History Podcasts

Siege of Carystus, 490 BC

Siege of Carystus, 490 BC


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Siege of Carystus, 490 BC

The siege of Carystus (490 BC) was an early Persian victory in the campaign that ended at the battle of Marathon. During the Ionian Revolt the rebels had received help from Athens and from Eretria on Euboea. Darius I was determined to punish these cities for their role in the revolt. His first attempt, in 492 BC, commanded by his son-in-law Mardonius, used the land route, over the Hellespont and along the coast of Thrace, and ended after the Persian fleet was destroyed in a storm off Mt. Athos in northern Greece (Greco-Persian Wars).

Darius's second invasion came in 490 BC. This time he decided to send his army across the Aegean. A new army, commanded by Datis the Mede and Artaphrenes son of Artaphernes, a nephew of Darius, mustered in Cilicia, where it was joined by a sizable fleet including specially built horse transport. The Persian force moved west to Samos, then crossed the Aegean via Icaria, Naxos and Delos.

Their next destination after Delos was Carystus, at the eastern end of Euboea. The Persian demanded that the Carystians should supply troops for the upcoming campaign, and hand over hostages.

The Carystians turned down the Persian demands. Datis and Artaphrenes laid siege to Carystus, and devastated the surrounding areas. This convinced the Carystians to surrender, and they were forced to accept Persian supremacy.

The Persians then sailed around the coast of Euboea, heading towards Eretria, where they won their second victory of the campaign. From Eretria they crossed to Attica, landing at Marathon, where they famously suffered a heavy defeat that forced them to abandon the campaign.


From Marathon to Thermopylae Expurgating Persian War Myths (490–480 BC) I

The report that Sardis had been captured and burned by the Athenians and the Ionians was brought to Darius and that Aristagoras of Miletus had instigated that joint action. It is said that when Darius heard of his affair … he asked who the Athenians were. When he was he told he called for his bow. He took it and loosed an arrow into the sky saying ‘Gods grant that I shall be allowed to punish the Athenians.’ He then ordered one of his slaves to repeat the following words three times every time he dined: ‘Master, do not forget the Athenians!’

The story is amusing but fanciful, appealing to the audience perhaps but not that convincing when searching for authenticity. Darius had campaigned in Thrace and further north, had in his court many of Greek origin and was close to Hippias, the former tyrant of Athens who when expelled in 510, had gone into exile at Sigeum on the Persian side of the Hellespont. Darius needed no reminding about the Athenians and the fact that he appointed Mardonius as the new satrap for Hellespontine Phrygia and Thrace, with instructions to take the Persian presence into Greece just months after the Ionian Revolt had been quelled plainly indicates that a general subjugation of the Greek mainland including Athens had been contemplated for a long time. The battles at Marathon and Thermopylae, ten years apart, but between the same foes, certainly remain the two most easily recalled military engagements of ancient Greece, if not in all antiquity. Yet there is much less modern attention on the battlefields themselves and the historical contexts of each episode, which usually draw just a few sentences in a general coverage of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians. The campaigns that led to battles at Marathon in the summer of 490 and at Thermopylae in early August 480 have become famous partly because the expansion of Persian Empire in a westward direction was thwarted, although its resources were much greater than those available to the Greek cities, and partly because of the stature of the main source material, which again hinges on Herodotus’ Histories. Notwithstanding the fame of the work in question, its seemingly inchoate narrative regarding these battles, provided by history’s first historian, poses numerous puzzles, which for any sense to prevail about them require some critical analysis. Although there is a decade between Marathon and Thermopylae the campaign that led to the latter began almost immediately after the Persian defeat in 490 and continued down through 487 when dealing with a revolt in Egypt took precedence (Herodt. 7.1).

Darius had every intention of enlarging his provinces on the European side of the Hellespont, but the defeat at Marathon, although no catastrophe, upset his plans and before he could regain the initiative in that quarter he died in 486. It was only in 485 after the Egyptian rebellion was quelled that an invasion of southern Greece again became a primary objective of the Persians and their new king Xerxes. He wanted to redress the failure of 490, which implicitly was an affront to the dignity of his kingdom and although he massacred the Greek defenders of Thermopylae this proved to be just another minor victory in an overall campaign that became a Persian debacle. Yet Marathon and Thermopylae far more than Salamis and Plataea dominate the popular imagination, and so the focus here will be to trace the two battlefields to place events at them in a realistic and historical context. The reason for concentrating on just two battles and not the entire war is firstly that geographically they are very close, secondly that both although land battles were heavily influenced by events on sea, and thirdly both involved one or both forces of small size. These were not the great displays of manpower and military might expected of the pitched battle.

Within months of peaceful conditions being restored along the coastal fringe of western Asia Minor, Darius ordered his new satrap Mardonius to continue the work begun by Megabazus and proceed to campaign further along the northern Aegean coast with a view to subduing the entire mainland of Greece (Herodt. 6.44). Before Mardonius crossed the Hellespont he visited the cities of Ionia and Herodotus notes a most unexpected gesture on the part of this new satrap in that he installed democratic governments in the cities that had recently been reconquered. Tyranny of the kind previously favoured by the Persians in these parts was no longer to be permitted. Bearing in mind that this course of action is precisely what Hecataeus urged Artaphernes, the Lydian satrap, to do, according to Diodorus (10.25.4), it ought not to have come as such a surprise. Furthermore, while Herodotus noted that some former leaders had been restored to their cities along the Hellespont he makes no mention of any in Ionia, which suggests that the Persians recognized that the imposition of governing through single rulers simply did not have popular support. Mardonius’ decree was not entirely motivated from a desire to please the local populations, however, for he knew that in the campaign he planned to wage he would need financial and material support from these cities. Therefore to avoid further civil unrest it was of a little substance to him whether the people ruled themselves or were ruled by tyrants just as long as they were compliant to his wishes and needs. Herodotus presents it as an amazing event, but it was actually simply a matter of sensible politics and part of the planning of the logistics for a new venture in Europe.

