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Darius III (c. 380 – r.336 - 330 BC), originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name. Darius III is also known by popular name Dara (दारा).[1]


After Artaxerxes III of Persia and all of his sons were killed by the vizier Bagoas, the vizier installed a cousin of Artaxerxes III, Artashata, on the Persian throne as Darius III. When Darius tried to act independently of the vizier, Bagoas tried to poison him, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself. The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects. However, he lacked the skills and experience to deal with these problems.

Alexander's invasion 334 BC

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying the capital Persepolis, by fire, in 331 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed in 330 BC by the satrap Bessus, who was also his cousin.

Ch.21: Darius is Assassinated by Bessus

Arrian[2] writes....At this time Bagistanes, one of the Babylonian niobles, came to him from the camp of Darius, accompanied by Antibelus, one of the sons of Mazaeus. These men informed him that Nabarzanes, the commander of the cavalry which accompanied Darius in his flight, Bessus, viceroy of Bactria, and Barsaentes, viceroy of the Arachotians and Drangians,[1] had jointly arrested the king. When Alexander heard this, he marched with still greater speed than ever, taking with him only the Companions and the skirmishing cavalry, as well as some of the foot-soldiers selected as the strongest and lightest men. He did not even wait for Coenus to return from the foraging expedition; but placed Craterus over the men left behind, with instructions to follow in short marches. His own men took with them nothing but their arms and provisions for two days. After marching the whole night and till noon of the next day, he gave his army a short rest, then went on again all night, and when day began to break reached the camp from which Bagistanes had set out to meet him; but he did not catch the enemy. However, in regard to Darius, he ascertained that he had been arrested and was being conveyed in a covered carriage[2]; that Bessus possessed the command instead of Darius, and had been nominated leader by the Bactrian cavalry and all the other barbarians who were companions of Darius in his flight, except Artabazus and his sons, together with the Grecian mercenaries, who still remained faithful to Darius; but they, not being able to prevent what was being done, had turned aside their march from the public thoroughfare and were marching towards the mountains by themselves, refusing to take part with Bessus and his adherents in their enterprise. He also learnt that those who had arrested Darius had come to the decision to surrender him to Alexander, and to procure some advantage for themselves, if they should find that Alexander was pursuing them; but if they should learn that he had gone back again, they had resolved to collect as large an army as they could and to preserve the rule for the commonwealth. He also ascertained that for the present Bessus held the supreme command, both on account of his relationship to Darius and because the war was being carried on in his viceregal province. Hearing this, Alexander thought it was advisable to pursue with all his might; and though his men and horses were already quite fatigued by the incessant severity of their labours, he nevertheless proceeded, and, travelling a long way all through the night and the next day till noon, arrived at a certain village, where those who were leading Darius had encamped the day before. Hearing there that the barbarians had decided to continue their march by night, he inquired of the natives if they knew any shorter road to the fugitives. They said they did know one, but that it ran through a country which was desert through lack of water. He nevertheless ordered them to show him this way, and perceiving that the infantry could not keep up with him if he marched at full speed, he caused 500 of the cavalry to dismount from their horses; and selecting the officers of the infantry and the best of the other foot-soldiers, he ordered them to mount the horses armed just as they were. He also directed Nicanor, the commander of the shield-bearing guards, and Attalus, commander of the Agrianians, to lead their men who were left behind, by the same route which Bessus had taken, having equipped them as lightly as possible; and he ordered that the rest of the infantry should follow in regular marching order. He himself began to march in the afternoon, and led the way with great rapidity.[3] Having travelled 400 stades in the night, he came upon the barbarians just before daybreak, going along without any order and unarmed; so that few of them rushed to defend themselves, but most of them, as soon as they saw Alexander himself, took to flight without even coming to blows. A few of those who turned to resist being killed, the rest of these also took to flight. Up to this time Bessus and his adherents were still conveying Darius with them in a covered carriage; but when Alexander was already close upon their heels Nabarzanes and Barsaëntes wounded him and left him there, and with 600 horsemen took to flight. Darius died from his wounds soon after, before Alexander had seen him.[4]

1. The Drangians lived in a part of Ariana west of Arachosia.

2. Justin (xi. 15) and Curtius (v. 34) state that Darius was bound in chains of gold. The former says that the name of the place was Thara in Parthia, where the king was arrested. Probably these chains were those worn by the king or his nobles, according to the Persian custom. This is the only sentence in Arrian where περὶ suffers anastrophe, coming after the noun.

