Artaxerxes III of Persia (Ca. 425 BC – 338 BC) (Old Persian: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠, transliterated as Artaxšaçā), was the Great King (Shah) of
Persia and 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 (also known as Artaxerxes IV). His reign coincided with the reign of
Philip II in Macedon and Nectanebo II in Egypt.
Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes was a satrap and commander of his father's army. Artaxerxes came to power after one of his brothers was
executed, another committed suicide, the last murdered and his father, Artaxerxes II died at the age of 86. Soon after becoming king,
Artaxerxes murdered all of the royal family to secure his place as emperor. He started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign
failed, and was followed up by rebellions throughout the western empire. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt,
driving him from Egypt, stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way.
In Artaxerxes' later years, Philip II of Macedon's power was increasing in Greece, where he tried to convince the Greeks to revolt against
Achaemenid Persia. His activities were opposed by Artaxerxes, and with his support, the city of Perinthus resisted a Macedonian siege. There
is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis in his later life, where Artaxerxes erected a new palace and built his own tomb but
projects like the Unfinished Gate. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, Bagoas poisoned Artaxerxes, but a cuneiform tablet (now in
the British Museum) suggests that the king died from natural causes.
Ochus was the name of Artaxerxes before ascending the throne; and Artaxerxees III (Old Persian:𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠, Artaxšaçrā, "he whose empire is
well-fitted" or "perfected", or Arta:"honoured"+Xerxes:"a king" ("the honoured king"), according to Herodotus "the great warrior") was
the throne name adopted by Ochus when he succeeded his father in 358 BC. He is generally referred to as Ochus, but in Iran he is known as
Ardeshir III (اردشیر سوم Modern Persian form of Artaxerxes). In Babylonian inscriptions he is called "Umasu, who is called Artakshatsu". The
same form of the name (probably pronounced Uvasu) occurs in the Syrian version of the Canon of Kings by Elias of Nisibis.
Early life and accession -
Main article: accession of Artaxerxes III
Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes had been a satrap and commander of his father's army. In 359, just before ascending the throne he
attacked Egypt as a reaction to Egypt's failed attacks on coastal regions of Phoenicia. In 358 BC his father, Artaxerxes II, died at the
age of 86, apparently because of a broken heart caused by his children's behaviour, and, since his other sons, Darius, Ariaspes and Tiribazus
had already been eliminated by plots, Artaxerxes III succeeded him as Emperor. His first order was the execution of over 80 of his nearest
relations to secure his place as emperor.
In 355 BC, Artaxerxes forced Athens to conclude a peace which required the city to leave Asia Minor and to acknowledge the independence of its
rebellious allies. Artaxerxes raised a campaign against the rebellious Cadusians, but he managed to appease both of the Cadusian kings. A
successful character emerging from this campaign was Darius Codomannus, who later occupied the throne as Darius III. He then ordered the
disbanding of all the satrapal armies of Asia Minor, as he felt that they could no longer garuantee peace in the west, and instead equipped
the western satraps with the means to revolt. The order was however ignored by Artabazus of Lydia, who asked for the help of Athens in a
rebellion against the king. Athens sent the assistance to Sardis. Orontes of Mysia also came to Artabazus and the joined forces managed to
defeat the forces sent by Artaxerxes in 354 BC. However, in 353 BC, they were defeated by Artaxerxes’ army and were disbanded. Orontes was
pardoned by the king, while Artabazus fled to the safety of court of Philip II of Macedon.
First Egyptian Campaign -
In around 351 BC, Artaxerxes embarked on a campaign to recover Egypt, which had revolted under his father, Artaxerxes II's rule. At the same
time a rebellion had broken out in Asia Minor, which, being supported by Thebes, threatened to become serious. Levying a vast army,
Artaxerxes marched into Egypt, and engaged Nectanebo II. After a year of fighting the Egyptian Pharaoh, with the services of the Greek
generals Diophantus and Lamius inflicted a crushing defeat on the Persians. Artaxerxes was compelled to retreat and postpone his Egyptian