A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890


1. A son of Hystaspes and brother of Dareius Hystaspis, who was appointed satrap of Sardis. In the year B. C. 505, when the Athenians sought the protection of Persia against Sparta, they sent an embassy to Artaphernes. The satrap answered, that the desired alliance with Persia could be granted only on condition of their recognizing the supremacy of king Dareius. When Hippias, the son of Peisistratus, had taken refuge in Asia, he endeavoured to induce Artaphernes to support his cause, and the Athenians, on being informed of his machinations, again sent an embassy to Artaphernes, requesting him not to interfere between them and Hippias. The reply of Artaphernes, that they should suffer no harm if they would recall their tyrant, shewed the Athenians that they had to hope nothing from Persia. In B. C. 501, Artaphernes was induced by the brilliant hopes which Aristagoras of Miletus held out to him, to place, with the king's consent, 200 ships and a Persian force at the command of Aristagoras, for the purpose of restoring the Naxian exiles to their country. But the undertaking failed, and Aristagoras, unable to realise his promises, was driven by fear to cause the insurrection of the Ionians against Persia. When in B. C. 499 Aristagoras and his Athenian allies marched against Sardis, Artaphernes, not expecting such an attack, withdrew to the citadel, and the town of Sardis fell into the hands of the Greeks and was burnt. But the Greeks returned, fearing lest they should be overwhelmed by a Persian army, which might come to the relief of Artaphernes. In the second year of the Ionian war, B. C. 497, Artaphernes and Otanes began to attack vigorously the towns of Ionia and Aeolis. Cumae and Clazomenae fell into the hands of the Persians. Artaphernes was sharp enough to see through the treacherous designs of Histiaeus, and expressed his suspicions to him at Sardis. The fear of being discovered led Histiaeus to take to flight. Some letters, which he afterwards addressed to some Persians at Sardis, who were concerned in his designs, were intercepted, and Artaphernes had all the guilty Persians put to death. From this time Artaphernes disappears from history, and he seems to have died soon afterwards. (Hdt. 5.25, 30-32, 100, 123, 6.1, &c.; comp. HIPPIAS, ARISTAGORAS, HISTIAEUS.)