Battle of Lade, 494 BC

Battle of Lade, 494 BC

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Battle of Lade, 494 BC

The battle of Lade (494 BC) was the decisive battle of the Ionian Revolt, and was a crushing Persian naval victory that eliminated Ionian naval power and left the individual Ionian cities exposed to attack.

At the time of the battle Miletus sat on the southern side of a very large bay at the mount of the Maeander River. Lade was an island just off the coast to the west of the city. Since then the bay has filled in, and both Lade and Miletus are inland with the river running some way to their north.

The first Persian counterattack, in 497-496, involved three separate armies, which successfully recaptured parts of the Hellespont and Propontis regions, but it came to an end after the Carians ambushed and destroyed one of the three armies at Pedasa in 497 or 496. This was followed by a pause in recorded Persian activities, before in 494 they decided to focus all of their efforts against Miletus, where the revolt had broken out.

The Ionian leaders met at the Panionium, a sacred sanctuary on the northern side of Mt Mycale, on the opposite side of the Maeander estuary. They decided to focus all of their efforts on producing as large a navy as possible, leaving the defence of the city of Miletus to the Milesians. If the Persian fleet could be defeated, then the city would be safe.

The Ionians managed to raise 353 ships. The size of the individual contingents reflected the relative power of the individual cities, and also demonstrated how much more powerful they were than the main cities of mainland Greece at this time. The Milesians formed the eastern wing of the fleet, and provided 80 ships. Next in line were the Prieneans, who provided 12. Myous provided 3, Teos provided 18, Chios provided 100. The Erythraeans provided 8 and the Phocaeans 3 (the city had lost a great deal of its population to emigrate at the time of the original Persian conquest). The only non-Ionian contribution came from Lesbos in Aeolia, which provided 70 ships. Finally the Samians formed the western end of the fleet, with 60 ships.

Although this was an impressive fleet, the Ionians were outnumbered by the Persian fleet, which was around 600 strong. The largest, and best manned, part of the Persian fleet came from Phoenicia. The Persians were accompanied by the tyrants who had been expelled from the Ionian cities at the start of the revolt.

After the Persians arrived at Miletus a standoff developed. During this period the morale of the Ionian fleet began to suffer. Herodotus records two reasons for this. The first was the fault of Dionysius, commander of the small Phocaean contingent. He was given command of the fleet, probably because he wasn't from any of the larger states. For a week he put the fleet into intense training, but the argumentative Ionians then virtually mutinied and refused to continue with the training.

The second factor was a deliberate Persian campaign to undermine morale and attempt to break up the Ionian fleet. They got the tyrants to send messages to the contingents from their home cities threatening them with enslavement and destruction if they fought on, but offering to respect their property and lives if they abandoned the fight. At first all of the contingents refused to listen to this message, but eventually the Samians were won over. According to Herodotus their decision was partly due to a belief that the war couldn't be won, and partly due to the general collapse of discipline in the Ionian camp.

After an unknown period of standoff, the Persian fleet put to sea and prepared to attack the Ionians. The Ionian fleet formed up into a column, and the battle began. At this point Herodotus admits that he can't say who fought well and who fought badly in the battle, as each Ionian city blamed the others for the defeat.

The battle was lost by the treachery of the Samians, who hoisted their sails and left the fleet. Only eleven of their sixty ships refused to abandon the cause, and stayed to fight on. Later the names of the crews of these eleven ships were inscribed on a column in the town square, but in the short term the deserters were rewarded for their actions, and Samos was left alone during the persecutions that followed the Persian victory.

After the Samians sailed away they were followed by the Lesbian contingent. This meant that a third of the fleet had deserted the cause. Most of the remaining crews realised that the battle was lost, and also fled from the scene.

Part of the Ionian fleet refused to flee, most notably the large Chian contingent. This part of the Ionian fleet fought on, inflicting heavy losses on the Persians, but eventually most of the Chian ships had been lost. The survivors fled north across the bay and beached on the southern shores of Mt Mycale. They attempted to escape north across the peninsula, but were massacred when they entered Ephesian territory. This may have been because of a long standing rivalry between the two cities, or, as Herodotus suggests, because the locals mistook the approaching Chians for bandits.

The Persian victory at Lade effectively smashed the Ionian Revolt. Miletus was besieged and sacked, and never really recovered from the disaster. The individual Ionian cities were now exposed to attack. During the rest of 494 and the start of 493 the Persians carried out a devastating campaign across Ionian and the Hellespont regions, but they then switched to a policy of reconciliation. In 492 they even went as far as deposing the tyrants they had restored after the battle of Lade, and replacing them with democratic regimes.

Greeco Persian wars

Greeco- Persian wars were a series of conflicts between Greece city states and Persian Empire between 500 BC and 448 BC. The beginning of the conflict could be seen with the conquest of Asia Minor by the Persians. Persians employed tyrants in several Ionian cities and forced them to pay taxes to Darius, the Persian Emperor. As a result, Ionians broke out in rebellion against the Persians with the help of Athenians. The revolt was crushed during the Battle of Lade in 494 BC.

Darius the Persian king wanted to take revenge on Greeks for helping Ionians. After a series of invasions, the stage was set for the Battle of Marathon. It was first major attempt by King Darius to conquer the remaining cities of Greece. Inspite of the absence of the timely help of the Spartans, the Athenians and Plataeans were able to defeat the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The battle was very important in the history of the Greeks because it was the first major victory of the Greeks against the Persians. The battle helped the Greeks to regain their confidence which continued for the next three centuries.

In 480 BC, Darius's son Xerxes decided to take revenge on the Greeks and mounted a great expedition. Greek city states came together to fight against the Persians. The Greeks understood the importance of holding Xerxes as long as possible to build up their navy. The mountain pass of Thermopylae was chosen for the site of the battle due to its defensive terrain. The Battle of Thermopylae ended with the victory for the Persians, but the distraction helped other Greek soldiers to retreat to southern Greece. Eventhough, Persians won the war of Thermopylae technically, it was a great encouragement to the Greeks.
The Battle of Artemisium was a naval battle between Greek city states and the Persians in 480 BC. The battle took place on the same day of the Battle of Thermopylae. During the battle, the Allies got the report that they lost the land battle of Thermopylae and the Greeks decided to retreat. The battle was so important because it led to the major battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was a decisive battle after the Battle of Thermopylae. Even though, the Persians won the Battle of Thermopylae, the Athenians were able to escape from Athens before the arrival of Persians. In 479 BC, Greeks stationed their fleet at Salamis, a straight between Athens and Salamis. In the following battle, the Persians and their allies were defeated by the Greek Navy. The Battle of Salamis was a turning point in the history of Greece. The battle also led to the growth of Greece and the birth of western civilization.

The Battle of Mycale was a decisive battle by the Greeks against the Persians in 479 BC. The battle began on the background of Ionian revolt. The Ionians called upon the Greek mainland states for help against the Persians. The end result was the War of Mycale. The war resulted in the destruction of the Persian forces in Ionia. The war led to the strengthening of Ionian league and later led to the Peloponnesian war .

The Battle of Plataea took place in 479 BC. The war was fought between Greek alliance and Persians. After the Battle of Salamis, Xerxes I put Mardonius in charge of conquered Greek territories. Even though Mardonius offered autonomous government to Athenians, they rejected the offer. Mardonius responded by capturing Athens. Athenians sought the help of Spartans. The battle resulted in the complete defeat of Persians. Persians no longer interfered in the affairs of the Greeks after this battle until the conquest of Alexander, the great in 4th century AD. The Battle of Himera was fought in 480 BC between Greece and Carthaginians under their general, Hamilcar. The victory of Greece at the Battle of Himera removed the Eastern and African threat to Sicily and the west

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Greeco- Persian wars were a series of conflicts between Greece city states and Persian Empire between 500 BC and 448 BC. The beginning of the conflict could be seen with the conquest of Asia Minor by the Persians. Persians employed tyrants in several Ionian cities and forced them to pay taxes to Darius, the Persian Emperor. As a result, Ionians broke out in rebellion against the Persians with the help of Athenians. The revolt was crushed during the Battle of Lade in 494 BC.

Darius the Persian king wanted to take revenge on Greeks for helping Ionians. After a series of invasions, the stage was set for the Battle of Marathon. It was first major attempt by King Darius to conquer the remaining cities of Greece. Inspite of the absence of the timely help of the Spartans, the Athenians and Plataeans were able to defeat the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The battle was very important in the history of the Greeks because it was the first major victory for Greeks .

