A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

surnamed Longimanus (Μακρόχειρ) from the circumstance of his right hand being longer than his left (Plut. Art. 1), was king of Persia for forty years, from B. C. 465 to B. C. 425. (Diod. 11.69, 12.64; Thuc. 4.50.) He ascended the throne after his father, Xerxes I., had been murdered by Artabanus, and after he himself had put to death his brother Darcius on the instigation of Artabanus. (Just. 3.1 ; Ctesias, apud Phot. Bibl. p. 40a., ed. Bekk.) His reign is characterized by Plutarch and Diodorus (11.71) as wise and temperate, but it was disturbed by several dangerous insurrections of the satraps. At the time of his accession his only surviving brother Hystaspes was satrap of Bactria, and Artaxerxes had scarcely punished Artabanus and his associates, before Hystaspes attempted to make himself independent. After putting down this insurrection and deposing several other satraps who refused to obey his commands, Artaxerxes turned his attention to the regulation of the financial and military affairs of his empire. These beneficent exertions were interrupted in B. C. 462, or, according to Clinton, in B. C. 460, by the insurrection of the Egyptians under Inarus, who was supported by the Athenians. The first army which Artaxerxes sent under his brother Achaemenes was defeated, and Achaemenes slain. After a useless attempt to incite the Spartans to a war against Athens, Artaxerxes sent a second army under Artabazus and Megabyzus into Egypt. A remnant of the forces of Achaemenes, who were still besieged in a place called the white castle (λευκόν τεῖχος), near Memphis, was relieved, and the fleet of the Athenians destroyed by the Athenians themselves, who afterwards quitted Egypt. Inarus, too, was defeated in B. C. 456 or 455, but Amyrtaeus, another chief of the insurgents, maintained himself in the marshes of lower Egypt. (Thuc. 1.104, 109; Diod. 11.71, 74, 77.) In B. C. 449, Cimon sent 60 of his fleet of 300 ships to the assistance of Amyrtaeus, and with the rest endeavoured to wrest Cyprus from the Persians. Notwithstanding the death of Cimon, the Athenians gained two victories, one by land and the other by sea, in the neigbourhood of Salamis in Cyprus. After this defeat Artaxerxes is said to have commanded his generals to conclude peace with the Greeks on any terms. The conditions on which this peace is said to have been concluded are as follows :--that the Greek towns in Asia should be restored to perfect independence; that no Persian satrap should approach the western coast of Asia nearer than the distance of a three days' journey; and that no Persian ship should sail through the Bosporus, or pass the town of Phaselis or the Chelidonian islands on the coast of Lycia. (Diod. 12.4; comp. Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, iii. p. 37, &c.) Thucydides knows nothing of this humiliating peace, and it seems in fact to have been fabricated in the age subsequent to the events to which it relates. Soon after these occurrences Megabyzus revolted in Syria, because Artaxerxes had put Inarus to death contrary to the promise which Megabyzus had made to Inarus, when he made him his prisoner. Subsequently, however, Megabyzus became reconciled to his master. (Ctesias, apud Phot. Bibl. p. 50, &c.; comp. MEGABYZUS, INARUS.) Artaxerxes appears to have passed the latter years of his reign in peace. On his death in B. C. 425, he was succeeded by his son Xerxes II. (Clinton, Fast. Hell. ii., sub anno, 455, and p. 380.)