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SUMMARY OF THE PERSIAN WAR HERODOTUS PAGE 1 1.

Aristagoras of Miletus in Ionia in Asia Minor started a revolt, urged on by his cousin Histiaeus. Histiaeus sent him a slave with a message tattoed on his head telling him to rebel against the Persian emperor Darius. 2. So Aristagoras travelled to Sparta to look for help. He spoke to the king Cleomenes and reminded him of the shame for Sparta that they allowed other Greeks to be enslaved by Persia, of the Persian weaknesses and of the great wealth to be gained if they travelled there to fight. The Spartans were not convinced, even by bribery and the huge distance to Persia put them off. 3. Aristagoras next went to Athens who were convinced by his appeal to their kinship and how easily they would win. They voted to send 20 ships to help. 4. Helped by Athens the Ionians defeated the city of Sardis. They did not get any loot as the entire city burned down in the attack, including the temples, which later gave the Persians justification for burning down the temples in Athens. 5. Darius was raging when he heard of this defeat. He shot an arrow into the sky and asked Zeus to grant him revenge. He told a servant to remind him three times at every meal "Master, remember the Athenians". 6. After 6 years the Ionian Revolt was put down and in 492 Mardonius, Darius's son-in-law led an expedition against Greece. He came along the north via the Hellespont and in Ionia he introduced democracy to the cities to win them over. 7. His fleet did well until they reached Mount Athos when it was caught in a huge storm. Herodotus says over 300 ships were lost. Some men were killed by the cold, others drowned or were killed by monsters. Later a tribe, the Brygi, attacked his land army and although they were beaten they inflicted a lot of damage on Mardonius's army. He returned to Asia. 8. Darius next sent heralds to Greece demanding earth and water as tokens of submission. Some cities did but the Spartans threw the messengers down a well to get their earth and water. Two new generals were appointed by Darius to lead the new expedition to Greece, Datis and Artaphernes. They went straight across the Aegean Sea from island to island. They promised the people of the sacred island of Delos that they would not be harmed and made a huge offering there. But other places were attacked.

9. The main target besides Athens was Eretria, who had also helped in the burning of Sardis. It was plundered and its people enslaved. 10. Next Hippias, the exiled Athenian tyrant, guided the Persians to Marathon, a plain near Athens. The Athenians had sent Phidippides a great runner to Sparta to ask for help. On the way he met the god Pan who said he would help Athens if they prayed to him (which they did). The Spartans said they would help but not until there was a full moon (their laws demanded this). THE PERSIAN WAR _HERODOTUS PAGE 2 11. The only city to send help to the Athenians at Marathon was Plataea. The 10 Athenian "strategoi" were divided on whether or not to face the Persian army. So there was a vote. Miltiades persuaded Callimachus the Polemarch who had the casting vote that he would be remembered as the saviour of Athens if he voted to fight so he did, the result was 6 votes to 5. 12. The Battle of Marathon was won by the Greeks against the odds because of Miltiades' brilliant strategy of a weak phalanx of hoplites along the centre which allowed the Persian lines through but the Greek flanks were heavily weighted and turned on the Persians in the centre once they had defeated the Persian flanks. (See separate handout). 13. Pheidippides died after running back to Athens to warn the Athenians not to let the Persians in to the city as they had been beaten. The Spartans arrived after the battle and marvelled, 192 Athenians died and 6,400 barbarians. But later on Miltiades was disgraced, he used city money to lead a personal grudge expedition against Paros which failed. 14. Darius was now truly angry at the Athenians. But before he could attack Greece again he had to put down a rebellion in Egypt but he died and was succeeded by his son Xerxes. Mardonius constantly tried to persuade him to invade Greece and said revenge was necessary and that it would make Xerxes even richer and more powerful. 15. Xerxes summoned a council of leading Persians. He explained that he had to live up to his ancestors and conquer new lands also that he had to punish the Athenians for burning the temples of Sardis. He also said that once the Greeks were conquered no one would stand up to him. He was backed up by Mardonius who spoke of the poor Greek fighting methods and the quarrels between the Greeks. 16. Artabanus, Xerxes' uncle, was the only one who spoke against the plan. He said that the Greeks had an excellent reputation as fighters and he pointed out the danger of being

cut off at the Hellespont by them. He said that the gods always strike the tallest trees and buildings with lightning. "It is God's way to bring down the mighty". 17. It took 4 years to assemble the army after the Egyptian rebellion was put down. Then Xerxes organised food dumps along the route, he had a canal built at Mount Athos (which Herodotus said was just showing off) and he had pontoon bridges built at Abydos across the Hellespont. 18. The first set of bridges were destroyed in a storm and Xerxes beheaded the engineers and had the sea lashed and fetters thrown in to it. The next pair of bridges (360 boats for one and 314 for the other) were lashed together with two kinds of cables. (See pp. 33-34 for the bridges).It was here that, terrified by a total eclipse of the sun, Pythius asked for his eldest son to be allowed to stay at home. Xerxes had the boy cut in two and the army marched through.