The siege of Paphos in c.497 was part of the
Persian reconquest of Cyprus after the defeat of the Cyprian rebels at Salamis.
The Greeks of Cyprus joined the
Ionian Revolt in 498,
possibly in the aftermath of the Ionian raid on Sardis. They were led by
Onesilus of Salamis, and were offered naval assistance by the Ionians. The
Persians responded by sending a major army and fleet to Cyprus. The two sides
clashed at the land and naval battle of Salamis in +.497, which saw the Ionians
victorious at sea, but the Cyprians defeated on land. Onesilus was killed, and
the remaining Greek cities left were quickly placed under siege.
The attack on Paphos isn't mentioned directly by Herodotus, but the town has
been investigated by archaeologists, and the Persian siege works have been
discovered. The city was defended by a stone-faced mud-brick wall, protected by
a newly constructed U-shaped ditch. The Persians built a siege ramp in an area
between two towers. The workers on the ramp were protected by archers, some of
whom were located on siege towers. The defenders dug four tunnels under the
walls, some to undermine the mound and some against the siege towers. Well
aimed Persian arrow heads have been found in several clusters, while the
defender's missile weapons are scattered across the ramp area. The ramp
eventually reached the wall, where a scattering of slingshots suggest the
defenders made a last stand before being overwhelmed.