After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path used by shepherds. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους = History of the Greek nation volume Β', Athens 1971, This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 16:59. Taking advantage of this information, Xerxes ordered Hydarnes to take a large force, including the Immortals, on a flanking march over the trail. United, this congress would have the power to dispatch troops to defend the region.  Finally, it moved to attack Athens, landing at the bay of Marathon, where it was met by a heavily outnumbered Athenian army.  Furthermore, this idea also neglects the fact that a Greek navy was fighting at Artemisium during the Battle of Thermopylae, incurring losses in the process. And there is perhaps no better precedent for this archetype than one of the first such examples in recorded history: The Battle of Thermopylae. Herodotus reports that the Phocians had improved the defences of the pass by channelling the stream from the hot springs to create a marsh, and it was a causeway across this marsh which was only wide enough for a single chariot to traverse. There are even accounts that a local shepherd informed Alexander's forces about the secret path, just as a local Greek showed the Persian forces a secret path around the pass at Thermopylae. until his death at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian army in 480 B.C.  At the Battle of Plataea, the Greek army won a decisive victory, destroying much of the Persian army and ending the invasion of Greece. The task force then moved on Eretria, which it besieged and destroyed. One of the most famous battles of this time period, the story of Thermopylae has been recounted in numerous books and films through the years. What happened to the other city-states soldiers when they thought they were going to be defeated? " This probably describes the standard Greek phalanx, in which the men formed a wall of overlapping shields and layered spear points protruding out from the sides of the shields, which would have been highly effective as long as it spanned the width of the pass.  5) Battle of Thermopylae: The Numbers Game – Source: ThingLink. As on the first day, these efforts were turned back with heavy casualties. Increasingly overwhelmed, the surviving Greeks fell back behind the wall and made a last stand on a small hill. After Xerxes crossed the Hellespont (the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea), he headed south to attack Athens.  In 1939, archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos, excavating at Thermopylae, found large numbers of Persian bronze arrowheads on Kolonos Hill, which changed the identification of the hill on which the Greeks were thought to have died from a smaller one nearer the wall. The battle was fought for over three days, at the same time as the naval Battle of Artemisium on 20 August or 8–10 September, 480 BC. The monument is made of marble and features a bronze statue depicting the god Eros, to whom the ancient Thespians accorded particular religious veneration.  The king later had the Theban prisoners branded with the royal mark. The stranger is also asked to stress that the Spartans died 'fulfilling their orders'. The story is well known and easily told. This reply made battle inevitable, though Xerxes took no action for four days.  George B. Grundy was the first modern historian to do a thorough topographical survey of the narrow pass at Thermopylae, and to the extent that modern accounts of the battle differ from Herodotus' where they usually follow Grundy's. This quiz is incomplete! Scholars report various figures ranging between about 100,000 and 150,000 soldiers.  In fact, as noted below, the pass was 100 metres wide, probably wider than the Greeks could have held against the Persian masses. Herodotus observes this was very uncommon for the Persians, as they traditionally treated "valiant warriors" with great honour (the example of Pytheas, captured off Skiathos before the Battle of Artemisium, strengthens this suggestion). The answer was: all the other men were participating in the Olympic Games. A variant of the epigram is inscribed on the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino. P. Cartledge, Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World (2006).  However, the Immortals fared no better than the Medes, and failed to make any headway against the Greeks. Knowing that the end was near, the Greeks marched into the open field and met the Persians head-on. ", It is also said that on the southern side of the track stood cliffs that overlooked the pass. usurper and had spent considerable time extinguishing revolts against his rule.  Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt and very quickly restarted the preparations for the invasion of Greece. , Darius sent emissaries to all the Greek city-states in 491 BC asking for a gift of "earth and water" as tokens of their submission to him. During the Carneia, military activity was forbidden by Spartan law; the Spartans had arrived too late at the Battle of Marathon because of this requirement. Moreover, in the pass, the phalanx would have been very difficult to assault for the more lightly armed Persian infantry. Persian Battle at Thermopylae in 300 Movie, King Leonidas of Sparta and the Battle at Thermopylae, Top Battle of Thermopylae (and Artemisum) Books, 30 Maps of Ancient Greece Show How a Country Became an Empire, Persian Wars - Battle of Marathon - 490 BCE, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University.  They thus probably came to Thermopylae of their own free will and stayed to the end because they could not return to Thebes if the Persians conquered Boeotia.  