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Revolt in Ionia

As overlords of Ionia1, the Persian kings installed and supported tyrants in its city-states. By 499 B.C. the Ionians were tired of Persian-backed tyranny and suffered from internal unrest. They rebelled, sending representatives to mainland Greece to ask for help in their revolt against Persia. The Spartan king Cleomenes declined to help2 after he saw the map the Ionian representative had brought and learned that an attack on the Persian capital would entail a three months' march inland from Ionia. He, like the other Spartans, had no idea of the geography of the Near East. The men of the Athenian assembly responded differently to the Ionian plea. They voted to join the city-state of Eretria on the neighboring island Euboea and send military aid to the Ionians3. The combined Athenian-Eretrian force actually got as far as Sardis4, Croesus' old capital, now the headquarters of a Persian provincial governor. After burning Sardis to the ground, however, the Athenians and Eretrians returned home5 when a Persian counterattack caused the Ionian allies to lose their coordination. Subsequent campaigns by the Persian king's commanders crushed the Ionian rebels6 by 494 B.C.

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