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Sparta society


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This is all about the sparta and athens in the civilization of greece

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Sparta society

  1. 1. SPARTA SOCIETY. Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.). Spartan culture was centered on loyalty to the state and military service. At age 7, Spartan boys entered a rigorous state-sponsored education, military training and socialization program. Known as the Agoge, the system emphasized duty, discipline and endurance. Although Spartan women were not active in the military, they were educated and enjoyed more status and freedom than other Greek women. Because Spartan men were professional soldiers, all manual labor was done by a slave class, the Helots. Despite their military prowess, the Spartans’ dominance was short-lived: In 371 B.C., they were defeated by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra, and their empire went into a long period of decline
  2. 2. SPARTANS MILITARY. Unlike such Greek city-states as Athens, a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, Sparta was centered on a warrior culture. Male Spartan citizens were allowed only one occupation: solider. Indoctrination into this lifestyle began early. Spartan boys started their military training at age 7, when they left home and entered the Agoge. The boys lived communally under austere conditions. They were subjected to continual physical, competitions (which could involve violence), given meager rations and expected to become skilled at stealing food, among other survival skills. The teenage boys who demonstrated the most leadership potential were selected for participation in the Crypteia, which acted as a secret police force whose primary goal was to terrorize the general Helot population and murder those who were troublemakers. At age 20, Spartan males became full-time soldiers, and remained on active duty until age 60. The Spartans’ constant military drilling and discipline made them skilled at the ancient Greek style of fighting in a phalanx formation. In the phalanx, the army worked as a unit in a close, deep formation, and made coordinated mass maneuvers. No one soldier was considered superior to another. Going into battle, a Spartan soldier, or hoplite, wore a large bronze helmet, breastplate and ankle guards, and carried a round shield made of bronze and wood, a long spear and sword. Spartan warriors were also known for their long hair and red cloaks.
  3. 3. SPARTA WOMENS AND MARRIAGE Spartan women had a reputation for being independent- minded, and enjoyed more freedoms and power than their counterparts throughout ancient Greece. While they played no role in the military, female Spartans often received a formal education, although separate from boys and not at boarding schools. In part to attract mates, females engaged in athletic competitions, including javelin-throwing and wrestling, and also sang and danced competitively. As adults, Spartan women were allowed to own and manage property. Additionally, they were typically unencumbered by domestic responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and making clothing, tasks which were handled by the helots. Marriage was important to Spartans, as the state put pressure on people to have male children who would grow up to become citizen-warriors, and replace those who died in battle. Men who delayed marriage were publically shamed, while those who fathered multiple sons could be rewarded. In preparation for marriage, Spartan women had their heads shaved; they kept their hair short after they wed. Married couples typically lived apart, as men under 30 were required to continue residing in communal barracks. In order to see their wives during this time, husbands had to sneak away at night.
  4. 4. FIRST MESENIAN WAR The causes of the Messenian wars were two incidents, as Pausanias tells us, although there is no doubt that the real reason was the rich and fertile plains of Messenia, that Spartans wanted to conquer. The first incident occurred in the borders of Laconia and Messene, where there was a temple of Artemis Limnatis, in which both Spartans and Messenians were celebrating. In the midst of the dance of Spartan virgins, Messenians rushed and took the women. KingTeleklos of Sparta, who tried to hinder them, was killed. It was said later that all the Spartan women committed suicide. But according to the Messenian version, king Teleklos had dressed up young men as virgins, with concealed daggers. When their plot was discovered, Messenians after a fight killed Teleklos. Anyway the war did not start immediately after this event. The second incident happened with the Spartan Euphaenos and the MessenianPolychares, a distinguished citizen and an Olympic victor in Stadium, 764 BC. Euphaenos, who had been trusted with the care of Polychares cows, sold them and later killed his son who came to inquire. Polychares, who was unable to find justice in Sparta, started to kill every Lacedaemonian who passed the borders. After these incidents, Spartans demanded from Messenians to deliver Polychares, but in vain and so the war started. Alkamenes, the son of the king Teleklos of Sparta, in a dark night surprised the Messenians and entered the city of Ampheia, killing everybody. From Ampheia, the Spartans were making constants raids, but they did not succeed to conquer any other cities. The king of Messenia, Euphaes, fought them with vigor, but for four
  5. 5. years no progress had been made, by either side. During the fifth year, a big battle took place, which ended indecisive, but after this the Messenians retired to the fortified mountain of Ithome. In the meantime an epidemic fell in Messene, killing many people and Messenians in their distress sent a citizen named Tese at Delphi, to ask about the outcome of the war. The oracle told them to sacrifice a maiden chosen by lot, from the house of Apetidae. The lot fell to the daughter of Lyciskos, who refused to obey and went to Sparta. A leading citizen then named Aristodemos, offered his own daughter, but the youth who was in love with her, declared that she was carrying his child. Aristodemos killed his daughter, opened her body and showed to everyone that this was a lie. After the sacrifice Messenians took courage and attacked the disheartened by the event Spartans, who for six years postponed any invasion. During the thirteen year of the war, the Spartan king Theopompos marched against Ithome and another battle took place, but again without a victor. When king Euphaes was killed in action, Aristodemos took his place. Five years later another battle took place, in which Corinth took the side of Spartans and Arcadians and Sikyonians the side of Messenians. King Aristodemos won a decisive victory over the Lacedaemonians, who were driven back in their territories. Later things turned against Messenians. Aristodemos after a dream, in which his daughter appeared showing to him her wounds, slew himself at her tomb. Shortly afterwards and during the twentieth year of the war, Messenians abandoned Ithome, which was raised to the ground by the Spartans. The defeated Messenians were punished severely and took an oath, that they would never revolt and they would deliver to Sparta every year half of their agricultural products. Many families fled to
  6. 6. Arcadia and the priestly to Eleusis. Those who stayed in the country became helots. This was the end of the first Messenian war. Not long after the annexation of Messenia (708 BC), Sparta founded a colony at Tarentum in South Italy and it seems that the motive was political. A group called themselvesPartheniai (children of unmarried mothers), who were not recognized as citizens, attempted revolution and Sparta deemed necessary that the best solution was to send them away. SECOND MESENIAN WAR Some years later Messenians revolted and their leader Aristomenes in a daring move entered Sparta at night and offered a shield in the temple of Athena. Spartans after this event went to the oracle of Delphi, which gave them the answer "to take an Athenian adviser". Spartans asked from the Athenians a general and they sent them Tyrtaeos, who was poet and lame from the one leg. Tyrtaeos with his poems encouraged Spartans and helped them to win the war. During the war the leader of Messenians, Aristomenes, was made a great hero and many stories talk about him. According to the legend three times Aristomenes sacrificed to Zeus Ithomatis, the so-called Hecatophonia, reserved only to the warrior who had killed with his own hands one hundred enemies. Three times he was captured by the Spartans but he managed to escape. His last capture occurred in a battle between him and many Spartans, in which he was wounded all over his body, but he was still fighting, until a stone found him on the head and fell. He was captured along with fifty others
  7. 7. and for punishment were thrown into the deep pit Kaeadas, of the mount Taygetos. All the others were killed, but Aristomenes fell upon the wings of an eagle and survived. When he realized, that there was no way to get out from this abyss, he laid down and covered himself with his cloak, waiting to die. Three days later, during the night he heard a soft sound and in the darkness show a fox eating the corpses. He managed to catch the fox from the tail and he was guided by her to a small hole, which he opened further and passed through. Immediately he went to the city of Eira, which was besieged by Spartans. Passing from their camp, he killed many of them in their sleep and plundered the tents of the generals. Some time later, in a stormy night and with the help of an informer, the Spartans entered Eira. There was a hard battle, Messenians fought desperately, the women too, throwing tiles to Spartan soldiers, but at the end they were defeated. Aristomenes with many others managed to brake the Spartan lines and took the women and children in Arcadia. Immediately he chose five hundred men from Messenian volunteers and with the help of three hundred Arcadians decided to take Sparta by surprise, now that most of its army was away. They were ready to move, when they discovered that the king of Arcadia, Aristocrates, had sent a messenger to the Ephors, informing them about their plan. The treacherous king was killed in the square of the city by the Arcadian people with stones and his corpse was thrown out of Arcadia. The Messenians moved then to Kyllene and from there to lower Italy, where they founded the new city of Messene. Aristomenes did not follow them and went to his brother in Rhodes, where he died from bitterness. The Messenians who did not leave, becameHelots and thus ended the second Messenian war.
