Read this article to learn about the six causes of the failure of the Ionian Revolt.
1. The Ionian revolt failed because the European and the Asiatic Greeks did not combine.
Sparta, the strongest military power did not come forward with the help it could render. Athens and Eretria, specially the former came to join the rebels out of a feeling of oneness with the lonians, but she also had withdrawn at an early stage of the revolt.
2. Personal aggrandisement, rather than national or general Greek interest was the root cause of the revolt. Aristagoras’ appeal for help to Artaphernes was for assistance to subjugate the Cyclades. No great work could be achieved through essentially narrow or selfish motive made national or general under pressure of circumstances. Aristagoras’ calling the sentiments of the Greeks against the Persians was motivated by self- interest, namely to retrieve his fortune with the Greek help.
3. Another cause of the failure of the revolt was the lack of unity of command or of any ultimate goal. The want of unity and the absence of even a mediocre commander turned the scale in favour of the Persians’. Return from the burning of Sardis without occupying the city had all the disadvantages of a retreat from the battlefield. Taking of Sardis should have been the plan and once the defence of the city was surprised, the city should have been occupied.
4. This would have boosted the morale of an invading army. Purposeless attack on Sardis followed by withdrawal to the coast placed the Greek army in the situation of a fleeing force and its defeat at the hands of the Persian force became easier. Further it earned the wrath of Darius in the bargain.
5. The Ionian Greeks had not the kind of leadership that a revolt, in order that it may succeed, demands. Aristagoras was no match for a Magabazus, Artaphernes or Mardonius. He was too selfish to be a real leader whose skill and sacrifice can inspire confidence.
6. The most decisive cause was the vastness of the Persian strength naval and military whose sheer weight was crushing to the defences of Miletus or any country in Ionia. In personal bravery or military skill the Asiatic Greeks were not much inferior to the Persians, but it was the superiority of the number that decided the issue.