In 522 BCE, the Achaemenid Empire was in a great crisis. King Cambyses was dead, his brother (or his presumed brother - no one knew) had been assassinated and a distant relative named Darius had become king. There were revolts everywhere. Among the rebels were the Medians, whose king was Phraortes. After Darius had defeated him, a Sagartian named Tritantaechmes continued the struggle for Median independence. A pro-Persian, Median general named Takhmaspâda defeated and arrested Tritantaechmes in the spring of 521.
Darius tells the story in the Behistun inscription:
King Darius says: A man named Tritantaechmes, a Sagartian, revolted from me, saying to his people: 'I am king in Sagartia, of the family of Cyaxares.'
Then I sent forth a Persian and a Median army. A Median named Takhmaspâda, my servant, I made their leader, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that host which is in revolt, and does not acknowledge me.'
Thereupon Takhmaspâda went forth with the army, and he fought a battle with Tritantaechmes. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host, and they seized Tritantaechmes and brought him unto me. Afterwards I cut off both his nose and ears, and put out one eye, he was kept bound at my palace entrance, all the people saw him. Afterwards I crucified him in Arbela.note[Behistun Inscription 33-34.]