|CONFLICTS AND BATTLES OF THE HUMANITY|
|| ASIA/THE NEAR EAST/IRAN
|Cyrus the Great
To the 4th millenium, the populations proto-elamites melt a civilization in Iranian Khouzistan. They keep close to mountain dwellers of Zagros, Goutis and Kassites. Suze is capital of Elamites. For a long time in relation to Mesopotamy, they are subjected by the dynasty of Akkad to the 23rd century. But towards - 2000, they take Ur with their Syrian allies.
- To the 15th century, Susiane is divided in several principalities, and the town of Kabnak (Haft Tepe) located at the south east becomes a capital.
- To the 14th century, a new dynasty makes the unity of Elam and takes the title of king of Anzan and Suse. King Untash Napirisha, melts a capital bearing the name: of Al-Untash Napirisha (Tchoga Zanbil) in the east of Suse. This city is surrounded of 3 enclosures.
- The 12th century sees the apogee of the power elamite, materialized by the conquest of Babylonia kassite and the sending with Suse of the masterpieces of civilization such as the stele of Narâm-Sîn and the Code of Hammourabi.
- A the end of the 12th century, the king of Babylon, Nabuchodonosor Ist ransacks Suse and rejects Elamites in their valleys where them monarchy bursts in rival dynasties.
The period of recent bronze sees a rebirth with the dynasty Shutrukkides (Shutruk Nahunte, Kutir Nahunte and Shilhak Inshushuak).
The Persians form part of the Aryan tribes which come from the plains of the south of Russia, towards - 1400. They are installed on northern bank of the Persian Gulf, on vacant grounds left by Elamites..
To the 7th century, the events precipitate. The Persians settle in the area called Fars. The median tribes are linked under the direction of Phraortes (Fravartish) also called Kashtaritu.
The first eminent character at the Persians is the warlike chief Hakhamanish, or Achaemenes, which lives towards - 680.
In - 640, Assyrian king Assurbanipal, crushes Elamites and plunders Suse their capital. Cyrus 1st, chief of the Persians must recognize Assyria's suzerainty. Twenty years later, Assyria is destroyed by a coalition which Medes directed by their king Cyaxare (Ouvakhshatra) son of Phraortes, play an important part. He takes the towns of Assour (- 614) and Ninive (- 612).
He found an median empire including the north of Mesopotamy, Ourartou and current Azerbaidjan. Their capital is Ectabane. Combined with the Scythians in the conquest of Assyria, they drive out them in the north of the Caucasus. On the other hand the war carried out against Alyatte, the king of Lydia does not designate a winner. The fontiere is fixed on the Halys river, towards - 585.
Until in the medium of the VIth century, the Persians are the vassal
ones of Medes, an aristocracy of riders and archers, whose territory is located more at North, in
the East of the Zagros mounts. The two people are very close by the language and the culture.
Greeks cannot distinguish them.
Cyrus the Great
Under the reign of Cyrus II the Large one, (- 559, -529), his true name is Kurash II , it is the awakening of the Persians. In a few years, Cyrus which "reigns" on a small area of the south of Iran, Anzan or Anshan, revolts against the king of Medes, Astyage, in - 555, with the assistance of Nabonide, the king of Babylon, and overcomes him in Pasargadae, into 550, Ectabane is taken and plundered. Cyrus becomes king of Medes and the Persians.
Then the war bursts with the kingdom of Cresus, the rich Lydie allied with Babylon and Egypt. Its camel drivers and its archers crush the Lydian cavalry with the battle of Thymbra. In - 546, he enters as a winner in Sardes, the lydian capital, Cresus is made prisoner and he is retained in Ectabane. Cyrus, from 545, annexes Greek cities of Iony ? allied of Cresus. Phoceens prefer to leave Anatolia for Provence and Corsica (Alalia).
Cyrus, with his allies Elamites, seizes Babylon (- 539) where he is well accomodated as a restorer of the worship of Mardouk and puts an end to the empire neo-Babylonian. His control goes as far as Syria and Palestine. He allows, in - 537, with the Hebrews to go back to Jerusalem. His religious policy facilitates the founding of Persian empire. He carries the war between the Caspian one and Indus and takes the town of Bactres.
