Battle of the Persian Border

Year: Spring 551 BC
Place: Near the Medo-Persian border [31°04'18.02''N and 52°23'16.84''E]
Participants: Persia ¤ Media
Result: Stalemate, but the Median army suffer huge losses
Consequence: Median Empire weakened seriously. Median soldiers and cities join the Persians under Cyrus

A few months after the victory in the battle of Hyrba, Cyrus awaited the huge and powerful Median army. Therefore he encouraged the Persians to fight for their country and brought the people from the open and unprotected cities into well-fortified cities. 

The Median army under the command of Astyages was marching from Ecbatana, the Median capital, towards Cyrus who was waiting with his small army in the rebellious Persia. They saw the abandoned cities on their way and burned them to the ground.

Cyrus gave the Medes a chance and demanded the retreat of the Median army from Persian soil while accepting Persian independence. This demand enraged Astyages who saw a better reason to wage war on his 25 year old grandson.

Thus it came to a battle on the Persian border:

"Astyages, surrounded by 20.000 of his bodyguard, looked on: among the Persians Atradates had the right, and Oebares the left, wing; Cyrus surrounded by the bravest warriors, was in the centre..."
(Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity book, Book VII, pp. 350)

The mighty Medes who were arguably the strongest power in the ancient world at that time charged the outnumbered Persians with their experienced soldiers.
 Cyrus once again displayed his bravery and courage. It seemed as if the Persians were much stronger than the Medes, and they were defending themselves bravely. When Astyages saw that the Persians kept killing his soldiers without sustaining any serious damage, he cried: 

"How bravely these 'terebinth-eaters' fight!" 

(Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity book, Book VII, pp. 350)

Anyhow, it seemed as if the Persians were getting tired, because they were outnumbered and therefore overpowered by the Medes. So Cyrus decided to retreat into the city that they were fighting in front of. Cyrus and Oebares (commander of the left wing) evacuated the city and sent all the people to Pasargadae. The army of Cyrus was the only thing standing between the infuriated Median army and the Persian people. Therefore Cyrus knew that the ensuing battles against the Medes would make or break Persia and the people of his country...

The Persian soldiers were in the city and preparing to fight the Medes who were waiting outside the city-walls. Therefore Cyrus said this to his fellow Persians: 


"If we are defeated we must all die, and if that must be so it is better to fall in victory and for the freedom of our country."

(Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity book, Book VII, pp. 351)


(Sunset in the Fars-Province, where Cyrus met the Medes,

This caused the Persians to be motivated to fight for their country against the Medes, who were waiting confidently for the desperate Persians outside the city-walls. Some of the inhabitants decided to stay and fight in the city and did not want to be evacuated to the mountainous area of Pasargadae, where they would be safe. If Cyrus lost the battle near the Persian border what would stop the Median army from killing the Persians in Pasargadae? The young inhabitants decided to follow Cyrus and Oebares. Atradates (commander of the right wing the day before) stayed with the old men of the city to defend the walls. 


So the city-gates were opened in the morning and Cyrus and Oebares marched out knowing that this battle was of immense importance. The Astyages did the following:


"... [He] caused 100.000 men to go round and attack the Persian army in the rear. The attack succeeded."

(Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity book, Book VII, pp. 351)


The Medes overwhelmed Atradates who was defending the city-walls along the old men of the city. Atradates was wounded in the fierce battle against the Medes and at last they captured the brave commander of the Persians. Astyages came to the mortally wounded Atradates and said: 


"An excellent satrap are you; is it thus that you thank me, you and your son, for what I have done for you?"

(Max Duncker, The History of Antiquity book, Book VII, pp. 351)

Atradates begged Astyages not to torture him, because he was dying. When Atradates died, Astyages gave him an honorable burial. Meanwhile Cyrus and Oebares fought unforgettably against the Medes. They killed many Medes  and  like the day before the Persians were overwhelmed and overpowered by the disillusioned Medes who could not believe how bravely the Persians were fighting. How could they suffer these serious losses when the Persians were commanded by a 25 year old prince?

Previous Battle     Next Battle

No comments:

Post a Comment