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Gevegte van die Persiese invalle van Griekeland


Gevegte van die Persiese invalle van Griekeland

Hierdie kaart toon die belangrikste gevegte van die Grieks-Persiese oorloë in die sentrale Griekse teater. Ons begin met Eretria (490 vC) en Marathon (490 vC), die gevegte van Darius se inval in 490 vC. Tien jaar later het Xerxes persoonlik binnegeval en die Spartane en bondgenote by Thermopylea verslaan, maar terselfdertyd het sy vloot 'n terugslag in Artemisium beleef. Die Persiese oorwinning by Thermopylea het die Grieke gedwing om terug te trek. Die Atheners is gedwing om die stad te verlaat en hul toevlug te neem op die eiland Salamis, terwyl die belangrikste Griekse leër by die Isthmus van Korinte gewag het. Die beslissende seestryd by Salamis het Xerxe oortuig om terug te keer huis toe, hoewel hy 'n magtige leër agtergelaat het. Eers nadat hierdie mag by Plataea (479 v.C.) verslaan is, was die Persiese inval uiteindelik verby.


Leonidas. Leonidas, (oorlede 480 v.C., Thermopylae, Locris [Griekeland]), Spartaanse koning wie se standpunt teen die indringende Persiese leër by die pas van Thermopylae in Sentraal -Griekeland een van die blywende verhale van Griekse heroïsme is, wat deur die Westerse geskiedenis opgeroep is as toonbeeld van dapperheid teenoor oorweldigende kanse.

Thermopylae. Aristodemus was een van slegs twee Spartaanse oorlewendes, aangesien hy nie by die laaste stand was nie. Die Griekse historikus Herodotus het geglo dat as Aristodemus en Eurytus lewend teruggekeer het, of as Aristodemus alleen siek was en vrygespreek was van die geveg, die Spartane geen skuld aan Aristodemus sou toegeskryf het nie.


Inhoud

Kores het die Koninkryk van Media in 550 vC verower, wat konflik met die naburige Lydiaanse koninkryk veroorsaak het. [2] Cyrus was van plan om die Lydiaanse koning onvoorbereid vir die geveg te vang, maar by Thymbra het Croesus meer as twee keer soveel manne as Kores gehad. Die Lydiërs het uitgetrek om Kores te ontmoet en vinnig al die reservate daar bewapen voordat hul bondgenote kon aankom, wat hulle nooit gedoen het nie. Volgens Xenophon het Kores altesaam 196 000 mans gehad, [3] [ bladsy benodig ] [4] wat bestaan ​​uit 31 000 tot 70 000 Perse. Dit het bestaan ​​uit 20 000 infanterie, wat moontlik boogskutters en slinger 10 000 elite infanterie/ kavallerie ingesluit het, wat moontlik die Persiese onsterflikes was en 20 000 peltaste en 20 000 pikemen. Dit is bekend dat almal behalwe die boogskutters en slingers klein tot groot skilde gedra het. Die ander was 42 000 Arabiere Armeniërs en Mediane, wat 126 000 infanterie beloop. Daar was ook 300 kameel-kavallerie, 300 strydwaens en 5-6 belegstorings, waarvan 20 mense elk was. Dit het alles meer as 1 000 man beloop, deels omdat daar een burger was en een soldaat op elke wa.

Xenophon vertel ons dat Croesus 'n leër van 420,000 man gehad het, [5] [ bladsy benodig ] wat bestaan ​​uit 60 000 Babiloniërs, Lidiërs en Frygiërs, ook Kappadosiane, plus nasies van die Hellespont. Dit beloop 300 000 manskappe, waaronder 60 000 kavallerie. Daar was ook 120 000 Egiptenare, plus 300 strydwaens, wat moontlik minstens 500 man was. Die getalle van die geveg wat deur Xenophon gegee is, selfs al is dit onwaar, word binne die moontlikheid beskou, maar minder as die helfte het moontlik aan die werklike geveg deelgeneem.

Cyrus het sy troepe ontplooi met flanke teruggetrek in 'n vierkantige formasie. [6] Die flanke was bedek deur strydwaens, kavalerie en infanterie. Cyrus het ook bagasie -kamele gebruik om 'n versperring rondom sy boogskutters te skep. Die reuk van die kamele het die Lydiaanse perde ontwrig en hul kavallerielading verstrooi toe die boogskutters op Lydiaanse magte afvuur. [7]

Soos Kores verwag het, het die vlerke van die Lydiaanse leër na binne gery om hierdie nuwe formasie te omhul. Terwyl die Lydiaanse flanke instroom, verskyn gapings aan die skarniere van die vliegvlerke. Die wanorde is verhoog deur die effektiewe oorhoofse vuur van die Persiese boogskutters en mobiele torings wat op die plein gestasioneer was. Cyrus het toe die bevel gegee om aan te val, en sy flankeenhede het in Croesus se ongeorganiseerde vlerke geslaan. Binnekort het die Lidiese kavallerie baie soldate verloor en moes hulle terugtrek. Met die grootste deel van Kores se leër ongeskonde en die verlies van die grootste deel van die Lydiese kavallerie, beveel Kores alle ruiters en infanterie om die oorblywende aanvalle van Croesus se magte aan te val. Die grootste deel van die infanterie het gou oorgegee, maar Croesus en 'n klein deel van die infanterie het teruggetrek en op pad gegaan na die hoofstad van Lydia, Sardis, wat 'n beslissende oorwinning vir die Perse tot gevolg gehad het.

Herodotus gee verslag van die geveg, maar gee geen getalle nie. Sy verslag oor die vordering en uitkoms van die geveg bevestig egter wat Xenophon later gee.

Na die geveg is die Lydiërs binne die mure van Sardis verdryf en deur die oorwinnende Kores beleër. Die stad het geval ná die 14-dae beleg van Sardis, na berig word deur die versuim van die Lydiërs om 'n deel van die muur wat hulle as ongevoelig beskou het om aan te val weens die steilheid van die aangrensende agteruitgang van die grond. [8] Croesus is gevange geneem, en sy gebied, insluitend die Griekse stede Ionia en Aeolis, is opgeneem in Kores se reeds magtige ryk.

Hierdie ontwikkeling het Griekeland en Persië in konflik gebring en uitgeloop op die gevierde Persiese oorloë van Kores se opvolgers. Saam met die verkryging van Ionia en Aeolis, het Kores ook die Egiptiese soldate, wat namens die Lydiërs geveg het, vrywillig oorgegee en by sy leër aangesluit. [9]

Volgens die Griekse skrywer Herodotus het Kores na die geveg Croesus goed en met respek behandel. [10] Die Babiloniër Nabonidus Chronicle weerspreek dit klaarblyklik deur te meld dat Kores die koning verslaan en vermoor het, maar die identiteit van die Lidiese koning is onduidelik. [11]


Ontleding: Kulture van die berge en die see

Pheidippides, 'n jonger hardloper, het teruggehardloop na Athen om te vertel van hul oorwinning teen die Perse, sodat hulle verdedig kan word. In 480 vC het die nuwe Persiese koning (Darius die Grote se seun) Xerxes probeer om Athene te vernietig. Die land was verdeeld en sommige stadstate het selfs saam met die Perse geveg. Die Xerxes -leër het 'n geheime pad om 'n bergpas gebruik om nader aan Athene te kom. Sparta het al hul soldate opgeoffer om die pas te verdedig. & Hellip


4 Antwoorde 4

OK. Ek weet dat ek in die kommentaar gesê het dat die kort antwoord op die vraag 'ja' is. Trouens, die kort antwoord moet meer akkuraat 'waarskynlik' wees.

Dit is omdat hierdie vraag 'n voorbeeld van 'n spesifieke is bête noire van Myne. Dit val in die vreemde en gekke, 'wat as . "'n wêreld van teen-feitelike geskiedenis.

