Persian Wars

HideShow resource information

Importance of Salamis

Herodotus

  • Makes Xerxes worried - leaves Mardonius with 300,000 men
  • Puts more emphasis on Plataea & Mycale causing complete destruction
  • Questions Greek unity - Themistocles goes behind the backs of other stategoi - arguing 
  • No rowing all night - Aeschylus inventing it? 
  • Accuses Corinthians of trying to desert
  • Claims Athenians did main fighting & Aeginetans mopped up 

Aeschylus

  • Claims it is this that sent Persians running home - lose all thier men
  • Doesn't mention Themistocles - in exiled in Persia - claims it was 'malign deity' that inspired the trick
1 of 38

Salamis

  • Doesn't mention Thermopylae
  • Doesn't mention Marathon by name
  • Mentions Plataea but makes it sound like a battle the Persians will come back to fight
  • Battlecry - Greek unity - democracy
  • Rowing all night -  military skill and  democracy
2 of 38

Supernatural

Herdotus

  • Storms - Marathon and Xerxes - Athenians claim they prayed to north wind
  • Prochecy of Spartans king or Sparta - Leonidas stays to die at Thermopylae
  • Prochecy telling Greeks to run and that wooden wall would save them - focus on the fleet
  • Mardonius waits for good omens before attacking at Plataea
  • Thermopyle fought near temple of Demeter - H believes she kept Persains away
  • Xerxes first bridge breaks
  • Artabanus warns Xerxes that a large army crossing Hellespont would attract gods attention
  • Miltiades scared to loot sancury
3 of 38

Supernatural

Aeschylus

  • Summoning of Darius from the underworld
  • River melts and drowns entire army
  • Queens dream
  • Portent of hawk attacking eagle
  • 'malign deity'
4 of 38

Size of Greek and Persain forces

Herodotus

  • Exaggerated catalogue of Persian troops
  • Persians army made up of many different armies
  • 380 ships and Artemisium & Thermopylae - leaves out some ships to make it seem smaller
  • Themopylae - Spartans and Thespians left to fight at Thermopylae - outnumbered
  • Plataea - Greeks have more troops but still outnumbered
  • Persians have enough ships to fight Salamis again

Aeschylus

  • 'invicible wave'
  • 'incaluable horde'
  • so many dead Persians and wrecked ships that the sea is not visible
5 of 38

Persian hubris

Herodotus

  • Whip Hellespont and droppes shackles into it
  • Chops Pythias' son in half because Pythias asked for him to be released from army
  • dresses tree in gold
  • Gives someone offering him money gold to prove how rich his is 
  • responds to Demeratus by telling him that he can double the army if he does not think it is big enough to run from
  • Xerxes ignores all advice
6 of 38

Hubris

Aeschylus

  • Queen doesn't inderstand how the Greeks can face the Persains without obeying a despot
  • 'Yokes' Hellespont
  • Will yoke Greece
  • 'gold-becked army'
  • 'flower of asia' - all men taken
7 of 38

Unity of the Greeks

Herodotus

  • Themistocles has to bribe fleet to stay at Artemisium 
  • Themistocles has to trick generals at Salamis - want to flee - arguing all night
  • Many states medize
  • Plataea - Spartans do not come immediatly - Athenian accuse them of cowardice after they have sent troops  
  • Athenians claim Corinthians tried to desert at Salamis
  • Plataea - Thebans advise Mardonius to send money to all states to break up thier tempramental unity 
  • Athenians wait before setting out to island at Plataea - don't trust Spartans to go  through with their plan
  • Alexander tells them to submit - they reply that they would not sacrifice the freedom of Greece for any amount of gold
8 of 38

Unity

Aeschylus 

  • Battle cry - fighting for own freedom
  • Rowing all night - order & democracy
  • Row towards Persians together
9 of 38

Writer's agenda

Herodotus

  • Gives account of ancestry of Pericles
  • Ignores Spartan involvment at Salamis - Athenains won thier battle and Spartans lost at Thermopylae
  • Make Salamis the Athenians' victory - claims they did the main fighting
  • Athenians destroy Persian stronghold at Plataea
  • Points that Athenians did main fighting at Mycale
10 of 38

