Darius III

Darius III named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name, his empire was unstable, with large portions governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying their capital, Persepolis, by fire in 330 BC. With the Persian Empire now under Alexander's control, Alexander decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, Darius was killed by his cousin Satrap Bessus. Artashata was the son of son of Ostanes, he had distinguished himself in a combat of champions in a war against the Cadusii and was serving at the time as a royal courier. However, prior to being appointed as a royal courier, he had served as a satrap of Armenia, he may have been promoted from his satrapy to the postal service after the ascension of Arses, for he is referred to as one of the king's "friends" at court after that occasion.

In 336 BC, he took the throne at the age of 43 after the death of Artaxerxes Arses. According to Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily, Artashata was installed by the vizier Bagoas, after the latter had poisoned the king Artaxerxes III and subsequently his sons, including Arses, who had succeeded him on the throne. Artashata took the regnal name Darius III, demonstrated his independence from his possible assassin benefactor. Bagoas tried to poison Darius as well, when he learned that Darius couldn't be controlled, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself; the new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects, such as Khabash in Egypt. Compared to his ancestors and his fellow heirs who had since perished, Darius had a distinct lack of experience ruling an empire, a lack of any previous ambition to do so. Darius was a ruler of average stamp, without the striking talents and qualities which the administration of a vast empire required during that period of crisis.

In 336 BC Philip II of Macedon was authorized by the League of Corinth as its Hegemon to initiate a sacred war of vengeance against the Persians for desecrating and burning the Athenian temples during the Second Persian War, over a century before. He sent an advance force into Asia Minor under the command of his generals Parmenion and Attalus to liberate the Greeks living under Persian control. After they took the Greek cities of Asia from Troy to the Maiandros river, Philip was assassinated and his campaign was suspended while his heir consolidated his control of Macedonia and the rest of Greece. In the spring of 334 BC, Philip's heir, who had himself been confirmed as Hegemon by the League of Corinth, invaded Asia Minor at the head of an army of Macedonian and other Greek soldiers; this invasion, which marked the beginning of the Wars of Alexander the Great, was followed immediately by the victory of Alexander over the Persians at Battle of the Granicus. Darius never showed up for the battle, because there was no reason for him to suppose that Alexander intended to conquer the whole of Asia, Darius may well have supposed that the satraps of the ‘lower’ satrapies could deal with the crisis, so he instead decided to remain at home in Persepolis and let his satraps handle it.

In the previous invasion of Asia Minor by the Spartan king Agesilaus II, the Persians had pinned him in Asia Minor while fomenting rebellion in Greece. Darius attempted to employ the same strategy, with the Spartans rebelling against the Macedonians, but the Spartans were defeated at Megalopolis. Darius did not take the field against Alexander's army until a year and a half after Granicus, at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, his forces outnumbered Alexander's soldiers by at least a 2 to 1 ratio, but Darius was still outflanked and forced to flee. It is told by Arrian that at the Battle of Issus the moment the Persian left went to pieces under Alexander's attack and Darius, in his war-chariot, saw that it was cut off, he incontinently fled – indeed, he led the race for safety. On the way, he left behind his chariot, his bow, his royal mantle, all of which were picked up by Alexander. Greek sources such as Diodorus Siculus' Library of History and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum recount that Darius fled out of fear at the Battle of Issus and again two years at the Battle of Gaugamela despite commanding a larger force in a defensive position each time.

At the Battle of Issus, Darius III caught Alexander by surprise and failed to defeat Alexander's forces. Darius fled so far so fast that Alexander was able to capture Darius’ headquarters and take Darius’ family as prisoners in the process. Darius petitioned to Alexander through letters several times to get his family back, but Alexander refused to do so unless Darius would acknowledge him as the new emperor of Persia. Circumstances were more in Darius’ favor at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, he had a good number of troops, organized on the battlefield properly, he had the support of the armies of several of his satraps, the ground on the battlefield was perfectly so as not to impede movement of his scythed chariots. Despite all these beneficial factors, he still fled the battle before any victor had been decided and deserted his experienced commanders as well as one of the largest armies assembled. Another source accounts that when Darius perceived the fierce attack of

Mwerlap language

Mwerlap is an Oceanic language spoken in the south of the Banks Islands in Vanuatu. Its 1100 speakers live in Merelava and Merig, but a fair proportion have settled the east coast of Gaua island. Besides, a number of Mwerlap speakers live in the two cities of Port Vila and Luganville. Mwerlap is the name of Merelava island in the language, phonetically; the language is sometimes referred to as Merlav in the literature. Merelava reflects the name of the island in another language of the Banks Islands. Merlav represents an earlier attempt at transcribing the vernacular name of the island. Mwerlap has 12 phonemic vowels; these include 9 monophthongs /i ɪ ɛ ʉ ɵ ɞ ʊ ɔ a/ and 3 diphthongs /ɛ͡a ɔ͡ɞ ʊ͡ɵ/. François, Alexandre, "Unraveling the history of vowels in seventeen north Vanuatu languages", Oceanic Linguistics, 44: 443–504, doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0034 François, Alexandre, "The dynamics of linguistic diversity: Egalitarian multilingualism and power imbalance among northern Vanuatu languages", International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 214: 85–110, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2012-0022 Linguistic map of north Vanuatu, showing range of Mwerlap.

Online material in Mwerlap: audio recordings, etc. Na Buk Tatar, Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in the Merelava language, digitized by Richard Mammana Audio recordings in the Mwerlap language, in open access, by A. François. Materials on Mwerlap are included in the open access Arthur Capell collections held by Paradisec

Phrynopus miroslawae

Phrynopus miroslawae is a species of frog in the family Craugastoridae. It is endemic to Peru and only known from its type locality, Santa Bárbara, in the Huancabamba District, Pasco Region; the species is only known from the holotype collected in 2007. The specific name miroslawae honors Miroslawa Jagielko from Poland, recognizing her "friendship and support of taxonomic research and nature conservation in Peru"; the holotype is an adult female measuring 29 mm in snout–vent length. The body is robust; the dorsum is warty and has conspicuous dorsolateral folds and supratympanic fold, but no tympanum is present. The fingers and toes have webbing, or discs. Dorsal coloration is gray with some bold black to dark brown blotches; the flanks, ventral surfaces, dorsolateral folds are creamy-gray with few round black blotches. The iris is bronze with black reticulations; the holotype was collected from inside moss in elfin forest at 3,363 m asl. There is no information on major threats to this species; the type locality is in the Yanachaga–Chemillén National Park