Xerxes I

Twice the charm

Reign Over Egypt

Xerxes rose to power after the death of his father, Darius in 486 BC. Xerxes reigned from 486-465 BC in the Persian Achaemenid Empire. He had six children with his wife Amestris, named Artaxerxes I, Darius, Hystapes, Achaemenes and Rhodogune. Xerxes also had five other children with unknown wives named, Artarius, Tithraustes, Arsames, Parysatis and Ratashan.


During his reign, Xerxes oversaw the completion of projects left by his father, as well as projects of his own.

Left unfinished by his father, Xerxes supervised the completion of the Gate of All Nations and the Hall of a Hundred Columns at Persepolis, which are the largest parts of the palace. He also supervised the completion of Apadana, The Palace of Darius and the Treasury, which his father started, and maintained the Royal Road built by his father.

Xerxes then built his own palace twice the size of his father's, completed the Susa Gate and built a palace at Susa.


In 483 BC Xerxes planned his expedition to invade Greece. His army dug a channel through the isthmus of the peninsula of Mount Athos, later building two bridges across the Hellespont, now known as Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges.

Xerxes first attempt to cross the Hellespont failed when the cables holding both bridges were destroyed in a storm. His second attempt to cross the Hellespont became successful.

At the Battle of Thermopylae Xerxes and his army defeated a small force of Greek warriors, Next at Artemisium, large storms had destroyed Greek ships, stopping the battle. Xerxes was then given advice to attack the Greek fleet in unfavorable conditions causing Xerxes to lose the Battle of Salamis.


There are two theories of how Xerxes died, one according to Ctesias and the other according to Aristotle.

According to Ctesias, Xerxes was murdered in 465 BC by Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard and the most powerful official in the Persian court. After the death of Xerxes, Artabanus accused Darius, Xerxes' son, of his murder and persuaded Artaxerxes, another son of Xerxes, to kill Darius.

According to Aristotle Artabanus killed Darius first and then killed Xerxes.


Xerxes I is most remembered for his first attempt to invade Greece, but succeeded his second attempt.

Works Cited

"Xerxes I." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.

"Xerxes I." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.