In the early summer of 492 Mardonius moved quickly by transporting his army, which Herodotus states was impressive, from Abydos to Sestos, the narrowest point on the Hellespont. From there a Persian army marching overland had little hostility to be concerned about since Megabazus had already imposed Persian rule from the western shore of the Propontis to the Chersonese, and then in Thrace as far as the River Strymon. Therefore, it must have been clear to all that Mardonius’ objective can only have been Greece and since the Macedonian king had already made a treaty with Darius the way through to Thessaly lay open. However, things did not go according to plan. At first there was a successful occupation of Thasos, which was taken without opposition, but then the fleet that had accompanied the army was caught in a gale off Mount Athos in the Chersonese. The northern or etesian winds of the summer months can be violent and were especially dangerous to ancient shipping. On this occasion Herodotus records that it was said that three hundred ships were sunk and as many as twenty thousand men from their crews were killed, some because they could not swim, others became the victims of shark attacks, and others were caught on the rocks (Herodt. 6.44). The army too suddenly encountered a setback when the Thracian tribe the Brygi made a surprise assault by night. The Persians seem to have been taken completely unawares and Mardonius himself was injured. The general, however, refused to advance further until he had punished this tribe but the result seems to have been that the campaigning season drew to a close without any further positive results and Mardonius led his army back to the Hellespont. Herodotus states that Mardonius’ army hardly behaved in a glorious fashion (Herodt. 6.45), although fault for the disaster to the fleet could hardly have been on account of incompetence of the commander. Later Herodotus (Herodt. 6.94) confirms that Darius had relieved Mardonius of the command against the Greeks.

In the winter of the same year Darius ordered the citizens of Thasos to demolish the fortifications to their city and send their ships to Abdera (Herodt. 6.46). The Thasians had been besieged by Histiaeus some years before, but being a wealthy polis which, says Herodotus had an annual income from its Thracian gold mines of between two and three hundred talents a year, the citizens had responded to external threats by expanding their navy and strengthening their city’s walls. In 492/1, however, they recognized the futility of a war with the Persians who had occupied much of Thrace and all neighbouring islands and so obeyed the commands of the dominant power in the region. Darius also wanted to test sentiment in Greece not because Mardonius had accomplished little of note in the previous year but to avoid further losses to the Persian treasury. Darius is well remembered as being a prudent ruler, and evidently decided to try diplomatic means to obtain his goal, however at the same time, ever the realist, he gave orders for the preparation of a further military campaign and demanded that the cities of western Asia Minor have warships and transport vessels in readiness. Meanwhile, heralds were sent to the islands of the Aegean and to all the cities on the Greek mainland demanding fire and water from each of these communities as a sign of their submission. The island communities were quick to comply since most if not all of them were within hours of Persian held territory. One of the islands to offer submission to Darius was Aegina (Herodt. 6.49) situated in the Bay of Salamis and within sight of Athens itself. The Athenians appealed to Sparta to intervene in what they considered to be a hostile action by the Aeginetans who were members of the Peloponnesian League under the leadership of the Spartans.

The Spartan king, the same Cleomenes who had rejected the appeals of Aristagoras of Miletus for military aid, arrived in Aegina soon after and took hostages who were then despatched to Athens for safe keeping. This was to ensure that the Aeginetans went no further in their attempts to curry favour with Persia. The Persians would have had cause to regret not being in a position to intervene in Aegina’s internal affairs since that city had a strong fleet and its harbour would have made a useful base in the event of a Darius launching an attack on Attica and the Peloponnese. But the Spartans were not the immediate target since they had not fought alongside the Ionians like the Athenians and Eretrians, and so this opportunity to gain a foothold in southern Greece was lost, irrevocably as it turned out. Evidently, an attack against at least one ally of Sparta, however loosened the bond between the Athenians and Spartans had become since the expulsion of Hippias in 510, was also regarded as a threat to the Peloponnese. The Spartans recognized that threat and acted at once. The citizens of Aegina may have considered the Spartan king’s action high-handed and may have begun planning a retaliation but the hostage-taking had the required effect and nothing more is heard about Aegina for the next five or six years. The Peloponnese and Attica seemed united against any involvement with Persia, although elsewhere medizing as it became known was common enough.

In the meantime, in the early summer of 490 Darius ordered the rendezvous of a new army and fleet in Cilicia, near Tarsus. The land forces consisted of infantry and a large contingent of cavalry and the army was reviewed on the Plain of Aleia by the joint commanders Datis and Artaphernes, son of the Artaphernes who had been the previous satrap of Lydia. The appointment of two or more generals to a command was plainly a common enough practice among the Persians and had been employed effectively in the war in Ionia, but in this instance was also probably a conscious decision in reaction to the recent failure of Mardonius who had been granted sole command in Thrace. From there the army sailed to Samos. Herodotus describes this force as a powerful one but just how large was it? A fleet consisting of six hundred triremes (Herodt. 6.95) would require 102,000 rowers, some of whom could have been utilized as light armed troops in the field, plus a further 18,000 heavy infantry, thirty carried by each warship. Still this total of 120,000 appears to be unrealistically high and problematic in logistical terms especially supplies. A fleet of this size would have required almost as many transport ships carrying food and fodder since local communities compelled to provide material aid would have simply buckled under the strain. A fleet of 1200 in 490 is not credible nor can the Ionians and the islanders of the Aegean had delivered sufficient supplies. Another reading of the text is therefore required. Herodotus must be using the name ‘trireme’ in a loose or careless fashion forgetting that whereas by his day, this was ubiquitous ‘ship’ employed for all purposes, that was not the case in the campaign to Marathon. In 490 the trireme was still a relatively novel construction and since the historian refers to transport ships for the horses (‘horse-carrying ships’) these were almost certainly not warships. A cavalry force of as little as one thousand would have required about forty triremes, and double that number of smaller vessels, especially if there was more than one horse for each trooper. It means that of the six hundred in total, perhaps one hundred or more were smaller transport ships. Moreover, some of the warships were undoubtedly of the older bireme or pentekonter construction. Altogether a fleet comprising a mixture of shipping would reduce the total to perhaps 80,000 rowers, 10,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry. The force was certainly powerful but this was not intended for a full invasion of mainland Greece but as a punitive expedition against Athens and Eretria to cause havoc before a still more powerful force could be sent to enforce Persian rule over the broader region. Herodotus has perhaps inadvertently inflated the size and power of the Persian force, which can be corrected here but for his audience it would have sounded much more impressive than it actually was if they thought in terms of contemporary triremes. The fleet probably called at Miletus before making the short crossing to Samos, but instead of heading north towards the Hellespont and the usual crossing points between the two continents sailed out in a south-westerly direction across the Icarian Sea. Herodotus affirms that this route had been chosen since the Persians were still shaken by their severe losses around Mount Athos in the previous summer and had decided to avoid that route altogether. The transportation of an army, especially one with cavalry units across the open sea, even keeping close to the islands was yet another innovation by the Persian generals, and perhaps of Darius himself.