  8. 8. PERSIAN WAR After the suppression of the Ionic revolt, king Darius started preparing an army to attack Greece. The Persian expedition that followed under Mardonios ended in disaster, losing his fleet in a terrible storm in the promontory of mount Athos. Darius was not disheartened and having in his court the tyrant Hippias, keeping alive his resentment against Athens, he started preparing a second expedition and on a larger scale. He first sent heralds to ask earth and water from the various Greek cities. The Athenians threw them in the barathron pit and the Spartans in a well, to find there their "earth and water". For the first time the Greek cities, in the face of the imminent danger were all united, recognizing Sparta as the leader of Greece. Sparta refused to send an army to help Athens in Marathon and only arrived after the battle to find in their amazement that the Athenians had won a complete victory (490 BC). Greece was fortunate that the next invasion was led by the son of Darius, Xerxes, a much inferior man than his father. THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR 1 he unavoidable clash between Sparta and Athens came with an incident at the friendly to Athens city of Plataea. Archidamos invaded Attica in the spring of 431 BC without opposition, since Athens had taken the decision not to engage to a
  9. 9. land battle with Sparta and thus started the Peloponnesian war, that lasted for 28 years. The firstten years of the war (431 - 421 BC) werenamed "Archidamios war" fromthe name of the able king of Sparta Archidamos. On the side of Lacedaemonians were all the Peloponnesian states with the exception of Argos and Achaea which entered the war joining Sparta later. They were also the Boeotians, Megarians, Lokrians, Phokaeans, Leukadians, Ambrakiotes and Anaktorians. The coaststates supplied ships, the Boeotians, Locrians and Phokians with cavarly. On the side of Athens were the Plataeans, Chians, Lesbians, Messenians, Corkyraeans, Zakynthians, Akarnanians as wellas the towns of the coastof Asia and Thrace and all the isles of Aegean, except Melos and Thera. The Athenian troops were29,000 hoplites, 1200 horsemen and 1600 archers and her navy was 300 triremes without counting those of her allies. The Chians, Corkyraeans and Lesbians supplied shipping. Archidamos forces which entered Attica consisted fromabout 60,000 to 100,000 men and at the beginning he tried unsuccessfulattacks upon the fortress of Oenoe, on mount Kithairon, failing to take it. He then marched towards Eleusis, wherehe arrived at the middle of June 431 BC. After ravaging the Thracian plain he encamped at Acharnae, seven miles from Athens. In the meantime the Athenians had collected the population within the walls and had sentall the animals to Euboea. Archidamos evacuated Attica at the end of July and his army was dismantled immediately. Upon his departurethe Athenians at the end of September, attacked Megara which they ravaged totally. At the spring of 430 BC, Archidamos again invaded Attica, but in the meantime the plaguehad broken out in Athens. The Lacedaemonians with greater force ravaged all the neighborhood of Athens marching as far as the mines of Laurium. In their turn Athenians, with 100 triremes under the command of Knemos devastated the island of Zakynthos. At the third year of the war (429 BC) Archidamos marched towards thecity of Plataea and demanded to hand him over the city and their land properties, promising that after the war everything would be restored to them. The majority of Plataeans were in favor of the proposal, but Athenians exhorted them to hold out promising them assistance. After their refusal, Archidamos surrounded the small city of Plataea and the famous siege started. For three months Spartans
  10. 10. tried everything to conquer the city but without success. They then decided to blockade and starvethe population. For this they surrounded Plataea with a double wall, but even this measurehad no success. After two years, when the provisions of Plataea started to run short, 212 men escaped in a stormy December night. The rest of the population surrendered in 427 BC. They were put in trial before fiveSpartan judges and executed. The town of Plataea was transferred to Thebes, who after a few months destroyed all the private houses to the ground. In the fourth and fifth year of the war Spartans again invaded Attica. In the sixth year of the war (426 BC) the Spartans did not invade Attica. A series of severe earthquakes and floods occurred in various parts of Greece. At Athens the plaque reappeared. During the seventh year of the war the Lacedaemonian army under the command of Agis invaded Attica, but only for the sorttime of fifteen days. Agis was recalled and marched towards Pylos, becausethe Athenians had established a military postat Pylos in Messenia. The Peloponnesian fleet that was in Corkyra under the command of Thrasymelidas, was also ordered to sail to Pylos. Thrasymelidas on arriving at Pylos with his fleet, he occupied the small but densely wooded island of Sfacteria with four hundred and twenty hoplites and their helots. Part of these men, two hundred and ninety-two, among them many belonging to chief families, were later captured by the Athenian Kleon and broughtto Athens in chains, the rest had been killed after a severeconflict on the islet. The event surprised the Hellenic world who knew that Spartans never surrendered. Sparta was now in a bad position. The Messenians fromPylos together with the runaway helots were able to plunder the country, also Sparta could not invade Attica, knowing that the captured men would put immediately to death. The eighth year of the war (424 BC) was disastrous for Athens. They defeated at the battle of Delium, by the Thebans. They also lost Thrace. After all these Athenians seriously considered the proposals for peaceby Sparta. At the same year one of the biggestcrimes, committed in ancient Greece, occurred. Sparta pretending to give liberty to the most worthy Helots, who had foughtbravely, selected two thousand of the bestmen and after honoring them and crowning them with garlands at a ceremony, slain them by secretorders from the Ephors. Thereason being, that Sparta felt threatened fromtheir increased
  11. 11. power. In the ninth year of the war (423 BC) a truce was signed for a year, on which a permanent peace would be prepared. But the negotiations were interrupted two days after the signing of the truce, when Athenians learned that Scione had revolted and was under the command of Brasidas. In August, an Athenian force by the command of Kleon was sent to Scione. At the battle that followed, both Kleon and Brasidas werekilled and thus the obstacles for permanent peace seized to exist. The Spartan king Pleistoanax and general Nikias of Athens, in the spring of 421 BC, signed a peace treaty for fifty years, the so-called peace of Nikias. The Spartan prisoners werereturned and Athens was allowed to keep the cities of Anactorium, Sollium and Nisae. Not everybody was satisfied by the peace and the allies of Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Megara and Eleans refused to ratify it. During the peace between Sparta and Athens matters werefar frombeing satisfactory. Her allies, Boeotians and Corinthians never accepted the peace and Athens refused to evacuate Pylos. Alkibiades of Athens persuaded both Achaea and Patrae to ally with Athens and helped Argos in the attack upon Epidauros, which they ravaged. Spartans could not accept all these and assembling a large army in which her allies were participating, invaded Argos and surrounded the Argivearmy. A battle was ready to startwhen two Argive oligarch leaders came to king Agis of Sparta and persuaded him to sign a truce for four months. A little later Alkibiades leading a forceof one thousand hoplites and four hundred cavalry came to assistArgives and persuaded them to attack the city of Orchomenos in Arcadia. After they conquered Orchomenos they marched againstTegea. In the meantime king Agis, who had being blamed for the truce with the Argives, marched with a large forcein the territory of Mantinea and positioned himself near the temple of Hercules. The Argives and their allies left the city of Mantinea and in a well chosen ground offered battle. King Agis was ready to attack them at this advantageous for the Argives ground, butwhen the Spartans came close, an old Spartan warrior told him, that with his act was trying "to heal one mischief by another". These words madehim to withdraw his men. After this, the Argives took position in the plain and tried to attack them by surprise. Theright section of the Argivearmy, which was consisted fromthe flower of aristocracy, a permanent body of one thousand chosen soldiers drilled and maintained by the city of Argos,
