Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Carvings above the Tomb of Artaxerxes II Mnemon


He defended his position against his brother Cyrus the Younger who, with the aid of a large army of Greek mercenaries, attempted to usurp the throne. Though Cyrus' mixed army fought to a tactical victory at the Battle of Cunaxa in Babylon (401 BCE), Cyrus himself was killed in the exchange by Mithridates, rendering his victory irrelevant. (The Greek historian Xenophon would later recount this battle in the Anabasis, focusing on the struggle of the now stranded Greek mercenaries to return home.) Artaxerxes tried to claim for himself the glory of having killed his brother but when Mithridates, flushed with wine, boasted at court of killing Cyrus, Artaxerxes had him executedfor making him out to be a liar.
Artaxerxes became involved in a war with Persia's erstwhile allies, the Spartans, who, under Agesilaus II, invaded Asia Minor. In order to redirect the Spartans' attention to Greek affairs, Artaxerxes subsidized their enemies: in particular the AtheniansThebans and Corinthians. These subsidies helped to engage the Spartans in what would become known as the Corinthian War. In 386 BCE, Artaxerxes II betrayed his allies and came to an arrangement with Sparta, and in the Treaty of Antalcidas he forced his erstwhile allies to come to terms. This treaty restored control of the Greek cities of Ionia and Aeolis on the Anatolian coast to the Persians, while giving Sparta dominance on the Greek mainland. In 385 BCE he campaigned against the Cadusians.
Although successful against the Greeks, Artaxerxes had more trouble with the Egyptians, who had successfully revolted against him at the beginning of his reign. An attempt to reconquer Egypt in 373 BCE was completely unsuccessful, but in his waning years the Persians did manage to defeat a joint Egyptian–Spartan effort to conquer Phoenicia. He quashed the Revolt of the Satraps in 372–362 BCE.
He is reported to have had a number of wives. His main wife was Stateira, until she was poisoned by Artaxerxes' mother Parysatis in about 400 BCE. Another chief wife was a Greek woman of Phocaea named Aspasia (not the same as the concubine of Pericles). Artaxerxes II is said to have more than 115 sons from 350 wives.[2]

Building projects

Much of Artaxerxes's wealth was spent on building projects. He restored the palace of Darius I at Susa,[3] and also the fortifications; including a strong redoubt at the southeast corner of the enclosure and gave Ecbatana a new apadana and sculptures. He seems not to have built much at Persepolis.

Source: http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Artaxerxes_II_of_Persia

Disqus Shortname

Comments system