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Darius III
  • King of Kings
  • Great King
  • King of Persia
  • Pharaoh of Egypt
  • King of Countries
Darius III mosaic.jpg
Depiction of Darius III during the Battle of Issus in the Alexander Mosaic (c. 100 BC), ancient Roman floor mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii, Italy
King of kings of the Achaemenid Empire
Reign 336–330 BC
Predecessor Artaxerxes IV Arses
Pharaoh of Egypt
Reign 336–332 BC
Predecessor Artaxerxes IV
Successor Alexander the Great
Born c. 380 BC
Died July 330 BC (aged approximately 50)
Burial Persepolis
Spouse Stateira I
  • Stateira II
  • Drypetis
  • Ochus
House Achaemenid
Father Arsames
Mother Sisygambis
Religion Zoroastrianism

Darius III (Old Persian: 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, romanized: Dārayava(h)uš ; New Persian: داریوش; c. 380 – 330 BC) was the last Achaemenid King of Kings of Persia, reigning from 336 BC to his death in 330 BC.

Contrary to his predecessor Artaxerxes IV Arses, Darius was a distant member of the Achaemenid dynasty. During his early career, he was reportedly an obscure figure among his peers and first rose to prominence during the Cadusian expedition of Artaxerxes III in the 350s BC. As a reward for his bravery, he was given the Satrapy of Armenia. Around 340 BC, he was made in charge of the royal "postal service," a high-ranking position. In 338 BC, Artaxerxes III met an abrupt end after being poisoned by the court eunuch and chiliarch (hazahrapatish) Bagoas, who installed his youngest son Arses on the throne. He only reigned for a few years, until Bagoas had him poisoned as well. Darius was subsequently installed on the throne and soon forced Bagoas to drink his poison after discovering that the eunuch had planned to poison him as well.

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in several battles before looting and destroying their capital, Persepolis, by fire in 330 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed by his relative Bessus, who was also the satrap of Bactria.

Darius is partially remembered in Iranian traditions as Dara II, the last king of the mythological Kayanian dynasty, which reflected memories of the Achaemenids.

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