Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

  1. #1
    Scorch's Avatar One of Giga's Ladies
    Patrician

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    8,376

    Default Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

    We're told by Herodotus that Xerxes treated the Egyptians and Babylonians harshly because of their revolt shortly after he took the throne. However I'm also told that there's no evidence to suggest this at all. I'm quite curious, what do you guys think?

    Xerxes surely lacked the tolerance that Darius showed in dealing with the religion of his subjects, and it's likely that he was more wary of appearing as a representative of the gods of the subject people, but I'm not quite sure that he would have treated them harshly because of the revolts.
    Patronized by Ozymandias, Patron of Artorius Maximus, Scar Face, Ibn Rushd and Thanatos.

    The University of Sydney | Bachelor of Arts III (Majoring in Ancient History and Italian Studies)

    I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and
    billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
    - Mark Twain

    Godless Musings: A blog about why violent fairytale characters should not have any say in how our society is run.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

    Interesting question Scorch.

    From the outset we know that Xerxes was a far greater devotee to Ahuramazda than Darius ever was due to the Daiva inscription which details his retribution inflicted on a shrine to the Daivas (demons/false Gods).

    Following on from this we have Xerxes's burning of the Acropolis and the melting down of the statues of Marduk in Babylon. His behaviour in Egypt was of a more obviously political nature in tying the Egyptian populace back into serfdom to cow their pride.

    The previous examples however are more to do with political reasons than with religious ones. The burning of the Acropolis was revenge for the burning of Sardis which devastated not only the city but a great many temples.

    The Melting down of the statues in Babylon was only a secondary punitive measure after the great walls of Babylon were apparently torn down. However the melting down of statues came at the time of Xerxes's monumental preparations for his invasion of Greece. As such I believe Xerxes would have been motivated more by the need of gold rather than for religious reasons. In effect he was killing two birds with one stone by punishing the Babylonians and appropriating a large amount of gold bullion.

    The religious retribution of the Daiva inscription took place in Iran and as such does nothing to take away from the Persian policy to meddle as little as possible with their subjects culture.

    In dealing with how other nations were treated in Xerxes's early years it is critical to remember that he was on the eve of launching the greatest expedition ever attempted. This required the king, the seat of all political power, to leave the empire with the vast majority of its military personnel. As such it was imperative that he make sure no one had any ideas above their station before he left. So in the end his hand was forced in order to preserve the empire for his return.


    Apologies for the lack of citations but these are the holidays and my books are few and far between.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

    I know one persian killed the the apis bull, Cambyses I think, which would have greatly upset the native egyptians and wouldnt bode well for any future persians in egypt. But as for Xerxes, Im not too sure,sources, which are nearly always greek wouldnt have much kind words to say about him. Especially so in egypt with the ptolemies who came to power there after alexander's conquests. They would have certainly painted the persians as evil and corrupt to make their occupation more bearable to the native egyptians


  4. #4

    Default Re: Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

    <<<<We're told by Herodotus that Xerxes treated the Egyptians and Babylonians harshly because of their revolt shortly after he took the throne. However I'm also told that there's no evidence to suggest this at all. I'm quite curious, what do you guys think?

    Xerxes surely lacked the tolerance that Darius showed in dealing with the religion of his subjects, and it's likely that he was more wary of appearing as a representative of the gods of the subject people, but I'm not quite sure that he would have treated them harshly because of the revolts.>>>>

    Xerxes I , 485 — The last days of Darius were embittered by disputes between his sons about the succession; until at length Xerxes , born Darius by his second wife , Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, was declared the heir. Xerxes then marched against the Egyptian rebels , and placed the subject country under severe treatment of his brother , the Satrap Achaemenes. He is the Ahasuerus— a title, not a name– who confirmed the Jews in all the privileges granted by his father , and forced the Samaritans to contribute to the building of the Jewish Temple. His cruel ties and dissolute life were terminated by assassination ; his murderers gave out that he fell by the hands of his son Darius , 465, who however, shortly afterwards fell in a similar manner.
    The next 70 years were full of rebellion and revolution . Culminating in 401 BC of the retreat of the ten thousand.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Xerxes' religious policy, with relation to Egypt and Babylon ...

    Generally, the kings of the Persian empire allowed the satraps (provinces) to follow their own customs and traditional forms of goverment and religion as long as they paid a tribute to the king each year, supplied troops and "behaved", i.e. did not rebel. Babylon and Egypt defied these terms and Xerxes tightened his control over them to ensure that they would no longer rebel against him. The burning of the statues of Marduk in Babylon, of course was not a politically wise thing for him to do, it gave him a bad reputation as an ignorant and wreckless ruler, but it worked for him...he suppressed the rebellion and made an example out of the Babylonians. As prevously mentioned, the rebellions were quite early on in this reign and Xerxes, as a new ruler had to demonstrate his hold on the empire.

    Xerxes was never popular with the Egyptians, his father Darius I, built temples for the Egyptians and used the titles they gave him where as Xerxes did none of this.

    However, its unfair to say that Xerxes was not tolerant of other religions in the empire. I believe that Xerxes was only hostile to those who posed a threat to him and he destroyed their religious buildings to demonstrate to them his strong hold on the empire. Although it did backfire on him...when Alexander the Great invaded Persia he first looted Persepolis (the ceremonial capital that Darius and Xerxes built) and then burnt it to the ground as revenge for the burning of the temples of Athens.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •