), the daughter of Cyrus, and the wife successively of her brother Cambyses, of Smerdis the Magian, and of Dareius Hystaspis, over whom she possessed great influence. Excited by the description of Greece given her by Democedes [DEMOCEDES], she is said to have urged Dareius to the invasion of that country.
She bore Dareius four sons, Xerxes, Masistes, Achaemenes, and Hystaspes. (Hdt. 3.68
; Aeschyl. Persac.
) According to a tale related by Aspasius (ad Aristot.
Ethic. p. 124), Atossa was killed and eaten by her son Xerxes in a fit of distraction.
Hellanicus related (Tatian, c. Graec.
init.; Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 307
, ed. Par. 1629), that Atossa was the first who wrote epistles.
This statement is received by Bentley (Phalaris,
p. 385, &c.), and is employed by him as one argument against the authenticity of the pretended epistles of Phalaris.