Artaxerxes III of Persia

Artaxerxes III of Persia

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Artaxerxes III of Persia (ca. 425 BC – 338 BC) (Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠, transliterated as Artaxšaçā), was the Great King (Shah) of Persia and the eleventh Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

, as well as the first Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of the 31st dynasty of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. He was the son and successor of Artaxerxes II and was succeeded by his son, Arses of Persia
Arses of Persia
Artaxerxes IV Arses was king of Persia between 338 BC and 336 BC. He was the youngest son of King Artaxerxes III and Atossa and was not expected to succeed to the throne of Persia...

 (also known as Artaxerxes IV). His reign coincided with the reign of Philip II
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 in Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 and Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

 in Egypt.

Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes was a satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 and commander of his father's army. Artaxerxes came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last murdered and his father, Artaxerxes II died at the age of 86. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all of the royal family to secure his place as emperor. He started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed up by rebellions throughout the western empire. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes defeated Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

, the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 of Egypt, driving him from Egypt
History of Ancient Egypt
The History of Ancient Egypt spans the period from the early predynastic settlements of the northern Nile Valley to the Roman conquest in 30 BC...

, stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way.

In Artaxerxes' later years, Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

's power was increasing in Greece, where he tried to convince the Greeks to revolt against Achaemenid Persia
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

. His activities were opposed by Artaxerxes, and with his support, the city of Perinthus resisted a Macedonian siege. There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

 in his later life, where Artaxerxes erected a new palace and built his own tomb, and began long-term projects like the Unfinished Gate. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, Bagoas poisoned Artaxerxes, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

) suggests that the king died from natural causes.

Name


Ochus was the name of Artaxerxes before ascending the throne; and Artaxerxes III (Old Persian:𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠, Artaxšaçrā, "he whose empire is well-fitted" or "perfected", or Arta:"honoured"+Xerxes:"a king" ("the honoured king"), according to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 "the great warrior"
) was the throne name adopted by Ochus when he succeeded his father in 358 BC. He is generally referred to as Ochus, but in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 he is known as Ardeshir III (اردشیر سوم Modern Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 form of Artaxerxes). In Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

ian inscriptions he is called "Umasu, who is called Artakshatsu". The same form of the name (probably pronounced Uvasu) occurs in the Syrian version of the Canon of Kings
Canon of Kings
The Canon of Kings was a dated list of kings used by ancient astronomers as a convenient means to date astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses. The Canon was preserved by the astronomer Claudius Ptolemy, and is thus sometimes called Ptolemy's Canon. It is one of the most important bases for our...

 by Elias of Nisibis.

Early life and accession


Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes had been a satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 and commander of his father's army. In 359, just before ascending the throne he attacked Egypt as a reaction to Egypt's failed attacks on coastal regions of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

. In 358 BC his father, Artaxerxes II, died at the age of 86, apparently because of a broken heart caused by his children's behaviour, and, since his other sons, Darius, Ariaspes and Tiribazus had already been eliminated by plots, Artaxerxes III succeeded him as Emperor. His first order was the execution of over 80 of his nearest relations to secure his place as emperor.

In 355 BC, Artaxerxes forced Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 to conclude a peace which required the city to leave Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and to acknowledge the independence of its rebellious allies. Artaxerxes raised a campaign against the rebellious Cadusians
Cadusii
The Cadusii were an ancient Iranian people living in north-western Iran.-Geography:The Cadusii lived in a mountainous district of Media Atropatene on the south-west shores of the Caspian Sea, between the parallels of 39° and 37° North latitude, called for its inhabitants Cadusia...

, but he managed to appease both of the Cadusian kings. A successful character emerging from this campaign was Darius Codomannus, who later occupied the throne as Darius III. He then ordered the disbanding of all the satrapal armies of Asia Minor, as he felt that they could no longer garuantee peace in the west, and instead equipped the western satraps with the means to revolt. The order was however ignored by Artabazus of Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

, who asked for the help of Athens in a rebellion against the king. Athens sent the assistance to Sardis
Sardis
Sardis or Sardes was an ancient city at the location of modern Sart in Turkey's Manisa Province...

. Orontes of Mysia also came to Artabazus and the joined forces managed to defeat the forces sent by Artaxerxes in 354 BC. However, in 353 BC, they were defeated by Artaxerxes’ army and were disbanded. Orontes was pardoned by the king, while Artabazus fled to the safety of court of Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

.

First Egyptian Campaign


In around 351 BC, Artaxerxes embarked on a campaign to recover Egypt, which had revolted under his father, Artaxerxes II's rule. At the same time a rebellion had broken out in Asia Minor, which, being supported by Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, threatened to become serious. Levying a vast army, Artaxerxes marched into Egypt, and engaged Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

. After a year of fighting the Egyptian Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

, with the services of the Greek generals Diophantus and Lamius, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Persians. Artaxerxes was compelled to retreat and postpone his Egyptian enterprise.

