The Causes of the Ionian Revolt

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  • Topic: Ionia, Ionian Revolt, Black Sea
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  • Published : March 10, 2009
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The Causes of the Ionian Revolt
Revolts had occurred in Persian Empire before, and when they occurred they were dealt with quickly and strongly. Rebellious states and individuals were punished to deter others in following their lead. The threat of military force combined with a knowledgeable and efficient ruling system, the Persian Empire was successfully held together. During Darius’ expedition into Europe in 513 – 512 BC, the Ionians played an important role by supplying ships for transportation and for the construction of boat bridges over the Bosporus and the River Danube. This expedition resulted in the extension of Persian influence into the western regions of the Black Sea, the Propontis, Thrace and Macedonia. Eventually, this extension of influence had a harmful effect on the trading activities of the Greek Ionians. After Cambyses’ invasion of Egypt in 525 BC, trade between Ionia and the Egyptian city of Naucratis stopped completely. Also, Darius’ conquest in Europe interrupted established Ionian trading centres, which had provided Ionia with grain, silver, timber and slaves. Around this time, Athenian goods began to appear in Ionian marketplaces, the Ionian Greeks lost their dominant trade position in the Aegean and Black Seas and this resulted in their economic wealth declining. However, according to Herodotus, the direct cause of the Ionian revolt was the ambitions and plots of the tyrant Aristogoras. Although, it is unlikely that the ambitions of one man caused the Ionians to take such drastic action against the Persians. A brief outline of Herodotus’ accounts follows; In approximately 500 BC a group of exile aristocrats from Naxos pleaded with Aristogoras to help them return to control, in agreement, Aristorgoras advised them to seek help from Persians also. He advised they approach Artaphernes, satrap of Sardis. Also, after consultation with Darius, Artaphernes agreed to help reinstate the exile and supplied 200 triremes from the Greek...
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