Ariobarzanes of Persis


Ariobarzanes (Old Persian: *Aryābr̥zaⁿs; Ancient Greek: Ἀριοβαρζάνης Ariobarzánēs; Persian: آریوبرزن; died 330 BC),[2] was an Achaemenid prince, satrap and a Persian military commander who led an Ambush of the Persian army at the Battle of the Persian Gate against Macedonian King Alexander the Great in the winter of 330 BC.

Ariobarzanes of Persis
Native name
probably near Persepolis[1]
AllegianceStandard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire
RankSatrap of Persis
Battles/warsCommanding the Persian Army at the Battle of the Persian Gates
RelationsFather: Artabazus


Though the exact birth date of Ariobarzanes is unknown, it is speculated that he was born around 368 BC. His sister was the ancient Persian noblewoman and warrior Youtab. Ariobarzanes was made satrap of Persis (the southern province of Fars in present-day Iran) in 335 BC by Darius III Codomannus. Historians are surprised that Darius III appointed a satrap for Persepolis and Persis; apparently, that office did not previously exist. Ariobarzanes commanded part of the Persian Army fighting against the Macedonians at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC.


Following the Persian defeat at Gaugamela, Darius III realized he could not defend his capital Persepolis and traveled east to rebuild his armies, leaving Ariobarzanes in command. Meanwhile, Alexander the Great split his army and led his 14,000-strong force towards the Persian capital via the Persian Gates. There Ariobarzanes successfully ambushed Alexander the Great's army, inflicting heavy casualties. The Persian success at the Battle of the Persian Gate was short-lived though; after being held off for 30 days, Alexander the Great outflanked and destroyed the defenders. Some sources indicate that the Persians were betrayed by a captured tribal chief who showed the Macedonians an alternate path that allowed them to outflank Ariobarzanes in a reversal of Thermopylae. Ariobarzanes managed to escape, but when he reached Persepolis, he was denied entrance to the city. The commander of the city's garrison had already learned the outcome of the battle, and was convinced that Alexander was invincible. No one needed Ariobarzanes alive; he was probably killed by the Macedonians.[1] Afterward, Alexander continued towards Persepolis, seizing the city and its treasury, and eventually looting the city months after its fall.

Alexander the Great replaced him with Phrasaortes as Hellenistic satrap of Persis.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Ariobarzanes (2) - Livius".
  2. ^ Shahbazi, A. Sh. "ARIOBARZANES". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  3. ^ Roisman, Joseph (2002). Brill's Companion to Alexander the Great. BRILL. p. 189. ISBN 9789004217553.

External linksEdit

  • Ariobarzanes: An Article by Jona Lendering.
  • Pharnabazus, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2006.
  • King Darius III: A Research Article on Darius-III Codomannus
  • Gabae: The name of two places in Persia and Sogdiana.
  • Persian Gates: Photos of the battlefield.
  • Ariobarzanes of Persis by Nabil Rastani