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§Middle East


Darius I the Great, son of Hystaspes, a government official, succeeds Smerdis and rules from 521 to 486 BCE. cial.

Darius provides a lengthy sequence of events in the Behistun Inscription following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II in which he fought nineteen battles in a period of one year (ending in December of 521 BC) to put down multiple rebellions throughout the Persian Empire.

"King Darius of Persia, who reigned from c. 521 to 486 BC, presided over perhaps the most celebrated ancient postal system and used it to extend his power throughout the Middle East and into Asia. The king copied his orders onto wax-covered tablets using a metal stylus and entrusted them to his postmen, who were legendary for their efficiency. 'Nothing mortal travels so fast as these Persian messengers,' marveled the Greek historian Herodotus. 'These men will not be hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the disĀ­tance which they have to do, either by snow, or rain, or heat, or by darkness of night. The first rider delivers his dispatch to the second, and the second passes it to the third; and so it is borne from hand to hand along the whole line, like the light of the torch-race.

The Babylonian rebellion against Persian rule is suppressed.


Lucius Tarquinius Superbus is the king of Rome


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