Artaxerxes I of Persia, known simply as Artaxerxes during his exile, was King of the Achaemenid Empire and Pharaoh of Egypt during the 5th century BCE. The son of Xerxes I, he succeeded his father after his assassination in 465 BCE by Darius.
Throughout his lifetime, Artaxerxes fathered numerous children, including the future king Darius II.
Artaxerxes' father and grandfather were close allies of the Order of the Ancients, a powerful organization who aided in their conquests and expansions. After Xerxes I was assassinated in 465 BCE, Artaxerxes ascended the throne as King. Xerxes' assassin, Artabanus, fearing Artaxerxes would also be manipulated by the Order, plotted his preemptive assassination. The attempt was halted, however, by Artabanus' close friend and Persian elite, Amorges, who had joined the Order and called for the guards. As a result, Artaxerxes' life was spared, and Artabanus was forced to flee, adopting Darius as his new name.
Early in his reign as a child king, Artaxerxes befriended Themistokles, a former Athenian general who had been ostracized and fled to Persia. Themistokles tutored the young king and told him many stories of the wonders of Greece; before Themistokles' death, Artaxerxes promised his tutor that he would see each of the great landmarks he had been told about.
Exile from Persia
At some point, Artaxerxes became aware of the Order's activities and his predecessors' connection to them. However, he refused to yield to the Order's demands, which led the Order to attempt to have him dethroned. They manipulated Artaxerxes' brother Hystaspes to have him overthrown and assassinated. The Order took advantage of Darius' status as a fugitive and framed him for the assassination attempt. Despite losing his sight to the assassins' poison Artaxerxes nevertheless managed to survive and escape. Faking his death and fleeing Persia, Artaxerxes traveled to Greece where he sought refuge in the city of Megara, Megaris.
Sometime in 424 BCE, Artaxerxes made the acquaintance of Kassandra, a Spartan misthios who, unbeknownst to him at the time, was also the granddaughter of King Leonidas. Artaxerxes reminisced to Kassandra about the stories Themistokles told of his homeland and how he wished to see the landmarks his tutor and friend has described. Kassandra agreed to visit each of the landmarks and retell her experiences to Artaxerxes. Once her quest was complete, Artaxerxes thanked and rewarded her.
Behind the scenes
- Historically, Artaxerxes I reigned over Persia until his death in 424 BCE at Susa, while in-game it is possible to interact with him up to and beyond his historical date of death.
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (first appearance)