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The History of Antiquity
Vol. VI. (vol. VI. of VI.)

written by "Duncker, Max", the descendants of the elder son of Teispes, had become extinct with Smerdis and[Pg 224] Cambyses; the younger line had the right to ascend the throne. The head of this line was Hystaspes. We not only learn from Herodotus, that he was still alive, the inscription of Behistun mentions his achievements after his son ascended the throne. The father gave place to the son, just as the father of Cyrus had given place to his son in the rise of the Persians against Astyages. Hystaspes abandoned the throne in favour of his eldest son. This renunciation, in case of success, must have taken place before Darius set out to Media, when the son went with the princes of the Persians to succeed in the work of liberation or to perish. These princes were in a position to salute Darius as king immediately after the fall of the Magian. A sign from the gods could only be required to show that the son would be accepted in the place of the father. It was more important to prove to the Medians, the inhabitants of Nisaea, that the new ruler who took the place of the murdered prince had done so with the will of the gods, that Darius had seized the crown with the will of Auramazda and Mithra. We know the sacred horses and chariot which the Persians kept for the god of the sun and of light. The lucky neighing with which the horse on which the new king was mounted greeted the rising of the sun on the seventh day after the death of the Magian, put it beyond doubt that the act was just, that the new ruler of Persia was under the protection of the far-seeing Mithra, the god of truth, the destroyer of lies. The narrative of the trick of Oebares is no doubt a Greek invention. In the mind of the Persians it would have deprived the divine signal of any importance. In the narrative of Herodotus it is quite superfluous, for not only does the horse neigh but thunder and lightning occur in a clear sky. The[Pg 225] name of the groom, Oebares, does not improve the st...

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