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Xerxes’ Invasion The Second Persian Invasion of Greece.

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Presentation on theme: "Xerxes’ Invasion The Second Persian Invasion of Greece."— Presentation transcript:

1 Xerxes’ Invasion The Second Persian Invasion of Greece

2 Athens: Ascendancy of Themistocles (ca BCE)  Themistocles’ father of the ancient Lycomid family at Athens; allegedly born of non-Greek (Thracian or Carian) mother (Plutarch, Life of Themistocles, 1-2); if so, he may have owed his Athenian citizenship to the reforms of Cleisthenes (Aristotle, Politics, 1275b35- 37)  Elected eponymous archon at Athens in 493/92 BCE (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, ); developed Piraeus (Athenian harbor) as archon  General (stratēgos) of his tribe in 490 BCE; commanded center of Athenian army at Marathon  Rival politicians ostracized: Miltiades, Hipparchus, Megacles the Alcmaeonid, Xanthippus (father of Pericles), Aristides  487 BCE: Archonship opened to hippeis (“knights”), appointed by lot; stratēgoi become most powerful officials in Athens; weakening of the old aristocratic council of the Areopagus

3 Themistocles’ Foresight (Plutarch, Life of Themistocles, 3.4) Now the rest of his countrymen thought that the defeat of the barbarians at Marathon was the end of the war; but Themistocles thought it to be only the beginning of greater contests, and for these he anointed himself, as it were, to be the champion of all Greece, and put his polis into training, because, while it was yet far off, he expected the evil that was to come.

4 Bust of Themistocles (Roman Copy from Ostia)

5 Themistocles and the Athenian Navy  Laurium mines in Attica, ca. 482 BCE: new vein of silver discovered (yields two tons of silver in first year)  Debate in Athenian Assembly Aristides: strengthen the Athenian hoplite army by using wealth to enlarge hoplite class Themistocles: build the strongest navy among the Greek states (warns of rivalry with Aegina) Aristides ostracized in 482 BCE New political importance of thetes as rowers

6 Themistocles and Athenian Naval Power (Herodotus, 7.144) Before this, Themistocles’ judgment had proved the best at an important moment; it was when the commonality of Athens had received great sums that came to them from the mines at Laurium, and they were disposed to share them out, with each citizen getting ten drachmas apiece. It was then that Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to abandon this distribution and make instead, with this money, two hundred ships “for the war,” he said, naming the war against the Aeginetans. It was indeed their engagement in this war, just then, that saved Greece, for it compelled the Athenians to become men of the sea. These ships were not used for the purpose for which they were built, but they were there for Greece at the moment of need.

7 Attica and Laurium

8 Athenian Trireme  About eight times as long as wide (120 ft. x 15 ft.)  170 rowers  Fast and agile  Ramming tactics

9 Athenian Trireme Reproduced

10 Xerxes ( /64 BCE) and Second Persian Invasion ( BCE)  King Darius dies in 486 BCE  Interim: Egyptian revolt (486/ BCE)  By 484 BCE, Xerxes begins construction of armada; “boat-bridge” spanning Hellespont; canal cut across Athos  Autumn, 481 BCE: Defensive Alliance of 31 Greek states headed by Sparta and Athens (Thessaly, Thebes, and Argos medize): “Hellenic League” (Sparta leader)

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12 Chalcidic Peninsula and Mount Athos

13 Battle of Thermopylae (August, 480 BCE)  Advance position at Tempe in Thessaly; Greeks fall back to Thermopylae; Greek fleet at Artemisium  Athens: evacuation to Salamis and Troezen  June, 480 BCE : Second Persian Expedition (50, ,000 troops); King Leonidas, 6,000-7,000 troops, including 300 Spartans, and Thermopylae  Greeks hold position for two days; betrayed by local, who shows Persians an alternate route; Greeks outflanked  Leonidas dismisses other Greeks, except for Thespians and Thebans; heroic death in battle  Xerxes has corpse of Leonidas beheaded and impaled  Military defeat for Spartans; moral victory for Greeks