Solution Summary

This is a solution about the causes, significance, and consequences of the Greeco-Persian wars. It also describes about some of the important battles and their significance.

1. The Battle of Marathon

Darius I of Persia

The Battle of Marathon was fought from August to September, 490 BC, between the Persian Empire, under the command of Datis and Artaphernes and the allied forces of Athens and Plataea, under the command of Miltiades and Callimachus. The Persian side had 25,000 soldiers and 1,000 cavalry, while the opponent’s allied forces comprised of 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plataeans. Allied forces lost 192 Athenians and 11 Plataeans, while 6,400 Persian warriors were killed and their 7 ships were destroyed. The Greeks gained a decisive victory over the Persian forces in this battle. This battle culminated from the previous invasion by the Persian King Darius I, who intended to conquer Greece. Prior to the Battle of Marathion and during the Ionian Revolt, the Eretrians and the Athenians had captured and burned the Persian regional capitol, Sardis. Darius had vowed to avenge, but failed in spite of the numerical superiority of his forces. The Persian defeat kept the Persians calm and quiet for over 10 years.


In the dark age that followed the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, significant numbers of Greeks had emigrated to Asia Minor and settled there. These settlers were from three tribal groups: the Aeolians, Dorians and Ionians. [10] The Ionians had settled about the coasts of Lydia and Caria, founding the twelve cities which made up Ionia. [10] These cities were Miletus, Myus and Priene in Caria Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Clazomenae, Phocaea and Erythrae in Lydia and the islands of Samos and Chios. [11] The cities of Ionia had remained independent until they were conquered by the famous Lydian king Croesus, in around 560 BC. [12] The Ionian cities then remained under Lydian rule until Lydia was in turn conquered by the nascent Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great. [13] The Persians found the Ionians difficult to rule. Elsewhere in the empire, Cyrus was able to identify elite native groups to help him rule his new subjects—such as the priesthood of Judea. [14] No such group existed in Greek cities at this time while there was usually an aristocracy, this was inevitably divided into feuding factions. [14] The Persians thus settled for the sponsoring a tyrant in each Ionian city, even though this drew them into the Ionians' internal conflicts. Furthermore, a tyrant might develop an independent streak, and have to be replaced. [14] The tyrants themselves faced a difficult task they had to deflect the worst of their fellow citizens' hatred, while staying in the favour of the Persians. [14]

About 40 years after the Persian conquest of Ionia, and in the reign of the fourth Persian king, Darius the Great, the stand-in Milesian tyrant Aristagoras found himself in this familiar predicament. [15] In 500 BC, Aristagoras was approached by some exiles from Naxos, who asked him to take control of the island. [16] Seeing an opportunity to strengthen his position in Miletus by conquering Naxos, Aristagoras approached the satrap of Lydia, Artaphernes, proposing a joint attack on Naxos, to which Artaphernes assented. [17]

The expedition sailed in the spring of 499 BC but quickly descended into a debacle [18] The force laid siege to the Naxians for four months, but eventually the Persians and Aristagoras both ran out of money. The force therefore sailed despondently back to the mainland. [19] Aristagoras found himself in dire straits and fully expected to be stripped of his position by Artaphernes. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Aristagoras chose to incite his own subjects, the Milesians, to revolt against their Persian masters, thereby beginning the Ionian Revolt. [20] Although Herodotus presents the revolt as a consequence of Aristagoras's personal motives, it is clear that Ionia must have been ripe for rebellion anyway, the primary grievance being the tyrants installed by the Persians. [1] Aristagoras's actions have thus been likened to tossing a flame into a kindling box they incited rebellion across Ionia (and Aeolis and Doris), and tyrannies were everywhere abolished, and democracies established in their place. [21]

Aristagoras had brought all of Hellenic Asia Minor into revolt, but evidently realised that the Greeks would need other allies in order to fight the Persians. [22] In the winter of 499 BC, he sailed to mainland Greece to try to recruit allies. He failed to persuade the Spartans, but the cities of Athens and Eretria agreed to support the rebellion. [22] In the spring of 498 BC, an Athenian force of twenty triremes, accompanied by five from Eretria, for a total of twenty-five triremes set sail for Ionia. [23] They joined up with the main Ionian force near Ephesus. [24] This force was then guided by the Ephesians through mountains to Sardis, Artaphernes's satrapal capital. [23] The Greeks caught the Persians unawares, and were able to capture the lower city. However the lower city then caught fire, and the Greeks, demoralised, then retreated from the city, and began to make their way back to Ephesus. [25] The Persians troops in Asia Minor followed the Greek force, catching them outside Ephesus. It is clear that the demoralised and tired Greeks were no match for the Persians, and were completely routed in the ensuing battle at Ephesus. [23] The Ionians who escaped the battle made for their own cities, while the remaining Athenians and Eretrians managed to return to their ships, and sailed back to Greece. [23] [26]

