Battle of Sardis - 498 B.C.

"The sailing of this fleet was the beginning of trouble not only for Greece, but for the rest of the world as well"

After being convinced by the Milesian Aristagoras, the Athenians sent out twenty ships to attack the Persians at Sardis, commanded by Melanthius. Also, due to the help that Miletans gave to Eretria during the Lelantine War, Eretria now returned the favour by adding to the invading fleet 5 triremes.

The fleet arrived at Ephesus and there met up with other Ionian forces. From there they marched to Sardis. They fell on the city and faced little resistance, the inhabitance fleeing the city, those in command there fortifing themselves in the citadel. Their wish wasn't to destroy the city.

Artwork: The burning of Sardis

However, one of the Greeks set fire to one the houses, and as most of the buildings were either made of reeds or had reed roofs the city started to go up in flames, the citizens ran towards the river. The Greeks being unable to put the rapidly consuming fire out, made their way back to their boats.

Persian forces were finally mustered to help defend the city from the outside. Instead of engaging the Persians in Sardis, the Greek forces decided to withdraw back to their ships in Ephesus before putting up resistance.

NEXT PAGE>>>The Athenians retreat

'Histories' by Herodotus; (V 98-102)




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