Battle of Hyrba

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of Hyrba
Part of the Campaigns of Cyrus the Great
Date Winter-Spring?, 552 BC
Location Hyrba, Media
Result Decisive Persian victory.
Territorial
changes
Allies of northern Media defect to Persia.
Belligerents
Median Empire Persis
Commanders and leaders
Harpagus,
unknown others
Cyrus the Great,
Later Harpagus,
unknown others
Strength
300 cavalry[1] 5,000 infantry, (engaged)?[2]
1,000+ cavalry[3]
Casualties and losses
250 cavalry[4] Very light[5]

The Battle of Hyrba was the first battle between the Persians and Medians. It was also the first battle after the Persians had revolted. These actions were led (for the most part) by Cyrus the Great, as it shifted the powers of the ancient Middle East. The success of the battle led to the creation of Persia's first empire, and began Cyrus's decade long conquest of almost all of the known world. Though the only authority with a detailed account of the battle was Nicolaus of Damascus, other well-known historians as Herodotus, Ctesias, and Strabo also mention the battle in their own accounts.[6][7][8][9]
The outcome of the battle was such a great blow to Medes, that Astyages decided to personally invade Persia. The hasty invasion would eventually lead to his downfall. In turn, the former enemies of the Medes tried to move against them, only to be stopped by Cyrus. Thus a period of reconciliation began, which facilitated a close relationship between the Persians and Medes, and enabled Ecbatana, capital of Media, to pass to the Persians as one of Persia's capitals in their newly formed empire.

Background[edit]

The battle occurred after the Persian Revolt, which is known to have taken place somewhere in the summer of 553 BC.[10] Based on scant sources the battle (which was in Hyrba) is believed to have taken place at least half a year after the revolt had already begun,[11] probably in the beginning of winter 552 BC.[12] Astyages, the king of Medes, who is thought to have also been Cyrus's grandfather, had earlier turned down the request of Cyrus to leave his court and visit his parents again, as he had done several times earlier.[13] Though his request to Astyages was not unusual, Cyrus had made the mistake of asking him right after the revolt that had happened, but through the pleading of the Persian servant, Oebares, Astyages let him visit his parents again.[14] In Herodotus' version, in one of the first times Cyrus had gone to his parents, the Median general Harpagus, had secretly sent a letter stuffed in a hare to Cyrus to plot a revolt, which Cyrus passed the letter onto his father.[15] This matches the account of Nicolaus in which he says that Cambyses I had already assembled many troops well before the battle had started, and that he later despatched a small number to Cyrus's aid.[16] Cyrus sent a message to his father saying "... send at once 1000 cavalry and 5000 foot-soldiers to the city of Hyrba which lay on the way, and to arm the rest of the Persians as quickly as possible in such a way that it should seem to be done by command of the king. His true aims he did not communicate to him.". This also confirms the notion that the battle took place months, not days, after the revolt.[17] Astyages decision to let Cyrus return to his parents is considered by some to have changed history by eventually enabling the Persis province to become the most powerful state in the ancient world.[18]

The motives[edit]

Cyrus was in Ecbatana when the revolt had already begun.[19] In Nicolaus's account, when Cyrus was let go, he fled from Astyages because he knew he might eventually be executed if Astyages discovered what Cyrus's true motives were, which was to join and fight alongside his father, if necessary.[20] This is because when Cyrus was half way to becoming an adult he learned that Astyages had already tried to execute him when he was an infant, but it did not succeed, and as time passed, Astyages came to respect Cyrus for the similarities of character, which they both shared.[21] Meanwhile, Astyages was not sure if it was safe to let Cyrus return to his homeland.[22] Astyages eventually did, and it helped terminate the Median kingdom.[23] When Astyages was tricked by Harpagus twice into believing Cyrus was not a danger to him, even when the revolt and impending signs of danger had already happened, that is when Cyrus knew of how easily Astyages can be swindled.[24] For this reason, Cyrus may have taken advantage of this to bring freedom to his own kingdom.[25]

