OXYATHRES, Persian masculine name, attested only in this Greek form Oxyáthrēs, which in all probability is transformed by popular etymology (just as Oxyártēs) from OIr. *Huxšaθra- [rendered as Gk. Oxáthrēs, which can only be interpreted out of Iranian material] ‘Of good reign’ (see Justi, Namenbuch, p. 233a, and, more recently, M. Mayrhofer, IranischesPersonennamenbuch I/1,Vienna, 1977, p. 87 no. 335 as well as Ch. Werba, Die arischen Personennamen und ihre Träger bei den Alexander historikern, Ph.D. diss., Vienna, 1982, p. 167 no. 143a).

This is the traditionally accepted form of the name of a brother of Darius III Codomannus (Strabo 12.3.10; Demosthenes Bithynius F 11 J.; Arrian, Anabasis 7.4.5 [Oxyártēs, for which Roos, ad loc., conjectured Oxyátrēs]; Diodorus 20.109.7 [Oxyártēs]; 17.34.2; 77.4; Memno F 4.4 J. [Oxáthrēs]; Curtius Rufus 3.11.8; 13.3; 6.2.9; 7.5.40 [Oxathres]; Plutarch, Alex. 43.7 [Exáthrēs]), i.e., of a son of Arsanes and Sisygambis; he was born presumably about 375 B.C.E. and famous for his bravery (Diodorus 17.34.2) and talent (Curtius Rufus 3.11.8; 6.2.9). At the battle of Issus he was general of the cavalry and saved his brother’s life at the risk of his own (Diodorus 17.34. 2 f.; Curtius Rufus 3.11.8; cf. the famous Alexander mosaic from the Casa del fauno in Pompeii, where Oxyathres is portrayed). After the king’s death Oxyathres, taken prisoner, went over to the Macedonians and became one of Alexander’s friends (Plutarch, Alex. 43.7; Curtius Rufus 6.2.11) and one of the doryphóroi, the Persian lifeguards of the Macedonian king (Diodorus 17.77.4; Curtius Rufus 7.5.40). Alexander handed over to him Bessus, who had murdered his brother Darius, for execution (Diodorus 17.83.9; Curtius Rufus 7.5.40f.; Justinus, 12.5.11). His daughter Amestris (Amastris, Amastrine) became the wife of Craterus at the mass wedding ceremonies at Susa in 324 B.C.E. (Diodorus 20.109.7; Memno F 4.4 J.; Arrian, Anabasis 7.4.5); later she was married to Dionysius, the tyrant of Heraclea Pontica (Strabo 12.3.10; Demosthenes Bithynius F 11 J. [from Stephanus Byzantius, p. 84.7 M.]), and after his death to Lysimachus. It was probably this Oxyathres who is said by Phylarch F 34 J. (from Athenaeus 3.343.18f.) to have possessed a concubine Timōsa, whom the Egyptian “king” had sent to the queen Stateira.


Bibliography (in addition to that given in the text):

H. Berve, “Oxyathres 1,” in Pauly-Wissowa 18/2, 1942, col. 2020f.

Idem, Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage II, Munich, 1926, pp. 291f. no. 586.

Justi, Namenbuch, p. 232 (Oxáthrēs, no. 3).

Marcus Junianus Justinus, Epitome of Pompeius Trogus’s Historiae Philippicae.

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

Originally Published: July 20, 2002

Last Updated: July 20, 2002