The ‘Marathon Campaign’ began almost as a carbon copy of the Naxos expedition, and indeed Naxos was one of the first objectives since the fleet sailed west from Samos. The Naxians will surely have been alerted to this imminent threat yet unlike their spirited defence against the Persian attack, led by Megabates and Aristagoras, they offered no defence at all. The size of this latest expedition may have been just too intimidating for the Naxians who apparently abandoned their city and fled into the hills. The Persians plundered and burned the city and the temples and continued on their way. The episode must have occurred over a matter of days and is given little coverage by Herodotus, although there is perhaps more here than the narrative yields to the reader. The Naxians had been confident of withstanding an attack a decade before but in 490 made no attempt to do so. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, that the attack came early in the summer before the harvest was gathered and when food supplies were at their lowest after the winter so that there were simply insufficient supplies to see out a blockade or that there had been a change in the political leadership at Naxos, which was less opposed to an entente with the Persians. Herodotus (6.49) claimed that all the islands had offered fire and water to Darius, so the attack may have been unexpected and unprovoked. Finally, the example of the fate of some of the Ionian cities was still fresh enough to make a defence the island seem a worthless proposition.

Datis also occupied the island of Delos, although the population fled before the Persians arrived. On account of the cult to Apollo and Artemis, which was also held in esteem by the Persians, the island was not plundered and its people were invited to return. The Persian fleet then had a short distance to cover before they landed on the southernmost point of Euboea at Carystus. Datis had already enforced the submission of all the islands he had visited and collected troops and hostages from each. He now demanded from the citizens of Carystus that they also join the war against their neighbours but, even in the face of what must have appeared overwhelming odds, they refused. A siege commenced and the land around the city was devastated and the people of Carystus surrendered to the Persians and the city was spared destruction. The Eretrians will have had some days’ warning that they were about to be attacked but will surely have heard reports of the Persian expedition from well before the attack on Carystus. They sent messengers to Athens requesting aid and the Athenians responded immediately by sending a force of four thousand who, according to Herodotus, were from families that had been settled on lands belonging to Chalcis some years before. Such a prompt and positive reaction was not copied by any similar action by the Eretrians who were divided in how they should meet the Persian threat. One group wanted to flee from the city and make for the safety of the surrounding hills – which they probably did – another group with their sights set on future personal gain was conspiring to turn the city over to the enemy without a fight. An Eretrian citizen named Aeschines was alerted to this treachery and he informed the Athenians who at once withdrew and crossed the straits to Oropus just in time to escape the disaster that followed.

The Persian fleet made land at a number of beaches close to Eretria (Herodt. 5.100) and they prepared to make an assault on the city, which remained well defended since many of the citizens had chosen to remain but were not confident enough to offer battle outside their fortifications. The Persians appear to have attacked the city but there is no mention of any specialist siege equipment and it is likely that they concentrated on undermining a section of the circuit walls. The fight went on for six days with heavy casualties but with no obvious conclusion in sight until certain Eretrians who were pro-Persian opened a postern gate or successfully connived to leave a section of the walls unguarded. The Persians sent troops in and opposition seems to have completely collapsed as the sack of the city began. The traitors are named by Herodotus (Herodt. 5.101) as Euphorbus and Philagrus who were no doubt well rewarded, but may not have been allowed to remain in Eretria but rather resettled elsewhere. Xenophon in his Anabasis (8.7), written after 400 BC, which describes the events of a rebellion and its aftermath against the Persian king Artaxerxes II by his brother Cyrus in which the writer participated as a mercenary, mentions a meeting between himself and descendents of a certain Gongylus of Eretria. Gongylus had participated in the betrayal of Eretria in 490 for which he had been granted lands in Mysia. His widow who was named Hellas still lived in one of these possessions in the Caicus Valley, which later became the city of Pergamum.

Eretria was neither a major settlement nor especially well defendable, although it possesses an impressive acropolis on a steep hill above its theatre. The population was probably hardly more than twenty thousand so its seizure by the Persians was predictable. Those who were caught were taken as prisoners to Asia Minor and resettled. The temple of Athena Daphnephorus was burned and plundered by the attackers in revenge for the destruction of the burning of the temple at Sardis. Datis was certainly carrying out instructions but it might have been wiser to have been more generous in his treatment of the city. In fact, the severity of the punishment meted out to the Eretrians may, like that to the Milesians, have been exaggerated by the Greek writers of history. Like Miletus, Eretria quickly recovered, its citizens, many of whom must have fled to safe havens elsewhere on Euboea, returned and rebuilt their city, although the temple of Athena appears to have been a long time in restoration. Just ten years later, in the allied Greek fleet that saved the mainland from Persian domination, the Eretrians provided the same number of warships as they had sent to aid the Ionians in 499. This is a clear indication of the dramatization of the episode in Herodotus and as it was received in the later literature.

After a few days the Persians re-embarked their troops and sailed for Attica, but there was absolutely no chance of catching the Athenians unprepared since the events at Eretria will have been keenly observed from Oropus. The Persian fleet was probably shadowed by scouts as it made its way down from Eretria, past Rhamnous and into the Bay of Marathon, where an army of almost entirely Athenian citizens was encamped and waiting. The plain at Marathon stretches for at least five kilometres (2 miles) in length between two steeply sided headlands, especially that of the Mount Pentelicon range to the southern edge. The depth of the plain is roughly two kilometres (2000 yards) from the hills that give access into central Attica from the sea. The landscape including the sea level has not altered much from the time of the battle. The tumulus in honour of the dead Athenians is as prominent today as it would have been in 490 and will have be clearly visible to travellers passing by land or by ship. Obviously today the landscape has been altered by modern developments in housing and farming but the general nature of the battlefield remains the same. The land usage in 490 probably consisted of small subsistence farms with scattered bush and trees but which was easily level enough for the effective deployment of the cavalry that had been so carefully transported from Asia.

The forces assembled by the Athenians seem hardly to have made for a strong opposition or made a protracted campaign likely. An army of roughly ten thousand drawn from each of the tribes of Attica marched out from Athens to meet the attackers, which as a force is just two thousand more than the Naxians, who had seen off the Persian attack just over a decade earlier, but who had recently surrendered without a fight. The enemy must certainly have had an overall numerical superiority especially in cavalry units, although that military arm constituted a problem in itself since the nature of the land in Attica was mostly unsuitable for large cavalry deployment. The northern and western quarters of Attica and hence the route for any force whose objective is Athens itself is particularly hilly with narrow valleys and steep sides gorges. This means that the Persians were extremely limited in the places they could effectively operate out from. Marathon on the western coast of Attica and Phaleron just to the southwest of Athens had the available space for making the superiority of the cavalry count and had the space for beaching the fleet. Otherwise, the use of cavalry could easily become a handicap and a structural weakness for any attacking army. And this is clearly what actually happened. The Persians were guided to Marathon by Hippias who knew the area well and at least was able to give some specialist advice but he must also have had qualms about the ultimate success of the venture. If he did not voice this concern it may only have been to ensure that any negative remarks were not held against him later on. Hippias like the Persian commanders knew that unless they controlled the battlefield the enemy would start with a major advantage and quite simply they allowed the Greeks with a smaller force mostly of infantry to start hostilities from higher ground while their cavalry does not appear to have been fully disembarked or brought into action.

