Persia 34: Cyrus and Macedon

The Persian dominance of Macedon began when the Persian general Megabyzus (Cyrus the Great) conquered Thrace and Macedonia (ostensibly on behalf of his brother Darius the Great) and established Alexander son of Amyntas as their king. Likely, Amyntas was an assumed Macedonian name of Darius the Great. A marriage was later arranged between a son of Megabyzus/Cyrus and a daughter of Amyntas/Darius. Business as usual.

The son of Megabyzus in question, the leading prince Bupales/Harpalus was sidelined during the Persian invasion of Greece by a commission to dig a seemingly useless canal through Greek holy ground (near Mount Olympus). Harpalus further lost face due to the collapse of the initial boat-bridge constructed across the Hellespont. His brother-in-law Alexander son of Amyntas of Macedonia was later sent to Athens by Xerxes as a mediator and ignominiously rejected. Likely, Alexander corresponds to Prince Darius/Achaemenes or one of the other sons of Darius the Great (such as Ariobarzanes/Pausanias of Sparta.

Note: In a future segment of this series, it will be shown that later in the Persian Period a son of Amyntas II was also called Alexander in Macedon and Prince Darius in Persia.

Bubares son of Megabyzus was said to have married a sister of Alexander son of Amyntas I and to have become the father of Macedonian king Amyntas II. However, the next significant figure in Macedon was not Amyntas II at least in name, but Perdiccas II "son of Alexander". In other words, Amyntas II son of Bubares was as the political son/successor of Alexander instead likely known as Perdiccas II. Regardless, Perdiccas of Macedonia was associated quite distinctly with a leader of Sparta during this time called Brasidas. And the association goes well beyond the obvious similarity of the two names. (Brasidas is an anagram of Perdiccas) Paul Cartledge writes (p 188) in The Spartans:

"Brasidas interestingly is said to have had special friends among the cities and communities of Thessaly. These contacts enabled him to make a safe passage through Thessaly and on into Macdonia and Chalcidice ... Brasidas succeeded in winning over to his support, first King Perdiccas of Macedon and then a succession of the Greek cities along the northern Aegean coast ... So greatly did the 'liberated' Amphipolitans [of Chalcidice] respect Brasidas that after he was killed in battle there in 422 they made him their new oecist, or founder-hero ..."

Brasidas became the leading "hawk" or warmonger among the Spartans, and as such was the counterpart of Cleon of Athens. Suspiciously, both Brasidas and Cleon died in the same battle at Amphipolis. We should at least consider then that there was a triple identification between Perdiccas, Brasidas and Cleon within the contemporary House of Joseph/Cyrus.

The simultaneous deaths of Cleon and Brasidas led to the Peace of Nicias, which Paul Cartledge states (p 191) "could just as accurately be called the Peace of Pleistonanax". Nicias was the leading "dove" or peacemaker in Athens. His counterpart in Sparta was Pleistoanax. We should infer from this that these two were likely also alter-egos.

The demise of Brasidas and Cleon did not really lead to lasting peace but the rise of another even more artful instigator of chaos on the Western Front. It in effect paved the way for a new star in the Persian royal family, Alcibiades, the adopted son of Pericles. This new Prince Cyrus was not however of the natural line of Cyrus the Great (only a "grafted" heir). He was one of the true sons of Darius II and brother to Arsaces, the future Artaxerxes II. In Macedon, the flamboyant Alcibiades/Cyrus was known as the profligate King Archelaus.

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