CLS 150-01

The Persian Wars

  • Prehistory: Homer & Trojan War?
  • Cyrus the Great, Croesus of Lydia (546 BC)
  • 1. Ionian Revolt 499-494 (time of Cleisthenes)
  • Athenians help Ionian cities v. Darius/Persians; Miletus/Lade
  • 2. Marathon 490
  • Miltiades/Athens v. Hippias (Darius)/Persians
  • 3. Thermopylae, Salamis 480: Xerxes invades
  • King Leonidas & 300 Spartans; Themistocles & allied Greek fleet
    and Plataea 479
  • Spartan Pausanias & Spartan infantry; allied Greek Fleet
  • Marathon 490

  • Darius: punish Athens; slave reminds him daily
  • Naval expedition in 492 adds Macedonia, Thasos & Thrace
  • many Gk cities send earth & water (Medize); Athens & Sparta firm; Darius hopes to reestablish Hippias, son of Peisistratus, at Athens
  • Persian fleet at Marathon; Athenians get no help from Sparta
  • Both sides delay battle: why?
    • Athenians waiting for Spartan reinforcements
    • Persians waiting for prearranged betrayal
  • Miltiades’ daring charge breaks Persian line, heavy fighting @ ships
  • 6400 Persians killed, 192 Athenian dead buried on battlefield
  • first major victory for Gk infantry over Persian troops
  • Xerxes invades, 480-479
    Battles at Thermopylae, Salamis (480) & Plataea (479)

  • Darius dies 486; Babylon & Egypt revolt
  • Silver strike in Attica; Themistocles persuades Athenians to build 200 ships
  • Xerxes gathers huge force to invade Greece; Hellenic league plans defense
  • many Gk states join Xerxes; but Athens, Sparta & Peleponnese unite
  • where to make stand? Tempe? Thermopylae? Isthmus near Corinth?
  • Xerxes bridges Hellespont
  • Delphic oracle seems to back Persia; only death of Spartan king, Athens’ wooden walls will save Greeks; Athenians vote to evacuate Attica
  • Leonidas & 300 Spartans at Thermopylae; treachery of Ephialtes
  • naval battle in the straits @ Salamis; both sides could watch
  • Themistocles’ ruse; Persian fleet rows all night, prevents Gk retreat
  • Xerxes loses over 200 ships; returns to Persia leaving army @ Thebes
  • next spring Gk forces defeat Persians in battle at Plataea, near Thebes
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