Last modified on 14 November 2020, at 10:00

Xerxes II and Sogdianus

The Achaemid Family Tree showing the merging or the royal houses of the Medes and the Persians to create the Medo-Persian Empire.

Xerxes II (Old Persian:𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, Greek:ΞžΞ­ΟΞΎΞ·Ο‚) and Sogdianus, sons of Artaxerxes I allegedly consecutively ruled on the Medo-Persian/Achaemid throne for 45 days and 3 months respectively in the year 424-423BC.

Xerxes II and Sogdianus are grouped together as we currently have no existing steles or clay tablets with the names of Xerxes (II) or Sogdianus engraved upon them; their existence is solely known to us through perhaps the most unreliable of historians, the now fragmentary works of Ctesias. We do have a coin minted in Sardis, possibly under Xerxes II.

Some suggest that all three sons known to us as Xerxes II, Sogdianus and Darius II may have all all claimed the throne at the same time[1] upon the death of Artaxerxes I Longimanus; sizing the land's under their control and then eliminating the competition.

Xerxes II

The last extant inscription we have stating Artaxerxes I as being alive is dated to 424BC wherein we operate under Ctesias' instruction that Xerxes II as both the only known legitimate heir of Longimanus and Queen Damaspia began his ascension until his brutal murder during a state of intoxication by Pharnacyas and Menostanes on Sogdianus' orders, only 45 days later. During that short time it seems that he was only able to thus far secure contol of the Persian heartlands.


Sogdianus while the half-brother of Xerxes II to Artaxerxes I's concubine Alogyne of Babylon, murdered Xerxes II and swept up control of his brother's domains until his own capture and execution some six months later by his half-brother Darius II who was up to that time Satrap of Hyrcania. Sogdianus was executed by suffocation in ashes as per the explicit order of Ochus since he had promised Sogdianus that he would not die by sword, poison or hunger. We consider the end of Sogdianus' reign to have ended in very early January of 423 BC as the first extant inscription we have of Darius II being king is dated as the 10th of January 423 BC.


  1. ↑ Zawadzki, S. (1995–1996). "The Circumstances of Darius II's Accession". Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux. 34: 45–49