The Younger, second son of Darius II and Parysatis. In 408 bc, because of dissension between the satraps Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes he was given an overarching command in Asia Minor to enable him to mount an effective fight against Athenian positions. When his ally Lysander defeated Athens (405/4), he was actually at the Persian court for the coronation of his elder brother, who took the regnal name Artaxerxes 2 II. Supported by his mother, he returned to Sardis, where he began preparations for a coup. He mounted his attack with an army of regular contingents from Asia Minor, reinforced by Greek mercenaries, in the spring of 401, thus taking full advantage of the problems faced by the Persians in Egypt, which was slipping from their control at the time. He led his army to Babylonia; a battle was fought at Cunaxa, in which Cyrus lost his life. The reasons for his defeat were primarily political. Contrary to assertions in apologetic literature (esp. Xenophon's Anabasis), he failed to gain the adherence of the Persian nobility and the empire's élites, who remained largely loyal to Artaxerxes II.
Subjects: Classical Studies — World History.