[b-hebrew] Darius

Robert Newman rob at designceramics.co.uk
Thu Sep 21 20:11:31 EDT 2006

Dear John, you write:

The "timeline" contained in BibleWorks shows  a 
Darius III from 336BC to 331BC and
Darius Nothus  423BC to 404BC and
Darius Hystaspis 521BC to 486
Who are these and what is known about them?
It also says that Darius was defeated at Marathon 
490BC but it does not say which this was!
John B. Senterfitt 

RN: I guess this question is prompted by an earlier post by Liz Fried who wrote:

So, we are back to Daniel again. Who are the three kings or four in Daniel 11:2? The fourth one is Darius who was conquered by Alexander, he is Darius the Persian. The first one is Darius the Mede, then Cyrus. Then Ahasueros, then Darius the Persian Those are the four kings.

The difficulty is that they know that Darius is the king conquered by Alexander, but they do not know of more than one Darius. Thus the Rabbis, Seder Olam, and I presume Daniel, considers that the Artaxerxes under whom both Nehemiah and Ezra served is the throne name of Darius the Persian.
Liz Fried

Daniel 11:1 mentions the time of 'Darius the Mede' as a start point. Darius the Mede ruled for a time after Cyrus took Babylon, all the other kings of the Medeo-persian empire were Persian. The three Darius' you ask about are Persian kings.

Daniel 11:2 The three kings to stand up for Persia are either Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius I (ommitting Bardiya because he may have only ruled for only a few months) or as I prefer Cambyses, Bardiya, Darius I (It makes sense not to count Cyrus, who was already standing as a king of Persia). Another option would be Cyrus, Cambyses, Bardiya, this latter option points to Darius I as the forth king.

King Darius I (Hystaspis) did campaign against the Grecian states (it was he that was forced to retreat at marathon in Greecian territory), but it was the next king called Xerxes who truely roused everything against the Greecian states with a campaign to dwalf all others. According to information recorded by Herodotus, Xerxes army would have amounted to some 2,317,610 men.so we must conclude that Xerxes is refered to as the forth king (hence why I conclude either Bardiya or Cyrus is not included in the three. A study of the dated cuniform documents extant from Bardiya's reign by Rolf Furuli suggests that he likely ruled about 18 months, which seems like too long a rule to ignore, Cyrus however was already ruling, so why would he be counted as one who would stand up?). 

There were several kings that followed Xerxes to the Persian throne and none of those kings took war into Greece. The campaign of Xerxes is of great significance as Persia's greatest effort to subdue the Greeks. Yet despite that, it was from Macedonia that a mighty king eventually rose. (I see no reason to conclude that the forth king of Daniel 11:2 is that last of Persia's kings, the words are a satifactory description of real history, the mention of four kings is not a full description of the Persian dynasty it is just a way of indicating the timing of a momentus event in history)

Following Xerxes was Artaxerxes, then Darius II, Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III, Artaxerxes IV, then Darius III. It is this last Darius who was defeated by young Alexander. Alexander won three major battles against the Persians the last of which was at Gaugamela.

Robert Newman

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