Achaemenid Dynasty > Artaxerxes II

Artaxerxes II

Background

Artaxerxes II MnemonKing of PersiaArtaxerxes II.pngArtaxerxes II as he appears in his tomb at Persepolis, Iran.King of PersiaReign404 to 358 BC (46 years)PredecessorDarius IISuccessorArtaxerxes IIIBorn435 or 445 BCDied358 BC (77 or 87 years old)Burial358 BCPersepolisConsortStateiraIssueArtaxerxes IIIFull nameArtaxerxes II MnemonHouseAchaemenidFatherDarius IIMotherParysatisArtaxerxes II Mnemon /ˌɑːrtəˈzɜːrksiːz/ (Old Persian: ARATAXASHASSA, meaning "whose reign is through truth")[1] was king of Persia from 404 BC until his death in 358 BC. He was a son of Darius II and Parysatis.Contents [hide]1Rise to power2Reign3Building projects4Issue5Identification6See also7References8External linksRise to power[edit]Darius II died in 404 BC, just before the final victory of the Egyptian general, Amyrtaeus, over the Persians in Egypt. His successor was his eldest son Arsames who was crowned as Artaxerxes II in Pasargadae. He later received the title of Mnemon from the Greeks who found his memory to be exceptional. Even before his coronation, Artaxerxes was facing threats to his rule from his younger brother, Cyrus the Younger.Four years earlier, Cyrus was appointed by his father as the supreme governor of the provinces of Asia Minor. There, he managed to pacify local rebellions and become a popular ruler among both the Iranians and Greeks. Towards the end of 405 BC, Cyrus became aware of his father’s illness. By gathering support from the local Greeks and by hiring Greek mercenaries commanded by Clearchus, Cyrus started marching down towards Babylonia, initially declaring his intention to crush the rebellious armies in Syria. [2]By the time of Darius II’s death, Cyrus had already been successful in defeating the Syrians and Cilicians and was commanding a large army made up of his initial supporters plus those who had joined him in Phrygia and beyond.Upon hearing of his father’s death, Cyrus the Younger declared his claim to the throne, based on the argument that he was born to Darius and Parysatis after Darius had ascended to the throne, while Artaxerxes was born prior to Darius II gaining the throne .Artaxerxes defended his position against his brother Cyrus the Younger who, with the aid of a large army of Greek mercenaries, attempted to usurp the throne. Though Cyrus' mixed army fought to a tactical victory at the Battle of Cunaxa in Babylon (401 BC), Cyrus himself was killed in the exchange by Mithridates, rendering his victory irrelevant. (The Greek historian Xenophon would later recount this battle in the Anabasis, focusing on the struggle of the now stranded Greek mercenaries to return home.)Reign[edit]Daric of Artaxerxes IIArtaxerxes became involved in a war with Persia's erstwhile allies, the Spartans, who, under Agesilaus II, invaded Asia Minor. In order to redirect the Spartans' attention to Greek affairs, Artaxerxes subsidized their enemies: in particular the Athenians, Thebans and Corinthians. These subsidies helped to engage the Spartans in what would become known as the Corinthian War. In 386 BC, Artaxerxes II betrayed his allies and came to an arrangement with Sparta, and in the Treaty of Antalcidas he forced his erstwhile allies to come to terms. This treaty restored control of the Greek cities of Ionia and Aeolis on the Anatolian coast to the Persians, while giving Sparta dominance on the Greek mainland. In 385 BC he campaigned against the Cadusians.Although successful against the Greeks, Artaxerxes had more trouble with the Egyptians, who had successfully revolted against him at the beginning of his reign. An attempt to reconquer Egypt in 373 BC was completely unsuccessful, but in his waning years the Persians did manage to defeat a joint Egyptian–Spartan effort to conquer Phoenicia. He quashed the Revolt of the Satraps in 372–362 BC.He is reported to have had a number of wives. His main wife was Stateira, until she was poisoned by Artaxerxes' mother Parysatis in about 400 BC. Another chief wife was a Greek woman of Phocaea named Aspasia (not the same as the concubine of Pericles). Artaxerxes II is said to have more than 115 sons from 350 wives.