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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

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(duh ri' uhss) King of Persia (522-486 B.C.) Successor to Cambyses II in the Persian Empire, Darius spent his early years as king putting down revolts in Media, Persia, and Egypt. After solidifying his power in the Middle East, he set out to reconquer the Scythians and Greeks who had rebelled under his predecessor. He was successful in this venture until the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. From that time the kingdom began a gradual regression until finally conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.

Darius brought a new sense of unity to his empire. He enlarged on the policies of Cyrus the Great in making restoration to those disenfranchised by the Assyrian and Babylonian dominations. The Jews received additional financial aid for finishing the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:8-9 ).

Unlike Cyrus, Darius organized a tightly-knit centralized state and vested himself with absolute power. Twenty satrapies (provinces) were established. Each had a system of checks and balances, with each official watching the actions of his colleagues.

A common code of laws was established in the empire, administered by royal judges. A system of weights and measures were standardized throughout the kingdom to help stimulate the economy and make transactions easier. Several major roads were built, making travel quicker and safer. What may have been the first gold currency was issued by Darius. Aramaic was decreed as the official language of the empire. The people were infused with a new sense of pride as the king made these many improvements. Unfortunately, Darius' successors were unable to maintain his policies after his death.

Mike Mitchell

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Darius'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hbd/​d/darius.html. 1991.
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