Siege of Amathus, c.498-7

The siege of Amathus (c.498/7) saw an attempt by Greek rebels to capture the pro-Persian Phoenician city of Amathus on Cyprus.

In 499 the Greek cites of Ionian revolted against the Persians. Early in 498 they attacked and burnt Sardis, the capital of the satrapy of Lydia. This inspired the Greeks of Cyprus to revolt against Persian control, led by Onesilus of Salamis.

Their first action was to lay siege to Amathus, the most important of the Phoenician city of Cyprus, and the main city that didn’t join the revolt.

The Persians responded by sending a large army to Cyprus. The Ionians sent a fleet to support their allies, and the two sides clashed in a double land and sea battle at Salamis (497). The Persians won on land and the Ionians at sea.

Herodotus doesn't say when the siege of Amathus was lifted, but the most likely time is during the period between the arrival of the Persian army and the battle of Salamis.

Onesilus was killed during the battle of Salamis. According to Herodotus the people of Amathus cut off his head and displayed it over the main city gate. Eventually a swarm of bees took up residence in the skull, and an oracle told the citizens to bury the skull and set up a hero-cult of Onesilus, which was still in place when Herodotus was writing.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 March 2015), Siege of Amathus, c.498-7 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/siege_amathus_498.html

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