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XerxesA Persian Life$
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Richard Stoneman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300180077

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300180077.001.0001

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Family Romances

Family Romances

(p.181) Chapter Eight Family Romances

Richard Stoneman

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Xerxes's love life, which proved to be his downfall. Unlike his polygamous father, Xerxes spent his life married to a single woman, Amestris, the daughter of Otanes, the commander of the Persian army that marched to Greece. Amestris bore Xerxes three sons (Darius, Hystaspes, and Artaxerxes) and three daughters (Amytis, Rodogyne, and Ratahshah). Xerxes scores quite highly in terms of love and fidelity. However, Xerxes's fidelity collapsed in the last days of the expedition to Greece; while in Sardis he fell for the wife of his full brother Masistes. This chapter considers the polygamy of the Persian kings, along with the question of whether there is a building or suite of rooms that may be described as a harem in the Achaemenid Empire. It also examines Xerxes's affair with his niece in his last years as well as his relationship with Queen Esther.

Keywords:   love life, Xerxes, Amestris, fidelity, Persian kings, Masistes, polygamy, harem, Achaemenid Empire, Queen Esther

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