After the death of Darius, his son Xerxes was persuaded by his overconfident advisor Mardonius to attack the Greeks, and in doing so, Mardonius exaggerated Greek weaknesses and character. Even when Damaratus repeatedly told Xerxes that the Spartans were the bravest and best fighters of Greece, Xerxes still mocked them for their appearance and actions. "For four whole days he suffered to go by, expecting that the Greeks would run away." (Herodotus)
While Herodotus in theory refers to Persians as the opposite of Xerxes and the Persians, so Leonidas and the Greeks are viewed as God-Like or Immortals. Later on in the story, Herodotus describes a man named Demaratus speaking to the Persian king Xerxes, he says, “You are now face to face with the first kingdom in Greece and with the bravest men”(Herodotus 7.209). This quote explains how Demaratus tells Xerxes that Leonidas and his men are the bravest people he knows. This claim helps supports Herodotus idea of portraying the Greeks as stronger then the Persians for it gives another person's perspective on how strong the Greeks were. Herodotus shows that not only did other people need to say how strong the Greeks where, you could also see how strong they were on the battlefield. In the text, Herodotus says,“They would turn their backs in unison as if they were in flight, where whereupon the enemy would pursue them with much noise and shouting: then the Spartans, just when the Persian were upon them, would wheel around, face the enemy and inflict heavy losses on them. Some Spartans also feel, but not may”(Herodotus
Themistocles was aware that the only way to defeat the Persians was to cut of their naval power, so he devised a plan. He sent a slave to the Persians with a message that they were escaping, and the Persians sent ships to meet there escapees. The Athenian ships were prepared to face them. Their specialty in sea battles, along with the narrowness and swirls of the sea gave the Athenians an advantage. This strategy is what ultimately brought victory to the Greeks, as it left the Persians without a supply line and weakened their forces. The two events, the battle at Marathon and the battle at Salamis, showed that Athens was a great contributor to the war, both land and sea.
The great Athenian general Miltiades came up with a shrewd battle plan. He decided to thin out the ranks in the center of the phalanx to strengthen the wings. During the battle, the Greek wings crushed the Persian wings and forced them to retreat. At the same time, the Persians in the middle managed to break through the weakened center of the phalanx. Instead of pursuing the retreating Persian wings, the Greek wings moved backward to attack the Persians that had broken through the Greek defenses. The Greek center then turned around so that they had the Persians surrounded. The Persians were slaughtered (5). According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Persians lost 6400 men while te Greeks lost only 192 (4).
The Persian Wars were a series of destructive and malevolent battles which occurred in the time frame of 490B.C and 480 – 479B.C. The Greek victory over the Persians in the Persian Wars cannot be attributed to only one factor, more it was a commixture of factors. Such factors include unity, leadership, strategy, tactics and the pre-eminence of the Greek soldier. Each contributing factor was to play a distinctive and pivotal role in the various battles to come, which ultimately would lead to the subsequent demise of the Persians.
Athens and Sparta had formed a league against Persia. Even with the league, Greece was at a major disadvantage. In the words of Eric V. D. Luft, “Modern estimates put Xerxes's troop strength as high as 350,000. The sheer size of this unwieldy mass contributed to its undoing. (2004)” The Greeks only had 7,000 men. Even outnumbered, the Spartans still showed immense bravery. “When told the Persian arrows would darken the sky in battle, one Spartan warrior supposedly responded, "That is good news. We will fight in the shade! (William J. Duiker and Jaskson J. Spielvogel, 2001) (p. 105)" In 480 BCE, the battle of Thermopylae broke out. The Athenian and Spartans fought for many days but suffered very heavy losses. On the second night of the battle, a Greek traitor helped the Persian army. He informed the Persian army on how to get around the Greek army and attack from behind. Luckily, Leonidas, the Spartan general, was able to guild the Athenian army to safety. However, he returned to Thermopylae to fight Persia with the rest of the Spartan army. “He [Leonidas] sent most of his forces back to Sparta and remained with only a small guard, determined to fight to death. (Eric H. Cline and Sarolta A. Takalcs, 2007) (p. 84)” As the Spartans fought to the death, Athens was evacuated and residents were sent to Salamis. After the Persians defeated the Spartans, they burned
At Artemisium and Salamis, Themistocles played a key role. The Battle of Artemisium was a battle which contained 271 Greek vessels controlled by Eurybiades and 1200 Persian vessels, according to Herodotus’ numbers. There was a 3 day storm which inflicted major damage to the Persian fleet, but the Greeks were able to ride out the storm safely. Xerxes then ordered his fleet to take on the Greeks at Cape Sepias in order to bring supplies, resulting in a closely fought battle. The Greeks then heard of the defeat at Thermopylae and departed,
Aeschylus’ The Persians is an Athenian tragedy with a moral purpose designed to reaffirm the power of the Greek gods. In the play, Xerxes’ invasion of Greece is presented as an example of hubris or excessive pride, which must be punished by the gods. Xerxes actions lead to the downfall of his empire and the demoralization of Xerxes. The Persians was written for a Greek audience so naturally it is biased and inconsistent.