Conversely, for the Persians the problem of supplying such a large army meant they could not remain in the same place for very long. The performance of the defenders is used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers.. Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus, This account is fairly consistent with Herodotus' writings. The headless male figure symbolizes the anonymous sacrifice of the 700 Thespians to their country. To this Leonidas reputedly replied, "Come and get them." On the north side of the roadway was the Malian Gulf, into which the land shelved gently. In Athens, however, the ambassadors were put on trial and then executed by throwing them in a pit; in Sparta, they were simply thrown down a well.  Furthermore, to prevent the Persians from bypassing Thermopylae by sea, the Athenian and allied navies could block the straits of Artemisium. In Western culture at least, it is the Greeks who are lauded for their performance in battle. I meant lose horrifically and get routed after only one day of battle. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians.  The major weak point for the Greeks was the mountain track which led across the highland parallel to Thermopylae, that could allow their position to be outflanked. As the Persians kept coming, Leonidas rotated units through the front to prevent fatigue. At dawn, Xerxes made libations, pausing to allow the Immortals sufficient time to descend the mountain, and then began his advance. Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army of freemen defending native soil. The Battle of Thermopylae is a battle in September 480 BC during the Greek-Persian war (480 — 479 BC). Herodotus says they jumped up and were greatly amazed. It is also the hill on which the last of them died. They have won the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, and have conquered Greek city-state of Boeotia, Thessaly, and Attica; however, Greek navy attacked and decisively defeated the Persian army at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC and was able to prevent Persians from conquering an another Greek city-state; Peloponnesus. Upon hearing this, Tigranes, a Persian general, said: "Good heavens, Mardonius, what kind of men are these that you have pitted against us? News of the imminent Persian approach eventually reached Greece in August thanks to a Greek spy. THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE The Battle of Thermopylae is a classic example of the Spartan creed of kill or be killed. The battle of consisted of an alliance of the Greek city-states such as Sparta and Athens, led by the Spartan king Leonidas, in attempt to fend off the Persian empire that was led by Xerxes. Persian infantry was lightly equipped, no armor, and wooden shields.  In fact, Herodotus' account of the battle, in Book VII of his Histories, is such an important source that Paul Cartledge wrote: "we either write a history of Thermopylae with [Herodotus], or not at all". , Xerxes sent a Persian emissary to negotiate with Leonidas. These accounts are obviously not verifiable, but they form an integral part of the legend of the battle and often demonstrate the laconic speech (and wit) of the Spartans to good effect. In a later passage, describing a Gaulish attempt to force the pass, Pausanias states "The cavalry on both sides proved useless, as the ground at the Pass is not only narrow, but also smooth because of the natural rock, while most of it is slippery owing to its being covered with streams...the losses of the barbarians it was impossible to discover exactly.  The weaker shields, and shorter spears and swords of the Persians prevented them from effectively engaging the Greek hoplites.  Ephialtes was motivated by the desire for a reward. The Spartan phalanx proved more than sufficient for slaughtering thousands of Persians. M. Trundle, “Thermopylae”, in: C. Matthew and M. Trundle (eds. The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between Greek and Persian forces in the Saronic Gulf, Greece in September 480 BCE.  Since this was to be a full-scale invasion, it required long-term planning, stockpiling, and conscription. Approaching, they had little choice but to attack the Greeks. The performance of the defenders is also used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds.  Modern scholarly estimates are generally in the range 120,000–300,000. They were joined by 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians, while the remainder of the army fell back. , On the second day, Xerxes again sent in the infantry to attack the pass, "supposing that their enemies, being so few, were now disabled by wounds and could no longer resist.  The Phocians and Locrians, whose states were located nearby, became indignant and advised defending Thermopylae and sending for more help. Between the Persians and the Greeks. 27, pp.  At this time of year the Spartans, de facto military leaders of the alliance, were celebrating the festival of Carneia. , In 1997, a second monument was officially unveiled by the Greek government, dedicated to the 700 Thespians who fought with the Spartans. While the bulk of the Greek army retreated, a force of 300 Spartans led by Leonidas I as well as 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians remained to cover the withdrawal. This battle, which is also said to have claimed two younger brothers of Xerxes, had far more psychological than military importance. But Thermopylae did – crucially – prove that the Persian war machine could be stopped. The form of this ancient Greek poetry is an elegiac couplet, commonly used for epitaphs. Though possessing a weak army, Athens commenced building a large fleet of triremes under the guidance of Themistocles. , With Thermopylae now opened to the Persian army, the continuation of the blockade at Artemisium by the Greek fleet became irrelevant. It is true that there was an epic battle at Thermopylae where King Leonidas of Sparta took 300 soldiers, all with a male heir at home, into the ‘Hot Gates’ where they held the Persian army at bay for three days. The Battle of Thermopylae is arguably the most famous battle before 1000 CE, certainly ranking up there with Zama during the Punic Wars (2nd century BCE) and Tours in 732 CE. Arrowheads of Anatolian design have been found in large numbers on the hill by modern archaeologists.  