The Ionian Revolt 499 – 493BC

The Ionian Revolt was a military rebellion by Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule. The Greek cities were dissatisfied with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them.

The tyrant Aristagoras, following the deposed tyrant Histiaeus (his uncle), was faced with discontent with his rule of the city of Miletus.

To strengthen his position he decided with the help of Artaphernes (Persian general and brother of King Darius I), to conquer the Greek Island of Naxos, thus extending the boundaries of Darius’ empire.

He failed in this and believing that he might be removed as the tyrant of Miletus, he chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against King Darius I.

He summoned a council at Miletus, which voted to go to war. Each of the rebel cities were to provide a general for their forces.

In 498BC Ionia supported by troops from Athens and Eretria captured and burnt the city of Sardis.

Following this when returning to Ionia they were pursued by Persian troops and beaten at the Battle of Ephesus. This was the only offensive action taken by the Ionian’s, and after this they went on the defensive.

In 497BC The Persian army ambushed and annihilated the opposition at the Battle of Pedasus.

The next 2 years the armies spent time regrouping and a stalemate ensued.

The centre of the rebellion was Miletus and in 494BC the Persian army and navy made their way there. The Ionian fleet bravely fought to defend Miletus by sea, but were soundly beaten at the Battle of Lade.

Miletus was besieged and its captured population was put under Persian rule.

This final defeat effectively ended the revolt. The few cities that held out against Persian rule were brought under control in 493BC and a peace settlement was agreed.

King Darius I would not be content until he had conquered all of Greece and in 492BC he set in motion the 1st Persian Invasion of Greece.

This started as a direct result of the Ionian Revolt.

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