Artabanus (d.465/464 BC)

Artabanus or Ardaban (d.465/464 BC), was a Persian minister and commander of the royal guard who murdered Xerxes I and was later killed by his son and successor Artaxerxes I.

After the failure of his invasion of Greece, Xerxes increasingly retreated into the comfort of life in his courts, where he was surrounded by a web of intrigue. There are two different versions of the end of his reign. In one Artabanus killed Xerxes's son Darius, and then killed the Emperor to avoid his vengeance. In the other (found in Diodorus) he killed Xerxes in his bedchamber and then convinced his younger son Artaxerxes that Darius had committed the crime. Artaxerxes then killed his brother in revenge.

After killing Xerxes Artabanus took control of the Persian Empire and ruled for seven months. He was even officially recognised as Emperor by Egypt, which was then ruled by Pharaoh Nectanebo I of the 30th Dynasty, although he appears to have ruled through one of Xerxes's younger sons, Artaxerxes I.

After seven months in power Artabanus was betrayed by Megabyzus, one of his fellow conspirators. He was killed by Artaxerxes in a hand-to-hand fight, after lightly wounding Artazerxes. Megabyzus was rewarded for his actions, and was later found serving as satrap of Syria. Diodorus compressed the story into a very short time span, with Artabanus encountering Artaxerxes on the same night, and convincing him to kill Darius. His failed attack on Artaxerxes followed immediately after the death of Darius. 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 August 2016), Artabanus (d.465/464 BC) ,

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