|Reign 423–404 BC|
Died 404 BC, Babylonia
Parents Artaxerxes I of Persia
|Successor Artaxerxes II|
Name Darius II
Spouse Parysatis (m. 454 BC)
Reign 423–404 BC
Grandparents Xerxes I, Amestris
|Children Artaxerxes II of Persia, Cyrus the Younger|
Grandchildren Artaxerxes III, Arsames, Phriapatius, Ocha, Mithridates, Ariaspes, Rhodogune, Darius, Apama, Atossa, Amestris
Similar People Artaxerxes I of Persia, Artaxerxes II of Persia, Parysatis, Cyrus the Younger, Xerxes I
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Darius II (Old Persian: Dārayavahuš), was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 or 405 BC.
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Artaxerxes I, who died on December 25, 424 BC, was followed by his son Xerxes II. After a month and a half Xerxes II was murdered by his brother Secydianus or Sogdianus (the form of the name is uncertain). His illegitimate brother, Ochus, satrap of Hyrcania, rebelled against Sogdianus, and after a short fight killed him, and suppressed by treachery the attempt of his own brother Arsites to imitate his example. Ochus adopted the name Darius (Greek sources often call him Darius Nothos, "Bastard"). Neither the names Xerxes II nor Sogdianus occur in the dates of the numerous Babylonian tablets from Nippur; here effectively the reign of Darius II follows immediately after that of Artaxerxes I.
Historians know little about Darius II's reign. A rebellion by the Medes in 409 BC is mentioned by Xenophon. It does seem that Darius II was quite dependent on his wife Parysatis. In excerpts from Ctesias some harem intrigues are recorded, in which he played a disreputable part.
As long as the power of Athens remained intact he did not meddle in Greek affairs. When in 413 BC, Athens supported the rebel Amorges in Caria, Darius II would not have responded had not the Athenian power been broken in the same year at Syracuse. As a result of that event, Darius II gave orders to his satraps in Asia Minor, Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus, to send in the overdue tribute of the Greek towns and to begin a war with Athens. To support the war with Athens, the Persian satraps entered into an alliance with Sparta. In 408 BC he sent his son Cyrus to Asia Minor, to carry on the war with greater energy. Darius II died in 404 BC, in the nineteenth year of his reign, and was followed as Persian king by Artaxerxes II.
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Prior to his accession, Darius II was married to the daughter of Gobryas. With the daughter of Gobryas, Darius II had four sons, through whom one of his sons became the father of Artabazanes, who served as King of Media Atropatene in the second half of the 3rd century BC.