Thirty-First Dynasty

   Posted by: Keith Payne   in

Thirty-First Dynasty

The Second Persian Dynasty

343 to 332 BC


Seat of Power


Dating System

Late Kingdom Period


Egyptian, Persian, Macedonian 

Shaw and Nicholson


Artaxerxes III’s reclaiming of Egypt was not a peaceful one.  Widespread looting and pillaging filled his coffers and paid his cronies, and nothing was off limits.  Temples were looted and ruined, religion was suppressed, and many sacred books and relics were either stolen or destroyed.  Artaxerxes III eventually reaped his own bitter harvest—in 338 BC he and all of his heirs but one were poisoned by his vizier, Bagoas.

Artaxerxes III was succeeded by his only surviving heir, Artaxerxes IV (Arses), who was put on the throne by Bagoas, the true master pulling the strings.  Artaxerxes IV served as a front for Bagoas for a couple of years until, driven by pride, the prompting of Bagoas’ many enemies in the court, or both, he decided to do away with the vizier.  Bagoas proved too cunning and poisoned the young king just as he had his father.

Next Bagoas maneuvered to have a cousin of Artaxerxes IV put on the throne, Darius III.  A fierce warrior and no stranger to court intrigue himself, Darius III refused to be a tool of the manipulative vizier. When Bagoas tried his poison trick again, Darius instead forced the vizier to drink his own brew. 

But for all his character and accomplishments, Darius III was no politician.  Nor was the warrior much of a general.  When Alexander of Macedonia (also called Alexander the Great, and for good reasons) moved to invade Asia Minor, Darius III decided to remain in Persepolis and rely on his vassals to repel the threat.  By the time he realized his mistake it is too late, and after a series of battles Alexander defeated Darius III, sacked Persepolis, and out an end to the Persian Empire.

The Egyptians welcome Alexander, crowning him at the Temple of Ptah at Memphis and heralding in the Macedonian Dynasty.


Name of Ruler

Years of Reign


Artaxerxes III  (Ochus)

343 to 338 BC


Artaxerxes IV  (Arses)

338 to 336 BC


Darius III  (Codomannus)

336 to 332 BC