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Arbaces was the name of more than one person of classical antiquity:

Founder of Median empire[edit]

According to Ctesias, Arbaces was one of the generals of Sardanapalus, king of Assyria and founder of the Median empire about 830 BC.[1]

Ctesias’s whole history of the Assyrian and Median empires is absolutely fabulous; his Arbaces and his successors are not historical personages.[1] Mahmoud Omidsalar suggests that "the very fact that all but one of the kings in Ctesias's list are not historical implies that these kings were legendary rulers who belonged to the ancient Iranian lore, and records of their exploits existed in some written form in the fifth century B.C."[2]

From the inscriptions of Sargon II of Assyria it is known that one Arbaku of Arnashia was one of forty-five chiefs of Median districts who paid tribute to Sargon in 713 BC.[1] He was a satrap, who conspired against Sardanapalus, and founded the empire of Media on the ruins of the Assyrian kingdom.[3]

Arbaces or Arbaku is also the Akkadian spelling for the name of the 6th Century BCE Median general, Harpagus.

Median commander[edit]

Another Arbaces was a commander in the army of Artaxerxes II of Persia, which fought against his brother Cyrus the Younger, in 401 BCE. He was satrap of Media.[4]


Arbaces is a character in The Last Days of Pompeii, a book by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the Pompeii Series.


  1. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 322.
  2. ^ Omidsalar, Mahmoud. Poetics and Politics of Iran's National Epic, the Shahnameh. Palgrave MacMillan. p. 35-36. ISBN 978-0230113459. 
  3. ^ Brewer, E. Cobham (1894), "Arbaces", Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 
  4. ^ Xenophon, Anabasis 1.7.12, 7.8.25

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