Darius II Nothus
424-404BC (19)

Darius II Nothus: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire


  • Father: Artaxerxes I Makrocheir
  • Mother: Cosmartidene, a lady from Babylon (therefore called Nothus, 'bastard')
  • Wife: his half-sister Parysatis
  • Sons: Arsaces (=Artaxerxes II Mnemon), Cyrus the Younger, Ostanes (father of Astanes and Sisygambis, grandfather of Darius III Codomannus, Statira, Oxyathres)
  • Daughter: Amestris

Main deeds:

  • Accession between 24 December 424 and 10 January 423; his real name, Ochus, is replaced by Darius
  • 420: Revolt of Pissuthnes, satrap of Lydia
  • Wars against the Cadusians
  • 415: Tissaphernes suppresses the revolt op Pissuthnes; Amorges continues the rebellion
  • 413: Outbreak of the Ionian or Decelean War between Athens and Sparta; Tissaphernes tries to use the two Greek city states against each other
  • 412: Treaty with Sparta (text); the Spartans capture Amorges
  • 410: Ethnic riots in Upper Egypt
  • 407: Cyrus the Younger made satrap of Lydia; he unconditionally supports Sparta against Athens
  • Death on 1, 2, or 3 April 404

Darius II, originally called Ochus and often surnamed Nothus (from Greek νοθος, meaning 'bastard'), was emperor of Persia from 423 BC to 404 BC.

Artaxerxes I, who died shortly after December 24, 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 form of the name is uncertain). His illegitimate brother, Ochus, satrap of Hyrcania, rebelled against Sogdianus, and after a short fight killed him, and suppressed by treachery the attempt of his own brother Arsites to imitate his example. Ochus adopted the name Darius (in the chronicles he is called Nothos, meaning "the bastard"). Neither Xerxes II nor Secydianus occurs in the dates of the numerous Babylonian tablets from Nippur; here the reign of Darius II follows immediately after that of Artaxerxes I.

Of Darius's reign historians know very little (a rebellion of the Medes in 409 BC is mentioned by Xenophon), except that he was quite dependent on his wife Parysatis. In the excerpts from Ctesias some harem intrigues are recorded, in which he played a disreputable part. As long as the power of Athens remained intact he did not meddle in Greek affairs; even the support which the Athenians in 413 BC gave to the rebel Amorges in Caria would not have roused him, had not the Athenian power been broken in the same year before Syracuse. He gave orders to his satraps in Asia Minor, Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus, to send in the overdue tribute of the Greek towns, and to begin a war with Athens; for this purpose they entered into an alliance with Sparta. In 408 BC he sent his son Cyrus to Asia Minor, to carry on the war with greater energy. In 404 BC Darius II died after a reign of nineteen years, and was followed by Artaxerxes II.

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