(Ek dink ek het al verskeie kere elders genoem dat ek regtig nie 'n aanhanger is van teen-feitelike geskiedenis nie. In hierdie artikel gee Richard J Evans 'n paar redes waarom 'Wat as' tydmors is. Ek dink hy is reg!)

Hierdie vraag is 'n uitstekende voorbeeld van die probleme met die kontra-feitelike geskiedenis, so net om die punt te illustreer, laat ons die probleem uiteensit:

In hierdie geval, die feite is soos volg:

  • Die Grieks-Persiese oorloë het geduur vanaf die eerste inval in 492 v.C. (gestop in sy spore tydens die Slag van Marathon in 490 v.C.), tot 450 v.C., toe die reeks konflikte effektief beëindig is met die Slag van Salamis-in-Ciprus.
  • Die Grieke het gewen.
  • Op hierdie tydstip was die Grieke die dominante beskawing in die oostelike Middellandse See (alhoewel Griekeland geensins 'n verenigde volk was nie, soos blyk uit die uitbreek van die Peloponnesiese Oorlog in 431 vC).
    was die kommersiële sentrum van die westelike Middellandse See met kolonies wat tot op die Iberiese skiereiland strek. het hom begin vestig as 'n groot moondheid in Italië, met sy vroeë Italiaanse veldtogte van 458–396 vC.
  • In Europa in die noorde was "die Kelte". Ons begrip van presies wie die "Kelte" was, die struktuur van hul samelewing en hoe effektief hulle as 'n vegkrag in die vroeë vyfde eeu vC sou wees, is ten beste onvolmaak. Ons weet dat die Keltiese leër wat Italië in 390 vC binnegeval en 'n groot Romeinse leër verslaan het, formidabel was. Dit is baie moeiliker om met vertroue te sê hoe effektief 'n Keltiese leër 'n eeu vroeër as 'n vegmag teen 'n groot georganiseerde leër sou gewees het.

So, nou na die "teenfaktueel"bietjie.

Ons verbeel ons dat Griekeland verloor het. Hoe sou Rome, Kartago en "die Kelte" gevaar het?

  • Kartago was op daardie stadium hoofsaaklik 'n maritieme mag. Miskien sou ons redelikerwys kon verwag dat hulle die Perse 'n kans sou gee vir hul geld op see. Soveel sou egter van taktiek afgehang het, dat ek nie kan dink dat ons daarvan kan vertrou nie.
  • Wat van die landmagte? Uit wat ons weet van die 'feitelike' geskiedenis van die tydperk, is daar nie veel wat daarop dui dat die landmagte van óf Rome óf Kartago 'n wedstryd sou wees vir dié van Persië nie. Maar weereens tel taktiek soveel.

Die Perse het die Grieke met minstens twee-tot-een by Marathon getel, en die Grieke het sonder die Spartane geveg. A "teenfaktueel"die geskiedenis sou 'n Persiese oorwinning moontlik gemaak het gegewe die feite, en"teenfaktueel'Die geskiedenis sou verkeerd gewees het.

(Net so gegewe die relatiewe bekende feite van die leërs tydens die gevegte van Crécy en Agincourt, 'n "teenfaktueel"Die geskiedenis sou moontlik 'n Franse oorwinning verwag het. Ag wel!)

  • En wat van die Kelte? Wel, hoe geïnteresseerd sou die Perse gewees het om die Kelte te verower? Sover ons weet, het die Kelte nie veel gehad wat die Perse op daardie stadium sou erken as die kenmerke van 'beskawing' nie. Miskien sou die Perse die Kelte bloot as 'barbare' beskou het en 'nie die moeite werd nie'. Alternatiewelik sou hulle miskien voortgegaan het om hul 'verowering van die wêreld' te voltooi. Indien wel, hoe sou die Kelte gevaar het teen 'n oorvloed Persiese leër? Ons weet eenvoudig nie, en kan nie.

Met soveel onbekendes, gaan ons op die gebied van raaiwerk, grens aan fantasie!

Dus, kom ons keer terug na die vraag. As die Grieke geval het en onder Persiese heerskappy geneem sou word, sou daar enige mag in Europa gewees het wat 'n volledige anneksasie van Europa kon voorkom?

Waarskynlik nie, maar die Grieke het nie geval nie, so ons sal nooit weet niew.

Was Griekeland die enigste standpunt?

Die Grieks-Persiese oorloë het twee invalle van Griekeland en 'n aantal Griekse teenaanvalle teen Persië ingesluit, dus "een-en-net"Dit sou beslis nie wees hoe ek dit sou stel nie. Verder is ons, soos ek gesê het, op die gebied van die kontra-feitelike geskiedenis, en daarom sal ons nooit weet nie.

Het ek genoem dat ek is regtig nie 'n fan van teenfaktuele geskiedenis nie?

Europa is groot, Persië is ver aan die een kant, en die aanbod sou wees regtig lank. (Om van die land af te leef sou onmoontlik wees vir die groot leër van Persië.) Ek dink dus nie dat Persië verder kon gaan as die Swart See en wat ons die Balkan noem nie.

(Wat die Griekse oorwinning het gedoen wel, was om te verseker dat die wortels van die Westerse beskawing nie weggeskuif word nie. Dit is egter nie u vraag nie. )

Dit is 'n hipotetiese en geopolitieke vraag wat nie 'n werklike antwoord het nie. Ek sal egter 'n teoretiese verduideliking indien wat u vraag sal beantwoord.

Eerstens, vir die historiese rekord, het 'n aansienlike deel van Griekeland tydens die 400's v.C./v.G. Die Wes -Anatoliese streke, soos Ionia, Lydia, Lycia en Frigië, was 100 jaar lank onder die Persiese koloniale bewind.

Egter Griekeland kon die slag van Marathon meestal voorkom deur 'n massiewe Persiese koloniale aanslag met talle gevegsoorwinnings, die suksesvolste en bekendste van die gevegte. Ten spyte van Griekeland se verskillende oorwinnings oor die Persiese Ryk, het hulle steeds 'n paar nederlae beleef, waaronder die aflegging en verbranding van Athene deur die Persiese Ryk, sowel as die beroemde Slag van Thermopylae- (dit wil sê The Ancient Greek "Alamo").

Maar laat ons sê dat die hele Griekeland 2400 jaar gelede aan die Persiese Ryk geval het, insluitend al sy archipelos, Kreta en sy hele vasteland, die vraag is: wat kan daaruit voortgespruit het?

As die Persiese Ryk Griekeland suksesvol verower het-(soortgelyk aan hoe die Romeinse en Ottomaanse Ryk eeue later Griekeland behoorlik verower het), is daar 'n redelike goeie kans dat die Perse noordwaarts na die Europese vasteland sou verhuis het. As die Persiese Ryk hierdie rigting gevolg het, sou hulle aanvanklik die Illyrians- (die Ou Albanese) teëgekom het.

Soos ek in 'n vorige plasing genoem het, Illyria, was eertydse Albanië, maar die oorspronklike Illyriese landmassa was baie groter in vergelyking met die huidige Albanië en die nabygeleë streek Kosovo. Antieke Illyria, wat in wese oor 'n groot deel van die binneland van Suidoos-Europa strek, insluitend 'n groot deel van die huidige Albanië.

Dit is onduidelik of die ou Thraciërs van Illyriese etniese afkoms was of nie. (My persoonlike siening is dat die Antieke Thraciërs 'n primitiewe Griekse stam was met 'n paar Illyriese kulturele invloede). As, laat ons sê, die Thraciërs-(die huidige streek Thracië bestaan ​​in Suid-Bulgarye, Noordoos-Griekeland, sowel as Noordwes-Turkye) van etniese afkoms van Illyrië was, dan sou die Perse die goed opgeleide Illyriese krygers teëgekom het. En as die Persiese Ryk die Thraciese krygers teëgekom het, is die kans groot dat selfs 'n goed opgeleide Persiese koloniale weermag 'n baie moeilike uitdaging sou ondervind. Dit was bekend dat die Antieke Thraciërs 'n sterk groep krygers was, en dit het moontlik verhoed dat die Perse noordwaarts na die Europese vasteland verhuis het.

Maar laat ons sê, die Perse wou alle kontak met die Thraciërs en/of die Illyriërs vermy en verkies om eerder Mediterreense Europa te koloniseer. Kom ons sê dat die Persiese Ryk hul verowering van die Ioniese argipel van Griekeland voltooi het (dit wil sê Corfu, Ithaca, Lefkada) en die Italiaanse skiereiland wou verower. (Ons sal Sicilië uitsluit, aangesien Sicilië, naamlik die stad Siracusa, 'n belangrike rol gespeel het in die langdurige Peloponnesiese oorlog en eerder op die Italiaanse vasteland fokus).

As die Persiese Ryk sou probeer om die Oos -Italiaanse vasteland te verower, sou hulle steeds Griekse vloote teëgekom het wat van verskillende Magna Graecia -dorpe langs die Oos -Italiaanse stadskus gestuur sou word. As die Perse die Oos-Italiaanse dorpe van Magna Graecia wou vermy, was hulle moontlik suksesvol in die verowering van dele van die Oos-Italiaanse vasteland wat bevolk was met primitiewe (voor-Romeinse) Latynse stamme. As so 'n scenario gewerk het, sou die Perse miskien in 'n klein, maar ontluikende stad Rome opgeruk het (tydens die vroeë republiekfase). En van Rome, miskien na die antieke Toskane- (Huis van die Etruske) en miskien noordwaarts na die Europese vasteland. En vanuit Rome, miskien weswaarts na die suide van Frankryk, sowel as na Oos-Spanje-(het hierdie scenario ontvou, dan sou die Persiese Ryk die Feniciese Ryk teëgekom het).

Weereens, dit is moeilik om sulke scenario's voor te stel, want ons is so gewoond aan die werklike historiese resultate. Elke historiese scenario wat hier vermeld word, het nooit gebeur nie, alhoewel dit moontlike scenario's is wat moontlik kon afspeel as Griekeland deur die Persiese Ryk verslaan is.


Gevegte van die Persiese invalle van Griekeland - Geskiedenis

Die Achaemenidiese Persiese Ryk (klik om te vergroot)

Ons belangrikste bronne vir vroeë Hopliet -oorlogvoering kom uit die geskrifte van Herodotus, wat in 484 vC in die Griekse stad Halicarnassus, aan die suidwestelike kus van Klein -Asië, gebore is. Hy was 'n Ion wat wyd gereis het en 'n rukkie in Athene gewoon het, voordat hy hom in Thurii, 'n Griekse kolonie in Suid -Italië, gevestig het. Hy sterf omstreeks 424 vC.


Ons kry ook inligting van Thucydides, 'n Atheense wat oor die Pelopponnesiese oorloë geskryf het. Ons kan ook verwysings vind in die werke van verskeie van die Griekse dramaturgmateriaal oor Hoplite -oorlogvoering. Ons kan 'n verslag vind van die Tweede Persiese inval in die toneelstuk "Persae" van Aeschylus, wat tydens Marathon tydens die Eerste Persiese inval geveg het en moontlik ook aan die Tweede Persiese Oorlog deelgeneem het. Afgesien van hierdie bronne, moet ons op latere skrywers staatmaak vir hierdie tydperk.


Die Eerste Persiese Oorlog
Kores die Grote het deur 'n reeks gewaagde aanvalle op sy bure, vermeng met meesterlike diplomasie, die Persiese Ryk in 'n baie kort tydperk geskep. Vanuit sy grondgebied rondom Susa, net oos van die Persiese Golf, het Cyrus die Mede vinnig verslaan en geannekseer. Van daar af vestig hy sy aandag op die Lydiërs in Klein -Asië, en verower Croesus, die Lydiaanse koning, en neem Sardes, die hoofstad van Lydia, in.


Kores het sy Ryk daarna in verskeie provinsies (Satrapis) verdeel wat beheer word deur & quotSatraps & quot. Die Egeïese kus is spoedig deur Haspagus onderwerp, terwyl Kores konsentreer op die verowering van Babilon in die ooste. Kort hierna ontmoet Kores sy dood teen die noordelike barbaarse stamme. Sy seun, Cambyses, het Egipte verower en bygevoeg tot die Ryk voordat hy omvergewerp is deur 'n usurpator, wat vir 'n kort tydperk regeer het, totdat die usurpator op sy beurt omvergewerp is deur Darius die Grote, wat uit die koninklike Achaemenidiese familie was.

Darius herorganiseer die Ryk in 20 satrapies. Hy besluit om sy Ryk uit te brei na Suidoos -Europa en lei sy keiserlike leër in 'n inval oor die Bosporus, en selfs noordwaarts anderkant die Donau. In gevegte met die Skithiërs het sy leërs sleg gevaar, en die keiserlike mag sou waarskynlik omring en vernietig gewees het as dit nie die kontingent van die Ioniese Grieke was nie, wat vinnig gestaan ​​en die brug van die Donau bewaak het terwyl Porius sy magte terugtrek.


Hieruit het die Ioniërs besluit dat die tyd ryp is vir 'n opstand teen die Persiese bewind. 'N Gesant is van Miletus, die hoofstad van die Ioniërs, na die vasteland van Griekeland gestuur en 'n versoekskrif aan die Griekse stadstate gedoen om gewapende hulp teen die Perse. Die Spartane het hulp geweier, maar die Atheners het verkies om twintig skepe by te dra tot die Griekse onafhanklikheid in die ooste. Eretria, op die eiland Euboa, het ook vyf skepe as hulp gestuur. Aanvanklik was die opstand van die Ioniese stede suksesvol, met die Grieke wat na Sartus marsjeer en verbrand, waar die Persiese Satrap sy hoofstad was. Maar hierdie sukses was van korte duur, aangesien die Perse wraak geneem het en die Griekse vloot in die Slag van Lade in 494 vC vernietig is. Die stad Miletus is deur die Perse verwoes, en sy inwoners is vermoor of tot slawe gemaak.


As gevolg van die hulp wat Athene en die ander stadstate van die vasteland aan die Ioniërs verleen het, het Darius 'n strafstaking teen die Griekse vasteland voorberei. Sy vloot, onder bevel van sy skoonseun, vaar in 492 v.C., en vaar langs die noordelike Egeïese kuslyn. Die vloot is erg beskadig tydens 'n storm aan die kus van die berg Athos, wat Darius genoop het om 'n tweede vloot te stuur.


Die tweede vloot, onder nuwe bevelvoerders, het die sentrale Egeïese See oorgesteek en van eiland tot eiland gespring. Eretria is vinnig gevange geneem en vernietig deur die Perse. Die Perse het daarna na die noordwestelike kus van Attika oorgesteek en op die vlakte van Marathon geland, waarvandaan die pad suidwaarts na Athene geloop het. Die pad was die enigste praktiese roete suid, want dit het die berg Pentelicus oorskry. By Marathon vind die Perse 'n Atheense weermag wat oorkant die pad ontplooi is en hul roete blokkeer. Die Atheense leër het die Perse in 'n wanhopige geveg op die vlakte verower. Die oorlewende Perse en diegene wat nie tot die geveg toegewy was nie, is daarna deur hul vloot om Kaap Sunium vervoer om Athene vanaf die Saroniese Belf aan te val. Maar hulle het gevind dat die seëvierende Atheense leër van Marathon teruggekeer het en die verdediging van Athene beman het kort voor die Perse se aankoms. Die keiserlike vloot keer terug na Klein -Asië.

Die Slag van Thermopylae (klik om te vergroot)

Die Tweede Persiese Oorlog
Gedurende die tien jaar na die Eerste Iranse inval in Griekeland het Darius die Grote se seun Xerxes die nuwe Persiese Koning van die Konings geword en begin met voorbereidings vir nog 'n inval in Griekeland.

Hy het sy voorbereidings begin deur gesante te stuur om propaganda te versprei wat bedoel is om soveel gebiede in Griekeland te laat kapituleer sonder om te veg.


Hy het ook planne beraam om die Hellespont te oorbrug en sy ingenieurs het 'n plan beraam wat meer as 600 skepe gebruik het om twee groot pontonbrue te bou. Hy het ook beveel dat 'n kanaal oor die landmus gegrawe moet word om die Kaap van Mount Athos te vermy om sy vloot te beskerm teen storms wat die gevaarlike Kaap omring.


Keiser Xerses het die keiserlike troepe van elke satrapie van die Persiese Ryk ingeroep en die grootste leër wat tot op hede gesien is, versamel. In 481 vC het hy sy hoofkwartier in Sardes in Lydia gehad. Hy stuur gesante na al die Griekse stadstate, behalwe Athene en Sparta, en eis die aarde en water van onderwerping. Daar word geskat dat Xerxes se mag meer as 150 000 bevat het (Herodotus beweer dat die Persiese leër meer as 1 000 000 soldate was en dat Athene en Spartane slegs 300!) Vegters was, waarvan ongeveer die helfte Iraanse troepe sou wees wat uit Persiese en Mede -soldate bestaan ​​het. Dit bevat die heel beste kavallerie van die Middellandse See, vinnige kavallerie gewapen met spies en boog. Sy keiserlike vloot bevat ongeveer 1200 skepe, waarvan baie vragmotors en perde vir sy kavallerie sou gewees het (die kavallerie van die dag het nie hoefysters gebruik nie, en die meeste perde sou lam geword het as hulle die lang trek van Persiese gebied na die Griekse vasteland). Hy sou ook 'n groot hoeveelheid voorraad van allerhande soorte moes saamneem sodat so 'n groot mag in so 'n dor land soos Griekeland kon woon. Die vloot sal die weermag uit die see moet voorsien as daar 'n kans op sukses is.


Dit was die plan van Xerxes om die hele Griekeland te onderwerp, en daarom het hy sulke uitgebreide voorbereidings getref, insluitend ooreenkomste met die Kartagoense en Fenisiese stede van die Wes -Middellandse See om die Griekse Westerse kolonies aan te val en Griekse hulpbronne vas te maak.


In die lente van 480 v.C. steek Xerxes met sy leër die Hellespont oor na Thracië, waar sy vloot hom ontmoet en in drie afsonderlike kolomme na Thessalië gaan.


Die Grieke het in 481 VHJ in Korinte byeengekom om die strategie te bespreek en wat gedoen moet word om Griekeland teen die komende Persiese inval te verdedig. Al die Griekse stadstate wat nog nie onder Persiese oorheersing was nie, het verteenwoordigers na hierdie vergadering gestuur. 'N Alliansie onder leiding van Athene en Sparta is gestig om hierdie krisis te hanteer. Op hierdie tydstip het die Delphic Oracle voorspel dat 'n ramp die Grieke sou tref en die Atheners meegedeel dat hul enigste hoop in 'n houtmuur lê. Die meeste mense het dit as die houtpalisades rondom die Akropolis bedoel, maar Themistocles het dit geïnterpreteer as die Griekse vloot.


Die Spartane en die ander Peloponnesiese state was van mening dat die hoofverdediging by die Isthmus van Korinte moet wees, aangesien dit die ingang na die Pelopponnes was. Teen hierdie plan is beswaar gemaak deur Athene en die stadstate van Sentraal-Griekeland, omdat dit deur die keiserlike Persiese leër vir plundering oopgemaak kon word. Die plan was ook ongegrond omdat dit die verdedigers oopgelaat sou laat word om deur die see te word en gelyktydig van twee kante aangeval word. Daar is gevolglik besluit dat 'n mag gestuur sou word om die Perse in Thessalië te hou omdat die Grieke minderwaardig was, dit sou slegs moontlik wees as die nou pas verdedig kon word. Weens die versoek van die Tessalonisense is 'n mag van 10 000 Hopliete gestuur onder bevel van Evaenetus en Themistocles. Hulle is per skip na Hallos vervoer en vandaar na die Vale of Tempe opgeruk. By aankoms het Evaenetus vasgestel dat daar te veel passe was om met die magte byderhand te hou, en het so teruggetrek na die landengte van Korinte.


Die Griekse Raad van Korinthe het besluit om Sentraal -Griekeland te verdedig in die gebied wes van die Euboese kanaal. Dit was 'n posisie wat gunstig sou wees vir die Grieke vanweë die smal, maklik verdedigbare passe. Ook omdat enige uitwaartse beweging deur die Persiese vloot dit na die Euboese kanaal sou bring, waar die getalle dit sou benadeel. Daar is gedink dat as die landmagte lank genoeg sou kon hou om die Perse so 'n beweging met hul vloot te probeer doen, die Griekse vloot 'n kans sou hê om 'n nederlaag op die Persiese vloot te gee wat voldoende sou wees om te verhoed dat die Perse kon dra stuur hul inval. Dit was die Griekse plan om by Thermopylae te staan, ondersteun deur hul vloot in die Maliese Golf. Onder leiding van Leonidas, 'n koning van Sparta, het die Griekse leër uit ongeveer 7000 tot 8000 Hopliete en ligte troepe bestaan. Sommige hiervan was Boeotiërs wat twyfelagtig was. Dit bevat ook die beroemde 300 (waarvan argeologiese en historiese bewyse vandag daarop dui dat dit 3 000 was), die Spartaanse koning se lyfwag. Themistokles was die bevelvoerder van die Griekse vloot van ongeveer 300 (3000) trireme, waarvan 147 uit Athene was. Dit was gebaseer in die Bay of Artemision, net noord van Euboea.


Baie dink dat dit die Persiese plan was om gelyktydig met hul weermag en by die noordelike punt van die Euboean -kanaal met hul vloot by Thermopylae aan te kom, terwyl die Fenisiese vlootkontingente die kanaal uit die suide binnegegaan het om die Griekse vloot vas te vang. Hierdie plan, as daar so 'n plan was, is deur die weer verslaan. Die keiserlike vloot is deur 'n storm aan die ooskus van Magnesia geteister en volgens Herodotus het 400 oorlogskepe verloor. Die Feniciese kontingent is ook verstrooi deur die storm, sodat die Griekse skepe wat die Chalcis -kanaal bewaak het, kon terugkom na die belangrikste Griekse vloot by Artemision.


Themistocles was vasbeslote om voordeel te trek uit die wanorde van die Persiese Vloot en het die Grieke oorreed om aan te val. Die daaropvolgende geveg was onoortuigend, maar het getoon dat die Grieke 'n meerderwaardige mobiliteit gehad het, wat probleme vir die groter Persiese magte veroorsaak het. Die volgende dag het die Perse 'n teenoffensief uitgevoer, maar die uitkoms was weer onoortuigend, en ondanks die groot vernietiging van skepe aan beide kante kon die Grieke die Perse vashou, wat hulle verhinder het om hul leër by Thermopylae te ondersteun.


Gedurende hierdie tydperk het die Perse probeer om deur die pas by Thermopylae te breek. Die pas bestaan ​​uit drie smal verontreinigings, waarvan die sentrale deur Leonidas gekies is om te verdedig. Hierdie onreinhede in hedendaagse bronne word hekke genoem, en daar was twee ander poorte, 'n westelike hek net oos van die monding van die Asopusrivier, en die oostelike hek wat naby die stad Alpeni lê. Hierdie hekke was 'n gelyke afstand aan weerskante van die sentrale hek wat Leonidas gekies het om te verdedig. Ten suide van die pas was die platorand van die berg Oeta, en daardeur het 'n pas geloop wat van die oostelike hek na die Asopus geloop het, waardeur die sentrale hek van Thermopylae buite die omtrek kon loop. Leonidas het sy troepe ontplooi in die middelste hek, wat waarskynlik net vier meter breed was, wat beteken dat 'n paar mans dit teen 'n veel groter getal sou kon hou. Dit was die bedoeling van die Griekse stadstate om uiteindelik die klein leër van Leonidas te versterk, maar vir die huidige tyd sou hy moes toekom met die troepe wat hy tot sy beskikking het. Om te verhoed dat hy van die suide af geflankeer word, het Leonidas 1000 Phociaanse troepe, wat al die troepe was, in die posisie geplaas om die pas deur die platorand te bewaak en dan voorbereid op die koms van Xerxes.


By die bereiking van die Maliese vlakte vertraag Xerxes sy aanval vir vier dae, waarskynlik in die hoop om te hoor van 'n Persiese seevaartoorwinning by Artemision voordat hy die Griekse Hoplites by die pas betrek het. Xerxes het uiteindelik op die vyfde dag met sy aanval begin, maar is deur die Griekse Hopliete afgeweer vanweë hul uitstekende opleiding, pantser en toerusting, wat hulle 'n meerderwaardigheid in die nabye perke van sy pas oor sy ligter gewapende en toegeruste troepe gegee het. Xerxes herhaal sy aanval op die tweede dag, en word weereens afgeweer. Xerxes het teen hierdie tyd besef dat daar 'n ander manier was om die Griekse posisie deur te breek. Omdat sy vloot by Artemision betrokke was, het hy nie genoeg voorraad nie, en moes hy dus vinnig 'n oplossing vind.

Die antwoord op sy probleme is gevind by een, Ephialtes, wat Xerxes vertel het van die bestaan ​​van die pas wat deur die Phocians bewaak word. Xerxes het sy onsterflikes oor hierdie pad gestuur, gelei deur Ephialtes, om Leonidas se posisie van agter af aan te val. Die onsterflikes het kortliks van die Phocians gewerk, hulle gelei en die pad skoongemaak. Leonidas het gou kennis geneem van die dreigende gevaar vir sy troepe, en daar word vermoed dat hy 'n strategiese onttrekking begin het en sy kontingente uit Sentraal -Griekeland suidwaarts gestuur het, met slegs die Spartane, hul Peloponnesiese bondgenote en 'n paar Thebaanse en Thessalonisense troepe. Hy het die troepe wat hy behou het, na 'n klein heuwel oos van die middelste hek verskuif en 'n agtersteun gereedgemaak. Sommige historici dink dat die kontingente uit Sentraal -Griekeland eintlik gebreek en weggehardloop het, en Leonidas het slegs sy Spartaanse en Peloponnesiese troepe gelaat om die Persiese aanslag te weerstaan. Leonidas het die vloot by Artemision na die vloot gestuur voordat hy en sy oorblywende troepe oorweldig is deur die massa van die Persiese troepe. Daar word gesê dat slegs die Thebans vir kwartaal gevra het. Die Persiese troepe het Leonidas omsingel en waarskynlik sy oorblywende troepe met massale raketvuur vernietig.


Toe hy hoor van die val van Leonidas en sy troepe by Thermopylae, het die Griekse vloot teruggetrek na die Saroniese Golf, waar dit uiteindelik langs Salamis geplaas is. Die hele Attika was nou oop vir die indringer, en die Perse verhuis na Boeotia en vestig hul hoofkwartier in Thebe. Die Atheners, siende dat dit hopeloos was om Athene alleen te verdedig, het hul nie-strydende bevolking na Aegina, Troezen en Salamis teruggetrek, terwyl al hul sterk manne hul skepe beman het om die volgende geveg af te wag. Slegs 'n klein garnisoen was oor om die Akropolis van Athene te verdedig. Die Spartane en hul Peloponnesiese bondgenote het 'n vesting gebou regoor die landengte van Korinte, en die Griekse leër was nou in die verdedigingsposisie wat die Spartane altyd wou hê.

Die Slag van Salamis

Die Slag van Salamis (klik om te vergroot)

Die hele Attika val gou op die Persiese leër, maar solank die Griekse vloot daar was, was daar geen moontlikheid van Persië se totale beheersing van Griekeland nie. Xerxes het geweet dat hy die Griekse vloot moet ontmoet en verslaan as hy sy doelwitte wil bereik.


Themistokles was die voorstander van 'n vroeë geveg met die Persiese vloot, verkieslik op Griekse terme, maar soos gewoonlik was ander Griekse leiers dit nie met hom eens nie. Die Peloponnesiërs verkies dat die vloot konsentreer op die verdediging van die Isthmus. Aangesien die Atheense kontingent egter meer as die helfte van die totale vloot uitmaak, kon Themistocles 'n besluit afdwing deur te dreig om al die Atheners terug te trek as daar nie geveg in die Straats van Salamis aangebied word nie. Themistokles kon sien dat hierdie posisie gunstig was vir die Grieke vanweë die taktiese nadele wat die groot Persiese vloot daar sou probeer maneuver. Die smal grense van die Straights of Salamis beperk die Pers se vermoë om te beweeg.


On September 22, 480BCE, the Greek fleet held a position between the north coast of the Island of Salamis and the coast of Attica to the northwest of Piraeus. The Persians had deployed facing north in a line three deep, ranging from the Cynosura Promontory on Salamis to Piraeus. Themistocles purposely left the channel between Salamis and Magara open and unguarded, possibly to tempt Xerxes to divide his fleet in the type of tactics the Persians had attempted at Artemision. Xerxes did exactly this, sending his Egyptian contingent around Salamis to take and seal the western channel. The Greek fleet drew up in battle formation facing Heracleion on the shore of Attica, with the Athenians taking the left wing and the Aeginetans the right. The Greek fleet had some 300 warships at its disposal.


On the morning of the battle, the Persians deployed with their right wing held by the Phoenicians and the Ionian ships on the left. While still trying to get into position, the Persians were attacked by the Greeks, who forced the leading Persian ships back upon their comrades, causing disorder in the Persian formation as the Persian ships were already close packed in the narrow confines of the Straight. This was immediately followed by an Athenian flank attack on the Phoenician ships which were pushed back into the Persian center and onto the coast of Attica. Eventually the Greeks made an encircling movement behind the Persian center which proved decisive, and the Ionian Greeks, with their resistance broken, retreated. Xerxes' navy had suffered heavy losses, which were according to Herodotus over 200 ships, and withdrew to Phaleron, from whence it returned eventually to Hellespont. Xerxes was now faced with the impossible task of provisioning his huge army with such a depleted fleet, and he had no option but to withdraw the majority of his forces from Greece.


This defeat of the Persians was caused by a combination of superior Greek tactics and the Persians' own ineptitude in tactical and strategic planning. Xerxes failed to see that a smaller, well-trained and equipped force could prevail over a much larger and less trained and equipped foe. Also, he failed to see that independence was a powerful motivating cause for the Greeks. The victory at Salamis strengthened both the morale and the will of the Greeks, and dealt a fatal blow to the reputation and morale of Xerxes' army.


