Mitrobates

Mitrobates (c. 520 BCE) was an Achaemenid satrap of Daskyleion (Hellespontine Phrygia) under the reigns of Cyrus the Great, by whom he was nominated, and Cambyses. After Cambyses died, and during the struggles for succession that followed, he is said to have been assassinated, together with his son Cranaspes, by the neighbouring satrap of Lydia, Oroetes, who had expansionist views on Anatolian territory.[1][2] After that, Oroetes added the territory of Hellespontine Phrygia to his own territory of Lydia.[3]

After Cambyses had died and the Magians won the kingship, Oroetes stayed in Sardis, where he in no way helped the Persians to regain the power taken from them by the Medes, but contrariwise; for in this confusion he slew two notable Persians, Mitrobates, the governor from Dascyleium, who had taunted him concerning Polycrates, and Mitrobates' son Cranaspes; and besides many other violent deeds, when a messenger from Darius came with a message which displeased him, he set an ambush by the way and killed that messenger on his journey homewards, and made away with the man's body and horse. So when Darius became king he was minded to punish Oroetes for all his wrongdoing, and chiefly for the killing of Mitrobates and his son.

— Herodotus III, 126-127.[4]

These events took place in the troubled times of the interregnum between Cambyses and Darius I, with the usurpation of Gaumata, whom Herodotus refers to as "the Magians".[5] The story of early satraps of Asia Minor, including Mitrobates, was related by Herodotus.[5]

Mitrobates is the first known Persian satrap of Daskyleion (c. 525–522). Following the reorganization of Darius I, he was succeeded by Megabazus (circa 500 BC) and then his son Oebares II (c. 493) and Artabazus (479), who established the Persian Pharnacid dynasty, which would rule Hellespontine Phrygia until the conquests of Alexander the Great (338 BCE).[6]

Hellespontine Phrygia
Location of Hellespontine Phrygia, and the provincial capital of Dascylium, in the Achaemenid Empire, c. 500 BCE
MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 550-500 BCE
Coinage of Hellespontine Phrygia at the time of Mitrobates, Kyzikos, Mysia. Circa 550-500 BC
MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 550-500 BC
Coinage of Hellespontine Phrygia at the time of Mitrobates, Kyzikos, Mysia. Circa 550-500 BC

References

  1. ^ Thomas, Rodney Lawrence (2010). Magical Motifs in the Book of Revelation. A&C Black. p. 119. ISBN 9780567226860.
  2. ^ Dusinberre, Elspeth R. M. (2013). Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia. Cambridge University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9781107018266.
  3. ^ Grote, George (2018). History of Greece Volume 4: Greeks and Persians. Charles River Editors. pp. 324–325. ISBN 9781625399984.
  4. ^ Herodotus III, 126-127. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. 1924. p. 214. ISBN 9780521228046.
  6. ^ Briant, Pierre (2002). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Eisenbrauns. p. 351. ISBN 9781575061207.
Artabazos I of Phrygia

Artabazos (Ancient Greek: Ἀρτάβαζος; fl. 480 BC - 455 BC) was a Persian general in the army of Xerxes I, and later satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia (now northwest Turkey) under the Achaemenid dynasty, founder of the Pharnacid dynasty of satraps. He was the son of Pharnaces, who was the younger brother of Hystaspes, father of Darius I. Artabazos was therefore a first cousin of the great Achaemenid ruler Darius I.

Bagaeus

Bagaeus (fl. circa 520-517 BCE), son of Artontes, was an Achaemenid nobleman, who was ordered by Darius I to kill the rebelious satrap of Lydia, Oroetes. Oroetes was accused of having killed Mitrobates, the satrap of Daskyleion (Hellespontine Phrygia) and his son, but is best known as the murderer of Polycrates of Samos. Herodotus recounts how Bagaeus used written orders from Darius in order to assure himself of the obedience of the bodyguards of Oreates to the orders of Darius, and when assured, produced a final order to kill Oroetes:

