2 The Greco-Persian Wars The Historical Significance of the Greek Persian Wars
3 Persia Thirst for Revenge Persia had a new leader. After the death of Darius, his son, Xerxes ruled the Persian Empire.3 Theories around DariusHe was a weak leader (losing to Athens – Kicked out)Too old to keep up.DiedSon, “Xerxes,” grows up vowing to revenge his father’s loss. Very strict authoritarian ruler.Thought of himself as a living God.
4 Xerxes assumes power and amasses huge army of over 200,000+ strong
6 Cooperation Among Greece Athenians hear about Xerxes’ thirst for revenge and they look for help from neighboring city- states.Many other Greek city states agree to help. 1st time wide scale co-operation between the Greeks… (Historically significant)Sparta and Athens decided to work together to fight the Persians.Sparta had a very strong armyAthens had a strong navy.
7 Deja Vu Once again, Greeks heavily outnumbered. The Spartans were led by Leonidas, the King of Sparta. His troops were the ultimate warriors.PersiansGreeks200,000Infantry7300(300 Spartans)1200Navy20020,000Cavalry
9 The Battle at Thermopylae August of 480 BCThe Greeks were waiting for the Persians at Thermopylae.(If the Persians wanted to get into mainland Greece they would have to take this pass.)Xerxes sat on a golden throne atop the pass to watch the battle.For the first two days the 7300 Greek soldiers were able to hold off the Persians, slaughtering the Persians. (Even Xerxes’ elite “Immortals”)
10 A Traitor Among the Greeks A Greek soldier (Ephialtes) betrayed the Greeks and showed Xerxes a path that would lead the Persian troops behind the Greeks.Leonidas sends the Athenians home knowing they are going to lose.This way the Athenians could defend the city.The Persians slaughtered the remaining Spartans, all were killed.
13 Result of ThermopylaeCreated a sense of nationalism among the Greeks as it was the first time they Greek city-states fought together. This continued.It showed Xerxes that conquering Greece was not going to be easy. The Greeks were a strong, determinded and skilled force. (just as Marathon had shown Darius)The courageous self-sacrifice of Leonidas and his men won the Greeks two significant advantages.First, it bought Greeks thetime necessary to reorganize and assemble their forces for the sea-battle to come,(what had to happen when such great navies were brought into such close proximity.)Second and more important, it gave them a chance to prepare for Xerxes' invasion of Attica which by now was inevitable, too.