Marathon, Greece is located about 22 miles from Athens, Greece. This is the site of the famous Battle of Marathon which took place in 490 B.C. between the Athenians, led by Platea, and the Persians, led by Datis and Artaphernes. The Persian War was sparked by the Greek involvement and support in the Ionian revolt, Ionia was a small Greek polis. The Athenians sent forces to aid the Ionians in their endeavor to overthrow Persian rule. King Darius I of Persia swore he would get revenge on the Athenians. The Battle of Marathon marked a turning point in the Persian Wars, which ended the Persian invasion. The Greeks took a victory over Persian in this battle and Persia was at a loss of more than just dignity. They lost the chance of expansion which was necessary to acquire more resources and wealth for their kingdom.
The Role of Themistocles in the Greek Defeat of the Persians in 480 - 479 BC.
Xeones joins the Spartan military and becomes a squire he starts to serve his whole country rather than his family and his home. When Sparta learned of the Persian invasion, they sent out a small force of three hundred troops to slow the enemy’s advance. “By Zeus and Eros, by Athena Protectress and Artemis Upright, by the Muses and all the gods and heroes who defend Lakedaemon and by the blood of my own flesh,
In 480 BC, when the Persian horde, estimated by some historians to range from 300,000 to 1.7 million soldiers, landed on the shores of Thermopylae, the Persian King Xerxes sent emissaries to the leaders of the Greek city-states demanding their surrender and patronage to the Persian Empire (Frye, 2006). Despite the massive threat that was encamped on the shores off the Gulf of Maliakos in small town known as Trachis, the Greeks refused. Sparta, known for their superior military might, were chosen by the Greek leaders to lead a coalition of Greek warriors to defend their homeland from the invading Persian army (Frye, 2006).
The First Persian War took place at the Battle of the Marathon near Athens and it was known as one of the infamous battle between the Athenians and the Persians. In 501 B.C.E., a Greek tyrant named Aristogorus provoked the Persian rulers by instigating an uprising in Miletus and Ionia to revolt against the Persian Empire. In order to ward off the Persian Empire’s wrath, Aristogorus reached out to his compatriots on the mainland in Greece of Athens and Sparta. “Sparta refused, but Athens sent twenty ships-enough just to anger the Persians, but not to save Miletus.” Nevertheless, the Athenians conquered the Persian’s capital of Lydian in Sardis in order to steal the golds, but they accidentally ended up burning down the richest capital of Sardis.
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.
This was a naval battle between about 370 greek ships from various city states, and about 1200 Persians. The Greeks were led by their commander, Themistocles. The Persians were once again led by Xerxes. The Greeks lined their ships up between two river banks at a narrow point. The Persians charged ahead, but the Greeks were ready. The Persians got too bunched up at the blockade and were soon defeated. This is similar to what happened at the Battle of Thermopylae. We know this happened because we have a knife with a wood handle and an iron blade that was used in the battle. This battle proves yet again that numbers mean little when your opponent has a good