), of Miletus, brother-in-law and cousin of Histiaeus, was left by him, on his occupation of Myrcinus and during his stay at the Persian court, in charge of the government of Miletus. His misconduct in this situation caused the first interruption of an interval of universal peace, and commenced the chain of events which raised Greece to the level of Persia. In 501 B. C., tempted by the prospect of making Naxos his dependency, he obtained a force for its reduction from the neighbouring satrap, Artaphernes. While leading it he quarrelled with its commander ; the Persian in revenge sent warning to Naxos, and the project failed. Aristagoras finding his treasure wasted, and himself embarrassed through the failure of his promises to Artaphernes, began to meditate a general revolt of Ionia.
A message from Histiaeus determined him. His first step was to seize the several tyrants who were still with the armament, deliver them up to their subjects, and proclaim democracy; himself too, professedly, surrendering his power. IIe then set sail for Greece, and applied for succours, first at Sparta; but after using every engine in his power to win Cleomenes, the king, he was ordered to depart: at Athens he was better received; and with the troops from twenty galleys which he there obtained, and five added by the Eretrians, he sent, in 499, an army up the country, which captured and burnt Sardis, but was finally chased back to the coast.
These allies now departed; the Persian commanders were reducing the maritime towns; Aristagoras, in trepidation and despondency, proposed to his friends to migrate to Sardinia or Myrcinus.
This course he was bent upon himself; and leaving the Asiatic Greeks to allay as they could, the storm he had raised, he fled with all who would join him to Myrcinus. Shortly after, probably in 497, while attacking a town of the neighbouring Edonians, he was cut off with his forces by a sally of the besieged.
He seems to have been a supple and eloquent man, ready to venture on the boldest steps, as means for mere personal ends, but utterly lacking in address to use them at the right moment ; and generally weak, inefficient, and cowardly, (Hdt. 5.30
; Thuc. 4.102