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Satrap of Parthia, Hyrcania, Media, Matiene and Sophene
Reign521 - 480 BC
Issue Hydarnes II, Stateira, Terituchmes, Sisamnes
Full name
House Achaemenid
Dynasty Achaemenid

Hydarnes (Greek: Ὑδάρνης, from Old Persian Vidarna- possibly New Persian H(a)idar), son of Bagābigna, was a Persian nobleman of the Achaemenid Empire in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC. He was one of the seven conspirators against the usurper, Gaumâta, who killed him and then proclaimed Darius I as the Persian king. Hydarnes then served Darius I as a commander and remained influential during his reign.

Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.



The etymology of Vidarna is debatable. It is possible that it is from the root vida meaning knowledge with Vidarna signifying "the one who knows". Others believe the compound vi-drna suggests "strike" as in "one who strikes". The latter etymology raises an interesting prospect, for in Modern Persian and Urdu there is a possible surviving variant of the name in H(a)idar (حیدر) long thought to be of Arabic origin due to its literation but which means lion (the striking animal). If this is so, Vidarna could be rendered lion-like. for the lion also had obvious associations with Mithra, a major god of the Achaemenid religion.

Urdu national language and lingua franca of Pakistan; standardized register of Hindustani

Urdu —or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.

Arabic Central Semitic language

Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic.

Mithra Zoroastrian angelic divinity (yazata) of Covenant, Light, and Oath. In addition to being the Divinity of Contracts; an all-seeing Protector of Truth and the Guardian of Cattle, the Harvest, and of the Waters.

Mithra is the Zoroastrian angelic Divinity (yazata) of Covenant, Light, and Oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest, and of the Waters.


In 522 BC, a Magian named Gaumâta seized power in the Achaemenid empire, claiming to be Smerdis, the brother of the legitimate king Cambyses. Hydarnes was one of the seven conspirators along with Otanes, Ardumanish, Gobryas, Intaphrenes, Megabyzos and Darius against the usurper Gaumâta. After they killed Gaumâta in September 522 BC, they proclaimed Darius the new Great King of Persia. [1]

Otanes is a name given to several figures that appear in the Histories of Herodotus. One or more of these figures may be the same person.


Ardumaniš was a Persian nobleman and son of Vakauka. He is sometimes considered as identical with Aspathines. He was one of the seven conspirators who killed the Magian Gaumāta, who had attempted to usurp the throne of the Achaemenids, and helped Darius the Great become king.

Gobryas was a common name of several Persian noblemen.

After the successful transfer of power, Hydarnes served Darius I as a commander against the rebellious Medes under Phraortes[ citation needed ]. In 521 BC, the Persians defeated the Medes in a battle near Maruš (Mehriz, thirty kilometres south of modern Yazd). [2]

Medes ancient Iranian civilization

The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.

Yazd City in Iran

Yazd, formerly also known as Yezd, is the capital of Yazd Province, Iran. The city is located 270 km (170 mi) southeast of Esfahan. At the 2011 census, the population was 529,673, and it is currently 15th largest city in Iran. Since 2017, the historical city of Yazd is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Hydarnes remained an influential man during the reign of Darius. From tablets found at Persepolis, it is known that he was satrap of Media in 499 BC. [3] The influence of Hydarnes also secured the appointment of his sons as satraps. Herodotus states that Hydarnes’ son Sisamnes was the satrap of Aria and that the younger Hydarnes was "in command of the whole Asian seaboard". [4] During the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC, the younger Hydarnes was given command of the "Immortals"; [5] while Sisamnes was given command of a levy of Arian troops. [6]

Persepolis Ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire

Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Satrap Ruler of a province in ancient Persia

Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy; and the word also came to suggest tyranny, or ostentatious splendour.

Herodotus Ancient Greek historian

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into an historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

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Behistun Inscription ancient stone inscription in present-day Iran

The Behistun Inscription is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief on a cliff at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran, established by Darius the Great. It was crucial to the decipherment of cuneiform script as the inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. The inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script.

Darius the Great 3rd king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (550–486 BC)

Darius the Great or Darius I was the fourth Persian king of the Achaemenid Empire. He ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya and coastal Sudan.

Bessus satrap of Bactria

Bessus, also known as Artaxerxes V, was a prominent Persian Satrap of Bactria in Persia, and later self-proclaimed King of Kings of Persia. According to classical sources, he killed his predecessor and relative, Darius III, after the Persian army had been defeated by Alexander the Great.

