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The Ionian Uprising


By the year 500 B.C. the Persian authority on Ionian cities had weakened. After an unsuccessful attempt by satrap of Sardes (regional governor of Persian controlled states) to take control of the island of Nacsos, a rebellion spirit had started to rise amongst the Ionian city-states. The tyrant of Ephesus Aristagoras presented himself as the savior of the people of Ionian states at this stage. He organized the first anti-Persian alliance meeting of Ionian states in Ephesus. Soon after this meeting, they started a military upheaval against the regional Persian authority head-quarters in the city of Sardes. Ionians took over the city without much resistance. They burned down the city with no-intention.

This rebellion caused Persia to send the army to control the situation. As they heard the army movement into the region, Ionians started to flee back.

The Persian army defeated the Ionians in front of the city of Ephesus and killed most of the Ionian soldiers. But rebellion spread to the other Ionian regions and islands.

The revolt came under control in 494 B.C. when Ionian navy was defeated by the Persians near the Lade island. Miletus was burned down by Persians and many citizens were taken to Persia as slaves. In a short time most of the Ionia was under the rule of Persia again.

The Persian offense continued into the central Greece. The Persian commander Mardonius was killed in the battle, around Plataia in 479 B.C. Spartacians set up a surprise attack on the Persian navy and burned down the whole fleet. This was the end of the efforts by Persian to invade Greece.

Ionian cities joined the “Athen-Delos Sea Union” soon after the Greek victory against Persians. Before this union started to become effective, in the year 409 B.C., Athens went into war with Sparta. During the Peleponesian war, Ephesus took Sparta’s side. This caused a hostile retaliation by Athens to Ephesus. Persians helped the city of Ephesus in order to defend the Artemis temple against Athenians’ attacks.

The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong