Born: fl. 4th c. BC
Died: fl. 4th c. BC
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Nationality: Ancient Persia
Executive summary: Persian soldier, fought Sparta
Persian soldier and statesman, the son of Pharnaces, belonged to a family which from 478 governed the satrapy of Phrygia on the Hellespont, from its headquarters at Dascylium, and was descended from Otanes, one of the associates of Darius in the murder of Smerdis. Pharnabazus first appears as satrap of this province in 413, when, having received orders from Darius II to send in the outstanding tribute of the Greek cities on the coast, he, like Tissaphernes of Caria, entered into negotiations with Sparta and began war with Athens. The conduct of the war was much hindered by the rivalry between the two satraps, of whom Pharnabazus was by far the more energetic and upright. After the war he came into conflict with Lysander, who tried to keep the Greek cities under his own dominion, and became one of the causes of his overthrow, by a letter which he sent to the ephors at Sparta. He received Alcibiades at his court and promised him means to go up to the king to reveal the intrigues of Cyrus, but when the Spartans insisted on his death he yielded to their demand for his assassination. When in 399 the war with Sparta broke out he again tried to conduct it strenuously. With the help of Conon and Evagoras of Salamis he organized the Persian fleet, and while he was hard pressed on land by Agesilaus he prepared the decisive sea-battle, which was fought in August 394 at Cnidus under his and Conon's command, and completely destroyed the Spartan fleet. He sent support to the allies in Greece, by which the walls of the Peiraeus were rebuilt. But in the war on land he struggled in vain against the lethargy and disorganization of the Persian Empire; and when at last, in 387, in consequence of the embassy of Antalcidas to Susa, the king decided to conclude peace with Sparta and to enter again into close alliance with her, Pharnabazus, the principal opponent of Sparta, was recalled from his command in high honors, to marry Apame, a daughter of the king. In 385 he was one of the generals sent against Egypt, and in 377 he was ordered to prepare a new expedition against the valley of the Nile. The gathering of the army took years, and when in 373 all was ready, his attempt to force the passage of the Nile failed. A conflict with Iphicrates, the leader of the Greek mercenaries, increased the difficulties; at last Pharnabazus led the army back to Asia. From these campaigns date the silver coins with the name of Pharnabazus in Aramaic writing. When he died is not known. In the time of Alexander the Great we meet with a Persian general Pharnabazus, son of Artabazus, who probably was the grandson of the older Pharnabazus.
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