Pharnacid Dynasty > Artabazus II of Phrgyia

Artabazus II of Phrgyia


Artabazus II of Phrygia was a prominent Persian nobleman and military commander during the reign of Artaxerxes II, a period marked by internal conflicts and external threats to the Achaemenid Empire. Artabazus II played a significant role in these events, particularly in the power struggles and military campaigns of the time. Artabazus II belonged to the noble Pharnacid family, which held considerable influence within the Achaemenid Empire.

He was likely born into a family of high status and privilege, with connections to the ruling Achaemenid dynasty. Artabazus II served as a trusted military commander under Artaxerxes II, the king of the Achaemenid Empire. His military skills and loyalty to the crown made him a valuable asset to the Persian royal court. He participated in various military campaigns aimed at maintaining Persian control over the vast territories of the empire and defending against external threats.

Revolt of Cyrus the Younger:

One of the significant events during Artabazus II's time was the revolt of Cyrus the Younger, Artaxerxes II's younger brother, in 401 BCE. Cyrus sought to seize the throne from Artaxerxes II and launched a rebellion with Greek mercenaries. Artabazus II played a crucial role in the conflict, initially supporting Cyrus but later defecting back to Artaxerxes II's side before the decisive Battle of Cunaxa.

Reconciliation and Continued Service:

Despite his initial support for Cyrus, Artabazus II reconciled with Artaxerxes II after the suppression of the rebellion. His decision to return to the king's side demonstrated his political acumen and pragmatism. Artabazus II continued to serve the Achaemenid Empire faithfully, participating in subsequent military campaigns and administrative duties. Artabazus II likely held administrative positions within the empire, overseeing the governance of regions and ensuring the enforcement of imperial policies. His administrative capabilities and military leadership contributed to the stability and efficiency of Persian rule in the territories under his jurisdiction.

Artabazus II's descendants continued the family's tradition of service to the Achaemenid Empire. The Pharnacid family remained influential within the Persian court for several generations, with subsequent generations of Artabazids holding positions of prominence and authority. Artabazus II's role in the suppression of Cyrus the Younger's revolt and his subsequent loyalty to Artaxerxes II underscored the importance of noble families in Persian politics and military affairs.

His contributions to Persian administration and his military achievements played a part in maintaining the stability and integrity of the Achaemenid Empire during a period of internal strife and external threats. In summary, Artabazus II of Phrygia was a significant figure in the Achaemenid Empire, known for his military prowess, administrative abilities, and loyalty to the crown. His role in the events surrounding Cyrus the Younger's revolt highlighted the complexities of Persian politics and the importance of noble families in shaping the empire's destiny.

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Primary Sources

Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xv. 91

Diodorus, xvi. 22, 34, 52; Demosthenes, Speeches, "Against Aristocrates", 154, 155, 157, 159, 163

Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, iii. 23, 29, vii. 4; Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni, iii. 13, v. 9, 12, vi. 5, vii. 3, 5, viii. 1.

Secondary Sources

Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Artabazus (4)", Boston, (1867)

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