Daughter of Cyrus the Great
She was married three times.
First, she married her half-brother, Cambyses,
because he fell in love with her. Cambyses was also married to another
of her sisters. He murdered Atossa's sister when she was pregnant.
Next, she married to the false Smerdis (a Magus)
who usurped the throne of Cambyses.
Third, she was married with four other women
to Darius Hystapes. The others were: the daughter of Gobryas, who was
the mother of Darius’ first-born son, Artabazanes; Atossa's younger
sister, Artystone; Parmys, Atossa's neice by her brother, Smerdis; and
Phaedima, daughter of Otanes.
Atossa was the mother of four children by Darius
and Xerxes was her first-born son.
Atossa is the one who gave the idea of invading Greece to Darius. She
was treated for a boil by a Greek doctor, Democedes. He first suggested
the invasion of Greece.
Atossa said to Darius:
“It seems strange, my lord, that, with the mighty power which
is yours, you sit idle, and neither make any conquest, nor advance the
power of the Persians. I think that one who is so young, and so richly
endowed with wealth, should perform some noble achievement to prove
to the Persians that it is a man who governs them. . . Lead your host
first into Greece. I long to be served by some of those Lacedaemonian
[Spartan] maids of whom I have heard so much. I want also Argive, and
Athenian, and Corinthian women.” Herodotus, The Persian
Atossa was so powerful that she arranged for her eldest son, Xerxes,
to inherit the throne. Artabazanes, the eldest son of Darius by his
first wife, was passed over.
Tragic costume for a foreign woman, Andromeda. Atossa
would be costumed in a similar way.