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Cause, Course and Consequences of the Persian Wars

Battle Causes/Lead up Events Aftermath Sources


Ionian Revolt
499-494
Ionian Greeks came
under Persian control,
and they appealed to
Greece for aid. Athens
answered, but not
Sparta.
Sardis captured and burnt, and at the
Battle of Lade the Greek fleet were
destroyed.
Persian Kin !arius
wants re"ene on the
Ionians and the
Athenians for rebellin.
#or $hole %opic&
'erodotus& %he 'istories
Peter Green& %he Greco(
Persian $ars
Simonides
Plutach
The Battle of
arathon
49! BC
!arius wantin re"ene
and control o"er
Greece, lands )*+++
infantry and *+++
ca"alry on the plains at
,arathon
Athenian eneral ,iltiades set up a
phalan- system with the troops, with
weak middles but stron wins. %his
created a .double pincher/ effect.
It was only Athenian and
Plataean troops in the
battle of ,arathon( the
Spartans were delayed
due to a .reliious
ceremony/. %hey
appeared after the battle
a"e their
conratulations and went
home.
'erodotus tells us of
,iltiades tactics& .the
"ar"arians #ere
victorious in $the centre%
and drove them inland&
"ut the Athenians and the
'lataeans on either #in(
#ere victorious/
%he Persians had a total of about )+,+++
troops includin infantry, ca"alry and
archers, while the Greeks had 0+,+++
troops.
1ontro"ersy about the
meanin of a .flashin
shield/
2uote& .Sire&
remem"er the
Athenians/( ser"ant to
Kin !arius
#or an unknown reason the Persian
ca"alry were not ready to fiht when the
Greeks chared, ha"in a con"incin
"ictory o"er the Persians.
Peter Green
The Battle of
Artemisium
4)! BC
%hemistocles had
persuaded Athens to
use profits from a sil"er
mine to build up an
Athenian na"y, makin
hundreds of triremes.
%he Athenian na"y lured the larer
Persian fleet into the narrow straits at
Artemisium.
Artemisium ended up a
stalemate, with both
fleets wrecked and
Greece withdrawin.
Plutarch and Pindar say
the Greeks con3uered the
sea battle, and it is only
'erodotus who says the
Greeks retreated out of
necessity.
4er-es accedes the Artemisium was perfect for the Greeks( Artemisium may ha"e 'erodotus, but not much
throne, and wants to
e-pand the Persian
5mpire and also ha"e
re"ene for his fathers
defeat at ,arathon.
since the triremes were narrow and easy
to manoeu"re.
i"en %hemistocles
inspiration for the later
Battle of Salamis.
on this battle, seems to be
more information on
%hermopylae that
happened at the same
time.
Also in 670, the first
conress of the 'ellenic
Leaue was held. %his
unified the Greeks from
%hermopylae to ,ycale.
'owe"er a storm blew throuh and
wrecked both fleets, and the Greeks
withdrew after learnin about the defeat
at %hermopylae.

