Article

Ctesias

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics


Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.1944

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Ctesias of Cnidus was a doctor at the court of Artaxerxes II and the author of a history of Persia and other works. He seems to have studied, and possibly practised, medicine at Cnidus. The exact time and reason for Ctesias’ arrival in Persia (maybe as a prisoner of war) is unknown. He is attested at the battle of Cunaxa in 401bce, when the armies of two royal brothers, King Artaxerxes II and Prince Cyrus, clashed over the right to the throne. There is every possibility that Ctesias was Artaxerxes’ physician before the revolt of Cyrus, and certainly after the battle Ctesias received numerous honours from the king (T3, 6b). He was resident in Persia for seventeen years (c. 413–397bce) as the king’s physician (T5). It appears that he also cared for Artaxerxes’ wife, Stateira, and his revered mother, Parysatis (T11d). In 399–397bce he left the Persian heartland for Cyprus and served as a go-between for Artaxerxes in his negotiations with Conon, who at the time commanded a Persian fleet in the Aegean under the orders of the Cypriot king Evagoras I of Salamis.

Keywords: Persia; Achaemenids; historiography; novella; Artaxerxes II; Orientalism; Cnidus

Article.  1875 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Greek History ; Middle Eastern History

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