Posts Tagged With: Ephesus

Arrian I.18.1-9

In This Chapter
More cities come over to Alexander; Miletus resists

Magnesia and Tralles
While Alexander was still in Ephesus, embassies from Magnesia and Tralles came to surrender their cities. Alexander sent Parmenion to take possession of both, assigning him no less than 5,000 men and 200 horse for the mission.

The Aeolian and Ionian Cities
At the same time, he sent Alcimachus son of Agathocles ‘to the Aeolian cities and those in Ionia still under barbarian control’ (Arr. I.18.1).

Arrian records Alcimachus’ orders as being,

… to overthrow the oligarchies and install democracies throughout, to restore [the cities] local legislation… and to remit the tribute they had been paying to the barbarians.

Arrian I.18.2

Alexander gave Alcimachus a detachment similar in size to Parmenion’s. This means that nearly a third of his army had now left the main camp. When you consider that Alexander left 10,000 men in Macedon to protect the country and keep Greece subjugated, the 10,000 that he sent to take the various cities shows that despite his early success(es), he took nothing for granted. Alexander had won a battle but he knew that didn’t mean he had won Asia Minor. Having seen Persian rule fall, any of the cities might make a bid for full independence. They had to know that the Macedonians were in control now – by force if necessary.

The example of Miletus shows that Alexander was right to be cautious.

Miletus
Initially, its garrison commander, Hegesistratus, had offered to surrender the city but when he found out that a Persian naval force was approaching he backed out and the city gates remained closed.

Upon reaching Miletus, Alexander took the outer city with ease – it had been abandoned. The loss of the outer city was of no consequence to Hegesistratus – he knew he would be able to endure a siege as long as the Persian navy could reach him.

However, Alexander still had his fleet, and it reached Miletus before the Persians. Upon seeing it, the Persian naval force backed off.

Alexander vs Parmenion
At this point, Parmenion – now returned from Magnesia and Tralles – tried to persuade Alexander to wage a naval battle. Arrian tells us that he gave several reasons for this; the one Arrian focuses on, though, was the fact that an eagle ‘had been seen perching on the beach astern of Alexander’s ships’ (Arr. I.18.6). For Parmenion, a naval battle was a win-win opportunity: if we win, the whole campaign is given a great boost; if we lose, so what; ‘the Persians… simply retain their present domination of the sea’ (Ibid).

But Alexander was having none of it:-

  • The Persian naval force was much larger than the Macedonian. It made no sense to challenge it on those grounds
  • The Macedonian sailers were not as experienced as the Persians’ (who came from sea faring nations such as Cyprus and Phoenicia)
  • A defeat would, in fact, damage their reputation and encourage their enemies in Greece
  • The fact that the eagle was seen ‘perching on land suggested to [Alexander] that it meant he would defeat the Persian fleet from the land’ (Arr. I.18.9)

In short, Alexander was ‘not prepared to expose Macedonian expertise and daring to the barbarians on an element where there could be no guarantee of success’ (Arr. I.18.8)

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Arrian I.17.1-12

In This Chapter
Alexander takes Sardis and Ephesus

Calas
In the days following his victory at the Battle of the Granicus River, Alexander turned to the now changed political situation in the region. With the death of Arsites, the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia was now vacant. He appointed an officer named Calas to the role.

Alexander’s Political Methodology
A consistent feature of Alexander’s kingship is how he dealt with conquered territories on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, as in the case of Phrygia, he appointed a Macedonian governor. On other occasions, he appointed a Persian to the role, or else let the previous governor remain in office. As we shall see with King Porus, Alexander was also content to allow kings to remain in situ – as long as, of course, they were loyal.

In light of this, we can say that Alexander did not have a philosophy of power. He was, in one sense at least, a pragmatist. Could this be the reason why he refused to change Phrygia’s tax level? After Calas was appointed satrap, Alexander confirmed that the province would be required to keep paying the same taxes as it had under Darius III.

Zeleia and Dascylium
With Phrygia taken care of, Alexander turned to Zeleia and Dascylium.

Zeleians had fought in the satrapal army. After its defeat, the city’s inhabitants fled into the mountains to escape Macedonian reprisals. Now, however, they came back down to surrender themselves. For his part, Alexander told them to go home and absolved them from blame for fighting against him – ‘he recognized that they had been forced to fight on the barbarian side’ (Arr. I.17.2). The way Arrian writes it, it looks like the Zeleians decided to surrender themselves and were then absolved. I suspect, however, that Alexander sent messengers to tell them that they were in no danger. It doesn’t make sense that they would flee and then return without any guarantee of avoiding the fate that they had tried to run away from.

Alexander’s last action before moving on from the Granicus region was to send Parmenion to Dascylium. Its Persian garrison had left the city so taking it was a formality.

