Belshazzar and Darius
lizfried at umich.edu
Tue Feb 22 09:04:13 EST 2000
Some points of clarification.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rolf Furuli [mailto:furuli at online.no]
> Sent: Monday, February 21, 2000 9:46 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Diachronic study (was Purpose for discussion)
> >>>... There was no "Darius king of the Medes", Belshazzar was never
> >>>a king...
The word Mede was used by the Greeks to describe the Persians.
This was from the very beginning of Cyrus' conquest.
The term Medizing was used by the Greeks in Asia Minor to
refer to those who went over to the Persians.
Tuplin discusses this in an article on Medizing in one of the volumes
in the Achaemenid series.
Belshazzar was never called king. He ruled Babylon as the son of
the king while his father Nabonidus was in Teima.
He had all the prerogatives of king. I don't know if he was
in touch with his father or not. He may have been.
Those who formerly sought instructions from Nabonidus,
now sought them from Belshazzar.
But in all the texts he is referred to as the king's son.
> >>You are right that no indication of "Darius the Mede" has been
> found. Only
> >>the year when Darius became king is mentioned in Daniel. If we do not
> >>reject the account before we have seen what it says, the text
> would suggest
> >>that the rulership of Darius was not long-lasting. Some has connected
> >>Darius with Gurbaru, the governor of Cyrus,
This last is nonsense.
However, Darius was a lance-bearer for Cambyses while the latter
was in Egypt, and may have served with him when he was in Babylon.
but the most promising
> >>suggestion I have seen, for the existence of another king beside or
> >>subordinate to Cyrus for a short time, is an article I believe
> was written
> >>by W. Shea. I do not have it at hand, and it is 10 years since
> I read it,
> >>but I recall that Shea studied the titles of Cyrus found on
> tablets. On the
> >>basis of a particular difference in the titles used, Shea concluded that
> >>there must have been another "king" ruling for some months
> after the fall
> >>of Babylon.
There certainly was another king ruling in Babylon after the fall.
It was not Cyrus or Darius.
It was Cambyses, Cyrus' son.
Cambyses participated in the first Akitu festival
after the conquest.
Cambyses was king of Babylon,
Cyrus was king of lands.
Darius received the title of King of Babylon when
he took over the kingdom from Cambyses, or rather from
Bardyia, Cambyses' brother.
Ok, refering to Daniel:
the term King Belshazzar is not literally correct.
It was never used in any Babylonian tablet I've read,
and I've read quite a few by now.
It may have been used in the story to convey to
the reader the power that Belshazzar did have.
Belshazzar's reference to Nebuchaddnezzar as his
father is interesting, and I'd never thought of it before.
Darius in the Gadatas inscription refers (very definitely,
I think) to Cyrus as his father.
This suggests that those who preceded you in the
line of kingship become your "father." Perhaps to
admit otherwise, or to deny the relationship, would
imply you have no literal right to the throne.
Ok, my 2c.
I'll go back to lurking.
Lisbeth S. Fried
Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
New York University
51 Washington Sq. S.
New York, NY 10012
University of Michigan
Department of Near Eastern Studies
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
lizfried at umich.edu
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