He extends his domination on Asia Minor very whole, Greek cities of Ionie are subjected, on Mesopotamy and IndeantiqGB.htm#B">until Indus and Syr-Daria where he makes build fortresses. The capitals of his empire are Babylon, Suse and Ectabane. In addition, he construct Persagades. Persia builds a fleet as soon as it reaches the coast, moreover the fleets phenicians and those of the Ionian cities are with the service of the Large King.
His son, Cambyse II, (Kambûjiya II), continue the work of conquest of Cyrus by beating the Pharaon Psammetique III in Peluse. The seat not succeeding, the Egyptians fighting valiantly, the Persians advance while carrying alive cats, knowing the veneration of the Egyptians for these animals. Those could not fight under these conditions! Memphis falls in - 525. Egypt becomes a Persian province. The advance towards the west continues until in Cyrenaïque, the progression is done without resistance. The Large King proclaims Pharaon and becomes insane.
With the death of Cambyse II, assassinated by the noble Persians, the revolt bursts in the empire like earlier at Hittites. These disorders take a national character and the clergy participates. It is necessary nearly 6 years for Darius to restore the order, because more than 9 applicants instigate rebellions which should be subdued. Then he reorganizes the empire into 20 satrapies paying tribute (one of them is named Arabaya and corresponds primarily to the Sinai) and he establishes a code of laws effective and equitable. He reigns on nearly 40 million subjects on a territory of 5 million square kilometres.
Darius takes again the territorial expansion, annexes Cyrenaic towards - 515, but guard
the dynasty which is favorable for him. By a forwarding in Pendjab, he conquers the areas which border Indus
and restores the "borders" of Cyrus in India, towards - 512. Towards Europe, Darius projects to invade the
Scythians, his army passes the Bosphorus and penetrates in the area of the lower Danube. The Scythians
practise the tactics of the burned ground and badger the Persians distant from their bases by attacks
with riders. The Persians undergo a defeat, but Darius is withdrawn before forwarding does not turn
to the catastrophe and he annexes Thrace, in the south of the Danube. It makes build a channel of the Nile
to the Red Sea.
The revolt of the Greek cities of Ionia obliges Darius to interfere just as his desire of territorial expansion. His army runs up against the forces sent in support by Athens and Eretria. The burning of Sardes deserves an exemplary revenge. The first attempt in - 492 fails because of the destruction of the fleet by the storm.
In - 490, the Persian diplomacy isolates Athens and Sparte which refuse the domination of the Large King. An attack by the sea is launched towards the Attic. Eretria is burned after a seat and the Persians unload in Marathon, close to Athens. There, the Athenians, without the Spartans but with Plateans, attack the Persian army brutally and inflicts heavy losses to him. The Persians return at home.
Darius dies during the preparation of a new war against the Greeks. In - 486, Xerxes 1 st, (Khchayarchâ 1st) succeeds to him and must repress the revolts of Babylon and Egypt. He is little reconciling as well on the religious level as concerning the "national" feeling of the subjected people. The kingdom of Babylon becomes a Persian satrapie, population is partially off-set, the temples are destroyed.
In 482, a new campaign is carefully prepared with means more considerable than in - 490. The Persian army crosses Greece of North and crosses the obstacle of the procession of Thermopyles, plunders Athens and the Attic. But his fleet is severely overcome in Salamine. Xerxes leaves Greece, Mardonios and his army.
In - 479, persian army is overcome in Platea by a Greek coalition ordered by king of Sparte Pausanias. The Persian fleet remainder sinks with the course Mycale. This countryside is a complete failure. The Greeks have from now on the initiative of the operations.
It is the last attempt at invasion of Greece by the Achaemenid Persians.
On the Ionian coast, the Persians are driven out Greek cities. The League of Delos gathers the main part of the Greeks around Athens. And towards - 466, the Persian fleet of the Aegean Sea is non-existent.
Xerxes does not think any more of the war and remains in his palates where he is assassinated towards - 465. His son and successor, Artaxerxes 1er Long Hand (Artakhchathrâ) runs up against revolt of his brother satrap of Bactriane. He eliminates all his brothers then turns to Egypt in boiling. It is the revolt of Inaros, a Libyan chief, directed by Amyrtee de Saïs and supported militarily by Athens. Towards - 460, the Persians undergo a defeat and their fleet is destroyed, they send a strong army to restore the situation in - 460. The Athenian fleet of help is burned on the Nile Artaxerxes 1st exempts Persian gold to oppose Sparte in Athens.
Themistocle, shown treason by Sparte, finds refuge at Artaxerxes which appoints it Magnesia governor.
Free of its movements because of the war between Sparte and Athens, Artaxerxes 1st takes again the control of the Ionians cities. He must face many revolts of satraps. He is never on the head of his army.
Towards - 450, the Athenians want to be established in Cyprus. Cimon directs forwarding against the Persians and dies in the head office of Cition. The Persians are driven out of Island.
In - 449/ - 448, it is the end of the Persian wars, with the peace of Callias which guarantees the autonomy of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, Artaxerxes is committed not intervening there militarily. It is the recognition of the Athenian preponderance.
But the Peloponnesian War bursts towards - 431 and Athens is in difficulty towards Sparte. Artaxerxe dies into 425. Darius II Ochos, arrived on the throne after a new fratricidal fight, wants to restore his power on the Ionians cities. But he signs a treaty of friendship proposed by the Athenians.
After the disaster undergone by Athenians in Sicily, Sparte dominates in Attic and forgetting any Greek solidarity, wants to replace Athens like dominant power.
Persia and Sparte are combined against the Athenian empire at the price of the restitution of the Greek cities having belonged to the large King However Darius II helps alternatively Sparte and Athens to exhaust them. Two Persian satraps, Pharnabaze and Tissapherne, get to the Spartans the means of building a fleet. Athens resists and is raised towards - 410. Sparte also has a large warrior, Lysandre supported by Cyrus the Younger, brother of the Large King and satrap of Lydie. In - 405, Sparte overcomes Athens in a decisive way. Persia is the first winner of the Peloponnesian War.
When, in - 404, Artaxerxes II Mnemon ("which has memory"), succeeds Darius II, the empire is vulnerable but the Greeks are divided so much that the Large King referee their conflicts. In his empire, the revolts are ceaseless, Egypt is released, a new dynasty settles. The satraps emancipent themselves in Cyprus and in Decay and the young brother of the king, Cyrus the Younger pushed by the Spartans, raises a reinforced army Greek mercenaries against the throne. With the first combat, in Counaxa (Cunaxa), in - 401, Cyrus is killed out of a javelin under the eye and his army is beaten. The 13 000 Greek mercenaries engaged by Cyrus and who fought well, must carry out a painful retirement, Anabase, led by Xenophon through the Persian empire. This adventure shows the weakness of the Persian empire.
Alliance between Persia and Sparte is broken. A new revolt of Ionians cities causes the intervention of the
Spartan army led by king Agesilas who carries out an energetic campaign in Asia against the Persians: conquest
partial of Phrygie and the Lydie. But Persian gold pokes the war between Thebes and Sparte. Agesilas carries
out a return precipitated in Greece to face a new coalition. The Evagoras satrap starts a revolt in Cyprus.
In 386, Artaxerxes II convenes the delegates of the Greek cities for the Peace of the King or Antalcidas. Sparte is favoured, the Ionians cities remain under Persian authority. The Greek cities tear, Thebes under the control of the Epaminondas General, becomes dominant towards Athens and Sparte allied, Persia supports Thebes. The Large King orders in Athens to give up his maritime operations: that is the rescrit of Suse.
