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    * Otanes *

    Houtan

    هوتنه


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    Otanes was a Persian nobleman, uncle of Cambyses (Brother of his mother)Otanes was the first to become suspicious of Bardia, the false Smerdis. From his daughter Phaedymia, who was married to the king, he learned that Smerdis was in reality a Magian. On hearing this news, Otanes invited Aspathines and Gobryas to discuss the usurpation. Together, they decided to invite three other conspirators: Hydarnes, Intaphrenes and Megabyzus. They were still making plans, when Dariush arrived and sided with them. He convinced the seven to strike immediately and on Sep, 29, 522 B.C., the seven killed Bardia.Otanes had a son Patiramphes, who served as the driver of the chariot of King Xerxes during his campaign to Greece. Otanes was probably the father of Xerxes' first wife, queen Amestris. (Wikipedia) - Otanes

    Otanes (Greek: Ὀτάνης) was a Persian nobleman mentioned in the Histories of Herodotus as a defender of the idea of democracy and architect of a successful conspiracy to remove a kingly usurper.

    In Book III of the Histories, Herodotus relates that a magus had secretly assassinated the Persian king Smerdis and taken his place on the throne. Otanes, in this account, is both the uncle and the father-in-law of Smerdis; from his daughter Phaedymia, he obtains evidence that the man on the throne is not the real Smerdis. The real Smerdis had his ears intact, while the ears of the impostor are missing — indicating that he had committed a crime against the king. Otanes gathers six noble Persians and plots to get rid of the false Smerdis.

    There follows a discussion between Darius, Otanes and Megabyzus on the relative merits of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy as forms of government (3.80–82). Otanes, speaking first, supports democracy, but the consensus is for monarchy.

    Otanes renounces any claim to be king, asking only that he and his descendants be given their independence from royal rule (3.83). The others then hold a contest whereby whichever of them got his horse to neigh first after sunrise shall become king. Darius cheats and ascends the throne.

    As an early defender of democracy in Greek literature, Otanes has been used as a point of reference in a number of subsequent political discussions. Jean-Jacques Rosseau refers to Otanes in his notes to Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Otanes is also mentioned in Isaiah Berlin''s seminal lecture "Two Concepts of Liberty": "As for Otanes, he wished neither to rule nor to be ruled — the exact opposite of Aristotle''s notion of true civic liberty". Otanes has his own conception of freedom.

    Otanes also appears in certain works of fiction and drama. James Baldwin fictionalizes the childhood of Otanes in his short story, "The Boy and The Robbers" from his book, "Fifty Famous People — A book of short stories". In addition, the Dutch TV movie Volk en vaderliefde (''People and Fatherly Love'', 1976) is about Otanes and the coup.

    Tags:Amestris, Aristotle, Aspathines, Bardia, Berlin, Cambyses, Dariush, Dutch, Gobryas, Greece, Greek, Herodotus, Hydarnes, Intaphrenes, Magian, Megabyzus, Otanes, Persian, Phaedymia, Smerdis, Wikipedia, Xerxes


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