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Darius the Mede


DARIUS THE MEDE , Persian king. According to the Bible in Daniel 6:1 (cf. 11:1) Darius the Mede succeeded Belshazzar as king of Babylon. The reference is historically impossible and has caused much confusion. A possible explanation may be found in the recapture of Babylon in 520 b.c.e. by *Darius i and the loose use of the term Mede for Persian by the Greeks and Mineans. A more recent explanation is based on the Achaemenian Persian doctrine of three world monarchies of which Persia was the third. The Chaldeans were assumed to be the founders of the first great empire; they were followed by the Medes and finally by the Persians. The Jews substituted the Chaldeans for the Assyrians and the Persians. Darius, who conquered Babylon, was regarded by the Judean writer as Darius the Mede, successor to the Chaldean, Belshazzar, and as the predecessor of Cyrus the Persian.


H.H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel (1935); H.L. Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel (1948), 5, 63–64, 69.

[Jonas C. Greenfield]

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