Agenda

Aeschylus

  • Doesn't mention Thermopylae - would ruin tragedy
  • Doesn't mention Themistocles - exiled to Persia
  • Doesn't mention Plataea or Mycale
  • Queen asks were Athens is 
  • Chorus tell her the land itself is their enemy 
11 of 38

Persian cruelty

Herodotus

  • Persians kill the best looking Greek on a captured ship
  • Xerxes has a soldier cut in half to punish his father
  • Xerxes beheads the engineers of the bridge
  • Xerxes beheads crew of Phonicians who blame the Ionians for sinking thier ship
  • Troops at Thermopylae are whipped from behind

Aeschylus

  • Wants to enslave Greece
  • Yokes greek woman in dream
  • Yoke the Hellespont 
12 of 38

Exoticism of the Persians

Herodotus

  • Xerxes dresses a tree in gold
  • Xerxes whips the Hellespont
  • Xerxes does not understand that the Spartan will fight his army no matter how big it is
  • Persians whip thier soldiers at Thermopylae 
  • Greeks are no longer scared of the Persians when they see them at Marathon 
  • Xerxes does not unstand that the Spartans are preparing to die when they are combing thier hair
  • Commanders ride white horses into battle and wore their hair long
  • Persain meal compared to Spartan meal - much more luxurious
13 of 38

Exocticism

Aeschylus

  • 'Gold becked army'
  • strange 'clamour of tongues' - even messenger doesn't understand it 
  • Xerxes wears female garments
  • Xerxes is emotional - shreik and tears his clothing when he sees his army is chaotic retreat
  • Atossa does not understand how the Greeks will stand and fight without a despot
14 of 38

Order vs disorder

Herodotus

  • Persians trample each other at Thermopylae because they were being whipped from behind 
  • Persians fall into disorder when Mardonius is killed at Plataea
  • Retreating ships collided with ships pushing to the front to impress Xerxes
  • Herodotus comments that the Greeks won at Salamis because they were disaplined
  • Comments Greeks won at Plataea because they had superior military skill
  • Army made up of many different armies - couldn't understand  

Aeschylus

  • Greek battlecry vs 'clamour of tongues'
  • Greeks row all night
  • Greeks row together 
  • Whole army drown when frozen 
15 of 38

CLEFTED

Creul

  •  
    • Whipped soldiers at Thermopylae
    • Yoked the Hellespont

Luxurious

  •  
    • 'Gold bedecked army'
    • Xerxes dresses a tree in gold
16 of 38

CLEFTED

Erratic 

  •  
    • Xerxes tell Artabanus to put on his pyjamas and sleep in his bed because he had a nightmare'
    • 'Furious Xerxes'

Feminine

  •  
    • Xerxes shrieks and wears feminine robes
    • Xerxes comments that his men are women and his women are men at Salamis  
17 of 38

CLEFTED

Tyrannous 

  •  
    • Ships collide with ships pushing to the front to impress Xerxes
    • Queen doesnt underatand how the Greek army can fight without a despot to obey

Emotional

  •  
    • Xerxes cries when he is inspecting the army 
    • Xerxes shrieks and tears his robes
18 of 38

CLEFTED

Defeated

  •  
    • So many bodies and so much wreckage that the sea is not visible
    • Pausanius has a Persian and Spartan meal prepared in the Persian camp to compare them and comments that Xerxes was an idiot to invade Greece to rob them of thier simple lifestyle
19 of 38

Darius' expedition in Scythia

  • 516 BC
  • Darius crosses the Hellespont into Scythia 
  • Darius ties 60 knots on a leather strap and tells the Ionians to stay by the bridge and untie a knot each day but if they do not return by the time the last knot is untied, the Ionians are to dismantle the bridge and sail away.  
  • Scythians destroy crops and block wells and springs
  • Scythians send a bird, a mouse, a frog and five arrows
  • Darius thinks it is their surrender but Goryas tells them it is a warning to leave
  •  Darius decides to retreat. 
  • Scythians beat the Persians to the bridge and tell Ionians to dismantle the bridge.
  • Miltiades suggests they should flee and free Ionia from Persian rule but Histiaeus argues that without Persia their tyrannies would collapse 
  • Dismantle bridge on the Scythian back to as far as an arrow could reach
20 of 38

