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In Daniel 9:1, Darius the Mede's father is said to be someone called Achashverosh. This is obviously not to be identified with the Achashverosh in Esther, as many meforshim make clear. Is there any reason to assume this Achashverosh is Cyaxares/Astibaras or Astyages (my feeling is towards Cyaxares but I'd like to hear other opinions)? And why does he share a name with Achashverosh (which, based on the name and story, is very likely to have been Xerxes I) in Megillas Esther?

I did ask on the Linguistics stack-exchange about linguistically connecting the name "Astibaras" with "Achashverosh;" that theory has quite a few issues.

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  • Do you have a theory as to the identity of Darius the Mede?
    – Joel K
    Apr 4 at 17:49

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Chaim Chefetz in his essay (in Hebrew) "The Kingdom of Persia and Medea in the Second Temple Period and Prior; a New Look" (PDF link), Megadim 14,1 which attempts to resolve the mass discrepancies between traditional biblical chronology and external non-biblical historical sources (as well as discrepancies between the various external sources) (a subject often known as "the missing years"), argued that this Achashverosh should be identified with Cyrus I of Anshan, as well as Cyaxares, Astyages, and a couple of other figures. This Achashverosh had at least two children: his son Darius the Mede, the figure known by the Greeks as Darius Ochus (or Darius II as he is known today), and a daughter who married Cambyses (who conquered Egypt), and their son was Cyrus the Great (who sired Cambyses II). Darius Ochus had a son named after his father Achashverosh I, who grew up to become the Achashverosh of Esther.

I don't think I'll be able to summarize all of what Chefetz wrote in English because it's long and complicated, but if you can read Hebrew, I recommend at least reading Rabbi Medan's introduction and summary (n. 1 below) and/or his notes at the end of each subsection of Chefetz's essay, where he summarized the main points of each section.


1 Link to shorter introduction and summary by Rabbi Yaakov Medan in the same volume (also in Hebrew).

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