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The Liberation of Ionia: 478 B.C.

Author(s): Jack Martin Balcer


Source: Historia: Zeitschrift fr Alte Geschichte, Bd. 46, H. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1997), pp. 374-377
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4436477 .
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THE LIBERATIONOF IONIA:478 B.C.


The Hellenic League's liberationof Ionia from Persianimperialdomination,after the
League's destructionof the Persiannaval fleet at Mykale (late September-earlyOctober479
B.C.), has remainedproblematicin modernscholarlystudies.Herodotus'andThucydides'all
too brief recordsof the events in the two years following the affairat Mykalecompoundsthis
historicalproblem,'and in that brevityrests our inabilityto controlthe pertinentchronology
and the events thereof. The crux of the issue at hand is what did the League's fleet do and
whereduringthe year 478 B.C. The date profferedby B. D. Meritt,H. T. Wade-Gery,and M.
McGregor,the authorsof TheAthenianTributeLists, volume 3, for the League's entry into
Byzantionas June478 B.C. remainssuspect.2Thatdate, offered in 1950, necessitatedduring
the springof 478 B.C. that the Hellenic League's fleet raid Cyprus,avoid affairson Rhodes
and in Karia,bypassIonia, andbesiege ByzantionthatJune,events thatprecludedno military
activity along the Ionian coast toward the liberationof the Persian subjugatedEast Greek
poleis. Our ancient records of the Greek military liberationelsewhere, in Thrace, in the
Hellespontineregion, and in southernKaria,unfortunately,do not give similarwitness to the
League's liberation of Ionia.3 But that may be the natureof our extant sources, and not
reflective of historicalreality.
In 1968, G. Cawkwell published in the journal Arepo the suggestion that the Persian
militaryforces directedby the GreatKing Xerxes abandonedthe Ionianpoleis and,therefore,
But neitherthe ATL3 nor Cawkwell's argument
left the Ionianpoleis to Greek"liberation."4
our presentquestionsaboutthose recordsand
and
evidence
scant
ancient
rests well with the
the events in doubt. The problemremainsa critical issue in the historicalrecordof GreekPersian events following the battle of Mykale and prior to the founding of the Delian
Confederacyin the summerof 477 B.C.
Recent study by M. Steinbrecher(1985) has radicallyrevised the chronologicalframework offered by the authorsof ATL 3, and suggests the entry of the League's fleet into
Byzantion's harborlate in the summeror early in the autumnof 478 B.C.5 This suggestion
would place the Ionian rejectionof the Spartangeneral Pausanias'leadershipof that fleet
sometimein the autumnof 478 B.C.; andperhapsthe arrivalof his SpartancounterpartDorkis
as his replacementin the springof 477 B.C. With the Ionian rejectionof both Spartansand
their ships, the remaining military forces then turned to the leadershipof the Athenian
Aristeides. Ratherthan consider only the liberatedeasternislands as the lonians supporting
Aristeides, we must accept the threeancientGreekreferencesto thatrejectionstemmedfrom
mainlandIonians as well.6 How many, unfortunately,we cannottell. Therefore,perhapsthe

2
3

Hdt. 9.90.1, 97.1-106.4, 114.1-115; Thuc. 1.89.1-2, 94.


B. D. Meritt, H. T. Wade-Gery, M. F. McGregor, The Athenian Tribute Lists, vol. 3
(Princeton 1950), 175, 191-3.
Hdt. 7.106-7; Thuc. 1.98.2, 94.1, 98.1, 100 2-3, 131.1; Ephoros FGrHist 70 F191.56-61;
Dem. 23.199; Diod. Sic. 11.60.1-2, 4; Plut. Cim. 7.1-8.2, 12.1, 12.3-4; Nepos Cim. 2.2;
Paus. 8.8.9; Polyaenus 1.34.2, 7.24.
G. L. Cawkwell, "The Power of Persia," Arepo 1 (1968), 1-5.

M. Steinbrecher,Der delisch-attischeSeebundund die athenisch-spartanischenBeziehungen in der kimonischen Ara (Stuttgart 1985), 49.

Hdt. 9.106.4; Thuc. 1.89.2; Diod. Sic. 11.37. 1.


