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Darius III (c. 380 – July 330 BC), originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name.

After Artaxerxes III of Persia and all of his sons were killed by the vizier Bagoas, the vizier installed a cousin of Artaxerxes III, Artashata, on the Persian throne as Darius III. When Darius tried to act independently of the vizier, Bagoas tried to poison him, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself. The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects. However, he lacked the skills and experience to deal with these problems.

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying the capital Persepolis, by fire, in 331 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed by the satrap Bessus, who was also his cousin.

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