The Ionian Revolt

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Significance of the Ionian revolt as a result of the Persian wars.

The Ionian Revolt which began in 499BC was the beginning of a chain of events that changed the ancient world, and constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire. It was primarily of significance as the causative agent of the Greco-Persian Wars, which included the two invasions of Greece and the famous battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis. Ionian cities revolted to gain independence from both suppressing systems, the Persian Empire and tyranny, however, the revolt ended in failure, and substantial losses, both material and economic. However, Miletus aside, they recovered relatively quickly and prospered under Persian rule for the next forty years. For the Persians, the revolt was significant in drawing them into an extended conflict with the states of Greece which would last for fifty years, over which time they would sustain considerable losses.

Ionia was the name of a region in Asia Minor in which many Greek colonies had been founded and the Greek culture established. Croesus, King of Lydia conquered Ionia only to be overthrown by the Persian king, Cyrus in 547BC. Under the rule of the Persians, the Ionian Greeks had to pay annual tributes and participate in Persian military campaigns. Local tyrants appointed by the Persians were set up as rulers of the Ionian cities. Aristagoras, the tyrant of Miletus, eager to increase his wealth and power and to ingratiate himself with the Persians, convinced the Persians that they should attack Naxos. Aristagoras sided with the aristocrats from Naxos who were keen to regain control over the island. The Persians were interested in being involved in this campaign because Naxos had a high strategic value in their expansions plans. The failure of the Naxian expedition, and the quarrelling between Aristagoras and the Persian general put him in a dangerous position. The only way to save his position was to start a revolt....
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