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DARIUS III.

—Biblical Data:

Last King of Persia; reigned from 336 to 330 B.C.; conquered by Alexander the Great. He is probably the "Darius the Persian," with whose reign the record of the priestly heads of families mentioned in Nehemiah (xii. 22) ended. On this passage compare Eduard Meyer, "Entstehung des Judenthums," p. 103.

G. E. Me.—In Rabbinical Literature:

Darius and Cyrus were the commanders of Belshazzar's two legions. When they saw him in a debauched state, they made him descend from his throne, deprived him of his crown and of his royal robes, and left him standing in his shameful nakedness (Esth. R. iii. 1; compare David Luria ad loc.). According to another version, Darius and Cyrus were Belshazzar's doorkeepers (Cant. R. iii. 1). It was during Darius' reign that Daniel disobeyed the order to worship the king ('Ab. Zarah 3a; compare Dan. vi. 11-12).

The latter Darius, by whom the Talmud means the king mentioned in Ḥag. i. 1, and who is not identical with Darius the Persian (see R. H. 3b, and Tos. ad loc.), was the son of Esther, and thus of pure descent on his mother's, and impure on his father's, side. This is implied in the Syrian hyrax (Lev. xiii. 5), the emblem of the Medo-Persian empire, uniting as it does the signs of the clean and of the unclean animals (Esth. R. viii. 3; Lev. R. xiii. 5). Compare Cyrus.

L. G. C. L.
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