The Unity Of Greek Unity

1329 Words6 Pages
In this essay I will show that Greek unity was barely present in the early 5th century BC, and that the poleis involved in either the Ionian revolt(499-494BC) or the Persian invasion of Greece(480-479BC) were acting largely in their own self-interest. Herodotus in particular overly emphasises the degree to which the Greeks were concerned about liberty in regard to Persian rule, and the extent of any common Greek identity between the cities. For many cities, the reality was that they were massively under-equipped to deal with meeting the Persian army in battle. Thessaly was placed directly in the path of the land army which was marching to the south, their stated aim being revenge on Athens, and could not hope for victory against them. The words of the men sent to ask for aid are revealing: “you cannot compel us to fight your battle for you”, suggesting that the Thessalians believed Athens was the cause, and that they did not feel any sense of kinship or unity with them. Clearly the Thessalians sought to protect their own interests, for if there was any notion of unity involved, surely the Thessalians would have stood and fought rather than allowing the Persians to progress unimpeded. Other cities presumably felt the same way, for example, the leading families in Thebes are depicted as giving advice to the Persians. Yet others have had their reputation tarred in the Athenian effort to boost their own prestige. Corinthian sailors supposedly fled Salamis, and the troops at
Open Document