So when Darius became king, he wanted to punish Oroetes for all his wrongdoing, and especially for killing Mitrobates and his son. But he thought it best not to send an army openly against the satrap, seeing that everything was still in confusion and he was still new to the royal power; moreover he heard that Oroetes was very powerful, having a guard of a thousand Persian spearmen and being governor of the Phrygian and Lydian and Ionian province. He had recourse, then, to the following expedient: having summoned an assembly of the most prominent Persians, he addressed them as follows: “Persians, which of you will promise to do this for me, not with force and numbers, but by cunning? Where there is need for cunning, force has no business. So then, which of you would either bring me Oroetes alive or kill him? For he has done the Persians no good, but much harm; he has destroyed two of us, Mitrobates and his son, and is killing my messengers that are sent to recall him, displaying an insolence that is not to be borne. So, then, before he does the Persians some still greater harm, he has to be punished by us with death.” Darius asked this and thirty men promised, each wanting to do it himself. Darius told them not argue but draw lots; they did, and the lot fell to Bagaeus, son of Artontes. Bagaeus, having drawn the lot, did as follows: he had many letters written concerning many things and put the seal of Darius on them, and then went with them to Sardis.

Bagaeus then went to the court of Oroetes in Sardis, Lydia, and produced the letters one by one:

When he got there and came into Oroetes' presence, he took out each letter in turn and gave it to one of the royal scribes to read (all of the governors of the King have scribes); Bagaeus gave the letters to test the spearmen, whether they would consent to revolt against Oroetes. Seeing that they were greatly affected by the rolls and yet more by what was written in them, he gave another, in which were these words: “Persians! King Darius forbids you to be Oroetes' guard.” Hearing this, they lowered their spears for him. When Bagaeus saw that they obeyed the letter so far, he was encouraged and gave the last roll to the scribe, in which was written: “King Darius instructs the Persians in Sardis to kill Oroetes.” Hearing this the spearmen drew their scimitars and killed him at once. Thus atonement for Polycrates the Samian overtook Oroetes the Persian.

It is thought that Bagaeus may have become the new satrap for a short time after this assassination.

Classical Anatolia

Anatolia in Classical Antiquity was first divided into several Iron Age kingdom, most notably Lydia in the west, Phrygia in the center and Urartu in the east. Anatolia fell under Achaemenid Persian rule c. 550 BC. In the aftermath of the Greco-Persian Wars, all of Anatolia remained under Persian control except for the Aegean coast, which was incorporated in the Delian League in the 470s BC. Alexander the Great finally wrested control of the whole region from Persia in the 330s BC. After Alexander's death, his conquests were split amongst several of his trusted generals, but were under constant threat of invasion from both the Gauls and other powerful rulers in Pergamon, Pontus, and Egypt.

The Seleucid Empire, the largest of Alexander's territories, and which included Anatolia, became involved in a disastrous war with Rome culminating in the battles of Thermopylae and Magnesia. The resulting Treaty of Apamea in (188 BC) saw the Seleucids retreat from Anatolia. The Kingdom of Pergamum and the Republic of Rhodes, Rome's allies in the war, were granted the former Seleucid lands in Anatolia. Anatolia subsequently became contested between the neighboring rivalling Romans and the Parthian Empire, which frequently culminated in the Roman-Parthian Wars

Anatolia came under Roman rule entirely following the Mithridatic Wars of 88–63 BC. Roman control of Anatolia was strengthened by a 'hands off' approach by Rome, allowing local control to govern effectively and providing military protection. In the early 4th century, Constantine the Great established a new administrative centre at Constantinople, and by the end of the 4th century a new eastern empire was established with Constantinople as its capital, referred to by historians as the Byzantine Empire from the original name, Byzantium.

In the subsequent centuries up to including the advent of the Early Middle Ages, the Parthians were succeeded by the Sassanid Persians, who would continue the centuries long rivalry between Rome and Persia, which again culminated in frequent wars on the eastern fringes of Anatolia. Byzantine Anatolia came under pressure of the Muslim invasion in the southeast, but most of Anatolia remained under Byzantine control until the Turkish invasion of the 11th century.

