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Lecture 11

CLA230 Lecture 11 Notes

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Dimitri Nakassis

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CLA230 Lecture 11 Notes The Battle of Marathon - around 490 B.C. - end of the Archaic Period - relationship between the Greek poleis and political units - the Persian Empire – largest that the world had seen until that point – well organized and wealthy - in 7 century B.C. – beginning of the Archaic Period – Persian Empire did not exist - two dominant kingdoms in the Near East – the first was the Assyrian Empire - Assyrian Empire – Semitic speakers – fairly complex but very dependent on effective kings - took over the Egyptian kingdom in 671 B.C. - capital of Assyrian Empire was Nineveh – sacked by Medes and Babylonians - sack of Nineveh occurred in 612 B.C. - Medes – pastoral group just outside Assyrian Empire – some from the Assyrian Empire and some were hired as mercenaries by the Assyrian Empire - Medes were intermediates between commodities in Afghanistan and Mesopotamia - the Lydian Kingdom expands as well – but fairly small - Median Kingdom is fairly large - Neo-Babylonians have a substantial area as well in the southern Near East - Egypt goes almost as far as Elephantine at this point - however – it is unclear what Persia is at this point – Persia may be its own kingdom or a Median vassal King Cyrus the Great - Persian king – Cyrus – 559-529 B.C. - King Cyrus conquers the Medes - main source is Herodotus – Persians were vassals of the Medes in his account - more modern Babylonian sources claim that the Persians were their own kingdom - land gained by Cyrus • Media – 550 B.C. • Lydia – 447 B.C. • Babylonians – 539 B.C. - Cyrus dies after this – his son Cambyses takes over - land gained by Cambyses • Egypt – 525 B.C. - many Greeks living in Lydian Kingdom - Medes and Lydians were at war for quite some time – Cyrus used this a propaganda – waged war on Lydians to establish himself as a good king to the recently conquered Medes King Croesus - lived 560-546 B.C. - source is Herodotus - many mythical stories – Trojan War - but names Croesus as the beginning of East-West history from the Greek perspective - quote: “Croesus of Lydia, son of Alyattes, was the first foreigner so far as we know to come into direct contact with the Greeks, both in the way of conquest and alliance, forcing tribute from the Ionians, Aeolians, and Asiatic Dorians, and forming a pact of friendship with the Spartans. Before Croesus’ time all the Greeks had been free.” - also associated with expansion - Croesus thinks of fighting with the Persians and goes to Delphi – expansionist mindset - Delphic oracle say – if you fight, a great empire will fall – Croesus takes this to mean that the Persian Empire will fall - Croesus dismisses his mercenaries in winter because he does not think that Cyrus will attack – until then, all fighting took place in summer months – winter was a waiting time - however, Cyrus attacks in winter and Sardis falls – oracle come true but it is the Lydian that falls, not the Persian Empire - Greek speakers had lived on the coast for many years – Metus, Smyrma, etc. - Smyrma – main port in Ionia - just inland of Smyrma was Sardis, the Lydian capital - Herodotus was from Halicarnassus – in Ionia - conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. – after this event, Cyrus’ son Cambyses sacks and takes over Egypt in 525 B.C. - there were many Greek speakers living within the Persian Empire due to its rapid expansion – took over territory in which Greeks were living Achmaemenid Kings - kings of the Persian Empire - Achmaemenid – royal house of Persia - Cyrus the Great • creator of the Persian Empire • ruled 559-529 B.C. - Cambyses • took over his father’s rule after his death • ruled 529-522 B.C. - Smerdis • half-brother of Cambyses • “pretender” – takes over while Cambyses is in Egypt • ruled 522-521 B.C. - Darius I • also a “pretender” • not related to Cyrus at all • rules 521-486 B.C. Persian Tribute - Darius reorganizes the Persian Empire - divides the empire into twenty satrapies – empire is becoming too big to control well - each of the satrapies were run like a tiny kingdom - the Persian Empire was run like a large family business – treated like family business in which lesser tasks were delegated to “sons” or “nephews” - satraps – relatives of the king – became leaders of each satrapy - satraps were free to do what they like as long as they paid tribute to the empire and provided fighting men for the Persian army - a fair amount of local autonomy was possible - modern states impose much more on their subjects than did the ancient ones - total tribute to the empire was approximately 14,560 talents of silver • 1 talent weighed 25.9 kg, therefore 377 tons of silver • 1 talent was equal to 6,000 drachmai th • 1 talent supported one trireme for a month in 5 century B.C. The Cyrus Cylinder - document – dated the year after Cyrus took over Babylon - dates to the year 538 B.C. - quote: “Marduk, the great lord, a protector of his people, beheld with pleasure [Cyrus’] good deeds and his upright mind [and so] ordered him to march against his city Babylon…. He delivered into [Cyrus’] hands Nabonidus, the king who did not worship [Marduk].” - clearly the document is Persian propaganda - Cyrus presents himself as the legitimate Babylonian king - idea that Marduk, the Babylonian god, legitimizes the rule of Cyrus because he is pleased with the king – therefore Marduk gives Cyrus the right to vanquish his enemies and the enemies of Marduk – enemies are those who do not worship Marduk – therefore non-Babylonians or those who oppose Cyrus - those who oppose Cyrus are seen as enemies of Marduk as well – Marduk finds honour in Cyrus and therefore Cyrus’ enemies become Marduk’s – the Babylonian king - king of Babylon is depicted as unfaithful to his god – therefore Cyrus, the vassal of Marduk, must punish him The Ionian Revolt - takes place 499-494 B.C. - Persian War was precipitated by this revolt - revolt by Greek Ionians in the Persian Empire - not uncommon – Egypt goes into revolt after the battle of Marathon - fair amount is known about the Ionian revolt - main source is Herodotus - explains personal interests of the tyrant of Miletus – who instigates the revolt - sack of Sardis by the Ionians in 498 B.C. – with Athenian help - most Ionian cities were ruled by tyrants - leader of the revolt was a tyrant – slightly strange that it is the one who benefits from the Persian rule, who instigates this revolt - Ionians march on Sardis in 498 B.C. – capital of the local satrapy – burn it to the ground - have help from two cities from the Greek mainland – Athens an
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