NameAtossa of Persia
MotherNeithiyti of Egypt (~580bc-)
Misc. Notes
Atossa (Old Persian Hutaosâ) was the daughter of the Persian king Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE) and the first wife of king Darius (522-486).

Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses (530-522). According to the Greek researcher Herodotus , he fell in love with one of his sisters, Atossa. This suggests that Atossa was born before 545 BCE, because in Antiquity, girls usually married after they were about fifteen years old.

Later, Atossa had to marry an usurper king, the Magian usurper Smerdis , who had seized power in March 522. In September 522, Darius, a member of the younger branch of the royal family, the Achaemenids , staged a countercoup and became king. To improve his claim to the throne, Darius married to Atossa, her sister Artystone , and her niece Parmys . There may have been another important element: the name Atossa is Zoroastrian , and it may be that Atossa belonged to a family with conntection in the Persian religious establishment.

Darius and Atossa had four sons:
Xerxes was born in c.520 BCE. He became king of the Achaemenid empire and died in 465.
Masistes was their second son. Masistes is a title ('the big one', i.e., after Xerxes), and there are very strong indications that his real name was Ariamenes. He was one of the commanders of the Persian army during Xerxes' campaign against the Greeks and was killed after a dynastic quarrel in 478.
Achaemenes became the Persian satrap of Egypt, probably in 485. He commanded a part of the Persian navy during Xerxes' campaign against the Greeks. In 459, he was killed by Egyptian rebels.
Hystaspes became satrap of Bactria, one of the most important parts of the Achaemenid empire.
Herodotus tells us that Atossa had Greek slaves and servants. He mentions the doctor Democedes of Croton as one of her favorites; this Greek organized a reconnaissance expedition to the west, c.519.

Atossa is conspicuously absent from all Persepolis fortification tablets , which suggests that she died before 515, the year in which the oldest tablets were written. (Her absence cannot be coincidental; there are too many tablets.) Herodotus' statement that she helped Xerxes become king is therefore unlikely to be true. The same applies to Aeschylus ' play The Persians , in which we see queen Atossa as a widow.
Birthabt 550 BC
Deathabt 486 BC
ChildrenXerxes I 'The Great' (~519bc-~465bc)
Last Modified 24 Jul 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh