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Artaxerxes II of Persia
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{{short description|King of Persia from 404 to 358 BC}}







factoids
Artaxerxes II Mnemon {{IPAc-en|ˌ|ɑr|t|ə|ˈ|z|ɜr|k|s|iː|z}} (, meaning "whose reign is through truth")R. Schmitt. "ARTAXERXES". Encyclopædia Iranica. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 12 March 2012. was the Xšâyathiya Xšâyathiyânâm (King of Kings) of Persia from 404 BC until his death in 358 BC. He was a son of Darius II and Parysatis.Greek authors gave him the epithet "Mnemon" (Greek: mnḗmona, in Old Persian: abiataka), meaning "remembering; having a good memory".WEB,weblink ARTAXERXES II – Encyclopaedia Iranica, electricpulp.com, www.iranicaonline.org, 4 February 2018,

Rise to power

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.(File:Artaxerxes II relief portrait detail.jpg|thumb|left|Portrait of Artaxerxes II.) 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.WEB, The Achaemenid Empire,weblink 2015-06-21,

Dynastic conflict with Cyrus the Younger (401 BC)

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 .File:Adrien Guignet - Retreat of the ten thousand.jpg|thumb|Retreat of the Ten Thousand, at the Battle of CunaxaBattle of CunaxaArtaxerxes defended his position against his brother Cyrus the Younger who, with the aid of a large army of Greek mercenaries called the "Ten Thousand", 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, himself one of the leaders of the Greek troops, would later recount this battle in the Anabasis, focusing on the struggle of the now-stranded Greek mercenaries to return home.)

Reign

Conflict against Sparta

File:Altikulac Sarcophagus Dynast of Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi early 4th century BCE.jpg|thumb|Armoured cavalry of Achaemenid Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi at the time of Artaxerxes II and his Satrap Pharnabazus II, Altıkulaç SarcophagusAltıkulaç SarcophagusArtaxerxes became involved in a war with Persia's erstwhile allies during the Peloponnesian war, the Spartans, who, under Agesilaus II, invaded Asia Minor in 396-395 BC. In order to redirect the Spartans' attention to Greek affairs, Artaxerxes subsidized their enemies through his envoy Timocrates of Rhodes: in particular the Athenians, Thebans and Corinthians received massives subsidies. Tens of thousands of Darics, the main currency in Achaemenid coinage, were used to bribe the Greek states to start a war against Sparta.BOOK, Snodgrass, Mary Ellen, Coins and Currency: An Historical Encyclopedia, 2015, McFarland, 9781476611204, 125,weblink en, These subsidies helped to engage the Spartans in what would become known as the Corinthian War. According to Plutarch, Agesilaus said upon leaving Asia Minor "I have been driven out by 10,000 Persian archers", a reference to "Archers" (Toxotai) the Greek nickname for the Darics from their obverse design, because that much money had been paid to politicians in Athens and Thebes in order to start a war against Sparta."Persian coins were stamped with the figure of an archer, and Agesilaus said, as he was breaking camp, that the King was driving him out of Asia with ten thousand "archers"; for so much money had been sent to Athens and Thebes and distributed among the popular leaders there, and as a consequence those people made war upon the Spartans" Plutarch 15-1-6 in BOOK, Delphi Complete Works of Plutarch (Illustrated), 2013, Delphi Classics, 9781909496620, 1031, Plutarch 15-1-6,weblink en, BOOK, Schwartzwald, Jack L., The Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome: A Brief History, 2014, McFarland, 9781476613079, 73,weblink en,

Final agreement with Sparta (387 BC)

File:King's Peace 387 BC.jpg|thumb|left|The King's Peace, promulgated by Artaxerxes II in 387 BC, put an end to the Corinthian WarCorinthian WarIn 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.

Egypt campaign (373 BC)

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 under the command of Pharnabazus, satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, was completely unsuccessful, but in his waning years the Persians did manage to defeat a joint Egyptian–Spartan effort to conquer Phoenicia.

Unfolding of the Egyptian campaign

In 377 BC, Pharnabazus was reassigned by Artaxerxes II to help command a military expedition into rebellious Egypt, having proven his ability against the Spartans.BOOK, Trouble in the West: Egypt and the Persian Empire, 525-332 BC, Ruzicka, Stephen, Oxford University Press, 2012, 978-0-19-976662-8, New York, NY, 55–62, (File:Achaemenid campaign against Egypt 373 BCE.jpg|thumb|upright|Achaemenid campaign of Pharnabazus II against Egypt in 373 BC.)After 4 years of preparations in the Levant, Pharnabazus gathered an expeditionary force had 200,000 Persian troops, 300 triremes, 200 galleys, and 12,000 Greeks under Iphicrates.BOOK, Gershevitch, I., Fisher, William Bayne, Boyle, John Andrew, Yarshater, Ehsan, Frye, Richard Nelson, The Cambridge History of Iran, 1985, Cambridge University Press, 9780521200912, 372,weblink en, The Achaemenid Empire had also been applying pressure on Athens to recall the Greek general Chabrias, who was in the service of the Egyptians, but in vain.{{harvp|Grimal|1992|pp=375–376}} The Egyptian ruler Nectanebo I was thus supported by Athenian General Chabrias and his mercenaries.BOOK, Ruzicka, Stephen, Trouble in the West: Egypt and the Persian Empire, 525-332 BC, 2012, Oxford University Press, 9780199908776, 99–105,weblink en, The Achaemenid force landed in Egypt with the Athenian general Iphicrates near Mendes in 373 BC.BOOK, Gershevitch, I., Fisher, William Bayne, Boyle, John Andrew, Yarshater, Ehsan, Frye, Richard Nelson, The Cambridge History of Iran, 1985, Cambridge University Press, 9780521200912, 373,weblink en, The expedition force was too slow, giving time to the Egyptians to strengthen defenses. Pharnabazus and Iphicrates appeared before Pelusium, but retired without attacking it, Nectanebo I, king of Egypt, having added to its former defences by laying the neighboring lands under water, and blocking up the navigable channels of the Nile by embankments. (Diodorus Siculus xv. 42; Cornelius Nepos, Iphicrates c. 5.) Fortifications on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile ordered by Nectanebo forced the enemy fleet to seek another way to sail up the Nile. Eventually the fleet managed to find its way up the less-defended Mendesian branch. At this point, the mutual distrust that had arisen between Iphicrates and Pharnabazus prevented the enemy from reaching Memphis. Then the annual Nile flood and the Egyptian defenders' resolve to defend their territory turned what had initially appeared as certain defeat for Nectanebo I and his troops into a complete victory.{{harvp|Lloyd|1994|p=348}}After several weeks the Persians, and their Greek mercenaries under Iphicrates, had to reembark. The expedition against Egypt had failed. It was the end of the career of Pharnabazus, who was now over 70 years old.BOOK, Gershevitch, I., Fisher, William Bayne, Boyle, John Andrew, Yarshater, Ehsan, Frye, Richard Nelson, The Cambridge History of Iran, 1985, Cambridge University Press, 9780521200912, 374,weblink en, Pharnabazes was replaced by Datames to lead a second expedition to Egypt, but he failed and then started the "Satraps' Revolt" against the Great King.

Revolt of the Satraps (372-362 BC)

The Achaemenid defeat in Egypt led to unrest among the Achaemenid nobility. From 372 BC many western satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire started to rebel against Artaxerxes II, in the Great Satraps' Revolt, starting with the powerful satrap Datames. Following the failure of Pharnabazus II in Egypt, Datames had been entrusted by the Persian king with the chief command of a force designed for the recovery of Egypt. But the machinations of his enemies at the Persian court, and the risks to which he was in consequence exposed, induced him to change his plan, and throw off his allegiance to the king. He withdrew with the troops under his command into Cappadocia, and made common cause with the other satraps who were revolting from Persia.The Pharaoh Nectanebo provided financial support to the rebelling satraps and re-established ties with both Sparta and Athens.{{harvp|Grimal|1992|p=377}} Artaxerxes II finally quashed the Revolt of the Satraps by 362 BC.

Peace mediation in the Theban–Spartan War (368-366 BC)

File:Double daric 330-300 obverse CdM Paris.jpg|thumb|upright|DaricDaricArtaxerxes again attempted to mediate in conflicts between the Greek city-states at the time of the Theban hegemony, especially the Theban–Spartan War. He sent Philiscus of Abydos, a hyparch ('vice-regents') and military commander of the Achaemenid satrap Ariobarzanes, to Delphi in order to help the Greek negotiate peace.BOOK, Heskel, Julia, The North Aegean Wars, 371-360 B.C, 1997, Franz Steiner Verlag, 9783515069175, 113,weblink en, BOOK, Heskel, Julia, The North Aegean Wars, 371-360 B.C, 1997, Franz Steiner Verlag, 9783515069175, 96,weblink en, BOOK, Fine, John Van Antwerp, The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History, 1983, Harvard University Press, 9780674033146, 584,weblink en, The objective of Philicus of Abydos was such to help broker a Common Peace between the Greek belligerants reunited at Delphi. The negotiation collapsed when Thebes refused to return Messenia to the Spartans.Before returning to Abydos, Philicus used Achaemenid funds to finance an army for the Spartans, suggesting that he was acting in support of the Spartans from the beginning. With the Achaemenid financing of a new army, Sparta was able to continue the war.BOOK, Souza, Philip de, France, John, War and Peace in Ancient and Medieval History, 2008, Cambridge University Press, 9781139469487, 41,weblink en, Among the mercenaries whom he had recruited, Philiscus gave 2,000 to the Spartans.BOOK, Heskel, Julia, The North Aegean Wars, 371-360 B.C, 1997, Franz Steiner Verlag, 9783515069175, 113,weblink en, He also probably provided funds to the Athenians and promissed them, on behalf of the King, to help them recover the Chersonese militarily.BOOK, Heskel, Julia, The North Aegean Wars, 371-360 B.C, 1997, Franz Steiner Verlag, 9783515069175, 113,weblink en, Both Philiscus and Ariobarzanes were made citizens of Athens, a remarkable honor suggesting important services rendered to the city-state.During autumn of 367 BCE, first the Spartans, soon followed by the Athenians, the Arcadians, the Argives, the Eleans, the Thebans and other Greek city-states sent envoys to Susa in attempts to obtain the support of Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II in the Greek conflict. The Achaemenid king proposed a new peace treaty, this time highly tilted in favour of Thebes, which required Messenia to remain independent and that the Athenian fleet to be dismantled. This Peace proposal was rejected by most Greek parties except Thebes.BOOK, Fine, John Van Antwerp, The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History, 1983, Harvard University Press, 9780674033146, 585,weblink en, Sparta and Athens, dissatified with the Persian king's support of Thebes, decided to provide careful military support to the opponents of the Achaemenid king. Athens and Sparta provided support for the revolted satraps, in particular Ariobarzanes: Sparta sent a force to Ariobarzanes under an aging Agesilaus II, while Athens sent a force under Timotheus, which was however diverted when it became obvious that Ariobarzanes had entered frontal conflict with the Achaemenid king. An Athenian mercenary force under Chabrias was also sent to the Egyptian Pharao Tachos, who was also fighting against the Achaemenid king.

Building projects

(File:Persepolis Tomb of Artaxerxes II Mnemon (r.404-358 BCE) Upper Relief soldiers with labels.jpg|thumb|upright=1.8|Ethnicities of the soldiers of the Empire, on the tomb of Artaxerxes II. On the lintel over each figure appears a trilingual inscription describing each ethnicity.BOOK, Briant, Pierre, Darius in the Shadow of Alexander, 2015, Harvard University Press, 9780674493094, 25,weblink en, These are known collectively as "Inscription A2Pa".)Much of Artaxerxes' wealth was spent on building projects. He restored the Palace of Darius I at Susa,WEB, Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: A2Sa,weblink www.livius.org, 2015-06-21, and also the fortifications; including a strong redoubt at the south-east corner of the enclosure and gave Ecbatana a new apadana and sculptures.The tomb of Artaxerxes II is located at Persepolis, and was built on the model of his predecessors at Naqsh-e Rustam. On the upper register of the tomb appear reliefs of the Emperor, supported by the soldiers of all ethnicities of the Empire. On the lintel over each figure appears a trilingual inscription describing each ethnicity.BOOK, Briant, Pierre, Darius in the Shadow of Alexander, 2015, Harvard University Press, 9780674493094, 25,weblink en, These are known collectively as "Inscription A2Pa".File:Persepolis Artaxerxes II tomb.jpg|thumb|Tomb of Artaxerxes II in Persepolis.File:Persepolis Tomb of Artaxerxes II Mnemon (r.404-358 BCE) Upper Relief.jpg|thumb|Upper Relief of the tomb of Artaxerxes II.

Identification

The Jewish high priest Johanan is mentioned in the Elephantine papyriPritchard, James B. ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton University Press, third edition with supplement 1969, {{ISBN|9780691035031}}, p. 492Bezalel Porten (Author), J. J. Farber (Author), C. J. F. Martin (Author), G. Vittmann (Author), The Elephantine Papyri in English (Documenta Et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui, book 22), Koninklijke Brill NV, The Netherlands, 1996, {{ISBN|9781589836280}}, p 125-153. dated to 407 BC, i.e., during Darius II's reign, and is also mentioned in Ezra 10:6 after the reign of Darius (Ezra 6:1) and during the rule of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:1), thereby supporting the chronological sequence.Amongst others, it has been suggested that Artaxerxes II 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 BCWolfgang Felix, Encyclopaedia Iranica, entry Dinon, 1996–2008) and Ctesias (Artexerxes II's physicianJona Lendering, Ctesias of Cnidus, Livius, Articles on Ancient History, 1996–2008) respectively.John Dryden, Arthur Hugh Clough, Plutarch's Lives, Little, Brown and Company, 1885 These derive from the Persian name Khshayarsha as do "Ahasuerus" ("(Arta)Xerxes") and the hypocoristicon "Arshu" for Artaxerxes II found on a contemporary inscription (LBAT 162M. A. Dandamaev, W. J. Vogelsang, A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire, BRILL, 1989). 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 BerossusJacob Hoschander, The Book of Esther in the Light of History, Oxford University Press, 1923 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.E. A. W. Budge, The Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, Gorgias Press LLC, reprinted 2003Jan Jacob van Ginkel, John of Ephesus. A Monophysite Historian in Sixth-century Byzantium, Groningen, 1995However contrary to Esther 1:1 Artaxerxes II on his accession lost Egypt to pharaoh Amyrtaeus, after which it wasn't part of the Persian empire anymore.

Issue

Artaxerxes II 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.WEB, The Achaemenid Empire,weblink 2015-06-21, {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080619124220weblink |date=2008-06-19 }}
By Stateira
Artaxerxes III Darius Ariaspes or Ariarathes Rhodogune, wife of satrap Orontes I Atossa, wife of Artaxerxes II & then Artaxerxes III
By other wives
Arsames Mithridates Phriapatius(?), probable ancestor of Arsacids Amestris, wife of Artaxerxes II Apama, wife of Pharnabazus Ocha, mother of an unnamed wife of Artaxerxes III The unnamed wife of Tissaphernes 112 other unnamed sons

See also

References

{{reflist|2}}

External links

{{Commons category|Artaxerxes II}} {{Median and Achaemenid kings}}{{Achaemenid rulers}}{{Plutarch}}{{Authority control}}

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