80: On The March

The route taken by Cyrus the Younger and his mercenaries from Sardis to Cunaxa and the return journey

In 401 BCE, Cyrus the Younger set out with an army of supporters and mercenaries to defeat his brother, Artaxerxes II, and claim the Persian throne for himself. But first they had to get there.
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Grand Dukes of the West
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79: Cyrus III

A coin from Phokaia (home of Aspasia the Wise) depicting an unknown satrap, likely Cyrus the Younger or Tissaphernes via Wikimedia

Cyrus the Younger returned to Sardis as Karanos in 404 BCE, still nursing dreams of becoming king. Over the next three years he quietly built up an army of mercenaries and prepared his subjects for war, gathering them under false pretenses to march against his brother, King Artaxerxes II.
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78: Robe and Dagger

The tomb of Darius II via Wikimedia

In 404 BCE, Darius II died. The king’s death sparked fierce but quiet competition for the throne between the supporters of Cyrus the Younger and Darius’s chosen heir, Arsakes. Arsakes did become King Artaxerxes II, but not without having to settle this conflict.
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Merch Announcement! (and Satrap Coins)

One of many designs available in the new History of Persia Podcast Store!

Breaking News! The History of Persia Podcast now has merch, swag, gear, and other physical items to show off how much you like ancient Persia and this podcast.

Plus, there’s one last group of coins from the Achaemenid Empire that I want to talk about.
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73: The Karanos

Meeting between Cyrus the Younger and Lysander, by Francesco Antonio Grue (1618-1673)

In 408 BCE, Darius II decided the Ionian War called for more drastic, teenage measures. He sent the 16 year old Prince Cyrus to rule western Anatolia as Karanos, a supreme military authority. Cyrus did everything in his power to enable his new Spartan allies’ victory against Athens.
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72: The Ionian War

A coin showing an image of Pharnabzus II, Satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia via Wikimedia

Despite their defeat in Sicily, the tales of Athenian demise in 413 BCE were greatly exaggerated. In 411, Athens and Sparta began to clash again and protracted tug-of-war in the Aegean even as Athens itself was seized by political upheavals.
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71: New Friends, Old Enemies

The Aegean Sea during the later Peloponnesian War from Ian Mladjov’s Maps

Darius II’s reign in Anatolia saw the Persian reconquest of Ionia and the Greek cities of west Asia. This was only accomplished with the aid of a surprising ally: Sparta and the Peloponnesian League.
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67: The Empire of Artaxerxes

The modern ruins of Artaxerxes Hall of 100 Columns via Wikimedia.

At just over 40 years on the throne, Artaxerxes I was the second-longest reigning Achaemenid king. This is an episode for all of the little things and less detailed stories that played out in that time. From a new status quo in the west to dramatic building projects in the east, Artaxerxes was a busy guy.
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66: The Syrian Civil War

An Assyrian Soldier, like those in Megabyzus’ army, as depicted on Xerxes’ tomb via Wikimedia

The story of the Megabyzid family conveniently flows from a solid recap of the story so far straight into the next major event in Achaemenid history: the very first satrap’s revolt, complete with Greek mercenaries and royal family drama.
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65: Peace of Callias

Map of the approximate boundaries of the Persian Empire and Greek leagues in the Aegean after the Peace of Callias via Ian Mladjov.

The treaty known as the Peace of Callias supposedly ended the second Greco-Persian War with a formal agreement between Athens and Persia. However, its very existence is the topic of intense historical debate. Despite this, hostilities did cease in 449 BCE, so something must have happened, right?
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