Rebellion of Cyprus and Sidon


Soon after this defeat, leaders of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 declared their independence. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes committed the suppression of the Cyprian rebels to Idrieus
Idrieus
-Biography:He was the second son of Hecatomnus, and succeeded to the throne on the death of his sister Artemisia in 351 BC.Shortly after his accession he was required by the Persian king, Artaxerxes III Ochus, to provide arms and troops for the capture of Cyprus, a request with which he readily...

 prince of Caria
Caria
Caria was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there...

, who employed on the service of 8,000 Greek mercenaries and forty trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

s, commanded by Phocion
Phocion
Phocion was an Athenian statesman and strategos, and the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives....

 the Athenian, and Evagoras, son of the elder Evagoras
Evagoras
Evagoras was the king of Salamis in Cyprus. The son of Nicocles, a previous king of Salamis, he claimed descent from Teucer, the son of Telamon and half-brother of Ajax, and his family had long been rulers of Salamis, although during his childhood Salamis came under Phoenician control, which...

, the Cypriot monarch. Idrieus succeeded in reducing Cyprus. Artaxerxes initiated a counter-offensive against Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

 by deputing Belesys, satrap of Syria and Mezseus, satrap of Cilicia
Cilicia (satrapy)
Cilicia was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, with its capitol at Tarsus. It was conquered sometime in the 540's by Cyrus the Great. Cilicia was a vassal, and although it had a vassal king had to pay a tribute of 360 horses and 500 talents of silver, according to Herodotus...

 to invade the city and to keep the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns in check. Both suffered crushing defeats at the hands of Tennes, the Sidonese king, who was aided by 40,000 Greek mercenaries sent him by Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

 and commanded by Mentor of Rhodes
Mentor of Rhodes
Mentor of Rhodes was a Greek mercenary who fought both for and against Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is also known as the first husband of Barsine, who later became mistress to Alexander the Great....

, and the Persian forces were driven out of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

.

After this, Artaxerxes proceeded against Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

 in person at the head of 330,000 men, comprising 300,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

, 300 triremes, and 500 transports or provision ships. After gathering this army, he directed his efforts towards obtaining efficient assistance from the Greeks. Though refused aid by Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

, he succeeded in obtaining a thousand Theban heavy-armed hoplites under Lacrates, three thousand Argives under Nicostratus, and six thousand Æolians, Ionians
Ionians
The Ionians were one of the four major tribes into which the Classical Greeks considered the population of Hellenes to have been divided...

, and Dorians from the Greek cities of Asia Minor. The assistance thus secured was numerically small, amounting to no more than ten thousand men, not a thirtieth part of his native force; but it formed, together with the Greek mercenaries from Egypt who went over to him afterwards, the force on which he placed his chief reliance, and to which the ultimate success of his expedition was mainly due.

The approach of Artaxerxes shook the resolution of Tennes, who endeavoured to purchase his own pardon by delivering up a hundred of the principal citizens of Sidon into the hands of the Persian king, and then admitting him within the defences of the town. Artaxerxes caused the hundred citizens to be transfixed with javelins, and when 500 more came out as supplicants to entreat his mercy, relentlessly consigned them to the same fate. Sidon was then burnt to the ground, either by Artaxerxes or by the Sidonian citizens. Forty thousand people died in the conflagration. Artaxerxes sold the ruins at a high price to speculators, who calculated on reimbursing themselves by the treasures which they might dig out from among the ashes. Tennes was later put to death by Artaxerxes. He later sent Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 who supported the revolt to Hyrcania
Hyrcania
Hyrcania was the name of a satrapy located in the territories of present day Gilan, Golestan, Mazandaran and part of Turkmenistan, lands south of the Caspian Sea. To the Greeks, the Caspian Sea was the "Hyrcanian Sea".-Etymology:...

 the south coast of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

.

Second Egyptian Campaign



The reduction of Sidon was followed closely by the invasion of Egypt. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes, besides his 330,000 Asiatics, had now a force of 14,000 Greeks furnished by the Greek cities of Asia Minor; 4,000 under Mentor
Mentor of Rhodes
Mentor of Rhodes was a Greek mercenary who fought both for and against Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is also known as the first husband of Barsine, who later became mistress to Alexander the Great....

, consisting of the troops which he had brought to the aid of Tennes from Egypt; 3,000 sent by Argos; and 1000 from Thebes. He divided his numerous armament into three bodies, and placed at the head of each a Persian and a Greek. The Greek commanders were Lacrates of Thebes, Mentor of Rhodes
Mentor of Rhodes
Mentor of Rhodes was a Greek mercenary who fought both for and against Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is also known as the first husband of Barsine, who later became mistress to Alexander the Great....

