Building Programs * Economic decline was related to his excessive building programs. * Even though his building programs were impressive he neglected other parts of the empire. * Olmstead: “Xerxes was more interested in completing the magnificent structures begun by his father than he was in testing the formidable military machine.” * Josef Wieshofer: Persepolis was one of his “favourite past times”, was “hardly independent” of Darius’ style, was an “imitation of standards.” * “Xerxes spent considerable time, energy and resources on massive construction programs.” - Granger
Foreign Policy * Failure to expand into Greece was a lack of military ability. * He sent a squadron of ships to blockade the channel before Salamis which resulted in the fleet being destroyed. * Battle of Salamis: lack of loyalty within his navy and land troops. * Regardless of how big and revolutionary the military was, Xerxes still failed. * Didn’t actually get involved, sat and watched.
Religious Policy * Sacrilege; destroyed temples (Egypt and Babylon), melted down the statue of Bel Marduk. * “Xerxes was a religious fanatic who deviated from the religious tolerance of his predecessors…he has become a paradigm for religious bigotry, fanatically interfering in sacred matters where his predecessors had kept a distance.” – Granger * Wasn’t a pragmatic religious ruler; killed priests, took their land, melted down the statue of Bel Marduk resulted in the discontinuation of the New Year’s Festival. * Babylonian people resented the reign of Xerxes and did not consider him their king and archaeological evidence after this incident, Xerxes ceased calling himself the King of Babylon.
* Weren’t strong with the nobility; was assassinated by a member of his nobility
Character * Various ancient sources charge him with impetuosity, arrogance, sadism, madness and gulibilty. *