Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C

By Maria Brosius | Go to book overview

his rank as a King's Friend and was readmitted to the King's Table ( FGrH688 F 14 (41)). Amestris, who was depicted as acting rigorously against anybody who threatened the family, clearly acted for the conservation of the family. The underlying impression is that the actions of the king's mother were altogether motivated by an utmost concern for the welfare of her family.

The reason for Megabyxos' revolt against the king was the fact that the king had not kept his word concerning the fate of Inaros. The revolt was not motivated by a wish to overthrow the king; he had not harmed in any way the king's family (as Masistes' family had in overstepping its rights when Artaynte demanded the robe). In the second incident Megabyxos tried to come to the king's rescue rather than show his superiority in the hunt. The king's mother Amestris seemed to know exactly when her support was required, and when she had to intervene for her family. If, however, a close kin died, the king's mother considered it her duty to avenge the death.90

Finally, the king's mother Parysatis saved the life of Arsaces' wife Stateira.91 When her family was sentenced to death, Arsaces appealed to his mother to intercede for Stateira with the king, and Stateira stayed alive. The incident happened prior to Artaxerxes' succession to the throne. It is clearly an example of the concern of the king's mother for her family.


CONCLUSION

Two groups of women can be distinguished who have an active part in the political life of the Persian court. One group was royal women, the other group noble ladies, including royal daughters married to nobles and daughters of noble descent. While their ability to act depended on their status, their motives for action were very similar. The main motivation for action was the welfare of their family, to save the life of a family member or to ensure the

____________________
90
The same action was taken by Parysatis after Cyrus' death (see above p. 113- 14). For Artaxerxes I this obviously caused a conflict in the case of Inaros and the Greeks ( FGrH688 F 14 (36)). Inaros had killed one of Amestris' sons, so she prosecuted him while Megabyxos wanted to save his life.
91
Ctesias, FGrH688 F 15 (55); Plut. Art. 2. 2. In Esther 7: 7 Haman asked the queen to intercede with the king to save his life. Cf. also Xen. an. 1. 1. 3 for Parysatis' intervention for Cyrus.

-119-

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Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • Abbreviations and Symbols xiii
  • Weights and Measures xviii
  • Note to the Reader xix
  • I - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Titles for Royal Women 13
  • Introduction 13
  • 3 - Royal Marriage Alliances 35
  • 4 - Royal Women and the Achaemenid Court 83
  • Introduction 83
  • Conclusion 119
  • 5 - Women and the Economy of Achaemenid Persia 123
  • Summary 180
  • 6 - Conclusion 183
  • Glossary 201
  • List of Royal Marriage Alliances 204
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index of Ancient Sources 245
  • General Index 254
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