But this must be supplemented by deeper explanations, because the rising was a very general affair.
A simple economic explanation, such as used to be fashionable, is no longer acceptable.
The causes of the Ionian revolt are especially hard to determine because the revolt was a short-term failure.
Perhaps the answer is to be found in the formula recorded by a later literary source, the Greek historian ), who wrote that “they gave them back their laws.” (When in 334 Alexander similarly claimed to restore to the Ionian and Aeolian cities their laws and democracies, he was largely indulging in propaganda.) Inscriptions, above all from Persian-occupied Anatolia in the 4th century, show that the cities in question held tribal meetings, enjoyed a measure of control over their own citizen intake, levied city taxes (subject to Persia’s overriding tribute demands), and did indeed operate a system of intercity arbitration.
How different all this was from the situation before 500 is beyond retrieval, but the continuity of civic structures and cults in eastern Greek states from the Archaic period to Classical times implies that in many respects the Persian takeover of 546 was not cataclysmic.
Political dislike of satrapal control is also implied by the concessions made after the revolt ended in 494: the Persians Artaphernes and Mardonius granted a degree of autonomy by instituting a system of intercity arbitration; they abstained from financial reprisals and from demanding indemnities and merely exacted former levels of tribute, but after a more precise survey; and above all, Herodotus says, they “put down all the despots throughout Ionia, and in lieu of them established democracies.” The meaning and even the truth of this last concession are alike disputed.
Although there certainly were still tyrants in some Persian-held eastern Greek states in 480, some improvement on arbitrary one-man government is surely implied.