  12. 12. were successfulto route the Lacedaemonians, but Agis with the rest of his army which was more successful, hemanaged to win the battle (June 418 BC). Athenians losttwo hundred hoplites included the generals Laches and Nikostratos, the Argives and their allies lost another nine hundred men. Fromthe Lacedaemonian army only three hundred men lost. Even after all these, the peace of Nikias typically was still in existence. THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR 2 In 415 BC, in the expedition of Athenians in Syracuse, theSpartan general Gylippos with four ships came to the assistanceof Syracuse. Though his forcewas small, he helped greatly Syracuseto win the war. He firstly captured the Athenian fort at Labdalum, that made him master of Epipolae and build fortifications. He then constructed a counter wall to intersect the Athenian lines at the north side. A little later he was reinforced by the arrivalof thirty triremes. This small participation of Sparta in the war was of the outmost importance. After the Athenian disaster in Syracuse, thewar between Athens and Sparta became maritime. Lacedaemonians gave a better attention on their naval power. A new office, that of Navarchia, was risen. The Navarchos (Admiral) was even superior to the Ephors. In thebeginning though Sparta had not much success. In Augustof 411 BC, the Peloponnesian fleet commanded by Mindaros lost the naval battle at Kynossema. TheAthenian fleet though smaller in force, in the straits of Sestos and Abydos, gained a complete victory. In 410 BC, Alkibiades managed to capture the whole Peloponnesian fleet at Kyzicos. Mindaros was killed and the second in command Spartan sent a letter to the Ephors in Laconic form: "Ships gone; Mindaros dead; men starving; no idea what to do." Spartans wereso discouraged, that they sent the Ephor Endius to Athens for a peace agreement but the Athenians, who were influenced by the demagogue Kleophon, rejected the offer. Spartans now appointed a new navarchos, theable man Lysander. When his turn of command expired, he was succeeded by Kallicratidas, who increased the
  13. 13. number of ships of the Spartan fleet. There was a naval battle at the harbor of Mytelene with the Athenian fleet under Konon. The Athenians, who were outnumbered, lost the battle and thirty ships. Another forty ships were saved by bringing them ashore, near the walls of the town. Kallicratidas then blockade the island. When the news arrived at Athens they sent a fleet of one hundred and ten triremes and they were reinforced with another forty later. The number of ships of Kallicratidas were one hundred and twenty. At the small island ofArginusae, the Athenian fleet met the Spartan and after a hard struggledefeated them (406 BC). The Lacedaemonians lost seventy seven ships and the rest were retreated at Chios and Phocaea. Kallicratidas was thrown overboard, when his ship was hit by another and perished. The Athenians lost only twenty five ships. Though it was illegal for an admiral to have a second term, Lysander, with the title ofEpistoleus (bearer of letters), took the command of the Spartan fleet. He immediately obtained large sums of money fromKyros, king of Persia, to rebuild the fleet and made siege on Lampsacus. The Athenians, who came to help, arrived too late to savethe city and took post at Aegospotamoi (Goat's river) close to the city of Lampsacus. Lysander who systematically avoided a naval battle, since his ships wereoutnumbered, he managed to capture the enemy fleet after treachery or negligence of the Athenians. All 4000 Athenian prisoners wereput to death. This event substantially marked the end of Athens. THE END OF SPARTA After the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC) Phillip of Macedon marched through the Peloponnese, welcomed by all the cities but when he reached Sparta they refused him to enter. Phillip did not try to take by force the city and left. Sparta was the only Greek city that did not take part in the League of Corinth, which was formed in 337 BC, under Macedonian control. In 331 BC, king Agis, the grandson of Agesilaos, raised a revolt againstMacedonia, but he was defeated and killed. In the end of the 4th century BC, Sparta build a wall for the first time in her
  14. 14. history, which was enclosing its four central villages and Acropolis. When in 280 BC, the Celts invaded fromthe north overrunning Macedon, king Areus of Sparta, who had tried to unite the cities of Peloponnese, led an army into central Greece. During his reign the firstcoins of Sparta was issued, three hundred years later fromthe rest of Greece. In 272 BC, king Pyrros of Epeiros could easily have taken the city after defeating the Spartans. Sparta becamea dependency of Macedon, regained independence under the tyrants Machanidas (207 BC) and Nabis (195 - 192 BC). In 265 BC again, having formed an alliance with Athens, Achaea and Elis and some Arcadian cities, gave battle against Macedon but lost it and in his retreat was killed (Chremonidean war). The son of Areus, Akrotatos, in 260 BC leading the Spartan army against Megalopolitans, he was defeated and himself killed. In 244 BC, Agis IV came to the throne and starting a series of changes. He proposed all debts to be cancelled, and to redistribute all land, in parts of 4500 citizens and 15000 Perioikoi. Healso insisted on strictLykurgian training in the citizens for the remained 700equals (omioi) and 2000 hypomeiones and selected perioikoi. He found in his proposals strong resistanceand Agis was put in trial and executed in 241 BC. The next king of Sparta Kleomenes III, began to reign in 236 BC. He married the widow of king Agis and also tried to imposehis ideas. In 227 BC, in a revolt he killed four ephors and exiled eighty of his opponents. That it was the first time the ephorate was abolished in Sparta. He then redistributed the land into 4000 lots and perioikoi as well as hypomeiones occupied them. He also started to enforce the Lykurgos training and habits, under the guidance of his friend philosopher Sphairos. All these changes broughtresults and Kleomenes had many military successes. Argos and mostof Argolid and eastern Arcadia was conquered. The Achaean league under Aratos of Sikyon, with the promiseof giving him back Corinth, allied with king Antigonos of Macedon and recovered Argos and several Arcadian cities. In his turn Kleomenes captured and destroyed Megalopolis (223 BC). In 222 BC, at Sellacia, between Sparta and Tegea, a battle took place. The Spartan army was numbering 10,000 and that of Antigonos and his allies 30,000. Atthis long and horrid battle, Spartans foughtbravely. The whole Spartan army fell,
