Xerxes lived from 520 to 465BC. He was the grandson of Cyrus and son of Darius. Xerxes was put into succession according to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, as Xerxes was the first son of Darius’s wife Atossa. Xerxes father Darius 1 died in 486BC, and this is where Xerxes took over for his father and became king.
Xerxes continued his father strategy of consolidating and tightening control of the empire, particularly in Egypt, Babylon and Asiatic Greece. Xerxes felt he needed to invade Greece as he didn’t want to fall short of Darius’s ambition to punish them, he hoped to just frighten them but then intended to conquer them in battle since frightening the Greeks into submission did not work out.
In Xerxes time as king he did a lot to remember his legacy, although descriptions of Xerxes are different on how how people remembered him as a king and leader. Xerxes himself describes his character as a legitimate ruler, just to all, able to control his temper, devoted to his father and the god of Ahuramazda.
The view of the Persians and Asiatic Greeks was that he was a visionary with royal presence, generous, honest, chivalrous and capable of inspiring great reverence.
The European Greek tradition is however scathing of Xerxes capabilities as a king claiming he did not have the personality, temperament, or judgment to be a great king/leader.
Looking at the facts Xerxes displays all the expected traits of a king, he was serious in the role of Persia, the administration and the punishment of Greece.
During Xerxes plan to invade Greece he uncounted risks and problems but minimized these issues by careful thinking, this shows Xerxes did have some sort of patience and had the ability to think before taking action and making the wrong decision. This bit of information backs up Xerxes interpretation of him has being able to make judgment of situations.
Xerxes decided to build a canal and a bridge to solve practical problems during the long walks to war. This canal was for security to secure the fleet around the dangerous promontory. This action of building such a clever piece disproves the European Greek tradition of Xerxes not having good judgment and ideas of a great king.
The bridge was built over the Hellespont river, Xerxes army with his direction built the bridge to save time and energy and to defeat nature. This idea was one of Xerxes best as his army saved a lot of energy, which was needed if obstacles came into place, such as unknown land and their rivals the Persians.
Xerxes also used supply dumps which was food hidden on every trip they went to during the Persian wars, Xerxes also delivered a huge supply of grain and salt meat for his troops so that they would stay energized, focused and motivated for the tasks that where ahead of them. This shows Xerxes generosity to his army and also proves that Xerxes interpretation of him is more likely to believe then the European Greeks.
The peace of callias was the first Helleno Persian peace treaty concluded between the Athenians and Parisians on equal terms. It reflected the final collapse of Persian imperial ambitions to rule over the Greek world. The peace treaty of callias resulted in the situation of a balance of power in the Aegean, which lasted from 448BC at least until the beginning of the Persian invention in the Peloponnesian war on behalf of Sparta in 412BC, which clauses in this treaty might reflect the establishment of a balance of power.
Xerxes was a determined leader who may have had times where he lost his temper but this behavior seems quite natural under the pressure Xerxes was under, with all the information that Xerxes did in his time proves more he was a good king then a bad king, and that shows in ancient interpretations and modern day interpretations of Xerxes Legacy.