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Sabaces

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Sabaces
Satrap of Egypt
Sabakes portrait.jpg
Portrait of satrap Sabaces from his coinage. Circa 340-333 BC. Achaemenid Egypt.
PredecessorPherendates II
SuccessorMazaces
Dynasty31st Dynasty
PharaohDarius III
Coin of Sabaces, in imitation of Athenian coinage. Obverse: Head of Athena. Reverse: Athenian owl. To right: Sabaces symbol and Aramaic inscription SWYK. Circa 340-333 BC. Achaemenid Egypt.[1]
Coin of Sabaces. Persian Egypt. Circa 335-333 BC

Sabaces (name variants: Sabakes, Sauaces; Sataces; Diodorus Siculus calls him Tasiaces;[2] Aramaic: SWYK, died in 333 BC) was an Achaemenid satrap of the Achaemenid Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt during the reign of king Darius III of Persia.

Resistance to Alexander the Great[edit]

Some time before the Battle of Issus Sabaces left Egypt with his army to join Darius III in Syria and support him in his fight against Alexander the Great. When the Battle of Issus took place (November 333 BC) Alexander and his horsemen fought their way through the enemy troops until they came in close vicinity to Darius III, whose life was therefore threatened. Darius III was protected by the most noble Persians, among them also Sabaces, who was killed:[3]

Of the Persians were killed Arsames, Rheomithres, and Atizyes who had commanded the cavalry at the Granicus. Sabaces, viceroy of Egypt, and Bubaces, one of the Persian dignitaries, were also killed, besides about 100,000 of the private soldiers, among them being more than 10,000 cavalry.

— The Anabasis of Alexander by Arrian, translated by E. J. Chinnock, Book II, Chapter XI[4]

The Persian king fled because he feared for his life; therefore the Macedonians won the battle.

Successor[edit]

Mazaces was probably the successor of Sabaces in Egypt, but because Sabaces had taken with him nearly all occupying forces, Mazaces was not able to organize military resistance against the Macedonians. Therefore, Alexander the Great was able to take Egypt without fighting (332 BC).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ CNG: EGYPT, Persian Administration. Sabakes. Circa 340-333 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24mm, 16.88 g, 9h). Imitating Athens.
  2. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 17.34.5
  3. ^ Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri 2.11.8; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 17.34.5; Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni 3.11.10 and 4.1.28
  4. ^ The Anabasis of Alexander.

References[edit]

  • Waldemar Heckel: Who’s who in the age of Alexander the Great. Prosopography of Alexander’s empire. Blackwell, Oxford 2006, ISBN 978-1-4051-1210-9
  • Siegfried Lauffer: Alexander der Große. dtv, Munich 1978, third edition 1993, ISBN 3-423-04298-2, p. 78 and 87.
Preceded by
Pherendates II
Satrap of Egypt
before 333 – 333 BCE
Succeeded by
Mazaces