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Evagoras

(c. 435—374 bc)


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c.435–374/3bc),

an interesting and important figure in Greek, Persian, and Cypriot history. He was a member of the Teucrid house (cf. Tod 194), the traditional rulers of Cypriot Salamis. Exiled during his youth, which fell in a period of Phoenician domination, he gathered some 50 followers at Soli in Cilicia, and with their help established himself as ruler of Salamis in 411. His subsequent policy aimed at strengthening Hellenism in Cyprus by co-operation with Athens (which honoured him c.407, perhaps for shipping corn there); and his court became a centre for Athenian émigrés, of whom Conon was the most distinguished. A clash with Persia was ultimately inevitable, but in his early years he was not out of line with Persia and he postponed the confrontation by assisting in the revival of Persian sea-power culminating in the triumph of the battle of Cnidus (394). Athens now honoured him for his services as a ‘Greek on behalf of Greece’. War finally came c.391 and dragged on for ten years. In alliance with Acoris of Egypt, Evagoras at first more than held his own. He not only extended his rule over the central cities of Cilicia, but also captured Tyre and dominated Phoenicia. In 382 Persia mobilized an overwhelming force against him, Evagoras lost control of the sea at Citium in 381, and was forced to sue for peace, obtaining reasonably favourable terms, through dissensions among the Persian commanders. In 374 he was assassinated in a palace intrigue.

The most detailed source for his life, Isocrates, Evagoras, is not altogether reliable factually; but it, together with Isocrates' other ‘Cyprian orations’ the To Nicocles (Evagoras' son) and the Nicocles, is an important document of early Greek kingship theory.

Donald Ernest Wilson Wormell; Simon Hornblower

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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