“Han tog riket för sig själv“ : Den falske Smerdis uppror

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Antikens kultur och samhällsliv

Författare: Jonathan Söderlund; [2020]

Nyckelord: Smerdis; Gaumāta; Dareios I; Behistun; Herodotos; Ktesias;

Sammanfattning: This study aims to analyse and compare the accounts of Darius I, Herodotus, and Ctesias of Cnidus regarding the uprising of the false Smerdis in 522 BCE, and to give a suggestion for a reconstruction of the chain of events. The theoretical framework employed consists of New Historicism, intertextuality and the concept of “the Other”, which is combined with a close reading, grammatical analysis, and translation to Swedish of the relevant ancient texts. The dynastic background in the Achaemenid Empire, the described secrecy of the murder of the real Smerdis, and the intertextuality between the sources are all discussed in relation to the question of the historicity of the events of the uprising. The key word kāra of the Old Persian inscription is defined by its more semantically precise Akkadian equivalent uqu as referring to the army in two passages describing the uprising, and this interpretation is shown to be incompatible with the accounts of the Greek historians. It is concluded that Herodotus and Ctesias relied on oral sources for their accounts of the uprising. One of the deviant names in Ctesias’ account, Barisses, so far thought to be a hapax legomenon, is shown to be the same name as that of a high ranked official in Persepolis during the reign of Xerxes I. The most valuable source for the uprising is Darius’ version, even though there is reason to question several of the assertions in his inscriptions. It is concluded that the uprising took place largely as described in the account of Darius, and that there was indeed an impostor on the throne of Persia in 522 BCE. While in agreement with Darius on the most fundamental points, the Greek historians described this originally military uprising as court intrigues in order to contrast Achaemenid Persia with Greece, while at the same time embroidering their accounts with literary, folkloric, and fantastical motives.

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