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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

034 - Rising Tensions

In this episode, we discuss the final subjugation of the Ionian poleis to Persian-backed tyrannies, Darius' failed invasion of Scythia, Megabazos' conquest of Thrace, and the submission of Macedon that brought Persia right up to the foothills of Mt Olympus, at the very borders of mainland Greece; the diplomatic follies of the Athenians; and whether war was or was not inevitable, at least in the last decade of the 500s BC

540-498 BC - Rule of Macedonian king, Amyntas

515 BC - Famed doctor Demokedes flees the Persian court for his home polis of Croton; Syloson, the brother of former Samian tyrant Polykrates, enlists the aid of Persia; after brutally retaking Samos, the remaining Ionian poleis submit to Persian-backed tyrannies

513 BC - Darius crosses to Europe for Scythian expedition; forces include Miltiades, Athenian tyrant of the Thracian Chersonese; Histiaios of Miletus opposes plan to break up bridge of boats; ultimately Darius extends Persian rule over the Thracian Chersonese but fails to subdue the troublesome Scythian tribes along the northwestern shores of the Black Sea

512-511 BC - Darius leaves Megabazos with a large force (80,000) as commander in Europe; he conquers southern Thrace along the northern Aegean coastline

510 BC - Amyntas submits to Macedon becoming a Persian vassal kingdom; Darius appoints Artaphernes as satrap of Sardis and Otanes as commander of forces on coast, while he, Megabazos, and Histiaios of Miletus (his new Greek advisor) return to the royal court of Susa 

510-500 BC - Otanes captures many Greek cities in and near the Hellespont

507 BC - Athenian delegation arrives at court of Artaphernes in Sardis

505-500 BC - Potential medizing of Kleisthenes and the Alkmaionidai?; Darius warns Gadatas, satrap of Phrygia, about his harsh treatment of the Greeks

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

033 - The "Great King" Darius

In this episode, we discuss the ascension of Darius to the Persian throne; his consolidation of the empire and eastern campaigns; Zoroastrianism and the role Ahura-Mazda played in his reign; and his reform program, with a special focus on his creation of a new script (Old Persian), his new capital of Persepolis, his bureaucratic satrapies, the Royal Road, his "sort of" Red Sea/Nile River canal, and the creation of and influence of the gold "Daric"

522 BC - Following death of Cambyses, Darius wins civil war and is crowned king of Persia

522-520 BC - Darius puts down revolts to his kingship throughout the empire; afterwards he reorganizes the empire, dividing it into 20+ satrapies; Lydians and Ionians assigned to a satrap in Sardis, Greeks in the Hellespont and Propontis subjected to the satrap in Daskylion; these Greek cities are ruled by tyrants favorable to Persia, and are free of satrapal interference so long as they meet requirements of tribute and military service

519 BC - Construction of the new royal capital at Persepolis begins

519-515 BC - Darius campaigns east into modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India

515 BC - Construction of the Royal Road begins

Monday, February 6, 2017

032 - Cambyses

In this episode, we discuss events in the eastern Mediterranean during the reign of the Persian king, Cambyses, with a particular focus on the achievements and the political maneuverings between the Egyptian kings Amasis II and Psammetichos III, the Cyrenaean kings Battos III and Arkesilaos III, the Samian tyrant Polykrates, and the Naxian tyrant Lygdamis; Cambyses' successful conquests of Cyprus and Egypt; his failed campaigns in north Africa against the Nubians, Cyrenaeans, and Carthaginians; and his “madness" (as told by Herodotus) which ultimately brought his reign to an end

570-526 BC - The reign of Egyptian king, Amasis (Ahmose) II 

550-530 BC - The reign of Cyrenaean king, Battos III

ca. 546-524 BC - The reign of Naxian tyrant, Lygdamis

538-522 BC - The reign of Samian tyrant, Polykrates

530 BC - Following news of Cyrus' death, his eldest son Cambyses II at Pasargadae is hailed as the next king while his younger son Bardiya becomes satrap of Bactria

530-522 BC - The reign of Persian king, Cambyses II

530-525 BC - Cambyses plans for an invasion of Egypt; Cyprus voluntarily submits to the Persians and Polykrates switched allegiances from Amasis to Cambyses

530-515 BC - The reign of Cyrenaean king, Arkesilaos III

527 BC - Phanes of Halicarnassus, who had served as a mercenary for Amasis, also flips sides and becomes advisor to Cambyses; he manages to avoid an Egyptian eunuch chasing after him, by going to Lycia before the Persian court in Babylon

526 BC - Amasis dies from natural causes; he is succeeded by his young son, Psamtik III

526-525 BC - The reign of Egyptian king, Psamtik (Psammetichos) III

525 BC - Cambyses and his forces invade Egypt; Ionian and Aeolian Greeks of Asia Minor fight for the Persians, while Greek and Carian mercenaries also serve in Egyptian army; in the Battle of Pelusium, on the eastern Nile Delta, the Egyptian army is routed and they flee to Memphis; Cambyses lays siege to Memphis and when the city is taken, Psamtik and other prominent Egyptians are executed; Egypt becomes a subject of the Persians; then Cambyses campaigns along North Africa; while the Libyans submit willingly, the Nubians (Ethiopians), Cyrenaeans, and Carthaginians resist and so the Persian army returns to Egypt

525-524 BC - The Spartans and Corinthians attack Samos and Naxos to remove Polykrates (unsuccessful) and Lygdamis (successful) as tyrants

525-522 BC - Cambyses rules Egypt "madly"

522 BC - Polykrates is tricked into appearing before the court of Oroetes, the Persian satrap of Magnesia, where he is arrested and executed; with Cambyses off in Egypt, his brother Bardiya makes his own claim to the Persian throne; in his effort to get back to Pasargadae, he accidentally stabs himself, purposefully commits suicide, or is assassinated; a dynastic civil war erupts for control of the Persian Empire

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