Clearchus of Sparta

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Clearchus or Clearch (Ancient Greek : Κλέαρχος; born in Sparta circa 450 BC - died at Babylon in 401 BC), the son of Rhamphias, was a Spartan general and mercenary, noted for his service under Cyrus the Younger.

Sparta city-state in ancient Greece

Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece.

Babylon a kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC.

Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.

Mercenary soldier who fights for hire

A mercenary is an individual who is hired to take part in a conflict but is not part of an army or other-governmental organisation. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.

Born about the middle of the 5th century BC, Clearchus was sent with a fleet to the Hellespont in 411 and became governor of Byzantium, of which town he was proxenus. His severity, however, made him unpopular, and in his absence the gates were opened to the Athenian besieging army under Alcibiades (409).

Byzantium ancient Greek city

Byzantium or Byzantion was an ancient Greek colony in early antiquity that later became Constantinople, and then Istanbul. Byzantium was colonized by the Greeks from Megara in 657 BC.

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 starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Alcibiades Athenian statesman

Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War. He played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician.

Subsequently, Clearchus returned to Sparta and appealed to the ephors, asking to be given a force to settle the political dissensions then rife at Byzantium and to protect the city and the neighbouring Greek colonies from Thracian attacks. He was granted that force, but when the ephors learned that the citizens of Byzantium considered him a tyrant, they recalled him through a messenger that reached Clearchus while he was still in the Isthmus of Corinth. Clearchus ignored the messenger and proceeded to Byzantium, and thus he was instantly declared an outlaw by the ephors. He fought the Thracian tribes successfully, in the process gaining the unofficial support of the Greek cities that were thus relieved. Clearchus, counting on his successes to gain him back the Spartan ephors' good graces, was ultimately disappointed in this expectation. When Cyrus learned that a Greek force in high fighting condition was so near Asia, he sent ambassadors with money (10,000 Persian darics) asking Clearchus to help him claim the throne from his brother, the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes II Mnemon. Clearchus accepted not because of the money but because he knew that sooner or later he would have to face his fellow Spartans since he was still considered an outlaw by the ephors. He left the command of the garrison of Byzantium to Helixus of Megara (see Coeratadas).

A tyrant, in the modern English-language usage of the word, is an absolute ruler unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped legitimate sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their position by oppressive means. The original Greek term, however, merely meant an authoritarian sovereign without reference to character, bearing no pejorative connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods. However, Plato, the Greek philosopher, clearly saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period.

Cyrus the Younger Achaemenid king

Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II of Persia and Parysatis, was a Persian prince and general, Satrap of Lydia and Ionia from 408 to 401 BC. His birth date is unknown, but he died in 401 BC after a failed battle to oust his elder brother, Artaxerxes II, from the Persian throne.

Persian daric

The Persian daric was a gold coin which, along with a similar silver coin, the siglos, represented the bimetallic monetary standard of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

In the "expedition of the ten thousand" undertaken by Cyrus to dethrone his brother Artaxerxes, Clearchus led the Peloponnesian delegation of the Army of the Ten Thousand, who formed the right wing of Cyrus's army at the battle of Cunaxa (401). On Cyrus's death Clearchus assumed the chief command and conducted the retreat until, being treacherously seized with his fellow-generals by the satrap of Sardis, Tissaphernes, he was handed over to Artaxerxes and executed at the royal court at Babylon.

<i>Anabasis</i> (Xenophon) book by Xenophon

Anabasis is the most famous book of the Ancient Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The seven-tome book of the Anabasis was composed around the year 370 BC, and, in translation, Anabasis is rendered as The March of the Ten Thousand and as The March Up Country. The narration of the journey is Xenophon's best known work, and "one of the great adventures in human history".

Battle of Cunaxa battle

The Battle of Cunaxa was fought in 401 BC between Cyrus the Younger and his elder brother Arsaces, who had inherited the Persian throne as Artaxerxes II in 404 BC. The great battle of the revolt of Cyrus took place 70 km north of Babylon, at Cunaxa, on the left bank of the Euphrates. The main source is Xenophon, a Greek soldier and eyewitness.

Satrap Ruler of a province in ancient Persia

Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy; and the word also came to suggest tyranny, or ostentatious splendour.

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Xenophon Ancient Greek historian and philosopher

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Xerxes I Ancient Persian king

Xerxes I, called Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia. Like his predecessor Darius I, he ruled the empire at its territorial apex. He ruled from 486 BC until his assassination in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard.

This article concerns the period 409 BC – 400 BC.

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Lysander Spartan admiral

Lysander was a Spartan admiral who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC. The following year, he was able to force the Athenians to capitulate, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end. He then played a key role in Sparta's domination of Greece for the next decade until his death at the Battle of Haliartus.

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Tissaphernes was a Persian soldier and statesman, Satrap of Lydia. He was a grandson of Hydarnes, one of the six conspirators who had supported the rise of Darius the Great.

Artaxerxes II of Persia King of Persia from 404 to 358 BC

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Leonidas I king of Sparta

Leonidas I was a warrior king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line; a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles. He was the husband of Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes I of Sparta. Leonidas had a notable participation in the Second Persian War, where he led the allied Greek forces to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae while attempting to defend the pass from the invading Persian army.

Pharnabazus II Persian Satrap

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Pausanias (general) ancient Spartan general

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Ten Thousand group of mercenary units, mainly Greek, drawn up by Cyrus the Younger to attempt to wrest the throne of the Persian Empire from his brother, Artaxerxes II

The Ten Thousand was a force of mercenary units, mainly Greek, employed by Cyrus the Younger to attempt to wrest the throne of the Persian Empire from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Their march to the Battle of Cunaxa and back to Greece was recorded by Xenophon in his work The Anabasis.

Tiribazus Armenian politician (0500-0400)

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Meno, son of Alexidemus, was an ancient Thessalian political figure. Probably from Pharsalus, he is famous both for the eponymous dialogue written by Plato and his role as one of the generals leading different contingents of Greek mercenaries in Xenophon's Anabasis.

Cheirisophus (general)

Cheirisophus was a Spartan general who fought with the Ten Thousand under Cyrus the Younger. Cheirisophus was sent by the Spartan ephors with 700 heavily armed men to aid Cyrus the Younger in his expedition against his brother Artaxerxes in 401 BC. He joined Cyrus on his march at Issus in Cilicia. After the Battle of Cunaxa, Clearchus sent Cheirisophus with a delegation to the Persian general Ariaeus to make an offer of placing him on the Persian throne, an offer which Ariaeus declined.

References

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