Miriades, the Crooked

Miriades, a crooked Syrian, killed his father and stole his fortunes, before siding with the enemy Persian army (c. 253 AD). He convinced Shapur, the Persian king, to attack Antioch, Miriades’ home town. Ammianus Marcellinus describes the attack;

For it happened one day at Antioch, when the city was in perfect tranquility, a comic actor being on the stage with his wife, acting some common scene from daily life, while the people were delighted with his acting, his wife suddenly exclaimed: ‘Am I dreaming or are there Persians here?’ The audience immediately turned round and then fled in every direction while trying to avoid the missiles which were showered upon them.

Libanius, Greek sophist and “one of the most influential pagans of the fourth century”, continues;

[The people of Antioch] were attacked as they sat in the theatre by archers who had occupied the mountain top.

An anonymous contributor to Cassius Dio’s history sinks the boot into the working class;

The respectable classes fled the city but the majority of the populace remained: partly because they were well disposed towards Mariades and partly because they were glad of any revolution; such as is customary with ignorant people.

Antioch was attacked, plundered, then destroyed. The Persians repaid Miriades by decapitating him for betraying his own people.

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