Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Παρασκευή, 14 Απριλίου 2017

The persian invasion in ancient Thrace and Macedonia and the history of Achaemenid Balkan regions

Megabazus was a highly regarded Persian general under Darius. Most information about him comes from The Histories by Herodotus. Troops left behind in Europe after a failed attempt to fully conquer the Scythians were put under the command of Megabazus. The Persian troops subjugated gold-rich Thrace, the coastal Greek cities, and defeated the powerful Paeonians. Finally, Megabazus sent envoys to Amyntas I, demanding acceptation of Persian domination, which the Macedonian accepted. He then removed the Paeonians from their homeland and brought them to Darius in Sardis. Megabazus was suspicious of Histiaeus and advised Darius to bring him to Susa to keep a closer eye on him. His suspicions turned out to be true as Histiaeus provoked a revolt in the town he was formally in charge of and later sided with the Greeks against Persia. The successor to Megabazus's command was Otanes. In Histories 3.139-3.149, Otanes reappears as commander of Achaemenid troops during their recapture of Samos for Syloson, the brother of Polycrates. Histories 5.25-5.28 speaks of an Otanes - a son of a previously mentioned Sisamnes who served as a judge under Cambyses II and later under Darius I, and who following Darius' expedition against the Scythians, and who succeeded Megabazus as the governor/supreme commander of the united forces of the peoples of the Aegean, and who subjugated Byzantium and other cities during the Ionian revolt. This Otanes married one of Darius' daughters.
The European Scythian campaign of Darius I was a military incursion into parts of European Scythia by Darius I, the king of the Achaemenid Empire, in 513 BC. The Scythians were a group of north Iranian nomadic tribes, speaking an Iranian language who had invaded Media, revolted against Darius and threatened to disrupt trade between Central Asia and the shores of the Black Sea as they lived between the Danube river, river Don and the Black Sea. The campaigns took place in parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, while principally in what is modern-day Ukraine and southern Russia. Darius crossed the Black Sea at the Bosphorus Straits using a bridge of boats. Darius conquered large portions of Eastern Europe, even crossing the Danube to wage war on the Scythians. Darius invaded Scythia with his general Megabazus, where the Scythians evaded Darius's army, using feints and retreating eastwards while laying waste to the countryside, by blocking wells, intercepting convoys, destroying pastures and continuous skirmishes against Darius's army.  Seeking to fight with the Scythians, Darius's army chased the Scythian army deep into Scythian lands, mostly in what is modern-day Ukraine, where there were no cities to conquer and no supplies to forage. In frustration Darius sent a letter to the Scythian ruler Idanthyrsus to fight or surrender. The ruler replied that he would not stand and fight with Darius until they found the graves of their fathers and tried to destroy them. Until then, they would continue their strategy as they had no cities or cultivated lands to lose. Despite the evading tactics of the Scythians, Darius' campaign was so far relatively successful. As presented by Herodotus, the performed tactics by the Scythians resulted in the loss of their best lands and of damage to their loyal allies. The fact is thus that Darius held the initiative. As he moved eastwards in the cultivated lands of the Scythians, he remained resupplied by his fleet and lived to an extent off of the land. While moving eastwards in the European Scythian lands, he captured the large fortified city of the Budini, one of the allies of the Scythians, and burnt it. Darius ordered a halt at the banks of Oarus, where he built "eight great forts, some eight miles distant from each other", no doubt as a frontier defence. As the Cambridge Ancient History: Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean C. 525 to 479 B.C. states, this evidently was as far eastwards as Darius intended to go, at least for the time being. After chasing the Scythians for a month, Darius's army was suffering losses due to fatigue, privation and sickness. In his Histories, Herodotus states that the ruins of the forts were still standing in his day. Concerned about losing more of his troops, Darius halted the march at the banks of the Volga River and headed towards Thrace. He had failed to bring the Scythians to a direct battle, and until he did so he did not have much reason to secure the conquered territories. The initiative still lay with him. As the tactics of evading Darius' army and scorched earth were continued by the Scythians, they had failed however completely, though Darius had failed too as still he wasn't able to bring it to a direct confrontation. He had conquered enough Scythian territory to force the Scythians to respect the Persian forces. The whole area from central Thrace to Georgia and from the Ukraine to the north-east Mediterranean formed a compact area with mutual economic interests between Scythians, Thracians or Ionians, and Iranians. In strategic terms, Darius must have seen that some Scythian-type peoples extended from the Ukraine all the way to what is modern-day Uzbekistan, forming a continuum of dangerous nomadic raiders. Furthermore, control of the Black Sea recognized no international divisions. The Persians and the Greeks (many of whom lived in the Persian Empire, while another number lived in the Greek colonies in what is nowadays southern Ukraine) had a common interest in seeking to control the source of Scythian exports of gold, grain, hides, and furs. As the Cambridge Ancient History further states, that Ctesias , a Greek doctor at the Persian court ca. 400 BC had written that before the invasion of Darius into the European Scythian lands a satrap of Cappadocia named Ariaramnes had crossed the Black Sea to the north, raiding the European Scythian regions with a fleet of thirty penteconters, returning with Scythian men and women, including the brother of a Scythian king. While some have supposed that the mere reason of Darius' invasions was to destroy the Scythian lands, the erection of a bridge however over the Hellespont contradicts this; his superior fleet could have easily shipped the troops over as the Scythians had no navy at all.
