Arses (r.November 338-June 336 BC)

Arses (r.November 338-June 336 BC) was the penultimate Achaemenid emperor of Persian, and was raised to the throne by the eunuch Bagoas, the murderer of the pervious emperor, Artaxerxes III. Although he is generally known as Arses, he probably adopted the reign name Artaxerxes IV.

Artaxerxes had been poisoned by his doctor, who was following Bagoas's orders. At the same time all but one of the Emperor's sons were killed. Bagoas placed the surviving youngest son, Arses, on the throne, but found that his protégé wasn't as docile as he had hoped. Arses attempted to poison Bagoas, but failed. In response Bagoas had the emperor killed. Arses' short reign saw the start of yet another revolt in Egypt, this time led by Khababash.

The most important event of Arses's reign was the start of the Macedonia invasion of the Persian Empire. In 340 Philip of Macedonia had attacked Perinthus and Byzantium. Artaxerxes had sent support to these two Greek cities and the Macedonia sieges had failed. Philip demanded compensation for this Persian intervention, and when Arses (or possibly Bagoas) refused to pay, invaded Asia Minor. Philip was assassinated early in the reign of Darius III, but this only delayed the invasion, which was instead led by his son Alexander the Great.

Bagoas's next choice was Darius III, the grand-nephew of Artaxerxes II. Darius may have become a capable emperor if he had been given long enough, but his reign coincided with the invasion of Alexander the Great, and after only six years on the throne and a series of battlefield defeats he was murdered by one of his own supporters.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 August 2015), Arses (r.November 338-June 336 BC) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_arses.html

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