The name is an attempt to transliterate into Greek (Xerxes) the Persian Khshayarsha. The same word in unpointed Hebrew took the form 'chshwrsh, probably pronounced 'achshawarash, but at a later time it was wrongly vocalized so as to produce 'achashwerosh, from whence "Ahasuerus" in English versions of the Bible comes.
Xerxes was king of Persia in 485-465 BC. The first part of his reign was marked by the famous campaign into Greece, beginning in 483. After the defeat at Salamis in 480 Xerxes himself withdrew from the expedition and it was finally discontinued in the next year. During the remainder of his reign, Xerxes seems to have spent a listless existence, absorbed in intrigues of the harem, and leaving the government to be carried on by his ministers and favorites (often slaves). He was finally murdered by his vizier and left an unenviable reputation for caprice and cruelty. For the various Biblical references see AHASUERUS.
Burton Scott Easton
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