Artaxerxes Ii. or Artaxerxes Mnemon
) from his good memory, succeeded his father, Dareius II., as king of Persia, and reigned from B. C. 405 to B. C. 362. (Diod. 13.104
.) Cyrus, the younger brother of Artaxerxes, was the favourite of his mother Parysatis, and she endeavoured to obtain the throne for him; but Dareius gave to Cyrus only the satrapy of western Asia, and Artaxerxes on his accession confirmed his brother in his satrapy, on the request of Parysatis, although he suspected him. (Xenoph. Anab.
1.1.3 ; Plut. Art. 3
.) Cyrus, however, revolted against his brother, and supported by Greek mercenaries invaded Upper Asia.
In the neighbourhood of Cunaxa, Cyrus gained a great victory over the far more numerous army of his brother, B. C. 400], but was slain in the battle. [CYRUS.] Tissaphernes was appointed satrap of western Asia in the place of Cyrus (Xenoph. Hellen.
3.1.3), and was actively engaged in wars with the Greeks. [THIMBRON; DERCYLLIDAS; AGESILAUS.
Notwithstanding these perpetual conflicts with the Greeks, the Persian empire maintained itself by the disunion among the Greeks themselves, which was fomented and kept up by Persian money.
The peace of Antalcidas, in B. C. 388, gave the Persians even greater power and influence than they had possessed before. [ANTALCIDAS.] But the empire was suffering from internal disturbances and confusion : Artaxerxes himself was a weak man; his mother, Parysatis, carried on her horrors at the court with truly oriental cruelty; and slaves and eunuchs wielded the reins of government. Tributary countries and satraps endeavoured, under such circumstances, to make themselves independent, and the exertions which it was necessary to make against the rebels exhausted the strength of the empire. Artaxerxes thus had to maintain a long struggle against Evagoras of Cyprus, from B. C. 385 to B. C. 376, and yet all he could gain was to confine Evagoras to his original possession, the town of Salamis and its vicinity, and to compel him to pay a moderate tribute. (Diod. 15.9
At the same time he had to carry on war against the Cardusians, on the shores of the Caspian sea; and after his numerous army was with great difficulty saved from total destruction, he concluded a peace without gaining any advantages. (Diod. 15.9
; Plut. Art. 24
.) His attempts to recover Egypt were unsuccessful, and the general insurrection of his subjects in Asia Minor failed only through treachery among the insurgents themselves. (Diod. 15.90
, &c.) When Artaxerxes felt that the end of his life was approaching, he endeavoured to prevent all quarrels respecting the succession by fixing upon Dareius, the eldest of his three legitimate sons (by his concubines he had no less than 115 sons, Just. 10.1
), as his successor, and granted to him all the outward distinctions of royalty. But Dareius soon after fell out with his father about Aspasia, and formed a plot to assassinate him.
But the plot was betrayed, and Dareius was put to death with many of his accomplices. (Plut. Art. 26
, &c.; Justin. l.c.
) Of the two remaining legitimate sons, Ochus and Ariaspes, the former now hoped to succeed his father; but as Ariaspes was beloved by the Persians on account of his gentle and amiable character, and as the aged Artaxerxes appeared to prefer Arsames, the son of one of his concubines, Ochus contrived by intrigues to drive Ariaspes to despair and suicide, and had Arsames assassinated. Artaxerxes died of grief at these horrors in B. C. 362, and was succeeded by Ochus, who ascended the throne under the name of Artaxerxes III. (Plut. Life of Artaxerxes ; Diod. 15.93
; Phot. Bibl.
pp. 42-44, ed. Bekker; Clinton, Fast. Hellen.
ii. p. 381, &c.)