3. Plutarch (Alex., 42) says that Alexander rode 3,300 stades, or about 400 miles, in eleven days. In the next chapter he says that only sixty of his men were able to keep up with him in the pursuit.

4. Curtius (v. 24-38) gives very ample details of what occurred during the last days of Darius. Cf. Diodorus (xvii. 73); Justin (xi. 15).


Ch.22: Reflections on the Fate of Darius

Arrian[3] writes.... Alexander sent the body of Darius into Persis, with orders that it should be buried in the royal sepulchre, in the same way as the other Persian kings before him had been buried.[1] He then proclaimed Amminaspes, a Parthian, viceroy over the Parthians and Hyrcanians. This man was one of those who with Mazaces had surrendered Egypt to Alexander. He also appointed Tlepolemus, son of Pythophanes, one of the Companions, to guard his interests in Parthia and Hyrcania. Such was the end of Darius, in the archonship of Aristophon at Athens, in the month Hecatombaion.[2] This king was a man pre-eminently effeminate and lacking in self-reliance in military enterprises; but as to civil matters he never exhibited any disposition to indulge in arbitrary conduct; nor indeed was it in his power to exhibit it. For it happened that he was involved in a war with the Macedonians and Greeks at the very time he succeeded to the regal power[3]; and consequently it was no longer possible for him to act the tyrant towards his subjects, even if he had been so inclined, standing as he did in greater danger than they. As long as he lived, one misfortune after another was accumulated upon him; nor did he experience any cessation of calamity from the time when he first succeeded to the rule. At the beginning of his reign the cavalry defeat was sustained by his viceroys at the Granicus, and forthwith Ionia Aeolis, both the Phrygias, Lydia, and all Caria[4] except Halicarnassus were occupied by his foe; soon after, Halicarnassus also was captured, as well as all the littoral as far as Cilicia. Then came his own discomfiture at Issus, where he saw his mother, wife, and children taken prisoners. Upon this Phoenicia and the whole of Egypt were lost; and then at Arbela he himself fled disgracefully among the first, and lost a very vast army composed of all the nations of his empire. After this, wandering as an exile from his own dominions, he died after being betrayed by his personal attendants to the worst treatment possible, being at the same time king and a prisoner ignominiously led in chains; and at last he perished through a conspiracy formed of those most intimately acquainted with him. Such were the misfortunes that befell Darius in his life-time; but after his death he received a royal burial; his children received from Alexander a princely rearing and education, just as if their father had still been king; and Alexander himself became his son-in-law.[5] When he died he was about fifty years of age.

1. The Persian kings were buried at Persepolis. See Diodorus, xvii. 71. Plutarch (Alex., 43) says that Alexander sent the corpse of Darius to his mother.

2. In the year B.C. 330, the first of Hecatombaion fell on the first of July.

3. Darius came to the throne B.C. 336.

4. In 2 Kings xi. 4, 19 the word translated captains in our Bible is Carim, the Carians. These men formed the body-guard of the usurper Athaliah, who stood in need of foreign mercenaries. David had a bodyguard of Philistines and Cretans. The Carians served as mercenaries throughout the ancient world, as we learn from Thucydides, i. 8; Herodotus, i. 171; ii. 152; v. 111; Strabo, xiv. 2. The Lydians appear in the Bible under the name of Lud (Isa. lxvi. 19). Herodotus (i. 94) gives an account of the colonization of Umbria by the Lydians, from which sprung the state of the Etruscans. Hence Vergil (Aeneid, ii. 782) speaks of the "Lydius Tybris." See also Aeneid, viii. 479; Horace (Satires, i. 6, 1); Tacitus (Annals, iv. 55); Dionysius (Archaeologia Romana, i. 28).

