The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio” VIII – Persia v. Ionians and Aeolians [141-176]

50 oars – Penteconter

The Histories by Herodotus – Book I, “Clio”

VIII – Persia v. Ionians and Aeolians [141-170]

  • After they conquered Lydia, the Persians received ambassadors from the Ionians and Aeolians asking to be lieges just as they had been with Croesus. He responded that they hadn’t submitted before the war with Lydia and were only fence-sitters who will not be protected by Persia.
  • The Ionians didn’t speak the same dialect as many other Greeks, who had distinct differences.
  • The Milesians allied with Cyrus early on and became secure. Phoenicia was still independent from Persia and, since the Persians didn’t have much of a navy, was secure as well. The Ionians were extremely weak and the only strong state at the time was Athens. They began to call their league/group to assembly and had a temple uniting them all, the Panionium, open only to Ionians
  • The Triopium temple was on a peninsula and held games. Winners weren’t ever allowed to take their prizes back home with them. When a man from Halicarnassus dared to take his back home, Halicarnassians were banned thereafter from the temple.
  • The Ionians had 12 cities in Asia to go along with their 12 on the Peloponnese. They refused to expand any further.
  • They became the Achaeans in Greece, leaving Ionians in Asia. They took over local cities and intermarried with local women who still bore them a grudge from their conquest.
  • Many Ionian groups relished the names of their ancestors as a source of purity of being Ionian stock.
  • The Panionium in Mycalé was a sacred temple to Neptune that hosted Ionian assemblies and feasts of Greek tradition
  • Loss of Smyrna – Men in Colophon were openly talking of rebellion and were exiled. The Smyrnaeans took them in. Eventually the exiles took over the place during a local Bacchanal feast, trying to make it an Ionian city. The Aeolians came over to provide order with little success. Native Smyrnaeans were dispersed throughout the various Aeolian cities.
  • The Aeolian and Ionian Islands seemed less vulnerable to attack and instability than the mainland cities. They pooled together for a common assembly for mutual benefit.
  • Deputies from the assembly met in Sparta Pythermus from Phocaea spoke for the group. They asked Sparta for help but the Spartans wouldn’t commit to allying with them against the Persians. However, the Spartans did send boats over to the eastern part of the Aegean Sea to keep an eye on Ionian in case Cyrus made any aggressive moves.
  • Cyrus was curious about what the Spartans were up to. He wanted to ruffle their feathers without having to worry about Ionian getting stronger or attracting allies. He thought that the Greek life was far too decadent to be respected.
  • When Cyrus’s army left the area of Cymé, a man named Pactyas led a revolt against the Persians. He used the money he had at his disposal from the time of Croesus to hire mercenaries and get locals to join and besiege the city.
  • Cyrus consulted with Croesus – “Your people are a real pain in the ass. They still worship you and won’t give in.” Croesus replied that Pactyas was good at appealing to the crowd. “Don’t crush the people. They’re good people but gullible. Just stop Pactyas and the situation will die down.
  • Croesus thought this was the best course and Cyrus agreed. He got a trusted Mede, Mazares, to carry out orders. Pactyas was to be brought in alive.
  • Pactyas head something was up and ran off. Cyrus’s man reestablished control and made the Lydians change their ways of living. He asked the people of Cymé to give him up. The people consulted the Oracle to tell them what to do.
  • The Oracle told the people to give him up. Some of them didn’t believe it and went to the Oracle themselves to hear what she had to say. The Oracle repeated her words and actually threatened them with charges of impiety if they didn’t do it.
  • They sent Pactyas to Mytilêné to avoid defying the king and the Oracle without actually handing him over. Mazares didn’t want this but the Cymaeans sent him on to Lesbos and then Chios but eventually he was surrendered to the Persians.
  • Mazares began a par against Pactyas’s supporters, took Priêné, sold inhabitants off as slaves, and took several nearby towns before suddenly dying of an illness.
  • Once Mazares died, Harpagus took command. Now he was in charge of dealing with the Ionians. The city walls were difficult, so he built mounds sloping from the walls so the army could walk right in to the city. Phocaea was the first city he attacked.
  • The Phocaeans were travelers and knew much about the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, as well as Spain. Instead of merchant ships, they used Penteconters (with 50 oars). They showed up to Tartessus (Southern Spain) and made nice with the king. He asked them to stick around and leave their homeland to be near him. When he heard that the Medes were growing in power, he offered to pay for a wall to be built for their city.
  • Harpagus laid siege to Phocaea and offered a peace if they made one of their houses dedicated to Cyrus. They asked for time to think it over without the siege going on. He allowed it. The Phocaean launched their penteconters, loaded with the entire contents of the city, including the people and went to Chios. Persian had possession of an empty town.
  • Once in Chios, the Phocaeans tried to buy some islands off the Chians but they wouldn’t bite. The Phocaeans moved to Corsice, following an Oracle’s direction. The navy sailed back to Phocaea and saw a Persian garrison there and took them by surprise. They fought but many Phocaeans ran off. They didn’t really want to go too far because they were homesick.
  • The rest went back to Corsica. They annoyed their neighbors to the point where the Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians sent in fleets to stop them. The Phocaean fleet was destroyed. They took their people down to Rhegium (toe of Italy).
  • The captives taken by the Carthaginians and Tyrrahenians were stoned to death. The Agyilian people asked the Oracle what they should do with the dead they found. She said to bury them according to the rites and hold funeral games. Those in Rhegium stayed and founded other cities.
  • While the Phocaeans left, the people of Teos were besieged by Harpagus as well. Those people moved up to Thrace but were run out by the Thracians.
  • Phocaea and Teos were the 2 cities that preferred to run away than to submit to Persia. The others fought well but lost and eventually submitted to Cyrus.
  • The Ionians still met at the Panionium. Bias thought they ought to strive to be the happiest of all the Greeks. In order to do this, they’d need to go to Sardinia and found a city there. Thales of Miletus recommended they establish Teos as the capital of Ionia.
  • Harpagus focused on the Carians, Caunians and Lycians. He drafted Ionians and Aeolians to fight. The Carians came from Minos’s people, Leleges. They invented helmet crests, shield handles and shield devices/add-ons. They were forced out of the island by Ionians and Dorians to the mainland. That’s what the Cretans say, anyway. The Carians says they weren’t from the islands but from the mainland, related to Mysus and Lydus.
  • The Caunians are said to be from Crete but are related to the Carians. The differences were overcome by people of all walks of life of the same age, drinking wine together. They didn’t accept any foreign gods, only their own.
  • Lycians were also from Crete. There was a dispute between Minos and Sarpedon (sons of Europé) on who would become king. Minos won and Sarpedon and co. left to Asia in Milyan land owned by Lycia. They changed name after Lycus became king. They took their mothers’ names and property and citizenship passed through the mother.
  • The Cnidians were Spartan/Lycadaemonian. While Harpagus attacked Ionian, the Cnidians wanted to make their city into islands and began to dig a canal through the isthmus. The workers were in bad shape. They asked the Oracle what to do. She said if Jove wanted them on an island, he would have put them on an island.
  • Near Halicarnassus, were the Pedasians. It was said that if something bad happened, the Minervan priestess grew a beard. This happened 3 times throughout history. They put up one hell of a fight against the Persians but were eventually broken by Harpagus.
  • Harpagus moved to the Lycians of Xanthus. He went to meet them but a battle broke out. The Xanthians ran off and the city was taken. Caunus was taken the same way.

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