By 550 BCE, the Median Empire of eastern Anatolia, which had existed since hundred years, was suddenly torn apart by a Persian rebellion. As Lydia king, Croesus had a large amount of wealth which to draw from, and he used it to go on the offensive against the Persian king Cyrus the Great. In the end, Croesus was thrust back west and Cyrus burned the Lydian capital Sardis, taking control of Lydia in 546 BCE.

The remaining kingdom of Ionia and several cities of Lydia still refused to fall under Persian domination. The burning of Sardis in 498 BCE enraged Darius so much that he swore revenge upon Athens. This event brought down the hammer upon Aristagoras as the Persian army swept through Ionia, re-taking city by city. It was the eventual Battle of Lade outside Miletus in 494 BCE that put an end to the Ionian Revolt once and for all.

Although the Persian Empire had official control of the Carians as a satrap, the appointed local ruler Hecatomnus took advantage of his position. The local control over Caria remained in Hecatomnus’s family for another twenty years before the arrival of Alexander the Great..