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Cambyses II

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Cambyses II
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factoids
| regent = Cyrus the Great (530 BC)| predecessor = Cyrus the Great| successor = Bardiya#Marriages>See below| issue =| royal house = Achaemenid| father = Cyrus the Great| mother = Cassandane| birth_date =| birth_place =| death_date = 1 July 522 BCHama>Hamag, Eber-NariIndo-Iranians>Indo-Iranian religion {{small|(possibly Zoroastrianism)}}}}Cambyses II ( Kambūjiya) was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 530 to 522 BC. He was the son and successor of Cyrus the Great ({{reign|550|530 BC}}) and his mother was Cassandane.Before his accession, Cambyses had briefly served as the governor of northern Babylonia under his father from April 539 BC to December 538 BC. Afterwards, he continued to roam in the Babylonian cities of Babylon and Sippar, before being appointed by his father as co-ruler in 530 BC, who set off to mount an expedition against the Massagetae of Central Asia, where he met his end. Cambyses thus became the sole ruler of the vast Achaemenid Empire, facing no noticeable opposition.His relatively brief reign was marked by his conquests in Africa, notably Egypt, which he conquered after his victory over the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik III ({{reign|526|525 BC}}) at the battle of Pelusium in 525 BC. In the spring of 522 BC, Cambyses hurriedly left Egypt to deal with a rebellion in Persia. Whilst he was en route in Syria (Eber-Nari), he received a wound to the thigh, which was soon affected by gangrene. Cambyses died three weeks later at a location called Agbatana, which is most likely the modern city of Hama. He died childless, and was thus succeeded by his younger brother Bardiya, who ruled briefly before being overthrown by Darius the Great, who went on to increase the power of the Achaemenids even further.

Etymology

The origins of the name of "Cambyses" is disputed in scholarship; according to some scholars, the name is of Elamite origin, whilst others associate it with Kambojas, an Iranian people who inhabited northwestern India.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} The name of Cambyses is known in other languages as; Elamite Kanbuziya; Akkadian Kambuziya; Aramaic Kanbūzī.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}}

Background

Cambyses was the eldest son of Cyrus the Great ({{reign|550|530 BC}}) and Cassandane.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}}{{efn|According to 5th-century BC Greek historian Ctesias, the mother of Cambyses II was Amytis, a daughter of the last Median king Astyages ({{reign|585|550 BC}}). However, according to the Russian Iranologist Muhammad Dandamayev, this statement is not trustworthy.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}}}} Cambyses had a younger brother named Bardiya, and three sisters named Artystone, Atossa and Roxane.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1993|pp=516-521}} The family was descended from a line of rulers of Persian tribes, who under Cyrus, established the Achaemenid Empire, subjugating the Median Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Lydia and Central Asia.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1993|pp=516-521}}

Early life

missing image!
- Babylon city Iraq.jpg -
Overview of the ruins of Babylon.
In April 539 BC, Cambyses was appointed by his father as the governor of the northern part of Babylonia, including its city Babylon, whilst the central and southern part continued to be directly supervised by Cyrus and his bureaucrats.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} Before his appointment, Cambyses had taken part in the ritual that was arbitrary for the king at the regular New Year festival on 27 March 538 BC, where he received the royal sceptre in Esagila, a temple dedicated to the god Marduk.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} His governorship, however, lasted only 9 months, when Cyrus had dismissed him from the post in December 538 BC for unknown reasons.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} After his dismissal, Cambyses continued to reside in the Babylonian cities of Babylon and Sippar the majority of his time.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} According to Babylonian records, both Cambyses and Cyrus carried the title of "King of Babylon, King of the lands" in late 530 BC, which indicates that Cyrus had appointed him as co-ruler before campaign against the Massagetae.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} Cyrus' younger son, Bardiya, was given his own powerful realm in Central Asia, which was exempted to pay tribute.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=50}} Cambyses reportedly took part in the expedition against the Massagetae, but due to being the heir of the throne, he was sent back to Persia, before Cyrus fell to the Massagetae.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} Cambyses had his father's body carried to Pasargadae in Persis, where Cyrus was buried in a tomb that had been prepared for him earlier.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=50}}

Reign

Preparations against Egypt and the conquest of Cyprus

missing image!
- Achaemenid Empire under different kings (flat map).svg|thumb|300px|Evolution of the Achaemenid EmpireAchaemenid EmpireCambyses' accession to the Achaemenid throne was relatively smooth.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=50}} Ruling over a vast but young empire, Cambyses was to preserve his authority over the subjugated lands, but also expand his dominion over Egypt, the last prominent power in the Near East.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} According to the French Iranologist Pierre Briant, "this must not be seen as a more or less irrational and uncontrollable desire to take over the entire inhabited world."{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} On the contrary, Cambyses' plan was in reality already planned by his father, who wanted to conquer the lands west of the Euphrates.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} This meant that it would eventually demand the conquest of the lands that was situated between the Euphrates and the Nile river, and therefor made it necessary for conflict with Egypt, a kingdom, that had prior, and also lately, shown aspirations in the area.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} The incumbent pharaoh of Egypt was Amasis II, who had been ruling since 570.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} His ally, Polycrates, a Greek ruler of Samos, posed a considerable threat to the Achaemenids, launching several raids that jeopardized Achaemenid authority.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=52}} However, Polycrates eventually forsook his Egyptian allies, and reached out to Cambyses, whose plans he was well acquainted with.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}} His sudden change of alliances was undoubtly due to his uneasy position, with the Spartans raising a force against him, and the rising hostility of some of the Samian aristocrats, who preferred partnership with Egypt.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} Another former ally of Amisis II, the Carian military leader Phanes of Halicarnassus, had also joined Cambyses after escaping assassins sent by the pharaoh.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} Cambyses, before starting his expedition into Egypt, had seized Cyprus from Amisis II, which was reportedly a heavy blow to the latter.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=51}}

