It was held at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae ("The Hot Gates") in August or September 480 BC. After defeating the Persian defence, Alexander continued through the Mountains and soon reached Persepolis where he seized the Persian royal treasury and burned the royal palace to the ground – a symbolic end to Achaemenid rule over Persia.  However, instead of a mere blockade, Themistocles persuaded the Greeks to seek a decisive victory against the Persian fleet. Responding, an alliance of Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, assembled a fleet and an army to oppose the invaders. As the Persians advanced south, capturing Athens, the remaining Greek troops began fortifying the Isthmus of Corinth with the fleet in support. The Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus, writing in the 1st century BC in his Bibliotheca historica, also provides an account of the Greco-Persian wars, partially derived from the earlier Greek historian Ephorus.  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. ", "The Battle of Thermopylae was a Pyrrhic victory for [the Persians] but it offered Athens invaluable time to prepare for the decisive naval battle of Salamis one month later. The Athenians knew that they needed to build more ships to defeat the huge Persian navy. On the north side of the roadway was the Malian Gulf, into which the land shelved gently.  Some Peloponnesians suggested withdrawal to the Isthmus of Corinth and blocking the passage to Peloponnesus. It has been reported that others also remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. A well-known epigram, usually attributed to Simonides, was engraved as an epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound of the Spartans at Thermopylae. What did the Persians do after The Battle of Thermopylae?  The contingent of 700 Thespians, led by their general Demophilus, refused to leave and committed themselves to the fight. What happened to the other city-states soldiers when they thought they were going to be defeated? The performance of the defenders at the battle of Thermopylae 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. The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece.It was a decisive victory for the Greeks as it ended that war. In the Battle of Artemisio, the Greek fleet defeated the Persian, which lost a significant number of ships due to a storm in Magnesia. A variant of the epigram is inscribed on the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino.  According to Ctesias, the first wave was "cut to ribbons", with only two or three Spartans killed in return. Scholars report various figures ranging between about 100,000 and 150,000 soldiers. , After the Persians' departure, the Greeks collected their dead and buried them on the hill. For instance, Plutarch recounts, in his Sayings of Spartan Women, upon his departure, Leonidas' wife Gorgo asked what she should do if he did not return, to which Leonidas replied, "Marry a good man and have good children. Thermopylae (lit. In fact, in many corners of popular culture, the encounter is often depicted as 300 Spartans (aided by their rag-tag group of allies) versus over a million Persians. The idea ignores the fact that the Persians would, in the aftermath of Thermopylae, conquer the majority of Greece, and the fact that they were still fighting in Greece a year later. 27, pp. Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus, After that, Xerxes sent a force of 10,000 Medes and Cissians to take the defenders prisoner and bring them before him. Moreover, in the pass, the phalanx would have been very difficult to assault for the more lightly armed Persian infantry.  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). 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. However, there is no suggestion by Herodotus that the effect on the Persian forces was that.  The likelihood is that these were the Theban "loyalists", who unlike the majority of their fellow citizens, objected to Persian domination. The hillsides along the pass are covered in thick brush, with some plants reaching 10 feet (3.0 m) high. Simonides went as far as to put the Persian number at Three million. ", After the battle, Xerxes was curious as to what the Greeks had been trying to do (presumably because they had had so few men) and had some Arcadian deserters interrogated in his presence. As on the first day, these efforts were turned back with heavy casualties. The answer was: all the other men were participating in the Olympic Games. To play this quiz, please finish editing it. Receiving news that Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont, a second strategy was put forward by Themistocles which called for making at stand at the pass of Thermopylae.  Meanwhile, at the near-simultaneous naval Battle of Mycale, they also destroyed much of the remaining Persian fleet, thereby reducing the threat of further invasions. With war nearing, the Greek congress met again in the spring of 480. The battle is revisited in countless adages and works of popular culture, such as in films (e.g., The 300 Spartans (1962) and 300 (2007), based on the events during and close to the time of the battle), in literature, in song (e.g.  Leonidas chose to camp at, and defend, the "middle gate", the narrowest part of the pass of Thermopylae, where the Phocians had built a defensive wall some time before. At Thermopylae, the Greeks blocked the pass and beat back Persian assaults for two days. Herodotus' colorful account of the battle has provided history with many apocryphal incidents and conversations away from the main historical events. The Spartans were met by Persian light infantry on the first day. On the morning of September 17, 490 bc, some 10,000 Greeks stood assembled on the plain of Marathon, preparing to fight to the last man. This confuses me greatly, because my textbook does not mention where the Persians … The Battle of Thermopylae is the most important battle of the Persian War because the sacrifice of the men at Thermopylae later fueled the Greeks to push the Persian army back out of their country.Thermopylae prevented the Persians from conquering all of … The story is well known and easily told. The performance of the defenders at the battle of Thermopylae 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. In the 'Persian War' by Herodotus, it is mentioned that while the Greeks occupied the straits of Thermopylae, the Persians camped in an area called Trachinia. These two important groups decided to unite in order to stop the Persian Empire's invasion of Xerxes I. The width of the pass allowed fewer allied, Athenian and Spartan soldiers, to fight off more Persian troops. Legend has it that he had the very water of the Hellespont whipped because it would not obey him. The Geographical Analysis of the Battle of Thermopylae and how it Affected the Outcome The Spartans at Thermopylae held the advantage due to the massive bluffs on either side of the pass. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert.  At the Battle of Plataea, the Greek army won a decisive victory, destroying much of the Persian army and ending the invasion of Greece. He emphasized that he had tried to warn Xerxes earlier in the campaign, but the king had refused to believe him. Meeting, the leaders of Sparta decided that the situation was significantly urgent to dispatch troops under one of their kings, Leonidas. Translation by American historian, Professor J. Rufus Fears in his Ancient Greeks lectures for the. 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