The Ionian Revolt - World History

The Ionian Revolt - World History
Posted on 29-12-2022

The Ionian Revolt ( 500 ) Athens aids the Ionian cities in a rebellion against Persia.

At the beginning of the fifth century, the civilized world generally enjoyed a certain tranquility and prosperity. The coin made its appearance in India. King Darius I smoothly and efficiently ruled the vast Persian Empire, from Libya to the Indus. To the north were the Scythians. The Scythian archaeological remains show a fairly homogeneous artistic style, from the northern Black Sea to Siberia. Scythian tombs very well preserved by ice have been found in the vicinity of Mongolia. They contained the bodies of high-ranking figures accompanied by their horses. The ice has preserved perishable objects, such as cloth, leather, fur and felt clothing, and wooden household utensils. The tombs are of great wealth, with embroidered fabrics, decorated with pearls and gold sheets. However, it had been almost a hundred years since a new Indo-European people had been advancing towards Europe from Asia. They wereSarmatians, perhaps a distant branch of the Scythians, for their languages ​​and customs had certain similarities.

In southern Arabia, the Sabean kings conquered a region of Africa, in present-day Ethiopia, where they founded the city of Aksum. Little by little an Arab aristocracy was formed that prevailed over the native black population.

In Mexico a new culture appears around Teotihuacán. These are small farming towns that worshiped Tlaloc, divinity of water and rain.

Greece continued its unstoppable rise. The city of Aegina reached its apogee, the result of his idea to introduce currency into Greek commerce a century ago, which was now fully consolidated. The only exception was Sparta, which had banned the use of coins and the importation of luxury items. The Spartan oligarchy had its reasons for this. In other cities, trade was giving power to the great merchants, who rivaled the old nobility and often helped to overthrow it by favoring tyrannies. Greek culture continued to progress. Hecataeus of Miletushe traveled through the Persian Empire and wrote books on geography and history in which he ruled out any mythological explanation. In fact, he showed skepticism and mockery towards the alleged divine interventions in human affairs.

In Elea , Parmenides stood out, a Pythagorean disciple of Xenophanes who developed a philosophical theory opposed to that of Heraclitus. Faced with his opinion that reality is a continuous change, Parmenides argued that what is truly real is immutable. His arguments that all change is illusory kept many Greek thinkers busy in later years.

The Etruscans were forced to withdraw from northern Italy before the incursions of the Gauls, that is, the Celtic peoples who occupied present-day France, Germany and Poland and who little by little also settled south of the Alps, along from the Po Valley, in the region that the Romans would later call Galia Cisalpina, (Gaul on this side of the Alps). Around this time, other Celtic peoples entered the island that is now Great Britain. The west was occupied by a group known as the Gäels, while the east was held by the Brittonic Celts . It seems that both peoples arrived simultaneously, but they came from different sources and followed different routes.

In Spain the monarchy of Tartesos disappeared. The kingdom was diluted into small independent cities that quickly lost importance and ended up being absorbed by the Carthaginians. Apparently, the bronze trade on which its economy was based declined as iron metallurgy spread, much more abundant.

However, the tranquility would not take long to end. The trigger was a revolt organized by the Ionian cities (the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor) against Persian rule. The Ionians had tolerated the Lydian government because they had ended up Hellenizing their rulers, but the Persian authorities ruled them from far away and imposed customs that were far removed from their own. They only needed a leader and they found him in Aristagoras,brother-in-law of the tyrant of Miletus, who had apparently fallen out with the Persians and had nothing to lose from the revolt, while if all went well he could end up as tyrant of all Ionia. In 499 Aristagoras declared Miletus independent and the other Ionian cities, following his example, expelled the Persian governors.

Immediately Aristagoras traveled to Sparta to ask for help in defeating the Persians, but when King Cleomenes I learned that there was a three-month journey by land to the Persian capital, he ordered Aristagoras to leave. Sparta would not fight an enemy so far away. Aristagoras went to Athens and there he had more luck. The Athenians were heightened by their recent victory over Thebes, and they also knew that Hippias, the son of Pisistratus who had been exiled years before, was at the court of one of the Persian satraps. It was possible that he aspired to regain power in Athens with Persian help. Aristagoras returned to Miletus announcing that Athens would send ships and men. Only Hecateus seemed to judge the project senseless. He knew well the power of the Persians, power that the Greeks undoubtedly underestimated. In any case, he recommended that if the revolt took place it was crucial to have a good fleet in the Aegean that would keep the different cities connected, because if the Persians managed to cut them off they would have no difficulty in defeating them one by one. Nobody paid attention to him. He recommended that if the revolt took place it was crucial to have a good fleet in the Aegean that would keep the different cities connected, because if the Persians managed to cut them off they would have no difficulty in defeating them one by one. Nobody paid attention to him. He recommended that if the revolt took place it was crucial to have a good fleet in the Aegean that would keep the different cities connected, because if the Persians managed to cut them off they would have no difficulty in defeating them one by one. Nobody paid attention to him.

