Dreams that changed history: Persian



A few dreams and how they how they played a role in history:  

Astyages King of the Medes had a daughter named, Mandane. “… concerning whom he hada wonderful dream. He dreamt that she urinated is such a quantity as not only to fill his capital, but to flood the whole of Asia. This vision he laid before such of the Magi as had the gift of interpreting dreams, who expounded its meaning to him in full, where at he was greatly terrified.”

 He refused to marry her to any of the royal Medians, as was custom, but instead gave her as bride to a subject Prince of the Persians, named Cambyses. Now a year later, he had a second dream “ He fancied that a vine grew from the privy parts of his daughter, and overshadowed the whole of Asia. After this dream , which he submitted also to the interpreters, he sent to Persia and fetched away Mandane, who was with child, and not far from her time” 

Now the interpretations of the Magi, of his dreams, was that the child of his daughter was destine to rule all of Asia in his stead. As soon as the child was born (Cyrus I the Great) he called Harpagus, a kinsman of his, and ordered him to take the child and put it to death. But Harpagus , being kinsman to the child also, as it was the grandson of Astyages, refused to do so, and give the child to herdsman for safe keeping and to raise. He did and Cyrus grew up to one day found the Persian Empire. 

Cyrus’s Dream

While Cyrus I was on campaign in the east against the tribes of the Massagetae, had a dream. He dreamt “ He seemed to see in his sleep the eldest of the sons of Hystapes, with wings upon his shoulders, shadowing with the one wing Asia, and Europe with the other. “ Now Hystaspes was a kinsman of Cyrus, and of the royal line, and his eldest son was Darius. Cyrus called in Hystapes and told him of the vision , worried that his son Darius was plotting to overthrow him. And wanted him to appear before the king , upon return to Susa. Now Herodotus sees this a forewarning that Cyrus was to be killed in battle , and not as a plot. But the evidence reveals , that yes Cyrus was killed a few days later in battle, and the Empire fell to his son Cambyses II, to which Darius son of Hystaspes was his Cupbearer, and upon his death, a complicated coup seemed to come about, with the end result of Darius becoming King as Darius I. So perhaps it was a vision of a plot? 

Cambyses II Dream 

After Cyrus I had died, his son Cambyses II became king, during his invasion of Egypt, had sent his brother Smerdis ( Bardiya, by some accounts) back to Persia to keep an eye on the affairs at the capital of Susa, then he had a dream “ Cambyses had a vision in his sleep, he thought a messenger from Persia came to him with tidings that Semerdis sat upon the royal thorne and with his head touched the heavens. Fearing therefore for himself and thinking it likely that his brother would kill him and , and rule in his stead, Cambyses sent in to Persia  Prexaspes…bidding him to put Smerdis to death. So this Prexaspes went up to Susa and slew Smerdis…”

 Upon his return from Egypt, there came word to Cambyese of a “ revolt” where as a pair of Magi brothers one the steward of the household had declared Smerdis the other brother, King, an uncanny similarity of names, denouncing Cambyses.  Cambyses forth wit called to question if Prexaspes, if he had failed, in his task, convinced that he told the truth and had preformed the deed, in haste to return and put an end to this usurper, wounded himself and died. 

Darius I as I have mentioned form the dream of Cyrus I, was Cupbearer of Cambyses II, was with him when all this took place, and within a term of 7 months had, killed the usurper Smerdis and became King. Invading Europe and beginning a war with the Greeks after the Ionian revolt and the burning of Sardis. 

Xerxes I

Xerxes was the son of Darius I, following in his father’s footsteps he took up the war against the Greeks and planned to become master of Europe as well as Asia. While at Sardis planning the invasion of Europe there were many discussions as to , if he should invade or not. His uncle Artabanus ( Darius‘ brother) , argued strongly as it was not in his or the empires best interest to invade to the point that finale Xerxes was swayed in to not attempting it. That night as he slept he had a dream: “ he thought a tall beautiful man stood over him and said, “ Hast thou then changed thy mind, Persian, and wilt thou notlead forth they host against the Greeks, after commanding the Persians to gather their levies> Be sure thou doest not well to change; nor is there a man here who will approve thy conduct. The course that thou didst determine on during the day, let that be followed.”After thus speaking the man seemed to Xerxes to fly away” Next day he announced that he intended to follow the council of Artabanus and not war with the Greeks. 

Then a second dream:

“ But when night came, again the same vision stood over Xerxes as he slept and said , “ Son of Darius, it seems thou hast openly before all the Persians renounced the expedition, making light of my words, as though thou hast not heard them spoken. Know therefore and be well assured, that unless thou go forth to the war, this thing shall happen unto thee – as thou art grown mighty and puissant in a short space, so likewise shalt thou within a little time be brought low indeed.” 

Frightened awake he sent for Artabanus and explained the vision. To ease his mind, Artabanus donned the robes of Xerxes and lay in his bed instead, and when a sleep the vision came and stood beside him and said: “Thou art the man, then , who, feigning to be tender of Xerxes, seeks to dissuade him from leading the his armies against the Greeks! But thou shalt not escape scathless, either now or in time to come, because thou hast sought to prevent that which is fated to happen. As for Xerxes, it has been plainly told to himself, what will befall him, if he refuses to preform my bidding.” In such words, as Artabanus thought, the vision threatened him, and then endeavored to burn out his eyes with a red hot irons. At this he shrieked and leaping form the couch hurried to Xerxes, and sitting down at his side, gave him a full account of the vision…” Xerxes went on to invade Europe in 480 B C

Reference: Taken form The Histories: Herodotus of Halicarnassus

CONTRIBUTOR: Cade Pomeraan


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.