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In the first half of the 5th century BCE, a group of freedom fighters comprised of the Persian elite and led by Artabanus (later known as Darius) opposed the secret rule of the Order of the Ancients over the Achaemenid Empire. Artabanus' group gathered with the goal of eliminating King Xerxes I of Persia, an ally of the Order of the Ancients.[1]

It is one of a number of antecedent groups to what would become known as the Assassin Brotherhood.[2]

History

In August 465 BCE, the group, including Artabanus, Amorges, and Pactyas, ambushed King Xerxes I and his entourage while they were travelling. While the group distracted and eliminated the king's guards, Artabanus himself assassinated the king using a Hidden Blade he had created especially for the task[1] – this would become the first assassination using the Hidden Blade, centuries before it became the Assassins' primary weapon.[3]

After Xerxes' death, Artabanus sought to prevent the Order of the Ancients from exerting their influence on the king's successor, the young Artaxerxes, and planned to kill the new king before he could be manipulated. He faced opposition from Amorges, who instead persuaded the rest of the group to join forces with the Ancients and use their combined resources to create a better future for Persia. The group completely disbanded when Amorges turned on Artabanus during the latter's attempt on Artaxerxes life, which forced Artabanus and his family into exile.[1]

Sometime later Artabanus, now adopting the name of "Darius", made a second failed attempt on Artaxerxes life using poison, which left the young king blind,[4] before spending the next few decades being pursued by his former allies.[1]

For its parallels with the later Assassin Brotherhood, the group later came to be seen by the Assassins as one of their antecedents and dubbed the Persian Brotherhood,[5] with Darius being honored posthumously as one of their legendary predecessors.[3]

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References

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