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Ruler: Persian Empire: Darius I (the Great) or Xerxes
Reigned: (521 BC - 485 BC) and (485 BC - 465 BC)
Denomination: AR Siglos (Shekel)
Obverse: King kneeling right, in running attitude, holding bow and spear. Banker's marks.
Reverse: Oblong irregular incuse.
Reference: GCV (1966) 2523/4
Weight: 5.5 gms
Diameter: 15.1 mm
Comment: Darius 521-485 BC Xerxes 485-465 BC Shekel was Babylonian measure of weight. 60 Shekel = 1 Manah,
60 Manah = 1 Biltu 3 Shekel = 1 Sheep = 1 Months workman's pay


  • PERSIA, the country in southwest Asia between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf now known as Iran.
  • The Persians were dominated by the Medes until the accession to the Persian throne in 558 BC of Cyrus the Great, an Achaemenid.
  • He conquered the kingdom of Lydia in 546 BC and Babylonia in 539 BC.
  • His son, Cambyses II, extended the Persian empire even further by conquering the Egyptians in 525 BC.
  • DARIUS I (the Great) (522 - 486 BC) ascended the throne in 521 BC. He defeated King Croesus of Lydia in 546 BC, from where he probably discovered the concept of money.
  • Between 499 and 493 BC he crushed a revolt of the Greek Ionians living under Persian rule along the west coast of Asia Minor.
  • He then invaded the Greek peninsular to punish the Greeks for supporting the rebels. He was defeated at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC and Darius died while preparing a new expedition.
  • XERXES I (486 - 465 BC) was the son of Darius I.
  • After subduing a rebellion in Egypt, he spent three years preparing to re-invade Greece.
  • Xerxes is supposed to have crossed the Hellespont (Dardanelles) by a bridge of boats more than a kilometre long.
  • During the spring of 480 BC he marched his forces through Thrace, Thessaly, and Locris.
  • At Thermopylae the Spartan king, Leonidas I, and his men famously defended the narrow pass, so delaying the Persians for ten days.
  • Xerxes then advanced into Attica and burned Athens.
  • At the naval Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, his fleet was defeated by a much smaller flotilla of Greek ships commanded by the Athenian Themistocles.
  • Xerxes retreated to Asia Minor, leaving his army in Greece under the command of his brother-in-law, Mardonius, who was slain at Plataea the following year. Xerxes was murdered at Persepolis by Artabanus, captain of the palace guard.

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