Histiaeus was tyrant of Miletus in the late 6th century B.C., and a minister of Darius I,
who conspired to help
the Ionian colonies revolt, in 499 B.C.. In 512 B.C. he accompanied
Darius on his campaign to Scythia, and was
left in charge of the boats. When Darius did return in the prescribed time, some of the other leaders who were
guarding the boats, including Miltiades, who was at that time in service of Darius, recommending leaving. Histiaeus
however, insisted that they remain, although he pretended to leave in order to deceive the Scythians. Shortly
afterward Darius returned, and rewarded Histiaeus for his loyalty.
|THE GREEKS PRESERVE THE BRIDGE OF DARIUS|
In return for his good service, Darius awarded Histiaeus a town in Thrace, which was later the site of Amphipolis. It
was strategically located and had both silver mines and timber, so Megabazus, a jealous minister, connived and
convinced Darius to recall him back to Susa as a personal advisor. The city of Miletus was then left in charge
of his son-in-law, Aristagoras. Histiaeus however, did not like living in Susa and plotted his escape carefully.
He assumed that if a revolt in Miletus broke out, Darius would send him back in order to restore order. He sent
a message to Aristagoras by shaving a slave's head, tattooing a message, and waiting for the hair to grow back.
The plan worked. Aristogoras, with the aid of Athens, attacked and burned Sardis, and Darius restored
Histiaeus to his former position. Unfortunately, Artaphernes, a brother of Darius, got wind of the plot
and Histiaeus fled, first to Chios, then Miletus, and he raised a fleet and became a pirate in the Black Sea.
The revolt was finally put down at the Battle of Lade in 494 B.C., and sometime after this Histiaeus was captured
by the Persian General Harpagus. Artaphernes knew that Darius would pardon him if he allowed him to return
to Susa, so he killed him and sent his head to Darius.
Key events during the life of Histiaeus:
||Appointed tyrant of the Greek town of Miletus under Darius.
||Accompanied Darius on his campaign in Scythia. Saved Darius from disastrous retreat.
||Awarded territory of Myrcinus (near Thrace), for his services.
||Aroused the jealousy of Megabyzes, and was sent to Susa to as an advisor to Darius (against his will).
||Conspired with son-in-law Aristagoras to instigate rebellion in Miletus.
||Allowed to return to Miletus to 'put down revolt.'
||Distrusted by Artaphernes, Histiaeus fled to Chios.
||Tried unsuccessfully to return to Miletus, was exiled to Lesbos, and took up piracy.
||Captured by Harpagus; crucified by Artaphernes.
The Greeks Preserve the Bridge of Darius
|Darius the Great
||With six conspirators seized the throne of Persia, primarily through craft rather than force.
||Athenian General who led Greece to great victory at the Battle of Marathon.
||Son-in-law of Histiaeus. Led Rebellion of Greek Colonies in Asia Minor.
||Brother of Darius, Satrap of Lydia during Ionian Rebellion. Lead Persian forces at Marathon.
||Minister of Astyages who betrayed him in favor of Cyrus.