[3]Building projects[edit]Tomb of Artaxerxes II in PersepolisMuch of Artaxerxes' wealth was spent on building projects. He restored the palace of Darius I at Susa,[4] and also the fortifications; including a strong redoubt at the south-east corner of the enclosure and gave Ecbatana a new apadana and sculptures.Issue[edit]By StateiraArtaxerxes IIIDariusAriaspes or AriarathesRhodogune, wife of satrap Orontes IAtossa, wife of Artaxerxes II & then Artaxerxes IIIBy other wivesArsamesMithridatesPhriapatius(?), probable ancestor of ArsacidsAmestris, wife of Artaxerxes IIApama, wife of PharnabazusOcha, mother of an unnamed wife of Artaxerxes IIIThe unnamed wife of Tissaphernes112 other unnamed sonsIdentification[edit]It has been suggested that this man was the Ahasuerus mentioned in the Book of Esther. Plutarch in his Lives (AD 75) records alternative names Oarses and Arsicas for Artaxerxes II Mnemon given by Deinon (c. 360–340 BC[5]) and Ctesias (Artexerxes II's physician[6]) respectively.[7] These derive from the Persian name Khshayarsha as do "Ahasuerus" ("Xerxes") and the hypocoristicon "Arshu" for Artaxerxes II found on a contemporary inscription (LBAT 162[8]). These sources thus arguably identify Ahasuerus as Artaxerxes II in light of the names used in the Hebrew and Greek sources and accords with the contextual information from Pseudo-Hecataeus and Berossus[9] as well as agreeing with Al-Tabari and Masudi's placement of events. The 13th century Syriac historian Bar-Hebraeus in his Chronography, also identifies Ahasuerus as Artaxerxes II citing the sixth century AD historian John of Ephesus.[10][11]Zakarid-Mkhargrzeli, a noble family prominent in medieval Armenia and Georgia, claimed to be descended from Artaxerxes II – on the basis of his being nicknamed the "Longarmed", which was also the meaning of their own name. While authenticity of this pedigree is uncertain, it testifies to this king's long renown.See also[edit]Artaxerxes IHistory of PersiaThe AnabasisTen Thousand (Greek)References[edit]Jump up ^ R. Schmitt. "ARTAXERXES". Encyclopædia Iranica. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 12 March 2012.Jump up ^ "The Achaemenid Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-21.Jump up ^ "The Achaemenid Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-21.[1]Jump up ^ "Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: A2Sa". www.livius.org. Retrieved 2015-06-21.Jump up ^ Wolfgang Felix, Encyclopaedia Iranica, entry Dinon, 1996–2008Jump up ^ Jona Lendering, Ctesias of Cnidus, Livius, Articles on Ancient History, 1996–2008Jump up ^ John Dryden, Arthur Hugh Clough, Plutarch's Lives, Little, Brown and Company, 1885Jump up ^ M. A. Dandamaev, W. J. Vogelsang, A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire, BRILL, 1989Jump up ^ Jacob Hoschander, The Book of Esther in the Light of History, Oxford University Press, 1923Jump up ^ E. A. W. Budge, The Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, Gorgias Press LLC, reprinted 2003Jump up ^ Jan Jacob van Ginkel, John of Ephesus. A Monophysite Historian in Sixth-century Byzantium, Groningen, 1995External links[edit]Wikimedia Commons has media related to Artaxerxes II.Artaxerxes by PlutarchH. Hunger & R.J. van der Spek, "An astronomical diary concerning Artaxerxes II (year 42 = 363-2 BC). Military operations in Babylonia" in: Arta 2006.002Inscriptions of Artaxerxes II in transcribed Persian and in English translation. [2]Artaxerxes II of PersiaAchaemenid dynastyBorn: c. 436 BC Died: 358 BCPreceded byDarius IIGreat King (Shah) of Persia404 BC – 358 BCSucceeded byArtaxerxes III

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