Greeks and Non Greeks


Herodotus on Darius' invasion 490BC

- Darius sent his powerful and well-equipped army against Greece.

- 600 triremes carried the army to Ionia who then subdued Naxos and continued to other islands forcing islanders into the Persian army.

- Persians landed on Euboea and attacked Eretria which resisted for six days, when it was captured the temples were burnt down in vengeance for the temples burnt down at Salamis. The inhabitants were enslaved and taken to Susa, Darius was kind to them. 

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Herodotus on the Battle of Marathon

- Athenians sent troops commanded by Miltiades and were joined by Platea

- Athens sent a messenger called Pheidippides to Sparta to ask for support who agreed but had to wait for the full moon before marching, 20000 Spartans later travelled to Athens but had missed the battle

- Miltiades convinced the other generals to fight by declaring that if they did not Hippias would return as tyrant of Athens. 

- The Athenians were heavily outnumbered but still attacked the Persian force

- The Athenians won and chased the Persians to their ships, who then fled. 

- At Marathon 6400 Persians were killed and 192 Athenians

- Heroditus tells us that the tale of the Alcmaeonidae treachery was untrue, whereby it was believed that Megacles after Marathon had signalled with a shield to the Persians to direct them to attack the unarmed city of Athens. He says that Alcmeaonidae did more than anyone to liberate Athens, he says that a shield was held up but no one knows who did it.

- When Darius heard of the defeat at Marathon he was very angry and planned to invade again

 - For the next three years, the army was being prepared for another invasion of Greece, Eygpt then rebelled. 

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Herodotus on the reasons for Xerxes; invasion 480

- Mardonius persuaded Xerxes to invade Greece -he said for honour, defence and because Europe was a beautiful place. He said Persia had nothing to fear from the Greeks. 

- Mardonius wanted the governorship of Greece

- Mardonius wanted to invade Greece as punishment for the defeat of his father's army and the burning of Persian temples at Salamis, he planned to control all of Europe and enslave them all

- Artabanus trued to persuade Xerxes not to invade Greece, he referred to the defeat of Darius and said that the Greeks were great fighters, he predicted that Mardonius would be defeated

- Artabanus said that the size of the Persian army was a problem, no harbour is large enough for the navy to dock and be protected from storms and that the land could not feed the numbers of men in the army

 - Xerxes declares that he would rather take the risk than be afraid and di nothing, he says that success comes to those willing to act

- Demaratus, an exiled ex-king of Sparta, tells Xerxes that Sparta will never accept slavery for Greece and will fight even if the rest of Greece submits to Persia

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Herodotus on Delphic oracle to Athens

- Delphic prophecy to Athens to put their faith in "wooden walls", some Athenians thought this meant a palisade around the Acropolis, others thought that this meant ships, Thermistcles convinced them that it meant ships. 

- Previously, Thermistcles had persuaded Athens not to share out to all the mem the silver that they discovered at Laurium but instead to invest this is 200 triremes for their war against Aegina, these ships were now ready to use against Persia. A conference fo the Greek states agreed to put aside grievances to ally against Persia. 

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Herodotus on Medising

- Some states submitted to Persia, including Thebes, and many did not. 

- Those that had not sworn an oath to punish all Greeks who had submitted to Persia were said to be medising.

- Xerxes did not send messengers to Athens or Sparta due to what had happened when Darius had - he threw them into a pit and well and told them to collect earth and water form there. 

- Heroditus believes that if Athens had submitted then all of Greece would have been conquered and that the Spartans, even with their defence across the Isthmus would have been defeated or surrendered. 

- Argos was impressed with Xerxes and remained neutral, one story is that it was Argos who invited Persia to invade Greece since their war with Sparta was going badly. Heroditus tells us his job is to record events even if he does not believe them.

- The Thessalians's worked fully int he Persian interest

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Herodotus on the Battle of Thermopylae

- The Greeks decided to guard the pass at Thermopylae as it was the narrowest pass into Greece, the Greek fleet was sent to Artemisium

- As the Persians approached Thermopulae the Peloponnesians voted to fall back to the Isthmus, the Spartans, represented by King Leonidas voted to stay and send appeals for reinforcements from other Greek cities. 

- Some Greeks deserted, some got ready to fight with King Leonidas until he dismissed them, some say that this was when he realised that they had no heart to fight. 

- Sparta stayed due to honour and wanted the full glory for their city alone 

- Only the Thespians and Thebans remained with the Spartans, the Thebans were kept against their own will

- Sparta had received a prophecy from Delphi at the start of the war that either the city must be laid to waste by Persia or a Spartan king would be killed

- The Spartan inscription at Thermopylae reads - "Go tell the Spartans, you who read, we took their orders and here lie dead."

