Cyaxares (Κυαξάρης, Grascised for the Old Pers. Uvakshatara, "beautiful-eyed." Rawlinson, Herod. 3, 455), the name of two Median kings. SEE MEDIA.
1. CYAXARES I was, according to Herodotus, the third king of Media, being the son of Phraortes, and grandson of Dejoces. His father having been killed while besieging Ninus (Nineveh), he, immediately on his accession, B.C. 634, collected all the military resources of the empire to revenge his father's death; but he was called away from the siege of Ninus by an attack of the Scythians, by whom he was defeated, and reduced to a tributary condition of great rigor for many years, B.C. 634-607 (Herod. 1:103). Herodotus else, where (i. 73 sq.) gives a different account of this war, as having originated in the treachery of Alyattes of Syria, who had sheltered some fugitive Scythians that had served up to Cyaxares as a banquet one of his own sons whom they had killed. The war, carried on for five years against the Lydians by the Median monarch, who evidently still retained his throne, was terminated by the mutual awe inspired by an eclipse, which has been variously calculated, but probably was that of Sept.
30, B.C. 610 (Baily, Philos. Transact. 1811; Oltmann, Schrift. der Berl. Acad. 1812-13; Hales, Anal. of Chronology, 1:74-78; Ideler, Handbuch der Chronoloaqie, 1:209 sq.; Fischer, Grieh. Zeittaf. s. a. 610). Cyaxares after this expelled the Scythians, B.C. 607, and in the following year, with the aid of the king of Babylon, he took and destroyed the Assyrian capital, at that time governed by Sardanapalus. This event is referred to in the Apocrypha (Tob. 14:15), where the Median king is styled "Ahasuerus" (q.v.), and his Babylonian ally is called Nabuchodonosor, doubtless referring to Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar. SEE BABYLONIA. The result of this campaign, according to Herodotus, was, that the Medes made the Assyrians their subjects, except the district of Babylon, probably meaning that the king of Babylon now obtained complete deliverance from the yoke of Assyria. The league between Cyaxares and the king of Babylon is said by Polyhistor and Abydenus (ap. Euseb. Chron. Arm. and Syncell. p. 210 b) to have been cemented by the betrothal of Anyhis or Anytis, the daughter of Cyaxares, to Nabuchadrossar or Nabuchadonosor (i.e. Nebuchadnezzar), the son of the Babylonian king. They have, however, by mistake, put the name of his son Asdapages (Astyages) for Cyaxares (Clinton, 1:271, 279). Cyaxares was a brave and energetic, but violent and cruel prince, and died B.C. 594, after a reign of 44 years, leaving the throne to Astyages, (Herod. 1:73, 74,103- 106; 4:11, 12; 7:20). — Smith, Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v.
2. CYAXARES II, the son of Astyages and grandson of the preceding, succeeded his father at the age of forty-nine years; but, being of a gentle disposition, he left the government principally in the hands of his nephew and son-in-law Cyrus. This account is given by Xenophon (in his Cyclopaedia), with which, however, the statements of Herodotus and Ctesias materially disagree. SEE CYRUS. This Cyaxares is believed to be the "Darius the Mede" (q.v.) referred to in the book of Da 9:1).