Autophradates, satrap of Lydia (fl.c.390-330 BC)

Autophradates (fl.c.390-330 BC) was a satrap of Lydia during the Satrap's Revolt, and then served Darius III during the invasion of Alexander the Great, taking joint control of the Persian fleet in the Aegean after the death of Memnon of Rhodes.

As is so often the case with Persian figures there is no certainty about the career of Autophradates, or even how many people were involved. Here we will treat the satrap of the 360s and the commander of the 330s as the same person, but they could just as easily have been two different officers.

For much of the Satrap's Revolt Autophradates was loyal to Artaxerxes II. In the 370s Datames rebelled, after being given command of a Persian expedition against Egypt and coming under suspicion at court. Autophradates was sent to put down this revolt, but was eventually forced to admit defeat after a campaign in northern Cappadocia.

In the second phase of the revolt Autophradates was one of three satraps sent to deal with the rebel Ariobarzanes, who was holding a series of places on the coast near the Hellespont. Autophradates besieged Ariobarzanes in either Adramyttium or Assus (Xenophon, Agesilaus II.26, Polyaenus VII.29.6). He lifted the siege when King Agesilaus arrived to support Ariobarzanes.

According to Diodorus Autophradates took part in the third, and most serious, phase of the Satrap's Revolt, alongside most of the western satraps. However he provides no details of his role in the revolt, and he would appear to have quickly changed sides.

In his Against Aristocrates of c.353-2, Demosthenes refers to the recent arrest of Artabazus by Autophradates. This would have come at the end of the fourth stage of the Satrap's Revolt, Artabazus's rebellion, and before the defeated rebel went into exile in Macedonia.

In 333 Autophradates served under Memnon of Rhodes in the Persian fleet that briefly threatened Alexander the Great's control of the Aegean Sea. When Memnon died during the siege of Mytilene, Autophradates and Pharnabazus, son of Artabazus (and thus a nephew of Memnon) shared command of the siege. After Mytilene surrendered Pharnabazus went to Lycia, while Autophradates continued operations with the fleet. Pharnabazus was then placed in overall command, replacing Memnon. He rejoined the fleet, and together they captured the island of Tenedos, off the north-western coast of Asia Minor (Arrian, Anabasis). This was probably the same time as his attack on Atarneus, recording in Aristotle's Politics. This failed after Eubulus, a Bithynian banker who then controlled the town offered to pay Autophradates to go away.

Autophradates and Pharnabazus are next recorded at Chios, from where they sent some ships to Cos and some to Halicarnassus (where the harbour area still held out against Alexander's forces). They then went to Siphnus (modern Sifnos in the Cyclades), two thirds of the way across the Aegean. While they were there King Agis III of Sparta arrived asking for money and for reinforcements to fight against the Macedonians and their allies on the Peloponnese. Just at this moment news arrived of Alexander's great victory at Issus. The Persian commanders split. Pharnabazus returned to Chios to guard against any possible revolt, while Autophradates stopped on Siphnus long enough to give Agis thirty talents of silver and ten triremes. Autophradates then appears back at Halicarnassus, where he still had command of a powerful fleet. However Alexander's successes in Phoenicia soon reduced his power - when their cities surrendered to Alexander the Phoenician kings in his fleet deserted, and sailed to join Alexander during his siege of Tyre (332 BC).

In 330, after the final defeat of Darius at Gaugamela, Alexander pursued him into the eastern Empire. Just after Darius's death, Alexander was at Zadracarta (Gorgan in north-eastern Iran, close to the south-eastern shores of the Caspian Sea. While he was there a number of former supporters of Darius arrived to throw themselves on the mercy of the new king. Amongst them was an Autophradates, satrap of Tapuria (on the southern shore of the Caspian). This Autophradates was confirmed in his post by Alexander, but might not the same man (unless he was withdrawn from the lost western theatre and given a new post in the east before Gaugamela). This Autophradates was then appointed satrap of the Mardians. Late in 328 two envoys were sent to bring this Autophradates to Alexander during his campaign in Bactria, after he ignored a number of earlier summons. The same party also included Artabazus, who had survived his revolt, been restored to favour, and served Darius III, so it is perfectly possible that this Autophradates was indeed the naval commander of 333.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 August 2015), Autophradates, satrap of Lydia (fl.c.390-330 BC) ,

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