Forum

Persia 04: The Sons of Darius

Darius had as many as twelve sons by five different royal women. A sixth wife, Phaidime daughter of Otanes, evidently did not have children by Darius.

By the daughter of Gobryas, Darius had three sons:

1) Artobarzanes. Variants of the name Artobarzanes are Artabazus and Artabanus.
2) Arsamenes, also called Ahmose/Amasis/Arsames of Maraphis/Sarsames, pharaoh of Egypt. (Note: Menes ~ Ah/Thoth)
3) Ariabignes, killed at Salamis.

By Atossa daughter of Cyrus, Darius had four sons:

4) Achaemenes, also called Darius.
5) Masistes, also called Ariaramnes/Ariamenes/Areiamana. (Note: Masistis is derived from a word meaning, “second”. He was the second son of Atossa.)
6) Hystaspes
7) Xerxes

By Artystone daughter of Cyrus, Darius had two sons:

8) Abrocomas
9) Hyperanthes

By Phratagune daughter of Artanes, Darius had two sons:

10) Arsames
11) Gobryas

By Parmys daughter of Bardiya, Darius had one son:

12) Ariomardus

It is generally believed that Xerxes gained the election by virtue of being the eldest son of Atossa. However, Atossa was previously the consort of two other Great Kings, namely Cambyses II/Tanuatamon and Smerdis/Assurbanipal. Therefore, her three oldest sons were likely born to Cambyses and Smerdis with Xerxes being born after the accession of Darius as Great King and his marriage to Atossa.

This can also be deduced from the typecasting of Xerxes, which was strongly patterned after “Judah” and “Benjamin”. (A "Judah" prince was fourth in the birth order. A “Benjamin” prince could either be a 12th son, a 7th son, or simply the youngest son of a Great King.) Xerxes would have been the 7th son overall, including the sons of the daughter of Gobryas, and the 4th and youngest son of Atossa. The typecasting of Xerxes will be detailed in the next installment.

If Artanes is a name of Cyrus, then the number of royal princes should be reduced to ten. Abrocomas and Hyperanthes (sons of Artystone) should be considered to be one and the same as Arsames and Gobryas (sons of Phratagune). The name Arta-Nes does in fact bear similarity to an Egyptian name of Cyrus, Nes-Ptah, “King Ptah”.

Darius also had four prominent sons-in-laws:

1) Mardonius son of Gobryas.
2) Daurises (believed to have died in 497 BC), and therefore possibly not one and the same as prince Darius son of Atossa.
3) Hymaees (believed to have died in 496 BC), a good candidate for the villainous Hyman of the Book of Daniel.
4) Otanes son of Sisamnes, a good candidate for the virtuous Daniel of the Book of Daniel. This Otanes was highly favored by Cyrus/Artaphrenes and Darius, and known for proposing that Persia become a “democracy”.