During the time Darius was king he had other children outside his marriage to Atossa. As Artabazanes was Darius’ eldest son, he had appeared to be named as Darius’ successor in 507BC. Quarrels over the succession of the new king erupted between followers of Xerxes and Artabazanes. Artabazanes claimed that he was the eldest son of all children of Darius and that it was among all mankind that custom for the eldest son to take over the rule as the new king was not selected on the principle of primogeniture but according to modern historian J.M Cook Xerxes had a stronger claim than his brother because he was the son of Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the great. Hence, Herodotus tells us that the solution was provided by Demaratus, an exiled Spartan king, who pointed that xerxes was the first-born son after Darius became king.
Xerxes is shown in the reliefs at Persepolis as the heir standing behind his enthroned father suggesting he was next to the throne. Herodotus tells us that xerxes was being prepared to be king from a young age as he was taught, “to ride, to use the bow, and seek the truth” three fundamental teachings for a Persian king. Prior to becoming king, Darius placed Xerxes in the position of satrap of Babylon for 12 years from him to gain experience in a position of power and authority. Also in 498 a palace was built for the kings’ son in Babylon.
The invasion of Greece, planned by his father, was put on hold because he faced a rebellion in Egypt in 486bc. Xerxes led the campaign against Egypt and ‘decisively crushed them’ (Herodotus) and reduced the Egyptians to abject slavery and placed the country once again firmly under Persian control. Unlike, his father, who made an attempt to preserve Egyptian culture and customs, Xerxes showed no tolerance. He not only treated