Artaxerxes II

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Artaxerxes II

Artaxerxes II, d. 358 BC, king of ancient Persia (404–358 BC), 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 BC), 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 (386 BC, see Corinthian War) 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 (c.381) submitted to the king. Pharnabazus and Iphicrates, sent to reduce Egypt, disagreed and accomplished nothing. A formidable and longlasting revolt of the satraps (among them Mausolus) 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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