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Frâda

Frâda: name of the king of Margiana, ruled 522-521 BCE.

Behistun Relief, Frâda (center) and Skunkha (right)
Behistun Relief, Frâda (center) and Skunkha (right)
In March 522 BCE, a Magian named Gaumâta seized power in the Achaemenid empire, claiming to be the brother of the legitimate king Cambyses. (Gaumâta 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, 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 north to Armenia and to the east to Parthia. Even further to the east, Margiana revolted, an oasis in the Karakum desert.

The leader of the Margian insurrection was one Frâda. Because Margiana was not a very important part of the Achaemenid empire, no action was undertaken. At the end of the spring of 521, however, the Medes had been defeated and in July the Parthian rebellion had been suppressed; only some mopping up operations were needed to restore order in the Achaemenid empire. The satrap of Bactria, Dâdarši, advanced against the rebels, which he defeated on December 28, 521 after a march of three hundred kilometers through the Karakum desert.

In the Behistun inscription, which was made immediately after the above mentioned events, Dâdarši's victory is presented as if it was just as important as the victories over the rebels in Babylonia or Media.

King Darius says: The province called Margiana revolted against me. A certain Margian named Frâda they made their leader. Then sent I against him a Persian named Dâdarši, my servant, who was satrap of Bactria, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that  host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Dâdarši 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 Âçiyâdiya was the battle fought by them.
   King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Bactria.

One version of the text (the Aramaean, which is severely damaged) even mentions 55,423 Margians killed and 6,972 taken captive, which is certainly exaggerated.

Bibliography