Greek city-states :
* Various other Greek city-states
Other Greek states and Leagues:
Achaemenid Empire of
Allied subordinate states:
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
Leonidas I †
Artaphernes (son of Artaphernes)
Artemisia I of Caria
Artemisia I of Caria
* First Persian invasion
* Second Persian invasion
* Greek counterattack
* Wars of the
The GRECO-PERSIAN WARS (also often called the PERSIAN WARS) were a
series of conflicts between the
Achaemenid Empire of
Persia and Greek
city-states that started in 499 BCi and lasted until 449 BC. The
collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the
enormous empire of the Persians began when
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great conquered
the Greek-inhabited region of
Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to rule the
independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to
rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of much trouble
for the Greeks and Persians alike.
In 499 BC, the tyrant of
Aristagoras , embarked on an
expedition to conquer the island of Naxos , with Persian support;
however, the expedition was a debacle and, pre-empting his dismissal,
Aristagoras incited all of Hellenic
Asia Minor into rebellion against
the Persians. This was the beginning of the
Ionian Revolt , which
would last until 493 BC, progressively drawing more regions of Asia
Minor into the conflict.
Aristagoras secured military support from
Eretria , and in 498 BC these forces helped to capture and
burn the Persian regional capital of
Sardis . The Persian king Darius
the Great vowed to have revenge on Athens and
Eretria for this act.
The revolt continued, with the two sides effectively stalemated
throughout 497–495 BC. In 494 BC, the Persians regrouped, and
attacked the epicentre of the revolt in Miletus. At the Battle of Lade
Ionians suffered a decisive defeat, and the rebellion collapsed,
with the final members being stamped out the following year.
Seeking to secure his empire from further revolts and from the
interference of the mainland Greeks, Darius embarked on a scheme to
Greece and to punish Athens and
Eretria for the burning of
Sardis. The first Persian invasion of
Greece began in 492 BC, with the
Mardonius successfully re-subjugating
Macedon before several mishaps forced an early end to the
rest of the campaign. In 490 BC a second force was sent to Greece,
this time across the
Aegean Sea , under the command of
Artaphernes . This expedition subjugated the
Cyclades , before
besieging, capturing and razing
Eretria . However, while en route to
attack Athens, the Persian force was decisively defeated by the
Athenians at the
Battle of Marathon , ending Persian efforts for the
Darius then began to plan to completely conquer Greece, but died in
486 BC and responsibility for the conquest passed to his son Xerxes .
In 480 BC, Xerxes personally led the second Persian invasion of Greece
with one of the largest ancient armies ever assembled. Victory over
the allied Greek states at the famous
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae allowed
the Persians to torch an evacuated Athens and overrun most of Greece.
However, while seeking to destroy the combined Greek fleet, the
Persians suffered a severe defeat at the
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis . The
following year, the confederated Greeks went on the offensive,
defeating the Persian army at the
Battle of Plataea , and ending the
invasion of Greece.
The allied Greeks followed up their success by destroying the rest of
the Persian fleet at the
Battle of Mycale , before expelling Persian
Sestos (479 BC) and
Byzantium (478 BC). The actions of
the general Pausanias at the siege of
Byzantium alienated many of the
Greek states from the Spartans, and the anti-Persian alliance was
therefore reconstituted around Athenian leadership, called the Delian
League . The
Delian League continued to campaign against
the next three decades, beginning with the expulsion of the remaining
Persian garrisons from
Europe . At the
Battle of the Eurymedon in 466
BC, the League won a double victory that finally secured freedom for
the cities of Ionia. However, the League's involvement in an Egyptian
revolt (from 460–454 BC) resulted in a disastrous defeat, and
further campaigning was suspended. A Greek fleet was sent to
451 BC, but achieved little, and when it withdrew the Greco-Persian
Wars drew to a quiet end. Some historical sources suggest the end of
hostilities was marked by a peace treaty between Athens and Persia,
Peace of Callias .
* 1 Sources
* 2 Origins of the conflict
* 2.1 Warfare in the ancient Mediterranean
* 2.1.3 Naval warfare
Ionian Revolt (499–493 BC)
* 4 First invasion of
Greece (492–490 BC)
* 4.1 492 BC: Mardonius\'s campaign
* 4.2 490 BC:
Datis and Artaphernes\' campaign
Battle of Marathon
* 5 Interbellum (490–480 BC)
* 5.1.1 Size of the Persian forces
* 5.2 Greek city states
* 5.2.1 Athens
* 5.2.3 Hellenic alliance
* 6 Second invasion of
Greece (480–479 BC)
* 6.1 Early 480 BC: Thrace, Macedonia, and
* 6.2 August 480 BC: Battles of
* 6.3 September 480 BC:
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
* 6.4 June 479 BC: Battles of
* 7 Greek counterattack (479–478 BC)
* 8 Wars of the
Delian League (477–449 BC)
* 8.2 Campaigns against
* 9 Peace with
* 10 Aftermath and later conflicts
* 11 See also
* 12 Notes
* 13 References
* 14 Bibliography
* 14.1 Ancient sources
* 14.2 Modern sources
* 15 External links
Herodotus , the main historical source for this conflict
Thucydides continued Herodotus's narrative
Almost all the primary sources for the
Greco-Persian Wars are Greek;
there are no surviving historical accounts from the Persian side. By
some distance, the main source for the
Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek
Herodotus . Herodotus, who has been called the "Father of
History", was born in 484 BC in
Asia Minor (then part
of the Persian empire). He wrote his 'Enquiries' (Greek Historia,
English (The) Histories ) around 440–430 BC, trying to trace the
origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, which would still have been recent
history. Herodotus's approach was novel and, at least in Western
society, he invented 'history' as a discipline. As historian Tom
Holland has it, "For the first time, a chronicler set himself to trace
the origins of a conflict not to a past so remote so as to be utterly
fabulous, nor to the whims and wishes of some god, nor to a people's
claim to manifest destiny, but rather explanations he could verify
Some later ancient historians, starting with
Thucydides , criticised
Herodotus and his methods. Nevertheless,
Thucydides chose to begin
his history where
Herodotus left off (at the Siege of
Sestos ) and
felt Herodotus's history was accurate enough not to need re-writing or
Herodotus in his essay "On The
Malignity of Herodotus", describing
Herodotus as "Philobarbaros"
(barbarian-lover) for not being pro-Greek enough, which suggests that
Herodotus might actually have done a reasonable job of being
even-handed. A negative view of
Herodotus was passed on to
Renaissance Europe, though he remained well read. However, since the
19th century his reputation has been dramatically rehabilitated by
archaeological finds that have repeatedly confirmed his version of
events. The prevailing modern view is that
Herodotus did a remarkable
job in his Historia, but that some of his specific details
(particularly troop numbers and dates) should be viewed with
skepticism. Nevertheless, there are still some historians who believe
Herodotus made up much of his story.
The military history of
Greece between the end of the second Persian
Greece and the
Peloponnesian War (479–431 BC) is not
well supported by surviving ancient sources. This period, sometimes
referred to as the pentekontaetia (πεντηκονταετία, the
Fifty Years) by ancient writers, was a period of relative peace and
prosperity within Greece. The richest source for the period, and
also the most contemporaneous, is Thucydides' History of the
Peloponnesian War , which is generally considered by modern historians
to be a reliable primary account.
Thucydides only mentions this
period in a digression on the growth of Athenian power in the run up
to the Peloponnesian War, and the account is brief, probably selective
and lacks any dates. Nevertheless, Thucydides's account can be, and
is, used by historians to draw up a skeleton chronology for the
period, on to which details from archaeological records and other
writers can be superimposed.
More detail for the whole period is provided by Plutarch, in his
Aristides and especially
Plutarch was writing some 600 years after the events in question, and
is therefore a secondary source, but he often names his sources, which
allows some degree of verification of his statements. In his
biographies, he draws directly from many ancient histories that have
not survived, and thus often preserves details of the period that are
Herodotus and Thucydides's accounts. The final major
existing source for the period is the universal history (Bibliotheca
historica ) of the 1st century BC Sicilian,
Diodorus Siculus . Much of
Diodorus's writing about this period is drawn from the much earlier
Ephorus , who also wrote a universal history.
Diodorus is also a secondary source and often derided by modern
historians for his style and inaccuracies, but he preserves many
details of the ancient period found nowhere else.
Further scattered details can be found in Pausanias 's Description of
Greece, while the Byzantine
Suda dictionary of the 10th century AD
preserves some anecdotes found nowhere else. Minor sources for the
period include the works of Pompeius Trogus (epitomized by Justinus ),
Cornelius Nepos and
Ctesias of Cnidus (epitomized by Photius ), which
are not in their original textual form. These works are not considered
reliable (especially Ctesias), and are not particularly useful for
reconstructing the history of this period.
ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT
The Greeks of the classical period believed that, in the dark age
that followed the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization , significant
numbers of Greeks fled and had emigrated to
Asia Minor and settled
there. Modern historians generally accept this migration as historic
(but separate from the later colonization of the Mediterranean by the
Greeks). There are, however, those who believe the Ionian migration
cannot be explained as simply as the classical Greeks claimed. These
settlers were from three tribal groups: the
Ionians . The
Ionians had settled about the coasts of
Lydia and Caria
, founding the twelve cities that made up
Ionia . These cities were
Priene in Caria;
Ephesus , Colophon ,
Erythrae in Lydia; and the islands of
Chios . Although the Ionian cities were independent of one
another, they recognized their shared heritage and supposedly had a
common temple and meeting place, the Panionion.ii They thus formed a
'cultural league', to which they would admit no other cities, or even
other tribal Ionians.
The cities of
Ionia remained independent until they were conquered by
Lydians of western Asia Minor. The Lydian king Alyattes II
attacked Miletus, a conflict that ended with a treaty of alliance
Miletus and Lydia, that meant that
Miletus would have internal
autonomy but follow
Lydia in foreign affairs. At this time, the
Lydians were also in conflict with the Median Empire, and the
Milesians sent an army to aid the
Lydians in this conflict. Eventually
a peaceable settlement was established between the
Medes and the
Lydians, with the
Halys River set up as the border between the
kingdoms. The famous Lydian king
Croesus succeeded his father
Alyattes in around 560 BC and set about conquering the other Greek
city states of Asia Minor.
The Persian prince Cyrus led a rebellion against the last Median king
Astyages in 553 BC. Cyrus was a grandson of
Astyages and was supported
by part of the Median aristocracy. By 550 BC, the rebellion was over,
and Cyrus had emerged victorious, founding the
Achaemenid Empire in
place of the Median kingdom in the process.
Croesus saw the
disruption in the Median Empire and
Persia as an opportunity to extend
his realm and asked the oracle of
Delphi whether he should attack
them. The Oracle supposedly replied the famously ambiguous answer that
Croesus was to cross the Halys he would destroy a great empire".
Blind to the ambiguity of this prophecy,
Croesus attacked the
Persians, but was eventually defeated and
Lydia fell to Cyrus. By
crossing the Halys,
Croesus had indeed destroyed a great empire –
his own. The
Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent listed on
While fighting the Lydians, Cyrus had sent messages to the Ionians
asking them to revolt against Lydian rule, which the
refused to do. After Cyrus finished the conquest of Lydia, the Ionian
cities now offered to be his subjects under the same terms as they had
been subjects of Croesus. Cyrus refused, citing the Ionians'
unwillingness to help him previously. The
Ionians thus prepared to
defend themselves, and Cyrus sent the Median general
conquer them. He first attacked Phocaea; the Phocaeans decided to
abandon their city entirely and sail into exile in Sicily, rather than
become Persian subjects (although many later returned). Some Teians
also chose to emigrate when
Harpagus attacked Teos, but the rest of
Ionians remained, and were each in turn conquered.
In the years following their conquest, the Persians found the Ionians
difficult to rule. Elsewhere in the empire, Cyrus identified elite
native groups such as the priesthood of Judea – to help him rule his
new subjects. No such group existed in Greek cities at this time;
while there was usually an aristocracy, this was inevitably divided
into feuding factions. The Persians thus settled for sponsoring a
tyrant in each Ionian city, even though this drew them into the
Ionians' internal conflicts. Furthermore, certain tyrants might
develop an independent streak and have to be replaced. The tyrants
themselves faced a difficult task; they had to deflect the worst of
their fellow citizens' hatred, while staying in the favour of the
Persians. In the past, Greek states had often been ruled by tyrants,
but that form of government was on the decline. Past tyrants had also
tended and needed to be strong and able leaders, whereas the rulers
appointed by the Persians were simply place-men. Backed by Persian
military might, these tyrants did not need the support of the
population, and could thus rule absolutely. On the eve of the
Greco-Persian wars, it is probable that the Ionian population had
become discontented and was ready for rebellion.
WARFARE IN THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN
In the Greco-Persian wars both sides made use of spear-armed infantry
and light missile troops. Greek armies placed the emphasis on heavier
infantry, while Persian armies favoured lighter troop types.
