Thibron (d.392 BC).

Thibron (d.392 BC) was an unsuccessful Spartan commander who was killed in a Persian ambush in Asia Minor.

Thibron was first sent to Asia Minor in 400 BC, with an army of 5,000 men (1,000 freed helots as his hoplites and 4,000 Peloponnesian allies) and the rank of harmost. His task was to defend the Ionian Greeks against the Persian satrap Tissaphernes (Persian-Spartan War of 400-387 BC), who had replaced the defeated rebel Cyrus the Younger as Persian commander in western Asia Minor.

Thibron's only significant achievement during this first period of command was to recruit the survivors of Xenophon's 10,000, the Greek mercenaries who had supported Cyrus and then marched to the shores of the Black Sea to escape. He did capture a number of cities, but his troops were poorly controlled and plundered their allies. He failed to take Egyptian Larissa, on the route to Sardis, after the defenders foiled his attempts to cut their water supply. He then moved to Ephesus, where he learnt that he was to be replaced by Dercylidas. Thibron was recalled to Sparta, put on trial and fined. Instead of paying the fine he went into exile.

His exile was clearly short-lived, and he was appointed to a new command in Asia Minor in 392 BC. This time his opponent was Struthas, a new anti-Spartan Persian satrap, and once again he was unsuccessful. He did capture Ephesus and then carried out a raid into the Maeander valley. This time he had 8,000 men when he arrived, and raised more troops locally.

Struthas raised a larger army - 20,000 lightly armed troops and 5,000 Greek mercenaries. He sent a force of Persian cavalry on a raid within sight of the Spartan position. Thibron took the bait and rushed out to catch them. The Persians retreated, and Thibron set up camp away from his main army. On the following morning the main Persian force attacked, and Thibron was killed in his tent.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 December 2015), Thibron (d.392 BC). , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_thibron.html

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