Achaemenid Settlements > Cyme
By the 5th century BC, Cyme was one of the 12 established Ionian colonies in Aeolis. Herodotus (4.138) mentions that one of the esteemed voters deciding whether or not to support Militiades the Athenian in his plan to liberate the Ionian Coast from Persian rule in (year BC) was Aristagoras of Cyme. Aristagorus campaigned on the side of Histiaeus the Milesian with the tyrants Strattis of Chios, Aeaces of Samos and Laodamas of Phocaea in opposing such an initiative arguing instead that each tyrant along the Ionian Coast owed their position to Darius King of Persia and that liberating their own cities would encourage democracy over tyranny. Cyme eventually came under the control of the Persian Empire following the collapse of the Lydian Kingdom at the hands of Cyrus the Great. Herodotus is the principal source for this period in Greek history and has paid a great deal of attention to events taking place in Ionia and Aeolis.
When Pactyes, the Lydian general, sought refuge in Cyme from the Persians the citizens were between a rock and a hard place. As Herodotus records, they consulted the Greek god Apollo (supporting the claim that they were of Ionic not eastern culture), who said after much confusion through an oracle that he should be handed over. However, a native of Cyme questioned Apollo's word and went back to the oracle himself to confirm if indeed Apollo wanted the Cymians to surrender Pactyes. Not wanting to come to grief over the surrender of Pactyes, nor wanting the ill-effects of a Persian siege (confirms Cyme was a fortified city capable of self-defence) they avoided dealing with the Persians by simply sending him off to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, not far from their city. In his Histories, Herodotus makes reference to Cyme (or Phriconis) as being one of the cities in which the rebel Lydian governor Pactyes sought refuge, following his attempted rebellion against the Persian King Cyrus the Great: c.546 BC
Pactyes, when he learnt that an army was already on his tracks and near, took fright and fled to Cyme, and Mazares the Mede marched to Sardis with a detachment of Cyrus' troops. Finding Pactyes and his supporters gone, the first thing he did was to compel the Lydians to carry out Cyrus' orders — as a result of which they altered from that moment their whole way of life; he then sent a demand to Cyme that Pactyes should be surrendered, and the men of the town decided to consult the oracle at Branchidae as to whether they should obey ... The messengers returned home to report, and the citizens of Cyme were prepared in consequence to give up the wanted man.
Aeolis, Larissa Phrikonis. ca 4th Century BC. Æ 11mm. Horned (?), three-quarter facing female head, turned slightly right, in necklace / LA, bull's head right.After the Persian naval defeat at Salamis, Xerxes moored the surviving ships at Cyme. Before 480 BC, Cyme had been the principle naval base for the Royal Fleet. Later accounts of Cyme's involvement in the Ionian Revolt which triggered the Persian Wars confirm their allegiance to the Ionian Greek cause. During this time, Herodotus states that due to the size of the Persian army, Darius the Great was able to launch a devastating three-pronged attack on the Ionian cities.
The third army which he sent north to take Sardis was under the command of his son-in-law Otanes who promptly captured Cyme and Clazomenae in the process. However, later accounts reveal how Sandoces, the supposed Ionian governor of Cyme helped draft a fleet of fifteen ships for Xerxes I great expedition against mainland Greece c. 480 BC. Cyme is also believed to have been the port in which the Persian survivors of the Battle of Salamis wintered and lends considerable weight to the argument that Cyme was not only well served by defensive walls, but enjoyed the benefits of a large port capable of wintering and supplying a large wartime fleet. As a result, Cyme, like most Ionian cities at the time was a maritime power and a valuable asset to the Persian Empire.
Once Aristagoras of Miletus roused the Ionians to rebel against Darius, Cyme joined the insurrection. However, the revolts at Cyme were quelled once the city was recovered by the Persians. Sandoces, the governor of Cyme at the time of Xerxes, commanded fifteen ships in the Persian military expedition against Greece (480 BC). Herodotus believes that Sandoces may have been a Greek. After the Battle of Salamis, the remnants of Xerxes's fleet wintered at Cyme. Thucydides does not provide any significant mention of place is hardly more than mentioned in the history of Thucydides.