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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Ionian Revolt Part 3 (Greco-Persian Wars) BATTLE OF LADE (499-493 BC)

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It is 497BCE, Onesilus is preparing to face the might of the imperial army of the Persian

General Artybius, near his kingdom City, Salamis.

The battle that will follow will decide the outcome of his revolt against the Persians

and the future of the whole Island of Cyprus.

The two armies arranged to face each other on a flat plain, Onesilus took post in the

centre of his formation opposite to the Persian general.

Apparently Artybiuss warhorse was trained to fight against enemy troops and that was

something well known to Onesilus, so together with his shield bearer he devised a plan to

deal with it. The battle began and Artybius charged against

Onesilus, the plan of Onesiluss shield bearer worked and he was able to kill the

horse while Onesilus stroke down Artybius.

With the Persian general dead the battle seemed to be turning in favor of Onesiluss cause,

but during his moment of triumph treachery stroke, a considerable body of troops commanded

by the tyrant of Curium deserted Onesilus in the midst of battle and turned over to

the enemy, it is not certain if what followed was pre-meditated or spontaneous , but many

others followed his example . Onesiluss army collapsed and he was cut

down shortly afterwards, it was an inglorious end to and almost successful revolt , the

Cyprians snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Back in Asia minor the Persians were not being idle, the imperial juggernaut was being mobilized,

3 Persian nobles and relatives of the great king himself, divided the front into operational

districts and methodically began to campaign against each and everyone of the rebellious

cities and communities of the Ionians.

Daurises, Otanes and Hymaees were their names.

The largest contingent of the Persian force under Daurises, set off towards the Hellespont

in order to subjugate the strategically positioned cities there that controlled the straights

that led to the black sea and were blocking potential reinforcements but also controlled

vital trade routes.

One by one, the cities fell before the might of the Persians, supposedly each in a single

day according to Herodotus.

It was around that time that Daurises was informed that the Carians had also joined

forces with the Ionians cities and revolted against the Persian rule, he turned round

and leaving the Hellespont marched away towards Caria in order to crash the rebellion.

In the meantime the Persian Hymaees who was campaigning against the Propontis, conquered

the city of Cius and marched his army towards the Troad, when he was informed about Daurises

departure he began marching southwards presumably to combine his forces with those of Daurises

but he never made it, while he was in the area of Troad, campaigning against the local

Aeolians he wascarried off by diseasethus one of the Persian generals was already

out of the picture.

The third Persian army was getting ready to campaign against the Ionians, Otanes together

with Artaphernes, using the devastated Sardis as their operational base, resumed the offensive

shortly after Hymaeess death and marched against their immediate Ionian rebels, re-capturing

Clazomenae and Cyme, the net was closing in on the Ionians.

And while all this was happening, the Cariansby some chance”, were informed of Daurises

mobilization against them and had time to plan the way that they were going to deal

with this impending threat.

The carian army gathered near a place known as theWhite pillarsclose to the river

Marsyas ( the modern day name isCyne”), a tributary of Meander.

Many plans of action were put forth, we know 2 of them, the first of those 2 plans suggested

that the Carians should cross the river and face the Persian army with the river at their

back, the idea was that wthout any chance of retreat, the Carians would be forced to

stand their ground and face the Persians no matter what, it was a plan that was eventually

discarded and the Carians did the exact opposite, letting the Persians cross the river so that

they would have it at their back instead, in the hope that after the Persians would

be defeated they would have nowhere to retreat.

The battle that followed was long drawn affair and stoutly contested, the Carians fought

stubbornly and obstinately but they eventually succumbed to the weight of Persian numbers,

the calamity for the Carians was great, it is the first instance that Herodotus gives

us casualty figures, 10.000 of the rebels Perished while in comparison the Persians

lost only 2000 men.

As the stranglehold of the Persian war machine began to get tighter, ourprotagonist

Aristagoras who according to Herodotusproved himself to be a man of little courage”,

decided that his position was unattainable and began planning his departure from Ionia.

After contemplating a number of plans for an unglamorous exit from the revolt that he

initiated, he eventually decided to sail to the colony of Myrcinus, the same Myrcinus

that was given to his fatherin law, the exiled Histieius, from the great king Darius


There Aristagoras seems to have began a series of raids and sieges against neighboring Thracian

tribes and there he eventually met his end, when his army was isolated and surrounded

while he was besieging a city, thus ended the life of the man who was the main cause

of the Ionian revolt.

