Artaxerxes II Mnemon
404-358BC (46)

Artaxerxes II Mnemon: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire

Relatives:

  • Father: Darius II Nothus
  • Mother: Parysatis
  • First wife: Statira (daughter of Hydarnes)
  • Sons: Darius, Artaxerxes III Ochus, Ariaspes
  • Daughter: Apama (married to Pharnabazus), Rhodogyne (married to Orontes), Amestris, Atossa
  • Second wife: name not known
  • Son: Arsames

Main deeds:

  • Real name: Arsaces
  • Accession on 3 April 404
  • 404: Outbreak of civil war: Artaxerxes' brother Cyrus the Younger revolts
  • 404: In Egypt: revolt of Amyrtaeus
  • 401: Battle of Cunaxa: Cyrus army defeats Artaxerxes' army, but Cyrus dies in action
  • 401/400: Return of the Ten Thousand
  • 396: The Spartan king Agesilaus invades Asia
  • 395: The Athenian admiral Conon, commanding a Persian navy, captures Rhodes and opens a naval offensive against Sparta
  • 394: Recall of Agesilaus
  • 386: King's Peace
  • 385 and 383: Pharnabazus and Tithraustes lead an army against Egypt, but the Egyptian king Achoris is able to ward off the invasion
  • Early 370's?: Wars against the Cadusians
  • 373: Failed attempt to reconquer Egypt, where Nectanebo I has become pharaoh
  • c.370: Revolt of Datames
  • 367: Beginning of the Satrap's Revolt: Ariobarzanes revolts in Hellespontine Phrygia; Maussolus of Caria, Orontes of Armenia, Autophradates of Lydia, and Datames join him
  • 362: Assassination of Datames; end of the Satrap's Revolt
  • Death in February or the first half of March 358

Artaxerxes II Memnon (Old Persian: Artaxšarā, Persian: اردشیر - Ardašir, Ancient Greek: Αρταξέρξης) (ca. 436 – 358 BC) was king of Persia from 404 BC until his death. 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, invaded Asia Minor. To keep the Spartans busy, Artaxerxes subsidized their enemies in Greece—the Athenians, Thebans, and Corinthians, especially—to keep them busy back at home, 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 thus rather 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, chief among whom was a Greek woman of Phocaea named Aspasia (not the same as the concubine of Pericles). 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.

 
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