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Artaxerxes II Mnemon
Great King (Shah) of Persia
Reign 405-04 to 359-58 BC
Born ca. 435 or 445 BC
Died 358 BC
Predecessor Darius II of Persia
Heir Apparent Artaxerxes III of Persia
Successor Artaxerxes III of Persia
Offspring Artaxerxes III of Persia
Dynasty Achaemenid
Father Darius II of Persia
Mother Parysatis

Artaxerxes II Mnemon (Old Persian: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠[1] Artaxšaçā, Ancient Greek: Ἀρταξέρξης) was king of Persia from 404 BC until his death. He was a son of Darius II of Persia and Parysatis.

Contents

Reign

He defended his position against his brother Cyrus the Younger, who was defeated and killed at the Battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC, and against a revolt of the provincial governors, the satraps (366 – 358 BC). He also 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.

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 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.[2]

He also is said to have loved a young eunuch by the name of Tiridates, who died "as he was emerging from childhood". His death caused Artaxerxes enormous grief, and there was public mourning for him throughout the empire as an offering to the king from his subjects.[3][4]

He is identified as the Persian king Ahasuerus of the Purim story in traditional sources.

Building projects

Much of Artaxerxes's wealth was spent on building projects. He restored the palace of Darius I at Susa,[5] and also the fortifications; including a strong redoubt at the southeast corner of the enclosure and gave Ecbatana a new apadana and sculptures. He seems not to have built much at Persepolis.

Offspring

By Stateira
Artaxerxes III
Darius
Ariaspes or Ariarathes
Atossa wife of Artaxerxes II & then Artaxerxes III
By other wives
Arsames
Mithridates
Phriapatius? probable ancestor of Arsacids
Amestris wife of Artaxerxes II
Rhodogune wife of Orontes
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

  1. ^ Moradi Ghiasabadi, Reza (2004) (in Persian Persian Studies). Achaemenid Inscriptions (کتیبه‌های هخامنشی)‎ (2nd edition ed.). Tehran: Shiraz Navid Publications. pp. 138. ISBN 964-358-015-6.  
  2. ^ History of Iran
  3. ^ Aelian, Varia Historia, 12.1
  4. ^ From Cyrus to Alexander By Pierre Briant; p.269
  5. ^ A2Sa

External links

Artaxerxes II of Persia
Born: c. 436 BC Died: 358 BC
Preceded by
Darius II
Great King (Shah) of Persia
404 BC–358 BC
Succeeded by
Artaxerxes III
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