of the architectural student, inferior to the great work of C. Texier, and still more to that of E. Flandin and P. Coste. Good sketches, chiefly after Flandin, are given by C. Kossowicz, Inscriptiones palaeopersicae (St Petersburg, 1872). In addition to these we have the photographic plates in F. Stolze's Persepolis (2 vols., Berlin, 1882).

Lettera XV. (ed. 'Brighton, 1843), ii. 246 seq.

occupants of these seven tombs were kings might be inferred from the sculptures, and one of those at Nakshi Rustam is expressly declared in its inscription to be the tomb of Darius Hystaspis, concerning whom Ctesias relates that his grave was in the face of a rock, and could only be reached by means of an apparatus of ropes. Ctesias mentions further, with regard to a number of Persians kings, either that their remains were brought " to the Persians," or that they died there.' Now we know that Cyrus was buried at Pasargadae and if there is any truth in the statement that the body of Cambyses was brought home " to the Persians " his burying-place must be sought somewhere beside that of his father. In order to identify the graves of Persepolis we must bear in mind that Ctesias assumes that it was the custom for a king to prepare his own tomb during his lifetime. Hence the kings buried at Nakshi Rustam are probably, besides Darius, Xerxes I., Artaxerxes I. and Darius II. Xerxes II., who reigned for a very short time, could scarcely have obtained so splendid a monument, and still less could the usurper Sogdianus (Secydianus). The two completed graves behind Takhti Jamshid would then belong to Artaxerxes II. and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one is perhaps that of Arses, who reigned at the longest two years, or, if not his, then that of Darius III. (Codomannus), who is one of those whose bodies are said to have been brought " to the Persians "2 (see Architecture, fig. 12). Another small group of ruins in the same style is found at the village of Hajjiabad, on the Pulwar, a good hour's walk above Takhti Jamshid. These formed a single building, which was still intact goo years ago, and was used as the mosque of the then existing city of Istakhr.

Since Cyrus was buried in Pasargadae, which moreover is mentioned in Ctesias as his own city,' and since, to judge from the inscriptions, the buildings of Persepolis commenced with Darius I., it was probably under this king, with whom the sceptre passed to a new branch of the royal house, that Persepolis became the capital 4 (see Persia: Ancient History, V. 2) of Persia proper. As a residence, however, for the rulers of the empire, a remote place in a difficult alpine region was far from convenient, and the real capitals were Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. This accounts for the fact that the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until it was taken and plundered by Alexander the Great. Ctesias must certainly have known of it, and it is possible that he may have named it simply IIEpvac, after the people, as is undoubtedly done by certain writers of a somewhat later date.' But whether the city really bore the name of the people and the country is another question. And it is extremely hazardous to assume, with Sir H. Rawlinson and J. Oppert, that the words and Pdrsd, " in this Persia," which occur in an inscription on the gateway built by Xerxes (D. 1.14), signify " in this city of Parsa," and consequently prove that the name of the city is identical with the name of the country. The form Persepolis (with a play on 71-ports, destruction) appears first in Cleitarchus, one of the earliest, but unfortunately one of the most imaginative annalists of the exploits of Alexander.

It has been universally admitted that " the palaces " or "the palace " (rd ,3aviXeca) burned down by Alexander are those now in ruins at Takhti Jamshid. From Stolze's investigations it appears that at least one of these, the castle built by Xerxes, bears evident traces of having been destroyed by fire. The locality described by Diodorus after Cleitarchus corresponds in important particulars with Takhti Jamshid, for example, in being supported by the ' This statement is not made in Ctesias (or rather in the extracts of Photius) about Darius II., which is probably accidental; in the case of Sogdianus, who as a usurper was not deemed worthy of honourable burial, there is a good reason for the omission.

Arrian, iii. 22, I.

' Cf. also in particular Plutarch, Artax. iii., where Pasargadae is distinctly looked on as the sacred cradle of the dynasty.

4 The story of Aelian (H. A. i. 59), who makes Cyrus build his royal palace in Persepolis, deserves no attention.

5 So Arrian (iii. 18, 1, lo), or rather his best authority, King Ptolemy. So, again, the Babylonian Berossus, shortly after Alexander. See Clemens Alex., Admon. ad gentes, c. 5, where, with Georg Hoffmann (Pers. Martyrer, 137), Kai is to be inserted before ll paacs, and this to be understood as the name of the metropolis.

mountain on the east.' There is, however, one formidable difficulty. Diodorus says that the rock at the back of the palace containing the royal sepulchres is so steep that the bodies could be raised to their last resting-place only by mechanical appliances. This is not true of the graves behind Takhti Jamshid, to which, as F. Stolze expressly observes, one can easily ride up; on the other hand, it is strictly true of the graves at Nakshi Rustam. Stolze accordingly started the theory that the royal castle of Persepolis stood close by Nakshi Rustam, and has sunk in course of time to shapeless heaps of earth, under which the remains may be concealed. The vast ruins, however, of Takhti Jamshid, and the terrace constructed with so much labour, can hardly be anything else than the ruins of palaces; as for temples, the Persians had no such thing, at least in the time of Darius and Xerxes. Moreover, Persian tradition at a very remote period knew of only three architectural wonders in that region, which it attributed to the fabulous queen Humai (Khumai) - the grave of Cyrus at. Murgab, the building at Hajjiabad, and those on the great terrace.' It is safest therefore to identify these last with the royal palaces destroyed by Alexander. Cleitarchus, who can scarcely have visited the place himself, with his usual recklessness of statement, confounded the tombs behind the palaces with those of Nakshi Rustam; indeed he appears to imagine that all the royal sepulchres were at the same place. In 316 B.C. Persepolis was still the capital of Persis as a province of the great Macedonian Empire (see Diod. xix, 21 seq., 46; probably after Hieronymus of Cardia, who was living about 316). The city must have gradually declined in the course of time; but the ruins of the Achaemenidae remained as a witness to its ancient glory. It is probable that the principal town of the country, or at least of the district, was always in this neighbourhood. About A.D. 200 we find there the city Istakhr (properly Stakhr) as the seat of the local governors. There the foundations of the second great Persian Empire were laid, and Istakhr acquired special importance as the centre of priestly wisdom and orthodoxy. The Sassanian kings have covered the face of the rocks in this neighbourhood, and in part even the Achaemenian ruins, with their sculptures and inscriptions, and must themselves have built largely here, although never on the same scale of magnificence as their ancient predecessors. The Romans knew as little about Istakhr as the Greeks had done about Persepolis - and this in spite of the fact that for four hundred years the Sassanians maintained relations, friendly or hostile, with the empire.

At the time of the Arabian conquest Istakhr offered a desperate resistance, but the city was still a place of considerable importance in the 1st century of Islam (see Caeiphate), although its greatness was speedily eclipsed by the new metropolis Shiraz. In the 10th century Istakhr had become an utterly insignificant place, as may be seen from the descriptions of Istakhr, a native (c. 950), and of Mukaddasi (c. 985). During the following centuries Istakhr gradually declines, until, as a city, it ceased to exist. This fruitful region, however, was covered with villages till the frightful devastations of the 18th century; and even now it is, comparatively speaking, well cultivated. The " castle of Istakhr " played a conspicuous part several times during the Mahommedan period as a strong fortress. It was the middlemost and the highest of the three steep crags which rise from the valley of the Kur, at some distance to the west or north-west of Nakshi Rustam. We learn from Oriental writers that one of the Buyid (Buwaihid) sultans in the 10th century of the Flight constructed the great cisterns, which may yet be seen, and have been visited, amongst others, by James Morier and E. Flandin. W. Ouseley points out that this castle was still used in the 16th century, at least as a state prison. But when Pietro della Valle was there in 1621 it was already in ruins. [Encyclopedia Britannica 1911]
 

 


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Archaeology Discoveries and the Ancient Biblical World 

The Black Obelisk. In the 1840's a British man named Austen Henry Layard had a desire to travel to the Middle East and dig around some of the strange looking mounds near the City of Mosul. He had heard many tales about things being found in these mounds. He was looking for any trace of evidence that would lead him to the lost city of Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Little did he know that one of his discoveries would turn Europe upside down with excitement. He discovered a black limestone monument which is known today as The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. This discovery brought a new authenticity and historicity to some of the stories in the Bible. It also gained him the support of the British Museum, and all the finances he needed to continue his excavations, and become known as "The Father of Assyriology."

The Pilate Inscription. It wasn't long ago when many scholars were questioning the actual existence of a Roman Governor with the name of Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus' crucifixion. In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the worn face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."

The Megiddo Seal Bearing King Jeroboam's Name. It is very interesting that the Jasper Seal, found at Tel Megiddo bearing the name of King Jeroboam who ruled in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, would contain the symbol for their rival, the Southern Kingdom of Judah. But in examining all of the circumstances involved and seeing what the Bible says it is no wonder that the prosperous and victorious Northern Kingdom of Israel would boast with a symbol of their enemy.

The Tomb of Cyrus the Great. An inscription on the tomb of the great Persian monarch read: "O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus". Is it true that Isaiah the Hebrew prophet mention Cyrus by name almost 200 years before he was born?

Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism. This amazing discovery excavated in Nineveh in the 1830 records the Assyrian king Sennacherib's 8th campaign, which includes his siege of Jerusalem during the reign of "Hezekiah the Judahite" in 701 BC. There are 500 lines of writing in the Akkadian language on this magnificent clay prism. Is the story true that it was purchased by an American from an antiquities dealer in Baghdad?

Coming Soon The Ishtar Gate of Babylon. During the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah the Jews were taken captive to a distant land called Babylon at the latter part of the 6th century BC. They passed through a beautiful entrance gate made of mud brick masonry and glazed skin which stood 47 feet tall, commonly referred to as the Ishtar Gate since its discovery at the turn of the 20th century near modern Baghdad, Iraq. The tall gate was dedicated to the gods by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia who reigned from 605—562 BC). Is it true that Hitler had it transported to Berlin? Where is the Ishtar Gate now?

[Next] The Remains of Solomon's Temple

Biblical Archaeology

The Bible mentions many things about people, places and events that happened in history. The Bible also gives an accurate chronology of those people, places and events. What is amazing is that modern archaeology has confirmed that the Bible has never made one error, or given any clear contradictions in all of its text in matters of historical fact. The paintings and illustrations below of archaeological discoveries and ruins illustrate this emphatically.

Paintings By Bjanikka Ben and Maliyah Weston

Assyria

Weld Prism

Sargon I Bust

Hammurabi Stele

Colossal Lion of Assyria

Statue of Ashurnasirpal II

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Close up of Jehu - Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Tiglath Pileser III (Pul)

Enemy Trod Under Foot

Sargon II with Staff in Hand

Sargon II Relief

Winged Bull - One Sided

Winged Bull - Two Sided

Assyrian Royal Guard Soldiers of Sennacherib

Lachish Captives Being Skinned Alive

Israelite Captives from Lachish

Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)

Stela of Ashurbanipal

Ruins of Ancient Assyria

Painting of Ancient Ashur

Israel

Moabite Stone

Beersheba Altar

Ivory Pomegranate Fake

Ossuary of Caiaphas

Proto Ionic Capital

El Amarna Letters

House of David Inscription

Korban Inscription

Lachish Letters

Megiddo Seal - Jeraboam Inscription

Pilate Inscription

Place of Trumpeting Inscription

Qumran Jar (Dead Sea Scrolls)

Siloam Inscription

Tel Dan Stele

Temple Warning Inscription

Uzziah Tablet Inscription

Stela of Baal

Gold of Ophir Inscription

Hazael King of Syria Statue

Ancient Caesarea Harbor

Ancient Caesarea Ruins

Ancient Hittite Ruins

Babylon

Striding Lion of Babylon 

Nebuchadnezzar II Cylinder

Lagash Rations Tablet

Ishtar Gate

Nebuchadnezzar II Brick

Babylonian Chronicle

Dragon of Marduk

Lion of Marduk

Detail of the Lion of Marduk

The Royal Standard of Ur

Persia

Tomb of Cyrus

Cyrus Cylinder

Ancient Persian Soldiers

Persepolis Lion

Darius Seated

Darius the Great (Up Close)

Ancient Persians

Ancient Persian Warriors at Susa

Egypt

Pharaoh Kneeling Before Bull

Amenophis II (Also Known as Thutmose-III)

Ramesses II

Shishak Smiting His Enemies

Apis the Sacred Bull of Memphis

Rosetta Stone

The Pyramids

Ramesses II Colossal Statue Painting

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

The Israel Stela

Pharaoh Merneptah Statue

Ancient Egyptian Sphinx

Ancient Egyptian Obelisk

Rome

Bust of Julius Caesar

Bronze Bust of Augustus

Bust of Augustus Caesar

Bust of Tiberius Caesar

Arch of Titus Menorah Relief - 1

Arch of Titus Chariot Relief - 2

Bust of Vespasian

Bust of Titus

Bust of Nero

Roman Legionary Camp

Roman Legion Bricks with Stamp

Ancient Roman Eagle

Ancient Roman Aqueduct

Ancient Roman Legions

Ancient Roman Milestone

The Arch of Titus

The Colosseum

Greece

Alexander the Great Bust

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Coin

The Parthenon Ruins

The Ancient Parthenon of Athens

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Bust

Alexander the Great Coin

Greek Macedonian Infantry Helmet

Ancient Persian Soldiers

Peoples

Canaanite

Chaldean

Cilician

Indian

Ionian

Mede

Persian

Philistine

(More to come)

Illustrated Bible History A growing database of images and sketches of the ancient world.
Bible Maps A growing database of maps for study and teaching.

Reconstructions Sketches of ancient cities & monuments from archaeology.

Archaeology Resources:

The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Holden and Geisler. 352 Pages, 2012

Biblical Archaeology

Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible


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