Artaxerxes II

404-358 B.C.

Son and successor of Darius II. He is sometimes called in Greek Artaxerxes Mnemon [the thoughtful]. Early in his reign Cyrus the Younger attempted to assassinate him and seize the throne. Artaxerxes finally crushed Cyrus' rebellion at the battle of Cunaxa (401 B.C.), where Cyrus was killed. The story of the Greek contingent in the battle was made famous by Xenophon. Artaxerxes was ruled by the will of his wife and mother and relied heavily upon his officials; in addition, the satraps Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes had real ruling power. They managed by liberal distribution of Persian gold to gain great influence in Greece, and the Peace of Antalcidas marked the imposition of Persian control of the Greek city-states. The provinces of the empire eventually became restless. Evagoras made himself independent as a ruler of Cyprus but finally submitted to the king. Pharnabazus and Iphicrates, sent to reduce Egypt, disagreed and accomplished nothing. A formidable and long-lasting revolt of the satraps against the king was put down just before his death. He was eventually succeeded by Artaxerxes III. The reign of Artaxerxes II also saw a revival of the cult of Mithra.




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