Beautiful Africa

Early reign

Following his coronation at Pasargadae, Darius moved to Ecbatana. He soon learned that support for Bardiya was strong, and revolts in Elam and Babylonia had broken out. Darius ended the Elamite revolt when the revolutionary leader Aschina was captured and executed in Susa, after three months the revolt in Babylonia had ended. While in Babylonia, Darius learned a revolution had broken out in Bactria, a satrapy which had always been in favour of Darius, and had initially volunteered an army of soldiers to quell revolts. Following this, revolts broke out in Persis, the homeland of the Persians and Darius. These new revolts led to a renewed revolt in Elam and Babylonia. With all these ongoing revolts, revolts broke out in Media, Parthia, Assyria, and Egypt. By 522 BCE, the majority, if not the entire Achaemenid Empire was revolting against Darius and in turmoil. Even though Darius did not have the support of the populace, Darius had a loyal army, led by close confidants and nobles (including the six nobles with whom he removed Gaumata) with whom he was able to suppress and quell all revolts within a year. In Darius's words, he had killed a total of eight "lying kings" through the quelling of revolutions. Darius left a detailed account of these revolutions at the Behistun Inscription. One of the significant events of Darius's early reign was the slaying of Intaphernes. Intaphernes was one of the seven noblemen who had deposed the previous ruler and installed Darius as the new monarch. The seven had made an agreement that they could all visit the new king whenever they pleased, except w en he was with his wife. One evening, Intaphernes went to the palace to meet Darius, but was stopped by two officers who stated that Darius had retired for the night. Becoming enraged and insulted, Intaphernes drew his sword and cut off the ears and noses of the two officers. While leaving the palace, he took the bridle from his horse, and tied the two officers together. The officers went to the king and showed him what Intaphernes had done to them. Darius began to fear for his own safety; he thought that all seven noblemen had banded together to rebel against him and that the attack against his officers was the first sign of revolt. He sent a messenger to each of the noblemen, asking them if they approved of Intaphernes's actions; they denied it and disavowed any connection to Intaphernes's actions, stating that they stood by their decision to appoint Darius as King of Kings. Taking precautions against further resistance, Darius sent soldiers to seize Intaphernes, along with his son, family members, relatives and any friends who were capable of arming themselves. Darius believed that Intaphernes was planning a rebellion, but when he was brought to the court, there was no proof of any such plan. Nonetheless, Darius killed Intaphernes's entire family, excluding his wife's brother and son. She was asked to choose between her brother and son. She chose her brother to live. Her reasoning for doing so was that she could have another husband and another son, but she would always have but one brother. Darius was impressed by her response and spared both her brother's and her son's life.