Warfare > Battle of Thymbra

Battle of Thymbra

Background

Battle of ThymbraPart of the Campaigns of Cyrus the GreatDateDecember, 547 BCLocationThymbra (Modern day Hanaï Tepeh), LydiaResultDecisive Persian victory.TerritorialchangesLydia annexed by Persia.BelligerentsLydian Kingdom,Arabian mercenaries,Babylonian mercenaries,Egyptian mercenariesAchaemenid EmpireCommanders and leadersCroesus of Lydia,Artacamas of Phrygia,Aribaeus of Cappadocia,Aragdus of Arabia,Gabaedus of Hellespont,unknown othersCyrus the Great,Abradatasunknown othersStrength420,000 (Xenophon)300 chariots(Xenophon)196,000 (Xenophon)700 chariots(300 engaged),5-6 siege towers(Xenophon)Casualties and lossesHeavyLight[hide] v t eCampaigns of Cyrus the GreatBattles as a SatrapBattle of the Assyrian camp[citation needed]Persian revoltBattle of Hyrba Battle of the Persian BorderInvasion of AnatoliaBattle of Pteria Battle of Thymbra Siege of SardisInvasion of BabyloniaBattle of Opis Siege of BabylonThe Battle of Thymbra was the decisive battle in the war between Croesus of the Lydian Kingdom and Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus, having pursued Croesus into Lydia following the drawn Battle of Pteria, met the remains of Croesus' partly disbanded army in battle on the plain north of Sardis on December, 547 BC. Even though Croesus' army was reinforced with many new men, Cyrus utterly defeated it, despite being outnumbered more or less 2:1. This proved decisive, and after the 14-day Siege of Sardis, the city and possibly its king fell, and Lydia was conquered by the Persians.Contents [hide]1Situation2The battle3Aftermath4See also5Notes6ReferencesSituation[edit]Question book-new.svgThis section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (October 2015)Question book-new.svgThis section needs additional citations to secondary or tertiary sources such as review articles, monographs, or textbooks. Please add references to provide context and establish notability for any primary research articles cited. (October 2015)Cyrus's plan was to catch the Lydian king unprepared for battle, but at Thymbra Croesus had more than twice as many men as Cyrus. The Lydians marched out to meet Cyrus and quickly armed all the reserves there, before their allies were to arrive, which they never did. According to Xenophon, Cyrus had 196,000 men in total,[1][page needed] [2] which was composed of 31,000 to ~70,000 Persians. This consisted of 20,000 infantry which may have included archers and slingers, 10,000 elite infantry/ cavalry, which may have been the Persian Immortals, plus 20,000 peltasts and 20,000 pikemen. All except the archers and slingers are known to have carried small to large shields. The others were: 42,000 Arabians; Armenians; and Medians, which amounted to 126,000 infantry. There were also 300 camel cavalry, 300 chariots, and 5-6 siege towers, which were known to hold 20 men each. It all amounted to 1,000+ men, partly because there was one citizen, and one soldier on each chariot.Xenophon tells us that Croesus had an army of 420,000 men,[3][page needed] which was composed of 60,000 Babylonians, Lydians, and Phrygians, also Cappadocians, plus nations of the Hellespont. This amounted to 300,000 men which included 60,000 cavalry. There were also 120,000 Egyptians, plus 300 chariots, which may have been at least 500 men. The numbers of the battle given by Xenophon, even if untrue, are considered within the realm of possibility, but less than half may have engaged in the actual battle.The battle[edit]This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)Strategies used in the battleCyrus deployed his troops with flanks withdrawn in a square formation. The flanks were covered by chariots, cavalry, and his best infantry and a newly organized camel corps. This improvised camel corps was formed by camels taken from the baggage train, and its sole purpose was to disrupt the Lydian cavalry.As Cyrus expected, the wings of the Lydian army wheeled inward to envelop this novel formation. As the Lydian flanks swung in, gaps appeared at the hinges of the wheeling wings. Disorder was increased by the effective overhead fire of the Persian archers and mobile towers, stationed within the square. Cyrus then gave the order to attack, his flank units smashing into Croesus' disorganized wings. Not long after the Lydian cavalry lose many soldiers and are forced to retreat. With most of his army intact and the loss of most of the Lydian cavalry, Cyrus orders all cavalry and infantry to attack the now crippled Lydian cavalry. After the cavalry are completely defeated, the Persian army attacks and brings heavy casualties to the Lydian infantry. Most of the infantry soon surrender but Croesus and a small part of the infantry retreat and head for the Lydian capital of Sardis, thus a decisive victory for the Persians. Herodotus gives an account of the battle but does not give any numbers. His account of the battle's progress and outcome, however, confirms that which Xenophon gives later.Aftermath[edit]Question book-new.svgThis section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (October 2015)After the battle all the Lydian lands were annexed by the Persian empire including the Greek cities of Ionia and Aeolis, which led to conflict between Greece and Persia. The surviving troops holed up in the nearby city of Ephesus and Sardis, which was captured after a short siege. According to the Greek author Herodotus, Cyrus treated Croesus well and with respect after the battle, but this is contradicted by the Nabonidus Chronicle,[4] one of the Babylonian Chronicles (although whether or not the text refers to Lydia's king or prince is unclear).See also[edit]Siege of Sardis (546 BC)Notes[edit]Jump up ^ Campbell (1830), p. UNK.[page needed]Jump up ^ Kindersley (2005), p. 19Jump up ^ Davis (1999), p. UNK.[page needed]Jump up ^ Jona Lendering. "Cyrus takes Babylon (539 BCE)". Livius.org. Retrieved 2015-10-17.References[edit]Davis, Paul K. (1999). 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, Santa Barbara, CA, USA:PUBLISHER, ISBN 1576070751, URL.[full citation needed]Campbell, Alexander (1830). The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, No. IX.[full citation needed]Kindersley, Dorling & Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle: a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat, p, 19. London, ENG:PUBLISHER, ISBN, URL Warfare | Campaign of Cyrus the Great

