Cyrus the Younger
|Battles/wars||Battle of Cunaxa|
Cyrus the Younger (Old Persian : 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁Kūruš), 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.
Parysatis was the 5th-century BC illegitimate daughter of Artaxerxes I, Emperor of Persia and Andia of Babylon.
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.
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern western Turkish provinces of Uşak, Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian. Its capital was Sardis.
The history of Cyrus and of the retreat of his Greek mercenaries is told by Xenophon in his Anabasis . Another account, probably from Sophaenetus of Stymphalus, was used by Ephorus. Further information is contained in the excerpts from Artaxerxes II's physician, Ctesias, by Photius; Plutarch’s Lives of Artaxerxes II and Lysander; and Thucydides' History of Peloponnesian War.These are the only early sources of information on Cyrus the Younger.
Xenophon of Athens was an ancient Greek philosopher, historian, soldier, mercenary, and student of Socrates. As a soldier, Xenophon became commander of the Ten Thousand at about 30, with noted military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge saying of him, “the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the genius of this warrior.” He established the precedent for many logistical operations and was among the first to use flanking maneuvers, feints and attacks in depth. He was among the greatest commanders of antiquity. As a historian, Xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries BC, in such works as the Hellenica, which covered the final seven years and the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War, thus representing a thematic continuation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.
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".
Ephorus of Cyme was an ancient Greek historian known for his universal history.
According to Xenophon, Cyrus the Younger was born after the accession of his father in 424 BC.[ citation needed ] He had an elder brother, Arsicas (whose name changed to Artaxerxes II when he ascended the throne), and two younger brothers named Ostanes and Oxathres. About Cyrus' childhood, Plutarch wrote, "Cyrus, from his earliest youth, showed something of a headstrong and vehement character; Artaxerxes, on the other side, was gentler in everything, and of a nature more yielding and soft in its action." Xenophon spoke more highly of Cyrus' excellence as a child:
In this courtly training Cyrus earned a double reputation; first he was held to be a paragon of modesty among his fellows, rendering an obedience to his elders which exceeded that of many of his own inferiors; and next he bore away the palm for skill in horsemanship and for love of the animal itself. Nor less in matters of war, in the use of the bow and the javelin, was he held by men in general to be at once the aptest of learners and the most eager practiser. As soon as his age permitted, the same pre-eminence showed itself in his fondness for the chase, not without a certain appetite for perilous adventure in facing the wild beasts themselves. Once a bear made a furious rush at him, and without wincing he grappled with her, and was pulled from his horse, receiving wounds the scars of which were visible through life; but in the end he slew the creature, nor did he forget him who first came to his aid, but made him enviable in the eyes of many.
In 408 BC, after the victories of Alcibiades leading to an Athenian resurgence, Darius II decided to continue the war against Athens and give strong support to the Spartans. He sent Cyrus the Younger into Asia Minor as satrap of Lydia and Phrygia Major with Cappadocia, and commander of the Persian troops, "which gather into the field of Castolos", i.e. of the army of the district of Asia Minor.There, Cyrus met the Spartan general Lysander. In him, Cyrus found a man who was willing to help him become king, just as Lysander himself hoped to become absolute ruler of Greece by the aid of the Persian prince. Thus, Cyrus put all his means at the disposal of Lysander in the Peloponnesian War. When Cyrus was recalled to Susa by his father Darius, he gave Lysander the revenues from all of his cities of Asia Minor.
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.
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.
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.
Around that time, Darius fell ill and called his son to his deathbed;Cyrus handed money over to Lysander and went to Susa. Plutarch wrote that Cyrus's mother, Parysatis, favored him and wanted him on the throne, "And therefore, his father Darius now lying ill, he, being sent for from the sea to the court, set out thence with full hopes that by her means he was to be declared the successor to the kingdom. For Parysatis had the specious plea in his behalf, which Xerxes on the advice of Demaratus had of old made use of, that she had borne him Arsicas when he was a subject, but Cyrus when a king. Notwithstanding, she prevailed not with Darius, but the eldest son Arsicas was proclaimed king, his name being changed into Artaxerxes; and Cyrus remained satrap of Lydia, and commander in the maritime provinces."
Susa was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km (160 mi) east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers. The site now "consists of three gigantic mounds, occupying an area of about one square kilometer, known as the Apadana mound, the Acropolis mound, and the Ville Royale mound."
Soon after Darius died, around the time of Artaxerxes II's accession in 404 BC,[ citation needed ] Tissaphernes (Ciθrafarna) denounced Cyrus' plan to assassinate his brother, and Cyrus was captured, but by the intercession of Parysatis, Cyrus was pardoned and sent back to his satrapy. According to Plutarch, "his resentment for [his arrest] made him more eagerly desirous of the kingdom than before."