Meanwhile, Astyages invited the best singer of the Medes, and the last song played by the professional minstrel that was also a Magus, named Angares, which was also accompanied by a girl, disturbed Astyages deeply.[26]

A fierce wild beast,
more fierce than any boar,
was let go,
and sent into a sunny country and he should reign over all these provinces and should,
with a handful of men,

maintain war against large armies.[27]

Astyages tried to call Cyrus back again, but could not get him.[29]

The battle[edit]

Concerning the troops types, it is unknown whether or not the Persian infantry engaged in the battle.[31] It is most likely Cyrus and the cavalry he had escaped with from Media fought directly with the Median cavalry Astyages had sent to bring Cyrus back.[32] Cyrus might have known he needed all his men when fighting Astyages's best cavalry, for when battle had started, Cyrus with his will and superior numbers had the advantage.[33] Which Nicolas goes as far as to say Cyrus first displayed his bravery in this battle.[34] Nevertheless, Cyrus's tactics proved successful in maintaining the war.[35] In Herodotus' The Histories, he hints the first battle between the Persians and Medes, which Harpagus goes over to Cyrus, and most of the Medes either joined Cyrus or were killed, with a small force escaping back to Media.[36] This seems to go in accordance with Nicolaus' account of the first battle.[37]

Aftermath[edit]

While Cambyses met with his son and organized the 350,000+ men, Astyages armed men under and over age for fighting battles, and from all over the empire, to come.[39] And with 1,205,000+ men, Astyages marched his troops out.[40] Most historians consider this number fantastic, but others consider it as part of the reserves.[41] This is because in the battles to come, no more than 200,000 men from either side would actually take to the field.[42] When Astyages knew he had underestimated Cyrus, he knew putting down a revolt was not enough, but a massive invasion had to be carried out, so the invasion of Persia by Astyages, had begun.[43]

Historical assessment[edit]

