Darius II, king of Media Atropatene

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Birthdate: (30)
Birthplace: Iran
Death: -10 (26-34)
abt 40 AD
Immediate Family:

Son of Artavasdes I, king of Media Atropatene and Athenais
Husband of Parthian Princess
Father of Vonones II, King of Parthia and Media Atropatene and Artabanus II, king of Parthia
Brother of Iotapa; Artaxias I, King of Iberia and Ariobarzanes II, king of Media Atropatene

Occupation: Prins 66-65 f.K.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Darius II, king of Media Atropatene

Strabo in Book 11 of his geography gives us one of the earliest accounts of the region and mentions the kingdom of Atropatene.

“ And then on the north by the Ocean as far as the mouth of the Caspian Sea; and then on the east by this same sea as far as the boundary between Albania and Armenia, where empty the rivers Cyrus and Araxes, the Araxes flowing through Armenia and the Cyrus through Iberia and Albania; and lastly, on the south by the tract of country which extends from the outlet of the Cyrus River to Colchis, which is about three thousand stadia from sea to sea, across the territory of the Albanians and the Iberians, and therefore is described as an isthmus.

... The other part is Atropatian Media, which got its name from the commander Atropates, who prevented also this country, which was a part of Greater Media, from becoming subject to the Macedonians. Furthermore, after he was proclaimed king, he organized this country into a separate state by itself, and his succession of descendants is preserved to this day, and his successors have contracted marriages with the kings of the Armenians and Syrians and, in later times, with the kings of the Parthians. ... Their royal summer palace is situated in a plain at Gazaca, and their winter palace in a fortress called Vera, which was besieged by Antony on his expedition against the Parthians. This fortress is distant from the Araxes, which forms the boundary between Armenia and Atropene, two thousand four hundred stadia, according to Dellius, the friend of Antony, who wrote an account of Antony's expedition against the Parthians, on which he accompanied Antony and was himself a commander.


Me'dia. (middle land). Me'dia lay northwest of Persia proper, south and southwest of the Caspian Sea, east of Armenia and Assyria, west and northwest of the great salt desert of Iran. Its greatest length was from north to south, and in this direction, it extended from the 32d to the 40th parallel, a distance of 550 miles. In width, it reached front about long. 45 degrees to 53 degrees; but its average breadth was not more than from 250 to 300 miles. The division of Media commonly recognized by the Greeks and Romans was that into Media Magna and Media Atropatene.

1. Media Atropatene corresponded nearly to the modern Azerbijan, being the tract situated between the Caspian and the mountains which run north from Zagros.

2. Media Magna lay south and east of Atropatene. It contained great part of Kurdistan and Luristan, with all Ardelan and Arak Ajemi. It is indicative of the division that there were two Ecbatanas, respectively the capitals of the two districts.

The Medes were a nation of very high antiquity; we find a notice of them in the primitive Babylonian history of Berosus, who says that the Medes conquered Babylon at a very remote period, (circa, B.C. 2458), and that eight Median monarchs reigned there consecutively, over a space of 224 years. The deepest obscurity hangs, however, over the whole history of the Medes from the time of their bearing sway in Babylonia, B.C. 2458-2234, to their first appearance in the cuneiform inscriptions among the enemies of Assyria, about B.C. 880.

Near the middle of the seventh century B.C., the Median kingdom was consolidated, and became formidable to its neighbors; but previous to this time, it was not under the dominion of a single powerful monarch, but was ruled by a vast number of petty chieftains. Cyaxares, the third Median monarch, took Nineveh and conquered Assyria, B.C. 625.

The limits of the Median empire cannot be definitely fixed. From north to south it was certainly confined between the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates on the one side, the Black and Caspian Seas on the other. From east to west it had, however, a wide expansion, since it reached from the Halys at least as far as the Caspian Gates, and possible farther. It was separated from Babylonia either by the Tigris or more probably by a line running about halfway between that river and the Euphrates. Its greatest length may be reckoned at 1500 miles from northwest to southeast, and its average breadth at 400 or 450 miles. Its area would thus be about 600,000 square miles, or somewhat greater than that of modern Persia.

Of all the ancient Oriental monarchies, the Median was the shortest in duration. It was overthrown by the Persians under Cyrus, B.C. 558, who captured its king, Astyages. The treatment of the Medes, by the victorious Persians, was not that of an ordinary conquered nation. Medes were appointed to stations of high honor and importance under Cyrus and his successors. The two nations seem blended into one, and we often find reference to this kingdom as that of the "Medes and Persians." Dan_5:28; Dan_6:8; Dan_6:12; Dan_6:15.

The references to the Medes, in the canonical Scriptures, are not very numerous, but they are striking. We first hear of certain "cities of the Medes," in which the captive Israelites were placed by "the king of Assyria", on the destruction of Samaria, B.C. 721. 2Ki_17:6; 2Ki_18:12.

