The Lion Hunter: Inaros

Inaros © The Idle Woman 2016

Inaros was the chief of the Bakalu tribe in Libya, ruling a territory that ran down as far as the Nile delta. Shortly after the accession of Artaxerxes I, he spearheaded a rebellion in Egypt, intended to take advantage of the instability at the Persian court. His father, Psammetichus, had tried something similar on the accession of Xerxes I. His rebellion seems to have started in 464 BC and by 463 BC he was in a position to declare himself ruler of Upper Egypt. The Persians, who had been pacifying an uprising in Bactria, found that matters in Egypt were far more dangerous than they’d initially thought. Inaros had received support from the Athenians, who were eager to see Persian power in Egypt fail. A first Persian army gained little ground and its commander (said to have been either Xerxes’ brother or Artaxerxes’ brother) was killed. Eventually Artaxerxes sent a second army under the command of Megabyzus, who managed to defeat Inaros and his Athenian allies with a blend of military skill and tactical insight. Inaros was captured and brought back to Persia, where he was eventually executed in a horrific manner, thanks to the loathing that Amestris had developed for him (in one reading, as the murderer of her son). It was Inaros’ death, and those of his Athenian allies, that drove Megabyzus into open revolt against Artaxerxes in around 450 BC.

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