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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

034 - Rising Tensions

In this episode, we discuss 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

515 BC - 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 extends his rule over the Thracian Chersonese but fails to subdue the troublesome Scythian tribes along the northwestern shores of the Black Sea
512-511 BC - Megabazos conquers southern Thrace along the northern Aegean coastline

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 - Darius wins civil war and is crowned king of Persia
522-520 BC - Darius puts down revolts throughout the empire
519-515 BC - Darius campaigns east into modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India
519 BC - Construction of the new royal capital at Persepolis begins
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 was hailed as the next king while his younger son Bardiya became satrap of Bactria
530-522 BC - The reign of Persian king, Cambyses II
530-525 BC - Cambyses planned for an invasion of Egypt; Cyprus voluntarily submitted 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 served as a mercenary for Amasis, also flipped sides and became advisor to Cambyses; he managed to avoid an Egyptian eunuch chasing after him, by going to Lycia before the Persian court in Babylon
526 BC - Amasis died from natural causes; succeeded by his young son, Psamtik III
526-525 BC - The reign of Egyptian king, Psamtik (Psammetichos) III
Spring 525 BC - Cambyses and his forces invade Egypt; in the Battle of Pelusium, on the eastern Nile Delta, the Egyptian army is routed and they fled back to Memphis; Cambyses laid siege to Memphis and when the city was taken, Psamtik and other prominent Egyptians were executed; Egypt became a subject of the Persians; then he campaigned along North Africa; while the Libyans submitted willingly, the Nubians (Ethiopians), Cyrenaeans, and Carthaginians resisted and so they returned back 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 ruled Egypt "madly"
522 BC - Polykrates was tricked into appearing before the court of Oroetes, the Persian satrap of Magnesia, where he was arrested and executed
522 BC - Cambyses' brother, Bardiya, laid claim to the Persian throne; in his effort to get back to Pasargadae, he accidentally stabbed himself, purposefully committed suicide, or was assassinated; there was now dynastic civil war in the Persian Empire

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