  15. 15. except 200 men. King Kleomenes fled to Egypt. The following years, a series of revolts started at Sparta, king's ephors werekilled or exiled. In 206 BC, the tyrant Nabis, a descendant of Demaratos, who had fled in Persia in 490 BC, took the throne. An able but ruthless man, he confiscated the properties of the wealthy and gavethem to the poor. By setting free slaves, he managed to acquire an army of 10,000 men and he also extended his social reforms to Argos. Itwas Nabis who foreseeing the incoming dangers fortified Sparta for the first time in her history. When the Roman commander Flamininus invaded Laconia and laid siege to Sparta, after a few days of fighting a non honorabletruce was accepted by Sparta, in which was losing all the Perioikic cities on the coasts and her fleet. Later with the pretence of helping Sparta, the Aitolians sent a thousand soldiers to kill Nabis and secureSparta. They managed to kill him but they all were massacred fromthe Spartans. After Nabis assassination, Sparta was forced by Philopoemen to become a member of the Achaean league. Her walls were razed and the laws of Lykurgos repealed. Under the Romans in the 2nd century AD, Laconia as a provinceof Achaea was allowed to revert to a Lykurgian regime. In 396 AD, the city was destroyed by Alaric. In the 9th century AD, the Slavs invaded and the population was forced to migrate The Byzantines refound a town and named her Lacedaemonia but her importance had been lost by 1248 AD and disappeared fromhistory totally, by 1834 AD. Today the city of modern Sparta occupies the very same territory of the ancient city. ATHENS The Persian Wars
  16. 16. The Greek cities in Asia Minor had not been united and often, like the cities of mainland, they quarreled between them. Thales of Miletos perceived this weakness of Ionia and proposed a united nation, consisting fromall the cities with Teos, as the capital, but none listened. At the end of the seventh century, king Gyges of Lydia conquered Colophon. Responding to the aggression of Lydia, twelve Ionic cities formed a league, whose center was the Panionion, a shrineof Poseidon on the promontory of Mykale. The weak league was unable to stop the conquest of the cities, by the next king of Lydia, king Croesos (560-546 BC). Only Miletos, which had not resisted, remained an ally under a treaty. After the defeat of Croesos by the king of Persia, Cyrus, the Ionic cities which had foughtagainst him in the war, asked to be governed with the same terms as they were before, under the kindly and benevolent king Croesos. Cyrus refused and the league met at the Panionion and decided to ask the aid of Sparta. Though the Lakedaemonians refused to help them, they sent a messageto Cyrus, telling him not to harmany Greek city. Cyrus instead send the governor of Lydia Arpagos, who had saved Cyrus in his infancy, to lay siege to the cities. The people of Teos, unwilling to submit, abandoned their homes and went to Abdera, in Thrace. The Phokaeans also left and sailed to Corsicaand been harassed by Carthagenians and the people of Tyrrhe, they went to Region and later founded the city of Massalia (Marseilles). Oneby one, the Ionic cities were conquered and forced to pay tribute to the Persian king, contributing also ships and army. Though the Persians did not interfere with their religion, social life and Greek habits, the cities were unhappy. The Ionic revolt 499 - 494 BC The revolt of the Ionic cities was caused by the tyrant of Miletos, Aristagoras, who tried to capturethe island of Naxos with the aid of the satrap Artafernes.When the expedition failed, Aristagoras in order to avoid punishmentfor his promises to the satrap, he initiated the revoltto the unhappy Ionic cities. The whole Ionia rebelled and soon was freed fromtyranny. Immediately Aristagoras wentto Sparta and asked for their support. King Kleomenes personally was in favor to help the Ionians, butthe Lakedaemonians took the decision not to engage in such
  17. 17. a distant expedition. There is a story, that when Aristagoras offered Kleomenes more and moremoney, his eight years old daughter, Gorgo, told her father "Go away father, otherwisethis man is going to corruptyou". After the Spartan refusal, Aristagoras wentto Athens and persuaded them to supportthe revolt. The Athenians and Eretrians sent a fleet (twenty triremes the former and five the later) and joining forces with the Ionians, marched and attacked the city of Sardis, which was burned accidentally (498 BC). The Greeks failed to take the citadel and in their return to the coast, they wereattacked by the Persian army near Ephesos and defeated. After this incident, the Athenian army returned home and did not get involve anymore, in the Ionic affairs. When Darius learned about the burning of Sardis, in great rage, asked who did it. When they told him, "the Athenians", he asked again, and "who are they?" Upon been informed, he shot an arrow into the sky and said: "grand me Zeus to take revenge upon the Athenians" and ordered one of his servants to remind him, three times every day during the dinner: "My lord, remember the Athenians" After the burning of Sardis, many other cities revolted in Asia Minor, Thraceand Cyprus. In 494 BC, the Persian and Ionic fleet foughta battle at the island of Lade, close to the portof Miletos. The Persian fleet was numbering 600 Phoenician ships and the Greek 353. Theships of Chios were defeating the enemy and the naval battle would have been won from the far superior seamen of Ionic cities, but when 50 Samian ships and another 70 fromLesbos treacherously fled, the battle was lost. The Phoenician fleet, which was vastly superior in number, won the battle. After a long siege from land and sea, the city of Miletos was captured and destroyed. Mostof the inhabitants were killed and the restwere transferred at Ampe, a town near the mouth of the Tigris river. Miletos was taken at the sixth year, after its revolt (494BC). Thetemple of Apollo at Didyma, oneof the most important oracle of Greece was burned, as the Branchidaepriests had prophesized. A year after the capture of Miletos, the poet Phrynichos used thestory in his drama "Capture of Miletos", which was performed at Athens. The whole theater came to tears and Phrynichos was sentenced to pay a fine of a thousand drachmas and his tragedy was banned.
  18. 18. The battle of Marathon 490 BC In 492 BC, Darius sent his son in law Mardonios with a large army and fleet in an expedition at Thrace, with the purposeto invade the restof Greece. The fleet, which was following closethe land army, was destroyed by a storm, at the promontory of mount Athos. Three hundred vessels werelost fromthe hurricane and 20,000 men weredrowned. Soon after, Mardonios was wounded, when a Thracian tribe, the Brygians, attacked his army during the night. With his forces weakened, he returned to Persia. The failure of the expedition did not sakeDarius. He immediately started to preparea larger army. He sent heralds to all the Greek cities, asking fromthem "earth and water", the symbolof submission. Allthe Greek Islands and many Greek cities submitted. Athens and Sparta were so much insulted at the demand, that the firstthrew the heralds into the Barathron, a deep pit in the walls of Acropolis and the later into a well, to find their earth and water. In the spring of 490 BC, Darius assembled in Cilicia a big army, he also prepared a fleet of600 galleys. The commanders, Datis and Artafernes, had been instructed to reduce to subjection the cities which had refused to give earth and water, particularly Athens and Eretria. At first, they sailed to Samos and fromthere to Naxos, the island which had repelled a large Persian fleet, ten years ago. The people of Naxos fled fromthe cities, which they wereburned by the Persians. All the other islands submitted and the fleet sailed to Eretria, where they found great resistance. For six days the Eretrians fought gallantly, but on the seventh, the gates were opened by two Eretrian traitors, both leading citizens. The city was destroyed and the surviving inhabitants wereput in chains. After a few days, Datis crossed to Attica, landing at the plain of Marathon, a place which had been chosen by Hippias, the son of Peisistratos, who was accompanying the Persians. In the meantime, the Athenians, upon learning the news of the fall of Eretria, sent Phidippides to Sparta, to ask for assistance. Phidippides, a postman by profession, madethe journey of 150 miles on foot, in only 48 hours. TheSpartans promised to send a force, but asked for time, because it was not full moon yet (one more week was needed), a Spartan superstition, which was prohibiting them to march during these days.
  19. 19. The Athenians, who had decided to fight the Persian army at Marathon, had encamped at the the valley of Aulona, near the temple of Herakles and were watching closely their movements. When they received the news from Phidippides, the Athenian Generals were divided, as to what was the best course. Five generals wanted an immediate engagement with the Persian army, between them wereMiltiades, Themistokles andAristeides, and the other five refused to engage in battle, until the arrival of the Spartan army. The General Miltiades, who belonged to the team of generals for immediate engagement, persuaded the PolemarchKallimachos, to vote for battle. The Athenian army was numbered 10,000 heavy armed soldiers (hoplites) and they had no significant light armed men, nor had a cavalry or archers. Unexpectedly the city of Plataea indebted for the help the Athenians had given them in their war againstthe Thebans, sent their whole force of 1,000 hoplites, to their assistance. ThePersian army was numbering in more than 120,000 men (according to others 50,000) and had encamped at the plain, about one mile fromthe sea. Ithad been decided, that if the Persians would move towards Athens or starting embarking on the ships, they would attack them immediately. After waiting for eight days, on the 17th day of September 490 BC, the Persians started to embark men in the ships to sail at the defenseless city of Athens. Miltiades immediately ordered to prepare for battle. Because they werenot enough men to cover the length of the Persian army, Miltiades decided to strengthen the wings and leave the center weaker, with only a few ranks. The right wing was under the command of the polemarch Kallimachos and in the left wing were the Plataeans. Miltiades did not immediately engage them, holding back his men, to avoid their arrows. When Miltiades gave the order to attack, the Athenians rushed toward the enemy, in order to avoid long exposureto their arrows. With their war cryfell upon the Persians, who wereunused for hand to hand fighting. After a long and hard battle, the Persians werevictorious in the center, in which they had positioned their best men. But the Athenians, in the right and left wing had defeated the enemy and by joining the left and right wing, they attacked at the center. The Athenian attack had such a devastated effect that in a shorttime the Persians retreated to their ships, with great loses, abandoning their camp. At the sea shore, a vicious and long battle took place, in
  20. 20. which the Greeks tried to preventthe Persians escapeto their ships. ThePersians, who took refuge in the swamps, wereall slaughtered. Immediately after the battle, an Athenian hoplite, in full arms, run to Athens (the distance of21 miles), to give the good news. Hepassed the mountain Ymetos and then the hill of Lykavetos and through Acropolis came to Agora. Raising his shield, he cried "We have won" (Νενικήκαμε)and then he collapsed and died. At the battle, the Persians lost 6,400 men and seven of their ships werecaptured, and fromthe Athenian side, 192 men were killed, among them the polemarch Kallimachos and Stesilaos, one of the ten generals. The second day after the battle, 2,000 Spartans cameto Athens, marching 150 miles in justthree days. Finding the battle over, they visited Marathon and after inspecting the field of the battle, wherethousands of enemy bodies werelying, they returned to Sparta, having only praisefor the bravery of the Athenians. The 192 Athenians killed, were buried at the field of the battle and a thirty nine feet high tomb was erected over them. Their names were inscribed on ten pillars, one for each tribe. On the white marble stone tumulus was written an inscription by the poet Simonides: "At Marathon for Greece the Athenians fought; And low the Medians' gilded power they brought" Two other tombs wereerected, one for the fallen Plataeans and one for the slaves. Fromthe loot of the Persian camp, the Athenians offered the one tenth to goddess Athena, Apollo and Artemis. It was fromthe Persian loot that Pheidias constructed the chryselephantinestatue of goddess Athena. They erected the and partof the loot was given to Plataea. In the battle of Marathon fought the tragic poet Aeschylos and his brother Kynegeiros, who fell in the battle showing immense bravery. Trying to hold a Persian ship, his hand was cut off by an axe. Aeschylos, who was wounded badly, considered his participation in the battle of Marathon, the highest honor he had in his life, as it was inscribed in his gravestyle. During the battle of Marathon, a strange event happened to the Athenian hoplite Epizelos, son of Kouphagoras, who losthis vision and never regained it,
  21. 21. though he had not receive any wound or beating. He was telling later, that a giant soldier appeared in frontof him, whosebeard was shedding his wholeshield and this phantom was killing the enemies around him. He thought to be a god and the bright shining of his armor, blinded him. During the end of the battle, the Athenians saw that someone was flashing a shield, fromhigh up on the mountain of Pentely and afraid that a traitor was signaling a messageto the enemy to capture the city, they rushed to the unprotected city of Athens leaving behind the tribes of Themistokles and Aristeides, which had been tested in the battle. Tired fromthe battle in the hot September day, after seven hours they arrived at the south of the city walls and encamped in the temple of Herakles, at Kynosargaes. ThePersians, who had entered the Phaleron bay, when they saw them they sailed for Asia. 490 - 480 BC The disastrous expedition by the Persians in Greece, made Darius even more eager to conquer Greece. For three years, after the battle of Marathon, he was preparing a vastarmy, but a revolt that brokeout in Egypt postponed an early expedition and in 485 BC, he died. His son, Xerxes, by the older daughter of Cyrus, Attosa, succeeded him to the throne. Within a year, he crashed the rebellion in Egypt and started preparations against Greece, on a massivescale. For four years, provisions of allkinds and army were assembled at the plains of Kapadokia, as well as food dumps along his routeto the coastof Thrace. A ship canal was opened in Chalkidiki, north of mount Athos, large enough for two triremes, in order to avoid the dangerous cape, which had destroyed his fleet in 492 BC. He also build a bridgeon the river Strymon. In the meantime, Egyptian and Phoenician engineers wereconstructing a bridge, over the Hellespont, near Abydos, wherethe breadth of the sea is only seven stadia (about one mile). The bridgewas constructed by old ships and held by enormous ropes. Itwas later destroyed by a stormand Xerxes ordered the heads, of those responsiblefor the construction, to be cut and three hundred lashes to be given to the unruly Hellespont. Two new bridges wereconstructed by Greek engineers using 674 ships, next to each other, one for the army and the other for animals and baggage. The bridges were resting upon a row of anchored ships and fastened by ropes.
  22. 22. At Greece, Athens and Aegina wereat war for some time. Aegina was one of the strongestnavalpowers at this time and her ships were ravaging the Attic coast. When a rich bed of silver, was discovered at Maronia, in Lavrion, the surplus money of more than one hundred talents, was proposed to be distributed among the Athenian citizens. Themistokles tried and persuaded the Athenians, to usethe surplus to build a fleet, to help mainly the causeof the war withouta herald (πόλεμος ακήρυκτος) with Aegina (498 BC), but without doubt fromfear of another Persian invasion. In a period of two years, Athens had a fleet of more than two hundred triremes. When Aegina gave "earth and water", the Athenians asked the intervention of Sparta, accusing the Aeginitians that they betrayed the cause of Greece. King Kleomenes seized ten leading Aeginitian citizens and transferred them in Athens, as hostages. After this episode, Aegina ended the hostilities againstAthens, which was preparing for the forthcoming Persian invasion. In Greece, the news for the Persian expedition had long been known. For the first time, in Greece's history the cities were united under the leadership of Sparta and while Xerxes was passing the winter at Sardis, a council of the Greek cities was summoned to meet at Korinth (481 BC). In frontof the imminent danger, they attempted to unite all the cities in one great league for the defense of the motherland. But it was such the terror, Xerxes had inspired over many of them, that the attempt failed. Anyway, the congress proved fruitfulin reconciling the cities, mainly Athens and Aegina. The strategic plan of the Greeks, which was without doubt productof Themistokles, was to defeat the Persian fleet in a naval battle, with the hope, that their land army will withdraw, withoutsupport. The proposition of Spartans to meet the Persians in the Isthmos of Korinth, was not accepted, because all the northern Greece necessarily would Medize and thus they decided, that the only place for defensewas Thermopylae. The Greek fleet consisting from 300 ships was anchored at Artemision, north of Euboea, where Artemis had her temple, opposite the bay of Pagasae, ready to fight the Persian fleet. In Athens, the leaders, Aristeides and Themistokles were quarrelling, for the coursetheir city ought to take. Aristeides, an able man but without a lot of clear- sightedness, famous for his honesty and integrity, was in favor of keeping the ancient Athenian habits avoiding to become his city a maritime state.
  23. 23. Themistokles, a man of genius, vigorously advocated that Athens ought to build a fleet and become a naval power. Themistokles managed to expel one after the other his opponents. Hipparchos was exiled in 487 BC, Xanthippos in 484 BC and Aristeides in 482 BC. In order to havethe power in his hands and becausewas prohibited to be elected archon for a second time, he persuaded the Athenians to change the constitution, taking away the executive powers of archon eponymous. The power was transferred to the ten generals of the tribes, who could be reelected multiple times. The battle of Thermopylae 480 BC At the end of the year 481 BC, all the Persian preparations for the expedition against Greece had been completed and in the following year 480 BC, after the spring rains, the vastarmy marched towards Hellespont. For seven days and nights the army was crossing over to Europe. According to Herodotos, the force including the attendants, was exceeding the five million men and the Persian fleet numbered to 1207 ships. Thevastarmy was consisted from 1,700,000 foot soldiers, 80,000 cavalryand 20,000Lybians and Arabians, with chariots and camels. Thracians and Macedonians and cities of the northern Greece contributed more than 300,000 men. They reached Thessaly in 480 BC, without any resistance. In the meantime, a small forcesent by the Greek cities under the king of Sparta, Leonidas, encamped at Thermopylae. Athens and Sparta, having consulted Delphi, received terrifying responses. Athenians, who could not accept the oracle "Flee to the ends of the earth", told the Delphians, that they will stay until they die, waiting for a better oracle. They were given another ambiguous one, saying that "a wooden wall will survivethe destruction of Attica" and "divine Salamiswould destroyed the children of women". In the Athenian assembly, Themistokles later argued that the wooden wall was their fleet and if the god prophesized evilfor Greece, he would never use the word, "divine" (θείη), butthe word "pernicious" (σχετλίη). To the Spartans the oracle was equally dreadful, telling them that "either their city or a Spartan king would perish". On the arrivalof Xerxes at Thermopylae, he found that the place was defended by a body of three hundred Spartans and about seven thousand hoplites fromother
  24. 24. states, commanded by the Spartan king Leonidas. Xerxes learning about the small number of Greek forces and that severalSpartans outside the walls wereexercising and combing their hairs, in his perplexity, immediately called Demaratos to explain him the meaning of all these. Demaratos told him that the Spartans will defend the place to the death and it was customto wash and dress their hairs with special care when they intended to put their lives in great danger. Xerxes who did not believe Demaratos, delayed his attack for four days, thinking that the Greeks as soon as they would realize his great forces will disperse. He sent also heralds asking to deliver up their arms. The answer fromLeonidas was: "comeand take them" A Spartan, who was told about the great number of Persian soldiers, who with their arrows will conceal the sun, he answered: "so much the better, wewill fight in the shade". At the fifth day Xerxes attacked but without any results and with heavy losses, though the Medes foughtbravely. He then ordered his personalguard the "Immortals" under Hydarnes, a body of ten thousand consisting fromthe best Persian soldiers, to advance. They also failed and Xerxes was observed to jump fromhis throne three times in anger and agony. The following day they attacked, but again made no progress. Xerxes was desperatebut his luck changed when a Malian named Ephialtes told him about a secretpath across the mountain. Immediately a strong Persian forcewas sent under Hydarnes, guided by the traitor. At day's break they reached the summit, wherethe Phokian army was stationed and who upon seeing the Persians fled. When Leonidas was informed about all these incidents, he ordered the council of war to be summoned. Many wereof the opinion that they should retire and find a better defendable place, but Leonidas, who was bound by the laws of Sparta and froman oracle, which had declared that either Sparta or a Spartan king must perish, refused. Three hundred Spartans and seven hundred Thespians took the decision to stay and fight. Leonidas did not wait the Persian attack, which had being delayed by Xerxes and advancing in the path, he fell upon the Persians. Thousands of themwere slain, the restwere driven near the sea, but when the Spartan spears broke, they started having losses and one of the firstthat fell was king Leonidas. Around his
  25. 25. body one of the fiercestbattles took place. Four times the Persians attacked to obtain it and four times they were repulsed. At the end, the Spartans exhausted and wounded, carrying thebody of Leonidas, retired behind the wall, but they were surrounded by theenemy, who killed them with arrows. On the spot, a marble lion was erected by the Greeks in honor of Leonidas and his men, together with two other monuments near by. On one of them, the memorable words werewritten: "Ω ξείν αγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις, ότιτήδε κείμεθα, τοις κείνων ρήμασιπειθόμενοι". "Oh stranger tell the Lacedaemonians, that we lie here, obedient to their laws". The battle of Salamis 480 BC The Greek fleet at Artemision, when received information about the great numbers of the Persian fleet, left their postand sailed to Euripus, at the narrow straits, between Euboea and Boeotia. The Persian fleet after sailing down the Thermaic gulf, reached the island of Skiathos and anchored at Sepias, along the coastof Magnesia. The enormous fleet was consisted from200 Egyptian triremes, 150 Cyprians, 300 fromPhoenicia and Palestine, 100 ships havecontributed the Ionian cities, 100 the Celicians, 100 fromHellispontians and the restfrommany other cities. Totaling 1207 and supported fromabout3000 smaller vessels. The fighting men on the triremes were about 36,000 and with their rowers 240,000. The Greeks along the coastof Thrace and islands werecontributing 120 ships. When the Persian fleet anchored on the coastof Magnesia, a vicious stormlasting for three days, destroyed 400 ships and almostall the smaller vessels. This incident gavecourage to the Greek fleet and returned back to Artemision. As soon as the stormended, the Persian fleet sailed around the Pagasian bay and anchored at Aphetae. Fifteen vessels which have been left behind, thinking that the Greek fleet at Artemision was their own, when they approached, they were captured. But when the Persian fleet approached them, the Greeks seeing the great number of Persian ships wanted to leave their posts. With difficulty the Euboeans, who were removing their wives and children, persuaded them to stay and engage the enemy there.
  26. 26. The Persians dispatched 200 ships, which sailed around Euboea, in order to occupy the Euripus, justbehind the Greek fleet to cut off their retreat. The Greeks, who wereinformed about the Persian move fromthe excellent diver Skyllias of Skione, decided to sail during the night to Euripus and attack them. But in the afternoon there was a change of plan and they sailed to engage the main body of the Persian fleet. The battle lasted many hours and the Greeks captured 30 Persians ships and the Persians justone Lemnian. At night, the Persians had another misfortune. A big stormdestroyed mostof the 200 ships, that were sent to Euripus and sailing in the dangerous shores of Trypes. Many ships fromthe main navalbody werealso destroyed, butthis did not stop the Persians fromgiving another battle two days later. A day before the battle fifty three Athenian triremes came to join the Greek fleet. The navalbattle was vicious, lasting the entire day. Many ships fromboth sides werelost and half of the Athenian ships weredestroyed. When the news came, that Thermopylae fell to the Persians, theGreek ships sailed to Salamis. Though, the navalbattles in Artemision wereundecided, they gave courageand hope to the Greeks, who thought, that with better conditions, they could defeat the Persians atthe sea. The gulf of Salamis, wherethe Greek fleet sailed, was a well chosen place to fight the enemy, becausein the narrow straits of the sea, the advantagethat the Persians had in ships was diminished. The fleet was also protecting the transportation of the citizens of Attica, who wereleaving their homes for Aegina, Troezen and Salamis. In frontof the eminent danger, the exiled Athenians, among them Aristeides and Xanthippos, were permitted to return. In the meantime, Xerxes had reached Athens and surrounded Acropolis. A body of his army stationed at Areiopagos, who by throwing arrows furnished with lighting tow, burned the wooden defenses of Acropolis. The defenders of the sacred rock did not surrender and when the Persians tried to climb the rock, they rolled big stones crushing them. Persians captured the Acropolis, when they discovered a undefended spot, near the temple of Aglavros. A small forceof them, ascended the rock, entered Acropolis and opened the gates to the Persian army. The Athenian defenders were slaughtered or threw themselves fromthe walls. All the temples and buildings of the Acropolis wereplundered and burned. The Athenian exiles, who went to Acropolis the next day to offer sacrifice, they discovered that the sacred olive tree, which was burned to the ground, to have thrown a fresh
  27. 27. shootof one cubit long. Fromthe ships and the island of Salamis, Athenians and the rest of Greeks were looking the city of Athens in fire. Many disheartened fromthe sight, wanted to withdraw to Isthmos. The Greek fleet was consisted from180 Athenian ships, 40 Korinthian, 30 Aeginian, 20 Megarian, 20 Chalkidian, 16 Lakedaemonian, 15 Sikyonian, 10 Epidaurian, 7 Eretrian, 7 fromKeos, 5 Troezenian, 4 fromNaxos, 3 Hermionian, 2 fromStyrea, 1 fromKythnos, 1 fromKroton and some fifty-oared vessels. (According to Herodotos, they were 366 ships, Aeschylos mentions 310 only). The Persian fleet now was no less than 1000 ships. Theships that had been destroyed at the stormand the naval battles in Artemision had been made up fromthe coastof northern Greece and islands. At the Persian council, Xerxes asked his generals, if they ought to fight. All of them responded positively, except Artemisia, the queen of Hallicarnassus in Karia. She told Xerxes, that if he did not attack, the Greeks would disperse. Attacking them was an unnecessary risk notonly for the fleet, but for the land army as well. She proposed instead of a naval battle to lead the land army and take Peloponnesos. Though Xerxes applauded her opinion, he sided with the restand orders for an attack were issued for the following morning. In the first Greek war council, the Peloponnesian commanders, especially the Korinthian admiral Adeimantos, werestrongly opposed to the propositions of Themistokles, to stay and fight at the straits. They argued, that if the fleet sailed to Isthmos of Korinth, they would communicate better with the land forces and would be able to protect the unconquered cities of Peloponnesos. In vain Themistokles tried to persuadethem and in the voting the majority choseto retreat, but because it was night, they decided to wait until the morning. When Themistokles returned after the council to his trireme, his friend Mnesiphilos upon learning, about the decisions taken in the council, told him: "Then, all is lost. They will disperseand Euribiades will be unable to hold them. Go and try to makehim, fight here." Themistokles immediately, after these words, wentand found Euribiades to his ship and persuaded him to summon an emergency council. At the assembly, he did not wait for Euribiades to speak about
  28. 28. the reason of the urgent meeting and started speaking. It was then that the Korinthian admiral insulted Themistokles and speaking to him loudly said: "Themistokles, thosewho riseat the public games beforethe signal, are whipped". Themistokles insulted, responded: "True, but the ones who are left behind, they don't win the crown". Themistokles then proceeded to explain the reasons why they ought to stay and fight at Salamis. Plutarch tells us, that in this meeting Euribiades got angry with the language of Themistokles and lifted up his stick to hit him. Themistokles then told him: "Strike, but hear me". He then proceeded to explain the dangers involved, If they would not fight at the straits and sailed at Isthmos. Firstly, they would loseSalamis, Aegina and Megara and thus bring the Persians on the Peloponnesos. Secondly, that they will be forced to fight in the open sea, without any chance, to win the battle. He reminded them also, that many Athenian families at Salamis will be left unprotected. When he finished, general Adeimantos said to Euribiades to stop listening to a man, who has no country. Themistokles, in great anger then told him, that the Athenians had two hundred triremes, which can take the Athenian families on board and settle at Siris in Italy. Thesewords had the desired effect and Euribiades decided to stay and fight at Salamis, without any voting. A trireme was sent to Aegina to invokeassistance, by bringing the statues and icons, ofAeakus and the Aeakids heros, Telamon and Ajax. The next morning, obeying to the orders of Euribiades, the trierarchs started preparing the ships for action. But it was such the discontent between them and upon news and instructions fromhome, they demanded a third council. After long deliberations, in which Themistokles tried to persuadethem, he sent his entrusted servant, Sikinnus, thetutor of his children, who spokethe Persian language, to Xerxes, to inform him that the Greeks werein disagreement and ready to leave immediately with their ships fromSalamis and that he could entrap them and obtain an easy victory. The council lasted until late night, when Themistokles received the messagethat someonewas asking for him. Itwas Aristeides, who was returning from Aegina. He told Themistokles that the Persians had surrounded Salamis and it was impossiblefor the fleet to retreat. Themistokles then told him to keep it a secret, that he was responsiblefor this and asked him to take partand tell the news to the council. Aristeides explained to the council, that the whole island was encircled by the Persian fleet and it was
  29. 29. thanks to the darkness, thathis small vesselwent undetected passing through their lines. In the meantime the Persian fleet which had previously anchored at Phaleron, with orders fromXerxes, had encircled Salamis. The whole Egyptian naval force of two hundred ships sailed and blocked the straits between Salamis and Megara. The rest of his fleet blockaded the straits between Salamis and Attica. Persians also landed troops in the small island of Psitallia, that lies in the mouth of the straits, oppositeKynosoura of Salamis. A throne was prepared at the summits of mountAegaleo for Xerxes, opposite the island of Salamis, to watch the naval battle. At dawn, on the 29th of September 480 BC, the Persian ships, with the Phoenicians leading the way and the Ionians behind, moved in three lines into the straits on the sideof Attica and creating a long formation of three columns, took position for battle. The Greek ships, which had been anchored at Salamis at night, were also ready, boarded by the rested seamen. The Athenians wereposted in the left wing opposing the Phoenisians. The Aeginitians and Euboeans were in the center and the Lakedaemonians and other Peloponnesians at the right, opposing the Ionians. Minutes beforethe beginning of the battle, the trireme, which had been sent to Aegina, returned and took also position for battle. They weresmall waves at the straits at that moment and the Greek seamen, who knew the currents and had heavier ships, though equally fastwith the Persians, had a clear advantage. When the signal fromthe trumpets was given into the still morning, the Greeks started singing loudly their war paean "Apollo, saving lord" and moved to engage the enemy. But after a shorttime, they stopped and started oaring backwards. At that moment, a gigantic supernaturalfeminine figure appeared over them, shouting with a loud voice, that was heard fromthe wholefleet: "you miserable people, until when will you fall back?". When the Persian ships started approaching, in a semicircular formation, the enthusiastic Greeks moved forwards again. The first incident of the battle, occurred when a Greek trireme rushed in frontand struck a Phoenician ship. That forced other Greek triremes to come quickly to its aid and the battle started. The Aeginitians afterwards claimed, that it was their trireme, which had been sentfor the Aeakids, that began the fight. At the narrow