The Battle of
Thermop*lae
4)! BC
See Artemisium, since
they happened within
days of each other,
possibly
simultaneously.
%he narrow pass at %hermopylae was an
ideal settin for the Greeks who were
drastically outnumbered. Greeks 6+++,
Persian *++,+++.
Persians win, and head
towards Athens.
Athenians take refue at
Salamis.
'erodotus tells us that
althouh the Persian force
was lare, they had .man*
men "ut fe# soldiers/
Greeks held the Persians off, until a
traitor, 5phialtes, told 4er-es about a
oat trail that went around the mountain,
surroundin the Greeks.
Peter Green says
%hermopylae fell much
sooner than e-pected.
Spartan Kin Leonidas sent all troops to
retreat, and remained with 8++ Spartan
warriors to be defeated by the Persians.
!ifferin accounts& the
troops returnin home say
they were sent home, but
others say they deserted
Leonidas. Since Leonidas
died there, we shall ne"er
know what the orders were.
,any sons poems and
stories written about the
reatness of Leonidas and
his 8++ Spartans. 5
Simonides.
The Battle of
Salamis
4)! BC
Athens was burnt by
the Persians as the
Athenians watched
from the Island of
Salamis.
%hemistocles sent an Athenian to
.betray/ them by tellin 4er-es the
Greeks were oin to run away.
9ictory for the Greeks
Athens as na"al super(
power.
'erodotus tells conflictin
tales about the e"acuation
of Athens. 'e says that it
was a last ditch plan that
was e-ecuted hurriedly.
'owe"er it is not possible
that the whole city could
ha"e been e"acuated like
this in a small amount of
time, it must ha"e been
planned and well
oranised.
%he Greek fleet turned in full "iew of the
Persians and looked like they were
escapin. In the middle of the niht,
Persian ships mo"ed into position,
blockin the passes and ettin ready for
an easy "ictory.
4er-es disappointed,
went home and split his
force in two. 'alf to stay
in Greece and fiht, the
other to o back to
Persia.
!iscrepancies in
'erodotus is probably due
to the fact that 'erodotus
uses rich Aristocrats for his
information, and they did
not want it to sound like
they deliberately
abandoned the city
'owe"er, once the Persian fleet were
committed in the narrow bay of Salamis,
the Athenians showed the Persians how
ready for an attack they had been.
Persian force left in the
hands of ,ardonius.

%he manoeu"rability of the triremes
rammed into the cumbersome and tihtly
weded Persian fleet.

The Battle of
'lataea
4+9 BC
Greece di"ided(
whether they should
medise to the Persians,
lea"e Greece, or stay
and fiht them out.
%here is much contro"ersy as to the
actions taken place. $e do know there
was a stalemate as the Greeks and
Persians camped on opposite sides of a
ri"er, which lasted 3uite a lon time
$ith the Persian
commander, ,ardonius,
killed in battle, the
Persians had no
leadership. %hey
retreated to ,ycale.
'erodotus calls this "ictory
.the most splendid
victor* that histor*
records/
#amously %hemistocles
tells Greece that Athens
has )++ triremes
a"ailable to help, and if
they are thinkin of
retreatin to the
Peloponnese, then the
Athenians will depart
fore"er. Lea"in the
rest of Greece in
daner.
%hen there are two theories& one, and
pretend retreat for a trap, and the second
a deliberate retreat and luck.
%he Greek force, under Pausanius,
retreated bit by bit throuh the niht, and
the last to retreat in the mornin were
seen and chased by the Persians. %he
rest of the force then struck( defeatin
the Persians and killin their leader
,ardonius.

%he :ath of Plataea
taken by the Athenians
was .I shall not
consider bein ali"e
more important than
bein free/( they would
fiht to the death, also
shows Greek relations
not so stron.
The Battle of
*cale
4+9 BC
Accordin to
'erodotus, Plataea and
,ycale happened on
the same day, there is
some uncertainty here,
since ,ycale soldiers
knew about the
Pleataean "ictory
before they fouht.
%his was the first time the Greeks took
the initiati"e, and attempted battle on
Persian soil.
Leotychides broke the Greek force into
two smaller ones, hopin to tempt the
Persians from behind their fortresses.
%his plan worked because it put the
Persians on the offensi"e.
4er-es, utterly
disillusioned with this
defeatin blow, retreated
back to the Persian
empire with many internal
problems croppin up
;since some satraps
heard of the Greek power
o"erwhelmin the
Persians<
'erodotus
Simonides
'erodotus=s
e-planation for the
speedy messae was
bein helped by the
ods.
%he plan worked, the Persians saw half
of the Greek forces, and saw an easy
"ictory( comin out only to find the enemy
had reinforcements. Still, the Greeks
fouht hard to attain their "ictory.
!urin the course of the battle, the
Ionians deserted to the Greek side, and
this battle has been called in later times
the .Second Ionian re"olt/.
%he 'ellenic Leaue
forotten, as Sparta
withdrew to the
Peloponnese and the
Athenians oranised the
!elian Leaue ;later the
Athenian 5mpire<