Battle for Cyprus: Herodotus V.109-117:

In this posture of affairs the princes of Cyprus called together the
captains of the Ionians, and thus addressed them:-

"Men of Ionia, we Cyprians leave it to you to choose whether you will
fight with the Persians or with the Phoenicians. If it be your pleasure
to try your strength on land against the Persians, come on shore at
once, and array yourselves for the battle; we will then embark aboard
your ships and engage the Phoenicians by sea. If, on the other hand,
ye prefer to encounter the Phoenicians, let that be your task: only
be sure, whichever part you choose, to acquit yourselves so that Ionia
and Cyprus, so far as depends on you, may preserve their freedom."

The Ionians made answer- "The commonwealth of Ionia sent us here to
guard the sea, not to make over our ships to you, and engage with
the Persians on shore. We will therefore keep the post which has been
assigned to us, and seek therein to be of some service. Do you, remembering
what you suffered when you were the slaves of the Medes, behave like
brave warriors."

Such was the reply of the Ionians. Not long afterwards the Persians
advanced into the plain before Salamis, and the Cyprian kings ranged
their troops in order of battle against them, placing them so that
while the rest of the Cyprians were drawn up against the auxiliaries
of the enemy, the choicest troops of the Salaminians and the Solians
were set to oppose the Persians. At the same time Onesilus, of his
own accord, took post opposite to Artybius, the Persian general.

Now Artybius rode a horse which had been trained to rear up against
a foot-soldier. Onesilus, informed of this, called to him his shield-bearer,
who was a Carian by nation, a man well skilled in war, and of daring
courage; and thus addressed him:- "I hear," he said, "that the horse
which Artybius rides, rears up and attacks with his fore legs and
teeth the man against whom his rider urges him. Consider quickly therefore
and tell me which wilt thou undertake to encounter, the steed or the
rider?" Then the squire answered him, "Both, my liege, or either,
am I ready to undertake, and there is nothing that I will shrink from
at thy bidding. But I will tell thee what seems to me to make most
for thy interests. As thou art a prince and a general, I think thou
shouldest engage with one who is himself both a prince and also a
general. For then, if thou slayest thine adversary, 'twill redound
to thine honour, and if he slays thee (which may Heaven forefend!),
yet to fall by the hand of a worthy foe makes death lose half its
horror. To us, thy followers, leave his war-horse and his retinue.
And have thou no fear of the horse's tricks. I warrant that this is
the last time he will stand up against any one."

Thus spake the Carian; and shortly after, the two hosts joined battle
both by sea and land. And here it chanced that by sea the Ionians,
who that day fought as they have never done either before or since,
defeated the Phoenicians, the Samians especially distinguishing themselves.
Meanwhile the combat had begun on land, and the two armies were engaged
in a sharp struggle, when thus it fell out in the matter of the generals.
Artybius, astride upon his horse, charged down upon Onesilus, who,
as he had agreed with his shield-bearer, aimed his blow at the rider;
the horse reared and placed his fore feet upon the shield of Onesilus,
when the Carian cut at him with a reaping-hook, and severed the two
legs from the body. The horse fell upon the spot, and Artybius, the
Persian general, with him.

In the thick of the fight, Stesanor, tyrant of Curium, who commanded
no inconsiderable body of troops, went over with them to the enemy.
On this desertion of the Curians- Argive colonists, if report says
true- forthwith the war-chariots of the Salaminians followed the example
set them, and went over likewise; whereupon victory declared in favour
of the Persians; and the army of the Cyprians being routed, vast numbers
were slain, and among them Onesilus, the son of Chersis, who was the
author of the revolt, and Aristocyprus, king of the Solians. This
Aristocyprus was son of Philocyprus, whom Solon the Athenian, when
he visited Cyprus, praised in his poems beyond all other sovereigns.

The Amathusians, because Onesilus had laid siege to their town, cut
the head off his corpse, and took it with them to Amathus, where it
was set up over the gates. Here it hung till it became hollow; whereupon
a swarm of bees took possession of it, and filled it with a honeycomb.
On seeing this the Amathusians consulted the oracle, and were commanded
"to take down the head and bury it, and thenceforth to regard Onesilus
as a hero, and offer sacrifice to him year by year; so it would go
the better with them." And to this day the Amathusians do as they
were then bidden.

As for the Ionians who had gained the sea-fight, when they found that
the affairs of Onesilus were utterly lost and ruined, and that siege
was laid to all the cities of Cyprus excepting Salamis, which the
inhabitants had surrendered to Gorgus, the former king, forthwith
they left Cyprus, and sailed away home. Of the which were besieged,
Soli held out the longest: the Persians took it by undermining the
wall in the fifth month from the beginning of the siege.

Thus, after enjoying a year of freedom, the Cyprians were enslaved
for the second time.








