Arses of Persia

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Artaxerxes IV Arses, King of Persia between 338 BC and 336 BC. He was the youngest son of King Artaxerxes III and was not expected to succeed to the throne of Persia. His unexpected rise to the throne came in 338 BC as a result of the murder of his father and most of his family by Bagoas, the powerful Vizier of Persia who had recently fallen in Artaxerxes' disfavor. Bagoas sought to remain in office by replacing Artaxerxes with his son Arses, who he thought easier to control. Arses remained little more than a puppet-king during the two years of his reign while Bagoas acted as the power behind the throne. Eventually, disgruntled by this state of affairs and possibly influenced by the nobles of the Royal Court, who generally held Bagoas in contempt, Arses started planning Bagoas' murder. The Vizier again acted first in order to protect himself and managed to poison Arses. Bagoas then raised a cousin of Arses to the throne as King Darius III of Persia. A major concern for Persia during this King's short reign were hostilities on the western borders with Macedonia under Kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. This would lead to war between the two states during the reign of Arses' successor. He is known as Arses in Greek sources and that seems to be his real name but Old Persian texts report that he had taken the royal name of Artaxerxes IV, following his father and grandfather.

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