People > Pactyes



Pactyes was the Lydian put in charge of civil administration and gathering Croesus's gold, when Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia, c.546 BC. He led a revolt against Cyrus and Tabalus the Persian military commander or Satrap whom Cyrus had put in charge of Lydia. When Pactyes discovered that Cyrus intended to send an army against him, he fled to Cyme, who passed him on to Mytilene, from which he fled to Chios, and was finally captured by the Persians.

Pactyes is a historical figure known primarily from ancient Greek accounts, notably Herodotus, and is associated with events during the reign of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Here's an overview of Pactyes's significance. Pactyes was a Lydian, residing in the region of Lydia in western Anatolia during the time of Cyrus the Lydia had been subjugated by the Persians, becoming a satrapy (province) of the Achaemenid Empire. Pactyes became known for leading a revolt against His rebellion was likely triggered by resentment toward Persian taxation and governance.

Pactyes garnered support from discontented Lydians and neighboring allies. He employed guerrilla tactics and local knowledge to resist Persian control. Cyrus the Great dispatched a general named Mazares to quell the rebellion. Mazares led Persian forces in suppressing Pactyes's revolt. Despite initial successes, Pactyes's rebellion was eventually crushed by the Persians. Pactyes himself was captured by Mazares. Cyrus the Great showed clemency toward Lydians who had supported Pactyes but punished Pactyes severely. According to Herodotus, Cyrus ordered the execution of Pactyes's son before his eyes as punishment for his rebellion.

Pactyes's rebellion and subsequent punishment served as a demonstration of Persian authority and the consequences of defying imperial rule. The suppression of the revolt reinforced the perception of Persian power and deterred further uprisings in Lydia. Pactyes's rebellion against Persian rule in Lydia, although ultimately unsuccessful, is remembered as a significant event during the reign of Cyrus the Great. His defiance and subsequent punishment underscore the challenges faced by conquered peoples under Persian domination and the methods employed by the Achaemenid Empire to maintain control over its vast territories. Pactyes's story serves as a reminder of the complexities of imperial rule and the dynamics of resistance in the ancient Near East.


Primary Sources

Herodotus, The Histories (I. 153-161)

Secondary Sources

Aristodicus of Cyme and the Branchidae. Truesdell S. Brown. The American Journal of Philology Vol. 99, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), pp. 64-78

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