Amathus Cyprus.PNG







Research Questions:

1. Who are the people in this passage? (Onesilus, Artybius, Stesanor)

2. Why, and where were these people fighting?

3. Who are the Amathusians?

4. What would have been the battle tactics and strategies of this time?

5. What happened after this revolt?



Importance of Passage


This passage is important for many reasons, first it gives us readers a sense of what a battle was like in the ancient world both the before Battle speeches and antics and the after battle and effects from the Battle. Herodotus explains how different countries and factions got along with each other and how the Ionians came to revolt against the Persians on this tiny Island of Cyprus.

Historically this passage is important because it shows an example of the Ionian revolt and how the revolt effected both the Greek world, and the Persian world alike. In this island of Cyprus, a small mountainous island on the southern side of Turkey, a prince to the city sate of Salamis took over the city and conquer the neighboring lands. His name was Onesilus, and he was pro Greek and sought to vanquish the occupying Persians. He used his influence along with Greek support to conquer the state of Salamis, and then conquer the rest of the states around him. He then used the entire island of Cyprus to attack the Persians at the last remaining Persian loyal state of amathus.

In response to this revolt, the Persians sent over an army led by the general Artybius. Artybius confronted Onesilus with his ally's, the Cyprian city of Amathus, and took on Onesilus's army. Onesilus was defeated and killed in the battle and his army vanquished. Onesilus's brother Gorgus was put back in power and Cyprus restored as a state of Persia.

Some of the other important factors of this article is that it shows the harshness of battle. Herodotus describes how when the battle became engaged, it was a "sharp struggle" and it "fell out of the hand of the generals".This is a interesting point because it you can only imagine how the battle would be so bloody and fierce that the generals would have to be sent in with out of control troops. Also Herodotus retells the politics of how Stesanor committed treason and joined the enemy during mid battle. In Ancient times that would bring shame to Stesanor, if Onesilus would have won, but in a modern perspective it shows how the terror of battle could change men's hearts in the ancient world.

Another avenue of importance is that this excerpt is a small part of the Ionian revolt. It shows some of the facts and reasons why a small island of Cyprus would revolt and why eventually Athens and the Greeks defended these islands and coastal settlements and started the great Persian and Greek War. You can clearly see how the Greeks had influence on Onesilus and why he wanted to revolt and have the island be a Greek land. Herodotus even mentions after the battle that Solon, tyrant of Athens, came to visit his friends on the island. This shows that even after the revolt and replacement of Persian rule, Greece and particularly Athens had a major influence on these people.That in itself is a major reason for starting the Persian War.

An interesting point of this article comes at the end. Herodotus mentions that the ionians were winning the battle at the sea and chose to surrender when they saw Onesilus defeated on land. This is important because it shadows the dominance of the Athenian navy during the Greek and Persian Wars. Even though this is a glimpse of the Ionian revolt before the war it still shows a reason why the Athenians won the battle of Salamis, a major sea battle in the Persian Wars. The Ionians were in no doubt being assisted by Athens in this revolt. The article mentions the Athenian tyrant Solon visiting Cyprus and having close relations to Cyprus. Therefore it is not a stretch to assume that the Ionian's may have had some of Athens ships in the revolt. This explains many answers to why the Greeks beat the Persians in the war and also how the victory in the seas turned the tide of the war toward the Greeks.

Another reason this article is important is because it shows how the soldiers acted before battle. Herodotus talks about a currier, who addresses to the generals horse and weapons and also fought next to his master. Onesilus seems to be friends with his slave who would gladly fight with his master to the death. Herodotus shows us how a relationship between one set of master and slave was, though in most conditions slaves were not treated well. Herodotus also include dialogue, which cannot be confirmed as historically accurate, but you can infer how the characters might have thought before such a battle.

Its also gives us an aspect of the battle speeches that were said to rally the troops before the battle. This is important because it gives us, as the readers, an important insight into what was the main goals for the soldiers to win this battle. For example, Onesilus rides opposite of his opponent Artybius and asks his currier "that the horse which Artybius rides, rears up and attacks with his fore legs and teeth the man against whom his rider urges him. Consider quickly therefore and tell me which wilt thou undertake to encounter, the steed or the rider?" This passage reveals the thoughts of Onesilus before he charges his opponent. He is asking whether or not he should attack first, Artybius's horse and force Artybius to fight on the ground, or attempt to attack Artybius directly on top of his horse. His currier says both.

This article is important because it shows many different aspect of the greek world. It shows the viciousness of battle, the interactions between the greek characters, and the chronological reasons of why the ionian revolt happened and how the Persians and the greeks were both involved in the conflict, and how that conflict helped lead into the Persian Wars. Herodotus describes a detailed account of the greek world and it gives us a small insight into the many marvels of the Ancient Greek world



I really liked all the images you used, I also liked how you explained all the different players in this event. I wish you would have explained the actual event a bit more, over all nice job- Stephanie Davis

The images are a great way of showing the area that is being describe. In the last paragraph you used the phrase in conclusion; you should never use in conclusion. i would try to reword that. (James Carlisle)