Quest for Asia - Darius the Great v2.2
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"The mass of his [Dareios'] power spread out everywhere. First of all, he now set up a new bas-relief of stone. This picture showed a horse-rider and carried following inscription: "Dareios, the son of Hystaspes, acquired the Persian throne by help of his horse and his equerry Oibareus."
- - Herodotos, Histories III (88-89)
In 550 BC, the Persian king Kyros (Cyrus) the Great overthrew the Dejokid dynasty of the Medes, an Iranian tribe that wandered in about 500 years ago. In 546 BC, he conquered the powerful Lydian empire, and in 539 BC he occupied Babylon, the most powerful city on earth at that time.
In 529 BC, he was succeeded by his son, Cambyses, who, in 525 BC conquered Egypt. Cambyses then planned to conquer the oasis of Siwa, but the expedition failed. The king himself wanted to undertake a campaign in Nubia. In 522 BC, however, news arrived that in Hagmatana (Ecbatana, Hamadan) his brother usurped the throne. Cambyses knew that this was impossible, for he had murdered his brother when he accessed the throne. Underway to Persia, Cambyses died in an accident.
A member of his royal staff, Dareios, the son of Hystaspes, gathered some old friends around him and killed the usurper, a Magi (priest) of Median descent. The assassination was followed by a series of revolts throughout the empire, the most important ones in Babylonia and Central Asia. Dareios could suppress all these, and managed to re-organize his empire within a couple of years.
His army was regarded to be invincible, for it pushed towards the outermost borders, far into Libya, India and Central Asia, but it was defeated in 512 BC, in a campaign against the European Scythians who lived in today's Ukraine.
In 508 BC, the pro-Persian government in Athens was replaced by a democratic one, but an alliance was quickly signed.
In 500 BC, however, the Ionian Greeks, who resided in Asia Minor, revolted against the Persian government. This was supported by Athens, and a wave of Greek solidarity followed, beginning the so-called "Persian Wars". The Greeks feared that Athens would soon fall to the Persians, but the invasion of 490 BC was a failure for the Greeks defeated the Persians at the famous battle of Marathon. Dareios died in 486 BC, and his empire crumbled through revolt. Can you succeed where Dareios failed?
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