Darius, unlike the kings of Assyria or Babylon, had no interest in dwelling upon the specifics of his victory. What mattered to him was not the war, but the fact that the war had been won; not the bloodshed, but the fact that the blood had dried, and that an eternal age of peace had dawned. To be sure, the victory over Gaumata and his supporters had been a great and terrible one, and because it proved that Darius was indeed the champion of the Ahura Mazda—the great truth on which he founded his empire—the new king had ordered its details to be recorded and proclaimed. Never again, however, would he permit himself to be shown enclosed within mere events. Just as the Lord Mazda dwelt beyond the rhythms of the world, so did his proxy, the King of Persia, transcend space and time.

Which is why, essentially, there were no war correspondents at the court of the King of Kings, no chroniclers of all his many victorious campaigns. From the point of view of Darius—and of his son and heir, Xerxes—history had been brought to a glorious close.

Tom Holland, “The Persian Way of War”, in Lapham’s Quarterly, winter 2008