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Le mazdéisme politique de Darius Ier

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A new examination of the events of 522 and 521 as they are recounted in the Bisotun inscription and by the classical authors leads to identifying the ins and outs of the accession of Darius: it is clear that the religious dimension of the military and economic organization reform was significant. The Bisotun inscription, already in itself, is that of a text we have to describe as religious: the place, the form, the language and the contents vouch for it. The religious power is confiscated from the Medes, and Darius, besides the fact he is the king of kings, becomes the supreme mazdayasnian authority, the successor to Zoroaster: the royal onomastics clearly shows its effects; according to the Darius' royal ideology as it is conserved in the Ša¯h-na¯ama, ``before Darius'', in practice, amounts to saying ``before the Achaemenids'', for the family of the Teispes, Cyrus and Cambyses has been absorbed in the Darius' one (blood alliance); on the other hand, for the mede dynasty was erased from the history, before Darius, there is only the mythical model: the Kavis, who are priests-kings and not mere kings. The absorption of the Teispes family turns the Darius' lie into a truth which his victory over the rebels ratified/legalized while those latter are liers whose lie is established by their defeat. To pay the tax amounts to settling fees which are owed to the officiant: to govern is a sacrificial ceremony. Therefore, we understand better why the satrap who makes sure that the taxes are paid is named ``protector of the hold (the king has over the deity)''. In passing, propositions are made to give etymological or semantical explanation for the following words and names: Achemenes fn. 125; OP a¯-gariya- fn. 101; OP ahura- fn. 6, fn. 115; OP ahuramazda¯- § 12; OP arika- fn. 102; Artaphernes fn. 118; Artaxerxes § 7; OP arya- § 11; Aryenis § 1; OP baga- fn. 37; Bagistanon/Bisitun § 9; Cyrus fn. 24, § 15; OP anhati fn. 51; Darius § 7; De¯rousiaîoi fn. 47; OP draujana- fn. 102; OP hamiçiya- fn. 102; Oropastes and Patizeithes § 24; OP rdu-mani¯ša- fn. 125; OP magu- § 13; satrape § 19 sq.; Av. spenta- fn. 114; Xerxes fn. 27; Av. zarauštra- fn. 47; Av. zarauštro¯o.tema-§ 12; OP zurah-kara- fn. 102.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Lièege, Département des Sciences de l'Antiquité, Langues et Littératures Orientales, B-4000 – Liège, Place du 20 Aoûut, 7, Bât. A 1 E-mail:


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