The Battle of Ephesus- 490 BCE- Ionian Revolt

Herodotus tells us a great deal about the Ionian Revolt. Ionia was Greek colonies along the coast and edges of Turkey that had been captured and absorbed into the Persian Empire around 540 B.C.E. In 499 B.C.E the Tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras; failed to capture the island of Naxos. This left him in a bad political position with his Persian overlords. In a desperate bid, he decided to stir revolt amongst his people against the Persians. This led many other local cities to cast off their Persian based Tyrants and replace them with Democracies.

The Ionian Revolt had initial success in 498 B.C.E. when the allied Greek forces (including Athens, Eretria, and Ionians) managed to successfully attack Sardis. Sardis was the seat of a Persian Satrap and one of the personal enemies of Aristagoras. The city was burned and the sanctuary of a local deity was destroyed.

Herodotus says thus:
So Sardis had been burned, and in the fire a sanctuary of the local goddess Kybele had also gone up in flames (…). [W]hen the Persians who dwelled in the districts west of the Halys River heard about these events, they gathered together and rushed to the aid of the Lydians. Discovering that the Ionians were not in Sardis any longer, they followed their tracks and caught up with them at Ephesus. The Ionians deployed their troops to oppose them, but in the battle that followed they suffered a severe defeat. Many of them were slaughtered by the Persians (…) Those who escaped from the battle dispersed as each one fled to his own city.

The battle here is to represent the Battle of Ephesus after the burning of Sardis. Many speculate that due to the speed of the Persian pursuit, that the army must have been mostly cavalry based and making use of the Royal Road. Why the Ionians and their allies were so slow on the march is unclear. Whatever the reason, the Persian forces caught up. The Greeks were not ambushed, as they had plenty of time to deploy for battle. The following battle will try to recreate this battle….

The Forces
I will be choosing troops from the Lists of Battle for the Persians and Other Greek City-States List. There are no surviving troop numbers or description of the armies. We can only extrapolate to build these lists.

Ionian Greeks- General Eualcides
1 Drilled Hoplite
2 Militia Hoplite
1 Peltast
1 Psiloi

Persians- Satrap Artaphernes
2 Cavalry
1 Drilled Infantry
2 Archers

Both sides have 32 points.

The river Cayster is on the Greek Left/Persian right. The rest of the board is barren, arid terrain and will be good for maneuver. A few rocky outcroppings dot the plain to break it up. This battle will be on a 6x4 board with both forces deployed on the long table edges.

This is a Decisive Battle scenario and the Greeks will suffer from the Complication Hungry and Thirsty.

The Greeks follow standard practices and place their best troops on the right and their Militia in the center. The Peltasts are guarding the left flank while the Psiloi are to their flank. The Persians also follow a traditional formation with the Drilled infantry in the center flanked by archers, and then cavalry on both sides.

The Greeks then check for Hunger and Thirst. The Psiloi and Militia Hoplites on the left flank are both suffering from Hunger and Thirst. That means their Discipline Checks have a Target Number of 5+ during the battle. We will have to see if this is decisive or not.

See the results here: