Kathleen Lohnes was an editorial intern at Encyclopaedia Britannica in 2017 and 2018. This constricted the battlefield and prevented the Persians from utilizing their vast numbers. Thermopylae was an excellent choice for defence with mountains running down into the sea leaving only a narrow pass along the coast. Only when the Greeks were betrayed did the battle take a detrimental turn for them. Whatever the exact motives, in 491 BCE Darius sent envoys to call for the Greeks’ submission to Persian rule. pp. What was the job of the 300 at Thermopylae? In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. The story is well known and easily told. Responding, an alliance of Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, assembled a fleet and an army to oppose the invaders. In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. The last stand of 300 is a matter of fact the last stand of 1500. How were children in Sparta raised? What was the name of the Spartan’s country? By the first years of the 5th century BCE, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, under the rule of Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE), was already expanding into mainland Europe and had subjugated Thrace and Macedonia. How many Spartan warriors were at the battle? However, as the majority of the Greek army retreated, Leonidas, his 300 bodyguards, some helots (people enslaved by the Spartans), and 1,100 Boeotians remained behind, supposedly because retreating would defy Spartan law and custom. to protect against the Persians. Last modified April 16, 2013. The Truth . Cavalry, usually operating on the flanks of the main battle, were used to mop up opposing infantry put in disarray after they had been subjected to repeated salvos from the archers. The Greek forces included 300 Spartans and their helots with 2,120 Arcadians, 1,000 Lokrians, 1,000 Phokians, 700 Thespians, 400 Corinthians, 400 Thebans, 200 men from Phleious, and 80 Mycenaeans. However, on the second night a Greek traitor guided the best Persian troops around the pass behind the Greek army. Xerxes, on the other hand, had anywhere from 70,000 to 300,000. The Greek forces, mostly Spartan, were led by Leonidas. After securing the throne, Xerxes began to gather forces to invade Greece. 206) the the festival of Apollo Carneia was on at Sparta and that the Olympic games were also in progress. How can i be nationalistic? 15. His forces quickly seized northern Greece and began moving south. Today Battle was the last stand of Spartan 300. After a series of political negotiations it became clear that the Persians would not gain victory through diplomacy and the two armies met at Plataea in August 479 BCE. Cartwright, Mark. How many Spartan warriors were at the battle? This forced Leonidas to call a war council, at which it was decided that retreating was the best option. The Greeks, fielding the largest hoplite army ever seen, won the battle and finally ended Xerxes’ ambitions in Greece. Darius had seized power in 521, when he and six other men crushed a conspiracy of priests on a day that became celebrated on the Persian calendar as Magophonia The Killing of the Magi. Well known to a fact that this is where the Spartan 300 last stand, but the modern historical/theoretic aspect did not do justice to the other that stand and died on that Pass. 16. They were trying to hold back the Persian army for as long as possible. What armor did a Greek soldier wear? 15. Constructive Response Questions #4: Who were the Persians and how did they disrupt life for the people of Greece? Xerxes, who had by then been away…, …Persians attacked the Greeks at Thermopylae for two days but suffered heavy losses. The Battle of Thermopylae was a famous battle fought between the invading Persians, and the defending Greek city-state alliance. Persian army. The result of the battle was, however, indecisive and on news of Leonidas’ defeat, the fleet withdrew to Salamis. The Persian victory at Thermopylae allowed for Xerxes’ passage into southern Greece, which expanded the Persian empire even further. Having somewhere in the region of 80,000 troops at his disposal, the Persian king, who led the invasion in person, first waited four days in expectation that the Greeks would flee in panic. At close quarters, the longer spears, heavier swords, better armour, and rigid discipline of the phalanx formation meant that the Greek hoplites would have all of the advantages, and in the narrow confines of the terrain, the Persians would struggle to make their vastly superior numbers tell. Ancient History Encyclopedia. by Dept. Largest and greatest army assembled at this time. The major cause of the battle can be traced back to the Ionian revolt. The Battle of Thermopylae was a defeat for the Spartans, but in the long run, it was a victory for those fighting for freedom. On the first day, Xerxes sent his Median and Kissian troops, and after their failure to clear the pass, the elite Immortals entered the battle but in the brutal close-quarter fighting, the Greeks held firm. In addition to the land forces, the Greek poleis sent a fleet of trireme warships which held position off the coast of Artemision (or Artemisium) on the northern coast of Euboea, 40 nautical miles from Thermopylae. But Thermopylae, with its tale of courage against the odds and resolution in the face of death, captured the imagination and it maintains its hold two and a half millennia later as the definitive last stand and the ultimate patriotic sacrifice. On the first day, Xerxes sent his Median and Kissian troops, and after their failure to clear the … The Persian invasion was a delayed response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece, which had been ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Perhaps at this point the Theban contingent may have surrendered (although this is disputed amongst scholars). 