The battle was the first major blow to the Medes, as this was the first time in a long time that Media had been defeated in a battle.[44] As Cyrus's first Persian victory in the war, it did not go well with Astyages, the king of the Medes.[45] It also caused the northern satraps to revolt, and ally their provinces with Persia.[46] Years after the war, the Persians and Medes still held a deep appreciation of one another, which some Medes were allowed to become part of the Persian Immortals.[47] Since the early 1900s this battle was almost forgotten to history.[48] As most of its account comes from fragments, only in the later modern age historians have renewed interest in this (now considered) historic event which changed the ancient world.[49] This is because the battle started a chain reaction of events which led Persia to become the most powerful state for the next quarter of a millennia.[50]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.1
  2. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.3
  3. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.3
  4. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.7
  5. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.8
  6. ^ Herodotus (The Histories) I, 127-128
  7. ^ Ctesias (Persica)
  8. ^ Fragments of Nicolaus of Damascus
  9. ^ Strabo (History) XV, 3.8
  10. ^ The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar
  11. ^ The Nabonidus Chronicle of the Babylonian Chronicles 1
  12. ^ The Nabonidus Chronicle of the Babylonian Chronicles 2
  13. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 144. In 1 volume
  14. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 145-146. In 1 volume
  15. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-351
  16. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-351
  17. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, Cambridge, England; New York: At the University Press, (1910) p.206
  18. ^ Laymon, Charles M., The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible: Introduction and Commentary, Abingdon Press, (1971) p.440. In 1 volume
  19. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, Cambridge, England; New York: At the University Press, (1910) p.207
  20. ^ Herodotus, Godley A. D., Herodotus, A D Godley. I, 126. London, W. Heinemann; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, (1921-24) p. 144. In 481 editions
  21. ^ Herodotus, Godley A. D., Herodotus, A D Godley. I, 124. London, W. Heinemann; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, (1921-24) p. 141. In 481 editions
  22. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 369. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 370
  23. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 370. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 371
  24. ^ Herodotus, Godley A. D., Herodotus, A D Godley. I, 125. London, W. Heinemann; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, (1921-24) p. 144. In 481 editions
  25. ^ a b Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 348-349
  26. ^ James Ussher, Larry Pierce, Marion Pierce, The Annals of the World, p.109. Green Forest, AR : Master Books (2006) p. 110. In 13 editions
  27. ^ Athenaeus (Deipnosophistae), 1.14 (633e) 6:419 (Quotes)
  28. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349.1
  29. ^ James Ussher, Larry Pierce, Marion Pierce, The Annals of the World, p.108. Green Forest, AR : Master Books (2006) p. 109. In 13 editions
  30. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350
  31. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.1
  32. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.2
  33. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.3
  34. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.4
  35. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.5
  36. ^ Herodotus, The History of Herodotus, tr. G. C. Macaulay, S.l.: Kessinger Pub., (1890), 200-? p. 55. In 479 editions
  37. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 363. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 364
  38. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-350.9
  39. ^ Herodotus, The History of Herodotus, tr. G. C. Macaulay, S.l.: Kessinger Publications, (1890), 200-? p. 54. In 479 editions
  40. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 349. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-352
  41. ^ Laymon, Charles M., The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible: Introduction and Commentary, Abingdon Press, (1971) p.443. In 1 volume
  42. ^ Duncker, Max, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott, p. 350. London, Richard Bentley * Son (1881) p. 349-352
  43. ^ Clare, Israel Smith. The unrivaled history of the world, containing a full and complete record of the human race from the earliest historical period to the present time, embracing a general survey of the progress of mankind in national and social life, civil government, religion, literature, science and art... Chicago, The Werner Company, (1893) p.244. In 4 editions
  44. ^ Justin (Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus) I, 6 (English)
  45. ^ Athenaeus (Deipnosophistae), 1.14 (633e) 6:419
  46. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 146-147. In 1 volume
  47. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 149. In 1 volume
  48. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 149.5. In 1 volume
  49. ^ Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 150. In 1 volume
  50. ^ All sources listed

References[edit]

  • The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar.
  • Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993). In 1 volume. ISBN 0-521-20091-1
  • Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity, tr. Evelyn Abbott. London, Richard Bentley & Son (1881). OCLC 499438104
  • Chisholm, Hugh, The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, Cambridge, England; New York: At the University Press, (1910). OCLC 65665352
  • Laymon, Charles M., The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible: Introduction and Commentary, Abingdon Press, (1971). ISBN 0-687-19299-4
  • Herodotus, Godley A. D., Herodotus, London, W. Heinemann; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, (1921–24). ISBN 0-674-99130-3 (Reprint ed.)
  • James Ussher, Larry Pierce, Marion Pierce, The Annals of the World, Green Forest, AR : Master Books, (2006). ISBN 0-89051-510-7
  • Herodotus, The History of Herodotus, tr. G. C. Macaulay, S.l.: Kessinger Publications, (1890) ISBN 1-161-46596-0 (2010 reprint ed.)
  • Clare, Israel Smith. The unrivaled history of the world, containing a full and complete record of the human race from the earliest historical period to the present time, embracing a general survey of the progress of mankind in national and social life, civil government, religion, literature, science and art... Chicago, The Werner Company, (1893). OCLC 2791262

Bibliography[edit]

Classical sources[edit]

Modern sources[edit]

  • Rawlinson, George (1885). The Seven Great Monarchies of the Eastern World, New York, John B. Eldan Press, reprint (2007) p. 120-121. In 4 volumes. ISBN 978-1-4286-4792-3
  • Fischer, W.B., Ilya Gershevitch, and Ehsan Yarshster, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press (1993) p. 145. In 1 volume. ISBN 0-521-20091-1
  • Stearns, Peter N., and Langer, William L. (2004). The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically Arranged, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Press, (2001) p. 40. In 6 editions. ISBN 0-395-65237-5

External links[edit]