Monday, July 29, 2013

Battle of Cunaxa

The battle of Cunaxa fought by Cyrus against Artaxerxes II is interesting as showing the discipline of which a Greek phalanx was capable, when compared with the heterogeneous troops of Persia and as being the initiation of the Retreat of the Ten Thousand.

Artaxerxes II, Great King of the Persian Empire, commanded Persian army while the other side was led by his younger brother Cyrus, who intended to commit fratricide and rule in Artaxerxes’s place.

Artaxerxes had an army to be 45 000 strong, while Cyrus had, including the Greeks, ranging between 10 000 to 14 000. The majority of these were Spartans; the rest 25000 Thracian and Greek peltasts and 200 excellent Cretan archers.

Late in September 401 BC, these two huge faced each other on a dusty plain, on the eastern bank of the River Euphrates.

The battle was the climax of the Cyrus campaign, long plotted from his domain in what is now western Turkey.

The battle of Cunaxa was hard fought and could have been won by Cyrus had he had not been killed. The Greek troops of Cyrus right wing were victorious against Artaxerxes’s Egyptian recruits, archers and cavalry led by Chithrafarna.

The Greek mercenary troops were now stranded and their commanders taken hostage by Chithrafarna.
Battle of Cunaxa

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