118 Sons

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Artaxerxes II (born Arsames and known to the Greeks as Mnemon) was the Shahanshah of the Achaemenid Empire and, like any historical emperor, had wives and concubines. Through these women he had 115 sons with the concubines and 3 with his wives: Darius, Ochus and Ariarathes.

Artaxerxes was specifically fond of his son Darius and gave him the empire when he was still alive. Unfortunately, Darius still didn’t want his father alive and plotted with 50 of his brothers to kill him. The reason was supposedly over a concubine Darius wanted to be given to him. Artaxerxes had taken her from Cyrus (his younger brother who failed in a challenge to the throne) but Darius said that if he was going to be king he should have her too.

Artaxerxes said yes but then made her priestess of the sun, a position that made it impossible for her to have sex and caused Darius to plot against his father with fifty of his illegitimate brothers. The plot was discovered before it happened and all of the conspirators were put to death with their wives and children.

Shortly after, Artaxerxes died and Ochus, called Artaxerxes III, became Shahanshah. He then killed more of his family to prevent another coup although it isn’t specifically said he killed his entire family. Thus, the cycle of royal family families growing and suddenly dying is streaked with blood and jealously as has been repeated throughout so many kingdoms.


Justinius, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus – Book 10


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