Historia, Band XLVI/3 (1997)
? Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH, Sitz Stuttgart

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375

now prolongedmilitarycampaignby the HellenicLeagueduringthe summercampaignof 478


B.C. witnessed the forces of that Leaguecampaigning,possibly even vigorously, in Ionia to
liberatethose East Greekpoleis.
The argumentof the ATL3 requiresthe improbablefirst meeting of the allied ambassadors of the newly foundedDelian Confederacyto have convened duringthe blusterywinter
months of 478/7 B.C. on the tiny mid-Aegeanisland of Delos, with personalfunctions and
ambassadorialproceduresquestionableduringthe turbulentandrainywinterseason.An initial
meeting from spring477 B.C. on throughthatsummerbecomes more reasonable.Therefore,
we can justifiably prolong Pausanias'478 B.C. expedition to have included the mainland
Greek military liberation of Ionia, and also plausibly suspect Cawkwell's suggestion of
Persianabandonmentof the lonians, for, as we shall see, not all of the Ioniancoast sustained
liberation.
For the Greeksto attackCyprusin 478 B.C. was a majordecision, absolutelyfundamental
to the goal of gaining Persianheld Byzantionandthe Bosporos.The attack,however,was not
to seize and control Cyprusbut to destroy the remnantsof the PersianRoyal Navy stationed
there and to preventthe returnof other Persiannaval forces into the Aegean. While Cyprus
remainedfirmly underPersiancontrol,the attacksdid eliminatea Persiannavalcounterforce
into the Aegean for more than a decade.7 The expedition was decisive, after which the
League's fleet returnedto the Aegean and sailed on to Byzantion,a key Persiangarrisonport,
besieged that polis and took it, perhapsduringthe autumnor winterof 478/7 B.C.8 Persian
controlof Byzantionhadneverbeen secure,andthe Byzantinesmay have facilitatedthe Greek
siege.
As Pausanias'fleet sailed fromCyprusto Byzantion,thereis very little ancientevidence
to suggest Greekattacksupon the Persiansstationedin the Ionianpoleis. Scholars,therefore,
have offered a variety of explanations:no League liberation, Persian abandonment,and
League liberationeither partialor total. For the authorsof ATL3 the fleet's passageprovided
nothingmorethana quicknominalandtokengestureto the Ioniansof mainlandGreekinterest
in thatarea.ForCawkwell,the starklackof evidence led him to considerthe thesis thatXerxes
had directedmost of his Persianforces to withdraw.It would be, therefore,not a questionof
Greek liberationof the East Greeksbut of the East Greeksimmediatelyseeking alliance with
the militarilyoffensive League for theirpersonalprotection.Their issue was not freedombut
the practicalquestion of rebuildinginternalstabilityafter the turmoilof Persianwithdrawal,
thus by necessity most East Greekswould have soughtalliance with the League.10
Unfortunately,we do not know the exact membershipof the Delian Confederacyduring
its early years." Turningto later years, however, in the incompleterecordsof the Athenian

Diod Sic. 11.44.2, 11.60.5; Plut. Kim. 12.5; T. Petit, "Pr6senceet influence perses A
Chypre,"AchaemenidHistoryVI (Leiden 1991), 161-178.
8 Hdt. 5.25-8, 6.33; SimonidesF89; Thuc.1.94.2;Diod Sic. 11.44.2-3; Nepos Paus. 2.1-2;
Paus. 3.4.9; Plut. Kim.6.3; W. T. Loomis, "Pausanias,Byzantionand the Formationof
the Delian League. A ChronologicalNote,"Historia 39 (1990), 487-92.
9 J. M. Balcer, "Byzantium,"in E. Yarshatar(ed.), EncyclopaediaIranica, vol. 4, fasc. 6
(London 1990), 599-600.
10 Ionia is absentin Thuc. 1.98-9andDiod Sic. 11.44.2-3;J. M. Balcer,Spardaby the Bitter
Sea (Chico, Calif. 1984) 330-4; J. M. Balcer, "The East Greeks underPersianRule: A
Reassessment,"AchaemenidHistory VI, 557-65; M. Corsaro, "Gli loni tra Greci e
Persiani:il problemadell'identitAionica nell dibattitoculturalee politico del V secolo,"
Achaemenid History VI, 41-55.

