enero 31, 2014

MARDONIUS AND MEGABYZUS (474 BC)

MARDONIUS

Achaemenian Persian general, a nephew of King Darius I and married to Darius daughter Artazostra.

In 492 BC he was sent to succeed the satrap Artaphernes in Ionia with a special commission to attack Athens and Eretria.

Contrary to the usual Achaemenian policy he abolished the ruling tyrants and restored democracies in Ionia thereby removing a major source of unrest. He then crossed the Hellespont and invaded Thrace and Macedonia. His fleet was wrecked off Mt. Athos with enormous loss and because of this setback he was deprived of his command.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus he wa one of those who encouraged King Xerxes I, Darius successor to invade Greece.

After the Persian defeat at Salamis he persuaded Xerxes to return to Asia and himself stayed behind with a large army.

He unsuccessfully attempted to separate Athens from the other Greek allies and withdrawing from Attica he finally was defeated and killed in battle at Plataea in September 479.


MEGABYZUS

One of the greatest generals of the ancient Achaemenian Empire of Persia. He was the son of Zopyrus and the brother-in-law of King Xerxes I.

Sent to quell an uprising in Babylon (482) he quickly took and devastated the city carrying off the huge gold statue of Bel-Marduk. By melting down the statue he thus prevented any future Babylonian ruler from legitimizing his position which was done by grasping the hands of the god´s image at the Babylonian Akitu (New Year) festival.

He accompanied Xerxes on his invasion of Greece but he later became one of the coconspirators in the assassination of Xerxes (465).

Under the new king Artaxerxes I he was appointed satrap (governor) of Syria and was sent with a large army to restore Achaemenian rule in Egypt. Successful he promised safety to Inaros the leader of the Egyptian revolt who thus surrendered. But after his pledge to Inaros was broken through the intrigues of the queen mother Amastris he returned to Syria and rebelled.

Although he and Artaxerxes became reconciled he later offended the King on a hunting trip and was exiled to Cyrtae on the Persian Gulf.

After five years he feigned leprosy and was allowed to return.
Through the intercession of the royal court he and Artaxerxes became friends once more.

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