Madyes: Master of Asia, Historical Enigma

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Madyes: Master of Asia, Historical Enigma

Madyes: Master of Asia, Historical Enigma

Madyes, the mysterious Scythian stepped onto the world stage. There is not a great deal of information about him, nor has his name turned up in any of the Assyrian tablets. Herodotus and Strabo are the only two writers who mention him other than Arrian, who refers to him as “Idanthyrsus.”

Nevertheless, Herodotus provides the most information about Madyes (or Madius). Most historians have read and used Herodotus’ work for their research in dealing with this matter. But what if Herodotus was wrong? This would not be a new statement by any means nor is it to meant to demean Herodotus’ work. So let us look at Herodotus’ chronology from the Scythian invasion to Cyaxares, King of Media.

Mysterious Origins and the Chronology of Herodotus

According to Herodotus, Madyes was the son of Bartatua (in Greek, Protothyes) but there is no concrete evidence for this even though some suggest he is the son of Bartatua and an Assyrian Princess. Unfortunately, no evidence says Esarhaddon (king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 681 – 669 BC) handed over his daughter in marriage to Bartatua. That is not to say it is not possible, but it has a high likelihood of being improbable.

Esarhaddon, king of Assyria. Portrait on stone stele. After 671 BC.

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