1. Historical Background
In 359/358 BC, Artaxerxes III Ochus ascended to the throne of Persia. One of his first acts was to order, for economic reasons, the disbanding of the Greek mercenary forces maintained by the satraps of the Asia Minor coast.1 The main reason, however, behind Artaxerxes’ decision was not the curtailment of military spending but his will to consolidate his power and discourage the manifestation of secessionist tendencies, similar to the ones that shook the region just a few years before, during the Satraps’ Revolt.2
Whatever the Persian king’s motives were, his order was the pretext for the beginning of the last phase of the revolt in 356 BC, with Artabazus, the satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, in the leading role. The exact causes of Artabazus’ revolt remain unknown. Perhaps it was just a usual attempt at autonomy from centralized power. Perhaps Artabazus felt that his position and/or his life were threatened by Artaxerxes. If there are any grains of truth in the rumour that Artabazus was the new king’s nephew,3 his concern seems more justified than ever, because Artaxerxes is said to have assassinated most of his relatives, regardless of sex and age, upon his ascend to the throne.4
2. Athenian aid
There is no evidence about Artabazus’ first acts. It seems, however, that he soon found himself in a predicament, since he did not possess a powerful army and he was not supported by the other satraps who remained loyal to the new king and attacked Artabazus with 70,000 men.5 At the beginning of 355 BC, Artabazus asked Chares, the Athenian general who had already been involved in military operations in the eastern Aegean Sea, to come to his aid. At the time, Athens was having trouble in the so-called Social War, in which it had been involved since 357 BC against Rhodes, Cos, Chios and Byzantium which had seceded from the Second Athenian League and were supported by Mausolus, the satrap of Caria. Chares agreed to offer his services to Artabazus and dispatched his army to Asia Minor either because he was pressured by his mercenaries or on his own accord due to lack of money.6
Chares’ actions in support of Artabazus was brief, albeit successful. He seized Lampsacus and Sigeum on behalf of Athens,7 he defeated an army of 20,000 infantry and cavalrymen under satrap Tithraustes and pillaged his dominion. In the report he sent to Athens after his victory, he boasted of having won the “twin battle of Marathon”. Artabazus, of course, rewarded him generously. The Athenians initially approved of Chares’ actions and aimed at reinforcing him with more mercenaries.8 Apart from the financial profits they expected, they also believed – mistakenly as it seemed – that Mausolus supported the seceding cities of the Athenian League on Artaxerxes’ order. However, Artaxerxes sent envoys to Athens and demanded that Chares should be recalled. If not, he would offer, according to rumours, 300 ships to the enemies of Athens. The Athenians complied with Artaxerxes’ ultimatum and asked their general to end his action. In the middle of the summer of 355 BC, Chares withdrew, having first mediated for a truce between Artabazus and Tithraustes.9
3. Theban aid and the end of the revolt
The Persian monarch’s intervention brought an end to the Social war and Artabazus was forced to seek other allies. In 354/353 BC, he secured the aid of Thebes, which was in dire need of money due to the Third Sacred War. Thebes sent general Pammenes and 5,000 mercenaries. Pammenes was proven a worthy student of Epameinondas and defeated the king’s army in two great battles.10 However, Artabazus suspected, perhaps not unfairly, that Pammenes had come to an agreement with his enemy and deceitfully arrested him, handing over the command of the army to his brothers, Oxythras and Divictus.11 Only speculations can be made about the fate of Pammenes and his expeditionary force. Perhaps his men abandoned Artabazus after their general’s arrest and joined Artaxerxes’ forces.12 In any case, Artabazus’ revolt ended soon after and Artabazus and his family sought refuge in the court of Philip II of Macedonia around 353 BC.13
2. Hornblower, S., “Persia”, in Lewis, D.M. – Boardman, J. – Hornblower, S. – Ostwald, M. (ed.), Cambridge Ancient History2 VI (Cambridge 1994), p. 89.
3. On the issue of Artabazus’ descent see Burn, I.R., “Persia and the Greeks”, in Gerschevitch, I. (ed.), Cambridge History of Iran 2 (Cambridge 1985), pp. 381-382.
5. Diod. S. 16.22.1. The number is probably exaggerated.
6. Diod. S. 16.22.1. Schol. Dem. 4.19; Dem. First Philippic 24, Second Olynthiac 27-28.
7. Schol. Dem. 3.31 and indirectly Dem., Second Olynthiac 27-28.
8. Diod. S. 16.22.1-2, Schol. Dem. 4.19; FGrH 105 (Rainer papyrus); Plut., Arat. 16.
9. Diod. S. 16.22.1-2, FGrH 105 (Rainer papyrus). On this phase of the revolt, Hornblower, S., “Persia”, in Lewis, D.M. – Boardman, J. – Hornblower, S. – Ostwald, M. (ed.), Cambridge Ancient History2 VI (Cambridge 1994), p. 89; Olmstead, A.T., History of the Persian empire (Chicago 1948), pp. 424-425, 427-428; Burn, I.R., “Persia and the Greeks”, in Gerschevitch, I. (ed.), Cambridge History of Iran 2 (Cambridge 1985), p. 382; Hornblower, S., Mausolus (Oxford 1982), pp. 213-214.
10. Diod. S. 16.34.1-2; Polyain. 5.16.2; Frontinus, Stratagems 2.3.3.
12. Hornblower, S., “Persia”, in Lewis, D.M. – Boardman, J. – Hornblower, S. – Ostwald, M. (ed.), Cambridge Ancient History2 VI (Cambridge 1994), pp. 89-90.
13. Diod. S. 16.52. He was accompanied by Memnon, his wife’s brother and a well-known Rhodian adventurer. There is no evidence about Memnon’s action during the revolt. On the last phase of the revolt, Olmstead, A.T., History of the Persian empire (Chicago 1948), p. 429; Burn, I.R., “Persia and the Greeks”, in Gerschevitch, I. (ed.), Cambridge History of Iran 2 (Cambridge 1985), p. 383; Hornblower, S., “Persia”, in Lewis, D.M. – Boardman, J. – Hornblower, S. – Ostwald, M. (ed.), Cambridge Ancient History2 VI (Cambridge 1994), pp. 89-90.