Despite these setbacks, the revolt spread further. The Ionians sent men to the Hellespont and Propontis, and captured Byzantium and the other nearby cities. [27] They also persuaded the Carians to join the rebellion. [27] Furthermore, seeing the spread of the rebellion, the kingdoms of Cyprus also revolted against Persian rule without any outside persuasion. [28] For the next three years, the Persian army and navy were fully occupied with fighting the rebellions in Caria and Cyprus, and Ionia seems to have had an uneasy peace during these years. [29] At the height of the Persian counter-offensive, Aristagoras, sensing the untenability of his position, decided to abandon his position as leader of Miletus, and of the revolt, and he left Miletus. Herodotus, who evidently has a rather negative view of him, suggests that Aristagoras simply lost his nerve and fled. [30]

By the sixth year of the revolt (494 BC), the Persian forces had regrouped. The available land forces were gathered into one army, and were accompanied by a fleet supplied by the re-subjugated Cypriots, and the Egyptians, Cilicians and Phoenicians. The Persians headed directly to Miletus, paying little attention to other strongholds, presumably intending to tackle the revolt at its epicentre. [31] The Median general Datis, an expert on Greek affairs, was certainly dispatched to Ionia by Darius at this time. It is therefore possible that he was in overall command of this Persian offensive. [1] Hearing of the approach of this force, the Ionians met at the Panionium (the sacred meeting ground), and decided not to attempt to fight on land, leaving the Milesians to defend their walls. Instead, they opted to gather every ship they could, and make for the island of Lade, off the coast of Miletus, in order to "fight for Miletus at sea". [31]

Battle of Lade, 494 BC - History

Where did the Ionians live?

On Asia Minor's west coast.

Persia had conquered western Anatolia in 546 BC. In the Ionian Revolt, the Greek cities of Ionia rose up against Darius I , king of Persia.

In 495 BC, the Persians defeated the Greeks in the naval Battle of Lade.

Persia managed to keep the upper hand and the revolt failed.

However, the mainland Greeks, Athens and Eretria, showed their allegiance to the rebels during this revolt, which Persia decided was reason enough to start the Greco-Persian Wars .


The Ionian Revolt began in 499 BC when Aristagoras of Miletus rose up against the Persians, who had conquered the area. Aristagoras appealed for help from mainland Greece, and in 498 BC the Athenians captured and burned Sardis, the centre of the local Persian government. The Persians responded with a naval attack in 494.

The Persian commander Artaphernes had recaptured many of the Ionian cities by 494, and was besieging Miletus from both land and sea. That year the Persian fleet met the Greek fleet off of Miletus' port of Lade. The Ionians joined with many of the islands of the Aegean Sea and had a force of 353 triremes, while the Persians had 600 ships. The Ionians were led by Dionysius of Phocaea, who, according to Herodotus, worked them so hard in preparation for the battle that for some time they refused to fight. As the battle began, many of the Ionian ships were still refusing to engage the Persians upon realizing this, 49 ships from Samos left the line. This act caused the 70 ships from Lesbos to leave as well, and a chain reaction followed as other ships also withdrew. Dionysius' ships fled when they realized the battle was lost. The remaining Greek fleet was annihilated, and Miletus surrendered shortly thereafter.

The Ionian Revolt was crushed, and in 492 BC the Persians conquered Macedon and Thrace. They were not defeated on mainland Greece until 490 BC at the Battle of Marathon. Meanwhile, Dionysius became a pirate in Sicily.

Dionysius the Phocaean

Dionysius the Phocaean or Dionysius of Phocaea (fl. 494 BC) was a Phocaean admiral of Ancient Greece during the Persian Wars of 5th century BC, and was the commander of the Ionian fleet at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC. Although commanding a formidable force, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, his men were worked so hard in preparing for battle that on the eve of the battle they refused to engage the Persian fleet.

