M. Rahim Shayegan, Bardiya and Gaumata: An Achaemenid Enigma Reconsidered

One of the most debated episodes of early Achaemenid history concerns the events that took place in 522–521 B.C.E. during the few months immediately following the death of King Cambyses and preceding the rise to power of Darius I. During this brief period, the Achaemenid throne was held/seized by one or several individual(s), about whose identity our sources provide conflicting information. Thus, discord exists not only with respect to the nature of the succession itself; but also the identity of the successor/usurper; the number of usurpers; and the motives and nature of Darius’ own rise to power.