Greece military battles


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  • Wounds were likely, and therefore, the hoplites were protected by a breastplate, greaves, their hoplon, and a tunic of stiffened linen. Their offensive weapons were, as already noted, a spear and a sword - the latter only to be used in the second phase of the battle. The soldiers must have been strong men, because the full panoply could weigh as much as 15 kg, and it comes as no surprise that foreigners often noted that the Greek soldiers were "men of bronze" ( Herodotus , Histories , 2.152) or "men clad in iron" ( Ptolemy III Chronicle ).
  • A soldier who fought this way was called a hoplite (HOP-light), and a group of soldiers who fought this way were called a hoplite phalanx (FAY-lanks). A hoplite phalanx was a very strong military formation If its allowed to compare war with sport: a hoplite battle was something like a "scrum" in a rugby match: both sides, armed with spears, tried to push over the enemy, and once a phalanx was victorious, the losses at the other side were extremely heavy, because the victors would use their swords to kill the defeated men.
  • MARATHON= Darius (Persia) vs. Athenians (appealed to Sparta by sending an all day runner to ask for help= Sparta said they would come only after the next full moon. Athen army of 9000 went to fight the Persians. Athenian generals decided to attack, and charged the Persians/ Herodutus says 6400 Persians were killed but only 192 Athenians. Athens won…. The famous battle of Marathon (490 BCE) is one of the first recorded instances in which the phalanx was employed in a more creative way. The Persians seriously outnumbered the Athenians, and the Greek commander Miltiades was forced to stretch his lines, to prevent outflanking. At the same time he strengthened his wings, even when this meant that the center was weakened Immediately, the Athenians sent out a force of some 10,000 heavily armored infantrymen ( hoplites ), which blocked the road to Athens. At the same time, they sent a messenger named Pheidippides to Sparta, who returned three days later (after covering some 450 kilometer!) with the message that the Spartans would send reinforcements as soon as possible. Unfortunately, a religious law forbade any military operation until full moon, which was still six days ahead. (This full moon allows us to date the battle to 10 September or 12 August 490.) The well-known romantic story about the runner who came from Marathon to say that the Athenians had been victorious and died from exhaustion, is a late invention. It originates in a combination of two stories: Pheidippides' athletic achievement and the swift Athenian march from Marathon to the harbor. The legend can be found in Plutarch of Chaeronea , The glory of Athens , 347c and is also told by Lucian.
  • Themoplyae= Xerxes, Persian King who succeeded Darius. Persian army 1.7 million and with fleet, calvary etc. est over 5 million but could be exgaerrated probably around 20 000. Athens and Sparta teamed up and decided to defend at a narrow pass in central Greece called Thermoloyae. King Leodinas of Sparta and bodyguard of 300 men were to hold the pass until Greeks arrived. Sparta stand was heroic but a local Greek shepard betryaed the Greeks by showing Persians a mountain path around Thermolplae. Leonidas and his soliders fought to death sign reads “Go, tell at Sparta, thous that passest by, that here obedienct to her word, we lie”. Persian won. At the beginning of the third day, Leonidas learned that the Persians would soon descend from the mountains and attack his rear. He sent away the other Greeks, but ordered the Spartans and Thebans to stay. The Thespian contingent and a seer named Megistias refused to leave.  Herodotus explains that Leonidas decided to stay because an oracle had announced that Sparta would either be destroyed or lose its king. Leonidas (shown here as he is represented on a contemporary statue from Sparta) preferred the second alternative. He ordered his men to go forward against their opponents, who were lashed towards the Spartans by their officers. When Leonidas fell, a bitter struggle over his body broke out. Herodotus tells that the Greeks drove off their enemy four times, and finally succeed in dragging the corpse away. Still according to Herodotus, the Thebans deserted their allies and surrendered. Probably, this has been written with the benefit of hindsight: the Thebans later collaborated with the invader. It is likely, however, that the Thebans at Thermopylae were fighting for the common cause of Greece too. Only when these soldiers, the most anti-Persian men of Thebes, had been taken captive, their town was prepared to collaborate. With some justification, Herodotus has been accused of "malice" by a later author, Plutarch .
  • Salamis and Plataea- Greek fleet of 300 triremes (fast greek ships with three levels of rowers; motivated by three ranks of oars pulled by over 150 men they could reach speeds up to 10 knots. ). Water battles Xerxes watched Persian defeat. The Greeks first held the line of sources in the south, later tried to advance to the river, and were repelled. When they retreated, the Persians believed they had already won the day, crossed the river, and were defeated by the superior phalanx of the Spartans. The Athenians captured the Persian camp. Plataea, Spartas led the city states and led Greeks to victory
  • Greece military battles

    1. 1. Hoplites and the Persian Wars
    2. 2. Herodotus <ul><li>The First Historian </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote Histories in the 5 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Described the Persian Wars and many other events </li></ul><ul><li>“ These are the Researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus set down to preserve the memory of the past, and to prevent the great and wonderful achievements of the Greeks and the Barbarians from losing their glory, and in particular, to show how the two peoples came into conflict.” </li></ul>
    3. 3. Hoplites and Phalanx require: <ul><li>Soldiers equipped with correct armour, shield and helmet, spear and sword </li></ul><ul><li>Had to be brave </li></ul><ul><li>Intense training = perfect formation </li></ul>Armour includes: Bronze breastplate Bronze greaves Linothorax - tunic of stiffened linen
    4. 4. Hoplites fighting – possibly in the gymnasium. Detail from an Attic black-figure hydria, ca. 560 BC–550 BC.
    5. 5. Chigi vase 650 BCE, showing hoplites in phalanx formation
    6. 6. Greek Hoplites (c.650BCE) <ul><li>HOPLITE FORMATION: </li></ul><ul><li>Soldiers trained to fight in lines, shoulder to shoulder, shields overlapping </li></ul><ul><li>Protected by shield of man next to him </li></ul><ul><li>All march forward together, no enemy spears or arrows could get through their wall of shields </li></ul><ul><ul><li>hoplite formation like a “scrum” in rugby </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. The Trireme In use since about 550 BCE. Associated with many maritime civilizations including: Athenian, Phoenician, Corinthian, Egyptian and Roman
    8. 8. Recent Archaeological Find Discovered and excavated in 1993 in by underwater archaeologists off the coast of Marseilles (P. Pomey (dir.), M. Rival, R. Roman)
    9. 9. Persian Wars
    10. 10. Battle of Marathon (490 BCE) <ul><li>Greece (led by Athens) vs Persia </li></ul><ul><li>Athens appealed to Sparta for help </li></ul><ul><li>Origin of the ‘marathon’ </li></ul><ul><li>One of first recorded instances in which phalanx used </li></ul><ul><li>Winner: Greece </li></ul>
    11. 11. Thermopylae (480 BCE) <ul><li>Persian King Xerxes </li></ul><ul><li>300 Spartans led by king Leonidas defended narrow pass to protect Greek navy </li></ul><ul><li>Oracle </li></ul><ul><li>Betrayal </li></ul><ul><li>“ Go, tell at Sparta, thou who pass by, that here obedient to her word, we lie” </li></ul><ul><li>Winner = Persia </li></ul>
    12. 12. Salamis and Plataea (479 BCE) <ul><li>Greeks (Athens, Sparta, Corinth) vs. Persia (Xerxes… again) </li></ul><ul><li>Salamis: Naval battle (Greek fleet of triremes (fast ships) = winner Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Plataea: land battle where Persia defeated by the Spartan phalanx </li></ul>