Darius' expedition

  • Histaeus tells the Scythians to find the Persians to distract them.
  • Scythians could not find the route the Persians had taken, as they had destroyed the crops and filled in wells. 
  • Persians had taken route they had come by and reached the bridge.
  • Darius has an Egyptian with the loudest voice in the world to shout over to the Ionians. Histiaeus shouts back and begins rebuilding the bridge and ordered the fleet to ferry the army across the river. 
21 of 38

Ionian revolt

  • 499-493 BC
  • Naxian tyrants banished to Miletus & ask Aristagoras for help. 
  • Realises he could become tyrant of Naxos. A lies that Artaphenes is a friend of his and will send help. Ask him to send gifts and cover military expenses promising they will repay them.
  • Persuades Artaphrenes that if he captures Naxos, he also captures the islands depending on it. Asks him for a hundred ships. Artaphrenes promises two hundred upon approval of the king.
  •  Megabazus finds that Scylax had not put a lookout on deck of his ship and orders his head to be stuck out of an oarhole.  
  • Aristagoras finds out and unties him
  • Aristagoras is rude to M and he sends a ship to Naxos to tells them they are about to be attacked.
  • Persian money runs out and they return home
22 of 38

Ionian revolt

  • Aristagoras considers causing a rebellion
  • Artaphrenes sends a message to Athens telling them their safety depends on their taking Hippias back. They refuse and Persia becomes hostile to Athens
  • Soldier sets fire to one house in Sardis and it all goes up in flames. Sanctuary of Cybebe was burnt down. 
  • Athenians abandon the campaign.
  • Darius asks who the Athenians are and shootsan arrow in to the sky and asks Zeus to let him punish them
  • The Persians bring the Ionians under control
  • Artaphrenes grants them democracy
23 of 38

Marathon

  • 490 BC
  • Darius intends to invade Athens because he is reminded of the burning of Sardis every mealtime and has Pisistratus on his side. 
  • Greek commanders debate over whether to fight or to flee
  • The vote was tied and the polemarch Callimachus was given the casting vote. 
  • Miltiades persuades him that he will decide whther or not Greece will fall into slavery, arguing that if they fight and win, he will be greater than Harmodius and Aristogiton
  • Callimachus votes to fight. 
  • Miltiades waits until it is his turn to be president of the committee to commence the battle, despite the fact that the others all stood aside for him on their turn
  • Army had strong wings but a weak centre
  • Centre defeated and cut down by the Persians and the Sacae. 
  • Wings went around the Persian army and routed them. 
24 of 38

Marathon

  • Greeks chased the Persians to the coast and seized and burnt their ships
  • Athenians capture 7 ships before the rest of the fleet escape
  • Athenians reach Athens before the Persians and camp at Hercleum. 
  • Persians reach Phalerum and set for Asia
  • 64,000 Persains were killed but 192 Greeks
  • 2000 Spartans arrive to survey the battlefield and leave again
25 of 38

Thermopylae

  • 480 BC
  • Persians brought 2,317,610 troops and 1,207 ships from Asia
  • Recruited 300,000 men and 120 ships from Europe and arrived at Thermopylae with 2,641,610 men.
  • Persians reach Malis in Trachis and the Greeks are camped Thermopylae.
  • 300 Spartans, 500 Tegeans, 500 Tegeans, 2200 Acardians, 400 Corinthians, 200 Phleiousians, 80 Mycenae, 700 Thespians and 200 Thebans   
  • Supreme commander is Leonidas who has 300 men who had son
  •  Xerxes waits 4 days as he believes the Greeks will flee. He attacks the next day. Many Greeks were killed but are not pushed back.
  • Persains pulled back and the Immortals are sent to attack -  not more successful as they were in a narrow space and had shorter spears
  • Spartans displayed military skill when they all began to retreat and then turned round to attack when the Persains followed
26 of 38

Thermopylae

  • Ephialtes informed Xerxes about the goat path that lead through the mountains. 
  • Diviner Megaistas inspects entrails and declared that they would die at dawn and they were told by some deserters that the Persians were going round them
  • Thespians and the Thebans stay with Spartans
  • Xerxes poured libations at dawn and launched his attack
  • Many Persians died because they wer being whipped and many were trampled.
  • Most the Greeks’ spears break and they use swords
  • Leonidas is killed
  • 2 Persians and Greeks fight over Leonidas’ body and Greeks eventually win.  
  • Greeks retreat to the defensive wall. They try to fight off the Persains with knives but are surrounded and killed with arrows
  • The Amphictions commissioned a pillar and epigraph for the fallen and a separate one for the Spartans. Megistias’ friend Simonides organised one for him
27 of 38