With the death of Artaxerxes II, the revolt of the satraps is such as it takes 8 years for Artaxerxes III Ochos to come from there to end in - 351. He wants to punish Egypt for his support for the revolts of the satraps and tries the reconquest of those state, it is a failure and, during this time, Phenicy and Cyprus raise themselves. A new attempt succeeds in - 343 and Egypt is again conquered. The Large King restores the empire in his former dimension. The head office of Perinthe by Philippe II of Macedonia worries the Persians which are combined again with Athens. The Persian army drives out Philippe de Perinthe in - 340. Artaxerxes III is assassinated by eunuque Bogoas.
One period of anarchy reigns in Persia. During this time Philippe II, the king of Macedonia dominates the Greek cities.
Darius III Codoman
End of the Achaemenid empire
In - 337, Philippe II declares the war in Persia and gathers the exceeded Greeks of the interventions of the Large King in their business. Artaxerxes III is assassinated in - 336. The same year, Philippe II of Macedonia is killed at the time when he prepares the attack against the Persian empire. Greek cities are raised and Alexandre III, the successor of Philippe II, intervenes quickly and subdue the oppositions. Darius III Codoman goes up on the Persian throne and supports the second attempt of the Greek cities against Alexandre. The latter reacts quickly and more brutally. Thebes, the responsible for the revolt is destroyed and his inhabitants sold like slaves.
After a campaign on the Balkan borders, the macedonian army (30 000 infantrymen and 5 000 riders) unloads in Asia Minor and meets the army of the satraps which awaits him on banks of Granique. The Persian cavalry is driven back. Then macedonian army skirts the coasts, releases the Ionian cities and takes Sardes. In - 333, Alexandre crosses Taurus and meets finally the immense army of Darius III which he crushes in the plain of Issos (333). The camp of the Persian king and his family fall to the hands from the winner; Darius III flees behind Euphrate. Alexandre can conquer Syria. The Large King proposes the peace and the guard of his conquests until Halys and a considerable ransom for his captive family. The Macedonian requires a complete tender, he invades Phenicy and the Syrian littoral to control all the ports. Tyr resists seven months and Gaza two, Alexandre is wounded there. Jerusalem fall in - 332, Alexandre penetrates in Egypt where he is accomodated as a liberator. In the Western desert, the priests decree to him the wire title "of Amon", titrates usual Pharaos. He melts Alexandria in the Delta.
In spring - 331, Darius III charges the satrap Mazeos or Mazaios to keep Euphrate and this one flees with the approach of the Greeks. Alexandre crosses the Tiger not defended and pursues Darius III which has reconstituted his army. Close to Ninive, in Gaugameles (Arbeles), Alexandre meets the forgery chariots and the elephants of Darius. It is a combat of cavalry to 1 against 5. Alexandre leads his attack towards the center of the Persian army where the Large King is held and the escape of Darius III involves the rout of the Persian army. It is the decisive victory. Babylon accomodates him triumphantly, Suse goes without combat, Alexandre resides four months in Persepolis and form a body of 3 000 Persians.
Alexandre returns to them the Greek troops but allows the soldiers individually to remain.
Ecbatane is taken, Darius III, continued in Media and in Bactriane, is killed on the orders of Bessos, the satrap
of Bactriane in - 330. It is the end of the achaemenid dynasty.
The Persian army
The Royal Guard includes 10 000 soldiers of elite called Immortal because replaced immediately by promotion of a soldier of another unit. It is made up exclusively of Persians or Medes. Equipped with arcs, lances and a short sword, they use light shields, in wicker, able to deviate the arrows but insufficient in fray. It is the only standing army in times of peace. The satrapies must provide a quota for the army or the navy in times of war.
The army is organized in units of 10, 100 or 1000 men and is composed of four types of units:
- lancers specialized in the frontal combat
- archers infantrymen for the ambushes
- archers with horse
- heavy cavalry sometimes equipped with armours and equipped with lances.
During the first years of the empire, the army, mainly made up of Persians, constitutes a frightening adversary. Mercenaries, mainly Greek and trained well, reinforce the Persian army. The Persian army is one of only to use the elephants of war. Towards the end, the proportion of recruits raised in the provinces increases appreciably, and is characterized by a diversity of weapons and technics of war. That is to say a more complex army to manage on the battle field