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Archeptolis portrait from his coinage.jpg
Portrait of ruler with olive wreath, Archeptolis coinage.
Allegiance Achaemenid Empire
Years of servicecirca 459 BCE to possibly around 412 BCE. [1]
RankGovernor of Magnesia on the Maeander
West Asia non political.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location of Magnesia on the Meander, where Archeptolis ruled.

Archeptolis, also Archepolis, was a Governor of Magnesia on the Maeander in Ionia for the Achaemenid Empire circa 459 BCE to possibly around 412 BCE, [1] and a son and successor of the former Athenian general Themistocles. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Magnesia on the Maeander city

Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander was an ancient Greek city in Ionia, considerable in size, at an important location commercially and strategically in the triangle of Priene, Ephesus and Tralles. The city was named Magnesia, after the Magnetes from Thessaly who settled the area along with some Cretans. It was later called "on the Meander" to distinguish it from the nearby Lydian city Magnesia ad Sipylum. It was earlier the site of Leucophrys mentioned by several ancient writers.

Ionia region in Turkey

Ionia was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period, settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.


Governor of Magnesia

Archeptolis minted silver coinage as he ruled Magnesia, just as his father had done, and it is probable that part of his revenues were handed over to the Achaemenids in exchange for the maintenance of their territorial grant. [3] [5]

Archeptolis is said to have married his half-sister Mnesiptolema (daughter of Themistocles from his second wife), homeopathic (but not homeometric) marriages being permitted in Athens. [6]

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Themistocles and his son formed what some authors have called "a Greek dynasty in the Persian Empire". [7]

Archeptolis had several sisters, named Nicomache, Asia, Italia, Sybaris, and probably Hellas, who married the Greek exile in Persia Gongylos and still had a fief in Persian Anatolia in 399/400 BC as her widow. [8] He also had three brothers, Diocles, Polyeucteus and Cleophantus, the latter possibly a ruler of Lampsacus. [8] One of the descendants of Cleophantus still issued a decree in Lampsacus around 200 BC mentioning a feast for his own father, also named Themistocles, who had greatly benefited the city. [9]


Gongylos, from Eretria in Euboea, was a 5th-century Greek statesman who served as an intermediary between the Spartans and Xerxes I of the Achaemenid Empire, and was a supporter of the latter.

Lampsacus city

Lampsacus was an ancient Greek city strategically located on the eastern side of the Hellespont in the northern Troad. An inhabitant of Lampsacus was called a Lampsacene. The name has been transmitted in the nearby modern town of Lapseki.

Later, Pausanias wrote that the sons of Themistocles "appear to have returned to Athens", and that they dedicated a painting of Themistocles in the Parthenon and erected a bronze statue to Artemis Leucophryene, the goddess of Magnesia, on the Acropolis: [1] [10] [11]

Pausanias (geographer) 2nd-century AD Greek geographer

Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece, a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his first-hand observations. This work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology. Andrew Stewart assesses him as:

A careful, pedestrian writer...interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is occasionally careless or makes unwarranted inferences, and his guides or even his own notes sometimes mislead him, yet his honesty is unquestionable, and his value without par.

Parthenon Former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece

The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. To the Athenians who built it, the Parthenon and other Periclean monuments of the Acropolis were seen fundamentally as a celebration of Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders and as a thanksgiving to the gods for that victory.

Acropolis Defensive settlement built on high ground

An acropolis was in ancient Greece a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. Acropolis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Athens, and for this reason they are sometimes prominent landmarks in modern cities with ancient pasts, such as modern Athens. Perhaps the most famous acropolis is the Acropolis of Athens, located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and containing the Parthenon.

The children of Themistocles certainly returned and set up in the Parthenon a painting, on which is a portrait of Themistocles.

Pausanias 1.1.2 [12]

They may have returned from Asia Minor in old age, after 412 BC, when the Achaemenids took again firm control of the Greek cities of Asia, and they may have been expelled by the Achaemenid satrap Tissaphernes sometime between 412 and 399 BC. [1] In effect, from 414 BC, Darius II had started to resent increasing Athenian power in the Aegean and had Tissaphernes enter into an alliance with Sparta against Athens, which in 412 BC led to the Persian conquest of the greater part of Ionia. [13]


See also

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  2. Clough, Arthur Hugh (1909). Plutarch's Lives of Themistocles, Pericles, Aristides,Alcibiades, and Coriolanus, Demosthenes, and Cicero, Caesar and Antony: In the Translation Called Dryden's. P.F. Collier & Son. p. 33-34.
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  7. "Eine griechishe Dynastie im Perserreich und ihre Munzpragung" in Nollé, Johannes (1998). Themistokles und Archepolis: Eine griechische Dynastie im Perserreich und ihre Münzprägung, JNG 48/49, 1998/1999, 29-70. (zusammen mit A. Wenninger).
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  10. Paus. 1.1.2, 26.4
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  12. Paus. 1.1.2, 26.4
  13. Smith, William (1867). Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. vol. 3. Boston: Little, Brown. pp. 1154–1156.
  14. Classical Numismatic Group
  15. Classical Numismatic Group