  30. 30. straits of Salamis, the Greek ships had greater maneuverability and were faster to attack. The Greeks were fighting with order, withoutany confusion, whilethe Persians, though they werefighting bravely, had no tactical plan. As soon as, the Phoenicians came close, the Athenians moved forward, assailing themin the flank, cutting them fromthe restof the fleet and driving them towards the Attic shore. After a hard battle, the Persian ships panicked and turned back, falling upon their own, ramming them with their bronzebeaks. Themistokles seizes the opportunity and orders his trireme to attack the Persian flagship, which was under the leadership of general Aravignes, brother of Xerxes, but other ships who were protecting the flagship, tried to encircle his ship. The trierarch Ameinias, brother of the tragic poet Aeschylos and the hero of Marathon, Kynaegeiros, who sees the danger of Themistokles trireme, rushes to help and with the ramof his ship hits the sides of the Persian flagship and disables it. Aravignes then, orders the attack on the ship of Ameinias and jumps to it first, but he is killed by arrows. His body was taken by Artemisia and given later to Xerxes. The ship of queen Artemisia, whom the Athenians had set a price for her head of ten thousand drachmas, chased by an Athenian trireme under the command of Ameinias, seeing no other way to escape, fell upon an ally Karian ship and shank it. The Athenians after this, stopped the chase, thinking that the ship was helping their own cause. Xerxes, who witnessed the event and being told, that the shank ship was Greek, said about Artemisia: "My men had become women and the women men". While the Athenian triremes were chasing the Persian ships, causing great destruction, the Aeginitians, who took firstprize for valor in the battle afterwards (Athenians came second), got out to the open sea destroying the ones, that were fleeing fromthe Athenians. The whole strait of Salamis was full fromthe wrecks, when Aristeides with an able body of hoplites, passed over to Psitallia and slaughtered all the Persian soldiers. At sunsetthe battle was over, with the Persian fleet partly destroyed or out of action. The Greeks lost 40 triremes and the Persians 200 and about50,000 men. Though the Persians had been defeated, the land forces were occupying Attica and their fleet was still formidable. The Persian monarch in rage, after the battle beheaded some Phoenicians, thought to be responsiblefor the loss of the battle.
  31. 31. The Phoenician fleet after that, fearing the rageof Xerxes, left Phaleron at night and sailed for home. Xerxes, who could not rely anymoreon the capability of his fleet to protect his retreat to Asia, fearing that the Greeks might try to damage the bridgein the Hellispont, ordered the best of his troops to disembark fromthe ships and march quickly to secure the bridge. At the sametime, the fleet was ordered to leave Phaleron for Asia. When the Greeks saw that the Persian fleet was leaving Phaleron, they sailed after them and pursued them, as far as the island of Andros. Themistokles, anxious to see the Persians leaving Attica, he sent a second messagewith Sikinnus to Xerxes, telling him, that he, Themistokles, out of personalfriendship restrained the Greeks, who wanted to destroy the bridgeat Hellispont. Mardonios, in the meantime had eased the anger of Xerxes, telling him that after all, his majesty had succeeded to conquer Greece, burned Athens and Eretria and defeated their best army, at Thermopylae. This is whatMardonios said to Xerxes, proposing himto let him stay with 300,000 soldiers,to complete the conquestof Greece. Xerxes after taking the advice of Artemicia, he accepted the plan of Mardonios and left for Hellispont, reaching Asia in forty fivedays. His army suffering fromfamine, was greatly diminished. Mardonios passed thewinter in Thessaly, preparing the army for a new expedition. Battle of Plataea 479 BC The reluctance, which Sparta showed after the battle of Thermopylaeuntil a little before the battle of Plataea, did not help the Greek cause. But when finally she took the decision to engage seriously herself in the war, it did it in a great manner. Five thousand citizens, each one attended by seven Helots, together with five thousand Lacedaemonian Perioikoi(each one attended by one light armed Helot) marched toward the Isthmos. This was a very large army and never in the past Sparta had sent such a big force in the field. At Isthmos, shewas joined with the Peloponnesian allies and marched towards Megara. The army was joined there by three thousand Megarians and finally at Plataea with eight thousand Athenian hoplites. The city of Plataea also contributed six hundred hoplites, who came fromSalamis, under the command of Aristeides. The number of Greek army were
  32. 32. now thirty eight thousand hoplites, who with light armed troops and the Helots reached one hundred and ten thousand men. This number includes the eighteen hundred badly armed Thespians. There was no cavalry and the bow men were very few. When Mardonios learned the approach of Lacedaemonians, he left Attica and by way of Dekeleia crossed the mount Parnes and entered Boeotia. Marching two days along the Asopos river, he encamped near the town of Plataea. The Greeks after consulting the Gods with sacrifices at Eleusis marched over the ridge of Kithairon mountain and descending from the northern side they saw the encamped Persian army in the valley of Asopos. King Pausanias who was waiting good omens fromsacrifices held his troops fromthe attacks of the Persian cavalry, near Erythrae, wherethe ground is ragged and uneven, but even this did not prevent the commander Masistios to attack the Greeks. When the Megarians were in great danger suffering many losses, three hundred Athenian hoplites succeeded in repulsing the Persians, killing the tall and brave Masistios. His body was paraded in triumph, in a cart. This event encouraged Pausanias, who positioned the army on the plain, in a line at the right bank of Asopos. When Mardonios learned the change in the position of the Greeks he ordered his army to be placed opposite to them on the other side of Asopos. Himself took the postin the left wing, facing the Lakedaemonians. The rest of his army consisting fromMedized Greeks, fifty thousand strong, wereopposite to Athenians. The center of Mardonios composed fromBactrians Sacae and Indians. Thewhole army was numbering three hundred thousand men. For eight days the attack was delayed fromboth sides by unfavorablesacrifices. On the eight day Mardonios by the advice of the Theban leader Timagenidas cut off the supplies of the Greeks and captured a big supply in one of the passes of Kithaeron. Artabazos too, advised him to continue this line of harassing and wearing but Mardonios was impatient and ordered his cavalry to attack, which obtained possession of the fountain of Gargapheia. Pausanias summoned the council of war and took the decision to retreat, to a place called the Island, which was two kilometers further and halfway between it and the town of Plataea. When Pausanias at night gavethe order of retreat, some Spartans refused to move. Threats did nothing to persuadethe Spartan captain Amomferatus, who took a huge rock and threw it at the feet of Pausanias,
  33. 33. with the words: "with this pebble I give my vote not to fly". Pausanias who had no time to lose since daybreak was near, he left Amompheratus and his lochos behind and hurried to the island. Mardonios ordered attack when he learned that the Greeks had retreated. His army passing the waters of Asopos started to throw arrows to the Greeks, who did not engage, even in this moment, in battle until they received a good omen fromthe sacrifices. Mardonios at the head of his one thousand bodyguards was in thefront line fighting bravely, until he was struck down by the Spartan Aimnestos. When Mardonios fell the Persian army fled to their fortified camp. But this did not save them, the Greeks managed to enter and a great massacretook place. Only three thousand Persians who escaped, fromthe three hundred thousand, survived. The Greeks lost only one thousand and three hundred men. Group 8 Ian Talucod Angelica Lim Lea Laguitan