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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
Son of Artaxerxes (who had 18 sons in all) and
of a Babylonian concubine, Ochos reached the throne of Persia in 423
and took the name of Darius, after two of his half-brothers, Xerxes II and Sogdianos,
were successiveley assassinated (the first one by the second, the second one
by him) within one year of the death of Artaxerxes
they succeeded in turn (Xerxes for 45 days and Sogdianos for 6 months). With
the help of his wife and half-sister Parysatis, Darius managed to get rid of
his other brothers and of all opposition at the court and to stay in power till
his death in 405.
During his reign, Persia sided with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, financing the Spartan fleet and using this opportunity to retake many Ionian cities lost by Athens. When, in 407, Tissaphernes, Satrap of Sardis, was convinced by Alcibiades to switch alliances and support Athens, Darius named his younger son Cyrus, the favorite son of Parysatis, Satrap of Asia Minor to continue the policy of alliance with Sparta.
At his death in 405, despite maneuvres by his wife Parysatis to favor Cyrus over her first-born Artaxerxes for the succession to the throne, it is Artaxerxes who succeeded him (for the struggle that ensued between the two brothers, in which took part Xenophon and the Ten Thousand Greek soldiers, see the entry on Cyrus the Younger).