In Athens, Cleisthenes was also against supporting the Ionians. The Athenians chose to banish him. He and his family were considered supporters of the Persians for the next half century, so the Alcmaeonids had no influence over the city in this period.

In 498 King Amyntas II of Macedonia died and was succeeded by his son Alexander I. That same year the most famous of the Greek poets, Pindar, had his first success. He had been born in Thebes, the son of an aristocrat, but was educated in Athens.

Meanwhile Athens fulfilled her promise and sent twenty ships to Ionia, along with five others from her ally Eretria. In view of the situation, other Greek cities in Thrace and Cyprus decided to also rebel against the Persians. Miltiades ruled as a tyrant in Thrace ,nephew of the other Athenian Miltiades who had conquered the Chersonese years before. The young Miltiades had accepted Persian rule and now saw an opportunity to get rid of it. Anaxagoras led the Milesians in a surprise attack on Sardis, the ancient Lydian capital. He seized the city, burned it down, and returned to Ionia. When he returned to Miletus he found the Persian army waiting for him and was defeated. The Athenians decided to leave.

But the damage was done. King Darius I was furious. He was already over sixty years old, but he was not willing to leave things as they were. He gathered Phoenician ships and seized control of the Aegean Sea, isolating the Ionian cities just as Hecataeus had predicted. Aristagoras fled to Thrace, where he died soon after. Cyprus was taken and then the fleet headed against Miletus.

In 496 King Kou Chien ascended the throne of Yue , who would end up achieving a definitive victory against Wu. Meanwhile, the ousted king Tarquin the Proud made one last attempt to seize Rome. Somehow, he managed to make Rome an enemy with the cities of Latium, and thus, a Latin army led by the old king and his sons faced the Romans. This time the victory of Rome was absolute, the royal family was exterminated with the exception of Tarquin himself, who went into exile in Cumae, where he later died. The historians explained that in the battle the Romans had been helped by Castor andPollux, brothers of Helen of Troy, who have since received special honors.

Rome was greatly weakened by these wars. The worst part was taken, naturally, by the lower classes, the commoners. Many went bankrupt and had to sell themselves into slavery, which improved the position of the ruling oligarchy, the patricians, but at the cost of great social tensions. In 495 Appius Claudius, who was a Sabine by birth, but who had come to the support of Rome with an army as a young man,   was appointed consul , for which he was finally admitted among the patricians. He ruled with a heavy hand and achieved that in 494 the commoners would end up choosing to leave the city and settle on a nearby hill. The patricians could not afford to do without their manpower, so they had to negotiate.

An agreement was reached whereby the commoners would have their own officials, elected by vote as representatives of the commoners. They were the tribunes (name that used to designate the head of a tribe). Its mission was to defend the interests of the common people and prevent laws from being passed to their detriment. The tribunes had the right of veto in the Senate, so that no law could be passed without their consent. Given the hostility with which they were undoubtedly going to be received among the arrogant patricians, it was agreed that the tribunes would be inviolable, and that any lack of respect towards them would be punished with a fine. Assistants to the tribunes, called aediles, were appointed. whose mission was to collect the fines, but who partly also carried out police work. Over time their administrative work was extended, and the aediles came to be in charge of the temples, the sewers, the water supply, the distribution of food and the public games. They also regulated trade.

The rise of power of the plebs must have generated a new kind of social conflict in ancient Rome. The details are hidden behind legends that have no historical foundation, but that testify to a struggle between patricians and plebeians that ended with the consolidation of the privileges recently obtained by the latter. The most famous is that of Cayo Marcio Coriolano.According to the Romans, there was a period of food shortage that made it necessary to import wheat from Sicily. Coriolanus proposed to deprive the commoners of wheat if they did not resign from the tribunate. The tribunes vetoed the proposal and Coriolanus was expelled. He marched to the Volscian city of Corioli in Lazio (recently conquered by himself, hence his third name) and proposed to the Volscians to lead them to Rome and sack it. According to legend, Rome was only spared disaster through the intercession of Coriolanus's mother, who convinced him to turn back, whereupon the Volsci killed him.

Also in 494 Darius I put an end to the Ionian revolt. Miletus was burnt down and never recovered its former advantageous position, though the other cities were treated leniently. Then the king sent his son-in-law Mardonius to reconquer Thrace. Meanwhile the city of Argos decided to rebel against Sparta, but Cleomenes I put down the revolt without difficulty.

