Artaxerxes I of Persia

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Artaxerxes I (Latin; Greek Ἀρταξέρξης; Old Persian 𐎠𐎼𐎭𐎧𐎨𐏁𐎨[1] Artaxšacā, "whose reign is through arta (truth)"; Persian اردشیر یکم Ardeshir; the name has nothing to do with Xerxes)[2] was king of the Persian Empire from 465 BC to 424 BC. He was the son of Xerxes I of Persia and Amestris, daughter of Otanes.

He is also surnamed μακρόχειρ Macrocheir (= Latin Longimanus), allegedly because his right hand was longer than his left. [3]

After Persia had been defeated at Eurymedon, military action between Greece and Persia was at a standstill. When Artaxerxes I took power, he introduced a new Persian strategy of weakening the Athenians by funding their enemies in Greece. This indirectly caused the Athenians to move the treasury of the Delian League from the island of Delos to the Athenian acropolis. This funding practice inevitably prompted renewed fighting in 450 BC, where the Greeks attacked at the Battle of Cyprus. After Cimon's failure to attain much in this expedition, the Peace of Callias was agreed between Athens, Argos and Persia in 449 BC.

Artaxerxes I offered asylum to Themistocles, who was the winner of the Battle of Salamis, after Themistocles was ostracized from Athens.


Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah

Artaxerxes (Hebrew: אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא‎, pronounced [artaχʃast]) commissioned Ezra, a Jewish priest-scribe, by means of a letter of decree, to take charge of the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the Jewish nation. A copy of this decree may be found in Ezra 7:13-28.

Ezra thereby left Babylon in the first month of the seventh year (~ 457 BC) of Artaxerxes' reign, at the head of a company of Jews that included priests and Levites. They arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month of the seventh year (Hebrew Calendar).

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