19. The second day followed the pattern of the first, and the Greek forces still held the pass. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 Apr 2013. The Battle of Thermopylae lasted for a little over 3 days, with Leonidas I, the main commander, falling on the final day. It was inevitable, then, that there would be tension between the Greek and Persian ways of life, and in 499 bc several Greek cities in Asia Minor revolted against the Persian King Darius. Outnumbered at … I´m iranian heritage. How long did the battle of Thermopylae last? why did Leonidas send all the other soldiers home except the 300 Spartans. As a result, the full Spartan army could not advance towards Thermopylae. The Persians maintained a splendi… Leonidas, one of the Spartan kings at the time (Sparta always had two), led the Greeks, whereas the Persians were led by their emporer Xerxes, as well as his main general, Mardonius. Battle of Thermopylae The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands. Leonidas moved his troops to the widest part of the pass to utilise all of his men at once, and in the ensuing clash the Spartan king was killed. Maps of Attica and Thermopylae; Google Earth view; Coordinates. Soon after the battle, the Greeks built a stone lion in honour of those who had died and specifically for the fallen king Leonidas. How did the wounded Greeks last so long at the Battle of Thermopylae? The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Xerxes returned home to his palace at Sousa and left the gifted general Mardonius in charge of the invasion. ISBN 184176180X. How did the Persians eventually breach Spartan lines at the Battle of Thermopylae? Who Won? The long path to battle at Thermopylae began in what is now Iran, heart of the once vast Persian empire. Book References: Thermopylae 480 BC: Last Stand of the 300 (By Nic Fields) / The Persian Army 560 – 330 BC (By Nick Secunda) / The Battle of Thermopylae: A Campaign in Context (By Rupert Matthews) Featured Image Source: 300SpartanWarrors. when did the Greeks lose the battle of Thermoplyae to the Persians. One more instance where the Oracle of Delphi's prophecy proved to be authentic was in 480 BC, before the battle of Thermopylae, when king Xerxes and his Persian army were plotting against Greece. The Battle on the plain of Marathon in September 490 BCE between... Leonidas was the Spartan king who famously led a small band of... Sparta was one of the most important Greek city-states throughout... Xerxes I (l. 519-465, r. 486-465 BCE), also known as Xerxes... One of the most effective and enduring military formations in ancient... A black-figure Calyx-Krater from Attica, c. 530 BCE. Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: 1. The Greek resistance was growing weary, but the Persians still couldn’t make a dent in the opposing army. 24 Dec 2020. It was not a battle as such, but rather the defence of the pass which wound through the mountains at Thermopylai whch gave access to southern Greece. Having been turned back at Marathon in 490 BC, Persian forces returned to Greece ten years later to avenge their defeat and conquer the peninsula. As for Alexander, he also erased greece from the map and made it a minor province. The remaining hoplites, now trapped and without their inspirational king, were subjected to a barrage of Persian arrows until no man was left standing. The battle for the pass As you approach Thermopylae (about 200 kilometres from modern Athens) from the north, the mountains loom before you like a wall. Although the Persians had enjoyed the upper hand in previous contests during the recent Ionian revolt, the terrain at Thermopylae would better suit Greek warfare. His comrades then fought fiercely to recover the body of the fallen king. Sources Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield The Persian infantry carried a lightweight (often crescent-shaped) wicker shield and were armed with a long dagger or battleaxe, a short spear, and composite bow. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. When the Greeks held their position, Xerxes once again sent envoys to offer the defenders a last chance to surrender without bloodshed if the Greeks would only lay down their arms. Acquired mythical status amongst the Greeks to make an organized retreat arrived too at! 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