It has also been suggested that Leonidas, recalling the words of the Oracle, was committed to sacrificing his life in order to save Sparta. This was refused and the Greeks met that fall to form an alliance of the city-states under the leadership of Athens and Sparta.  Herodotus says that the units for each city were kept together; units were rotated in and out of the battle to prevent fatigue, which implies the Greeks had more men than necessary to block the pass. In the Battle of Thermopylae (as detailed almost entirely by Herodotus), which occurred in 480 BC , an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. . Greco-Persian Wars, a series of wars fought by Greek states and Persia from 492 to 449 BCE.  The Greeks fought in front of the Phocian wall, at the narrowest part of the pass, which enabled them to use as few soldiers as possible. an alliance of 140 Greek city-states that wanted to rid Persians from all Greek lands. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. When defending a narrow pass like the one at Thermopylae a phalanx was basically impenetrable to any attacks, the long spears deterring the attackers from advancing. On the third, the Persians were able to flank the Greek position after being a shown a mountain path by a Trachinian traitor named Ephialtes.  Some of the Greeks argued for withdrawal, but Leonidas resolved to stay at the pass with the Spartans. The Battle of Thermopylae took place over three days.  A full 40 years after the battle, Leonidas' bones were returned to Sparta, where he was buried again with full honours; funeral games were held every year in his memory.  A second reason is the example it set of free men, fighting for their country and their freedom: So almost immediately, contemporary Greeks saw Thermopylae as a critical moral and culture lesson. Leonidas (c. 530-480 B.C.) , Leonidas' actions have been the subject of much discussion. Cicero recorded a Latin variation in his Tusculanae Disputationes (1.42.101): Additionally, there is a modern monument at the site, called the "Leonidas Monument" by Vassos Falireas, in honour of the Spartan king.   Ever since, the events of Thermopylae have been the source of effusive praise from many sources: "Salamis, Plataea, Mycale and Sicily are the fairest sister-victories which the Sun has ever seen, yet they would never dare to compare their combined glory with the glorious defeat of King Leonidas and his men". Thermopylae, a narrow pass on the east coast of Greece, also one of the best Greek army strategies used against the Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae. Initially planned by Emperor Darius I, the mission fell to his son Xerxes when he died in 486.  Ioannis Ziogas points out that the usual English translations are far from the only interpretation possible, and indicate much about the romantic tendencies of the translators. It led the Persians behind the Greek lines. SourceThe Greek alliance originally wanted to confront the Persians in Thessaly, the region just to the south of Macedon, at the Vale of Tempe. The naked body symbolizes Eros, the most important god of the ancient Thespians, a god of creation, beauty and life. P.A.  However, under pressure from the Athenians, the Peloponnesians eventually agreed to try to force Mardonius to battle, and they marched on Attica.  It seems that the Thespians volunteered to remain as a simple act of self-sacrifice, all the more amazing since their contingent represented every single hoplite the city could muster. Delete Quiz.  Meanwhile, the Greeks (for the most part Peloponnesians) preparing to defend the Isthmus of Corinth, demolished the single road that led through it and built a wall across it. Responding, an alliance of Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, assembled a fleet and an army to oppose the invaders. With war nearing, the Greek congress met again in the spring of 480. " The pass still is a natural defensive position to modern armies, and British Commonwealth forces in World War II made a defence in 1941 against the Nazi invasion mere metres from the original battlefield. With the failure of the first assaults, Xerxes ordered an attack by his elite Immortals later in the day. This confuses me greatly, because my textbook does not mention where the Persians … Under the statue, a sign reads: "In memory of the seven hundred Thespians.". The battle was between the defending Greek city-states led by Athenian General Themistocles, King Leonidas I of Sparta and Demophilus of Thespiae and the attacking Persian army of Xerxes I of Persia. The invasion was brought to an end the following year after the Greek victory at the Battle of Plataea. 2. The rear-guard was annihilated and the Persians rolled on to occupy central Greece. The Greeks could hide from the Persians and sneak attack them. The army was to be supported by a large fleet which would move along the coast. However, Xerxes was known for his rage.  Xerxes decided that the Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of Mount Athos (rounding which headland, a Persian fleet had been destroyed in 492 BC). 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