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Whatever truth, Darius turned out to be second only to Cyrus as ‘Great King, King of Kings,’ and even more than Cyrus, architect of Persian Empire. Despite his chance choice, Darius had royal blood of Achaemenes in his veins, for he descended from a collateral branch of family. Darius ruled for thirty-five years, at first putting down rivals (he fought nineteen battles at rate of nearly a battle a month, and defeated nine upstart kinglets), then giving empire institutions that Cyrus had been too busy to devise. He had to keep subject populations contented enough not to revolt (for conquered masses greatly outnumbered ruling Persians), but disciplined enough to pay heavy taxes to support court and armies.” (2)
He established a secret spy network not unlike his far later relative and recent King, Shah of Iran; but he also established a reliable postal service not unlike Pony Express that Herodotus was inspired to write words now used as motto of US Postal Service. We have all heard it and wondered perhaps, why we are not told origin bespeaks great things in other cultures.
“… Sir Roger Stevens to write, in The Land of Great Sophy: ‘There can be no proper understanding of what underlies modern Iran unless we recognize significance of this triumph of legend over history, or art over reality, this preference for embellishment as against unvarnished fact, for ancient folk beliefs as against new-fangled creeds.’” (3)
Author of Diverse Druids and other books about the real world Columnist for The ES Press World-Mysteries.com guest 'expert'