Warfare > Campaign of Cyrus the Great

Campaign of Cyrus the Great

Background

Though his father died in 551 BC, Cyrus the Great had already succeeded to the throne in 559 BC; however, Cyrus was not yet an independent ruler. Like his predecessors, Cyrus had to recognize Median overlordship. Astyages, last king of the Median Empire and Cyrus' grandfather, may have ruled over the majority of the Ancient Near East, from the Lydian frontier in the west to the Parthians and Persians in the east.According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, Astyages launched an attack against Cyrus, "king of Ansan." According to the historian Herodotus, it is known that Astyages placed Harpagus in command of the Median army to conquer Cyrus. However, Harpagus contacted Cyrus and encouraged his revolt against Media, before eventually defecting along with several of the nobility and a portion of the army. This mutiny is confirmed by the Nabonidus Chronicle. Babylonian texts[who?] suggest that the hostilities lasted for at least three years (553-550), and the final battle resulted in the capture of Ecbatana.[citation needed] According to the historians Herodotus and Ctesias, Cyrus spared the life of Astyages and married his daughter, Amytis. This marriage pacified several vassal including the Bactrians, Parthians, and Saka.[51] Herodotus notes that Cyrus also subdued and incorporated Sogdia into the empire during his military campaigns of 546-539 BC.[52][53]With Astyages out of power, all of his vassals (including many of Cyrus's relatives) were now under his command. His uncle Arsames, who had been the king of the city-state of Parsa under the Medes, therefore would have had to give up his throne. However, this transfer of power within the family seems to have been smooth, and it is likely that Arsames was still the nominal governor of Parsa, under Cyrus's authority—more of a Prince or a Grand Duke than a King.[54] His son, Hystaspes, who was also Cyrus's second cousin, was then made satrap of Parthia and Phrygia. Cyrus the Great thus united the twin Achamenid kingdoms of Parsa and Anshan into Persia proper. Arsames would live to see his grandson become Darius the Great, Shahanshah of Persia, after the deaths of both of Cyrus's sons.[55] Cyrus's conquest of Media was merely the start of his wars.[56]The exact dates of the Lydian conquest are unknown, but it must have taken place between Cyrus's overthrow of the Median kingdom (550 BC) and his conquest of Babylon (539 BC). It was common in the past to give 547 BC as the year of the conquest due to some interpretations of the Nabonidus Chronicle, but this position is currently not much held.[57] The Lydians first attacked the Achaemenid Empire's city of Pteria in Cappadocia. Croesus besieged and captured the city enslaving its inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Persians invited the citizens of Ionia who were part of the Lydian kingdom to revolt against their ruler. The offer was rebuffed, and thus Cyrus levied an army and marched against the Lydians, increasing his numbers while passing through nations in his way. The Battle of Pteria was effectively a stalemate, with both sides suffering heavy casualties by nightfall. Croesus retreated to Sardis the following morning.[58]While in Sardis, Croesus sent out requests for his allies to send aid to Lydia. However, near the end of the winter, before the allies could unite, Cyrus the Great pushed the war into Lydian territory and besieged Croesus in his capital, Sardis. Shortly before the final Battle of Thymbra between the two rulers, Harpagus advised Cyrus the Great to place his dromedaries in front of his warriors; the Lydian horses, not used to the dromedaries' smell, would be very afraid. The strategy worked; the Lydian cavalry was routed. Cyrus defeated and captured Croesus. Cyrus occupied the capital at Sardis, conquering the Lydian kingdom in 546 BC.[58] According to Herodotus, Cyrus the Great spared Croesus's life and kept him as an advisor, but this account conflicts with some translations of the contemporary Nabonidus Chronicle (the King who was himself subdued by Cyrus the Great after conquest of Babylonia), which interpret that the king of Lydia was slain.[59]Before returning to the capital, a Lydian named Pactyas was entrusted by Cyrus the Great to send Croesus's treasury to Persia. However, soon after Cyrus's departure, Pactyas hired mercenaries and caused an uprising in Sardis, revolting against the Persian satrap of Lydia, Tabalus. With recommendations from Croesus that he should turn the minds of the Lydian people to luxury, Cyrus sent Mazares, one of his commanders, to subdue the insurrection but demanded that Pactyas be returned alive. Upon Mazares's arrival, Pactyas fled to Ionia, where he had hired more mercenaries. Mazares marched his troops into the Greek country and subdued the cities of Magnesia and Priene. The end of Pactyas is unknown, but after capture, he was probably sent to Cyrus and put to death after a succession of tortures.[60]Mazares continued the conquest of Asia Minor but died of unknown causes during his campaign in Ionia. Cyrus sent Harpagus to complete Mazares's conquest of Asia Minor. Harpagus captured Lycia, Cilicia and Phoenicia, using the technique of building earthworks to breach the walls of besieged cities, a method unknown to the Greeks. He ended his conquest of the area in 542 BC and returned to Persia.

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