Skudra or Scudra was a province (satrapy) of the Persian Empire in Europe between 510s BC and 479 BC. Its name is attested in Persian and Egyptian inscriptions (an Egyptian record of c. 498-497 BC, and a list on the tomb of Darius the Great at Naqsh-e Rustam, c. 486 BC.). It have comprised the lands Thrace and Macedon. N. G. L. Hammond hypothesizes that the name Skudra may have been the name originally used for this region by the Phrygians, who had settled in the area before migrating to Asia. Persian sources describe the province as being populated by three groups: the Saka Paradraya (Getae); the Skudra themselves (Thracians), and Yauna Takabara. The latter term, which translates as "Ionians with shield-like hats", is believed to refer to Macedonians. The Thracian and Scythian regions were conquered by Darius I around 512 BC, the Macedonian kingdom by Mardonius in 492 BC. The latter had been a vassal of Persia since 512/511 BC, but remained having a large amount of autonomy. The 492 BC campaign led by Mardonius made it a fully subordinate part of the empire. In 479BC-478BC, after the Greek victories (against Persia) at Plataea and Mycale, Greek forces under the command of Xanthippus besieged the Persian forces in Deaths, costal city of Thrace in Dardanelles straits. The Athenians attacked the Persian forces, and defeated the Persians. Since the Persians were defeated, the Persian garrison at Sestos allowed the Greeks to conquer the city. As a result, Persian influence along the Hellespont was significantly reduced. This served the dual goal of denying Persian land forces access to the Greek mainland, while restoring Athenian trade to Black Sea ports such as Byzantium.
Achaemenid Macedonia refers to the period the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia was under the sway of the Achaemenid Persian s. In 512/511 BC, Megabyzus forced the Macedonian king Amyntas I to make his kingdom a vassal of the Achaemenids. In 492 BC, following the Ionian Revolt, Mardonius firmly re-tightened the Persian grip in the Balkans, and made Macedon a fully subordinate kingdom within the Achaemenid domains and part of its administrative system, until the definite withdrawal of the Persians from their European territories following the failure of the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Around 513 BC, as part of the military incursions ordered by Darius I, a huge Achaemenid army invaded the Balkans and tried to defeat the Western Scythians roaming to the north of the Danube river. Several Thracian peoples, and nearly all of the other European regions bordering the Black Sea, were conquered by the Achaemenid army before it returned to Asia Minor. Darius's highly regarded commander, Megabyzus, was responsible for conquering the Balkans. The Achaemenid troops conquered Thrace, the coastal Greek cities, and the Paeonians. Eventually, in about 512/511 BC, the Macedonian king Amyntas I accepted the Achaemenid domination and submitted his country as a vassal state to Achaemenid Persia. The multi-ethnic Achaemenid army possessed many soldiers from the Balkans. Megabazus' own son, Bubares, married Amyntas' daughter, Gygaea with the intention of ensuring good relations between the Macedonian and Achaemenid rulers. Following the collapse of the Ionian Revolt, Persian authority in the Balkans was restored by Mardonius in 492 BC, which not only included the re-subjugation of Thrace, but also the inclusion of Macedon as part of the Persian Empire. According to Herodotus, Mardonius' main task was to force the suzerainty of Athens and Eretria, along with as many other Greek cities as possible. After having crossed to Europe, Mardonius and his army reached the Persian garrison of Doriscus, and from there, the army separated. The Persian navy brought Thasos under Persian suzerainty, while the infantry continued its way towards Mount Pangaeum, and after crossing the Angites, entered the lands of the Paeonians and re-asserted Persian suzerainty there. Heading towards the Thermaic Gulf, the infantry and the navy encountered difficulties; the former was attacked at night by the