The battle of Malene in 494 ended the career of
Histiaeus, former Tyrant
of Miletus, a former supporter of Darius who may have played a part in the
outbreak of the Ionian
Revolt, but who ended his career as something of an adventurer. Histiaeus
had come to the fore during Darius's campaign north of the Danube in 513, but
the Emperor soon became suspicious of him, and forced him to move to Susa.
After the outbreak of the Ionian Revolt Histiaeus managed to convince Darius
that he could put down the revolt and he was allowed to return to Asia Minor.
However he was unable to convince
Artaphernes, satrap of
Lydia, of his honesty, and was soon forced to flee from Sardis. After a series
of adventures he ended up in Byzantium, where he used a small fleet provided by
Lesbos to intercept merchant
ships coming from the Black Sea and force them to acknowledge him as leader of
the revolt. In 494 the main Ionian fleet was defeated at the battle of Lade, and Miletus was
besieged and captured. Histiaeus abandoned his efforts at Byzantium, and sailed
around the coast towards Ionian. He ran into trouble at Chios, the community
that had suffered the heaviest losses at Lade, and ended up conquering the
island. He then used it as a base for an attack on the island of Thasos, off
the coast of Thrace. This attack had to be abandoned when the Persian fleet
left Miletus and sailed around the coast of Asia Minor towards Chios. Histiaeus
retreated to Lesbos, and prepared to defend the island. However food soon ran
short, and he decided to raid Atarneus on the mainland opposite Lesbos to
gather food. Histiaeus and his men landed at Malene, close to Atarneus.
Unfortunately for them, there was a sizable Persian army, commanded by a
general called Harpagus, in the area. The Persians intercepted Histiaeus and
his men as they were landing. The resulting battle lasted for some time, but
was eventually decided when Harpagus committed his cavalry reserves. Most of
Histiaeus's men were killed. Histiaeus himself was captured after he shouted
out in Persian identifying himself while fleeing from a Persian soldier.
Harpagus passed his capture on to Artaphernes at Sardis. He realised that
Histiaeus would probably be able to talk his way out of trouble if he was sent
to Darius at Susa, and so he impaled him and sent his embalmed head to Susa.
Artaphernes's judgement was correct - Darius was angered at the execution and
ordered Histiaeus's head to be cleaned and buried with honours.