When Artaxerxes II. mounted the throne of Persia in 404 B.C., the power of Athens had been broken by Lysander, and the Greek towns in Asia were again subjects of the Persian empire. But his whole reign is a time of continuous decay; the original force of the Persians had been exhausted in luxury and intrigues, and the king, though personally brave and good-natured, was quite dependent upon his favourites and his harem, and especially upon his mother Parysatis. In the beginning of his reign falls the rebellion of his brother Cyrus, who was secretly favoured by Parysatis and by Sparta. Although Cyrus was defeated at Cunaxa, this rebellion was disastrous inasmuch as it opened to the Greeks the way into the interior of the empire, and demonstrated that no oriental force was able to withstand a band of well-trained Greek soldiers. Subsequently Greek mercenaries became indispensable not only to the king but also to the satraps, who thereby gained the means for attempting successful rebellions, into which they were provoked by the weakness of the king, and by the continuous intrigues between the Persian magnates. The reign is, therefore, a continuous succession of rebellions.
After the battle of Leuctra, when the power of Thebes was founded by Epaminondas, Pelopidas went to Susa (367) and restored the old alliance between Persia and Thebes. The Persian supremacy, however, was not based upon the power of the empire, but only on the discord of the Greeks. When the long reign of Artaxerxes II. came to its close in the autumn of 359 the authority of the empire had been restored almost everywhere. Artaxerxes himself had done very little to obtain this result. In fact, in the last years of his reign he had sunk into a perfect dotage. All his time was spent in the pleasures of his harem, the intrigues of which were further complicated by his falling in love with and marrying his own daughter Atossa (according to the Persian religion a marriage between the nearest relations is no incest). At the same time, his sons were quarrelling about the succession; one of them, Ochus, induced the father by a series of intrigues to condemn to death three of his older brothers, who stood in his way. Shortly afterwards, Artaxerxes II. died.
—Excerpted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
|Assumed throne of Persia on the death of Darius II.|
|Defeats and kills his brother Cyrus at the Battle of Cunaxa.|
|Agesilaus sent to Asia Minor to liberate Asian colonies.|
|Spartan fleet destroyed at Cnidus. Agesilaus returns to fight Corinthian War.|
|Peace of Antalcidas is signed with very favorable terms for Persia.|
|Pelopidas travels to Susa to negotiate peace between Persia and Thebes.|
|Death of Artaxerxes II.|
|In Old Persia in||Tales of the Greeks: The Children's Plutarch by F. J. Gould|
|Peace of Antalcidas in||The Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber|
|Artaxerxes in||Our Young Folks' Plutarch by Rosalie Kaufman|
|March of the Ten Thousand in||The Story of Greece by Mary Macgregor|
|Rival Brothers in||The Retreat of the Ten Thousand by Frances Younghusband|
|Plotted to kill his brother Artaxerxes, and assume the Persian throne.|
|Pharnabazus||Persian satrap who fought Agesilaus in Lydia.|
|Parysatis||Mother of Cyrus and Artaxerxes.|
|Leader of Sparta after the Peloponnesian War. Campaigned in Asia Minor and warred with Thebes.|
|Antalcidas||Spartan general who negotiated the peace that ended the Corinthian War.|
|Evagoras||King of Salamis in Cyprus|
|Helped to liberate Thebes. Leader of the "Sacred Band" of Theban Warriors.|