| Shahanshah of Persia, Pharaoh of Egypt
|Mosaic of Darius battling nomadic tribes invading his empire.|
|Emperor of Persia|
|Reign||336 – 312 BC|
|King of Egypt|
|Reign||336 - 312 BC|
|Issue|| Stateira II |
|Father||Arsames of Ostanes|
|Born|| 380 BC |
|Died|| 312 BC (Aged 68) |
Darius III (380 – July 330 BC), originally named Artashata, was an Emperor of the Persian Empire from 336 BC to 312 BC. Artashata adopted the name Darius when he was crowned emperor in 336 BC as a dynastic name. The empire he inherited was initially unstable, with large portions governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects.
In 334 BC, Alexander III began his invasion of Anatolia. However, before he could battle Darius himself, he was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Granicus by Spithridates, the Persian satrap or governor of the region. After his subjects defeated Alexander, Darius faced a nearly impossible challenge: fix the inner workings of the Empire that his ancestor, Cyrus, worked so hard to build, at which in this point in time, had fallen into disrepair.
Following the invasion, Darius nearly spent the entire treasury restoring and maintaining various establishments of the Empire, including the postal system. Among others, Darius doubled Persepolis's magnificence and established a vast charity system for orphans and widows, drawing from the royal treasury itself. However, Darius is most remembered for establishing various branches of the Royal Road, specifically into the Levant and Egypt.
Artashata was the son of Arsames, son of Ostanes, and Sisygambis, daughter of Artaxerxes II. He had distinguished himself in a combat of champions in a war against the Cadusii and was serving at the time as a royal courier.
In 336 BC, he took the throne at the age of 43 after the death of Emperor Arses. Artashata was installed by the vizier Bagoas, after the latter had poisoned the Emperor Arses, who had succeeded him on the throne. Artashata took the regnal name Darius III, and quickly demonstrated his independence from his possible assassin benefactor. Bagoas then tried to poison Darius as well, when he learned that even Darius couldn't be controlled, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself. The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects, such as Khabash in Egypt.
Conflict With the Macedonians
In late 336 BC, King Philip II of Kingdom of Macedon was authorized by the League of Corinth as its Hegemon to initiate a sacred war of vengeance against the Persians for desecrating and burning the Athenian temples during the Second Persian War. He sent an advance force into Anatolia under the command of his generals Parmenion and Attalus to "liberate" the Greeks living under Persian control. After they took the Greek cities of Anatolia, Philip was assassinated and his campaign was suspended while his heir, Alexander III consolidated his control of Macedonia and the rest of Greece.