Bardiya or Smerdis (𐎲𐎼𐎮𐎡𐎹 ; Σμέρδις ; possibly died 522 BCE), also named as Tanyoxarces (Τανυοξάρκης ) by Ctesias, was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings. There are sharply divided views on his life. Bardiya either ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BCE, or was impersonated by a magus called Gaumāta (𐎥𐎢𐎶𐎠𐎫), whose name is given by Ctesias as Sphendadates (Spantadātaʰ; Σφενδαδάτης ), until he was toppled by Darius the Great.
Name and sources
The prince's name is listed variously in the historical sources. In Darius the Great's Behistun inscription, his Persian name is Bardiya or Bardia. Herodotus calls him Smerdis, which is the prevalent Greek form of his name; the Persian name has been assimilated to the Greek (Asiatic) name Smerdis or Smerdies, a name which also occurs in the poems of Alcaeus and Anacreon. Bardiya is called Tanyoxarces by Ctesias, who also names Gaumāta as Sphendadates; he is