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Marcus Junianus Justinus
Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus.
translated, with notes, by the Rev. John Selby Watson.
London: Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Convent Garden (1853).


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Book X

The sons of Artaxerxes conspire against him, and are put to death, I.—Causes of the conspiracy, II.—Darius Ochus; Darius Codomannus; end of the Persian monarchy, III.

1 2 3

1 ARTAXERXES,1 king of Persia, had a hundred and fifteen sons by his concubines, but only three begotten in lawful wedlock, Darius, Ariarathes, and Ochus. Of these the father, from paternal fondness, made Darius king during his own lifetime, contrary to the usage of the Persians, among whom the king is changed only by death; for he thought nothing taken from himself that he conferred upon his son, and expected greater enjoyment from having progeny, if he saw the insignia of royalty adorning his son while he lived. But Darius, after such an extraordinary proof of his fatherís affection, conceived the design of killing him. He would have been bad enough, if he had meditated the parricide alone, but he became so much the worse, by enticing fifty of his brothers to a participation in his crime, and making them parricides in intention as well as himself. It was certainly a kind of prodigy, that, among so great a number, the assassination should not only have been plotted, but concealed, and that of fifty children there should not have been found one, whom either respect for their fatherís dignity, or reverence for an old man, or gratitude for paternal kindness, could deter from so horrible a purpose. Was the name of father so contemptible among so many sons, that he who should have been secured even against enemies by their protection, should be beset by their treason, and find it easier to defend himself against his foes than his children?

2 The cause of the intended parricide was even more atrocious than the crime itself; for after Cyrus was killed in the war against his brother, of which mention has been previously2 made, Artaxerxes had married Aspasia,3 the concubine of Cyrus; and Darius had required that his father should resign her to him as he had resigned the kingdom. Artaxerxes, from fondness from his children, said at first that he would do so, but afterwards, from a change of mind, and in order plausibly to refuse what he had inconsiderately promised, made her a priestess of the sun, an office which obliged her to perpetual chastity. The young Darius, being incensed at this proceeding, broke out at first into reproaches against his father, and subsequently entered into this conspiracy with his brothers. But while he was meditating destruction for his father, he was discovered and apprehended with his associates, and paid the penalty of his guilt to the gods who avenge paternal authority. The wives of them all, too, together with their children, were put to death, that no memorial of such execrable wickedness might be left. Soon after Artaxerxes died of a disease contracted by grief, having been happier as a king than as a father.

3 Possession of the throne was given to Ochus, who, dreading a similar conspiracy, filled the palace with the blood and dead bodies of his kinsmen and the nobility, being touched with compassion neither for consanguinity, nor sex, nor age, lest, apparently, he should be thought less wicked than his brothers that had meditated parricide.

Having thus, as it were, purified his kingdom, he made war upon the Cardusii; in the course of which one Codomannus,4 followed by applause from all the Persians, engaged with one of the enemy that offered himself for single combat, and, having killed his antagonist, regained the victory for his fellow soldiers, as well as the glory which they had almost lost. For this honourable service Codomannus was made governor of Armenia. Some time after, on the death of Ochus, he was chosen king by the people from regard to his former merits, and, that nothing might be wanting to his royal dignity, honoured with the name of Darius. He maintained a long war, with various success, but with great efforts, against Alexander the Great. But being at last overcome by Alexander, and slain5 by his relations, he terminated his life and the kingdom of the Persians together.


Table of contents


1 Artaxerxes Mnemon.

Book v. c. 11.

3 Concerning whom see Aelian. Var. Hist. xii. 1.

4 Codomannus quidam.] Codomannus was not so obscure, that it was necessary to speak of him as quidam, for his father was Arsames, and his mother Sisygambis, the brother and sister of king Ochus.—Wetzel.

5 See
Book xi. c. 15.


Table of contents


The English translation of Justin's Epitome was entered by David Camden (2003) from Watson's 1853 edition. This text is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed for private and educational use, provided this original notice is kept intact. Any commercial use of this text, including print-publication and inclusion in subscription-based archives, is prohibited.

The Latin text and French translation, along with the secondary material written in French, are copyright © Marie-Pierre Arnaud-Lindet 2003, and are NOT in the public domain.

This material may only be used for private and educational use and provided that its copyright status is properly cited. Any modification, remote loading, publication, reproduction on another site, diffusion on the internet, or commercial use of these texts is strictly prohibited without the prior agreement of the author.