5. He married Barsine, eldest daughter of Darius (Arrian, vii. 4 infra). She was also called Arsinoe and Stateira.


सिकन्दर और दारा

327 ई० पू० (?) में सम्राट् सिकन्दर ने ईरान के सम्राट् डेरियस III (दारा) पर आक्रमण कर दिया। ईरान के सम्राट् ने सिन्धु देश के जाट राजा सिन्धुसेन (जिसका गोत्र सिन्धु था) से सहायता मांगी। राजा सिन्धुसेन ने अपने तीरकमान और बर्छे धारण करने वाले सैनिकों को दारा की सहायता के लिये भेजा। अर्बेला के स्थान पर दोनों सेनाओं में भयंकर युद्ध हुआ।

सिकन्दर का साथी यूनानी इतिहासज्ञ एरियन लिखता है कि “सिकन्दर की सेना के दहिया आदि जाटों तथा दारा की सेना के सिन्धु जाटों का आपस में क्रूर युद्ध हुआ।” हैरोडोटस लिखता है कि “सिकन्दर की सेना किए जिस भाग पर जाट लोग झुक जाते थे वही भाग कमजोर पड़ जाता था। सिंधु योद्धा रथों में बैठकर लड़ते थे। वे अपनी कमान को पैर के अंगूठे से दबाकर कान के बराबर तानकर तीर छोड़ते थे। सिकन्दर को स्वयं इनके मुकाबले के लिए सामने आना पड़ता था।” इस सेना में 25 हाथी और 200 रथ भी थे। प्रत्येक जाट ने वह पराक्रम दिखलाया कि मानो वह जीत की पक्की अभिलाषा रखता है किन्तु अर्बेला के इस युद्ध में दारा मारा गया तथा सिकन्दर की जीत हुई। सिकन्दर ने कोप कर ईरान की राजधानी परसीपोलिस को तहस-नहस कर दिया2

ईरान को जीतकर सिकन्दर ने भारत की ओर प्रस्थान किया। 326 ई० पू० में वह काबुल घाटी में पहुंचा और यहीं से उसने भारत विजय की योजना बनाई।

उस समय सिन्ध नदी के पश्चिम में तथा पंजाबसिन्ध प्रान्तों में जाटों के छोटे-छोटे अनेक प्रजातन्त्र राज्य थे जिनमें अधिक शक्तिशाली सम्राट पोरस था। इन सब राज्यों का आपस में कोई संगठन न था तथा आपस में लड़ते झगड़ते रहते थे। उस समय बलोचिस्तान प्रान्त का शासक जाट राजा चित्रवर्मा था जिसकी राजधानी क़लात थी। हिन्दूकुश से सिन्ध नदी तक

1. Historians' History of the World Vol. 3-4, Page 348-351-361; एवं अनटिक्विटी ऑफ जाट रेस, पृ० 47-48, लेखक उजागरसिंह माहिल और जाट्स दी ऐनशन्ट रूलर्ज पृ० 251 लेखक बी० एस० दहिया।
2,3. जाट इतिहास पृ० 181, 695, लेखक ठा० देशराज। जाट इतिहास पृ० 48-49, लेखक ले० रामसरूप जून। भारत का इतिहास पृ० 45-46, हरयाणा विद्यालय शिक्षा बोर्ड, भिवानी।

जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-360

पहुंचने में सिकन्दर को 10 महीने लगे थे, किन्तु सिन्ध से व्यास नदी तक उसको 19 महीने लग गये। (मौर्य साम्राज्य का इतिहास, लेखक सत्यकेतु विद्यालंकार।

External Links

Darius III at wikipedia


  1. Note - Western historians have called him as Darius-III, whereas some Indian historians have called him as Darius-II. This confusion has to be sorted out, because this is because of linguistic problems - Persian Vs. Greek/ Western names. --Dndeswal (talk) 05:02, 13 January 2015 (EST)
  2. [[Arrian]:The Anabasis of Alexander/3b, Ch.21
  3. [[Arrian]:The Anabasis of Alexander/3b, Ch.22