Brygi, local Thracian tribe, while a strong storm devastated the latter. The Byrgi were eventually subdued and the remaining Persian navy continued the campaign. Having arrived at the eastern border of Macedon, Alexander I of Macedon was forced to acknowledge Persian suzerainty over his kingdom. As a result of Mardonius' campaign, Macedonia was incorporated into the administrative system of Persia. As Herodotus mentions in his Histories ; "(...) and with their army they added the Macedonians to the already existing slaves [of the Persians]; for all the peoples on their side of Macedonia had already been subjected to them". The Persian invasion led indirectly to Macedonia's later rise in power as Persia and Macedon had some common interests in the Balkans. Thanks to the Persians, the Macedonians stood to gain much at the expense of some of the Balkan tribes such as the Paeonians and Thracians. All in all, the Macedonians were "willing and useful Persian allies". In Macedon, abundant food supplies of the Persians were stored during their rule. Although Persian rule in the Balkans was overthrown following the failure of Xerxes' invasion of Greece, the Macedonians (and Thracians) borrowed from the Achaemenid economy during the fifth to mid fourth centuries BC. Some artefacts, excavated at Sindos and Vergina were imported from Persia in the late sixth and early fifth centuries BC.
Alexander I was the ruler of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon from c. 498 BC until his death in 454 BC. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Alcetas II. Alexander was the son of Amyntas I and Queen Eurydice. Alexander I came to the throne during the era of the kingdom's vassalage at the hand of Achaemenid Persia, dating back to the time of his father, Amyntas I, although Macedon retained a broad scope of autonomy. In 492 BC it was made to a fully subordinate part of the Persian Kingdom by Mardonius ' campaign. At that time, Alexander was on the nominal Macedonian throne. Alexander further acted as a representative of the Persian governor Mardonius during peace negotiations after the Persian defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. In later events, Herodotus several times mentions Alexander that follows the assigned tasks. From the time of Mardonius' conquest of Macedon, Alexander I is referred to as
hyparchos by Herodotus, meaning subordinate governor. Despite his cooperation with Persia, Alexander I frequently gave supplies and advice to the rest of the Greek city states, and warned them of Mardonius' plans before the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC. For example, Alexander I warned the Greeks in Tempe to leave before the arrival of Xerxes' troops, as well as notified them of an alternate route into Thessaly through upper Macedonia. After their defeat in Plataea, the Persian army under the command of Artabazus tried to retreat all the way back to Asia Minor. Most of the 43,000 survivors were attacked and killed by the forces of Alexander at the estuary of the Strymon river. Alexander eventually regained Macedonian independence after the end of the Persian Wars. Alexander claimed descent from Argive Greeks and Heracles, although Macedon was considered a "barbaric" state by some in Athens, whose territories were threatened by its expansion. After a court of Olympia the hellanodikai determined his claim to be true, he was permitted to participate in the Olympic Games possibly in 504 BC, an honour reserved only for Greeks. He modelled his court after Athens and was a patron of the poets Pindar and Bacchylides, both of whom dedicated poems to Alexander. The earliest reference to an Athenian proxenos, who lived during the time of the Persian wars (c. 490 BC), is that of Alexander I. Alexander I was given the title "Philhellene" (fond of the Greeks, lover of the Greeks ), a title used for Greek patriots. He furthermore gave his sister Gygaea for marriage to the Persian general Bubares in the late 6th century BC who was in Macedon at the time under Persian rule and barbaric tyrrany.

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