Meanwhile, the Persians triumphant on all fronts still failed to eradicate the revolt.

The victorious army of Daurises was on its way marching southwards to strike at the heart

of the Carian rebels, the survivors of the battle of Marsyas gothered to a sacred grove

of Zeus at a place calledLaubranda”, there they were joined by an army of Miletians

and we can assume that they began planning their counterstrike encouraged by the Miletian

reinforcements , unfortunately for them, Daurises swiftly surrounded their position and crashed


496BCE This disaster was even greater for the rebels

than the defeat inflicted in the battle of Marsyas and it was especially devastating

for the Miletians that suffered the greater loses.

With their armies being defeated on multiple fronts and their operational bases being invaded

by the Persians, one would have assumed that the defeat at Laubranda would have been the

final stroke, but it wasnt.

Undeterred the Carians resolved to fight on, they knew that if they could not stop the

Persian onslaught their next target would have been their cities and their livelihood,

so they laid an ambush at a pass near a place calledPedausus”.

The victorious Persians, oblivious to the peril that awaited them, with their morale

and we might say arrogance being reinforced by the two crushing defeats they had inflicted

to the rebels, marched on with little to no reconnaissance, they reached Pedausus during

a night march.

And there the Carians sprung their ambush rushing out of their hiding places falling

upon the marching column of Daurises, the Persians were caught completely unprepared

and in low visibility within an area that they were unfamiliar with the ruse was totally

successful and the Persians were completely annihilated by the rebels, Daurises was killed

together with most of his generals and commanding officers.

It was an unforeseen and unexpected major setback for the Persian war effort, out of

the three generals who had campaigned against the Ionians 2 of them were already dead, and

a large portion of the Persian army was destroyed during the ambush at Pedasus.

Despite the disastrous defeats that the Persians inflicted to the Ionian rebels they lingered

and even managed to entrain a decisive blow of their own, protracting the duration of

the revolt and giving their cause some breathing space.

Around that time, another forgotten hero of our story re-appeared, it was Histieaus who

convinced the Great King Darius to send him back to his city in order to attempt to convince

the Ionians to end their revolt, or so the King thought.

When Histieaus arrived at Sardis, Artaphernes who was always suspicious of his motives openly

accused him of being an accomplish of the rebels and of instigating the revolt together

with Aristagoras.

Allarmed by Artapheness accusations, Histieus escaped to the Island of Chios and eventually

attempted to make his way back to Miletus.

Contrary to what he might have expected the Miletians didnt welcome him but alarmed

by the possibility of exchanging one Tyrant for another they attacked him before he even

made his way back into the city walls.

Thus Histieaus the former Tyrant of Miletus and a confidant of the Persian king became

a fugitive and an adventurist, and eventually set sail for the city of Byzantium, there

he established himself and began raiding and seizing every ship that attempted to sail

through the Bosporus unless they agreed to obey his orders.

The disaster at Pedasus seems to have created a stalemate during the years 496 to 495 BCE,

little to no campaigning ensued during those years, instead the Persians used that time

to gather and accumulate their forces and construct a plan of action.

The final chapter of the Ionian revolt was about to be written.

Around 494BCE the Persians were ready, after having gathered every detachment of their

armies into a single block, they have decided to strike at the heart of the insurrection,

the combined army accompanied by a fleet of Phoenicians, Egyptians, Cilicians and the

re subjugated Cypriots, set off against the city of Miletus.

When the Ionians were informed about the approaching force, they gathered at their meeting place

called thePanioniumand contemplated on what course of action they should follow.

What the rebels ultimately decided to do was to avoid a land battle against the Persians

at any cost and attempt to defeat them at sea were they felt they stood a better chance.

Leaving the Milesians to fend for themselves as they


Every single ship that was available to the Ionian rebels was to be used, it was to be

the largest mobilization of Greeks in history up until that point in time, the total number

of ships gathered were three hundred and fifty three.

