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« Tuna 2 / 2016

On the Royal Titulary of Darius I Based on the Example of the Behistun Inscription and Possible Influences from Mesopotamia

This article deals with the question of the origins of the royal titulary used by the Persian King Darius I (522 –486 BC) in his well-known Behistun Inscription. Anal- yses of Teispid and Achaemenid royal titulary are used to show how the Persian tradition of royal ideology to some extent continued the earlier Assyro-Babylonian traditions. The main purpose of this paper is to look for the origin and counterparts of the royal titles used by Darius I in his Behistun Inscription in Mesopotamian sources from the third millennium BC onwards.

As our study shows, the Persian King Darius I from the Achaemenid dynasty seems mostly to have used royal titulary of ancient Mesopotamian origin. However, this titulary differed in some respects from that used first by the Persian kings Cyrus II and Cam- byses II. Darius I did indeed borrow many royal titles and epithets from his predecessor Cyrus II, who had himself borrowed them from Babylonia and Assyria – supposedly without Median or Urartian mediation because Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians had di- rect contact from earlier times, as we have seen from Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian sources – but it seems that Darius I also knew of ancient Assyrian and Babylonian traditions because he used ancient Assyro-Babylonian titles, such as king of all kings, which were not used by Cyrus II but were used by many ancient Mesopotamian kings.