One can also easily discern the extent to which the Marathon campaign became as much myth as history when the tale of the courier Pheidippides is encountered in the narrative. The Athenians had received reinforcements from just one of their allies, namely Plataea on the southern edge of Boeotia, a small community that probably sent most of its available manpower. The Plataean contingent numbered approximately a thousand and was to be stationed on the left wing on the northern side of the plain. The Athenian generals were also counting on the support of Sparta. If the Spartans sent troops the other cities in the Peloponnese that looked to Sparta for leadership would follow. Herodotus states that before the Athenian army had fully mustered in the city and therefore perhaps as much as a week before the battle Pheidippides was ordered to run to Sparta and appeal for aid. Why the appeal was left until the last minute when the Athenians could have sent requests some time beforehand is not explained and exposes the extent of dramatic invention in the text. The distance between Athens and Sparta is approximately one hundred and fifty kilometres (100 miles). Twice Herodotus says (Herodt. 6.107) that Pheidippides twice encountered the god Pan, either a personification of Dionysus or the god himself while on his way. The presence of Pan or Dionysus in this account is not a random event that was added for entertainment but was linked to the origin of the cult of this god at Athens and his cave on Mount Pentelicon, which rises to the southwest of the plain of Marathon. The runner is said to have met the god, a habitué of the mountainside, this time on Mount Parthenium just above the city of Tegea in the Peloponnese and on the frontier with Laconia. Pan addressed Pheidippides asking why he was not given honours in Athens when he had helped its people in the past and would again in the future. The Athenians did not forget this and when times were more favourable they built a temple dedicated to this deity beneath the Acropolis and from 490 held sacrifices and games in thanks for his intervention during this crisis. Again, myth has entered the account for Marathon when it is noticeably absent from the record of the Ionian War.

Pheidippides arrived in Sparta just twenty-four hours after he left Athens and in his appeal for Spartan aid he specifically noted that Eretria had just been destroyed. This pinpoints the episode to within a matter of days in the mid-summer of 490, and indeed Herodotus states (Herodt. 6.102) that the Persians remained on Euboea only for a few days. The Spartans are said to have been sympathetic but in accordance with their laws and because they were celebrating the festival of the Carneia celebrated between the seventh and fifteenth of the month Carneus (the Athenian month Metageitnion and roughly August) in honour of Apollo (Apollo Carneus), and since it was on the ninth day that Pheidippides addressed them they were unable to leave for another six days to join their allies. Pheidippides returned with a promise for future aid but nothing more. The runner’s mission also exposes the absence of Athenian planning and the ad-hoc nature of their preparations. The institutions of the democracy, while only recently inaugurated in Athens, tended to preclude rapid decision-making. The planning of the defence of Athens could easily have been placed in motion some months before particularly since the Athenians had known for some years that Persian revenge would come. They also had Mardonius’ campaigns of the previous year when contacts with trading partners in the Euxine had surely been affected. All in all, the myopic attitude of ancient communities to the outside world prevalent in antiquity is very plainly revealed here.

While the delay to their departure is attributed to a scrupulous observation of religious principles, there may have been suspicions that the reluctance on the part of the Spartans may also have been based on political grounds. And so a delay was also imposed on the Athenians, although there was no consensus. This is again clear from Herodotus who gives a glimpse of infighting among the ten generals and perhaps the rather ambiguous or very cautious approach of the person in command, Callimachus the polemarch (Herodt. 6.109), whose home town, Aphidnae, was just on the other side of the mountains from Marathon. Among the eleven was the same Miltiades who had fled from the Chersonese three years before and who had acquired the office of general on account of his exploits and family background. Herodotus writes that Miltiades, supported by four generals – there was deadlock about the best action to take – was for an immediate engagement with the enemy. This made some sense since the Athenians already held the higher ground and the Persians had to disembark.

The Athenians and their allies are said to have already encamped among the hills to the south of the bay. The Persians having rounded the northern headland, Cape Cynosura, into the bay of Marathon beached their enormous fleet, approximately two kilometres away from their enemy who must have been in full view of the attackers. Herodotus’ account is not coherent and some guesswork is needed to understand the events of the next few days. The Persians evidently disembarked and although the plain might have been suitable for employing cavalry units it would have taken a great deal of time to offload the horses and supplies and form them up into effective units. This will account for several days since not all the ships will have been able to beach at the same time and some complex schedule would have been enforced besides making an encampment for the troops and sending out foragers to meet all the needs of soldiers and animals alike.

The Athenians and their allies must have watched all these proceedings from their vantage point. The problem was one of waiting for the Spartans to arrive and thereby having battle-hardened troops among the front line. The Athenian citizen hoplites will have had very little recent experience of a battle, especially against a force that had obtained recent victories across the Aegean and on Euboea. Miltiades was the leading advocate, or so Herodotus claims, of an immediate engagement and this must be connected with not allowing the invaders to become comfortable in their new bridgehead. He persuaded Callimachus to vote against delaying any further and seems to have been concerned that some of the generals were secretly in contact with the Persians (Herodt. 6.109). It made good sense to catch the Persians and their allies unsettled and unprepared but there was also the adoption of some interesting strategy, attributed by modern scholars to Miltiades but in fact probably one that was discussed at length by the commanders, that of weakening the centre while adding extra troops to both wings of the army. This would result in the centre being deliberately allowed to withdraw in the face of superior weight from their opponents but also allowed the right and left wings of the army to rout their opposition and then sweep round to attack the enemy’s main concentration of troops from the rear.


“On to Richmond!”

Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, respectively, opposing commanders in the Overland Campaign.

