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Sisygambis

*Sisu/gambis), mother of Dareius Codomannus, king of Persia, appears to have been a daughter of Ostanes, a younger brother of Artaxerxes Mnemon, though some writers consider her as a daughter of Artaxerxes himself. (See Wesseling ad Diod. 17.5.) She was married to her brother (or cousin) Arsames, and bore seven children, of whom Dareius was the only one that grew up to manhood. (Curt. 10.5.23.) After the accession of her son, Sisygambis was treated with the utmost reverence and honour, according to the Persian custom, and accompanied Dareius on his campaign against Alexander in B. C. 333, which terminated in the disastrous battle of Issus. After that defeat she fell, together with the wife and daughters of Dareius, into the hands of the conqueror, who treated them with the greatest generosity and kindness, and displayed towards Sisygambis, in particular, a reverence and delicacy of conduct, which is one of the brightest ornaments of his character. (Arrian. Anab. 2.11, 12; Plut. Alex. 21; Diod. 17.37, 38; Curt. 3.3.22, 11.21-26, 12; Just. 11.9.) So great, indeed, was the influence which she continued to enjoy, that she ventured, on one occasion, to intercede in favour of Madates, a Persian, who had especially incurred the wrath of Alexander, and her prayer was immediately granted. (Curt. 5.3.12.) It is probable that the generous and magnanimous character of Sisygambis herself,--of which she afforded a striking proof by refusing to avail herself of the confusion during the battle of Arbela to make her escape.--contributed much to maintain the respect and affection with which Alexander appears to have regarded her, and which he displayed on various occasions by the most delicate and deferential attentions. (Curt. 4.10.20, 15.10, 5.2.17-21; Diod. 17.59.) On her part, the captive queen had conceived so strong an attachment for her conqueror, that she felt his death as a blow not less severe than that of her own son; and overcome by this long succession of misfortunes, put an end to her own life by voluntary starvation. (Diod. 17.118; Curt. 10.5.19-24; Justin. xiii. l.)

[E.H.B]

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333 BC (1)
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