In 405 BC, Lysander won the battle of Aegospotami, and Sparta became more influential in the Greek world.
Cyrus managed to gather a large army by beginning a quarrel with Tissaphernes, satrap of Caria, about the Ionian towns; he also pretended to prepare an expedition against the Pisidians, a mountainous tribe in the Taurus, which was never obedient to the Empire.
In the spring of 401 BC, Cyrus united all his forces into an army now including Xenophon's "Ten Thousand", and advanced from Sardis without announcing the object of his expedition. By dexterous management and large promises, he overcame the misgivings of the Greek troops over the length and danger of the war; a Spartan fleet of thirty-five triremes under the command of Pythagoras the Spartan sent to Cilicia opened the passes of the Amanus into Syria and conveyed to him a Spartan detachment of 700 men under Spartan General Cheirisophus. Cyrus the Younger had obtained the support of the Spartans after having asked them "to show themselves as good friend to him, as he had been to them during their war against Athens", in reference to the support he had given the Spartan in the Peloponnesian War against Athens a few years earlier.
The king had only been warned at the last moment by Tissaphernes and gathered an army in haste; Cyrus advanced into Babylonia before he met with an enemy. In October 401 BC, the battle of Cunaxa ensued. Cyrus had 10,400 Greek hoplites (citizen-soldiers), 2,500 peltasts (light infantry), and an Asiatic army of approximately 10,000 under the command of Ariaeus.[ citation needed ]
Cyrus saw that the outcome depended on the fate of the king; he therefore wanted Clearchus, the commander of the Greeks, to take the centre against Artaxerxes. Clearchus, afraid of the army's encirclement, disobeyed and remained on the flank. As a result, the left wing of the Persians under Tissaphernes was free to engage the rest of Cyrus' forces; Cyrus in the centre threw himself upon Artaxerxes but was slain. Tissaphernes claimed to have killed the rebel himself, and Parysatis later took vengeance upon the slayer of her favorite son.[ citation needed ] The Persian troops, instead of attacking the Greeks via a direct assault, decoyed them into the interior, beyond the Tigris, and then attacked through trickery. It was a solid and clever plan, but after their commanders had been taken prisoners, the Greeks managed to force their way to the Black Sea.[ citation needed ]
Xenophon wrote that all who knew Cyrus well considered him the most worthy of being king of all those born since Cyrus the Great and describes him with great praise:
After he had been sent down by his father to be satrap of Lydia and Great Phrygia and Cappadocia, and had been appointed general of the forces, whose business it is to muster in the plain of the Castolus, nothing was more noticeable in his conduct than the importance which he attached to the faithful fulfillment of every treaty or compact or undertaking entered into with others. He would tell no lies to any one. Thus doubtless it was that he won the confidence alike of individuals and of the communities entrusted to his care; or in case of hostility, a treaty made with Cyrus was a guarantee sufficient to the combatant that he would suffer nothing contrary to its terms. Therefore, in the war with Tissaphernes, all the states of their own accord chose Cyrus in lieu of Tissaphernes, except only the men of Miletus, and these were only alienated through fear of him, because he refused to abandon their exiled citizens; and his deeds and words bore emphatic witness to his principle: even if they were weakened in number or in fortune, he would never abandon those who had once become his friends. He made no secret of his endeavour to outdo his friends and his foes alike in reciprocity of conduct. The prayer has been attributed to him, "God grant I may live along enough to recompense my friends and requite my foes with a strong arm."
According to Xenophon, his efforts to reward uprightness earned Cyrus the loyalty and love of many followers:
Many were the gifts bestowed on him, for many and diverse reasons; no one man, perhaps, ever received more; no one, certainly, was ever more ready to bestow them upon others, with an eye ever to the taste of each, so as to gratify what he saw to be the individual requirement. Many of these presents were sent to him to serve as personal adornments of the body or for battle; and as touching these he would say, "How am I to deck myself out in all these? To my mind a man's chief ornament is the adornment of nobly-adorned friends." Indeed, that he should triumph over his friends in the great matters of welldoing is not surprising, seeing that he was much more powerful than they, but that he should go beyond them in minute attentions, and in an eager desire to give pleasure, seems to me, I must confess, more admirable. Frequently when he had tasted some specially excellent wine, he would send the half remaining flagon to some friend with a message to say: "Cyrus says, this is the best wine he has tasted for a long time, that is his excuse for sending it to you. He hopes you will drink it up to-day with a choice party of friends." Or, perhaps, he would send the remainder of a dish of geese, half loaves of bread, and so forth, the bearer being instructed to say: "This is Cyrus's favourite dish, he hopes you will taste it yourself." Or, perhaps, there was a great dearth of provender, when, through the number of his servants and his own careful forethought, he was enabled to get supplies for himself; at such times he would send to his friends in different parts, bidding them feed their horses on his hay, since it would not do for the horses that carried his friends to go starving. Then, on any long march or expedition, where the crowd of lookers-on would be large, he would call his friends to him and entertain them with serious talk, as much as to say, "These I delight to honour."