The Army of the Potomac didn’t know quite what to make of Ulysses Grant. Modest to a fault, he was the inverse of peacocks like McClellan and Hooker, whose preening bombast belied their mediocrity, while his quiet decisiveness would prove the antidote to the hesitation that had characterized Meade’s lackluster leadership ever since Gettysburg. It wasn’t always thus. Until 1861, Grant was a study in failed promise: graduation from West Point followed by distinguished service in the Mexican War that petered out into dreary years of garrison duty, rumors of alcoholism, and a succession of unrewarding and unrewarded civilian trades in the backwaters of Missouri and Illinois. A Douglas Democrat in politics, he had harbored mixed feelings about slavery. The Civil War rescued him from obscurity, but unlike most it also rocketed him within months from victory to victory, beginning with the seizure of enemy posts on the Mississippi, the brilliant capture of Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee and the Cumberland, the stunning recovery from near-defeat at Shiloh, the triumph at Vicksburg, and the relief of Chattanooga.

Promising to bring a new aggressive spirit to the so often defeated eastern army, he called up spare troops from as far away as New York and Boston, and stripped the defenses of Washington to restore the Army of the Potomac to more than 120,000 men, its greatest size since 1862. “We had to have hard fighting,” Grant later wrote. “The two armies had been confronting each other so long, without any decisive result, that they hardly knew which could whip.” He retained Meade as the army’s nominal commander, although in practice the victor of Gettysburg served as something closer to a senior chief of staff for Grant, who planned the army’s movements. In contrast to his predecessors, Grant saw the Army of the Potomac’s overland campaign as but one piece, if the largest one, of a multi-pronged campaign to assault the Confederates simultaneously on every front. William T. Sherman, Grant’s successor as commander of the Army of the Tennessee, would strike for Atlanta, the Confederacy’s western manufacturing center and railroad hub. Gen. Nathaniel Banks would drive up the Red River into the heartland of Louisiana. A combined land and sea force would assault Mobile, the Confederacy’s last major port on the Gulf of Mexico. Yet another army under Gen. David Hunter would campaign down the Shenandoah Valley. And while Grant himself marched south into Virginia in pursuit of Robert E. Lee, Gen. Benjamin Butler with another 36,000 men would swing inland from Chesapeake Bay to envelop Richmond from the south. Altogether, it was the most comprehensive and coordinated war plan that the Union had yet attempted, and its complexity a testament to the strategic sophistication of Grant’s mind.

The Army of the Potomac in 1864 was no longer the battle-hungry and undisciplined mob that had stumbled into defeat at Bull Run three years earlier. It had been bloodied many times over since then. Most of the early volunteers were now dead or maimed, or had declined to reenlist after their three years were up. Although a steely patriotism, comradeship, and a determination to finish the job they had started all played their part, many of the veterans who still remained searched their souls for the strength to continue. One of them, Elwood Griest, a Pennsylvanian from Lancaster County, tried to explain to his wife how he coped with the pervasiveness of suffering and death. “I am more than ever convinced that life, strange and mysterious as it may seem to us, is but the sure and unerring workings of a grand machine, as much above our comprehension as the most complicated machinery of human invention is above the comprehension of brute creation. This being the case, we may go forward on life’s journey without fear, confident that whatever may happen, we are but contributing to the grand result.”

Along with veterans like Griest, tens of thousands of often unwilling draftees now filled the ranks. Even more were men who had been paid by affluent draftees to serve as hired substitutes. At the beginning of the war, bounties of $40 or $50 were common by 1864, it often cost more than $1,000 to entice men to enlist. Thaddeus Stevens personally offered a bounty of $150 to every man in the first two companies from Lancaster County to volunteer for twelve months’ service under the most recent Enrollment Act, plus a bonus of $50 for the first three companies whose officers pledged to abstain from liquor while in service. Apart from the standard $300 federal fee, many others were paid bounties by cities and towns, businesses and private donors such as Stevens, so that states could fill their draft quotas without resorting to politically risky mass conscription. Not surprisingly, many such men soon deserted and often reenlisted elsewhere to claim another bounty, and then absconded again: in one Connecticut regiment, 60 out of 210 recruits decamped within their first three days in camp. A satirical cartoon in Harper’s Weekly that winter showed a broker leading a weedy-looking drunk into a barber shop, saying, “Look a-here—I want you to trim up this old chap with a flaxen wig and a light mustache, so as to make him look like twenty and as I shall probably clear three hundred dollars on him, I sha’n’t mind giving you a fifty for the job.”

Once again, the Army of the Potomac crossed the desolation of northern Virginia, littered with abandoned fortifications, earthworks, old camps, rifle pits, burned bridges, wrecked railroad cars, ruined woodlands, and untilled fields. Even houses were scarce, having been torn apart for firewood by one army or another. On May 5, Grant collided with a Confederate army about half the size of his own near the old Chancellorsville battlefield, in the wasteland of scrub pine, briars, oak, swamps, and thickets known locally as the “Wilderness.” Human skulls and bones left from the former battle were strewn everywhere, a forbidding sight for men about to go into battle. Maneuver was close to impossible. The narrow roads jumbled ranks and the dense woods wiped out the Union’s advantage in artillery. For two days the armies grappled in bloody melees and fell in tangled heaps to devastating rifle fire from enemies hidden in the trees. Brushfires roasted hundreds of wounded alive, terrifying the living with their screams and the stink of burning flesh. The stalemate left more than seventeen thousand federals and eleven thousand Confederates killed, wounded, and captured. Several of Grant’s senior officers advised him to retreat as every thwarted commander before him had done. He ignored them. He directed the army to skirt Lee’s flank and keep marching south. Despite their wounds and their weariness, when the soldiers realized that Grant would not take them back to Washington, wild cheers echoed through the forest. Men swung their hats, flung up their arms, and cried, “On to Richmond!” with a gusto that they had not felt for many months.

On May 9, the two armies met again near Spotsylvania Court House, eight miles to the south. Grant hammered hard at the Confederate line but failed to break it. May 12 saw the longest sustained combat of the war, as for twenty-one hours straight soldiers battled only a few feet apart, standing atop the mingled dead and wounded three and four deep to poke their rifles over the breastworks, as the wounded writhed in agony beneath them. Wrote one federal soldier, “I saw one [man] completely trodden in the mud so as to look like part of it and yet he was breathing and gasping.” Federal losses at Spotsylvania surpassed 18,000, the Confederates’ somewhat less. Over just two weeks, the Army of the Potomac had been reduced by 36,000 men, more than a third of its number the Confederates were diminished by about 24,000, a slightly greater proportion of their total. Stymied but undefeated, Grant once again sidestepped the enemy’s position and pushed on south.

