Darius I was born in 550 B.C. Darius was the son of a satrap of Persia. Satrap’s were leaders under the king who ruled a region of land. During his childhood, the king at that time, Cyrus the Great, had a vision that Darius would one day rule the world. Fearing that his dream would come true, Cyrus ordered Darius’ father to keep an eye on Darius and to make sure that he doesn’t kill Cambyses II, king Cyrus’ son and successor. However Darius had no intention of killing Cambyses, instead he became a spearman in the Persian army and fought side-by-side with Cambyses, protecting him when he became king
In 522 B.C., when the people of Persia revolted against Cambyses II’s rule, a man named Gaumata pretended to be the brother of Cambyses and seized the throne. Seven Persian nobles including Darius, gathered their forces together and overthrew and killed Gaumata.
Upon killing Gaumata, the seven nobles realised that they had to choose a new government. The nobles discussed various governments including democracy, oligarchy and monarchy. Eventually, the nobles decided that monarchy would be the best form of government for their empire. In order to choose who would be king, the nobles decided that everyone should gather at dawn arriving on their horses and that the horse that neighed first would be the king of Persia. Darius’ horse neighed first and he became the king.
Expanding his Empire
After becoming king, Darius had to squash the revolts in his own empire. After gaining full control, Darius began to expand his empire, by conquering new lands such as Egypt and the Indus Valley. Soon the Persian empire reached its peak, becoming one of the largest empires in the world.
Darius I was succeeded by his son, Xerxes.