, and Nicostratus of Argos and The Persians were Rhossaces, Aristazanes, and Bagoas
Bagoas
Bagoas was a eunuch who became the vizier to Artaxerxes III. In this role, he allied himself with the Rhodian mercenary general Mentor, and with his help succeeded in once again making Egypt a province of the Persian Empire...

, the chief of the eunuchs. Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

 resisted with an army of 100,000 of whom 20,000 were Greek mercenaries. Nectanebo II occupied the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 and its various branches with a numerous navy. The character of the country, intersected by numerous canals, and full of strongly fortified towns, was in his favour; and he might have been expected to make a prolonged, if not even a successful, resistance.

After his defeat, Nectanebo hastily fled to Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

, leaving the fortified towns to the defence of their garrisons. These consisted of mixed troops, partly Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 and partly Egyptian; between whom jealousies and suspicions were easily sown by the Persian leaders. By these means the Persians rapidly reduced the secondary cities of Lower Egypt, and were advancing upon Memphis. when Nectanebo quit the country and fled southwards to Ethiopia. The Persian army completely routed the Egyptians and occupied the Lower Delta of the Nile. After Nectanebo fled to Ethiopia, all of Egypt submitted to Artaxerxes and the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 in Egypt were sent to the south coast of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, where the Jews of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 were sent, and Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

.

After this victory, Artaxerxes had the city walls destroyed, started a reign of terror, and set about looting all the temples. Persia gained a significant amount of wealth from this looting. Aside from the immediate looting, Artaxerxes raised high taxes, and attempted to weaken Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 enough that it could never revolt against Persia. For the 10 years that Persia controlled Egypt, religion was persecuted and sacred books were stolen. Before he returned to Persia, he appointed Pherendares as satrap of Egypt
History of Achaemenid Egypt
The history of Achaemenid Egypt is divided into two eras: an initial period of Achaemenid Persian occupation when Egypt became a satrapy, followed by an interval of independence; and a second period of occupation, again under the Achaemenids....

. With the loot Artaxerxes amply rewarded his mercenaries and then returned to his capital with the glory of having successfully carried through the invasion of Egypt.

Later years


After his success in Egypt, Artaxerxes returned to Persia and spent the next few years effectively quelling insurrections in various parts of the Empire so that a few years from the conquest of Egypt, the Persian Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 was firmly entrenched in the grasp of the emperor. Egypt remained a part of the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt.

After the conquest of Egypt, there were no more revolts or rebellions against Artaxerxes. Mentor and Bagoas
Bagoas
Bagoas was a eunuch who became the vizier to Artaxerxes III. In this role, he allied himself with the Rhodian mercenary general Mentor, and with his help succeeded in once again making Egypt a province of the Persian Empire...

, the two generals who had most distinguished themselves in the Egyptian campaign, were advanced to posts of the highest importance. Mentor, who was governor of the entire Asiatic seaboard, exerted himself successfully to reduce to subjection the many chiefs who during the recent troubles had assumed an independent authority, and in the course of a few years brought the whole coast into complete submission and dependence. Bagoas was brought back to the capital with Artaxerxes, became the main figure in internal administration, and maintained tranquillity throughout the rest of the Empire. The last six years of the reign of Artaxerxes the Persian Empire was governed by a vigorous and successful government.

Persian forces in Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 and Lycia
Lycia
Lycia Lycian: Trm̃mis; ) was a region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey. It was a federation of ancient cities in the region and later a province of the Roman Empire...

 regained their control of the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 and took over much of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

’s former island empire. Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 of Athens started his speeches calling for a ‘crusade against the barbarians’ but there was not enough strength left in any of the Greek city-states to answer his call. In 341 BC, Artaxerxes returned to Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, where he apparently proceeded to build a great Apadana whose description is present in the works of Diodorius.

Although there weren't any rebellions in the Persian Empire itself, the growing power and territory of Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 in Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 (against which Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 was in vain warning the Athenians) attracted the consideration of Artaxerxes; and he ordered that Persian influence was to be used to check and depress the rising kingdom. In 340 BC, a force was consequently dispatched to assist the Thracian prince
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

, Cersobleptes
Cersobleptes
Cersobleptes was son of Cotys, king of Thrace, on whose death in 358 BC he inherited the kingdom in conjunction with Berisades and Amadocus II, who were probably his brothers. He was very young at the time, and the whole management of his affairs was assumed by the Euboean adventurer, Charidemus,...

, to maintain his independence; and such effectual aid was given to the city of Perinthus that the numerous and well-appointed army with which Philip had commenced its siege was completely baffled and compelled to give up the attempt. By the last year of Artaxerxes' rule Philip II already had plans for invasion of the Persian Empire, which would crown his career as world conqueror; But the Greeks did not unite with him.

