This chapter focuses on Xerxes's assassination in 465 B.C. at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard. Xerxes's authority at court had been weakened by his dalliance with his niece while events in the west had taken a turn for the worse. Since the Persian withdrawal from Greece in 479, Sparta and Athens both went their own ways. Sparta emerged as the leading land power in Greece and Athens rapidly achieved dominance of the seas. This chapter begins with an overview of the careers of Pausanias and Themistocles and goes on to discuss Xerxes's last Greek campaign. It then considers historians' accounts of how Xerxes was murdered by Artabanus or Artapanus, the son of Artasyras, a Hyrcanian and an important adviser of Xerxes.
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