Hellespontine Phrygia

Hellespontine Phrygia (Ancient Greek: Ἑλλησποντιακὴ Φρυγία, romanized: Hellēspontiakē Phrygia) or Lesser Phrygia (Ancient Greek: μικρᾶ Φρυγία, romanized: mikra Phrygia) was a Persian satrapy (province) in northwestern Anatolia, directly southeast of the Hellespont. Its capital was Dascylium, and for most of its existence it was ruled by the hereditary Persian Pharnacid dynasty. Together with Greater Phrygia, it made up the administrative provinces of the wider Phrygia region.

Oroetus

Oroetus, or Oroetes, was a Persian Satrap of Lydia from ca. 530-520 BC, during the reigns of Cyrus the Great, Cambyses and Darius the Great, succeeding Harpagus, and being followed by Bagaeus. He is described by Herodotus in the third book of his Histories, where he achieved notoriety for the death of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos:

What I will now relate happened about the time of Cambyses' sickness. The viceroy of Sardis appointed by Cyrus was Oroetes, a Persian. This man purposed to do a great wrong; for though he had received no hurt by word or deed from Polycrates of Samos, nor had even seen him, he formed the desire of seizing and killing him. The reason alleged by most was this: — As Oroetes and another Persian, Mitrobates by name, governor of the province of Dascyleium, sat by the king's door, they fell from talk to wrangling and comparing of their several achievements: and Mitrobates taunted Oroetes, saying, "You are not to be accounted a man; the island of Samos lies close to your province, yet you have not added it to the king's dominion — an island so easy to conquer that some native of it rose against his rulers with fifteen men at arms, and is now lord of it. Some say that Oroetes, angered by this taunt, was less desirous of punishing the utterer of it than of by all means destroying the reason of the reproach, namely Polycrates.

Oroetus became the first satrap recorded as demonstrating insubordination with respect to the central power of Persia. When Cambyses (530-522 BC), who succeeded his father Cyrus, died, the Persian Empire was in chaos prior to Darius the Great (522-486) finally securing control. Oroetus defied Darius' orders to assist him, whereupon Bagaeus (520-517 BC) was sent by Darius to arrange his murder.

After Cambyses had died and the Magians won the kingship, Oroetes stayed in Sardis, where he in no way helped the Persians to regain the power taken from them by the Medes, but contrariwise; for in this confusion he slew two notable Persians, Mitrobates, the governor from Dascyleium, who had taunted him concerning Polycrates, and Mitrobates' son Cranaspes; and besides many other violent deeds, when a messenger from Darius came with a message which displeased him, he set an ambush by the way and killed that messenger on his journey homewards, and made away with the man's body and horse. So when Darius became king he was minded to punish Oroetes for all his wrongdoing, and chiefly for the killing of Mitrobates and his son.

Pharnacid dynasty

The Pharnacid dynasty was a Persian dynasty that ruled the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia under the Achaemenid Dynasty from the 5th until the 4th century BCE. It was founded by Artabazus, son of satrap Pharnaces I (younger brother of Hystaspes, who was born shortly before 565 BCE), son of Arsames (died ca. 520 BCE). They were directly related to the Achaemenid dynasty itself. The last member of the dynasty was Pharnabazus III.

Before the Pharnacids, Mitrobates (ca. 525–522 BCE) had ruled Hellespontine Phrygia for Cyrus the Great and Cambises, before being killed and his territory absorbed by the satrap of Lydia Oroetes. Following the reorganization of Darius I, Mitrobates was succeeded by Oebares II (c.493), son of Megabazus, before Artabazus became satrap circa 479 BCE and started the Pharnacid dynasty, which would rule Hellespontine Phrygia until the conquests of Alexander the Great (338 BCE).The residence of the Pharnacid Dynasty was at Dascylium (near modern-day Ergili, Turkey).

After the conquests of Alexander the Great, several women of the Pharnacid family, all daughters of Artabazos II, married Alexandrine nobility: Artonis married Eumenes, Artakama married Ptolemy I, while Barsine may have married Alexander the Great and given him a son, Heracles of Macedon.

Rulers of the Achaemenid Empire
Kings of Kings
of the Achaemenid Empire
Satraps of Lydia
Satraps of Hellespontine Phrygia
Satraps of Cappadocia
Greek Governors of Asia Minor cities
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