Around this time, in China, the life of Confucius underwent a drastic change. It seems that he came to hold an important political position, but seeing that it was impossible for him to undertake the reforms he wanted, he gave up and dedicated himself to traveling from one place to another offering his advice to as many gentlemen as they asked for, teaching history and philosophy.

Athens was preparing against a possible Persian attack. In 493 Themistocles was elected archon , who understood that Athens' only hope was to have a powerful fleet, which at the moment it did not possess. Nevertheless, Themistocles reinforced a position on the coast near the city with the intention of making it the base of a fleet in the future.

In 492 Mardonius had pacified Thrace, forcing Miltiades to return to Athens. Mardonius could have followed him, but a storm partly damaged his fleet, so he decided to return to Persia. But Darius I did not want to forget that Athens had helped the Ionians in their revolt. It seems that Hippias, who was now at the court of Darius I himself, intervened here. Apparently, the Persian king had not heard of the Athenians until Hippias explained to him how dangerous they were and how convenient it was to send troops to dominate the Athenians. zone. Meanwhile a dispute had arisen between Cleomenes I and the other Spartan king, Demaratus,that he was banished and fled to the court of Darius I. While he was preparing an expedition against Greece, he sent messengers to all his cities demanding that they accept Persian sovereignty. Most of the Aegean islands agreed immediately. The city of Aegina felt such a rivalry against Athens that it decided to submit to the Persians even before the messengers arrived. Naturally, Sparta did not accept Persian rule. It is said that when the messenger arrived demanding "the land and the water", the Spartans threw him into a well and told him "there you have both". Shortly after, King Cleomenes I fell victim to the suspicions of the Spartan oligarchy,

In 490 the Persian expedition was ready to set out. It wasn't very big, but it was enough to subdue some small warlike cities, in Darío's opinion. He crossed the Aegean occupying on the go the islands that had not accepted the surrender. Then, a part of the army landed in Euboea, where Eretria was burned, while the other part landed in Attica, with Hippias himself in front, who directed it to a small plain, near the village of Marathon. Meanwhile Athens sent a messenger named Phidipides to ask Sparta for help. Spartan traditions called for no action to be taken until the full moon, and when Phidipides arrived it was still nine days away.

Athens had to face the Persians alone, with a total of 9,000 men, plus another 1,000 sent by Plataea. At the head of the army was Miltiades, who had managed to silence the voices that opted for surrender. Miltiades knew the Persians and was convinced that the Greek hoplite was better prepared than the Persian soldier, both in weaponry and preparation. He not only insisted on resisting the Persians, but he stated that it was essential to attack first. He did so and somehow managed to catch the Persians off guard, who suffered heavy casualties and could do nothing but retreat badly back to their ships. They could have recovered and attacked Athens,

Tradition has it that the Greeks sent a messenger to Athens, the same Phidipides who had been sent to Sparta shortly before. He ran the 42 kilometers that separate Athens from Marathon at full speed, stammered the news of victory and died with burst lungs. The Spartans arrived on the battlefield shortly after the battle ended, praised the Athenians, and turned back to Sparta.

This same year, Ajatasatru seized the throne of the Indian kingdom of Magadha after killing his father Bimbisara. This confronted him with his uncle Prasenajit, king of Koraba. According to tradition, Ajatasatru was taken prisoner with his army, but Prasenajit decided to release him and seal an alliance with him. Thus Ajatasatru married the daughter of Prasenajit. Some time later, Prasenajit's son Virudhaka overthrew his father, who was forced to flee to Rajagrha, where he died on arrival.

Returning to Greece and Persia, the results of the last campaign further enraged Darius I, who immediately began preparing a new expedition. To add insult to injury, when Egypt found out about what happened at Marathon, they decided to revolt. Meanwhile, Miltiades managed to get the Athenians to command him a fleet of 60 ships, with which he went to the island of Paros in 489 . and he demanded a large amount from its inhabitants on the pretext that they had contributed a ship to the Persian fleet. Miltiades intended to keep this money, but the Athenian government claimed it. The dispute did not go any further because Miltiades died in the meantime. That same year the Spartan king Cleomenes I also died. He was called from exile, but he went mad and had to be imprisoned. However, he managed to get hold of a sword and committed suicide. His throne was occupied by Leonidas, half-brother of Cleomenes I. Meanwhile, Athens declared war on Aegina, in retaliation for its early surrender to the Persians.

In 487 the first banishment by ostracism of which there is news was decided in Athens. It was a politician named Hipparchus.

Darius I did not have the opportunity to deal with the Greeks and Egyptians, as he died in 486. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes I, who had to choose which front to go to first. He opted for Egypt, which was undoubtedly more important to the Persian Empire than warlike cities. Xerxes I's Mazdean convictions were much stronger than his father's, and the Egyptian revolt must have increased their misgivings about other religions. Thus, the rule over Babylon became more severe and the Babylonians ended up revolting as well.

