Episode 32: Begun, the Greek Wars Have

Bust of Solon the Athenian Lawmaker. Copy from a Greek original (c. 110 BC) from the Farnese Collection via Wikimedia Commons  Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

To prepare ourselves for their role in the coming wars between Persian the Greek city states, I’m explaining the history and politics of Archaic Athens, from their first adoption of oligarchy rather than monarchy, down through the adoption of democracy, the Peisistratid tyrants, and the final restoration of democracy by Cleisthenes. At the end of that long process, the Athenians and their Eretrian allies joined forces with the Ionian Greek cities of Anatolia in their revolt against the Persian Empire. In 498 BCE, the Greek army set out from Ephesus in a lightning raid to attack, and ultimately destroy, the Lydian capital at Sardis.
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Episode 31: The Naxos Incident

Illustration of Histaeos and the Ionians meeting the Scythians by John Steeple Davis, 1900

At the end of the 6th century BCE, a group of exiled aristocrats from the island of Naxos inadvertently set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to such famous battles as Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis. They asked the Milesian Tyrant, Aristagoras, to help them retake their home island after being kicked out. Aristagoras went to the Satrap of Lydia, who in turn asked Darius the Great. When Darius gave the go ahead, a Persian fleet invaded, and subsequently retreated from Naxos. Out of money and out of options Aristagoras and the rest of the Ionian Greeks in western Anatolia began hatching a plan to launch an Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire.
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Episode 27: The Grand Tour, Part 2

Administrative Divisions of the Achaemenid Empire, 490 BC by Ian Mladjov on Ian Mladjov’s Resources

The tour of the Persian Empire continues, this time covering the western Satrapies. I’m exploring the details and histories of the Persian provinces starting with Armenia and moving counter clockwise, through Anatolia and Europe, over the Mediterranean, North Africa, Arabia, and Assyria. Based on the maps of Ian Mladjov.
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Episode 18: The Tyrant and The Kings

Polykrates by Mikhail I. Kozlovsky, 1790 in bronze, in the Russian Museum. The piece depicts the crucifixion of the tyrant. From Stebanoid via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The story of Polykrates, the Tyrant of Samos, intersects repeatedly with the history of the Persian empire during his life. From his rise to power in the vacuum left when Miletus was conquered, to his alliance with Egypt against the Persians, and finally to his death on the orders of a Satrap. His story feeds directly into the history around Oroites, the Satrap of Sparda (the kingdom formerly known as Lydia). Oroites tried to seize some power for himself in events that prepare our narrative for the chaotic years following Cambyses’ death.
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Announcement 01: Croeseids

A gold Croeseid c. 560-540 BCE from the original run of heavier coins. Image from CNG Coins via Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Documentation License

Hello everyone! I’ve got some announcements, updates, and news about the show for you, and as a little bonus for listening to my fundraising spiel, there’s a mini-episode on the history of the world’s first coinage at the end. Thank you everybody!
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Episode 10: Governing An Empire

King Cyrus (front) with future Satrap Harpagus (back) as depicted in the 18th Century Tapestry: The Defeat of Astyages. Designed by Maximilien de Haese, Woven by Jac. van der Borght (1771-1775). Currently housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

What exactly is a Satrap? Is there such a thing as a Satrapy? How did all of these people manage to talk to one another? All this, and more as the History of Persia celebrates double-digits with a break down of how the Persian Empire was actually organized and managed during the Teispid Period.

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Episode 5: Crossing the Halys

A Greek libation bowl depicting Croesus sitting on his funeral pyre while servant ignites the fire. Currently housed at the Louvre.

Just as Cyrus the Great, now officially the King of Persia, was consolidating his hold over the recently conquered Median Empire, a new war started. This time, the Persians were facing Lydia, the fabulously wealthy Anatolian kingdom ruled by King Croesus. This war really had it all. Deceptive strategies, surprising alliances, strange tactics, and wildly confused ancient sources to tell the story, but in the end it was just one achievement for Cyrus. 
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Family Tree Online Now!

I just set up the instructions to download an Achaemenid family tree from the Family Tree tab above. It was brought to my attention that things might have gotten a little confusing with all of the intermarrying names. Hopefully this helps clarify things. For now the tree is a read-only HTML file that you need to download from Dropbox. In the future, I hope to set it up as another web page all on its own, but for now I’m limited in what I can do on WordPress. Feedback, as always, is very much appreciated.

Dropbox Link 3/7/2019

Episode 4 – Cyrus II, King of Anshan

“Cyrus and Astyages” – Oil painting by French artist Jean-Charles-Nicaise Perrin in the 18th century. The scene depicted is Astyages (center) ordering Harpagus (left) to take and kill the infant Cyrus (Harpagus’ arms).

Around 550 BCE, King Cyrus II of Anshan went into revolt against the Median King Astyages. The young Cyrus was aided by a rebellious Median general called Harpagus and conquered the whole Median Empire in one war. Then, Cyrus declared himself King of Persia, and took his first step on the path to becoming “Great.”
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Episode 3: Babylonians and Medes


Map of the Near East under Babylon and Media. Originals by WillemBK and Szajci, via Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Battle sites, Halys River, new cities, and key by Trevor Culley, 2019

We’re bringing the stories from the last two episodes together now. The Medes and the Babylonians joined forces, beat the Assyrians and the Egyptians, and then divided up the Near East between themselves as they built their own empires. After this, I promise there will be some actual Persians on this History of Persia Podcast. 
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