PERSIA BACKGROUND Persians were warriors and nomads who lived in Persia, the southwestern area of what is today Iran. Cyrus the Great united the Persians. The Persians built a large empire, conquering Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria, Canaan, and Phoenician cities.
PERSIA BACKGROUND Darius came to power in 521 B.C. and reorganized the government. The empire under Darius was divided into satrapies-states, each with a ruler known as a satrap-a protector of the kingdom. The military of Persia consisted of full-time, paid soldiers known as Immortals.
The Persian Wars As the Greeks set up colonies in the Mediterranean area, they often clashed with the Persians. By the mid-500s B.C., Persia already controlled the Greek cities in Asia Minor. In 499 B.C. Athenians helped the Greeks in Asia Minor rebel against their Persian rulers….The Greek Rebellion Failed After this, King Darius decided to stop the Greeks from interfering in his empire ever again.
BATTLE OF MARATHON The Battle of Marathon occurred in 490 B.C. on the plain of Marathon, a short distance from Athens. There were 20,000 Persian troops and 10,000 Greek troops. The Persians waited there several days for the Athenians. When they did not come, the Persian commander ordered the troops back on the boat. When the horsemen were on the boat, the Greeks charged the Persian foot soldiers and defeated them. Legend has it, that the Athenians sent a messenger home with the news. He ran for about 25 miles and with his last breath yelled, “ Victory. ” Then he died Thus the reason why we called a 26 mile race a Marathon
The Persian Wars (Continued) After Darius ’ s death, his son Xerxes became king. He vowed a new invasion of Greece. The Persians had 180,000 troops. Athens and Sparta joined forces to defend against Xerxes ’ s attack. –Greek Army led by Leonidas and were mostly Spartan –Greek Navy led by Themistocles and were mostly Athenian
Battle of Thermopylae Greeks knew Persians were marching south for shipments of food. Greek Game Plan: Army of 7000 would meet Persians at Thermopylae while the Navy attacks troops transport and supply ships. –Thermopylae Delay Tactic Greek Traitor, gives Persians alternate route through mountains Leonidas, Spartan warrior, sends all but a few hundred troops to safety 300-800 men wait in a mountain pass for Persians Hold off Persians long enough for ALL GREEKS to get out of Athens –Salamis Greek Navy attacks supply lines and destroys Persians naval force at the Strait of Salamis Able to do this because they had fast ships that could maneuver quickly through the narrow pass.
Battle of Plataea Greeks in Crete –Have a Persian army in Greece with no supplies and no reinforcements. –Greek navy and people congregated in Crete. –While in Crete in 479 they form the largest Greek Army and head back to Mainland Greece. –They attack the Persians at Plataea and the Greek defeat the Persians.
Marathon (490 BCE) –26 miles from Athens, Greek victory Thermopylae (480 BCE) –300+ Spartans at the Mountain pass, Persian victory Salamis (480 BCE) –Athenian navy victorious Plateau (479 BCE) –Greek victory
Fall of the Persian Empire The Persian Empire fell for several reasons. – The Persians were weakened by war, and their rulers taxed the people and spent the money lavishly. –Persian royal families fought over who was to be king. Many kings were killed by family members who wanted the throne –Persian kings had many wives and children and all of the sons were constantly trying to take over the throne –6 of 9 rulers after Darius were murdered