Although little is known of his life, Dionysius was in command of the Ionian contingent gathered from the many islands throughout the Ionia which joined the main Greek naval force off of Miletus' port of Lade. Upon his arrival in the naval camp of Lade, he observed that his command displayed low morale and suffered from a lack of discipline. Believing his men were unprepared for the impending battle, he called a general assembly among the camp, he said in a speech to his men "Now for our affair's are on the razor's edge, men of Ionia, wither we are to be free or slaves . so if you will bear hardships now, you will suffer temporarily but be able to overcome your enemies."

He soon began ordering his men to perform several hours of martial exercises a day as well as drawing out the fleet in the order of battle and instructed the rowers and marines in the naval tactics. After a week, dissension within the ranks among Samians and other officers began to appear (particularly as Dionysius, who arrived with only three ships, exerted such influence over the rest of the fleet).

Even as the battle began, many of Ionian ships under Dionysius were still refusing to engage the Persians and eventually almost 120 of the 350 Greek warships abandoned the battle leaving the remaining Greek ships to be annihilated and left the city of Miletus to the Persians.

Dionysius himself however, continued fighting the Persians sinking three warships before being forced to retreat during the final hours of the battle.

Returning to Phocaea, Dionysius attacked several trading vessels and seized their cargo before arriving in Sicily. During his later years, he would become involved in piracy against the Carthaginian and Tyrsenian merchants (however, in keeping with the friendship between Phocaea and Greece, he left traveling Grecian merchants alone).

Importance of The Battle of Marathon:

The War fought between the two leading city-states in ancient Greece, Athens and Sparta.

The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) took place between the Athenian empire and Peloponnesian league lead by the Spartans. The Peloponnesian league was a coalition of the Thebes, Corinth and Sparta.
The war was divided into 3 phases: The Archidamian War, The Sicilian war and The Ionian or Decelean War: phase. The war commenced on 4 April 431 B.C. when the Thebans launched a surprise attack on Plataea, who as a partner of Athens. The war ended on 25 April 404 B.C. when Athens surrendered. more »

Rebel Successes

Persian troops marched to Miletus to destroy the origin of the uprising. Insurgents, instead of going to the aid of Miletus, went to the capital of the satrapy of Lydia and one of the most important cities of the Empire. The governor, brother of the Persian Emperor, was stunned, finding himself in an unprotected city. The Persian garrison retreated to the fortifications. Greeks set fire to one of the houses. Soon the fire spread and enveloped the entire city. Local residents took up their arms and the Greeks were forced to retreat to the coast.

Upon learning of the incident, Persian satraps from nearby territories sent their troops to Sardis. In the ensuing battle, the Greeks were defeated and forced to retreat. The Athenians, despite Aristagoras’ exhortations, went home.

In the Empire’s capital, the destruction of Sardis made a strong impression. The Persians began to act faster and more vigorously, whereas without this event the insurrection would have been considered insignificant.

The Battle of the Delta is known records on the temple walls of the mortuary temple of pharaoh Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. The battle is said to have occurred between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples were a seafaring confederation of groups which are believed to have sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Canaan, Phoenicia, Cyprus and Egypt near the end of the Bronze Age. The invasions by the Sea Peoples were believed as part of the reason for the end of the Bronze Age.

Ramesses had fought the Sea Peoples before and had defeated them on land in Syria. After Syria he headed back to Egypt where preparations had already been made for an invasion by the Sea People. Ramesses was outnumbered and knew that he would be defeated in a sea battle. He lined his archers on the shore and told them to volley arrows at any ship that attempted to land. Next he decided that he had to face the Sea People on the water somehow and decided that he would even the odds.

He enticed the Sea Peoples to guide their ships into the mouth of the Nile where his own fleet was waiting to ambush them. The Egyptian fleet forced the Sea Peoples ships close to the shore where they were within range of the archers. Archers on land and on ships were able to destroy the Sea Peoples. Their ships were overturned and many of them were killed, captured or dragged to shore where they were killed.

The Egyptian victory at the Battle of the Delta ensure that Egypt did not suffer the same fate as Hatti, Alasiya and other great Near Eastern powers. There is no record that the Egyptians pursued the Sea Peoples after their defeat. Some believe that what was left of the Sea Peoples settled in the Southern Levant after the death of Ramesses.

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