Ariobarzanes (satrap of Persis)

Ariobarzanes (satrap of Persis)

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Ariobarzanes was a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 of Persis and military commander. He is best known for commanding the Persian army at the Battle of the Persian Gate
Battle of the Persian Gate
The Battle of the Persian Gate was a military conflict between the Achaemenid Empire and Alexander the Great at the Persian Gates. The Achaemenid army was commanded by the satrap of Persis, Ariobarzanes and the invading Macedonian army was commanded by Alexander the Great. In the winter of 330 BC,...

 against Alexander of Macedonia in the winter of 330 BC
330 BC
Year 330 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Crassus and Venno...

.

Though the exact birth date of Ariobarzanes is unknown, it is speculated that he was born around 368 BC. Ariobarzanes was made satrap of Persis (the southern province of Fars in present-day Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

) in 335 BC by Darius III Codomannus. For many researchers it is surprising that Darius III had appointed a satrap for Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

 and Persis because previously, this office did not exist. Ariobarzanes commanded part of the Persian Army fighting against the Macedonians at Gaugamela in 331 BC.

Following the Persian defeat at Gaugamela, Darius realized he could not defend his capital Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

 and travelled east to rebuild his armies, leaving Ariobarzanes in command. Meanwhile Alexander split his army and led his 14,000 strong force towards the Persian capital via the Persian Gates
Persian Gates
Persian Gates was the ancient name of the pass now known as Tang-e Meyran, connecting Yasuj with Sedeh to the east, crossing the border of the modern Kohgiluyeh va Boyer Ahmad and Fars provinces of Iran, passing south of the Kuh-e-Dinar massif, part of the Zagros Mountains...

. There Ariobarzanes successfully ambushed Alexander's army, inflicting heavy casualties. The Persian success at the Battle of the Persian Gate
Battle of the Persian Gate
The Battle of the Persian Gate was a military conflict between the Achaemenid Empire and Alexander the Great at the Persian Gates. The Achaemenid army was commanded by the satrap of Persis, Ariobarzanes and the invading Macedonian army was commanded by Alexander the Great. In the winter of 330 BC,...

 was short lived though; after being held off for several days, Alexander outflanked and destroyed the defenders. Ariobarzanes himself was killed either during the battle or during the retreat to Persepolis.

Some sources indicate that the Persian were betrayed by a captured tribal chief who showed the Macedonians an alternate path that allowed them to outflank Ariobarzanes.

External links

  1. Ariobarzanes: An Article by Jona Lendering.