He is an obscure historical figure known primarily from the writings of Ctesias. He was reportedly the only legitimate son of Artaxerxes I and his Queen Damaspia. He is known to have served as Crown Prince.
The last inscription mentioning Artaxerxes I being alive can be dated to December 24, 424 BC. Xerxes apparently succeeded to the throne but two of his illegitimate brothers claimed it for themselves. The first was Sogdianus, son by concubine Alogyne of Babylon. The second was Ochus, son by concubine concubine Cosmartidene of Babylon. He was married to their common half-sister Parysatis, daughter of Artaxerxes I and his concubine Andia of Babylon.
Xerxes was apparently only recognized in Persia and Sogdianus in Elam. Ochus' first inscription as Darius II can be dated to January 10, 423 BC. He was already satrap of Hyrcania and was soon recognized by Media, Babylonia and Egypt. Xerxes II only ruled forty five days. He was reportedly murdered while drunk by Pharnacyas and Menostanes on Sogdianus' orders. Sogdianus apparently gained the support of his regions. Sogdianus was killed a few months later. Darius II became the sole ruler of the Persian Empire and would reign till 404 BC.