From Thermopylae to the Persian Gates: A New Look into Ariobarzanes’ Identity and Political Status

Document Type : Original Research Article


Department of History, Faculty of Literature and Human Science, University of Tehran


Diodorus Siculus, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Polyaenus, and Arrian are the primary historians who have written about the Battle of the Persian Gates but their accounts differ in some details. Much research has been done on the cause of differences between these historians, their method of historiography as well as their sources; but in this article, the main focus has been on the identity and political status of Ariobarzanes, the general who led the Persians in the aforementioned battle. As this essay argues, the clarification of this issue hinges on a large extent understanding Ariobarzanes’ end at the Persian Gates. Of course, due to discrepancies between classical sources and the absence of any Iranian evidence in this regard, this is not an easy task, but this article tries to find the most reasonable answer by identifying the most accurate classical account, and then presents essential historical results to be drawn from it. It should be noted that so far, various researchers, have speculated on the identity of Ariobarzanes with skepticism, but in this article, with detailed criticism of classical resources, the identity and political status of Ariobarzanes are clarified.


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