11 ATL3.199-204 suggestedtwenty-fivepoleis: Assos, Astyra,Alaia, Dios Hieron,Ephesos,

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376

Miszellen

tributelists for 453 B.C. and thereafter,highly suspect for their many lacunae, we note the
absence of Ionian poleis at the mouthsof the majoreast-west riversin Anatolia,which flow
into the East Greek Ionian region. This strongly suggests that settlementsat those riverine
deltas were not liberated,Greekruled,or membersof the Delian Confederacy,but remained
underPersiancontrol.The Hermosvalley andits small village of Smyrnaformedan important
coastal zone and outlet for the overlandroutefrom Sardisto Smyrnaand the coast. This area
the Persians diligently attemptedto retain. They similarly controlled the rural regions of
Myous, east of Miletos. In losing Ephesos, however, the Persiansno longer controlledthe
terminusof the Royal Road from Sardisto thatreligiouscenter.Yet to the north,the Persians
still claimed the ruralsections of MyrinaandGryneion.Northof Atarneus,in the coastal and
valley regions of the Kaikos River, the exiled SpartanBasileus Damaratosheld the towns of
Pergamum,Teuthrania,and Halisarnafor his sovereign Xerxes who had grantedhim those
2Nearby, the
urbancenters shortlybefore the PersianexpeditionagainstAthens in 480 B.C.'2
EretrianGongylos, also in exile, held the centersof GambreionandPalaigambreionas well as
ruralregions of Myrinaand Gryneion.I3The head of the Gulf of Adramyttionmay also have
remainedsecure under Persian control and bound to the Persian satrapalsystem of strong
vassalage holdings similarto those of Damaratosand Gongylos. This zone, often considered
partof Lesbos' mainlandterritories,remainedthe importantnorthernlittoralfor the satrapyof
Spardacentered in Sardis. In the Troad, the ruralregions of Perkote and Lampsakosalso
continued under Persian control, and the regions of the Proponticcoast east of Kyzikos
remainedunderthe satrapalcontrolof Daskyleion,just south of Kyzikos.'4
The Persians,therefore,had not entirely abandonedtheir controlof Sparda'scoast, but
retained garrisons in several key regions that could be substantiallygoverned during this
turbulentperiod. The areas where the governmentsof Sardis and Daskyleion maintained
militaryand political control,successfullyduringthe secondquarterof the fifth centuryB.C.,
were the major east-west river valleys and their coastal outlets into the Aegean Sea: the
Maeandervalley from Magnesiaand the ruralregions of Myous, the Hermosvalley and the
villages of Nymphaionand Smyrna,the Kaikosvalley and its coastalruralregionsof Myrina
and Gryneion from the up river centers of Pergamum,Teuthrania,and Halisarna,and the
terminusof the inlandroutefrom Sardisto Adramyttionat the headof its gulf.
The geographical structureof the strategically importantriver valleys that traversed
Spardafrom its core westwardto the Aegean providednaturaland militaryviable routesfor
continued Persian control as did the networkof inlandroutes from Sardis and Daskyleion.
Daskyleion's attemptto retaincontrolof the ruralregions of Perkoteand Lampsakosacross
the rugged mountains of Mysia and the Troad, however, did present problems, yet she
maintainedthat connection. In the mid-century,Persianpresence in the Troadjust beyond
Sigeion persistedas a majorproblemfor thatEast Greekpolis.15The majorloss sufferedby

12
13
14

15

Erythrai(includingthe foursubordinatemainlandkomaiin hersyntely),Gargara,Gryneion, Hairai, Isinda, Klazomenai, Kolophon, Kyme, Lamponeia,Lebedos, Maiandros,
Marathesion,Miletos, Myous, Notion, Phokaia,Pitane,Priene,Pygela, andTeos.
Xen. Anab. 2.1-3, 7.8.17, Hell. 3.1.6; Plut. Them.29.7; Paus. 3.7.7; Athen.Deip. 1.29;J.
Hofstetter,Die Griechenin Persien (Berlin 1979), 45-6.
Thuc. 1.128.6; Xen. Hell. 3.1.6; Diod. Sic. 11.44.3; Nepos Paus. 2.2; Hofstetter,Die
Griechenin Persien (cit. n. 12), 70-1.
Thuc. 1.138.5; Xen. Hell. 2.16; Plut. Them.29.1 1; Athen.Deip. 1.29; Schol. Ar. Eq. 84;
ATL 3.196; J. M. Balcer, "FifthCenturyB.C. Ionia: A FrontierRedefined,"Revuedes
ttudes anciennes 87 (1985), 31-42.
IG I3 17; SEG X 13.

