See also:king of infamous memory; the prevalent Greek
See also:Smerdis has assimilated the Persian name to the Greek (
See also:Asiatic) name Smerdis or Smerdies, which occurs in the poems of
See also:Alcaeus and
See also:Anacreon . Smerdis was the younger son of Cyrus the
See also:Great who, according to
See also:Ctesias, on his deathbed appointed him
See also:governor of the eastern provinces (cf . Xen . Cyrop. viii . 7, 11) . Before Cambyses set out to
See also:Egypt, he secretly caused him to be murdered (Darius in the
See also:Behistun Inscr. i . 10), being afraid that he might attempt a
See also:rebellion during his
See also:absence . His
See also:death was not known to the
See also:people, and so in the
See also:spring of 522 a usurper pretended to be Smerdis and proclaimed himself king on a
See also:mountain near the Persian
See also:town Pishiyauvada . Owing to the despotic
See also:rule of Cambyses and his long absence in Egypt, " the whole people, Persians, Medes and all the other nations," acknowledged the usurper, especially as he granted a remission of taxes for three years (Herod. iii . 68) . Cambyses began to
See also:march against him, but seeing that his cause was hopeless, killed himself in the spring of 521 (but see further CAMBYSES) . The real name of the usurper was, as Darius tells us, Gaumata, a Magian
See also:priest from
See also:Media; this name has been preserved by
See also:Justin i .
See also:Charon of
See also:Lampsacus?), but given to his
See also:brother (called by
See also:Herodotus Patizeithes), who is said to have been the real
See also:promoter of the intrigue; the true name of the usurper is here given as Oropastes; by Ctesias as Sphendadates . The
See also:history of the false Smerdis is narrated by Herodotus and Ctesias according to official traditions; Cambyses before his death confessed to the
See also:murder of his brother, and in public explained the whole
See also:fraud . But, as Darius said, nobody had the courage to oppose the new king, who ruled for seven months over the whole
See also:empire . Some contracts dating from his reign have been found in Babylonia, where his name is spelt Barziya (for the chronology cf . Ed .
See also:Meyer, Forschungen zur
See also:alien Geschichte, ii . 472 ff.) . Darius says that he destroyed some temples, which Darius restored, and took away the herds and houses of the people (Behistun Inscr. i . 14) . We have no means of explaining this statement, nor can we fully understand all the incidents connected with his usurpation; but the attempts of
See also:modern authors to prove that Gaumata in reality was the genuine Smerdis and Darius a usurper have failed . It is certain that Smerdis transferred the seat of
See also:government to Media; and here in a
See also:castle in the
See also:district of Nisaya he was surprised and killed by Darius and his six associates in
See also:October 521 . His death was annually celebrated in
See also:Persia by a feast called " the killing of the magian," at which no magian was allowed to show himself (Herod. iii .
79, Ctes . Pers . 15) . In the next
See also:year, another pseudo-Smerdis, named Vahyazdata,
See also:rose against Darius in eastern Persia and met with great success . But he was finally defeated, taken prisoner and executed (Behistun Inscr. iii . 40 ff.; perhaps he is identical with the King Maraphis " the Maraphian," name of a Persian tribe,who occurs as successor in the
See also:list of Persian
See also:kings given by
See also:Aeschylus, Pers . 778) . See DARIUS (I.) and PERSIA,
See also:Ancient History . (ED .
FRIEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884)
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