Tyrant of the Anatolian city of Miletus under the Persian king Darius I and a reputed instigator of the revolt (499-494) of the Ionian Greeks against Darius.
According to Herodotus he rendered great service to Darius during the King´s Scythian campaign (c. 513) by persuading the tyrants of other cities not to destroy the Danubian bridge over which the Persians were to return. Histiaeus compensated himself by acquiring Thracian territory.
Becoming distrustful of Histiaeus, Darius recalled him to Susa and held him a virtual prisoner. Histiaeus son-in-law Aristagoras replaced him as ruler of Miletus.
According to a questionable account by Herodotus Histiaeus sent Aristagoras a secret message encouraging him to stir up the Ionians to revolt. After persuading Darius that he could quell the disturbances Histiaeus was allowed lo leave Susa. On his arrival at the Lydian coast he found himself suspected of disloyalty by the satrap Artaphernes and was ultimately driven to establish himself as a pirate at Byzantium.
After the total defeat of the Ionian fleet (c. 495) Histiaeus made various attempts to re-establish himself but was captured and crucified at Sardis by Artaphernes.