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Choara/Thara (Ahuan)

Choara or Thara: place along the Silk Road where Darius III Codomannus was killed.
The road near Ahuan. Photo Marco Prins., the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The Elburz mountains near Ahuan. Photo Marco Prins.
The Elburz mountains near Ahuan

, a place in western Parthia somewhere between modern Ahuan and Qosheh, is the place where the last Achaemenid king of ancient Persia, Darius III Codomannus, was murdered by his own courtiers (July 330). He had been pursued by the Macedonian invader Alexander the Great and had already been taken prisoner by his own men near the Caspian Gate.

Choara is situated along the Silk Road, which is in this part of Iran a narrow line of fertile ground between the Elburz Mountains in the north and the desert in the south. Its fertility is caused by artesic wells which find their water in the mountains.

A caravanserai between Ahuan and Qosheh. Photo Marco Prins.
A caravanserai between Ahuan and Qosheh

From the place now known as Semnan, Alexander made a detour through the southern desert, the Dasht-e Kavir. Because he did not have to go through the mountains, his cavalry could be faster than the Persians convoy. Early in the morning, the Persians saw a large dust cloud and knew what was going to happen. They murdered their own king, who was, according to our sources, found by one of Alexander's men, who gave him some water. There are several wells between Ahuan and Qosheh; the caravanserai on the photo to the left is built near one of them. It may or may not have been the place of Darius' death.

Choara is called Thara by Justin, which must be a corruption of Choara. This town is mentioned by Ptolemy of Alexandria, Pliny the Elder, Strabo of Amasia, and Isidore of Charax. A satellite photo can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2005
Revision: 26 July 2008
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