Arses of Persia

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King of Kings
Great King
King of Persia
Pharaoh of Egypt
King of Countries
Artaxerxes IV Arses.jpg
Probable portrait of Arses, wearing the Egyptian Pharaonic crown. [1]
King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire
Reign338336 BC
Predecessor Artaxerxes III
Successor Darius III
Pharaoh of Egypt
Predecessor Artaxerxes III
Successor Darius III
Died336 BC
Regnal name
Artaxerxes IV
Dynasty Achaemenid
Father Artaxerxes III
Religion Zoroastrianism

Arses (Old Persian: Aršaka), also known by his dynastic name of Artaxerxes IV ( /ˌɑːrtəˈzɜːrksz/ ; 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂Artaxšaçā), was the twelfth Achaemenid king of Persia from 338 BC to 336 BC. He is known as Arses in Greek sources and that seems to have been his real name, but the Xanthus trilingue and potsherds from Samaria report that he took the royal name of Artaxerxes IV, following his father and grandfather.

Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

Letoon trilingual

The Letoon trilingual, or Xanthos trilingual, is an inscription in three languages: standard Lycian or Lycian A, Greek and Aramaic covering the faces of a four-sided stone stele called the Letoon Trilingual Stele, discovered in 1973 during the archeological exploration of the Letoon temple complex, near Xanthos, ancient Lycia, in present-day Turkey. The inscription is a public record of a decree authorizing the establishment of a cult, with references to the deities, and provisions for officers in the new cult. The Lycian requires 41 lines; the Greek, 35 and the Aramaic, 27. They are not word-for-word translations, but each contains some information not present in the others. The Aramaic is somewhat condensed.



Arses is the Greek form of the Old Persian Aršaka (also spelled Aršāma, Xšayaaršan). The common Iranian variant is attested in Avestan Aršan- (linguistically related to Greek arsēn "male, manly"). [2]

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Iranian languages language family

The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.


Arses was the youngest son of Artaxerxes III and his wife Atossa. [2] Arses had several brothers, only one whose name is attested, a certain Bisthanes. [2] Persia was experiencing a resurgence under Artaxerxes III, who reorganized his empire, and suppressed revolts throughout the country. [3] However, the fortunes of Persia came to an abrupt end in autumn of 338, when Artaxerxes III was murdered by the ambitious eunuch and chiliarch Bagoas, who had the king poisoned. [4] Artaxerxes III's early death proved to be a problematic issue for Persia, [3] and may have played a role in the weakening of the country. [2] The majority of Artaxerxes III's sons, with the exception of Arses and Bisthanes, were also murdered by Bagoas. [3] Bagoas, who wanted to be kingmaker, put the young Arses on the throne. [3] [2]

Artaxerxes III Archaemenid king

Artaxerxes III Ochus of Persia was the eleventh emperor of the Achaemenid Empire, as well as the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. He was the son and successor of Artaxerxes II and was succeeded by his son, Arses of Persia. His reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Macedon and Nectanebo II in Egypt.

Eunuch castrated male human

The term eunuch generally refers to a man who has been castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences. In Latin, the words eunuchus, spado, and castratus were used to denote eunuchs.

Chiliarch is a military rank dating back to Antiquity.

On his ascension to the throne, Arses most likely assumed the regnal name of Artaxerxes IV. [5] He was put on the throne by Bagoas due to his youth, which the latter sought to take advantage of in order to control him. Around the same period, most of the Greek city-states had joined the Greek league under the leadership of the Macedonian king Philip II, who took advantage of the events in Persia by demanding compensation from the country for helping the town of Perinthus during the reign of Artaxerxes III. [2] Arses declined, and as a result, a Greek expedition was started with Philip II as general, who sent 10,000 Macedonian soldiers into Asia in 336 BC. [2] At the same time, however, Arses was focused on trying to free himself from Bagoas' authority and influence; he made an unsuccessful effort to have the latter poisoned, only to be poisoned himself along with the rest of his family by Bagoas, who put Arses' cousin Darius III on the throne. [2] Macedonian propaganda, made in order to legitimize the conquests of Alexander the Great a few years later, accused Darius III of playing a key role in the murder of Arses, who was portrayed as the last king of the Achaemenid royal house. [6]