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Herodotus on the Battle of Salamis

- A list of Greek warships - 127 from Athens, 40 from Corinth, 20 Megara, 20 more from Athens manned by Chalcis, 18 Aegina, 10 Sparta, and some others, a total of 271

- The Greek commander was Eurybiades of Sparta as asked by the majority of members, the Athenians did not argue this in favour of unity for the national interest

- Discussion over where to fight – Salamis or Isthmus – Peloponnesians preferred the Isthmus

- Themistocles convinces the Greek commanders to fight at Salamis, his arguments were that Salamis was a narrow strait and this would suit the Greek’s smaller numbers, it would protect the women and children on the island of Salamis, it will be just as much a defence of the Peloponnese as fighting at the Isthmus, he said that if Eurybiades did not accept his plan the Athenians would board their ships and sail to Italy, Eurybiades accepted the plan 

- Many commanders were not happy with the decision and another meeting was held then agreed

- An Athenian story says that the Corinthian ships fled before the battle and only returned when the Greeks had won the victory, however, Corinth deny this and other Greeks support they did play a distinguished role in the battle

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Herodotus on the aftermath of Salamis

- After Salamis Mardonius was nervous as he had persuaded Xerxes to invade so he insisted on a decisive land battle

- Xerxes discussed this privately with Artemisia, she advised him to let Mardonius lead the campaign, he was thinking this already and so agreed, Herodotus believed he was too badly frightened to stay in Greece

- Athens rejects Mardonius’ offer of an alliance, Sparta had been worried Athens may accept, Athens says the main reasons for not accepting are that Persia burnt their temples and the common Greek heritage

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Herodotus on Spartan and Athenian tensions

- The leading families of Thessaly encouraged Mardonius in his attack, the Thebans advised the Persians to send money to all the leading men in the various Greek cities to destroy the unity of the Greeks

- The Athenians had set up camp on the island of Salamis, they criticised Sparta for waiting around and not preventing the Persian march into Attica

- Athens sent messengers to Sparta who said they had refused a generous offer from Persia of their land back, an equal alliance and any other land they wanted, but that Sparta was treating Athens unfairly by breaking their promise to oppose the Persians in Boeotia

- The Spartans did not give an answer for almost a fortnight

- Herodotus thinks that now the wall across the isthmus was almost complete the Spartans though they no longer needed Athenian help

- Herodotus names Thersander, a Boeotian, who told him that at a banquet of Theban and Persian leading men a Persian told him that Persia would be defeated

- All Greeks who had joined Persia now helped in the attack against Athens

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Herodotus on the Battle of Platea

- Thebes were firm friends of the Persians and continued to encourage them

- The Persians were as courageous as the Greeks but deficient in armour and untrained

- The Persians continued to fight until Mardonius was dead then they fled

- The Persian infantry fought well

- On the Greek side the Tegeains and Athenians did well but the Spartans were the best

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Herodotus on the Battle of Mycale

- The Greeks sailed for Mycale, the overall command was with the Spartan commander Leotychides

- The Greeks won the battle of Mycale, the Athenians distinguished themselves the most

- The Greeks then sailed to Samos and held a council on the future of Ionia, the Peloponnesians argued to resettle all Ionian Greeks in Greece since defending Ionia from Persia would be difficult, Athens disagreed and the Peloponnesians gave way

- Thus the Samians, Chians, Lesbians and other islands who had fought against Persia entered the Greek alliance

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Tomb of Darius at Naqs-e Rustam

- The tomb of Darius has an inscription that explains the values which define Persian kingship within the dualities of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, loyalty and rebellion.

- It says he reigns with the support of Ahura Mazda (creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism.)

- The Persian king, though not divine, is a ruler through whom Ahura Mazda expresses divine values

- Darius wants to be regarded as the first man in the empire – that is the first to contribute his abilities to the social good to protect the empire

- Darius wants to portray himself as the model king and the model Persian

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The Serpent Column

- To commemorate the Greek victory at Plataea in 479 BC a votive offering was dedicated to Apollo at Delphi

- Likely cast from the captured bronze weapons and armour of the defeated Persians, the monument represented three serpents, their intertwined bodies forming a serpentine column and their heads, the jaws open, stretched out to support a golden tripod

- The inscription is "Those who fought the war" and then the names of thirty-one city-states, beginning with Sparta, Athens, and Corinth, they are so crudely written that it has been suggested that they were not part of the original design but added later

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