Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/51

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DARIUS I, HYSTASPES

self, having apprehended and punished Atrines for claiming the crown of Susiana, turned his attention to Babylonia, where, after fighting two battles, he took the capital and put to death the impostor, Nadinta-belus. While he was thus engaged the rest of the provinces revolted. As soon as he was free to do so he hurried to Media to assist Hydarnes against Phraortes, whom he overthrew in battle and finally executed. While here he sent a force into Sagartia under one of his generals, who defeated Sitratachmes, the usurping king, and brought him back a prisoner. Meanwhile, with some assistance from him, Armenia had been subdued and Hystaspes had restored order in Parthia and Hyrcania. The satrap of Bactria had also suppressed the uprising in Margiana. Finally, Darius himself saw the end of the second in Persia and Arachotia, while Intaphernes was subduing the second in Babylonia.[1]

The above outline, which is intended merely to indicate the probable order of the events mentioned, might convey an erroneous impression with reference to the duration of the struggle between Darius and his adversaries. It really lasted about three years. There ought to be no difficulty, with the data given, to construct a chronology of his victories; but, unfortunately, although he gives the month and the day of the month in almost every case, he does not mention the year to which these belong, or arrange his narrative so that the omission can always be supplied. Still, it is possible, with the help of Babylonian tablets belonging to the period, to determine approximately a number of important dates. Thus, the impostor Gomates must have set up his claim to the throne of Persia in the spring of 522 B.C.[2] The death of Cambyses occurred late in the summer of the same year.[3] In the following autumn Gomates was overthrown by Darius,[4] who be-

  1. RP.2, i, 116 ff.; Nöldeke, APG., 31 f.
  2. The time of year is determined by a tablet dated in "Airu [April–May], the year of the beginning of the reign of Bardes, king of Babylon, king of the lands." KB., iv, 294 f. The year can hardly have been 523 B.C., as Prášek (GMP., i, 266) asserts, since Cambyses must have been informed of the event within a few weeks after it occurred, and must have taken steps to meet the usurper very soon after the receipt of such information. He did not, however, according to Prášek himself (GMP., i, 267) leave Egypt until the spring of 522 B.C. This, therefore, was probably the year of the beginning of Gomates's usurpation.
  3. Prášek, GMP., i, 275.
  4. Prášek, GMP., i, 282.