League of Corinth historic federation of Greek states

The League of Corinth, also referred to as the Hellenic League, was a federation of Greek states created by Philip II during the winter of 338 BC/337 BC after the Battle of Chaeronea and succeeded by Alexander the Great at 336 BC, to facilitate the use of military forces in the war of Greece against Persia. The name 'League of Corinth' was invented by modern historians due to the first council of the League being in Corinth. It was the first time in history that most of the Greek states managed to become part of a single political entity. Earlier, in 346 BC, Isocrates urged Philip to unify Greece against the Persians

Macedonia (ancient kingdom) ancient kingdom

Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and initially ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, which was followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. Home to the ancient Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, and bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south.

Philip II of Macedon Macedonian monarch

Philip II of Macedon was the king (basileus) of the kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead dynasty of Macedonian kings, the third son of King Amyntas III of Macedon, and father of Alexander the Great and Philip III. The rise of Macedon, its conquest and political consolidation of most of Classical Greece during the reign of Philip II was achieved in part by his reformation of the Ancient Macedonian army, establishing the Macedonian phalanx that proved critical in securing victories on the battlefield. After defeating the Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Philip II led the effort to establish a federation of Greek states known as the League of Corinth, with him as the elected hegemon and commander-in-chief of Greece for a planned invasion of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. However, his assassination by a royal bodyguard, Pausanias of Orestis, led to the immediate succession of his son Alexander, who would go on to invade the Achaemenid Empire in his father's stead.


Coinage of Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC, thought to represent Artaxerxes III on the obverse, and a young Arses on the reverse. CILICIA, Myriandros. Mazaios. Satrap of Cilicia, 361-0-334 BCE.jpg
Coinage of Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC, thought to represent Artaxerxes III on the obverse, and a young Arses on the reverse.

There is no dynastic coinage of Artaxerxes IV, but it is thought he may be depicted as a young ruler wearing the Pharaonic crown on the reverse of some of the contemporary coinage of satrap Mazaios in Cilicia, while his father Artaxerxes III appears seated, also in Pharaonic dress, on the obverse. [1]

Cilicia ancient region of Anatolia

In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor and existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia during the late Byzantine Empire. Extending inland from the southeastern coast of modern Turkey, Cilicia is due north and northeast of the island of Cyprus and corresponds to the modern region of Çukurova in Turkey.

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  1. 1 2 3 Kovacs, Frank L. (2002). "Two Persian Pharaonic Portraits". Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte. R. Pflaum. pp. 55–60.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LeCoq 1986, p. 548.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Schmitt 1986, pp. 658-659.
  4. Waters 2014, p. 197.
  5. Briant 2002, p. 769.
  6. Briant 2002, p. 770.


Ancient works

Arrian Roman historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the 2nd-century

Arrian of Nicomedia was a Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period.

<i>The Anabasis of Alexander</i> work

The Anabasis of Alexander was composed by Arrian of Nicomedia in the second century AD, most probably during the reign of Hadrian. The Anabasis is a history of the campaigns of Alexander the Great, specifically his conquest of the Persian Empire between 336 and 323 BC. Both the unusual title "Anabasis" and the work's seven-book structure reflect Arrian's emulation of the Greek historian Xenophon, whose own Anabasis in seven books concerned the earlier campaign "up-country" of Cyrus the Younger in 401 BC.

Diodorus Siculus Greek historiographer

Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. It is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt, India and Arabia to Greece and Europe. The second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning 'library', acknowledges that he was drawing on the work of many other authors.

Modern works

Arses of Persia
Preceded by
Artaxerxes III
King of Kings of Persia
338 – 336 BC
Succeeded by
Darius III
Pharaoh of Egypt
XXXI Dynasty
338 – 336 BC