Achaemenid Dynasty > Artaxerxes V (Bessus)

Artaxerxes V (Bessus)


Artaxerxes V, commonly known as Bessus, was a Persian nobleman who briefly claimed the title of king of the Achaemenid Empire during the chaotic period following the assassination of Darius III by Bessus himself in 330 BCE. His reign, marked by internal strife and external threats posed by Alexander the Great's conquests, was short-lived and ended with his capture and execution. Bessus was a member of the Persian nobility, possibly belonging to a noble family with close ties to the Achaemenid royal house. His exact lineage and background are not extensively documented.

Role in the Assassination of Darius III

Bessus played a central role in the events that led to the assassination of Darius III, the last king of the Achaemenid Empire. In 330 BCE, after Darius suffered a defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great, Bessus conspired with other Persian nobles to depose Darius and seize power for himself. Bessus and his co-conspirators captured Darius and subsequently executed him, with Bessus himself delivering the fatal blow. After the assassination of Darius III, Bessus proclaimed himself king of Persia under the regnal name Artaxerxes V. He sought to legitimize his rule and rally support from Persian nobles and military commanders against Alexander the Great's invading forces.

Reign and Resistance against Alexander the Great

Bessus' claim to the throne was not widely recognized, and his reign faced immediate challenges from both within and outside the empire. Alexander the Great, viewing Bessus as a usurper, pursued him relentlessly, aiming to capture or kill him. Bessus attempted to resist Alexander's advance by rallying Persian forces and engaging in guerrilla warfare tactics. However, his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in halting Alexander's conquests.

In 329 BCE, Alexander's forces caught up with Bessus and his supporters in Bactria (modern-day Afghanistan). Despite his attempts to resist, Bessus was eventually captured by Alexander's army. Alexander viewed Bessus' actions as treasonous and a betrayal of the Persian monarchy. In response, he ordered Bessus' execution as punishment for the murder of Darius III and his claim to the Persian throne. Bessus was subjected to a brutal execution, likely by crucifixion or another form of public execution, as a warning to others who might challenge Alexander's authority.

Bessus' short-lived reign as Artaxerxes V and his subsequent capture and execution symbolize the decline and fall of the Achaemenid Empire in the face of Alexander the Great's conquests. His actions reflect the internal divisions and power struggles within the Persian nobility during the empire's final years. Bessus is primarily remembered in historical accounts as a traitor and usurper who betrayed his king and failed to resist Alexander's advance effectively. His brief tenure as Artaxerxes V serves as a cautionary tale of the consequences of political ambition and disunity within empires.

In summary, Artaxerxes V, also known as Bessus, was a Persian nobleman who briefly claimed the title of king of the Achaemenid Empire after assassinating Darius III. His reign was marked by resistance against Alexander the Great's conquests but ultimately ended in his capture and execution, signaling the end of the Achaemenid dynasty and the consolidation of Alexander's empire in the Near East.

Sabalico Logo
Sabalytics Logo
World Map Logo
rStatistics Logo
Time Zone Logo
Galaxy View Logo
Periodic Table Logo
My Location Logo
Weather Track Logo
Sprite Sheet Logo
Barcode Generator Logo
Test Speed Logo
Website Tools Logo
Image Tools Logo
Color Tools Logo
Text Tools Logo
Finance Tools Logo
File Tools Logo
Data Tools Logo
History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Egypt History Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Greek History Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo