Analysis of the Battle of Thermopylae

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The battle of Thermopylae was the Greek’s first stand against the massive army of King Xerxes, and was the most influential battle of the entire war. Up to this point, the Persian army was seen as too massive and powerful to be stopped. The once warring city-states of Greece knew they couldn’t stand against the Persians alone, and knew in order to defend their homeland they would have to unite. A unity of command was agreed upon; King Leonidas of Sparta was chosen to lead the Greek forces. He was chosen to lead because of the unsurpassed warring abilities the Spartans were so well known for made him perfect for the objective of stopping the Persians. Xerxes and his army landed on the Greek shores of Thermopylae sometime in the summer…show more content…
Not what Xerxes expected from a small force about to face his hundreds of thousands of troops. What Xerxes didn’t know was that to a Spartan, fighting was almost like a game to them and that death on the battle field was the most honorable way to die. The Spartans were not afraid of King Xerxes or his army so they sat and waited behind their small stone wall for the Persian horde. The Persian army waited four days after their arrival on the Greek shore before actually engaging the Spartans in combat. On the fifth day Xerxes launched an assault on Leonidas’ position. To begin the attack the Persians fired a huge barrage of arrows at the Spartans. About 5,000 arrows were launched at the Spartans with no effect. The large bronze shields and helmets used by the Spartans proved to be too much for the Persian arrows. King Xerxes then ordered 10,000 troops forward to take the Spartans prisoners (Robinson). The wave of Persians moved forward and soon found themselves in a full frontal assault with a wall of spears and shields. The Spartan phalanx stretched from each side of the pass. The phalanx formation put each man shoulder to shoulder with their large shields forming a wall of bronze. Each man was armed with a spear that would protrude from the wall making it almost impossible for the Persian soldiers, with much smaller and weaker swards and shields, to penetrate their defense. The Spartan phalanx was positioned right behind the stone wall they had constructed as well.

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