Artaxerxes Iii. or Artaxerxes Ochus
also called Ochus,
succeeded his father as king of Persia in B. C. 362, and reigned till B. C. 339.
In order to secure the throne which he had gained by treason and murder, he began his reign with a merciless extirpation of the members of his family.
He himself was a cowardly and reckless despot; and the great advantages which the Persian arms gained during his reign, were owing only to his Greek generals and mercenaries, and to traitors, or want of skill on the part of his enemies.
These advantages consisted in the conquest of the revolted satrap Artabazus [ARTABAZUS, No. 4], and in the reduction of Phoenicia, of several revolted towns in Cyprus, and of Egypt, B. C. 350. (Diod. 16.40
.) From this time Artaxerxes withdrew to his seraglio, where he passed his days in sensual pleasures.
The reins of the government were entirely in the hands of the eunuch Bagoas, and of Mentor, the Rhodian, and the existence of the king himself was felt by his subjects only in the bloody commands which he issued.
At last he was killed by poison by Bagoas, and was succeeded by his youngest son, Arses. (Diod. 17.5
; Plut. De Is. et Os.
11; Aelian, Ael. VH 4.8
, H. A.
10.28; Justin, 10.3
; comp. Clinton, Fast. Hellen.
ii. p. 382, &c.) Respecting Artaxerxes, the founder of the dynasty of the Sassanidae, see SASSANIDAE.