Yes, there’s even a story here. =) See, Xerxes wasn’t the eldest son of Darius. He was, however, the eldest son of Darius and Atossa. And Atossa was a daughter of Cyrus the Great, far above the status of Darius’s first wife and the mother of his first son. Moreover, Xerxes was the first son born to him after Darius became king.
Now, when Xerxes started lobbying to succeed his father, an exiled Spartan King (Demaratus) told him to argue that he ought to be the next king because of that. Supposedly this is the argument that won Darius over and led to him naming Xerxes as heir, but Herodotus thinks that Atossa was so powerful, it would have happened regardless. He refers to her as omnipotent. =)
We’re unaccustomed to kings being able to pick their heir, but that’s the way it was done in Persia. Before a king left on a campaign, he had to name a successor, so that if he died in battle, there was still someone at the helm.
(Photo is of a relief found at the Treasury at Persepolis. Thought to be Darius or Xerxes.)
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