Bardiya Achaemenid emperor

Bardiya, also known as Smerdis among the Greeks, was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings. There are sharply divided views on his life. He either ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BC, or was impersonated by a magus called Gaumāta, until he was toppled by Darius the Great.

Media (region) region of Iran

Media is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes. During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan. As a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would eventually encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north. However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated due to the Partition of Babylon and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media.

Megabazus Iranian military leader

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The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary Armenian dynasty and the rulers of the successor state to the Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Ararat). The Orontids established their supremacy over Armenia around the time of the Scythian and Median invasion in the 6th century BC.

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Full translation of the Behistun Inscription

The following translation of the Behistun Inscription was made by L.W. King and R.C. Thompson
Where names are rendered by the Greek or Biblical form, the Persian original regularly follows in square brackets. The letter "x" in Persian transcription represents the "kh" sound, like German "ch" as pronounced after "a", "o" or "u" in German.

Lydia (satrapy) satrapy of the Achaemenid empire

The Satrapy of Lydia, known as Sparda in Old Persian, was an administrative province (satrapy) of the Achaemenid Empire, located in the ancient kingdom of Lydia, with Sardis as its capital.

Petubastis III Egyptian pharaoh

Seheruibre Padibastet, better known with his hellenised name Petubastis III was a native Ancient Egyptian ruler, c. 522 – 520 BC, who revolted against Persian rule.

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Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley Military conquest

The Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley refers to the Achaemenid military conquest and occupation for about two centuries of territories of the North-western regions of the Indian subcontinent. The conquest of the areas as far as the Indus river is often dated to the time of Cyrus the Great, in the period between 550-539 BCE. The first secure epigraphic evidence, given by the Behistun Inscription inscription, gives a date before or about 518 BCE. Achaemenid penetration into the area of the Indian subcontinent occurred in stages, starting from northern parts of the River Indus and moving southward. These areas of the Indus valley became formal Achaemenid satrapies as mentioned in several Achaemenid inscriptions. The Achaemenid occupation of the Indus Valley ended with the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great circa 323 BCE. The Achaemenid occupation, although less successful than that of the later Greeks, Sakas or Kushans, had the effect of acquainting India to the outer world.

Hydarnes II Ancient Persian military commander

Hydarnes II, son of Hydarnes, was a Persian commander of the Achaemenid Empire in the 5th century BC. His father was one of the seven conspirators against Gaumata.

Seven Achaemenid Clans or seven Achaemenid houses were seven family important which had key rules during Achaemenid era. Only one of them had regnant pedigree.

Megabyzus I

Megabizus I, also Megabyzos, was an Iranian noble man during the Achaemenid Empire. On 522 BC he gave the throne to King Darius of Persian by killing Gaumata who pretended to be Bardiya, son of Cyrus the Great and legitimate pretender to the throne. He was a commander of Darius I's army in Europe


Mitrobates was an Achaemenid satrap of Daskyleion under the reigns of Cyrus the Great, by whom he was nominated, and Cambyses. After Cambyses died, and during the struggles for succession that followed, he is said to have been assassinated, together with his son Cranaspes, by the neighbouring satrap of Lydia, Oroetes, who had expansionist views on Anatolian territory. After that, Oroetes added the territory of Hellespontine Phrygia to his own territory of Lydia.

After Cambyses had died and the Magians won the kingship, Oroetes stayed in Sardis, where he in no way helped the Persians to regain the power taken from them by the Medes, but contrariwise; for in this confusion he slew two notable Persians, Mitrobates, the governor from Dascyleium, who had taunted him concerning Polycrates, and Mitrobates' son Cranaspes; and besides many other violent deeds, when a messenger from Darius came with a message which displeased him, he set an ambush by the way and killed that messenger on his journey homewards, and made away with the man's body and horse. So when Darius became king he was minded to punish Oroetes for all his wrongdoing, and chiefly for the killing of Mitrobates and his son.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.


  1. Herodotus: Histories III, 70
  2. Behistun Inscription, Column 2, §25.
  3. "Livius.org Articles on ancient history". Hydarnes (1). 1 January 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  4. Herodotus, Histories VI,133
  5. Herodotus: Histories. VII, 83
  6. Herodotus: Histories. VII, 66