Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 20 >> Wittekind to Yttrium >> Xerxes


darius, salamis and fleet

XERXES, zPrk'sz (Lat., from (1k. 2.r.(ptr, from infer. Xiayargq. mighty hero). Three kings of Persia, the first two of whom belonged to the celebrated Aelnemenian dynasty.—X ERX ES I. (c.51J-e.405 n.e.), commonly identified with the Ahasuerus of the Bible, was the son of Darius 1. Hystaspis and of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus. Born after the accession of his father, in R.C. 521, Xerxes seized that pretext to supersede three older brothers, and ascended the throne upon the death of Darius in 485. llis first act, was to subdue the revolt of Egypt. Ile then spent three years in preparing to punish the Greeks for the humiliations they had put upon his' father. Col lecting at Critalla, in Cappadocia. an army which has been estimated to number a million, he marched to Sardis (Lydia) and thence set out for the Hellespont in the spring of 480. A fleet of 1200 sail had in the meantime assembled at, Doriscus, in Thrace. The fate of this unwieldy expedition, successful first at Thermopylx, but crushed at Salamis (480) and at Plata (479), is one of the most familiar stories in history.

(See GREECE.) Xerxes, who had fled from Greece after the disaster to his fleet at Salamis. ad vanced against Babylon. where Samaserba the Chaldman had usurped the royal power. After razing the temples of the city he returned to Persepolis and Susa. Be was murdered with his eldest son, Darius, by Artabanus, captain of the guard.—XERxEs I1. (e.450-c.425 R.c.) was the son of Artaxerxes 1. and Damaspia, and the grandson of Xerxes 1. He ascended the throne upon the murder of his parents (e.425). After a reign of forty-five days he was himself assas sinated and was succeeded by his half brother Sogdianus or Seeydianus.—XERXES III. was the name given to Oarses, who reigned in B.C. 337 330. He was controlled by the eunuch Bagoas, by whom he was proclaimed.