Memnon of Rhodes

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Memnon († 333 BC ) was the brother of the mentor and a military leader of the Persian king Dareios III. in the war against Alexander the great . He was born in Rhodes in the first half of the fourth century BC . As a Greek, like many of his compatriots, he hired himself out as a mercenary with the Persians ruling over Asia Minor .

Memnon and his brother received a fiefdom from Artabazos II at Troas and supported him in the revolt against his rival Ariobarzanes . When this failed, Memnon and Artabazos fled around 353 BC. In the Macedonian capital Pella . 343 BC Memnon and Artabazos were granted amnesty and the return from exile, as mentor during the conquest of Egypt by Artaxerxes III. served. Memnon and Artabazos brought important messages about Philip II's plans . After Mentor's death, Memnon married his widow Barsine .

Memnon advised the Persians to let the attacking Macedonians run into the void using a scorched earth tactic and also to use the far superior Persian fleet in the rear of the invaders, who were considered to be the soldiers who were superior on land. This proposal, which was already seen as a promising strategy in antiquity , was not compatible with the Persians' sense of honor: their own territory should be protected, not devastated, and it was also considered dishonorable to refuse the attackers the battle. Also Memnon advice for the Battle of the Granicus was the satrap of the great king does not follow clearly what a bitter defeat moved to it. After the defeat, Memnon and his troops moved to the port city of Halicarnassus and had the defenses reinforced.

Nevertheless, after several months of siege, the city's defenses were overcome. Memnon had to surrender the city and withdraw to the harbor island and a fortress in front of it. Before retreating, he set fire to all neighborhoods and weapons stores near the city wall. The mausoleum escaped the flames.

Dareios III. Memnon transferred the supreme command of the Persian fleet in the Aegean Sea . Since this was largely displaced from the Ionian coast by Alexander's tactics of occupying the port cities in particular, Memnon tried to cut off the Macedonians from Europe and to initiate the uprising against Alexander operated by Sparta in Greece . He began to occupy the islands, especially Chios and Lesbos . He died on Lesbos in 333 BC. BC unexpectedly at the siege of Mytilene . He was considered Alexander's most dangerous opponent. His successor Pharnabazos III. took over the supreme command of the fleet, but soon afterwards he received instructions to bring his mercenary troops to Syria in order to reinforce the armaments of the great king. This buried the offensive plans of the Persian fleet. In response to the news of the outcome of the battle of Issus in 333 BC. The Armada disbanded as the Cypriot and Phoenician contingents withdrew.


  • Waldemar Heckel : Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire . Blackwell, Oxford 2006, p. 162 ( Memnon 1 ).

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