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377

the Persians due to the Greek liberationof the littoral regions, however, was the Thracian
Chersonesealong the westernshoreof the Hellespontandthe key garrisonof Byzantionon the
Bosporos.Perhapsonly at Alopekonnesoson the westerncoast of the ThracianChersonesedid
Persianforces hold out.16
This implies, within this argument,that the Persian Empire retained control of the
riverinedeltas into the easternAegeanregionandthatthe DelianConfederatedGreekshadnot
liberatedthe entireeasterncoast in the 470s or even later.Persiancontrolof the urbancenters
(aste) of Ionian Erythrai,'7and Miletos, c.454 B.C.,18demonstrablyillustrates continued
Persianinterferencein Ionianaffairswell into the mid-fifthcenturyB.C.
The Ohio State University,Columbus

JackMartinBalcer

16 ATL3.205-6.
17 IG I3. 14; revised text by H. EnglemannandR. Merkelbach,Die Inschriftenvon Erythrai
und KlazomenaiI (Bonn 1972), 38-47; ATL 1.446-7, 484; R. Meiggs, The Athenian
Empire(Oxford 1972), 112-5, 421-2.
18 ATL 1.328, 346; IG I3. 21; [Xen.] Ath. Pol. 3.1 1; Meiggs, AthenianEmpire(cit. n. 17),
115-6; B.D. Meritt,"TheTributeQuotaList of 454/3 B.C.,"Hesperia41 (1972), 406-10;
H.-J. Gehrke,"ZurGeschichteMilets in der Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts
v. Chr.,"Historia
29 (1980), 17-31; J. M. Balcer, "Miletos (IG 12. 22 [I3. 21]) and the Structuresof
Alliances," in W. Schuller (ed.), Studien zum attischen Seebund:Xenia, Konstanzer
althistorische Vortrageund Forschungen(Konstanz1984), 11-30.

C. ALFIUSFLAVUS
Alfius' shows up in few ancient sources, but those few have not been fully or properly
understood.His unsuccessfulpraetoriancandidacyhas been wronglydated;once we unlearn
that untruth,we can establisha lower terminusfor his date of birthand for his quaestorship.
Early in 562 Cicero spoke publicly aboutthe reactionof Caesarto a recentelection:
C. Caesarem.-dixisse C. Alfium praeteritum permoleste tulisse, quod in homine summam
fidem probitatemque cognosset, graviterque etiam se ferre praetorem aliquem esse
factum qui a suis rationibus dissensisset (Vat. 38).3

2
3

His cursus now reads:"Tr.P1.59, Quaesitor(perhapsPr.)de maiestate,andde sodaliciis,


54" (MRR2.529).
The trialof Sestius ended on 14 March:Cic. Q.fr. 2.4.1.
The contextof this passagemakesit clear thatit was the praetorshipfor which Alfius was
"6passed
over." Although it is not necessaryto cite the Bobbio scholium (p. 124 Hildebrandt)on this passage to prove the point, it is perhapsworthdrawingattentionto this
more explicit testimonium,since it was not cited by Broughtonin his collection of
candidates: et hic tr. pi. actiones C. Caesaris consulis contra M. Bibulum obnixe adiuverat; qui repulsam meruit in praeturae petitione. Broughton also failed to cite Cic. Sest.

114, and thoughAlfius is not explicitly namedhere, the context ensures that he and his
repulsa are under discussion: non tenuit eum locum in quem, nisi popularis esse voluisset,

facillime pervenisset(cf.Schol. Bob. p. 98 Hildebrandt).


Historia,BandXLVV3(1997)
C)FranzSteinerVerlagWiesbadenGmbH,Sitz Stuttgart

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