Xerxes was forced to return to his Empire to prevent widespread revolt encouraged by his defeat. He left part of the Imperial army in Thessaly, Thrace, and Macedonia under Mardonius and Artabazus, while taking the bulk of his army back across the Hellespont to restore control on his Eastern Aegean Coast, where he also sent his fleet for the same purpose. Mardonius had in his force 12,000 cavalry and about 50,000 infantry, of whom some where contingents from Central and Northern Greece. He also had included in this force the Immortals and the Guard Cavalry. The Persian forces in Thessaly, Thrace, and Macedonia were a continued threat to Greek independence and the Greeks soon made plans to deal with them.


Plataea and Mycale
There was an attempt made to entice the Athenians into a treaty with Persia, which met with failure, and Mardonius, in hopes of threatening them into submission, marched on Athens. This motivated Athens into making an agreement with Sparta to make an immediate offensive against the invader. Also, it was felt that at any time Xerxes might send a refurbished fleet to assist Mardonius.


While Sparta was advancing through the Corinthian Peninsula in 479BCE, Mardonius set fire to Athens, and retired to Boeotia, where he would have terrain suited to his cavalry. Deploying his force opposite Mount Citherae on the Asopus Plain, between Thebes and Plataea. He also cleared a number of trees from the area, giving more room for his cavalry to maneuver. He was waiting, deployed in this position, when the 35,000 Greek Hoplite force commanded by Pausanius traversed Mount Citherae and camped near Plataea on a slope overlooking the Plain.


Mardonius gave away whatever advantage the ground gave him by immediately attacking with his cavalry against the Greeks on ground which was unsuitable for a cavalry action. Predictably, the Persian cavalry lost the action and was forced to retreat. Some have put forth the idea that Mardonius was willing to sacrifice the cavalry he did to draw the Greeks forth onto the plain in a more open position, which is what eventually happened. Pausanius marched his men onto the Plain and deployed them between Plataea and Asopus. The Spartan Hoplites were deployed on the right flank, the Athenians on the left, with the remainder of the allies deployed in the center. Mardonius deployed his forces facing them on the other side of the river, and in this position, according to Herodotus, the opponents remained for eight days. Each commander seems to have been waiting for the other to make the first move. Persian raids in the mountains behind the Greek lines was threatening Pausanius' supplies, a situation that could no longer be sustained by the Greeks in a stationary position. This was alleviated when Mardonius decided to commit hiself and attacked with his cavalry, his missiles pinned down the Greeks.


The Persians managed to outflank the Greeks and push them away from their one source of water, the Gargaphia Spring, which had lain behind the Spartan position. The Persians had cut the Greek supply routes through Mount Citherae, and it was now clear that Mardonius was content to pursue a policy of attrition against the Greeks, which might succeed if Pausanius did not manage to reestablish a route of supply and bring in provision for his troops.


The Spartan commander was now faced with retreating under very hazardous conditions into Mount Citherae to attempt to hold the main passes. Pausanius proposed to withdraw the Spartans deployed on the Greek right to Mount Citherae, in order to reopen the supply lines, while the allied forces in the Greek center would retreat south toward Plataea, and at the last the Athenians would move southeastward across the path taken by the allies and position themselves as the new Greek center.
Several things factored to hamper this maneuver. The attempt was made in darkness, severely limiting coordination. Some believe that the Athenians refused to obey Pausanius' order to withdraw, which caused them to be cut off from the rest of the army which had proceeded as planned toward Mount Citherae. There seems to have been some dissention in the Spartan ranks, which delayed the Greek right flank, and the maneuver was not executed until daylight.


Mardonius sent his cavalry to harass the Spartans until his infantry could be brought up to engage them, and directed the Boeotians on the Persian right to attack the exposed Athenians while he threw the bulk of his army against the Greek right. Realizing that he and his Spartans would have to take the brunt of the Persian attack, Pausanius sent to the already embattled Athenians requesting assistance, but they were by now pinned down and could not respond.
When the Persian infantry was engaged with the Spartans, Pausanius decided to take advantage of the congestion caused in the Persian ranks by their numbers and launched a counter-attack. There followed a bloody and fierce battle which remained undecided until Mardonius fell and his men fled. The Athenians had in the meantime managed to right the Boeotians and the Greek forces captured and destroyed the Persian camp.


Following this victory, the Greeks besieged Thebes, which surrendered after twenty days and handed over to Pausanius those leaders who were aligned with the Persians. These leaders were summarily executed. The remainder of the Persian army was in full withdrawal toward the Hellespont under the command of Artabazus.


A message was received from the Ionian Greeks in the summer of 479BCE suggesting that if they were given the support of a fleet they would rise and revolt against the Persians. A Greek fleet left Delos under the command of the Spartan King Leotychidas sailing for Samos off the Eastern Aegean Coast, and from there it proceeded to Mycale in Ionia, where Xerxes had amassed a large army to maintain control of the Ionian Greeks. Leotychidas landed his force near Mycale and assaulted the Persian position and destroyed the Persian fleet, which was beached there.


The Greeks, by destroying the Persian sea power, secured protection for themselves against further invasion from Asia, and were now masters of the Aegean Sea. The victory at Mycale lead to the Ionian Greeks rising in rebellion throughout the Ionian coastal areas and expelling the Persian tyrants and garrisons.


The Greeks then moved against Sestos to take control of the Hellespont from the Persians, and destroy their gateway into Greek territory. Xanthippus led the Athenians in a siege of Sestos and the city fell in the spring of 478BCE. Hostilities did not cease immediately, and after many years there were still Persian troops remaining in Thrace. The conflict did not finally end until the Peace of Callias in 449-48BCE.


Although Darius I wanted revenge on the Greeks for the defeat at Marathon, uprisings in Egypt and Babylon took up much of his time. He died before he could launch another invasion, so it was left to his son, Xerxes, to deal with Greece. Xerxes became king in 486 BC, and once he handled the rebellions in Egypt and Babylon, he turned his attention to Greece.

The Achaemenid Empire had been at war with Greece since the 499 BC rebellion and enjoyed its fair share of successes. Darius&rsquo forces swept through Greece only to suffer a decisive loss at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. When Xerxes returned, he won the famous Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC followed quickly by a win in the Battle of Artemisium when the Greek forces retreated to Salamis.

By now, the Persians controlled all of Boeotia, and the population of Athens was evacuated by the Greeks. Upon capturing Athens, Xerxes ordered it to be razed, and it appeared that total conquest of Greece was within his grasp. He was exasperated by the stubborn Greek defiance and resolved to destroy the enemy&rsquos navy as soon as possible. The Greek alliance left their ships off the coast of Salamis because they believed a decisive win would bring an end to the Persian invasion.

In what was the first great naval battle in history to be recorded by historians, the Persian fleet of approximately 900-1200 ships greatly outnumbered the Greek alliance&rsquos 300 or so ships. The commander of the Greek army, Themistocles, tricked the Persians by luring them into the narrow waters of the strait of Salamis. In this tight space, the vast Persian numbers proved to be their undoing as they couldn&rsquot maneuver as well as the enemy. The Greek ships rammed and boarded the Persian ships and sank up to 300 of them while losing just 40 ships of their own.

The devastating loss scattered Xerxes&rsquo fleet, and it took a year for him to assemble enough of an army to invade Greece once again. At that stage, the Greek states gained a significant amount of strength and won decisive victories at Plataea and Mycale in 479 BC. If the Persians had won at Salamis, the entire development of Ancient Greece would have been hampered along with that of western civilization. As a consequence, it is among the most important battles of all-time.


The Athenians' Last Stand: How the Battle of Salamis Changed the Course of History

The Battle of Salamis pushed back Xerxes forces and save Greek civilization.

The Persian armada came forward in a huge crescent formation, a wooden convex whose ram-tipped flanks threatened to envelop and “swallow” the Greek triremes. But Persian numbers were so great they tended to foul one another, thrashing and flailing like a school of fish in a net as oars interlocked and hulls rubbed and bumped together.

This tended to help the Greeks, but the contest was far from one-sided, however, and the Greeks were roughly handled by the Persians. The Egyptians captured five Greek vessels and their crews, a notable feat that even Herodotus speaks of with admiration. Greek triremes were designed for ramming enemy ships, not grappling and boarding. Their sleek hulls could cut through the water with the effortless grace of a dolphin, and when propelled by skilled oarsmen they had a quicksilver quality that made them hard to pin down. Yet an Athenian trireme carried only about 10 hoplite marines and perhaps four archers. By contrast, enemy ships could carry a complement of 40 marines, making Greek ships vulnerable if boarded.

Herodotus records that the Egyptians wore cuirasses and were armed with long swords and battle axes, weapons equal to a hoplite’s spear or sword. Once the hoplite marines were overwhelmed, the 170 rowers had little choice but to surrender. Greek oarsmen carried no weapons and wore little clothing, and so were vulnerable.

Clenched in a Stalemate With Both Sides Bloodied

When the day ended neither side could claim a clear-cut victory, though the Greeks probably did more damage to the enemy than they themselves sustained. Nevertheless the Greek fleet had taken some severe blows, and it was said that half of the Athenian squadron had been damaged.

As night fell the Greeks fished out their dead from the waters and gathered wood for funeral pyres. Triremes too damaged for further service were also put to the torch. Plutarch, a Greek historian living in Roman times, wrote that a layer of ash from the pyres and the burned wrecks could still be seen at Artemisium six hundred years after the battle. It was fitting that the ashes of the Greek sailors mingled with the sands of Artemesium, becoming part of the very native soil they died to defend.

The Last Stand of King Leonidas of Sparta

The night was dark, illuminated by the flickering flames that greedily consumed the battle dead, and the rising smoke added a physical pall to an already uncertain mood. The gloom only deepened when a swift triaconter—a single-banked galley of 30 oars—under Habronithus arrived with terrible news. A Greek traitor had shown the Persians a mountain pass that flanked Leonidas’s position at Thermopylae. The Spartan king and some seven thousand Greek Allied troops had held the pass for several days, inflicting heavy casualties on the Persian host, but once their position was flanked it became untenable.

Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans chose to stay, although this would mean a death sentence. Perhaps 1,500 Allied troops also elected to remain, and the rest withdrew. On August 20, the same day as the battle of Artemisium, Leonidas and his troops were overwhelmed and perished to the last man. Later, a monument was erected over the Spartans’ grave that was a fitting tribute to their heroism and self-sacrifice. Its legend ran: O xein angellein Lakdaimoniois hoti tede keimetha tois keinon rhemasi peithomenoi, or “Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, That obedient to their laws we lie.”

For the moment, however, the tidings of Thermopylae were grave indeed. Artemesium was becoming untenable, and there was nothing more to do but withdraw the fleet as soon as possible. As it was, many of the Greek ships were barely seaworthy and badly in need of repair. Rams were cracked and sprung from their timbers, and hulls bore terrible battle scars. Enemy rams had gouged holes that were near the waterline, and oars had been splintered to “kindling.” Blood stains were everywhere, crimson blotches that were freshened by the wounds of the injured that were carried aboard for evacuation.

Persia’s Human Avalanche Rolls Over Athens

With Thermopylae secure, the Persian juggernaut rolled south with little or no opposition. Xerxes’ human avalanche swept through Boeotia and was soon on the outskirts of Attica, Athens’ home territory. Themistocles issued an order (keygma) for the total evacuation of the city. Men serving with the fleet were allowed shore leave to gather women, children, other dependents (including slaves), and perhaps some household goods, and bring them to Piraeus. Once in the seaport, the dependents would take ships to Salamis or Aegina, islands in the Saronic Gulf off Attica.

Apparently some people had already been evacuated to Salamis, Aegina, and (relatively) far-off Troezen in the Peloponnesus some weeks earlier, but a substantial portion of the Athenian population had remained behind. Now, the evacuation would be total. Athens was transformed into a hive of activity, its narrow streets and broad Agora thronged with departing people. It was a melancholy procession, a kaleidoscope composed of every age, sex, and economic condition.

The lifeblood of any city is its people, and Athens was being bled white of its resident population. Its streets and lanes were like veins, producing a hemorrhage of humanity that soon rendered the city a lifeless corpse. Yet a small die-hard garrison still held the Acropolis, confident that their reading of the “wooden walls” prophecy was the correct one.

The shoreline of Piraeus was now the scene of heart-rending partings and tearful goodbyes. Athenian men put dependents on waiting ships “and themselves crossed over to Salamis, unmoved by the cries and tears and embraces of their own kin.” Since space aboard ships was limited, the aged and infirm were left behind. Household pets also remained in Athens, because wartime emergencies left no room for sentiment.

The last overcrowded ship left Piraeus August 26, and the Persians arrived in Athens a day later. Apart from the Acropolis and a few pockets here and there, the city was basically empty. Athens was quiet, save for the mournful howling of dogs that had been left behind, their baying a funeral dirge for a stricken city.

The Persians swept through the city like a swarm of locusts, pillaging and burning as they went. Terms were offered to the Acropolis garrison, but were stoutly refused. When the Persians tried to mount an attack on the main gate, the defenders hurled boulders down the slope to crush them. Persian archers climbed the nearby Areopagus hill and shot fire arrows at the Acropolis. Soon the wooden barricade the defenders had erected was ablaze.

Finally a force of Persians managed to climb a steep cliff to the Sancuary of Aglaurus, and from there gained entrance to the Acropolis. All the defenders were put to the sword none was spared, not even noncombatants who were cowering within the temple sanctuary. All buildings on the summit were torched, including the Temple of Athena Polis. Luckily the sacred wooden cult statue of Athena had been evacuated some time before.

Forcing Persia’s Hand: A Naval Showdown

The city states of the Peloponnesus were now obsessed with their own defense. The Pelopponesus was a near-island connected to the mainland by a narrow strip called the Isthmus of Corinth. Led by Sparta, the Peloponnesian states built a five-mile-long defensive wall across the Isthmus to block the Persian advance. The men from the Peloponnesian states also wanted to make a naval stand at the Isthmus. The waters off Salamis island seemed too confining if defeated, it was felt they would be bottled up and unable to escape. On the other hand, if defeated at the Isthmus, member states could retreat home for a last stand.

In Themistocles’ view this was a recipe for disaster. Defeat at the Isthmus would mean total defeat for the Greek cause, because once the Greek fleet scattered the Persians would have control of the sea. Once the Persians had control of the sea, they could land anywhere in the Peloponnesus, easily outflanking the Isthmus of Corinth wall that was being so painstakingly erected.

Themistocles declared that fighting at the Isthmus “would be greatly to our disadvantage, with our smaller numbers and smaller ships.… The open sea is bound to help the enemy, just as fighting in a confined space is bound to help us.” The Athenian concluded by saying, “If we beat them at sea … they will not advance to attack you at the Isthmus.”

His proposals were beginning to find favor, but there were a few stubborn holdouts. The Corinthian admiral Adeimantus bluntly told Themistocles to shut up, since he was a man without a country. It was a none-too-subtle reference to the evacuation of Athens and its subsequent occupation and destruction by the “barbarian” Persians.

Far from being cowed by Adeimantus’s rudeness, Themistocles shot back that on the contrary, “The Athenians have a city and a country greater even than Corinth, as long as they have two hundred ships full of men no Greeks could beat them off if they chose to attack.” Turning to Euryabiades, Themistocles produced his trump card in the form of a threat. If the Allies didn’t follow his plan, Athens would withdraw from the war and immigrate to Italy. “If you don’t follow my advice,” Themistocles warned, “we will pack up our households and sail off to Sirus in [southern] Italy.”


