Artaxerxes I of Persia
|King of Kings|
King of Persia
Pharaoh of Egypt
Relief of Artaxerxes from his tomb in Naqsh-e Rustam
|King of Persia|
|Died||424 BC, Susa|
|Burial||Naqsh-e Rustam, Persia|
Alogyne of Babylon
Cosmartidene of Babylon
Andia of Babylon
Artaxerxes I //, Old Persian: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 Artaxšaça, "whose rule (xšaça < *xšaϑram) is through arta ("truth"); Hebrew: אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתָּא, Modern: ʾArtaḥšásta, Tiberian: ʾArtaḥšasetāʾ; Ancient Greek: Ἀρταξέρξης, translit. Artaxérxēs) was the fifth emperor of the Achaemenid Empire, from 465-424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I.
Succession to the throne
Artaxerxes was probably born in the reign of his grandfather Darius I, to the emperor's 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. 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.
Artaxerxes 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 descended from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt. 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, and 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
After the Achaemenid Empire had been defeated at the Battle of the Eurymedon (c. 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 among 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 Skepsis to provide him with clothes, and he also gave him Percote with bedding for his house. Themistocles would go on to learn and adopt Persian customs, Persian language, and traditions.
Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah
Artaxerxes (Hebrew: אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא, pronounced [artaχʃast]) is described in the Bible as having commissioned Ezra, a 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.
Ezra thereby left Babylon in the first month of the seventh year 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 according to the 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 Solomon's Temple. Consequently, a number of Jews returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC, and the foundation of this "Second Temple" was laid in 536 BC, in the second year of their return (Ezra 3:8). After a period of strife, the temple was finally completed in the sixth year of Darius, 516 BC (Ezra 6:15).
In Artaxerxes' twentieth year (445 BC), Nehemiah, the king's cup-bearer, 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 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.
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 for Cause of Conscience, 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.
By queen Damaspia
By Cosmartidene of Babylon
By another(?) unknown wife
By various wives
- Eleven other children
- Henri Gauthier, Le Livre des rois d'Égypte, IV, Cairo 1916 (=MIFAO 20), p. 152.
- Ghias Abadi, R. M. (2004). Achaemenid Inscriptions (کتیبههای هخامنشی) (in Persian) (2nd ed.). Tehran: Shiraz Navid Publications. p. 129. ISBN 964-358-015-6.
- Artaxerxes at Encyclopædia Iranica
- The Greek form of the name is influenced by Xerxes, Artaxerxes at Encyclopædia Iranica
- James D. G. Dunn; John William Rogerson (19 November 2003). Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 321. ISBN 978-0-8028-3711-0.
- Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 - cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
- Iran-e-Bastan/Pirnia book 1 p 873
- History of Persian Empire-Olmstead p 289/90
- Themistocles, Part II Archived 2015-10-01 at the Wayback Machine., by Plutarch
- Thucydides I, 137
- Plutarch, Themistocles, 29
- The Book of Daniel. Montex Publish Company, By Jim McGuiggan 1978, p. 147.
- New International Bible Dictionary. Zondervan, 1987, p. 95.
- Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75. Brown University Press, 1956, pp. 17-18
- Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan, 1977, pp. 127-128
- Thomas Nelson (14 October 2008). The Chronological Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 991. ISBN 978-0-7180-2068-2.
- Gary Smith (6 February 2018). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. Tyndale House. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-4143-9912-6.
- John H. Sailhamer (11 May 2010). Biblical Archaeology. Zondervan. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-310-86116-4.
- Nehemiah 2:1-9
- James P. Byrd, The challenges of Roger Williams: Religious Liberty, Violent Persecution, and the Bible (Mercer University Press, 2002) (accessed on Google Book on July 20, 2009)
- 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. doi:10.1016/j.bjps.2010.08.025. PMID 20832372.
- Xenophon, Hellenica, Book II, Chapter 1
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Artaxerxes I of PersiaBorn: ?? Died: 424 BC
| Kings of Persia
464 BC – 424 BC
| Pharaoh of Egypt|
465 BC – 424 BC