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Darius, Persian kings of the Achaemenid dynasty. Darius I (r. 521–486 B.C.), the Great, is regarded as one of the greatest rulers of the ancient Middle East. In 512 he subjugated Thrace and Macedonia and temporarily expelled the Scythians from the Danube region. He then led a series of punitive expeditions into Greece, ultimately leading to the Persian defeat at Marathon in 490. Darius II (r. 423?–404 B.C.), seized the throne from his half-brother, beginning a reign marked by corruption and revolts. Darius III (r. 336–330 B.C.) was the last ruler of an independent Persian empire, which fell to Alexander the Great.

See also: Persia, Ancient.

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