Artemisium

  • 480 BC 
  • 271 ships not counting the penteconters. Spartan commander Eurybiades was put in command.
  • The Greeks see how many ships the Persians have and consider retreating.
  • Euboeans bribe Themistocles with 30 talents
  • Themistocles gives Eurybiades and 3 talents to Corinthian commander Adeimantus to stay 
  • Greeks send 200 ships to Euripus to block the Persians retreat. 
  • Persians wait to attck and count the ships leaving the Apheate.
  • Scyllias told the Greeks what the Persians were doing.
  • Greeks face the main Persian fleet
  • Persians surrounded the Greek fleet
  • Greeks formed a circle with their prows facing towards the enemy and sail at Persians head on
28 of 38

Artemisium

  • Dead bodies and wreckage cluster around the prows and oars of Persian ships
  • Persians do not board their ships in the morning 
  • 53 Greek ships arrive as reinforcements
  • Attack the Cilidians and then sail back
  • Persain commanders were angry and scared about what Xerxes would do to them and attacked at midday on the third day
  • Persians sail at the Greeks who do not move. 
  • Persians form a crescent formation 
  • Greek sail out to them before they can surround them 
  • Persians ram into each other and fall into chaos and two sides separate
  • Persains come off much worse.
  • Both retreat to their anchorage.
  • Greeks have all their bodies and damaged ships but decide to retreat down into Greece.
29 of 38

Salamis

  • 480 BC
  • Greeks start building a wall at the Isthmus. 
  • scared that the fleet would lose and held a meeting
  • Themistocles slips out of the debate and told his servant Sicinnus to sail over to the Persian camp and tell the Persians that the Greeks were planning to escape
  • Persians send troops to the island between Salamis and the mainland. 
  • Sent western wing of the fleet to Salamis and rest to block to channel to Munichia
  • Aristides crosses over to Salamis from Aegina and tells Themistocles that the Persians have surrounded them
  • He tells them and leaves but they continue to argue because they do not believe.
  • Crew of Tenain deserters tell them they are surrounded.
  • Many ships backwater, but Ameinias sped straight for the Persians and got tangled with an enemy ship and trest of the fleet advanced
  • Phonicains were facing Athenians and Spartand faced the Ionians and the Piraeus
30 of 38

Salamis

  • Most Persian ships were destroyed by the Greeks because the Greeks were disciplined and the Persians were disorganised
  • Persians lost but fought with determination and courage as they were worried Xerxes was watching each of them.
  • Athenians claim that the Corinthians tried to retreat at the start of the battle
  • Aristides took a contingent of hoplites to massacre Persian troops on Pysttaleia.
  • Greeks pull ashore and prepare themselves for another battle as the Persains had enough ships to fight the battle again
  • Xerxes became scared that the Greeks would sail to the Hellespont and dismantle their bridge and decided to flee
  • Tried to build a causeway across to Salamis and prepared for another battle. 
  • Everyone except Mardonius was fooled by this
31 of 38

Plataea

  • 479 BC
  • Greeks base themselves at foot of Mount Citheron
  • Mardonius waits 8 days before attacking
  • He sends his cavalry during the night to the pass ast Citheron and looted the Greeks supplies
  • 2 days pass and Persians advance to the Asopus but do not cross
  • Attack the Greeks with cavalry for 10 days
  • Artabazus suggests they withdraw to Thebes and wait for the Greeks to surrender but Mardonius wants to attack
  • Alexandros rides to the Greek camp at night and tells them that the Greeks have decided to stop waiting for a good omen and attack at dawn
  • Pausanisus tells the Athenians to switch places with them so that the Athenians will face the Persians and the Spartans will face the Ionains and Thebans
  • In the morning Mardonius sees this and switches his troops
32 of 38

