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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Megabyzus
M to Medea 2 Medea 3 to Miletus 2 Milmas to Mytilene
One of the seven Persians who successfully mounted the revolt which deposed the usurper, Smerdis, from the throne of the Persian Empire.
When the second king of the Persian Empire, Kambyses (Cambyses) was occupied with the subjugation of Egypt, a Mede named Smerdis assumed the role of Kambyses’ dead brother, also named Smerdis, and claimed the throne for himself; Kambyses had secretly arranged the murder of his brother, Smerdis, and therefore knew that the Smerdis on the throne was not his brother but before Kambyses could return to confront the false-Smerdis and reclaim his throne, he accidentally wounded himself with his own sword and died.
The false-Smerdis was very clever at concealing his true identity and never left the palace or allowed high ranking Persians to see him; the false-Smerdis not only bore the same name as Kambyses’ brother but was also physically similar to him, with one exception: the Median Smerdis had no ears; Kambyses had inflicted a punishment on the Mede that required that his ears be lopped off.
One of the seven conspirators, Otanes, was the first to suspect that something was wrong and he devised a plan to determine the truth of the matter; Otanes’ daughter, Phaedyme, was the wife the true-Smerdis and was occasionally required to attend the false-Smerdis as part of his pretense to the throne; Otanes instructed her to secretly feel Smerdis’ head to see if he had any ears; Phaedyme bravely obeyed her father and recognized the false-Smerdis for what he was.
Otanes began to recruit other Persians in what would ultimately be a rebellion; with the help of Megabyzus, Aspathines, Gobryas, Intaphrenes, Darius and Hydarnes, Otanes plotted to murder the false-Smerdis and reclaim the throne of the empire for the Persians; the seven rebels fought their way into the false-king’s chamber and killed him; when the populace found out what had transpired, a wave of violence swept the city and only darkness saved the Medes from complete extermination.
The seven men then debated as to which type of government to establish; the former king, Kambyses, had been cruel and excessive in the extreme but Darius argued for another monarchy and finally won the others to his point of view; Darius was installed as the third king of the Persian Empire in 521 BCE; Megabyzus and the other rebels were granted special privileges in the new kingdom and were allowed to have an audience with the king at any time unless he was with one of his wives.
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