Bessus

From Academic Kids

Bessus (died summer 329 BC) was a Persian nobleman and satrap of Bactria and Sogdiana, and later self-proclaimed king of Persia. He is best known for murdering and usurping his king, Darius III, after the Persian army had been defeated by Alexander the Great.

In the Battle of Gaugamela (October 1 331 BC) he commanded the troops of his satrapy under the command of Darius III against Alexander's Macedonian army. Bessus survived the loss at Gaugamela and remained with Darius III, whose routed army eluded Alexander's forces and spent the winter in Ecbatana. The next year Darius III attempted to flee to Bactria in the east. Bessus, conspiring with fellow satraps, deposed Darius III. He likely intended to surrender the king to the Macedonians, but Alexander ordered his forces to brutally pursue the Persians even after receiving word of Darius' arrest. In July 330 BC, near Hecatompylus, the panicked conspirators mortally wounded Darius III and left him to be found by a Macedonian soldier.

Bessus proclaimed himself the king of Persia and adopted the name Artaxerxes. His self-proclaimed ascension was not without precedent, since the satrap of Bactria is a title often given to the noble next in the line of succession to the Persian throne. But since the Persian empire had been conquered and Bessus only ruled over a loose alliance of renegade provinces, historians do not generally regard him as an official Persian king.

Bessus returned to Bactria and tried to organize a resistance among the eastern satrapies. Alexander was forced to move his force to suppress the uprising in 329 BC. Frightened by the approaching Macedonians, Bessus' own people arrested and surrendered him.

Alexander ordered that Bessus' nose and ears be cut off, which was a Persian custom for those involved in rebellion and regicide; we learn from the Behistun inscription that Darius I punished the usurper Phraortes in a similar manner. Bessus was then crucified in the place where Darius III was killed.


External links

Bessus / Artaxerxes V (http://www.livius.org/be-bm/bessus/bessus.html)

no:Bessus pt:Bessus

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