Soon afterward, Isaiah prophesies the part which the Medes shall take in the destruction of Babylon, Isa_13:17; Isa_21:2, which is again still more distinctly declared by Jeremiah, Jer_51:11; Jer_51:28, who sufficiently indicates, the independence of Media in his day. Jer_25:25.

Daniel relates the fact of the Medo-Persia conquest, Dan_5:25; Dan_5:31, giving an account of the reign of Darius, the Mede, who appears to have been made viceroy by Cyrus. Dan_6:1-58. In Ezra, we have a mention of Achmetha, (Ecbatana), "the palace in the province of the Medes," where the decree of Cyrus was found, Ezr_6:2-5, -- a notice which accords, with the known facts that the Median capital was the seat of government under Cyrus, but a royal residence only, and not the seat of government, under Darius Hystaspis. Finally, in Esther, the high rank of Media, under the Persian kings, yet at the same time, its subordinate position, is marked by the frequent composition, of the two names in phrases of honor, the precedence being in every case assigned to the Persians.

Source: Smith’s Bible Dictionary


mē´di-a (מדי, mādhay; Achaem. Persian Mada; Μηδία, Mēdía): Lay to the West and Southwest of the Caspian, and extended thence to the Zagrus Mountains on the West On the North in later times it was bounded by the rivers Araxes and Cyrus, which separated it from Armenia. Its eastern boundaries were formed by Hyrcania and the Great Salt Desert (now called the Kavîr), and it was bounded on the South by Susiana. In earlier times its limits were somewhat indefinite. It included Atropatene, (Armenian Atrpatakan, the name, “Fire-guarding,” showing devotion to the worship of Fire) to the North, and Media Magna to the South, the former being the present Ā'ẓarbāījān. Near the Caspian the country is low, damp and unhealthy, but inland most of it is high and mountainous, Mt. Demavand in the Alburz range reaching 18,600 ft. Atropatene was famed for the fertility of its valleys and table-lands, except toward the North. Media Magna is high; it has fruitful tracts along the course of the streams, but suffers much from want of water, though this was doubtless more abundant in antiquity. It contained the Nisaean Plain, famous for its breed of horses. The chief cities of ancient Media were Ecbatana, Gazaea, and Ragae. The Orontes range near Ecbatana is the present Alvand. Lake Spauta is now known as Urmi (Urumiah).

Source: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


Heb. Madai, which is rendered in the Authorized Version

(1.) “Madai,” Gen_10:2;

(2.) “Medes,” 2Ki_17:6; 2Ki_18:11;

(3.) “Media,” Est_1:3; Est_10:2; Isa_21:2; Dan_8:20;

(4.) “Mede,” only in Dan_11:1.

We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform records, under the name of Amada, about 840 B.C.. They appear to have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from the east bank of the Indus, and were probably the predominant race for a while in the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted for three or four centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own chief, who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2Ki_17:6). From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and formed themselves into an empire under Cyaxares (633 B.C.). This monarch entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of Nineveh (625 B.C.), thus putting an end to the Assyrian monarchy (Nah_1:8; Nah_2:5, Nah_2:6; Nah_3:13, Nah_3:14).

Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its boundaries. But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom. It rose with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with him; for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the two nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the Persian (558 B.C.).

The “cities of the Medes” are first mentioned in connection with the deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of Samaria (2Ki_17:6; 2Ki_18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (Isa_13:17; Isa_21:2) speaks of the part taken by the Medes in the destruction of Babylon (Compare Jer_51:11, Jer_51:28). Daniel gives an account of the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus (Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (Ezr_6:2-5), was found in “the palace that is in the province of the Medes,” Achmetha or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median city mentioned in Scripture.

Source: Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Darius II of Media Atropatene

Darius II of Media Atropatene, also known as Darius (flourished second half of 1st century BC & first half of 1st century AD) was a Prince from the Kingdom of Media Atropatene whom through marriage was a relation of the Arsacid Kings of Parthia.


Darius II was a man of Median, Armenian and Greek descent. He was the second son and among the children born to Artavasdes I of Media Atropatene and his wife, Athenais. He was born and raised in Media Atropatene. He could be the potential namesake of Darius I, a previous ruling King of Media Atropatene and the probable uncle of Artavasdes I. Darius II is also the namesake of the Persian and Pontian monarchs named Darius, as he is a direct descendant of the extended family of the Persian King Darius I.


Darius II from c. 15 BC to 10 BC married an unnamed Arsacid Parthian Princess, who was a relation to the King Vonones I of Parthia. Darius II is the third Seleucid descendant and the only known male descendant of Seleucus I Nicator to have married into the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia.

Little is known on Darius II’s marriage to the unnamed Parthian Princess. Darius II and his wife had two sons: the Parthian Kings Artabanus III and Vonones II. Darius II and his wife, through their sons would have further descendants.

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