In 338 BC Artaxerxes was poisoned by Bagoas with the assistance of a physician

Legacy



Historically, kings of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 were followers of Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 or heavily influenced by Zoroastrian ideology. The reign of Artaxerxes II saw a revival of the cult of Anahita and Mithra, when in his building inscriptions he invoked Ahuramazda, Anahita and Mithra and even set up statues of his gods. Mithra and Anahita had until then been neglected by true Zoroastrians; because they defied Zoroaster’s command that God was to be represented only by the flames of a sacred fire. Artaxerxes III is thought to have rejected Anahita and worshipped only Ahuramazda and Mithra. An ambiguity in the cuneiform script of an inscription of Artaxerxes III at Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

 suggests that he regarded father and son as one person, suggesting that the attributes of Ahuramazda were being transferred to Mithra. Strangely, Artaxerxes had caused statues of the goddess Anâhita to be erected at Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, and Sardis
Sardis
Sardis or Sardes was an ancient city at the location of modern Sart in Turkey's Manisa Province...

, as well as at Susa
Susa
Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers....

, Ecbatana
Ecbatana
Ecbatana is supposed to be the capital of Astyages , which was taken by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the sixth year of Nabonidus...

, and Persepolis.

While Artaxerxes was in Egypt, he issued a large series of silver imitations of Athenian coinage. The issues of Artaxerxes are recognisable as such because his name appears on the reverse in a local Egyptian script. The inscription reads "Artaxerxes Pharaoh. Life, Prosperity, Wealth".

In literature


It is thought by some that the Book of Judith could have been originally based on Artaxerxes' campaign in Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, as Holofernes
Holofernes
In the deuterocanonical Book of Judith Holofernes was an invading general of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar dispatched Holofernes to take vengeance on the nations of the west that had withheld their assistance to his reign...

 was the name of the brother of the Cappadocian satrap
Cappadocia (satrapy)
Cappadocia was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire used by the Achaemenids to administer the regions beyond the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates river. The Satrapy belonged to the third tax district and paid an estimated 360 talents a year in tribute...

 Ariarathes, the vassal of Artaxerxes. Bagoas, the general that finds Holofernes dead, was one of the generals of Artaxerxes during his campaign against Phoenicia and Egypt.

Constructions



There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis, but some of his constructions weren't finished due to his early death. Two of his constructions at Persepolis were the Hall of Thirty-Two Columns, which its purpose is unknown, and the palace of Artaxerxes III. The unfinished Army Road and Unfinished Gate, which connected the Gate of All Nations and the One-hundred Column Hall, gave archaeologists an insight into the construction of Persepolis. His tomb was cut into the mountain behind the Persepolis platform, next to his father's tomb.

The Nebuchadnezzar II palace in Babylon was expanded during the reign of Artaxerxes III.

Family



Artaxerxes III was the son of Artaxerxes II and Statira. Artaxerxes II had more than 115 sons by many wives, most of them however were illegitimate. Some of Ochus' noticeable siblings were Rodogune, Apama, Sisygambis, Ocha, Darius and Ariaspes, most of them were murdered soon after his ascension. Artaxerxes married his niece and the daughter of Oxathres, brother of the future king Darius III. His children were Arses
Arses of Persia
Artaxerxes IV Arses was king of Persia between 338 BC and 336 BC. He was the youngest son of King Artaxerxes III and Atossa and was not expected to succeed to the throne of Persia...

, the future king of Persia, Bisthanes, and Parysatis.

An uncommonly known theory about Artaxerxes is that he is mistaken for Darius II
Darius II of Persia
Darius II , was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 405 BC.Artaxerxes I, who died on December 25, 424 BC, was followed by his son Xerxes II. After a month and a half Xerxes II was murdered by his brother Secydianus or Sogdianus...

, the son of Artaxerxes I, due to the fact that they share the same name, Ochus. The same theory also suggests that Persia's meddling in Greece was in fact a war against the Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ians, and that, Artaxerxes drove the Macedonians to extremes and so they had to pay forty thousand pieces of gold and offer the hand of the King of Macedon's daughter to Artaxerxes. But Artaxerxes sent her back to her father because of her offensive breath. The theory further suggests that the daughter was pregnant with Artaxerxes' son, who is thought to be Alexander the Great. This could be another explanation why Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of Shahanshah.

See also

  • List of kings of Persia
  • Achaemenid Empire
    Achaemenid Empire
    The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

  • Persian Empire
    Achaemenid Empire
    The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

  • History of Achaemenid Egypt
    History of Achaemenid Egypt
    The history of Achaemenid Egypt is divided into two eras: an initial period of Achaemenid Persian occupation when Egypt became a satrapy, followed by an interval of independence; and a second period of occupation, again under the Achaemenids....

  • List of Pharaohs
  • Second Persian conquest of Egypt
  • History of Achaemenid Egypt

External links