Artaxerxes III Ochus
, reigned 358 – 338 BC) was the eleventh king of the Achaemenid Dynasty
and the first Pharaoh
of the 31st dynasty
. Before ascending the throne he was a satrap
and commander of his father Artaxerxes II
's army. Artaxerxes III came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last brother was murdered and his father died at the age of 90. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all the royal family to secure his place on the throne.
After ascending the throne, he started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed by rebellions throughout the western empire. However, in 343 BC, he defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from the country, and stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way. Later, he countered Philip II of Macedon who was gaining power in Greece.
In his later life, he renewed building activity at Persepolis, erecting a new palace and building his tomb. It is generally assumed he was poisoned by his minister Bagoas, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests he died of natural causes.