A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

or AMESTRIS (Ἄμαστρις or Ἄμηστρις). 1. The wife of Xerxes, and mother of Artaxerxes I. According to Hedocotus, she was the daughter of Otanes, according to Ctesias, who calls her Amistris, of Onophas. She was cruel and vindictive. On one occasion she sacrificed fourteen youths of the noblest Persian families to the god said to dwell beneath the earth. The tale of her horrible mutilation of the wife of Masistes, recorded by Herodotus, gives us a lively picture of the intrigues and cruelties of a Persian harem. She survived Xerxes. (Hdt. 7.61, 114, 9.108-113; Ctesias, Persic. c. 20. 30. ed. Lion; Plut. Alcib. p. 123c.)