Northern newspapers barely mentioned the slaughter, instead emphasizing the skill of the generals and the bravery of the men. The Lancaster Examiner jauntily characterized Grant’s slog as “a footrace to Richmond,” and with a trumpeting boldface headline screamed—quite inaccurately—“Butler on the War Path! He is successful everywhere!” even as that hapless general succumbed to tactical paralysis. The soldiers, of course, knew the truth. The sheer bloodiness of the campaign traumatized even the most battle-hardened. Elwood Griest wrote to his wife, “What a ghastly spectacle do the dead present, torn and mutilated in every conceivable way their unburied corpses cover the country for miles and miles in every direction. I pray that I may be spared from seeing any more.” And in a scribbled note to his parents, future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “It is still kill—kill—all the time,” adding a few days later, “I tell you many a man has gone crazy since this campaign has begun from the terrible pressure on mind & body.”

Only slowly did the magnitude of what was happening make itself felt in Washington. The atmosphere there became increasingly grim. “It is a tearful place here now,” wrote Rep. James A. Garfield to his wife from Washington. “While the thousands of fresh troops go out to feed the great battle mills the crushed grain comes in.” The wounded swamped field hospitals and piled up on train platforms and wharves. It got only worse. On June 3, in what Grant himself recognized as his worst mistake of the campaign, he ordered another frontal assault on Lee’s lines at Cold Harbor, ten miles east of Richmond. Veterans knew it was suicidal and wrote their names on scraps of paper so that their bodies could be identified later. Grant lost six thousand men that morning, more than half of them in the first half-hour, but failed again to dent Lee’s lines. When another assault was ordered that afternoon not a man stirred, refusing to commit suicide in what looked like a foregone massacre.

Grant realized that Cold Harbor was a watershed. Depleted, numb with exhaustion, shaken by trauma, and unwilling to attack dug-in Confederates, the Army of the Potomac was essentially fought-out. Since the beginning of the campaign, it had lost some 55,000 men, of whom more than 7,000 had been killed. A single division in the Second Corps had suffered the appalling loss of 72 percent of its strength since the campaign began. The Confederates had lost between 30,000 and 35,000, many of them irreplaceable.

Apart from Adm. David Farragut’s dramatic seizure of Mobile—“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” he famously cried as he ordered his warships into the heavily mined bay—all the other pieces of Grant’s ambitious strategy had come to naught. Hunter had been driven ignominiously from the Shenandoah Valley. Butler had allowed himself to be bottled up by a much smaller enemy force outside Petersburg. Sherman was still maneuvering toward Atlanta. Banks had been thrown back in Louisiana. Grant had brought Lee to bay in the ring of fortified trenches around Richmond and Petersburg, but the Confederates still held their capital, and they were still willing to fight. Yet another year that had begun with high hopes and another celebrated general seemed to be sinking into torpid stalemate.

In Washington, as renewed public disillusionment with the war set in, tempers were on a hair-trigger. Zachariah Chandler, Ben Wade’s rough-mannered Senate colleague from Michigan, was dining with friends at the National Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue when he was overheard denouncing Copperheads by Rep. Daniel Voorhees of Indiana, who was sitting nearby. Voorhees rose, stepped closer to Chandler, and slapped him in the face. The two, both big men—Voorhees was known as “The Tall Sycamore of the Wabash”—then began wrestling across the dining room. When Chandler appeared to be getting the better of Voorhees, the Indianan’s companion, a man named Hannigan, rushed to his aid. Seizing a pitcher of milk from a nearby table, he smashed it over Chandler’s head, spraying milk over everyone nearby and leaving Chandler stunned. Hannigan then hit him again with a chair, at which point the men were finally separated, with great difficulty, by bystanders. It was a foretaste of the political campaign that was just getting under way.

In Congress, Elihu Washburne of Illinois rose to deliver a paean of thanks to the soldiers of the Union. Precisely a year to the day, July 3 1864, had passed, he said, since the armies of the North and South had grappled at Gettysburg. Yes, many men and much matériel had been lost since then. But federal arms were triumphant from Arkansas to Virginia. Sherman was just eighteen miles from Atlanta, “the great rebel heart of the Southwest.” And Lee? Two months ago he had confronted the federal army on the Rapidan with “one hundred and thirty thousand of the best soldiers of the bogus confederacy.” (This was a considerable exaggeration, but no one corrected him.) Two months later, Washburne went on, General Grant—“that child of victory”—had now “driven the desperate and maddened hordes of Lee through sixty miles of his intrenchments, outgeneraling him in every movement, and beating him in every battle. He now holds both Petersburg and Richmond by the throat.” (This was another exaggeration.) The entire military situation never looked more promising, he claimed. “Returning to our seats on the 1st of December, as I hope we all may, I trust we shall see the rebellion crushed, peace restored, and the country regenerated and disenthralled.”


Darius

Darius was determined to subjagate the Greeks. He planned to punish the Athenians and reinstall the deposed tyrant Hippias. Hippias informed him that the Alcmaeonidae, an important Athenian family, were opposed to Miltiades and prepared to assist in his restoration if the Athenian army could be drawn out of the city, Hippias asured Darious tht Athens under his rule would accept Persian control. This was the basic approach in the Persian Empire to support or impose a local leader which they could control. This seemed a perfect opportunity to defeat the Athenians thus weakening the Greek alliance. He reasoned that subjecting Sparta and the other Greeks would be much easier once the Athenians were disposed of.


Before the Persian Wars Datis was a Persian commander during the Ionian Revolt. Datis would lead the counter-offensive against the Ionians during the revolt in 494 BCE. [2]

Datis and another officer named Artaphernes replaced a commander named Mardonius. Datis was ordered to reduce Athens and Eretria to slavery, and bring the slaves before the kings. The goal of Datis' campaign was to establish a bridgehead in the eastern coast of Greece.

In 490 BCE, Datis sailed of the Ionian shoreline to Samos, and then he traveled eastward through the Icarian sea to the islands of Delos and Naxos. [3] When Datis arrived the inhabitants of the islands fled. Datis then sent the inhabitants a message telling them he would never harm the islands. Datis would also burn large amounts of incense at the altar of Apollo. This piece of propaganda resulted in the Oracle of Delphi becoming a mouthpiece for Persian propaganda. [4]

Datis traveled across Greece taking town after town for the Persian Empire. One town named Carystus resisted Datis. Because of this Datis laid siege to the city. Datis began the siege by destroying the crops around the city. Datis' army of 80,000 soldiers with 200 triremes overwhelmed the city causing Carystus to surrender. [4] [5]

During Datis's siege of Eretria in 490 BCE, the Eretrians had many conflicting strategies. Some Eretrians wished to surrender the city and wage guerrilla warfare in the mountains of Greece. Some Eretrians wanted to betray the city to the Persians. 4,000 Athenian colonists came from Chalcis to defend Eretria. Datis attacked the Eretrians in battle, resulting in severe casualties. On the seventh day of the siege the Eretrians surrendered, and all of the temples in the city were burned to enact revenge on the burning of Sardis. [4] It is very likely one of the temples destroyed was the temple of Apollo Daphnephoros. [6]

He would also command the Persian assault force on the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon in the same year. Ctesias of Cnidus relates that Datis was slain at Marathon and that the Athenians refused to hand over his body, [7] however this conflicts with Herodotus' earlier claim that Datis survived the battle [8]

If Datis survived the battle of Marathon he would have returned to Asia and returned the statue of Apollo to Delos and he would have taken his Eretrian slaves to Susa. [8]

An Athenian statesman named Aristides was accused of being the brother of Datis. [6] Datis also had several sons named Harmamithres and Tithaeus. Both of his children would become cavalry officers under Xerxes I. [8]

  1. ^ abhttp://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/datis
  2. ^ Souza, Philip de (2004). The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC. Taylor & Francis. ISBN978-113-588-209-9 .
  3. ^
  4. McNab, Chris (2018). Greek Hoplite Vs Persian Warrior: 499–479 BC. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN978-147-282-573-5 .
  5. ^ abc
  6. Green, Peter (1996). The Greco-Persian Wars. California: University of California Press. ISBN978-052-091-706-4 .
  7. ^
  8. Shirley, Samuel (2003). On the War for Greek Freedom: Selections from The Histories. Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN978-160-384-679-0 .
  9. ^ ab
  10. Garland, Robert. Athens Burning: The Persian Invasion of Greece and the Evacuation of Attica. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN978-142-142-195-7 .
  11. ^Photius the Great, Excerpts of Ctesias' "Persica", Paragraph 22, available online at https://www.livius.org/ct-cz/ctesias/photius_persica.html
  12. ^ abc Herodotus, Histories

This Middle Eastern biographical article related to the military is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

This Ancient Near East biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Essay On Athens Vs Sparta

Athens left an everlasting effect on the world, while Sparta did not. This essay will prove that Athens is the better polis. Athens and Sparta were very similar in many ways but they had one major difference that divided them in history, government. Spartans focused mainly on developing their military while Athenians focused on developing a better form of government. Sparta was ruled by two kings who believed that military was the most important factor in life.&hellip


6. Wars against Persia

War with the Persians continued. In 460 BC, Egypt revolted under local leaders the Hellenes called Inaros and Amyrtaeus, who requested aid from Athens. Pericles led 250 ships, intended to attack Cyprus, to their aid because it would further damage Persia. After four years, however, the Egyptian rebellion was defeated by the Achaemenid general Megabyzus, who captured the greater part of the Athenian forces. In fact, according to Isocrates, the Athenians and their allies lost some 20.000 men in the expedition, while modern estimates place the figure at 50.000 men and 250 ships including reinforcements. The remainder escaped to Cyrene and thence returned home.

This was the Athenians main public reason for moving the treasury of the League from Delos to Athens, further consolidating their control over the League. The Persians followed up their victory by sending a fleet to re-establish their control over Cyprus, and 200 ships were sent out to counter them under Cimon, who returned from ostracism in 451 BC. He died during the blockade of Citium, though the fleet won a double victory by land and sea over the Persians off Salamis, Cyprus.

This battle was the last major one fought against the Persians. Many writers report that a peace treaty, known as the Peace of Callias, was formalized in 450 BC, but some writers believe that the treaty was a myth created later to inflate the stature of Athens. However, an understanding was definitely reached, enabling the Athenians to focus their attention on events in Greece proper.


Thoughts on the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

This entry was posted on November 29, 2014 by Josho Brouwers .

Last Wednesday, I gave a lecture, for which I had been invited, at the University of Ghent in Belgium on the Battle of Marathon. The lecture was the second in a series on battles in Greece from earliest times to the modern age and I was specifically asked to touch upon an Archaic or Classical battle. A paper version of my talk will be published in the institute’s yearly journal, Tetradio, in 2016. The text will be in Dutch, but it will also include an English summary.

When originally asked to give a lecture, I first picked the Battle of Thermopylae as my topic. But as I was working on that, I realized I could never fit what I wanted to say about it in the span of a 60 to 75-minute talk. There’s just too much ground to cover. Instead, Marathon struck me as the ideal topic: a single battle, often considered one of history’s defining moments, which serves as a good introduction to the Persian Wars as a whole.

The title of my lecture can be translated as “The miracle of Marathon? The Athenian victory over the Persians in 490 BC”. The lecture was divided into four major parts, followed by a conclusion. In the first part, I focused on the sources for the battle. The single major source is, of course, Herodotus. But other authors also wrote about Marathon, though never in as much detail as he did, and they can offer interesting additional information. Aside from written texts, there’s also plenty of other material that we can draw upon: vase-paintings (nearly all from Athens or at least Attica), and an array of archaeological data (particularly the remains of the dead on the battlefield itself).

The road to Marathon

The second part of my lecture was a summary of the road to Marathon. I briefly discussed the rise of the Persian Empire – the largest empire the ancient world had yet seen, which was only a little over half a century old when the Athenians fought some of its armed forces at Marathon. Naturally, I gave a brief overview of the political situation in Greece, and the fact that Athens, in 507/506, gave earth and water to Persia and forged an alliance. They would betray this alliance later by lending support to the Greeks in Asia Minor during the Ionian Revolts, which were crushed by Persia in 493 BC.

Herodotus presents Marathon as a punitive expedition, but this seems doubtful. To the Persians, Athens had indeed betrayed their trust. But Athens was relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Persian inscriptions, in which the extent of the Empire is described, present the Aegean and its peoples as existing on the very fringe, and relatively unimportant. All Persia seemed to care for, was that its borders were stable. Adding territory was a good way for a king to increase his prestige, which explains Darius’ forays into the lands of the Scythians, Thracians, and indeed Greeks.

But the Battle of Marathon was the final stop in a Persian campaign to domesticate the unruly Greeks. Datis and Artaphernes were placed at the head of an expedition that conquered various Aegean islands, subdued Carystus on Euboea, besieged Eretria (and deported its inhabitants), before landing at Marathon, where the Persians spent several days raiding the countryside with little opposition.

The actual battle

The actual battle was the subject of the third part of my lecture. The Athenians had marched out and were joined by a small force of Plataeans. Herodotus doesn’t give any numbers later sources claim that the Greek army consisted of 9,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plataeans. The Spartans were asked for help, but were unable to come. Herodotus comes across as puzzled, and the statement he gives suggests religious reasons Plato would later suggest that the Spartans had first to deal with a revolt among their Messenian helots. Eventually, the Athenian general Miltiades managed to convince the polemarch Callimachus to attack the Persians, perhaps when the latter were on the verge of leaving. They famously broke into a run – when exactly, how fast they ran or for how long, nobody knows for certain – and attacked the Persian forces. The fighting was long and hard, but the Athenians were victorious.

The Battle of Marathon is an excellent case study, as it shows just how little we know, despite having such good source like Herodotus. Many details are unclear. Did Miltiades plan everything out in detail, including the famous pincer movement that crushed the Persian forces? Or did the Athenians win through sheer luck? How many men fought? Herodotus only says that the Persians had a fleet of 600 ships. The 192 Athenian dead and 11 Plataeans are probably exact figures, since their names were recorded in stone, but the number of 6,400 dead for the Persians strikes as false: 6,400 is 33.33 times 192, rounded up.

The importance of Marathon

The fourth and final part of my lecture was on the importance of Marathon. Some claim that Marathon was of central importance not just to Athenian or Greek history, but to Western history as a whole. That’s a bold statement, for which authors generally have no proof. I spent some time dissecting this fallacy, going back to the days of Meyer and Weber, briefly revisiting my earlier criticism of such work as Victor Davis Hanson’s The Western Way of War, before citing Robert Graves’s poem, The Persian Version, as an antidote to overly high appraisals of the Battle of Marathon.

The victory at Marathon was, on the whole, rather unimportant to the Persians. If they had won, they would have installed Hippias, the tyrant who had been expelled from Athens in 510, as ruler of Athens, but his reign would probably have been short-lived, anyway. The Persians did not have the numbers to press an attack on the rest of Greece. Instead, Marathon was important only for the Athenians: it showed to them that they could not only defeat the Achaemenid Empire, but could even do so without the help of the Spartans, who arrived after the battle was already over and could do nothing but congratulate the victors.

The talk went smoothly and I got some good questions afterwards not everyone was convinced that the battle was as unimportant in the grand scheme of things as I suggested it was, which is always a good sign. I’d like to thank the people from the university’s “Griekenlandcentrum” for inviting me. Berenice Verhelst took good care of me, Gunnar de Boel gave a great introduction to my talk, and Pieter Borghart was swift in emailing me the necessary guidelines as regards the paper version of this lecture for publication in Tetradio. If you are ever in Ghent and the institute organizes another lecture, be sure to attend.

I am currently working on a review article about recent books on Marathon, to be published on the website of the UNRV sometime in the very near future, with recommendations. As far as books on the battle are concerned, I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to the Ancient Warfare special that was published in 2011, exactly 2500 years after the battle was fought. I am also planning to write a book on the Persian Wars, hopefully for publication in 2016 or 2017 (probably in Dutch), so I will undoubtedly revisit the topic in future blog posts.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2014 by Josho Brouwers . &larr Previous Post Next Post &rarr


Peloponnesian War Causes

Two separate alliances emerged from the disbanded Hellenic League, the restored Peloponnesian League which consisted of Sparta and many main-land Greece city-states, and the Athenian’s Delian League. The Delian League was a force of Greek-City states whose goal was to continue the fight against the Persians by conquering the Persian’s colonies and adding them to their empire. With the founding of the Delian League the remaining Persians and their colonies were quickly and easily defeated. The quick and forceful rise of the Athenian Empire and their Delian League caused many Greek-city states to fear the Athenians and their naval capabilities. As the Athenian historian Thucydides said, “The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable”.&hellip


Siege of Carystus, 490 BC - History

People - Ancient Greece : Hippias

Hippias (tyrant) in Wikipedia Hippias of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἱππίας ὁ Ἀθηναῖος) was one of the sons of Peisistratus, and was tyrant of Athens in the 6th century BC. Hippias succeeded Peisistratus in 527 BC, and in 525 BC he introduced a new system of coinage in Athens. His brother Hipparchus, who may have ruled jointly with him, was murdered by Harmodius and Aristogeiton (the Tyrannicides) in 514 BC. Hippias executed the Tyrannicides and became a bitter and cruel ruler. The Alcmaeonidae family, who Peisistratus had exiled in 546 BC, had built a new temple at Delphi, then bribed the priestess to command the Spartans to help them overthrow Hippias. A Spartan force under Anchimolius was sent to help, but Hippias and his family, the Pisistratidae, allied themselves with Cineas of Thessaly, and the Spartans and Alcmaeonidae were at first defeated. A second attempt, led by Cleomenes I of Sparta, successfully entered Athens and trapped Hippias on the Acropolis. They also took the Pisistratidae children hostage, and Hippias was forced to leave Athens in order to have them returned safely. He was expelled from Athens in 510. Shortly before the end of his rule, he married his daughter, Archedike, to Aiantides, son of Hippoklos, the tyrant of Lampsakos, to facilitate his access to Darius' court at Susa.[1] The Spartans later thought that a free, democratic Athens would be dangerous to Spartan power, and attempted to recall Hippias and reestablish the tyranny. Hippias had fled to Persia, and the Persians threatened to attack Athens if they did not accept Hippias nevertheless the Athenians preferred to remain democratic despite the danger from Persia. Soon after this, the Ionian Revolt began. It was put down in 494 BC, but Darius I of Persia was intent on punishing Athens for their role in the revolt. In 490 BC Hippias, still in the service of the Persians, led Darius to Marathon, Greece. According to Herodotus, Hippias had a dream that the Persians would be defeated, and they in fact were defeated at the Battle of Marathon although many historical texts believe that Hippias saw many omens for victory on both sides.

Hippias in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities A Greek sophist of Elis and a contemporary of Socrates. He taught in the towns of Greece, especially at Athens. He had the advantage of a prodigious memory, and was deeply versed in all the learning of his day. He attempted literature in every form which was then extant. He was among the first to undertake the composition of dialogues. In the two Platonic dialogues named after him (Hippias Maior and Hippias Minor), he is represented as excessively vain and arrogant. See the study by Osann in the Rhein. Museum for 1843, p. 495 foll., and P. Leja, Der Sophist Hippias (1893). 2. A son of Pisistratus. See Pisistratidae.