DAMASPIA (Gk. Damáspiā or -píā), name of a Persian queen, wife of Artaxerxes I and mother of his legal heir, Xerxes II (424/3 b.c.e.). She was named only once by Ctesias (in Jacoby, Fragmente, vol. III.C, p. 468, frags. 15, 47); according to the excerpts from his text (where Xérxēs is to be corrected to Artoxérxēs, as in two neighboring instances), she died on the same day as Artaxerxes, thence in 424/3 b.c.e.; yet there is no available evidence whatsoever on her age and lineage (for speculations, see König, pp. 80-82). The name seems to reflect the regular feminine formation from the masculine form Avestan Jāmāspa-, Middle Persian and Parthian Zʾmʾsp, New Persian Jāmāsp, and so on; it surely cannot be derived from “*’āmāspyā-” (thus Hinz, p. 90) or from “dāmāspiḭā” (thus König, p. 81) but must be derived from *Jāmāspī-.
W. Hinz, Das altiranische Sprachgut der Nebenüberlieferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975.
F. W. König, Die Persika des Ktesias von Knidos, Graz, 1972.
[H.] Swoboda, “Damaspia,” in Pauly-Wissowa, IV/2, col. 2050.
Originally Published: December 15, 1993
Last Updated: November 14, 2011
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