Conquest of Egypt and its surroundings

Meeting Between Cambyses II and Psammetichus III.jpg
-
By 526 BC, Amisis II had died, and his son Psamtik III had succeeded him, thus weakening Egypt's position.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=52}} In the meantime, Cambyses had made substantial preparations for his army.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} He had essentially laid the foundations to the Persian navy, which was crucial to his ambitions to conquer Egypt.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} The navy was created by men and equipment from Phoenicia and Asia Minor.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} During his march to Egypt, Cambyses made a treaty with the Arabs, who controlled the desert area between Gaza and the Egyptian frontier.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} This treaty granted Cambyses sufficient water to arrive to the Nile.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=53}} This also paved the way for Cambyses to extend his authority over the unsubdued lands between Egypt and Persia, including Gaza, a prominent commercial region, which equalled that of Sardis in Lydia.{{sfn|Briant|2002|pp=53-54}} The region served as the headquarters of the Persian expedition into Egypt.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} In 525 BC, Cambyses finally invaded Egypt; in the spring of the same year, the Persian and Egyptian forces clashed at Pelusium, where the Persians emerged victorious.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} The forces of Cambyses shortly laid siege to Memphis, where Psamtik III and his men had fortified themselves.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} Despite the considerable resistance put by the pharaoh, Cambyses captured Memphis, and established a Persian-Egyptian garrison there.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} The length of the siege is not specified by the 5th-century BC Greek historian Herodotus.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} Regardless, by summer, all of Egypt was under Persian suzerainty.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} Cambyses now adopted the aspirations of the last pharaohs towards the west (Libya and Cyrenaica) and south (Nubia).{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}}

Further conquests

The Libyans, and soon the Greeks of Cyrene and Barca as well, willingly acknowledged the authority of Cambyses, and as proof of their submission, sent offerings to Cambyses.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}}{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} As a demonstration of his generosity, Cambyses had Amasis II's Greek widow returned to Cyrene.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} Cambyses originally intended to make an expedition against the Phonenician state of Carthage, but it was ultimately called off due to his Phoenician subjects reluctant on making war against their own kind.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=54}} In the south, Cambyses, followed the same policy of the last pharaohs to keep the Kingdom of Kush in check, and had a garrison established at Elephantine.{{sfn|Briant|2002|pp=54-55}}According to Herodotus, Cambyses' campaigns against Amnion and Ethiopia ended catastrophic.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=55}} He states that the reason behind this defeat was the "madness" of Cambyses, who "at once began his march against Ethiopia, without any orders for the provision of supplies, and without for a moment considering the fact that he was to take his men to the ends of the earth".{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=55}} However, according to Briant, "the deliberate bias against Cambyses raises doubts about the accuracy of Herodotus's version."{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=55}} Herodotus' statement is contradicted by other sources that does not suggest a catastrophe for his forces, even though the obstacles of the campaign possibly compelled Cambyses to withdraw.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=55}} Archaeological proof indicate that the Achaemenids made use of the stronghold of Dorginarti (south of Buhen) throughout their history.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=55}}

Affairs in Egypt

Death and succession

In the spring of 522 BC, Cambyses hurriedly left Egypt to deal with a rebellion in Persia.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=61}} Whilst he was en route in Syria (Eber-Nari), he received a wound to the thigh, which was soon affected by gangrene.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=61}} Cambyses died three weeks later at a location called Agbatana, which is most likely the modern city of Hama.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}} He died childless.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}}At the time of Cambyses' death, the Achaemenid Empire was stronger than ever, reaching from to Cyrenaica to the Hindu Kush, and from the Syr Darya to the Persian Gulf.{{sfn|Briant|2002|p=62}}

Marriages

In Achaemenid Persia, marriages between family members, such as half-siblings, nieces, and cousins took place, however, they were not seen as incestuous.{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} Greek sources, however, state that allegedly brother-sister and father-daughter marriages took place inside the royal family, yet it remains problematic to measure their accuracy.{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} According to Herodotus, Cambyses supposedly married two of his sisters, Atossa and Roxane.{{sfn|Dandamayev|1990|pp=726-729}}{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} This was seen as an illegal action.{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} However, Herodotus himself also states that Cambyses married Otanes' daughter Phaidyme, whilst his contemporary Ctesias names Roxane as Cambyses' wife, but she is not labelled as his sister.{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} The accusations against of Cambyses of committing incest is mentioned as part of his "blasphemous actions", which were mentioned to point out his "madness and vanity".{{sfn|Brosius|2000}} These reports all derive from the same Egyptian source that was antagonistic towards Cambyses, and some of these "crimes", such as the stabbing of the Apis bull, have been confirmed to fake, which thus makes the report of Cambyses' supposed incestious acts questionable.{{sfn|Brosius|2000}}

Notes

{{notelist}}

References

{{reflist|2}}

Sources

  • BOOK, From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, 2002, Eisenbrauns, Briant, Pierre, Pierre Briant, 1–1196, 9781575061207,weblink harv,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, WOMEN i. In Pre-Islamic Persia, Brosius, Maria,weblink Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol, London et al., 2000, harv,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Cyrus iii. Cyrus II The Great, Dandamayev, Muhammad A., Muhammad Dandamayev,weblink Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 7, 516-521, 1993, harv,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Cambyses II, Dandamayev, Muhammad A.,weblink Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 7, 726-729, 1990, harv,
{{Median and Achaemenid kings}}{{Pharaohs}}{{Achaemenid rulers}}{{Authority control}}

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