In 485 Gelo became tyrant of Syracuse. He devoted all his efforts to increasing the prosperity of the city and indeed succeeded in making Syracuse the richest and most powerful city in western Greece, a status he retained for nearly three centuries.

In 484 Xerxes I had subdued Egypt and his armies headed for Babylon. There he took it upon himself to destroy the Babylonian religion. He did it systematically, to the point that he ordered the dismantling of the great golden statue of Marduk, whose cult disappeared forever, and with it the greatness of Babylon. The city entered a process of decline from which it never recovered.

That same year the playwright Aeschylus achieved his first success in the theater of Athens . He is considered the father of Greek tragedy. Until its appearance, the tragedy consisted of choral songs that alternated with a soloist. Aeschylus introduced a second soloist, making dialogue possible. He also perfected theatrical techniques, stage machinery, sets, and actors' costumes.

Buddha died in 483 . His disciples organized a council in Rajagriba, where the teacher's doctrine was written down and the way of life of the Buddhist monks was regulated in accordance with the tradition that he had established. The monks traveled throughout India helping the people and preaching the religion, but in the monsoon months they retired to shelters that would soon become monasteries. Soon after, King Ajatasatru of Magadha invaded the Vrji confederation, while Virudhaka of Kosala attacked the Sakya republic and almost completely destroyed it.

Meanwhile, the Athenians were embroiled in a dispute over the most appropriate way to deal with the Persians, should they - as was to be expected - return. Naturally, the oracle at Delphi was consulted, whose advice was that the Athenians "protect themselves with wooden walls." One of the most illustrious citizens of Athens was Aristides. He had been a collaborator of Cleisthenes, fought at Marathon, and had a reputation for absolute honesty and integrity. They said that one night in the theater an actor recited some verses by Aeschylus that said: "He does not pretend to appear fair, but rather to be", and all eyes turned towards Aristides.

Aristides took the oracle's advice literally: they should build wooden walls around the Acropolis and prepare to resist. However, Themistocles found a much more sensible interpretation: Apollo's advice was to build wooden ships to protect the city. At that time they began to build triremes, boats with three rows of oars, much faster and with much more maneuverability than the old boats. Themistocles repeated over and over again that Athens had to build a fleet of triremes. Evidence in favor of this position was provided by the war against Aegina, which did have a good fleet and this allowed it to resist even a coalition of Athens and Sparta with impunity.

Naturally, building triremes was expensive, but Athens was very lucky. To the southeast of Attica some silver mines were discovered, making Athenians suddenly rich. The first idea was to distribute the money democratically among all the citizens, but Themistocles opposed it: it was useless for each citizen to have a little more money, but with all that wealth you could build 200 triremes. Aristides considered it a waste and the dispute between the supporters of Aristides and those of Themistocles was accentuated. Finally, in 482 a vote of ostracism was called and it was clear that one of the two was going to be banished.

An anecdote is told, according to which an Athenian who could not write asked Aristides (without recognizing him) to write his vote for him. -What name do you want me to put? -asked Aristides, -Aristides's -answered the voter, -Why? What harm has Aristides done to you? -None, but I'm sick of hearing everyone call him Aristides the Just. Aristides wrote his own name and left.

The fact is that Aristides lost the vote and, although we can say that he did not deserve exile, the truth is that this saved Athens, since Themistocles immediately ordered the construction of the fleet of triremes, just in time, since Xerxes I already he was finalizing preparations for a campaign against Greece.

in 481the Greek cities held a congress in Corinth presided over by Sparta, although Athens was catching up in prestige, after the victory at Marathon. Thus, a unique coalition in the history of Greece was formed. However, Argos refused to join because of his enmity with Sparta and Thebes did the same because of his enmity with Athens. The congress approved requesting help from the most remote Greek cities: Corcyra, Crete and Sicily. Corcyra had a good fleet, but decided to remain neutral as the Persians were too far away. Crete was weak and the cities on it were having their own disputes in the style of mainland Greece, so he really couldn't offer any help. Finally, in Sicily only the city of Syracuse responded, although it does not seem that the response was very serious, since the tyrant Gelon offered to collaborate as long as he was placed in command of the joint army, something that would never have been accepted by Sparta. so his offer was rejected. It is also true that Gelon had his own problems. By then the Carthaginians had found a capable general, so his offer was rejected. It is also true that Gelon had his own problems. By then the Carthaginians had found a capable general, so his offer was rejected. It is also true that Gelon had his own problems. By then the Carthaginians had found a capable general,Hamilcar, who intended to drive the Greeks out of Sicily for good.

In 480 Xerxes I launched into Greece with an army far superior to that of his father at the time.

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