Histories | Study Guide

Herodotus

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Histories | Characters

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Character Description
Cyrus Cyrus, also known as "Cyrus the Great," was the founder of the first Persian Empire. He waged successful military campaigns against the Medians, Lydians, and Babylonians to create the greatest empire in the world. Read More
Darius Darius was the fourth ruler of the Persian Empire. He defeated many rebels, conquered Egypt, invaded the Indus Valley in India, and was the first Persian ruler to invade Greece. Read More
Xerxes Xerxes was the son of Darius and ruler of the Persian Empire. He was successful in capturing and destroying Athens, but his navy was defeated at the Battle of Salamis. Read More
Themistocles Themistocles was an Athenian statesman who began the construction of Athens's navy and masterminded the victory at Salamis. He helped secure the rise of Athens as a naval power, but he was eventually exiled. Read More
Alexander Alexander of Macedon was king of Macedon. A servant of Xerxes, he nevertheless aided the Greeks against the Persians.
Amasis Amasis was an Egyptian pharaoh who was defeated by Cambyses.
Amestris Amestris was the wife of Xerxes who had his mistress, Artaynte, tortured.
Aristagoras Aristagoras was the leader of the Ionian revolt against Darius.
Artabanus Artabanus was one of Xerxes's advisors who argued that the Persians should not invade Greece.
Artaphernes (the Elder) Artaphernes was the brother of Darius and governor of Sardis.
Artaphernes (the Younger) Artaphernes was the son of Artaphernes (the Elder) who led an army with Datis to attack Athens.
Artaynte Artaynte was the mistress of Xerxes who was tortured by Xerxes's wife, Amestris.
Artemisia Artemisia was the queen of Halicarnassus and a Persian commander at Salamis.
Astyages Astyages was the king of Media and a rival of Cyrus who ordered Cyrus killed as a child. He was ultimately defeated by Cyrus.
Cambyses I Cambyses I was the father of Cyrus the Great. As ruler of Persia, he was initially a servant of Astyages, king of Media.
Cambyses II Cambyses II succeeded his father, Cyrus, as king of Persia. He invaded Egypt but eventually went mad.
Cleisthenes Cleisthenes was an Athenian statesman who tried to form an alliance with Persia.
Cleomenes Cleomenes was the king of Sparta who opposed Cleisthenes and drove him out of Athens.
Croesus Croesus was the king of Lydia who misunderstood the oracle at Delphi and lost his kingdom to Cyrus as a result. Thereafter, he served Cyrus.
Cypselus Cypselus was a tyrannical ruler of the Greek city, Corinth.
Datis Datis was a commander of Persian armies who attacked the Athenians under Darius.
Demaratus Demaratus was the deposed king of Sparta who served as an advisor to Darius and Xerxes.
Dieneces Dieneces was an acclaimed Spartan soldier with a dry sense of humor who fought at Thermopylae.
Ephialtes Ephialtes was a Greek who betrayed his countrymen at Thermopylae.
Eurybiades Eurybiades was a Spartan naval commander of the Greek fleet at Artemisium and Salamis.
Gelon Gelon was the ruler of Sicily, said to be the most powerful Greek ruler. He refused the Greek request for aid.
Gyges Gyges was the king of Lydia before Persia's rise.
Harpagus Harpagus was the servant of Astyages who refused to murder Cyrus as a child and secretly let him live. When his deceit was revealed, Astyages had Harpagus's own son cooked and served to him.
Hecataeus Hecataeus warned Aristagoras of the strength of the Persian Empire and the wrath of Darius.
Hippias Hippias was an Athenian exile who guided the Persian armies to Marathon.
Histiaeus Histiaeus was the commander of the Ionian Greeks and part of Darius's army.
Leonidas Leonidas was the king of Sparta who led the doomed defense of Thermopylae.
Leotychides Leotychides was the king of Sparta who led armies in several battles against the Persians.
Mardonius Mardonius was a Persian general and the commander of Persian forces after Salamis.
Megabazus Megabazus was a Persian general ordered by Darius to conquer Thrace.
Miltiades Miltiades was the leading Athenian commander at the Battle of Marathon.
Oroetes Oroetes was the Persian governor of Sardis who murdered Polycrates.
Otanes Otanes was a wealthy Persian who uncovered the magi's plot.
Pausanias Pausanias was the Spartan military commander at Plataea.
Periander Periander was the bloodthirsty tyrant of Corinth and the son of Cypselus.
Pheidippides Pheidippides was an Athenian runner sent to Sparta to request aid against the Persians before the Battle of Marathon.
Polycrates Polycrates was the tyrant of Samos. He was murdered by Oroetes.
Smerdis Smerdis was the brother of Cambyses. He attempted to rule after Cambyses's death but was replaced by Darius.
Solon Solon was an Athenian statesman who drew up the city's laws. He visited Lydia in Asia Minor and advised Croesus on happiness.
Tomyris Tomyris was the queen of the Massagetae who defeated and killed Cyrus.
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