Difference between revisions of "Achaemenid Navy"

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==Personnel==
 
==Personnel==
 
The personnel for the imperial navy would not come from Iran, but were often Phoenicians (mostly from Sidon), Egyptians and Greeks chosen by Darius the Great to operate the empire's combat vessels.
 
The personnel for the imperial navy would not come from Iran, but were often Phoenicians (mostly from Sidon), Egyptians and Greeks chosen by Darius the Great to operate the empire's combat vessels.
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 +
===Fleet Commanders===
 +
* Achaemenes
 +
* Ariabignes
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* Artemisia I of Caria
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* Datis
 +
* Megabates
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* Pharnabazus II
 +
* Pigres of Caria
 +
* Tamos of Egypt
  
 
==Ships==
 
==Ships==

Revision as of 03:43, 11 July 2021

Imperial Persian Navy
Standard of Cyrus the Great and Flag of Achaemenid Persian Empire (550–330 BC).png
Flag and Standard of the Persian Navy
Active550-330 BC
CountryAchaemenid Persian Empire
SizeHerodotus: 1,207 warships
205,000 men
36,000 marines
Modern Sources: 600-700 ships.
EngagementsBattle of Salamis

The Persian Navy or the Imperial Persian Navy in one form or another has existed since the 6th century BC and was the main naval force of the Achaemenid Empire. The navy played an important role in the military efforts of the Persians in late antiquity in protecting and expanding trade routes along the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Herodotus estimated in his writings that the navy number 1207 ships modern sources have revised this figure down between 600 to 700 ships.[1]

Overview

Since its foundation by Cyrus, the Achaemenid Empire had been primarily a land empire with a strong army, but void of any actual naval forces. By the 5th century BC, this was to change, as the empire came across Greek, and Egyptian forces, each with their own naval forces and capabilities. Darius the Great (Darius I) was the first Achaemenid king to invest in a Persian navy. Even by then no true "imperial navy" had existed either in Greece or Egypt. Persia would become the first empire, under Darius, to inaugurate and deploy the first regular imperial navy.

Personnel

The personnel for the imperial navy would not come from Iran, but were often Phoenicians (mostly from Sidon), Egyptians and Greeks chosen by Darius the Great to operate the empire's combat vessels.

Fleet Commanders

  • Achaemenes
  • Ariabignes
  • Artemisia I of Caria
  • Datis
  • Megabates
  • Pharnabazus II
  • Pigres of Caria
  • Tamos of Egypt

Ships

At first the ships were built in Sidon by the Phoenicians; the first Achaemenid ships measured about 40 meters in length and 6 meters in width, able to transport up to 300 Persian troops at any one trip. Soon, other states of the empire were constructing their own ships, each incorporating slight local preferences. The ships eventually found their way to the Persian Gulf.[179] Persian naval forces laid the foundation for a strong Persian maritime presence in the Persian Gulf. Persians were not only stationed on islands in the Persian Gulf, but also had ships often of 100 to 200 capacity patrolling the empire's various rivers including the Karun, Tigris and Nile in the west, as well as the Indus.

Bases

The Achaemenid navy established bases located along the Karun, and in Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen. The Persian fleet was not only used for peace-keeping purposes along the Karun but also opened the door to trade with India via the Persian Gulf. Darius's navy was in many ways a world power at the time, but it would be Artaxerxes II who in the summer of 397 BC would build a formidable navy, as part of a rearmament which would lead to his decisive victory at Knidos in 394 BC, re-establishing Achaemenid power in Ionia. Artaxerxes II would also utilize his navy to later on quell a rebellion in Egypt.

Size (450 BC)

Herodotus

According to Herodotus, the Persian fleet initially numbered 1,207 triremes. However, by his reckoning they lost approximately a third of these ships in a storm off the coast of Magnesia, 200 more in a storm off the coast of Euboea, and at least 50 ships to Allied action at the Battle of Artemisium. Herodotus claims that these losses were replaced in full, but only mentions 120 ships from the Greeks of Thrace and nearby islands as reinforcements. Aeschylus, who fought at Salamis, also claims that he faced 1,207 warships there, of which 207 were "fast ships". Diodorus and Lysias independently claim there were 1,200 ships in the Persian fleet assembled at Doriskos in the spring of 480 BC. The number of 1,207 (for the outset only) is also given by Ephorus, while his teacher Isocrates claims there were 1,300 at Doriskos and 1,200 at Salamis. Ctesias gives another number, 1,000 ships, while Plato, speaking in general terms refers to 1,000 ships and more. Herodotus gives a precise list of the ships of the various provinces (nations) of the empire that composed the Achaemenid fleet:[2]

Persian Navy
Formation Ships Province
Aeolian squadron 60 Aeolia
Carian squadron 100 Caria
Cilician squadron 100 Cilicia
Cypriot squadron 150 Cyprus
Cyclades squadron 17 Cyclades
Dorian squadron 30 Doria
Egyptian squadron 200 Egypt
Ionian squadron 100 Ionia
Pamphylian squadron 30 Pamphylia
Phoenician squadron 300 Phoenicia
Phrygian squadron 100 Hellespontine Phrygia
Lycian squadron 50 Lycia
Total Ships: 1207

The number 1,207 appears very early in the historical record (472 BC), and the Greeks appear to have genuinely believed they faced that many ships. Because of the consistency in the ancient sources, some modern historians are inclined to accept 1,207 as the size of the initial Persian fleet; others reject this number, with 1,207 being seen as more of a reference to the combined Greek fleet in the Iliad, and generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than around 600 warships into the Aegean. However, very few appear to accept that there were this many ships at Salamis: most favour a number in the range 600-800. This is also the range given by adding the approximate number of Persian ships after Artemisium (~550) to the reinforcements (120) quantified by Herodotus.[3]

References

  1. Stecchini, Professor, Livio Catullo. (1998–2020). "PERSIAN WARS: The Size of Persian Fleet". Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London. London. England.
  2. Bowie, A. M. (2007). Herodotus: Histories. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780521573283.
  3. Fink, Dennis L. (2014). The Battle of Marathon in Scholarship: Research, Theories and Controversies Since 1850. Jefferson, North Carolina, United States: McFarland. pp. 22–26. ISBN 9780786479733.

Bibliography

  1. Bowie, A. M. (2007). Herodotus: Histories. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521573283.
  2. Fink, Dennis L. (2014). The Battle of Marathon in Scholarship: Research, Theories and Controversies Since 1850. Jefferson, North Carolina, United States: McFarland. ISBN 9780786479733.
  3. Stecchini, Professor, Livio Catullo. (1998–2020). "PERSIAN WARS: The Size of Persian Fleet". Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London. London. England.