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Τισσαφέρνης), a famous Persian, who in B. C. 414 was commissioned by Dareius II. (Nothus) to quell the rebellion of Pissuthnes, satrap of Lower Asia, and to succeed him in his government. Tissaphernes and his colleagues bribed the Greek mercenaries of Pissuthnes to desert his cause, and then entrapped him into a surrender by a promise, which Dareius broke, that his life should be spared. Amorges, however, the son of Pissuthnes, still continued in revolt, and Tissaphernes was commanded by Dareius to slay or capture him. The king also required from the new satrap the full tribute arising from his government, a considerable portion of which, viz. all which was due from the Greek towns under the protection of Athens, it had been hitherto impossible to collect. These combined motives led Tissaphernes, early in B. C. 412, to despatch an ambassador to Sparta, proposing an alliance, with the promise of payment for any troops that might the sent him, and supporting the prayer of Chios and Erythrae (states within his satrapy) that they might be aided by a Peloponnesian force in their intended revolt from Athens. Through the influence mainly of Alcibiades the Lacedaemonians decided in favour of the application of Tissaphernes, in preference to that of Pharnabazus, and shortly after the first treaty between the Persian king and Lacedaemon was concluded by Tissaphernes and Chalcideus, the characteristic cunning of the former being exhibited in one of its articles, which secured to Dareius whatever territory or cities had been at any time possessed by himself or his ancestors. For a short period after this we find the satrap helping his allies with apparent cordiality, and co-operating with them in particular against the Athenians at Miletus, while they in their turn assisted him in the reduction of Iasus in Caria, and in the capture of Amorges, who was maintaining himself in the place. But disputes soon arose between the parties about the pay for the fleet, the amount of which Tissaphernes had diminished, and it was found necessary to make a new treaty, which specially provided that the king should support all the forces he might send for, so long as they continued in his territory, the article, however, which had virtually acknowledged the sovereignty of Persia over all the states she had ever possessed, being only slightly modified. Accordingly the eleven commissioners, whom the Spartans sent out in the winter of the same year (412) as counsellors to Astyochus, objected strongly to both the treaties, and especially to the sweeping clause in question ; whereupon Tissaphernes, in real or pretended anger, broke off the conference and withdrew. When therefore Alcibiades deemed it expedient to abandon the Peloponnesian cause, and took refuge with the satrap, he found him fully prepared to listen to his suggestions, that the pay to the seamen should be no only reduced, but irregularly supplied, and that it would conduce more to the king's interests to hold the balance between Athens and Sparta, and so to weaken both, than to give a complete triumph to the latter. In this advice, however, the subtle Athenian had over-reached himself; for the view which it opened was so acceptable to Tissaphernes, and suited so well his crafty temper, that Alcibiades could not persuade him to take any decided part in favour of Athens; and therefore when PEISANDER and his fellow-ambassadors came to negotiate for his alliance, their mission proved an utter failure. Tissaphernes now sought to connect himself again with the Peloponnesians, and a new treaty between the parties was concluded, which contained a more stringent stipulation on the subject of the pay, while the offensive article as to the king's right over the Asiatic cities was expressed in more vague and ambiguous terms. But Tissaphernes, with all his subscriptions to treaties, and all his promises of bringing up a Phoenician fleet to act against the Athenians, never intended to give any effectual assistance to his nominal allies, who at length (worn out and disgusted with his duplicity, and alarmed too at the apparent good understanding between him and Alcibiades, of which the latter made an ostentatious display) withdrew their whole armament from Miletus, and sailed northward to unite themselves with Pharnabazus (B. C. 411). Annoyed at this step of their's, and alarmed also at the part they had taken in the expulsion from Antandrus of the Persian garrison under Arsaces, his lieutenant, Tissaphernes left Aspendus, whither he had gone under pretence of bringing up the Phoenician fleet, and proceeded towards the Hellespont to remonstrate with the Peloponnesians, and, if possible, to conciliate them. On his way he stopped at Ephesus, and sacrificed there to the Ephesian Artemis, a circumstance which Thucy. dides, for some reason unknown to us, has thought it worth while to record, and with which his history abruptly ends. When the satrap arrived at the Hellespont, Alcibiades came with presents to pay his court to him, but Tissaphernes, in the hope of regaining the confidence of his old allies, seized the Athenian and sent him to Sardis, to be there kept in custody. He endeavoured also at the same time to apologise for his breach of promise with respect to the Phoenician ships, by alleging that they were needed to defend the king's dominions from the Arabians and Egyptians; for there can be no doubt that the name of Pharnabazus in Diodorus (13.46) is a blunder of the historian's for Tissaphernes, as it certainly is in other passages of the same author, e. g. 13.36, 37, 38, 14.22. As however the value of the professions of Tissaphernes was now pretty well known, it is probable that few, if any, believed him; and Alcibiades, when he escaped from prison, after a month's detention, would be likely enough to gain credit for his assertion, that he had been released by the satrap himself. The latter notwithstanding still carried on his intrigues, through his emissaries at Sparta, to win back the confidence which had been transferred to Pharnabazus; but his attempts were defeated by HERMOCRATES, who had repaired thither for the express purpose of setting his character in its true light before the Lacedaemonians, and, a revolution having taken place about the same time at Thasos (B. C. 410), accompanied with the expulsion of Eteonicus, the Spartan harmost, Tissaphernes was suspected of having promoted it. In the following year (B. C. 409), when the Athenians under Thrasyllus had invaded Lydia, and were threatening Ephesus, Tissaphernes sent all round to summon the population " to the defence of the goddess," and, having thus collected a considerable force, baffled the attempt of the enemy.

