Battle of Pteria

Battle of Pteria
Part of the Campaigns of Cyrus the Great
DateAutumn 547 BC
LocationPteria, Cappadocia
Result Tactical stalemate;
Strategic Persian victory.
Pteria part of Anatolia, lost by Media, captured by Persia.
Lydian Empire,
Babylonian mercenaries,
Arabian mercenaries,
Greek mercenaries
Achaemenid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Croesus of Lydia,
Artacamas of Phrygia,
Aribaeus of Cappadocia,
Aragdus of Arabia,
Gabaedus of Hellespont,
unknown others
Cyrus the Great,
unknown others


Casualties and losses
Heavy2 Heavy2
1 Herodotus states that the Lydian forces "fell very short of the enemy."
2 "[...] upon both sides the number of the slain was great; nor had victory declared in favour of either party, [...]"

At the Battle of Pteria (Ancient Greek: Πτερία) in 547 BC, the Persian forces of Cyrus the Great fought a drawn battle with the invading Lydian forces of Croesus, forcing Croesus to withdraw back west into his own kingdom.


Formerly, the Lydians and Medes had arranged that the natural boundary between the two empires would be the Halys River. Croesus learned of the sudden Persian uprising and defeat of his longtime rivals, the Medes. He attempted to opportunistically use these set of events to expand his borders upon the eastern frontier of Lydia. He made an alliance with Chaldea, Egypt and several Greek city-states, including Sparta.


Croesus may have intended re-instating his brother-in-law, Astages on the Median throne. It is also possible that he was trying to pre-empt a Persian invasion of Lydia.


Cyrus advanced to halt the Lydian invasion. The winter battle appears to have been fierce, but indecisive. Croesus withdrew across the Halys. As Herodotus refers to how the Lydians fell short in defeating the Persians, it seems clear that partly because of the battle, and having fewer troops than the Persians, it was enough for Croesus to retreat. The Persians reclaimed the land of the Medes in their name. In this respect, the battle might be regarded as a strategic victory for the Persians, in that it helped to secure Cappadocia as part of the newly formed Achaemenid Empire.


Among historians, the outcome of the battle remains debatable and unclear. Before all of this, and prior to his invasion, Croesus asked the Oracle of Delphi for advice. The Oracle suggested vaguely that, "if King Croesus crosses the Halys River, a great empire will be destroyed." Croesus received these words with delight, instigating a war that would ironically and eventually end not the Persian Empire but his own. This battle was shortly followed by the Battle of Thymbra, which ended in a decisive victory for Cyrus the Great.



  1. Spencer, C. Tucker Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict , ABC-Clio Inc, (2010) p.563
  2. Eggenberger, David, An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present, Courier Dover Publications, (1985) p. 386

Coordinates: 39°55′00″N 35°20′00″E / 39.9167°N 35.3333°E / 39.9167; 35.3333

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