14 Xerxes’ Route

15 King Leonidas, the 300, and Thermopylae “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by that here obedient to their words we lie.” Inscription at Thermopylae reported by Herodotus, 7.228

16 Thermopylae (August, 480 BCE)

17 Dieneces and Spartan Bravery (Herodotus, 7.226) Of the Spartans and the Thespians, for all that there were so many brave men among them, he that was said to be the bravest was a Spartiate, Dieneces. Of him there is a saying recorded, one that he uttered before the battle was joined. When he heard a Malian saying that, when the barbarians shot their arrows, the very sun was darkened by their multitude, so great was the number of them, Dieneces was not at all perturbed, but in his contempt for the numbers of the Persians said, “Why, my Trachinian friend brings us good news. For if the Persians hide the sun, we shall fight them in the shade.”

18 Battle at Salamis (September, 480 BCE )  Destruction of some of Persian fleet in battle and storm at Artemisium  Abandonment of Athens; Themistocles, Delphi, and the Oracle of the “Wooden Walls” (Herodotus, 7.143)  Peloponnesians fortify Isthmus of Corinth (Herodotus, 8.40, 71-72)  Greek fleet falls back from Artemisium to island of Salamis (Herodotus, 8.40)  Sack of Evacuated Athens (Herodotus, )  “Eurybiades presented the proposition that anyone who pleased should declare where, among the territories of which the Greeks were masters, would be the most suitable place to fight their sea battle; for Attica was at this point given up for lost; it was about the rest that he inquired. The most of the opinions of those who spoke agreed that they should sail to the Isthmus and fight for the Peloponnesus; the reason they produced for this was that, if they were beaten in the sea fight and were at Salamis, they would be beleaguered in an island where no help could show up for their rescue; but if they fought off the Isthmus, they could put into a coastline that was their own.” (Herodotus, 8.49)  Themistocles’ ruse (Herodotus, )  9/20/480 BCE: Salamis and Athenian trireme

19 Isthmus of Corinth

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21 “Themistocles Decree” from Troezen Text of Third Century BCE May be copy of original of 480 BCE Discovered in 1959

22 “Themistocles Decree” from Troezen The Gods Resolved by the Council and People Themistocles, son of Neocles, of Phrearri, made the motion to entrust the city to Athena the mistress of Athens and to all the other gods to guard and defend from the Barbarian for the sake of the land. The Athenians themselves and the foreigners who live in Athens are to send their children and women to safety in Troezen, their protector being Pittheus, the founding hero of the land. They are to send the old men and their movable possessions to safety on Salamis. The treasurers and priestesses are to remain on the acropolis guarding the property of the gods. All the other Athenians and foreigners of military age are to embark on the 200 ships that are ready and defend against the Barbarian for the sake of their own freedom and that of the rest of the Greeks, along with the Spartans, the Corinthians, the Aeginetans, and all others who wish to share in the danger.

23 Aftermath of Salamis  Persian army under Mardonius winters in Greece  Battle of Plataea, August, 479 BCE (Herodotus, ) Plataea on border between Attica and Boeotia Spartan king, Pausanias, in high command Nearly two weeks of skirmishing, with Persians trying to break Greek supply lines, water source Spartans (right flank) defeat Persian forces Athenians (left flank) defeat Persian allies, the Boeotians Perceived as Spartan victory

24 Battle of Plataea (August, 479 BCE)

25 Greeks on the Offensive  Battle at Mycale (479 BCE)  Ionians renew rebellion against Persia  Athenians capture Persian stronghold at Sestos (end of winter 479/78 BCE)  Persians lose control of Asia Minor coast  Expeditions of Athenian Cimon, so of the Philaid Miltiades, against Persian Empire (470s-460s BCE)

26 Battle of Mycale (479 BCE), near Miletus

27 Athenian fleet captures Persian stronghold at Sestos, 479 BCE

28 Serpent Monument Delphi: Commemoration of Battle of Plataea Monument Base-Delphi Serpent Column-Istanbul


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