ARIARATUS, Latinized form of the name Ariarathes in Justin’s summary of Trogus Pompeius’ Philippic Wars 10.1.1, one of the three sons of the Achaemenid King Artaxerxes II by Queen Stateira. For other bearers of the name, see Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 23-24. The Iranian form of the name was perhaps *Arya-wratha, “having Aryan joy” (cf. I. Gershevitch in Studia Classica et Orientalia Antonino Pagliaro Oblata II, Rome, 1969, p. 227). This prince is called Ariaspes by Plutarch (Artoxerxes 30; perhaps an epithet of the prince, earned by service in Drangiana, the homeland of the Ariaspae [Strabo 15.2.10, Arrian 3.27, etc.]; cf. Mid. Pers. Sagānšāh and other titles). Ariaratus’ elder brother, Darius, received the designation as heir-apparent but proceeded to plot the king’s death. Detected, he was himself executed. Ariaratus seems then to have been the leading candidate for the throne; Plutarch indicates that he was highly esteemed because of his upright and humane character. However, the younger brother, Artaxerxes Ochus, succeeded in clearing the path to his own succession. He persuaded Ariaratus that the king was about to have him executed. Presumably fearing a disgraceful death under torture, the prince committed suicide by poison.


A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948, p. 424.

(C. J. Brunner)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 12, 2011

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