Theme, Week 2 (Jan. 8-14): “King”
The furthest-back ancestors I’m aware of having are, Persian kings. This per a genealogist in Norway with a humongous database who does research for the Flekkefjord Historical Society.
Thus, the graphic at top my blog here (and the image below): the Rock of Behistun, famed monument of Darius I the Great (522-486 BC), king of the Persian Empire at the greatest height of its wealth and power, among my 63rd great-grandfathers.
Who woulda thunk?! Certainly not me, let alone anyone else in my family except, my maternal Norwegian Grandma Rosalie, she who endured merry laughter at her assertions that her line connected to, “all the kings & queens of Europe.”
Well, Go Gramma! 😉 Because, according to Norsk genealogy records you were 100% right and, then some: kings & queens worldwide was more like it.
Genealogy discoveries often make history come alive, and for me, a lot of it history I was previously unfamiliar with; this one falls into that category.
The Behistun rock is much more than “mere” images — those are accompanied by, “a brief autobiography of Darius, including his ancestry and lineage. Later in the inscription, Darius provides a lengthy sequence of events following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II in which he fought nineteen battles in a period of one year (ending in December 521 BC) to put down multiple rebellions throughout the Persian Empire. The inscription states in detail that the rebellions, which had resulted from the deaths of Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses II, were orchestrated by several impostors and their co-conspirators in various cities throughout the empire, each of whom falsely proclaimed kinghood during the upheaval following Cyrus’s death,” relates Wikipedia.
Versions of this in three different languages cover the rock.
“Approximately 15 metres high by 25 metres wide and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media,” “The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines.” It’s “illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. The supine figure is reputed to be the pretender Gaumata. Darius is attended to the left by two servants, and nine one-metre figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. Faravahar floats above, giving his blessing to the king.”
The son of Vishtaspa — also known as Hystaspes, a Persian satrap (governor) of Bactria & Persis, Darius was born circa 553 BC at Persia. He died 486 BC Persia.
While Britannica.com calls Darius, “one of the greatest rulers of the Achaemenid dynasty,…noted for his administrative genius and for his great building projects;” and, Civilization.wikia.com concurs with, he “was recognized as a great organizer, builder, and financier. Ruling Persia during the first century, Darius both consolidated control of his kingdom and substantially expanded its borders, creating one of the largest empires in history;” Wikia.com tells us, “Darius was most remembered for being the coldest and most brutal of the ‘four great rulers’ of Persia. … He used bribery and blackmail to gain power, was brutal to his enemies and was prone to violent rages and outbursts at the slightest provocation. He was still very kind to his subjects who supported him and (toward those who did not break the law) was just as fair-handed as his predecessors.”
I wonder what he/she looked like?, is always top of my ancestor questions, and, hopefully the three portraits included here give us an idea.
1 Thank you Signe Elisabeth Zijdemans! 😉
2 Browser address, http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Behistun_Inscription ; accessed Jan., 2015.