Sardis
Alexander marched on Sardis from the Granicus River. When he was still eight miles from it, Mithrenes, ‘commander of the citadel garrison’ (Arr. I.17.3) and the city’s civilian leaders came out to meet him. ‘Mithrenes surrendered the citadel and treasury’ (Arr. I.17.4), and the civilian leaders surrendered the city.

Alexander marched to within two miles of Sardis before sending Amyntas son of Andromenes into it to take control of the citadel. As a reward for surrendering, Alexander ‘kept Mithrenes with him in a position of honour’. He also let the Sardians – and Lydians at large – keep their traditional institutions and independence.

It is interesting to compare Alexander’s response to Sardis and Phrygia. You might have thought that being a glory seeker, he would value those who made a noble stand against him rather than those who simply gave way. Sometimes – as in the case of Porus – he did but as we see here, not always.

Why might this have been so? To paraphrase the writer, there’s a time for fighting, and a time for making peace. Alexander was a glory seeker but he was not a war monger. If he could get his way through peaceful means then he would do it. So, why was it a time for making peace rather than war? At a guess, I would say that Alexander did not want to fight again so soon after the Granicus battle; his men needed time to recover.

Once Amyntas had taken the city, Alexander entered it. He went to the citadel and was impressed by its strength. The idea of building a temple there occurred to him but while he was searching for a suitable building site, a thunder storm struck. Arrian says that the downpour took place ‘exactly where the Lydian royal palace stood’ (Arr. I.17.6). Alexander saw the will of the gods in this and acquiesced: he gave orders for the temple to be built on the site of the palace.

A Tripartite Government
Macedonian rule over Sardis was split between Pausanias (citadel) and Nicias (assessment & collection of tribute). Asander son of Philotas was given the satrapy of Lydia.

Sardis represents the first occasion in Arrian that we see Alexander splitting authority in one place between more than one person. The most famous example of this happening is in Egypt. The likely reason he did so there is because Egypt was too big and too powerful (in terms of wealth and defence capabilities) to be given to one person. Perhaps Sardis was the same: as we saw above, Alexander recognised the strength of the citadel.

Further Orders
Arrian notes that Alexander sent Calas, the new satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, and Alexander son of Aëropus to ‘Memnon’s territory’ (Arr. I.17.8) with a number of troops. Alexander son of Aëropus was a man lucky to be alive: ‘[h]is brothers, Heromenes and Arrhabaeus, were both executed for their alleged complicity in the ‘plot’ to assassinate Philip II’ (Heckel, p.19). Following Philip’s death, the son of Aëropus (who we also call Alexander Lyncestis) was the first to declare Alexander III ‘king’. This probably saved his life. Unfortunately, he subsequently either turned against Alexander or was set up. Either way, he was arrested, and after being held under arrest for some time, executed in the aftermath of the Philotas affair.

Ephesus
Upon hearing the result of the Battle of the Granicus River, the Persian garrison in Ephesus – which was comprised of mercenary troops – fled. With them went Amyntas son of Antiochus. He was a man used to being on the run, having fled Macedon in order to get away from Alexander. Why? Arrian tells us that Alexander hadn’t hurt him but that Amyntas simply disliked or hated the king and ‘thought it would be an indignity to meet with any unpleasant reprisal from him’ (Arr. I.17.9).

Alexander hurried towards Ephesus, reaching it after three days. The city immediately fell into his hands. Alexander allowed those Ephesians who had been forced into exile for supporting him to return. He abolished the city’s oligarchy, instituted a democracy, and ordered that taxes should now be paid to the temple of Artemis.

The oligarchs had ruled Ephesus badly. Arrian records that as well as inviting the Persian army into the city, they had,

… plundered the sanctuary of Artemis… pulled down the statue of Philip [of Macedon] in the sanctuary and dug up the grave of Heropythus, the liberator of the city…

Arrian I.17.11

Retribution against the oligarchs was swift and bloody. It got so bad that Alexander had to step in to prevent further bloodshed – especially against the innocent. Arrian concludes this chapter by saying,

No other action won Alexander as much credit as his handling of Ephesus at this time.

Arrian 1.17.12)

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11. Ephesus

Crossing Asia Minor with Alexander

‘Alexander reached Ephesus after three days. He restored the exiles who had been banished from the city for supporting him, broke up the oligarchy, and installed a democracy.’
(Arrian I.17.10)

Text used: Arrian ‘Alexander the Great‘ OUP 2013 (translated by Martin Hammond)

Alexander was joined in Ephesus by ambassadors from Magnesia and Tralles who wished to surrender their cities to him. Alexander accepted their surrender and sent Parmenion to secure the cities. He also sent Alcimachus son of Agathocles ‘to the Aolian cities and those in Ionia still under barbarian control’ (Arr. I.18.1) to secure them.

Amphitheatre at Magnesia

Credit Where It’s Due
Amphitheatre at Magnesia: Wikipedia

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