2. The Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BC

In 2020, Greece celebrates the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae (Hot Gates), when a small force of Greeks stood their ground in one of history’s most famous and important last stands, to delay the advance of the Persian army. 10 years after the Battle of Marathon and the first, unsuccessful, attempt to subjugate Greece, the Persian Empire under King Xerxes I lunched its second attempt, amassing a massive army and navy with the aim to conquer all of Greece.

The Athenian politician and general Themistocles suggested that the allied Greek forces should block the advances of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae (that took its name from the thermal water springs in the area) and the Persian navy at the straits of Artemisium. Athenians did not have the numbers to contribute both in land and sea, so they focused their efforts on the naval battle. The Spartans would lead the allied army in Thermopylae. However, the advance of the Persian army happened to coincide once again with the Carneia, the religious festival of the Spartans that forbade military action during the festivities, and the Olympic Games which demanded the Olympic truce. The Spartans consulted the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi who, according to Herodotus, gave the following prophecy:

"O ye men who dwell in the streets of broad Lacedaemon!
Honor the festival of the Carneia!! Otherwise,
Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus,
Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country
Mourn for the loss of a king, descendant of great Heracles."

The Spartans decided to send one of their two kings, King Leonidas, with the 300 men of the royal bodyguard. Their aim was to persuade along the way as many Greeks as possible to join their forces and follow them to Thermopylae, where they would await the arrival of the main Spartan army. Xerxes waited four days before attacking the pass of Thermopylae, in case the Greek forces would surrender. The small Greek forces led by the 300 of King Leonidas successfully defended the pass for two whole days. However, a local named Ephialtes, motivated by the desire for reward, informed King Xerxes of a mountain path around Thermopylae. Learning of the news, Leonidas ordered the other Greek forces to retreat and told them that he would stay with his guard to protect their retreat and give them time. The contingent of 700 Thespians refused to leave and stayed behind with the Spartans to fight and die. The self-sacrifice of the 300 Spartans and the 700 Thespians allowed more than 3000 men to retreat and fight again in the next battle.

“Oh stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that
we lie here, obedient to their laws.”

This epitaph was engraved on a commemorative stone placed on the ground where the Spartans fell at Thermopylae, usually attributed to Simonides of Ceos. Following the fall of the pass of Thermopylae, Themistocles and the Greek navy abandoned the Straits of Artemisium and retreated to Salamis where the Athenian general convinced the allied forces to seek a decisive victory against the Persian fleet. The significance of the Battle of Thermopylae lies not on its effect on the outcome of the Persian Wars. Its importance lies on the inspirational example it set. The people of Greece understood that even heavily outnumbered could put up an effective fight against the Persians and the defeat at Thermopylae turned Leonidas and the rest of his men into martyrs. That boosted the morale of the Greeks for the upcoming battles. "Which of the following," writes Diodorus of Sicily commenting on the sacrifice of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, "will not envy the death of these men, who, having found themselves in the grip of an overwhelmingly superior state, physically bowed, but remained unmoved by their soul."


Persian Wars For Kids – Ancient Greece Facts

The Persian Wars were a series of showdowns between the Greeks and the Persians from 492 BC to 449 BC.

The war involved two major invasions by Persia, in 490 and 480 BC. Some of history’s most famous battles were fought at Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Platea during the Persian Wars.

The Greeks ultimately won the Persian Wars. If the Greeks had lost, we would have lost many important contributions like democracy, architecture, art, and even the Olympic Games.

Who were the Persians?

During this time period, the Persians had the world’s largest and most powerful empire. Their lands stretched from Egypt to India.

The Greek city-states usually fought against each other. But they made an exception and worked together to fight the Persians. Greek city-states like Athens and Sparta united for the Persian Wars.

Greek soldiers of Greco–Persian Wars

What started the Persian Wars?

Persia was continuing to expand its empire. They had conquered the Ionians, Greeks who lived along the coast of Turkey.

Athens and other Greek city-states had sent ships and weapons to help the Ionians. King Darius I of Persia did not like this, even though the Persians still quickly defeated the Ionians.

King Darius I decided to conquer Athens and the rest of Greece. He sent envoys (messengers) to Greece to ask the Greeks to submit to Persian rule.

The Greeks responded to this request by executing the envoys. Athens and Sparta promised to form an alliance to defend Ancient Greece.

King Darius did not like this either. He launched 600 ships and 25,000 men to attack Greece. The Persian army was much bigger than any army the Greeks could round up.

Battle of Marathon

In 490 BC, a Persian army of 90,000 men met a Greek army of 10,000-20,000 men at Marathon. The Persians fired many arrows, but the arrows did not do much damage against the bronze armor of the Greeks.

The Greeks had heavier swords and better spears and armor. They also had a very disciplined phalanx formation. In the end, the Greeks only suffered 192 casualties. The Persian army lost 6,400 men.

The Battle of Marathon quickly became legendary. The Persians fled home, but they would be back.

Battle of Thermopylae

King Xerxes was now the ruler of the Persian Empire. Around 480 BC, he gathered a huge invasion force to attack Greece. Xerxes had more than 200,000 soldiers and 1,000 warships.

The Persian army decided to attack Greece at the pass at Thermopylae on the East Coast. They were met by a small army of 300 men, led by the Spartan king Leonidas.

All 300 men from the much smaller Spartan army were killed, but they managed to hold off the massive Persian army for three full days. (This battle was the inspiration for the movie 300.)

King Leonidas in the movie 300

Meanwhile, the Greek fleet held off the Persians at the naval battle of Artemision. By now, Persia had gained control of some of Greece, but the Greeks were a tougher enemy than they had expected.

These battles weren’t exactly victories. But they did buy the Greek army time and allow them to prepare for the battles to come.

Battle of Salamis

After the first Persian invasion, Athens built a mighty fleet of ships called trireme. In September 480 BC at Salamis in the Saronic Gulf, a Greek fleet of 300 ships faced about 500 Persian ships.

Once again, the Greeks were outnumbered. But they had the brilliant Athenian general Themistocles on their side.

Themistocles lured the Persian fleet into the narrow straits of Salamis, then hit the Persian fleet so hard that they had no way to escape. The fast, maneuverable Athenian ships slammed into the sides of the Persian ships and sank them.

The remaining Persian ships retreated.

Map of the battle of Salamis

The Last Battle: Battle of Plataea

After the terrible defeat at Salamis, King Xerxes returned to his palace. He left his general Mardonius in charge of the Greek invasion.

The Greeks and Persians tried to negotiate an agreement, but they could not find a compromise. The two armies met again at Plataea in 479 BC.

This time, the Greeks had gathered the largest hoplite (Greek soldiers) army ever seen. A total of 110,000 soldiers came from 30 of the city-states.

The Persians had about the same number of soldiers, or perhaps slightly more.

The Greek phalanx once again proved that it was superior. They defeated the Persian army and ended Xerxes’ hopes of conquering Ancient Greece.

Around this time, the Ionian states were sworn back into the Hellenic Alliance of Greece. The Delian League was established to fight off any future attacks from the Persian Empire.

Over the next 30 years, Persia remained somewhat of a threat. There were occasional battles and skirmishes (smaller unplanned battles) across the Aegean over the next 30 years.

However, mainland Greece had survived the greatest danger. Peace was officially declared in 449 BC with the Peace of Callias.

The Persian Empire had failed to conquer Greece, but they continued to thrive for 100 years.

Under the leadership of Alexander the Great, Greece eventually ended the Persian Empire in 331 BC, defeating King Darius III.


Kyk die video: De Griekse stadstaten. TV 2, KA 4 (Januarie 2022).