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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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