Where are we? Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Persia ruled by Darius (son-in-law of Cyrus) In September of 490 BC a Persian armada of 600 ships released an invasion force of approximately 20,000 infantry and cavalry on Greek soil just north of Athens. Their mission was to crush the Greek states in retaliation for their support of their Ionian cousins who had revolted against Persian rule.
Where are we? Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Battle of Thermopylae (Aug. 480 B.C.) Xerxes (son of Darius) Darius died while in the process of preparing a second army to invade the Greek mainland, leaving to his son the task of punishing the Greeks (especially the Athenians!).
Where are we? Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Battle of Thermopylae (Aug. 480 B.C.) Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus estimated was roughly one million strong along with 10,000 elite warriors named the Persian Immortals. More recent estimates place the Persian force at around 60,000 combatants.
Where are we? Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Battle of Thermopylae (Aug. 480 B.C.) At the Battle of Thermopylae, a small force of Greek warriors led by King Leonidas of Sparta resisted the much larger Persian forces, but were ultimately defeated. According to Herodotus, the Persians broke the Spartan phalanx after a Greek man called Ephialtes betrayed his country by telling the Persians of another pass around the mountains.Battle of ThermopylaeLeonidasSpartaphalanxEphialtes
THE SACK OF ATHENS!!! What happened next is a matter of some controversy. According to Herodotus, upon encountering the deserted city, in a fit of rage uncharacteristic even for Persian kings, Xerxes had Athens burned. He immediately regretted this action and ordered it rebuilt the next day. However, Persian scholars dispute this view as pan-Hellenic propaganda, arguing that Sparta, not Athens, was Xerxes's main foe in his Greek campaigns, and that Xerxes would have had nothing to gain by destroying a major center of trade and commerce like Athens once he had already captured it. Herodotus says Xerxes ordered the city burnt. Some say the Athenians started the fire: on Accident. to keep the Persians from looting the city (a.k.a. Scorched Earth Policy).
What does Mr. C think? δέσποτα, μέμνεο τῶν Ἀθηναίων Herodotus reports that when Darius heard of the burning of Sardis, he swore vengeance upon the Athenians (after asking who they indeed were). He placed an arrow on his bow and shot it into the sky, praying to god to grant him vengeance on the Athenians. He then ordered one of his servants to say three times a day the above phrase in order to remind him that he should punish the Athenians!
Where are we? Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Battle of Thermopylae (Aug. 480 B.C.) The Sack of Athens Regardless, the city was burnt!
So Now we are ready for… Battle of Salamis (Sept. 480 B.C.) The Spartans wanted to return to the Peloponnese, seal off the Isthmus of Corinth with a wall, and prevent the Persians from defeating them on land.
So Now we are ready for… Battle of Salamis (Sept. 480 B.C.) The Athenian commander Themistocles persuaded the Spartans to remain at Salamis, arguing that a wall across the Isthmus was pointless as long as the Persian army could be transported and supplied by the Persian navy. All of this hinged on an oracle from Delphi:
Oh Delphi, that tricky oracle! Battle of Salamis (Sept. 480 B.C.) What do we know about Delphi? Remember the King of Lydia asked if he should attack Cyrus (1 st king of the Persians) and was told if he attacked Cyrus a mighty kingdom would fall. He just didn’t realize it was his own! Themistocles was told Salamis would "bring death to women's sons," but also that the Greeks would be saved by a "wooden wall".
So Now we are ready for… Battle of Salamis (Sept. 480 B.C.) A wooden wall? What’s THAT??? Some Athenians who chose not to flee Athens, interpreted the prophecy literally, barricaded the entrance to the Acropolis with a wooden wall, and fenced themselves in. The wooden wall was overrun, they were all killed, and the Acropolis was burned down by the Persians. Themistocles interpreted the wooden wall as the fleet of ships, and argued that Salamis would bring death to the Persians, not the Greeks.
Where are we? SALAMIS! Battle of Marathon (Sept. 490 B.C.) Battle of Thermopylae (Aug. 480 B.C.) The Sack of Athens Battle of Salamis (Sept. 480 B.C.) The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between the Greek city-states (371 boats) and Persia (1207 boats), fought in September, 480 BC in the straits between Piraeus and Salamis, a small island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, Greece.
"Forward, sons of the Greeks, liberate the fatherland, liberate your children, your women, the temples of your ancestral gods, the graves of your forebears: this is the battle for everything". Aeschylus Aeschylus
Aftermath As at Artemisium, the much larger Persian fleet could not maneuver in the gulf, and a smaller contingent of Athenian and Aegean triremes flanked the Persian navy. The Persians tried to turn back, but a strong wind sprang up and trapped them; those that were able to turn around were also trapped by the rest of the Persian fleet that had jammed the strait. The Greek and Persian ships rammed each other and something similar to a land battle ensued. Both sides had marines on their ships (the Greeks with fully armed hoplites), and arrows and javelins also flew across the narrow strait. The chief Persian admiral Ariamenes rammed Themistocles' ship, but in the hand-to- hand combat that followed Ariamenes was killed by a Greek foot soldier. Only about 100 of the heavier Persian triremes could fit into the gulf at a time, and each successive wave was disabled or destroyed by the lighter Greek triremes. At least 200 Persian ships were sunk, including one by Artemisia, who apparently switched sides in the middle of the battle to avoid being captured and ransomed by the Athenians. Aristides also took another small contingent of ships and recaptured Psyttaleia, a nearby island that the Persians had occupied a few days earlier. It is said that it was the Immortals, the elite Persian Royal Guard, who during the battle had to evacuate to Psyttaleia after their ships sank: they were slaughtered to a man. According to Herodotus, the Persians suffered many more casualties than the Greeks because the Persians did not know how to swim; one of the Persian casualties was a brother of Xerxes. Those Persians who survived and ended up on shore were killed by the Greeks who found them.