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    Xerxes I (Old Persian: 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, romanized: Xšaya-ṛšā; c. 518 – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 BC.

    • October 486 – August 465 BC
    • Atossa
    • Early Campaigns
    • Greece: The Persian Wars
    • The Battle of Salamis
    • Xerxes' Building Projects & Death

    Xerxes was not the eldest of Darius' sons but, as the first-born of his marriage with Atossa, was chosen as successor. Upon Darius' death, Xerxes' older half-brother, Artabazenes, claimed the throne but was rebuffed because his mother was a commoner while Xerxes' mother was the daughter of the great Cyrus. He married the princess Amestris, daughter of Otanes, who would become mother to his sons Darius, Hystaspes, Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BCE, Achamenes, and daughters Amytis and Rhodogune. Upon assuming the throne, Xerxes' Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Mardonius (who was also his cousin and brother-in-law), pressured him to renew the campaign against Greece. Mardonius' motives, it seems, were personal, as he hoped to rule the conquered nation as Satrapfollowing Xerxes' victory. Xerxes' uncle and advisor, Artabanus, tried to persuade him to abandon the expedition but Mardonius' arguments prevailed. Even so, there were many matters to attend to such as the insurrection of Babylon and...

    With relative peace established in his empire, he again turned his attention to Greece and conquest. He spent four years amassing enough supplies and weaponry for the campaign and also conscripting as many men as he could from various regions to ensure his victory. Herodotus tells the story of Pythias the Lydian (a descendant of King Croesus) whose five sons were among those conscripted. Pythias hosted the king and his army lavishly at Sardisin the winter of 481-480 BCE and offered to give Xerxes a considerable sum of money for the campaign, but Xerxes refused his offer and, instead, rewarded Pythias for his generosity by adding greatly to his treasury. Prior to Xerxes' departure for the Hellespont, a bad omen in the form of an eclipse appeared in the sky but Xerxes, assured by his diviners that it meant nothing, proceeded with his plans. Pythias, however, recognized the omen as a warning of impending doom and, emboldened by Xerxes' generosity and kindness, asked if his eldest son c...

    At this point, the Greeks, who had abandoned Athens and most of the countryside, had gathered their forces off the coast of the mainland at Aegina and in the Peloponnese and their navy was anchored in the straits of Salamis. Xerxes called a warcouncil to decide on his next move and whether to engage the Greeks at Salamis, return home content with the destruction of Athens, or consider other alternatives. Mardonius counseled in favor of a sea battle, as did all the other allied leaders, except for Artemisia of Caria who provided Xerxes with other options. She claimed that he need do nothing to secure victory but keep the Greeks in place until their supplies ran out and they sued for peace. While he clearly respected Artemisia and thanked her for her advice, he chose the majority opinion and committed to the naval engagement. The Battle of Salamis, which followed, was a disaster for the Persian fleet and cost Xerxes dearly. Following the loss, he again consulted Artemisia for advice a...

    Back home, Xerxes concentrated his efforts on making larger and grander monuments and completing greater building projects than his father. In doing so, he depleted the royal treasury to an even greater extent than his expedition to Greece already had. He maintained the roadways throughout the empire, especially the Royal Road by which messages were carried (the precursor to the Roman mail system and, later, the modern-day postal system) and devoted both time and funds to expanding sites such as Susa and Persepolis. Although Darius' palace still stood, Xerxes' commissioned an even more elaborate building project to raise his own opulent palace nearby and also commanded the construction of the Hall of a Hundred Columns and the building which has been designated `The Harem' by archaeologists (because of the duplication of identical rooms in a row) which may have actually served as Xerxes' treasury. The exorbitant cost of these projects, coupled with the expense of the expedition to Gr...

    • Joshua J. Mark
  2. Xerxes I, Persian king (486–465 BCE), the son and successor of Darius I. He is best known for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 BCE), a campaign marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenian Empire.

  3. Xerxes I makes extensive preparations to invade mainland Greece by building depots, canals and a boat bridge across the Hellespont. Aug 480 BCE Battle of Thermopylae . 300 Spartans under King Leonidas and other Greek allies hold back the Persians led by Xerxes I for three days but are defeated.

  4. Feb 26, 2021 · Most famous for his failure to conquer Greece, King Xerxes is perhaps one of the most notorious Achaemenid Persian kings. Xerxes I had a reputation for harsh punishments, womanizing, and draining the Persian empire’s coffers. He built immense palaces and other projects at Persepolis and left his mark on the history of both Europe and Asia.

  5. Apr 13, 2019 · Xerxes I, also known as Xerxes the Great, was a 5th century Achaemenid king of the Persian empire. He is best known for leading the massive invasion of Greece, marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea. In modern popular culture, Xerxes is perhaps best known as the main antagonist in Frank Miller’s 300, a film based on the ...

    • Dhwty
  6. Xerxes I (Xerxes the Great) was the fourth and the most famous king of the Archaemenid dynasty of Persia. This biography profiles his childhood, family, personal life, life history, achievements, campaigns, administration, death and other facts.

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