Hecatomnus coin, Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology
|Satrap of Caria|
|Reign||ca. 395–377 BC,|
Hecatomnus of Mylasa or Hekatomnos (Greek: Ἑκάτoμνως) was an early 4th-century BC ruler of Caria. He was the satrap (governor) of Caria for the Persian Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II (404–358 BC). However, the basis for Hecatomnus' political power was twofold: he was both a high appointed Persian official and a powerful local dynast, who founded the hereditary dynasty of the Hecatomnids.
Hecatomnus was the son and successor of Hyssaldomus, a dynastic ruler of Mylasa. It is likely that Hecatomnus had been a supporter of Tissaphernes and might have been employed by him in the subordinate office of hyparch.
At some time after 395  Hecatomnus became the first satrap of Caria, which was till then part of other satrapies, usually that of Lydia. The designation of Caria as a separate satrapy was part of a re-organization of Persian power in western Anatolia by Artaxerxes II in the aftermath of Cyrus's revolt. Hecatomnus was the first non-Persian official to be elevated to the position of satrap.
He acceded as satrap perhaps in 394, but no later than 390, when he was appointed by the Persian king to command the naval forces destined to take part in the war against Evagoras I of Cyprus.
He left three sons, Mausolus, Idrieus and Pixodarus, and two daughters, Artemisia and Ada, who were married to their brothers Mausolus and Idrieus, all five of whom in turn succeeded him in the sovereignty.
Alleged collusion with Evagoras
Two ancient sources, Diodorus  and Isocrates, report that Hecatomnus secretly supplied Evagoras with sums of money to raise mercenary troops and was in fact ready to rise against the Persian King. However, the modern historian Stephen Ruzicka strongly doubts the veracity of these reports. Indeed, Hecatomnus had not shown at any other time insubordination of disaffection towards the Persian monarchy. Unlike other rebellious satraps (Cyrus the Younger or Pissuthnes, for example) Hecatomnus was not a Persian of noble or royal blood and could not hope to win the allegiance of other Persian officials. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that he would have engaged in treasonous activity without any tangible hope to benefit from it.
Ruzicka's offers two possible explanations for the reports by Diodorus and Isocrates, which must have been based on some contemporary rumours. In both cases he names Evagoras as the likely source of the rumour.
(i) Evagoras might have wanted to compromise Hecatomnus in the eyes of his master, Artaxerxes. Later, he managed to engineer the recall and disgrace of another satrap (Orontes) who was campainginig against him.
(ii) Evagoras might have wanted to create the impression that Hecatomnus was his secret ally in order to impress the Egyptian king Acoris with whom he was negotiating for support against Artaxerxes. From Egypt the rumour could have filtered to Athens through the Athenian general Chabrias who was then serving with Acoris as a military adviser.
Hecatomnus was a native of Mylasa, and made that city his capital and the seat of his government: hence we find on his coins the figure of Zeus Labrandenos, represented as walking and carrying a labrys over his shoulder, from the celebrated temple of that name near Mylasa.
In August 2010, law enforcement officials arresting individuals believed to be digging for antiquities discovered what Turkish officials believe to be the tomb of Hecatomnus. A marble sarcophagus and numerous frescoes were discovered in the tomb, although officials also believed many relics had already been taken from the tomb and sold on the black market.
- Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Hecatomnus", Boston, (1867)
- Stephen Ruzicka, Politics of a Persian Dynasty. The Hecatomnids in the Fourth Century B.C., University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
- Ruzicka, pp. 18-19
- Tissaphernes who was satrap of Lydia and Caria was executed in 395.
- John Hazel, Who's Who in the Greek World, p. 110
- Susan M. Sherwin-White, Ancient Cos, 1978, p. 41
- Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 176; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xiv. 98
- Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, "Panegyricus", 162
- Ruzicka, p. 29
- Strabo, Geography, xiv. 2; Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, i. 23
- Diodorus, xv. 2
- Ruzicka, p.27
- Ruzicka, p. 27
- Ruzicka, p.28
- Strabo, ibid.
- "Turkey Discovers Ancient Underground Tomb." Associated Press. August 13, 2010.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.