In ancient history, Darius I stands alone as an administrator with unparalleled insight into the workings of an empire. Under his leadership, the Persian Empire grew to be the largest and most powerful diplomatic and economic force in the world. After he cleverly seized the throne and quelled a series of revolts, Darius undertook a radical reorganization of the different peoples who inhabited the Iranian Plateau, instituting the practices of religious tolerance, widespread economic reform, and a fair system of law that would later be adopted by the generations that followed him in the Near East and Europe. At the time of his death in 486 BCE, he had transformed the entire Middle East into a dominion of progressive government. In Darius the Great read the story of his surprising ascendance to the throne, his clever diplomacy, and the military blunders that marked his ultimate place not as a conqueror, but as a governor of the people.