woensdag 8 oktober 2014

ARWAD - the Persian period - the beginning

The Persian period of ARWAD – the beginning.
Under Nabonidus of Babylon slackens the grip of the New-Babylonians on the Phoenician towns can breeze more freely. In 539 BC Cyrus of the Medians and the Persians conquers Babylon and he inherits the complete New-Babylonian empire. The Phoenician towns accept without any problem the new rule and even Tyre does not resist. The Phoenician fleet is helpful to the Persians in conquering Egypt, but when Cambyses, the successor of Cyrus, wants to advance to Carthage in 525 BC, the Phoenician fleet refuses the co-operation to that project. Herodotos III 19: “Kambyses …… orders the fleet to take course to Karchedoon, but the Phoinikians refuse to do so, because they felt bound by an oath and they declared, that it would be a godless act for them to fight their own children. Without the co-operation of the Phoinikians was the rest of the fleet not strong enough for the battle. In this way the Karchedonians escaped the domination by the Persians, because Kambyses thought it was not desired to use force against the Phoinikians, because they freely subjected to the Persians and his complete sea-power was dependable from the Phoinikians……” The domain of the Phoenicians was the sea, as proverb says in a Aramic message of Elefantine (ANET 430): “Show no Arab the sea and no Sidonian the desert, because their work is different.”
Presumable the Phoenician fleet existed of four squadrons (of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Arwad). This is not certain, but later we see those squadrons reappear in other battles. If there was an Arvadite squadron in Egypt in 525 BC, then the seamen of Arwad feel the same tribal affinity to Carthage, Therefore they have also their children in Carthage as well!
Another fragment of Herodotos (I, 143) is within this framework also important: “Of the Ioonians the Milesians were without danger, because they had made a treaty and also the residents of the islands had nothing to fear, because the Phoinikians were not yet subordinate to the Persians and the Persians for themselves were no sailors.” Milete is situated on the west-coast what we now call Turkey. The word “yet” is important. Only when the different Phoenician squadrons are joined together in a combined battle-fleet under Persian command, then it will get its aggressive character. The Greeks are going to experience that in the 5th century BC.
For the present a breathing time dawns in which Arwad becomes a part of the 5th Satrapy (Phoenicia, Syria and Cyprus). This region pays relatively less tribute, because the Persians think that region as an ally and the defence of the coast is dependable on the Phoenician fleet. Nevertheless the Persians strengthen the coast with fortifications. One of them we can see 30 kilometers north of Arwad at Banyas (Balaneion). This fortification lies 2 kilometers from the sea. The relicts are 500 x 250 meters in circumference. The walls are 5 meters high and 5-7 meters wide.
See: La défense du front Mediterranéen de l’empire Achemide, M.Dunand, Beyrouth, 1967.
See: Arados et sa perée aux époques grecque, romaine et byzantine, J.P.Rey-Coquais, BAH vol.XCVII, 1974.

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