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Artaxerxes I of Persia

Artaxerxes I
King of Kings
King of Persia
Pharaoh of Egypt
Relief of Artaxerxes from his tomb in Naqsh-e Rustam
King of Persia
Reign 465-424 BC
Predecessor Xerxes I
Successor Xerxes II
Born ??
Died 424 BC
Burial Naqsh-e Rustam, Persia
Spouse Queen Damaspia
Alogyne of Babylon
Cosmartidene of Babylon
Andia of Babylon
House Achaemenid
Father Xerxes I
Mother Amestris

nomen or birth name
Artaxerxes[1]
in hieroglyphs

Artaxerxes I (Persian: اردشیر یکم‎‎, Old Persian: ARATAXASHASSA Artaxšaça,[2] "whose rule (xšaça < *xšaϑram) is through arta (truth)";[3] Greek: Ἀρταξέρξης[4]) was the fifth King of Persia from 465 BC to 424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I.

He may have been the "Artasyrus" mentioned by Herodotus as being a Satrap of the royal satrapy of Bactria.

In Greek sources he is also surnamed μακρόχειρ Macrocheir (Latin: Longimanus), allegedly because his right hand was longer than his left.[5]

Contents

  • Succession to the throne 1
  • Egyptian revolt 2
  • Relations with Greece 3
  • Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah 4
  • Interpretations of actions 5
  • Medical analysis 6
  • Issue 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Succession to the throne

Artaxerxes was probably born in the reign of his grandfather Darius I, to the emperors son and heir, Xerxes I. In 465 BC, Xerxes I was murdered by Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard and the most powerful official in the Persian court (Hazarapat/commander of thousand), with the help of a eunuch, Aspamitres.[6] Greek historians give contradicting accounts of events. According to Ctesias (in Persica 20), Artabanus then accused the Crown Prince Darius, Xerxes's eldest son, of the murder and persuaded Artaxerxes, to avenge the patricide by killing Darius. But according to Aristotle (in Politics 5.1311b), Artabanus killed Darius first and then killed Xerxes. After Artaxerxes discovered the murder he killed Artabanus and his sons.[7][8]

Egyptian revolt

The ancient Egyptian god Amun-Min in front of Artaxerxes' cartouche.

He had to face a revolt in Egypt in 460–454 BC led by Inaros II, who was the son of a Libyan prince named Psamtik, presumably of the old Saite line. In 460 BC, Inaros II revolted against the Persians with the help of his Athenian allies, and defeated the Persian army commanded by satrap Akheimenes. The Persians retreated to Memphis, but the Athenians were finally defeated in 454 BC, by the Persian army led by Megabyzus, after a two-year siege. Inaros was captured and carried away to Susa.

Relations with Greece

Themistocles stands silently before king Artaxerxes

After Persia had been defeated at Eurymedon (ca 469 BC), military action between Greece and Persia was at a standstill. When Artaxerxes I took power, he introduced a new Persian strategy of weakening the Athenians by funding their enemies in Greece. This indirectly caused the Athenians to move the treasury of the Delian League from the island of Delos to the Athenian acropolis. This funding practice inevitably prompted renewed fighting in 450 BC, where the Greeks attacked at the Battle of Cyprus. After Cimon's failure to attain much in this expedition, the Peace of Callias was agreed between Athens, Argos and Persia in 449 BC.

Artaxerxes I offered asylum to Themistocles, who was probably his father Xerxes's greatest enemy for his victory at the Battle of Salamis, after Themistocles was ostracized from Athens. Also, Artaxerxes I gave him Magnesia, Myus, and Lampsacus to maintain him in bread, meat, and wine. In addition, Artaxerxes I gave him Palaescepsis to provide him with clothes, and he also gave him Percote with bedding for his house.[9] Themistocles would go on to learn and adopt Persian customs, Persian language, and traditions.[10][11]

Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah

Artaxerxes (Hebrew: אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא‎, pronounced ) commissioned Ezra, a Jewish priest (kohen) and scribe, by means of a letter of decree (see Cyrus's edict), to take charge of the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the Jewish nation. A copy of this decree may be found in Ezra 7:13-28.

