Page 0366


was absent from the court, was unable to prevent either the crime of his brother's death

or the usurpation of ARTAXERXES, who at once, B. C. 465, took the throne. Hystaspes,

taking up arms to maintain his own right to the Empire, was overthrown in two battles by

the forces of Artaxerxes.

Five years after the death of Xerxes another revolt broke out in Egypt. The leaders were a

Libyan chief named Inarus and a native Egyptian named Amyrtacus. To their aid came an

Athenian fleet of two hundred vessels, and the Persians were defeated in several

engagements. Memphis was taken by the insurgents and held until the arrival of a large

Persian army under Megabyzus, who overwhelmed the rebels, retook Memphis, and destroyed

the Athenian fleet. Inarus was crucified.

Athens, smarting under her reverse, equipped another fleet of two hundred sail and sent it

under Cimon against Cyprus, a dependency of Persia. He began a siege of Citium, but died

soon afterwards, and the siege was abandoned. The fleet then sailed to Salamis, and there

falling in with a Phoenician squadron of three hundred ships, captured or dispersed the

whole. Artaxerxes, alarmed at the condition of affairs, sought peace, and the same-known

as the "Peace of Callias"-was agreed to on condition that Cyprus should remain to the

king, but that all the Greek cities of Asia Minor should be granted their freedom. The

Mediterranean was divided by a line running north and south through Phaselis. Persian war-

ships should not pass to the west of that line, or Greek ships to the east. Thus after a

struggle of fifty years (from B. C. 499 to 449) was ended the first great conflict between

the Greeks and the Persians.

A short time after the conclusion of peace the tranquility of the Empire was broken by a

revolt in Syria. The leader was that same Megabyzus who had recently sup- pressed the

insurrection in Egypt. Against his positive promise the rebel Inarus had been put to death

by the king. Megabyzus was incensed and took up arms in his own satrapy, and the revolt

was so successful that Artaxerxes was presently obliged to

treat with the insurgents, and to grant them honorable terms of reconciliation. It was the

first time since the days of Cyrus that the majesty of Persia had been successfully defied

by a provincial governor-a fatal precedent for the future of the Empire,

In the years that followed the treaty of peace with the Greeks there were several petty

rebellions, but none of them of a magnitude to endanger the general tranquility. Samos

took up arms in 440, on account of the bad faith of the satrap of Sardis, but was soon

pacified. The provinces of Lycia and Caria, under the leadership of Zopyrus, raised the

standard of insurrection, and some of the Greek states were on the eve of lending aid to

the insurgents, but were prevented from doing so by local dissensions among themselves.

Artaxerxes saw with satisfaction that the political broils of Greece were sufficient to

prevent any formidable aggression from that quarter. The Lycians and Carians, left without

support, were soon brought into submission.

Artaxerxes was without great strength of character. His mother, Amestris-she of the evil

mind-and Amytis, his sister, exercised an undue influence in the affairs of government.

The administration was thus in a good measure given up to spite and caprice. The king

himself was of a gentle and unwarlike disposition, and was incapable of great actions

either in the field or court. No conquests for the enlargement of the Empire were planned,

no important expeditions undertaken, during his reign. He occupied the throne for twenty-

four years, and dying in B. C. 425, left his crown to his legitimate heir, XERXES II, son

of the queen Dampasia.

There were, however, seventeen other sons of the late king, who had for their mothers

various concubines belonging to the court. Some of these were ambitious, and one of them,

named SOGDIANUS, taking advantage of the half-drunken condition of Xerxes at a feast,

murdered him, only forty-five days after his accession. The assassin took the throne, but

in a few months another half-brother, named Ochus, following the bloody method of