Pharnabazus and Iphicrates’ Egyptian Campaign, 373

Stephen Ruzicka

in Trouble in the West

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199766628
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932719 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Early Empires

Pharnabazus and Iphicrates’ Egyptian Campaign, 373

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We have enough information to reconstruct the second fourth-century Persian attack on Egypt. As planned, Pharnabazus and Iphicrates ferried mercenary troops beyond the Pelusiac branch to the mouth of the Mendesian branch and after amphibious landings seized the Egyptian fortress there. Wishing to secure this base and transport the whole of the Persian force to it before advancing, Pharnabazus rejected Iphicrates’ insistent demands that he be allowed to make a quick attack upriver on Memphis. Continuing landings by Persian forces met stiff Egyptian opposition, but it was the Etesian winds in combination with rising floodwaters which made further landings impossible and compelled Pharnabazus and Iphicrates to withdraw back to the initial camp east of Pelusium. Continuing friction between Pharnabazus and Iphicrates prompted Iphicrates to abandon the campaign and flee to Athens. Lacking an effective commander for the all-important Greek mercenaries, Pharnabazus had no choice but to terminate the whole campaign—just a few months after it began.

Keywords: Pharnabazus; Iphicrates; Nectanebo; Memphis; Memphis; Mendesian Branch; Greek mercenaries

Chapter.  4094 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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