thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 01:25 authored by John Shannahan
This thesis codifies what is known of events under Artaxerxes II in order to expand our understanding of the man and his reign. A secondary purpose of the thesis is to assess the validity of the negative image of Artaxerxes II which has persisted in modern literature. In the author’s opinion, Artaxerxes II has been unfairly maligned. The thesis contends that the information available for Artaxerxes II’s reign has been underutilised in scholarship up to this point. Although the sources are fragmented and challenging, Artaxerxes II can be seen to have deftly manipulated the Greeks while furthering his own aims. Thus, this work presents a critical re-appraisal of the hostile Greek and Roman sources, combined with a new study of numismatic evidence. This involves re-evaluation of scholarship focused on the eastern Mediterranean during the fourth century, and the standard interpretations of interaction between the Greek world and the Achaemenid Empire under Artaxerxes II. The reassessment here works chronologically through his reign. This begins with an analysis of the information for Artaxerxes II’s early life and reign. The second chapter presents the evidence for the Persian response to the Spartan incursions of the 390s, including a thesis for a partnership with Athens to continue beyond the decade. It then presents a revised chronology of the 380s, and an account of the Egyptian campaign of the 370s and its diplomatic vanguard in the 375/4 King’s Peace rescript. The final chapter argues that the Satraps’ Revolt does not necessitate the rejection of evidence arbitrarily, as current interpretations do. The evidence can be read coherently. In the midst of these discussions, the thesis challenges the notion that Artaxerxes II was distant and afforded his satraps too much autonomy by highlighting the ways local administrators engaged with his imperial ideology through coin types.