According to the chapter on Artaxerxes II in Plutarch's Life, a young Persian soldier named Mithridates unknowingly struck Cyrus the Younger during the Battle of Cunaxa (Greek: Κούναξα), making him fall from his horse, dazed. Some eunuchs found Cyrus and tried to bring him to safety, but a Caunian among the king's camp followers struck a vein behind his knee with a dart, making him fall and strike his head on a stone, whereupon he died. Unwisely, Mithridates boasted of killing Cyrus in the court, and Parysatis had him executed by scaphism. She likewise got vengeance on Masabates, the king's eunuch, who had cut off Cyrus' hand and head, by winning him from her son Artaxerxes in a game of dice and having him flayed alive.
Conn Iggulden - The Falcon of Sparta - a historical novel about Prince Cyrus's quest and the survival of the Greek mercenaries who walked out of Persia while pursued.
Michael Curtis Ford - The Ten Thousand - a historical novel about the 10,000 Greek mercenaries who made up the core of Cyrus's army.
Michael G. Thomas - Black Legion: Gates of Cilicia - a science fiction retelling of the tale of Anabasis. The Black Legion series closely follows the original historical narrative with most of the characters retained.
Robin Waterfield - Xenophon's Retreat: Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 2006) is a summary of Xenophon's Anabasis or The Expedition of Cyrus.
Agesilaus II, was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta and a member of the Eurypontid dynasty ruling from 398 to about 360 BC, during most of which time he was, in Plutarch's words, "as good as though commander and king of all Greece," and was for the whole of it greatly identified with his country's deeds and fortunes. Small in stature and lame from birth, Agesilaus became ruler somewhat unexpectedly in his mid-forties. His reign saw successful military incursions into various states in Asia Minor, as well as successes in the Corinthian War; however, several diplomatic decisions resulted in Sparta becoming increasingly isolated prior to his death at the age of 84 in Cyrenaica.
The Peloponnesian War was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese and attempt to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 421 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse, Sicily; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from the Achaemenid Empire, supported rebellions in Athens's subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens's empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens's fleet in the Battle of Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved, but Sparta refused.
Year 404 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Volusus, Cossus, Fidenas, Ambustus, Maluginensis and Rutilus. The denomination 404 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Darius II Ochus, also Darius II Nothus, was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 or 405 BC.
This article concerns the period 409 BC – 400 BC.
Year 408 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Iullus, Ahala and Cossus. The denomination 408 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Lysander (; died 395 BC, 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.
Year 401 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Potitus, Cossus, Camillus, Ambustus, Mamercinus and Iullus. The denomination 401 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Year 395 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Cossus, Medullinus, Scipio, Fidenas, Ambustus and Lactucinus. The denomination 395 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
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 Mnemon was the King of Kings of Persia from 404 BC until his death in 358 BC. He was a son of Darius II and Parysatis.
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 who participated in the fighting.
Pharnabazus II was a Persian soldier and statesman, and Satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia. He was the son of Pharnaces II of Phrygia and grandson of Pharnabazus I, and great-grandson of Artabazus I. He and his male ancestors, forming the Pharnacid dynasty, had governed the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia from its headquarters at Dascylium since 478 BC. He married Apama, daughter of Artaxerxes II of Persia, and their son Artabazus was likewise a satrap of Phrygia. His grand-daughter Barsine married Alexander the Great.
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, Tiribazos or Teribazus was a Persian general and Persian satrap of Western Armenia and later satrap of Lydia in western Anatolia.
The Satrapy of Lydia, known as Sparda in Old Persian, was an administrative province (satrapy) of the Achaemenid Empire, located in the ancient kingdom of Lydia, with Sardis as its capital.
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.
Ariaeus was a Persian general who fought alongside Cyrus the Younger at the Battle of Cunaxa and later was involved in the assassination of Tissaphernes.
Orontes I or Yervand I was an Armenian ruler of the Orontid Dynasty who ruled as satrap of the Achaemenid Empire between 401 BC – 344 BC. The Persian version of the name is Auruand which meant "Great Warrior" in the Avestan language. It is likely this was a special title given by the Persian king, though this seems to have become a hereditary title in that family.