1. King of Salamis in Cyprus.
He was sprung from a family which claimed descent from Teucer, the reputed founder of Salamis; and his ancestors appear to have been during a long period the hereditary rulers of that city under the supremacy of Persia. They had, however, been expelled (at what period we are not told) by a Phoenician exile, who obtained the sovereignty for himself, and transmitted it to his descendants : one of these held it at the time of the birth of Evagoras, the date of which there is no means of fixing with any degree of accuracy; but he appears to have been grown up, though still a young man, when one Abdymon, a native of Cittium, conspired against the tyrant, put him to death, and established himself in his place.
After this the usurper sought to apprehend Evagoras, probably from jealousy of his hereditary claim to the government, but the latter made his escape to Cilicia, and, having there assembled a small band of followers, returned secretly to Salamis, attacked the tyrant in his palace, overpowered his guards, and put him to death. (Isocr. Evag.
pp. 191-195; Diod. 14.98
; Theopomp. apud Phot.
p. 120a.; Paus. 2.29.4
After this Evagoras established his authority at Salamis without farther opposition. If we may trust his panegyrist, Isocrates, his rule was distinguished for its mildness and equity, and he promoted the prosperity of his subjects in every way, while lie particularly sought to extend his relations with Greece, and to restore the influence of Hellenic customs and civilization, which had been in some degree obliterated during the period of barbarian rule. (Isocr. Evag.
He at the same time greatly increased the power of his subject city, and strengthened his own resources, specially by the formation of a powerful fleet. Such was his position in B. C. 405, when, after the defeat at Aegospotami, the Athenian general Conon took refuge at Salamis with his few remaining gallies. Evagoras had already received, in return for some services to Athens, the rights of an Athenian citizen, and was on terms of personal friendship with Conon (Isocr. Evag.
p. 199e.; Diod. 13.106
): hence lie zealously espoused the Athenian cause.
It is said to have been at his intercession that the king of Persia determined to allow Conon the support of the Phoenician fleet, and he commanded in person the squadron with which he joined the fleet of Conon and Pharnabazus at the battle of Cnidus, B. C. 394. (Xen. Hell. 2.1.29
; Isocr. Evag.
pp. 199, 200; Paus. 1.3.2
; Ctesias, apud Phot.
p. 44b.) For this distinguished service a statue of Evagoras was set up by the Athenians in the Cerameicus, by the side of that of Conon. (Paus. 1.3.2
; Isocr. Evag.
We have very imperfect information concerning the relation in which Evagoras stood to the king of Persia in the early part of his reign; but it seems probable that he was regarded from the first with suspicion: the tyrants whom he had succeeded are particularly spoken of as friendly to Persia (Diod. 14.98
), and we learn from Ctesias (apud Phot.
p. 44b.) that his quarrels with one of the other petty states of Cyprus had already called for the interference of the great king before the battle of Cnidus.
The chronology of the succeeding events is also very obscure; but the most consistent view of the matter appears to be that derived from Theopompus (apud Phot.
p. 120a.), that Artaxerxes had previously determined to make war upon Evagoras, and had even commenced his preparations, but was unable to engage with vigour in the enterprise until after the peace of Antalcidas (B. C. 387). (See Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. p. 280; and comp. Isocr. Panegyr.
p. 70a.; Xen. Hell. 4.8.21
.) Meantime Evagoras had not only extended his dominion over the greater part of Cyprus, but had ravaged the coast of Phoenicia with his fleet, prevailed on the Cilicians to revolt from Persia, and even (if we may believe Isocrates and Diodorus) made himself master of Tyre itself. (Diod. 14.98
; Isocrat. Evag.
At length, however, a great fleet and army were assembled under the command of Tiribazus and Orontes, and Evagoras having ventured to oppose them with very inferior forces was totally defeated; all the rest of Cyprus fell into the hands of the satraps, and Evagoras himself was shut up within the walls of Salamis.
But the Persian generals seem to have been unable to follow up their advantage, and notwithstanding this blow the war was allowed to linger for some years.
The dissensions between his two adversaries at length proved the safety of Evagoras : Tiribazus was recalled in consequence of the intrigues of Orontes, and the latter hastened to conclude a peace with the Cyprian monarch, by which he was allowed to retain un controlled possession of Salamis, with the title of king. (Diod. 15.2
; Theopomp. apud Phot.
p. 120a.; Isocr. Evag.
p. 201, Panegyr.
This war, which is said to have lasted ten yeas in all, was brought to a close in B. C. 385. (Diod. 15.9
; Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. pp. 278-281.) Evagoras survived it above ten years.
He was assassinated in 374, together with his eldest son Pnytagoras, by an eunuch named Thrasydaeus ; but the murder was caused by revenge for a private injury, and he seems to have been succeeded without opposition by his son Nicocles. (Theopomp. apud Phot.
p. 120a, b.; Arist. Pol.
5.10 ; Diod. 15.47
, and Wesseling, ad loc.
) Our knowledge of the character and administration of Evagoras is derived mainly from the oration of Isocrates in his praise, addressed to his son Nicocles; but this is written in a style of undistinguishing panegyric, which must lead us to receive its statements with great caution.