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This article is about the Assassin. You may be looking for the Persian king.

Artabanus, who later adopted the name Darius,[1] was the Persian assassin of King Xerxes I of Persia.

A proponent of free will, he is considered to be one of the very first proto-Assassins, active several centuries before the order's formal establishment. His assassination of the Persian king was the first recorded usage of the Hidden Blade, which went on to become the iconic weapon of the Assassin Brotherhood.

Biography

During the 5th century BCE, the precursors to the Templars supported the reign and conquests of the Achaemenid kings Darius I and his son Xerxes I.[2] Opposing the Persian kings' tyranny over the people, Darius personally assassinated King Xerxes I with the Hidden Blade in August 465 BCE, in what would become the first recorded use of the Assassins' iconic weapon.[3]

By 48 BCE, his Hidden Blade wound up in the hands of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, who passed it on to her protector Aya. After she made her own, Aya in turn gave Darius' blade to her husband Bayek. After the two founded the Hidden Ones, it became the iconic weapon of their organization,[4] still used centuries later when their Brotherhood reformed as the Assassins.[3]

By the time of the Renaissance, a tomb had been dedicated to Darius beneath Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy. The Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze explored the tomb and took the hidden seal from the tomb's sarcophagus, which later allowed him to obtain the Armor of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad sealed in the Sanctuary beneath Villa Auditore in Monteriggioni.[3]

A statue of Darius was also erected sometime before 1476 in the sanctuary beneath the Villa Auditore in Monteriggioni.[3]

Trivia

  • Unlike most Assassins, Darius wore his Hidden Blade on the right arm.
  • Historically, Artabanus had murdered the Crown Prince of Persia Darius just prior to killing Xerxes according to Aristotle. The Latin historian Justinus however offers an alternative account where Crown Prince Darius was executed for the patricide of Xerxes after being framed by Artabanus.

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