The Battle Of Thermopylae

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The Battle Of Thermopylae

  • In 480BC, Greece was being invaded by the Persians.
  • All the main cities joined together to meet the Persian invasion and decided the best place to do this was in the small pass of Thermopylae where the mountains came down to within a few feet of the sea which made it easy for a few soldiers to hold back a large army.
  • Persians army=100,000-200,000, Greeks=7300.
  • There was a standoff where Xerxes tried to make the Greeks surrender.
  • During this time, he sent a spy on horseback to watch the Greeks and he saw the Spartans were preening themselves which shocked the Persians but they were preparing to die.
  • For 2 days, the Greeks managed to slaughter thousands of Persians.
  • Despite their number, they were lightly armed and no match for the phalanx.
  • Persians got through by Epialtes (betraying them for a large payment) said there was a mountain path which led to the other side.
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The Battle Of Thermopylae 2

  • On the third morning of battle, Greeks realised they were going to be trapped so Leonidas dismissed most of the allies ad 300 Spartans and a few others remained.
  • They fought bravely to the death and Herodotus says if they lost their weapons, they fought with their hands and teeth.
  • All but 2/300 survived (which could be a myth).
  • Although the battle was a defeat for the Spartans, it bought them time.
  • The Greeks had a few more days to prepare for the invasion to the south of Greece by abandoning Athens and moving as many people from the area as possible.
  • This boosted the Greeks' morale and showed them a large number of Greeks could stand up to a small number of Persians which was crucial when the Persians arrived in the south, the navy had the self-belief to pull off a stunning victory in sea battle.
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