Artaxerxes II – 404-358 BC

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Monetary History of

Artaxerxes II

404-358 BC

Son of Darius II

Artaxerxes II was the son of Darius II, king of Persia, and brother of Cyrus the Younger. In 404 BC, upon the death of his father, Artaxerxes II ascended to the throne of Persia. At first, his younger brother Cyrus was planning a revolt, but his plan was discovered by Tissaphernes, the satrap (governor) of Caria. Only due to the intervention of his mother was Cyrus pardoned, which later proved to be a fateful mistake. This single act would actually pave the way for the conquest of Alexander the Great some 60 years later by a strange sequence of events.

Artaxerxes II not merely pardoned his brother Cyrus, but he also sent Cyrus back to Parysatis as satrap. In this position as governor, Cyrus amassed an army of about 100,000 Persians and 13,000 Greeks – mostly Spartans whom Cyrus had helped during the Peloponnesian War against Athens. Using a pretext of leading an expedition against bandits in Pisidia, Cyrus set out from the city of Sardis in the direction of Babylon. In 401 BC the final battle came between the armies of Artaxerxes and Cyrus at Cunaxa, near the Euphrates River. Cyrus was killed in battle and while Artaxerxes emerged as the victory, the Greeks retreated through the heart of Persian territory on their way to the Black Sea. This strategic retreat exposed the military weakness of the Persians to the Greeks and the knowledge of this weakness set in motion the ultimate path to conquest of Persia. The story of Cyrus’s revolt and of the march of the “Ten Thousand Greeks” was told by the Athenian general and historian Xenophon in his Anabasis, thus laying the seeds for the dream of Philip II of Macedonia and later his sone, Alexander the Great.

Monetary System


AU Daric (8.55 grams)
AR Siglos (5.55 grams)

Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong