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

written by "Abbott, Evelyn"
...nner as Herodotus, our excerpt continues: "The moderation of the others was so great that when they had received the sign from the gods (Justin speaks only of the neighing, not of the thunder and lightning), they at once sprang from their horses and greeted Darius as king. The whole people followed the decision of the princes and made him their king. By such a trivial circumstance did the monarchy of the Persians, which was won by the valour of the seven noblest men, come into the hands of one person. It is extraordinary that those who risked their lives to wrest the throne from the Magians, should have resigned it with such readiness, though it is true that in addition to the nobility of form, and the valour, which made Darius worthy of the throne, he was also related by blood to the ancient kings."[214] The excerpt from the account of Ctesias tells us: "Sphendadates (p. 208 ff.) had reigned seven months (i. e. after the death of Cambyses). Of the seven Darius became king because his horse first neighed at the rising of the sun, which was the sign agreed upon among them; but it was induced to neigh by a certain trick and stratagem. Since then the Persians celebrate the slaughter of the Magians on the day on which Sphendadates the Magian was slain."[215] An election to the throne was not a matter of necessity after the fall of the Magian. The older line of the royal house, 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 o...

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