ARTABAZUS (Gk. Artábazos, Elam. Ir-du-masda. Av. Ašavazdah from Old Iranian *Ṛta-vazdah; cf. Artavasdes), Old Iranian personal name.

1) Son of Pharnaces, commander of the Khwarezmian and Parthian contingent in Xerxes’s campaign against Greece. After the battle of Salamis (480 B.C.) Artabazus accompanied Xerxes to the Hellespont with 60,000 men. Then he returned to Chalcidice and besieged Potidaea and Olynthus, which were in revolt against the Persian rule, and prevented the rebellion from spreading further. He took Olynthus, but failed to capture Potidaea, called off the siege and joined Mardonius in Thessaly. He advised Mardonius to abstain from the battle of Plataea and to retire to Thebes, where the Persians would have ample supplies for themselves and their horses and from where they could bribe Greek leaders with the help of gold. When Mardonius perished at Plataea (479 B.C.) Artabazus retired with 40,000 men to Phocis, then via Byzantium to the Hellespont. In 477 he was appointed satrap of Hellespont Phrygia and founded there a hereditary line of satraps. Xerxes selected him as the chief Persian expert on Western affairs to conduct the negotiations with Pausanias of Sparta (477-76). In 450 he defended Cyprus with 300 Phoenician ships and troops under the command of Megabyzus against Cimon, Athenian general. The same year he communicated to Athens that Artaxerxes I wanted to negotiate with them. As a result the “peace of Callias” was concluded, ending hostilities between Athens and Persia.

Sources: Diodorus 11.44.4 and 12.4; Herodotus 7.66; 8.126-29; 9.41, 42, 58, 66, 89; Thucydides 1.129-132; see also A. R. Burn, Persia and the Greeks, London, 1970, pp. 497-99 and 536-40.

2) Son of Pharnabazus and Princess Apame. In 362 B.C. he was appointed satrap of Hellespont Phrygia, a position which was hereditary in his family. In 356 he revolted against Artaxerxes III who had ordered the satraps in Asia Minor to disband their mercenaries. With the help of Athens and Thebes Artabazus managed to hold out until 352 when he had to seek refuge at the court of Philip, king of Macedonia. Through the influence of Mentor, his brother-in-law, Artabazus was pardoned in 345 and returned to Persia (Diodorus 16.34 and 52). In 331 after the battle of Gaugamela he fled with Darius III. When Bessus declared himself the king Artabazus deserted to Alexander the Great who granted him the satrapy of Bactria.

See E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums V, Stuttgart and Berlin, 1913, pp. 486-90 and 493.

3) Father of Tritantaechmes, satrap of Babylonia (Herodotus 1.192).

4) A Median Nobleman (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 6.1, 9, 34, 35 etc.).

5) A Persian commander (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 5.3, 38).

6) Irdumasda, a satrap of Maka during the reign of Darius I (R. T. Hallock, Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Chicago, 1969, p. 703).



On the etymology of the name see M. Mayrhofer, Onomastica Persepolitana, Vienna, 1973, p. 167 no. 8.617).

(M. A. Dandamayev)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 15, 2011

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