Achaemenid Wars > Great Satraps' Revolt

Great Satraps' Revolt


The Great Satraps' Revolt, also known as the Revolt of the Satraps was an insurrection in the Achaemenid Empire when several satraps revolted against Artaxerxes II Mnemon. The revolt started under the satrap of Cappadocia named Datames who was a brilliant military leader that recently inherited his position from his father Camissares in 384 BC.

The revolt officially began after Datames had problems with the Persian court in 372 BC and Artaxerxes II order the satraps of Lydia and Lycia named Autophradates and Artumpara to quash the young upstart satrap. However, this attack was ultimately unsuccessful and the revolt continued.

Datames would be later joined by Ariobarzanes who was ruling as the satrap of Phrygia until the legitimate heir named Artabazus could assume control. However, as he came of age Ariobarzanes refused to relinquish control of the satrapy and joined the revolt under Datames in 366 BC. Ariobarzanes sought foreign aid in his revolt against the Persians and was assisted by King Agesilaus II of Sparta.

After joining the revolt, Ariobarzanes was besieged by Mausolus of Caria and Autophradates until Agesilaus was able to negotiate them to back off. Ariobarzanes would later be betrayed and killed by his own son named Mithridates II of Cius in 363 BC. However, the following year another satrap named Orontes I revolted after he was order by Artaxerxes II to move to Mysia. Due to his noble birth, the other satraps quickly recognized him as the leader.

However, later Orontes I would attempt to compromise and negotiate with the Persians which led to the betrayal of the other satraps and the demise of the revolt. In exchange for submitting to the Persians he was given command over much of the Aegean Coast and began the Orontid Dynasty. The initial rebel leader Datames would be killed after his son-in-law named Mitrobarzanes betrayed him. The other satraps were pardoned and thus ended the Great Satraps' Revolt.

Ariobarzanes sought foreign aid and he received it from King Agesilaus II of Sparta. Ariobarzanes withstood a siege from Mausolus of Caria and Autophradates of Lydia until Agesilaus negotiated the besiegers' retreat. Ariobarzanes was killed in 363, betrayed by his son Mithradates. In 362 Orontes, satrap of Armenia, revolted after he was ordered by the King to move to Mysia. His noble birth led the other satraps to recognize him as leader of the revolt, but Orontes later sought a compromise with the King and betrayed the other satraps, and the rebellion collapsed shortly afterward. Orontes received much of the Aegean coast while Datames was killed after his son in law Mitrobarzanes betrayed him. Ariobarzanes was also killed, but the other satraps were pardoned, thus ending the rebellion.

Brosius, Maria (2006). The Persians: an introduction. Taylor & Francis. (pg. 28-29) ISBN 9780415320894.

Gershevitch, Ilya (1985). The Cambridge history of Iran: The Median and Achaemenian periods. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521246996. p 386

Heskel, Julia (1997). The North Aegean wars, 371-360 B.C. Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 9783515069175. p. 94

Nelson Frye, Richard (1984). The history of ancient Iran. Vol 3. C.H.Beck. ISBN 9783406093975.

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