Different ethnics, nations, all conquered and absorbed
Well run; great administration
Province (satrap) can keep own religion, language, some law and govt.
All swore allegiance to Persian King
Persian Armies also had variety, own talents, and nationality
Not well equipped, no or light armor, no helmet (some)
Main weapon bow/arrow/spear
A lot of them!!! Outnumbered the Greeks
Archers did the dirty work, the infantry/cavalry would finish up
Persia conquers Greek city states on Ionian coast (Turkey)
Greeks being the stubborn type rebel and “defeat” the Persians
Wouldn’t last long and need help
Look to Sparta (refuse) and Athens (help)
Athens arrives and burn down Sardis
Outraged at Athens for helping Ionia
Even has servant tell him “My lord, remember the Athenians” 3x’s during dinner everyday
So he “conquers” Greece
Gives Athens and Sparta chance to surrender
Sends groups to each with a demand of earth and water (vassalage)
Remember the scene in 300??
The Persians arrived at the plain of Marathon
The Athenians sent a messenger to Sparta asking for help (he made the 150 mile journey on foot in just 48 hours).
Sparta sent its regrets that they couldn’t come immediately because they were in the middle of a religious festival. Could you kindly wait
The Athenians get some help from another city-state (the Plataens) they confront the Persians at Marathon.
There were 10,000 Athenian hoplites and 1,000 Plataen hoplites
The Persian army numbered 50,000 – 200,000 (ancient sources are notoriously unreliable when it comes to numbers of men engaged in battles).
The initial set up of the forces. Note that the Persians have their backs to the water and that the Athenians have stronger flanks and a weaker center.
The Athenians closed in on the Persians quickly, running the last 200 yards (minimize the damage the Persian archers could inflict)
The Greek center was weak and the flanks strong, the center was pushed back while the flanks pushed in. After the center retreated a certain distance, it suddenly held firm. This resulted in a double envelopment of the Persians. Being double enveloped is NOT a good position to be in during a battle.
The Persians panicked and made a run for their ships. Others ran for a nearby swamp (not knowing it was a swamp) and were slaughtered there.
192 Athenians and 11 Plataens fell. 6,400 Persians were killed.
A messenger was sent to Athens. He ran the 26 miles, arrived at the agora, yelled out, “Νενικήκαμε,” and then dropped dead (hence the modern marathon race).
This was actually important because it warned the Athenians that the Persians were coming and to put up a defense and man the walls. The Persians that made it out of Marathon sailed to Athens, but the Athenians from Marathon beat them there. The Persians gave up and sailed home.
The Spartans finally showed up the second day after the battle, making the 150 mile march in three days. They toured the battlefield and agreed the Athenians had kicked some Persian keister.
The Persians’ defeat caused them problems because their aura of invincibility was tarnished. Other people rebelled, but were generally suppressed.
As for the Greeks, victory significantly boosted morale as well as the prominence of the Athenians.
All the same, the Greek city-states knew the Persians would be back. Many of the city-states that had vowed submission to Persia renounced it. Others made secret deals with the Persians to defect when they invaded again.
Economics also played into their plans
I’ll Be Back!!!
Darius is ready to invade, but rebellions in his empire slow him down
Darius dies in 486 BC and is succeeded by his son Xerxes.
In 480 B. C. , Xerxes invades with force between 100,000 to 500,000
Land force crossed over the Hellespont by pontoon bridges they built.
The first bridges destroyed in storm. As punishment, Xerxes ordered that the sea receive 300 lashes for having the temerity to oppose him.
The usual fighting and bickering was set aside b/c of invasion
Athens builds superb navy
The warship – trireme
Narrow ship, 35 meters long.
Crew of 170 rowers (at three different levels), 20 crew, and 10 marines
Main weapon was a bronze plated ram at the front
You built up speed and rammed another ship, sinking it
This was the main naval battle tactic until 1571 (almost 2000 years)
Modern recreation of a trireme, the Olympias.
Check out that ram! And look at how close those lower oar ports are to the waterline (yikes!).
Recovered trireme ram.
On their way down to Attica, the Persian army went by land while being shadowed by the navy for support.
How are you going with so few to risk with so many"?
"If you think that I am going to fight by numbers, then all of Greece would be insufficient, for she is only a small part of the numbers of the Persians, but if I am going to fight by valor, then even 300 is enough“
– King Leonidis
Greeks need time to organize so stand made @ Thermopylae.
300 Spartans led by King Leonidas & 6,700 others make stand .
Leonidas knew it was a suicide mission
His last words to his wife,“Marry a good man, and have good children”
Before the battle, Xerxes offered Leonidas to be king of Greece if he surrendered
His answer, “If you knew what is good in life, you would abstain from wishing for foreign things. For me it is better to die for Greece than to be king over my compatriots.”
When Xerxes again demanded Leonidas surrender his arms, Leonidas replied simply, “Μολών lαβέ.” “Come get them.”
Xerxes ordered men into pass - make short work of the Spartans
100,000 Persians and 7,000 Greeks.
The lightly armored Persian troops no match for Greek phalanx
They fought in the “shade.”
Wave after wave of Persians go against Spartans (some whipped into it) only to die.
Ephialtes helps Persians, leads them through a pass around Thermopylae
Attack the Spartans from both sides.
‘ Ephialtes’ became the word for ‘traitor’ in Greek
Leonidas sends forces away.
Only 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans (wimps) and 700 Thespians stayed
They fought to the last man.
Leonidas was told by the oracle at Delphi that in the battle, either Sparta would be destroyed or it would lose its king, which may explain why he stayed.
Around 1,500 Greeks died whereas 20,000 Persians were killed, including two of Xerxes’ brothers.
Themistocles, wants naval battle he persuades Greek to have one at Salamis
He knows that the Persians get material support from ships
Without them, the army would fall
Greeks had 378 triremes at Salamis
Persians had 650-800 ships (down from 1,200 after storm)
Persian ships more powerful than Greeks.
The straits of Salamis too narrow for the Persians “better”ships
Greeks lost 40 triremes Persians lost 200 ships and 50,000 men.
Battle of Plataea, the Spartans threw everything at Persia
Greeks killed 250,000 and ended Persian threat to Greece.
The Persian Wars led directly to the Peloponnesian War (talk later on this)
Biggest thing it leads to Greek power and the beginnings of western culture for next 200 years
Also leads to “Golden Age of Athens” the next chapter