Darius as king

Important to say that his rule was of course based on military force! He established an elite cavalry force, the 'Immortals', a cavalry unit of 10,000 men, whose numbers were always kept up to strength - hence "immortals".


...snow, rain, heat  This bit was adopted as the motto of the US Postal Service – it would not have done for British Rail! A message could travel from the capital to the coast – about 2,000 miles – in about a week, compared with an army which would take 3 months. Tickets were issued to all official travellers and their animals for free food on their journey (source the Persepolis Fortification Archive – page 31.)

The first ‘Suez Canal’ This linked the Nile and the Red Sea, not the Mediterranean directly, as does the modern one. It was a project begun about 600 BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho, but never finished, although there is evidence that a canal may have existed much earlier – possibly since 1800 BC. Necho may have been reconstructing a very ancient project. 120,000 men died working on Necho's scheme according to Herodotus. The total distance (including lakes) was 114 miles. The canal was apparently wide enough for two triremes (oared galleys) to pass abreast.

The daric coin carried an important propaganda message: the daric showed a king, crouched - actually meant to be running - holding a bow and arrow. Telling whoever handled it that there was a king, who might appear as easily as his coin had appeared, and deal with any trouble there might be! It was almost pure gold, and remained in circulation, design unchanged, until Alexander.

The winged image probably represents not Ahura Mazda directly, but the "farr" which Iranians believed was a sort of god-given aura that accompanied and protected those whom the god had chosen (a sort of animated halo?). The parasol shows the kings status - and also reminds us that Iran can be VERY hot.

Arta and Data compare current discussions about "Human Rights" v laws of a particular country.

Religion. More on Ahura Mazda on the website: http://www.the-persians.co.uk/darius3.htm

More on website: http://www.the-persians.co.uk/darius2.htm