Plataea

  • Greeks switch thier troop back
  • Mardonius sends a message inviting the Spartans to fight a small forces of Persians to decide who will fight who
  • Greeks don't reply and Mardonius launches an attack
  • Greeks lose many men
  • Persians fill the spring the Greeks got thier water from
  • Greek commanders decide to move to the island in the Asopus 
  • Most of the army moved toward Plataea in the morning and camp at the Temple of Hera
  • Amomphritus refuses to move his section of the army because Spartans don't retreat
  • Athenians were waiting to see of the Spartans went through with the plan and sent a messenger to see why they weren't moving
  • Amomphrites throws a rock at Pausanius feet to cast his vote
  • Pausanius leaves and Amomphritus eventually follows
33 of 38

Plataea

  • Persains see them retreating and attack the Spartans
  • Spartans ask for help from the Athenians but they are ambushed by medized states
  • Persains are protected by wickerwork shield
  • Pausanius prays to Hera and receives good omens
  • Greeks break through shields and thier superior skill allows them to defeat them
  • mardonius rides into battle and is cut down
  • Persains fall into disorder and retreat to thier stronghold near the sanctury of Demeter
34 of 38

Mycale

  • 479 BC
  • Greeks put to sea when they get good omens and sail to Samos from Delos
  • Anchor near temple of Hera on Samos and prepare for battle.
  • Persians launch their ships and sail to Mycale to gain the protection of the land army of 60,000 men
  • Beached at tsanctuary of Demeter of Elusis cut down the trees and surround their ships with a stockade of wood and stone
  • Greeks sail to Mycale. 
  • Leotychidas called out to the Ionians that they should consider their freedom and remember their watchword Hebe, hoping that either he would win the Ionians over or make the Persians distrust the Ionians.
  • Greeks land and form a battle line
  • Persians tell the Ionians to disarm the Samians
  • Tell Milesians to guard the pass towards Mycale and formed their shields into a barrier.
35 of 38

Mycale

  • The rumour spreads that Mardonius army has been beaten at Plataea
  • Greeks advanced with confidence.
  • Athenians advanced across the beach, while the Spartans went through the hills. 
  • Wicker shield held the Athenians back but they were determined to take the glory of the victory from the Spartans and pushed through
  • Persians were pushed back towards the stronghold
  • stronghold fell and the Persians began to flee
  • Spartans arrive and help finish them off.
  • Samians had deserted to the Greeks and many Ionians followed.
  • Milesians then led the Persians down the wrong paths that took them to the enemy
  •  Greeks set fire to the Persian ships and stronghold after they had looted them. 
  • Athenians then sail to the Hellespont to dismantle the bridge. 
36 of 38

Key people

  • Darius - father of Xerxes and king of Persia
  • Artaphrenes - brother of Darius who backs Aristagoras invasion of  Naxos and executes Histiaeus
  • Histiaeus -  Tyrant of Miletus who persuades the Ionains not to dismantle the bridge in Scythia and tells Aristagoras to revolt against Darius
  • Aristagoras - puppet tyrant of Miletus who started the Ionian revolt
  • Megabates - brother of Darius who informs the Naxians of Aristagoras' plan to invade
  • Mardonius - Persian commander who is the commander at Plataea and Mycale
  • Cleomenes - king of Sparta who refuses to gives Aristagoras ship
  • Gorgo - daughter of Cleonemes and wife of Leonidas
  • Xerxes - son of Darius and king of Persia 
  • Artabazus - Persian commander who advises Mardonius to wait for the Greeks to surrender at Plataea
  • Artabanus - brother of Darius who advises Xerxes not to invade Greece and gets left behind
37 of 38

Key people

  • Demeratus - former Spartan king who advises Xerxes during his campaign in greece
  • Artemisia - Queen of Halicanassis who Xerxes consults during his campaign
  • Pythias - Xerxes refuses his money and cuts his son in half as punishment for asking for him to be released from the army
  • Leonidas - king of Sparta and commander at Themopylae
  • Ephialtes - betrays Greece by telling Xerxes about the path the lead roun the back of the Greeks at Thermopyle
  • Miltides - commander at Marathon
  • Callimachus - War Archon at Marathon who Miltiades persuades to vote for stay and fight
  • Themistocles - commader of Artemisium and Salamis
  • Pausanius - son of Cleombrotus and commander of Plataea and Mycale
  • Pleistrachus - son of Leonidas
  • Amomphritus - Spartan commander who intially refuses to follow the army in a tactical retreat at Plataea
38 of 38

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Classical Civilization resources:

See all Classical Civilization resources »See all resources »