Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other


A Persian nobleman. Terracotta figure from Persepolis. Archaeological museum, Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
A Persian nobleman.
Terracotta figure from
Persepolis (Archaeological
, Tehran)
Dādarši: name of a Persian satrap who ruled in Bactria in 522 BCE.

In March 522 BCE, a Magian named Gaumāta seized power in the Achaemenid empire, claiming to be the brother of the legitimate king Cambyses. Gaumāta could do this, because this brother, Smerdis, had been killed secretly. Immediately, Cambyses advanced to the usurper, but he died before he reached Persia; the false Smerdis was able to rule for several months. However, Cambyses' relative Darius I the Great, together with six Persian noblemen, killed the usurper (September 29). Darius became king and faced a serious crisis: nearly all provinces of the Achaemenid empire revolted. The most important rebellion was that of the Medes, whose leader was king Phraortes. His rebellion spread to the east to Parthia and to the north to Armenia.

Even further to the east, the oasis of Margiana revolted. The leader of the Margian insurrection was one Frāda. Immediately, the satrap of Bactria, Dādarši, advanced against the rebels, which he defeated on December 28, 521 after a march of three hundred kilometers through the Karakum desert.

The only source that describes the event is the Behistun inscription:

King Darius says: The province called Margiana revolted against me. A certain Margian named Frāda they made their leader. Then sent I against him a Persian named Dādarši, my servant, who was satrap of Bactria, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that  host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Dādarši went forth with the army, and gave battle to the Margians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. Of the twenty-third day of the month Āēiyādiya was the battle fought by them (DB, 38).

In January 2005, the Iranian police confiscated from art smugglers an ancient seal with the words "Dadar Šiš, satrap of Bactria". It shows a mounted archer who is hunting a lion and the symbol of Ahuramazda.

Dādarši must not be confused with his namesake, who at the same time fought against the Armenians.

© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 1998
Revision: 5 Dec.  2009
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other