In B. C. 407 Cyrus the younger was appointed by his father, Dareius, to be viceroy of the whole maritime region of Asia Minor, and, regarding Tissaphernes as his enemy, listened readily to Lysander's complaints against him, and prepared to supply the Lacedaemonians with cordial and effectual assistance; nor could he be diverted from this course by the representations of Tissaphernes, that the true policy for Persia was the one which he himself had hitherto pursued. The mutual distrust and hostility between the prince and the satrap only increased with time; and when Cyrus, in B. C. 405, was summoned to court by his father, he took Tissaphernes with him, under pretence of doing him honour, but really because he was afraid to leave him behind. After the death of Dareius, at the end of the same year, Tissaphernes accused Cyrus of a plot against the life of his brother Artaxerxes, the new king, and it was only through the influence of the queen-mother, Parysatis, that the prince was pardoned. On their return to western Asia, Cyrus and Tissaphernes were engaged in continual disputes about the cities in the satrapy of the latter, over which Cyrus claimed dominion, and all of which indeed transferred their allegiance to him, with the exception of Miletus, where Tissaphernes quenched an intended revolt in blood. The ambitious views of Cyrus towards the throne at length became manifest to the satrap, who lost no time in repairing to the king with information of the danger. At the battle of Cunaxa, in B. C. 401, he was one of the four generals who commanded the army of Artaxerxes, and was stationed with the main body of the cavalry in the left wing, of which his troops were the only portion that was not put to flight by the Greeks. When the 10,000 had begun their retreat, Tissaphernes sought an interview with them, professed his great anxiety to serve them, as being a neighbour of Greece in his satrapy, and declared that he had been using in their favour his influence with the king, who had promised to consider his request, and had sent him in the meantime to ask the reason of their expedition against him. By his advice they gave to this message a moderate and prudent answer, and within three days' time Tissaphernes returned and informed them that he had with much difficulty prevailed on Artaxerxes to allow him to conduct them home in safety. After a delay of more than twenty days, during which he kept them waiting, the march began. In spite, however, of the solemn treaty between the parties, mutual suspicions continued to prevail, and it was in the hope of removing these that Clearchus sought an explanation with Tissaphernes and consented to the interview, at which he himself and four of the other generals were arrested by the treacherous satrap. [CLEARCHUS.] Some time after this, Tissaphernes endeavoured, through his emissary Mithridates, to ascertain the plans of the Greeks, but his attempt was baffled by their resolution to hold no further intercourse with him. He then continued to annoy and harass them in their march, without however seriously impeding it, till they reached the Carduchian Mountains, at which point he gave up the pursuit.

Not long after, and while the 10,000 were yet on their return home, Tissaphernes, as a reward for his great services, was invested by the king, in addition to his own satrapy, with all the authority which Cyrus had enjoyed in western Asia. On his arrival he claimed dominion over the Ionian cities, which, alarmed for their liberty, and fearing, too, the resentment of the satrap, whose rule they had renounced for that of Cyrus, applied to Sparta for aid. Their request was granted, and an army was sent under Thimbron, in B. C. 400, to support them. In the following year Dercyllidas superseded Thimbron, and, taking advantage of the jealousy between Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes, concluded a truce with the latter, who, to save his own territory, unscrupulously abandoned that of his fellow satrap to the invasion of the enemy. In B. C. 397, however, the Lacedaemonian forces threatened Caria, where the property of Tissaphernes lay. The two satraps now united their forces, but no engagement took place, and the negotiations which ensued ended in a truce, which was to last till the mutual requisitions of the belligerents should be decided on by the Spartan authorities and the Persian king respectively. [DERCYLLIDAS.] In the following year, when Agesilaus invaded Asia with the professed intention of effecting the independence of the Asiatic Greeks, Tissaphernes proposed an armistice, that he might have time to lay the demand of the Lacedaemonians before Artaxerxes, whose answer he pretended to think would be favourable. The truce was solemnly ratified ; but Tissaphernes, who of course had no intention of keeping it, immediately sent to the king for reinforcements, and on their arrival arrogantly commanded Agesilaus to withdraw from Asia. To this the Spartan king replied that he thanked the satrap for having, by his perjury, made the gods the allies of Greece. Having then induced his wily and selfish enemy to believe that Caria was the object of his attack, and thus induced him to concentrate his forces in that direction, Agesilaus carried the war successfully into the satrapy of Pharnabazus. In the following year, B. C. 395. he declared his intention of invading the richest portion of the enemy's country, and Tissaphernes, imagining that, if this had been his real purpose, he would not have revealed it, and that his operations therefore would now be indeed directed against Caria, again arranged his forces for the defence of that province. Agesilaus then, in accordance with what he had given out, marched into the country about Sardis, ravaged it for three days, and defeated a body of cavalry which Tissaphernes had sent against him. Grievous complaints of selfish neglect and treachery were now made against the satrap by those who had suffered from the Lacedaemonian invasion; and the charges were transmitted to court, where they were backed by all the influence of Parysatis, eager for revenge on the enemy of Cyrus, her favourite son. The result was that Tithraustes was commissioned by the king to put Tissaphernes to death and to succeed him in his government. The disgraced satrap accordingly was surprised and slain in his bath by a minister of execution, and his head was sent to Artaxerxes. (Thuc. viii.; Xen. Hell. 1.1, 2, 5, 3.1, 2, 4, Anab. passim, Ages. i.; Plut. Alc., Art., Ages. ; Diod. ll. cc. 14.23, 26, 27, 80; Ath. xi. p. 505a)


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hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 13.46
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.2
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.2
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.5
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.4
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