Ezra thereby left Babylon in the first month of the seventh year[12] of Artaxerxes' reign, at the head of a company of Jews that included priests and Levites. They arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month of the seventh year (Hebrew Calendar).

The rebuilding of the Jewish community in Jerusalem had begun under Cyrus the Great, who had permitted Jews held captive in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of Solomon. Consequently, a number of Jews returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C., and the foundation of this "Second Temple" was laid in 520 BC.

In Artaxerxes' 20th year (445 BC),[13][14][15] Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer, apparently was also a friend of the king as in that year Artaxerxes inquired after Nehemiah's sadness. Nehemiah related to him the plight of the Jewish people and that the city of Jerusalem was undefended. The king sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem, 14 March 445 B.C,[16] with letters of safe passage to the governors in Trans-Euphrates, and to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests, to make beams for the citadel by the Temple and to rebuild the city walls.[17]

Interpretations of actions

Roger Williams, a 17th-century Christian minister and founder of Rhode Island, interpreted several passages in the Old and New Testament to support limiting government interference in religious matters. Williams published The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, arguing for a separation of church and state based on biblical reasoning. Williams believed that Israel was a unique covenant kingdom and not an appropriate model for New Testament Christians who believed that the Old Testament covenant had been fulfilled. Therefore, the more informative Old Testament examples of civil government were "good" non-covenant kings such as Artaxerxes, who tolerated the Jews and did not insist that they follow his state religion.[18]

Medical analysis

According to a paper published in 2011,[19] the discrepancy in Artaxerxes’ limb lengths may have arisen as a result of the inherited disease neurofibromatosis.

Issue

By queen Damaspia

By Alogyne of Babylon

By Cosmartidene of Babylon

By Andia of Babylon

By another(?) unknown wife

By various wives eleven other children

See also

References

  1. ^ Henri Gauthier, Le Livre des rois d'Égypte, IV, Cairo 1916 (=MIFAO 20), p. 152.
  2. ^ Ghias Abadi, R. M. (2004). Achaemenid Inscriptions (کتیبه‌های هخامنشی)‎ (in Persian) (2nd ed.). Tehran: Shiraz Navid Publications. p. 129.  
  3. ^ R. Schmitt. of Iran "ARTAXERXES". Encyclopædia Iranica. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  4. ^ The Greek form of the name is influenced by Xerxes (Encyclopedia Iranica).
  5. ^ Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 - cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
  6. ^ Iran-e-Bastan/Pirnia book 1 p 873
  7. ^ Dandamayev
  8. ^ History of Persian Empire-Olmstead p 289/90
  9. ^ Themistocles, Part II, by Plutarch
  10. ^ Thucydides I, 137
  11. ^ Plutarch, Themistocles, 29
  12. ^ The Book of Daniel. Montex Publish Company, By Jim McGuiggan 1978, p. 147.
  13. ^ New International Bible Dictionary. Zondervan, 1987, p. 95.
  14. ^ Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75. Brown University Press, 1956, pp. 17-18
  15. ^ Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan, 1977, pp. 127-128
  16. ^ 'The Coming Prince', Sir Robert Anderson pp.106
  17. ^ Nehemiah 2:1-9
  18. ^ James P. Byrd, The challenges of Roger Williams: Religious Liberty, Violent Persecution, and the Bible (Mercer University Press, 2002)[2] (accessed on Google Book on July 20, 2009)
  19. ^ Ashrafian, Hutan. (2011). "Limb gigantism, neurofibromatosis and royal heredity in the Ancient World 2500 years ago: Achaemenids and Parthians". J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 64 (4): 557.  
  20. ^ Xenophon, Hellenica, Book II, Chapter 1

External links

  • ARTAXERXESEncyclopedia Iranica
  • ARTAXERXES I a son of Xerxes I and AmestrisEncyclopedia Iranica
Artaxerxes I of Persia
Born: ?? Died: 424 BC
Preceded by
Xerxes I
Kings of Persia
464 BC – 424 BC
Succeeded by
Xerxes II
Pharaoh of Egypt
465 BC – 424 BC
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