The Ionian fleet assembled near a small island just off the coast of the city of Miletus,called


Trivia, you will search in vain today to find the small island of Lade, during the course

of 2 millennia the deposits of the River Meander have connected the area around Miletus with

the mainland, including the island of Lade, little remains of the landmark near which

the epilogue of the Ionian revolt would be written.

While the Ionians were assembled near Lade, the combined Persian forces approached Miletus,both

their fleet and their army encamped near the city walls of Miletus.

Even though the Persians had a crushing numerical advantage they were still wary of the Ionian

fleet, so they decided to send those Tyrants who were expelled from their cities at the

beginning of the revolt and were now with the Persian army, to try and convince their

former subjects to abandon their efforts against the Great King so they might be treated fairly

and with leniency afterwards.

They crossed the small distance between the coast of Miletus to Lade during the night

and brought their conditions of surrender to the rebels.

Not one of the them accepted the conditions, refusing to follow their former Tyrants and

betray their countrymenfor now

The next day intense councils were held within the Ionian headquarters in order to determine

the conduct of the upcoming battle, many commanders and Generals spoke, until it was the turn

ofDyonisius, the general of the city of Phocaea, a city that happened to be the smallest

contributor of ships to the Ionian fleet, a force of only 3 ships.

"Our affairs, men of Ionia, stand on the edge of a razor, whether to be free men or slaves,

and runaway slaves at that.

If you now consent to endure hardships, you will have toil for the present time, but it

will be in your power to overcome your enemies and gain freedom; but if you will be weak

and disorderly, I see nothing that can save you from paying the penalty to the king for

your rebellion.

Believe me and entrust yourselves to me; I promise you that (if the gods deal fairly

with us) either our enemies shall not meet us in battle, or if they do they shall be

utterly vanquished."

Thus spoke Dionysius and the Ionians decided to appoint him as the commander in chief of

their whole fleet.

A regime of strict and unremitting training was imposed on the unruly rebels by the hardy

Dionysius, day after day from dawn till dusk he kept them at it, not even letting them

to come ashore and rest, keeping them under the sun all day long.

The Ionians endured this strict training regime for seven days, but being unaccustomed to

such fatigues, they eventually staged another rebellion and at the eighth day mutinied against

Dionysius and refused to train further, proclaiming thateven the slavery with which we are

threatened, however harsh, can be no worse than our present thralldom”.

And with this attitude, the Ionians prepared to face the mightiest force of their time.

Soon afterwards the Persian fleet sailed to attack the Ionians who in turn sailed out

to meet them, Six hundred Persian ships were facing three

hundred and fifty three Ionian ships respectively, from east to west the Ionians were assembled

in the following order, the Miletians with their 80 ships were positioned at the easternmost

edge of the formation, followed by the ships from Priene, next to them were the ships from

the city of Myus followed by Teos, Chios, Erythraea, Phocaea, Lesbos and finally the

westernmost edge of the formation was occupied by the Samians.

The two fleets started rowing towards each other , the battle that was about to ensue

would decide the outcome of a revolt that lasted for 5 years causing the deaths of thousands

and the devastation of hundreds of cities and communities.

Just as the ships were about to clash, at the westernmost edge of the Ionian formation

the Samian contingent hoisted their sails and began fleeing the battlefield, it was

a disastrous backstabbing for the rebels, apparently the whole treachery was pre-determined

right after the mutiny of the Ionians against Dionysius, the Samians decided that this lack

of discipline had already doomed their cause and they eventually reached an agreement behind

the scenes with one of the Persian delegations to defect during the battle

This defection caused a domino effect, one after the other the Ionians abandoned their

own cause and fled, however and to their credit only the Chians with their large navy of 100

ships fought on and disdained toplay the part of cowards”, at their side stood eleven

ships from Samos whos captains refused to flee from the battlefield and stayed.

The remaining Ionians stood no chance against the Persian armada, they fought bravely inflicting

several casualties to the Persians but having lost more than half of their already few ships,

the Chians abandoned the battle and fled back to their Island.

The conclusion of the battle of Lade, as it became known to history, spelled the end of

the armed resistance of the Ionians and meant that their revolt was effectively over, the

Persians were now completely free to strike at the epicenter of the insurrection, the

city of Miletus.

The Description of The Ionian Revolt Part 3 (Greco-Persian Wars) BATTLE OF LADE (499-493 BC)