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Sunday, March 5, 2017

035 - The Ionian Revolt

In this episode, we discuss the events of the Ionian Revolt from the Persian Empire, including the failed Naxos expedition, Miletus' role in the rebellion and its spread throughout the western coast of Asia Minor and Cyprus, the Greek sack of Sardis, the three-pronged Persian counteroffensive in Cyprus, Caria, Ionia, the Hellespont, and the Propontis, the Persian naval victory at Lade, and their subsequent sack of Miletus; the Spartan destruction of Argos at Sepeia; the early life of one of Athens' key political figures for the next four decades, Themistocles; and the internal political happenings of Athens during the 490s BC 

500 BC - Naxos in a state of internal strife (stasis), in which the demos seizes power and the aristocrats flee to Miletus where they are on friendly terms with the tyrant Histiaios; with Histiaios in Susa with Darius, the governor Aristagoras enlists the support of Artaphernes, the Persian satrap in Sardis, to conquer Naxos and the Cyclades, but his force of 200 ships fails to take Naxos after a four months' sieg

499 BC - Aristagoras convinces the Milesians and the rest of Asiatic Greeks to revolt from Persia in order to establish their own democratic institutions (isonomia); Kleomenes of Sparta turns down Aristagoras’ appeal for an alliance, but the Athenian ekklesia agrees to send twenty ships to help the Ionians and the Eretrians send an additional five ships (Herodotus remarks that “these ships were the beginning of evils both for Hellenes and Barbarians”)

498 BC - The squadron of twenty-five ships from Athens and Eretria sets sail for Miletus, and the combined Greek forces take and accidentally burned down Sardis, the seat of a Persian satrap, including the temple of the native goddess Cybele, but are defeated by the Persians during their return to Ephesus, which causes the Athenians to sail home

497 BC - Cyprus joins the revolt; Aristagoras flees Miletus to Myrkinos in Thrace; Persia begins their three-pronged counteroffensive (Cyprus/Caria, Ionia, and Hellespont/Propontis)

496 BC - Cyprus and Caria brought back into Persian control; Anaxagoras is killed fighting against local Thracians; the Scythians lead a large expedition southward to raid Thracian Chersonese, but are driven back by Miltiades (who also captures the island of Lemnos and Imbros in Athens' name--these are later colonized by poor Athenians)

Winter 496/5 BC - Hipparchus, a former political ally of Hippias and friend of the Persians, is elected as an archon, which signifies the ascendancy of a pro-Persian peace faction in Athens; the first ostracism on Athenian record is leveled against him but it fails

494 BC - Sparta under Kleomenes defeats and destroys Argos in the Battle of Sepeia greatly strengthens Sparta’s control over the Peloponnesian League and stabilizes the league’s organization; Persians besiege Miletus by land and sea, confronted by Ionian fleet of 350 ships (majority of ships from Chios, Miletus, Lesbos and Samos); treachery of large sections of the Samian and Lesbian ships leads to Persian victory in the Battle of Lade

Winter 494/3 BC - Persians take by storm and sack Miletus; temple with oracle of Apollo at Didyma plundered and burned; city not destroyed but prosperity ends

493 BC - Phrynichos at Athens presents and is fined for his play, The Capture of Miletus; the Persians subdue the rest of the Ionian towns on the Anatolian mainland, as well as the islands of Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos; the Phoenician fleet, campaigning in the Hellespont, reestablishes Persian control over the European coast of the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Bosporus; Miltiades flees the Thracian Chersonese, escapes the Phoenician fleet, and arrives in Athens; after crushing the revolt, the Persians compel the Ionian cities to make treaties with one another and reassess their tribute

Winter 493/2 BC - Election of Themistocles to eponymous archonship

492 BC - Miltiades and Themistocles become the most prominent figures in Athenian politics

Winter 492/1 BC - Miltiades is brought to trial on charges of tyranny while in the Thracian Chersonese (though acquitted, he is perhaps prosecuted by Xanthippos)

Supplementary Resources (Videos, Photos, Other Podcasts)


Map/The Ionian Revolt

File:Ionian Revolt Campaign Map-en.svg

File:Ionian Revolt Sardis campaign.jpg

File:Ionian revolt Carian campaign.jpg

File:Ionian revolt Battle of Lade.jpg
Photo/Ruins of Miletus' Agora

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