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Preceded by:
Xerxes I
Pharaoh of Egypt
27th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Artaxerxes I
Artabanus
Old Persian: Artabanu
Koine Greek: Ἀρτάβανος (Artabanos)
Reign
August 465 BC – March 464 BC (7 months)
Legacy
Died March 464 BC
Burial Unknown

Artabanus the Hyrcanian (Old Persian: Artabanu, Koine Greek: Ἀρτάβανος) was a Persian high official who reportedly ruled for a few months (465 BC – 464 BC) as the sixth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and fifth Pharaoh of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty during the Late Period of ancient Egypt.

Artabanus probably originated from the province of Hyrcania and reportedly served Xerxes I as his most influential advisor,[1] considered either his vizier or chief bodyguard. It is unlikely that he was the same Artabanus who led 10,000 warriors in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.[2]

According to Aristotle, Artabanus was responsible for the death of Crown Prince Darius. He then became afraid that Xerxes would seek revenge and proceeded to assassinate the king. On the other hand, Junianus Justinus reported that Artabanus had personal ambitions for the throne. He first secretly murdered Xerxes and then accused Darius of parricide, resulting in his execution. The order of events remains uncertain but the deaths of Xerxes and Darius did leave the throne vacant.

Artabanus' course of action is also uncertain. Some accounts have him place the young Artaxerxes I on the throne in order to act as regent and power behind the throne. Others consider him to have usurped the throne for himself. Either way, Artabanus was in control of the Achaemenid state for seven months and was recognized as king by Egypt. Finally, however, he was betrayed by his fellow conspirator Megabyzus and was killed by Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes reportedly slew him with his own sword, either in battle or by surprise. Artabanus is occasionally listed among the kings of the Achaemenid dynasty though he was not related to them.

References[]

  1. Ktesias von Knidos, Persika. In: Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. Nr. 688, Frag. 13, 24.
  2. Ktesias von Knidos, Persika. In: Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. Nr. 688, Frag. 13, 27.
Predecessor:
Xerxes I
Pharaoh of Egypt
27th Dynasty
Successor:
Artaxerxes I
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