ARTAXERXES, throne name of several Persian kings of the Achaemenid dynasty. The Old Persian form Artaxšaçā (really Ṛtaxšaca, for the forms with -ā/-ām in the nom./acc. sing. are influenced by Xerxes’ name, Xšayārša) means “whose reign is through truth.” The interpretation in Herodotus 6.98.3 as mégas arḗïos “great warrior” is wrong. A misspelling of the Old Pers. form is Ardaxčašča on the vase inscription AVsa (Venice, San Marco). The name is also attested in the following forms: Elamite Ir-tak-(ik-)ša-aš-ša, Ir-tak-ik-ša-iš-ša, Ir-da-ik-ša-iš-ša; Akkadian Ar-ta-ʾ-ḫa-šá-is-su, Ar-ta-ak-šá-as-su, Ar-ták-(ša-)šat-su, Ar-ták-šat-šu, Ar-taḫ-ša/šá-as-su, Ar-táḫ-ša-as(-siš, -si-iš, -is-su), Ar-ták-ša-as-su, Al-tàk-šat-su; Aramaic ʾrtḥšsš and, in both the Hebrew and the Aramaic parts of the Bible, ʾrtḥšśtʾ, ʾrtḥšstʾ; Egyptian ʾrṭḫšsš, ʾrṭḫššs; Greek Artaxéssēs occurs once on an inscription from Trallis (Caria); the common form Artaxerxes (sometimes Artoxérxēs) is a transformation of such a form, assimilated to the name Xérxēs; Latin Artaxerxes; Lydian Artakśassa-; not undisputed is the position of Lycian Ertakssiraza- (on the Xanthos stele: b. 59f.). Of the rock-cut tombs at Naqš-e Rostam, the second from the left is generally identified as that of Artaxerxes I; the two tombs in the slopes of Kūh-e Raḥmat east of the Persepolis terrace are usually ascribed to Artaxerxes II and III, but there is still doubt about the order. Inscriptions which can be attributed to a specific Artaxerxes are cited in the following articles. Others are: the labels of the throne bearers on the southern tomb (of Artaxerxes II or III?) at Persepolis (Kent, Old Persian, New Haven, 1953, pp. 155f.: A?P); a stone fragment from Babylon (F. H. Weissbach, Die Keilinschriften der Achämeniden, Leipzig, 1911, p. XXVIII; R. Schmitt in Die Sprache 21, 1975, p. 42); various seals and vases (Kent, op. cit., p. 157; Sf, AVsa, SVsb-d [very probably to be assigned to Artaxerxes I]; a seal in Moscow (M. A. Dandamaev, Iran pri pervykh Akhemenidakh, Moscow, 1963, p. 97); and a vase from Orsk in the southern Urals (T. V. Savel’eva and K. F. Smirnov, VDI, 1972/3, pp. 106-23).



W. Judeich, “Artaxerxes,” Pauly-Wissowa, II/1, 1895, cols. 1311-21 (based on the classical sources).

Justi, Namenbuch, p. 34.

See also the general histories: J. V. Prašek, Geschichte der Meder und Perser bis zur makedonischen Eroberung I-II, Gotha, 1906-10, repr. Darmstadt, 1968.

A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948.

R. Schmitt, “Artaxerxes, Ardašīr und Verwandte,” Incontri Linguistici, 5, 1979, pp. 61-72.

Idem, “Achaemenid Throne-names,” Annali dell’Istituto Orientale di Napoli 42, 1982, pp. 83-95.

(R. Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 15, 2011

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Vol. II, Fasc. 6, pp. 654-655