Persian and Median Immortals in ceremonial dress, bas-relief in
The Persian military consisted of a diverse group of men drawn across
the various nations of the empire. However, according to Herodotus,
there was at least a general conformity in armour and style of
fighting. The troops were usually armed with a bow, a 'short spear'
and a sword or axe, carried a wicker shield. They wore a leather
jerkin, although individuals of high stature wore high quality metal
armor. The Persians most likely used their bows to wear down the
enemy, then closed in to deliver the final blow with spears and
swords. The first rank of Persian infantry formations, the so-called
'sparabara ', had no bows, carried larger wicker shields and were
sometimes armed with longer spears. Their role was to protect the back
ranks of the formation. The cavalry probably fought as lightly armed
The style of warfare between the Greek city-states, which dates back
until at least 650 BC (as dated by the '
Chigi vase '), was based
around the hoplite phalanx supported by missile troops. The
'hoplites ' were foot soldiers usually drawn from the members of the
middle-classes (in Athens called the zeugites), who could afford the
equipment necessary to fight in this manner. The heavy armour usually
included a breastplate or a linothorax , greaves, a helmet, and a
large round, concave shield (the aspis or hoplon ). Hoplites were
armed with long spears (the dory ), which were significantly longer
than Persian spears, and a sword (the xiphos ). The heavy armour and
longer spears made them superior in hand-to-hand combat and gave them
significant protection against ranged attacks. Lightly armed
skirmishers, the psiloi also comprised a part of Greek armies growing
in importance during the conflict; at the Battle of Plataea, for
instance, they may have formed over half the Greek army. Use of
cavalry in Greek armies is not reported in the battles of the
At the beginning of the conflict, all naval forces in the eastern
Mediterranean had switched to the trireme , a warship powered by three
banks of oars. The most common naval tactics during the period were
ramming (Greek triremes were equipped with a cast-bronze ram at the
bows), or boarding by ship-borne marines. More experienced naval
powers had by this time also begun to use a manoeuver known as
diekplous. It is not clear what this was, but it probably involved
sailing into gaps between enemy ships and then ramming them in the
The Persian naval forces were primarily provided by the seafaring
people of the empire: Phoenicians , Egyptians , Cilicians and Cypriots
. Other coastal regions of the Persian Empire would contribute ships
throughout the course of the wars.
IONIAN REVOLT (499–493 BC)
Ionian Revolt and associated revolts in
Aeolis , Doris ,
Caria were military rebellions by several regions of Asia Minor
against Persian rule, lasting from 499 to 493 BC. At the heart of the
rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor
with the tyrants appointed by
Persia to rule them, along with
opposition to the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants,
Histiaeus and Aristagoras. In 499 BC the then tyrant of Miletus,
Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap
Artaphernes to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position in
Miletus (both financially and in terms of prestige). The mission was
a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras
chose to incite the whole of
Ionia into rebellion against the Persian
Darius the Great
Darius the Great . Map showing main events of the Ionian
Struggling to rule the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the
Persians appointed local tyrants to rule each of them. This would
prove to be the source of much trouble for the Greeks and Persians
alike. In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the
Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their
return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and
decisively beaten at the Battle of
Ephesus . This campaign was the
only offensive action taken by the Ionians, who subsequently went on
the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three-pronged
attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellious
territory, but the spread of the revolt to
Caria meant the largest
army, under Darius , moved there instead. While at first campaigning
successfully in Caria, this army was wiped out in an ambush at the
Battle of Pedasus . This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496
and 495 BC.
By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made
straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian
fleet sought to defend
Miletus by sea, but was defeated decisively at
Battle of Lade , after the Samians had defected.
Miletus was then
besieged, captured, and its population was enslaved. This double
defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to
the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the
cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before
finally imposing a peace settlement on
Ionia that was considered to be
both just and fair.
Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece
Achaemenid Empire and represents the first phase of the
Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian
fold, but Darius had vowed to punish Athens and
Eretria for their
support for the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the political situation
Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, he
decided to embark on the conquest of all Greece.
FIRST INVASION OF GREECE (492–490 BC)
Main article: First Persian invasion of
First Persian invasion
After having reconquered Ionia, the Persians began to plan their next
moves of extinguishing the threat to their empire from Greece; and
punishing Athens and Eretria. The resultant first Persian invasion of
Greece consisted of two main campaigns.
492 BC: MARDONIUS\'S CAMPAIGN
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
The first campaign, in 492 BC, was led by Darius's son-in-law
Mardonius , who re-subjugated
Thrace , which had nominally been part
of the Persian empire since 513 BC.
Mardonius was also able to force
Macedon to become a fully subordinate client kingdom of Persia; it had
previously been a vassal , but retained a broad degree of autonomy.
However, further progress in this campaign was prevented when
Mardonius's fleet was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Mount Athos
Mardonius himself was then injured in a raid on his camp by a
Thracian tribe, and after this he returned with the rest of the
expedition to Asia.
The following year, having given clear warning of his plans, Darius
sent ambassadors to all the cities of Greece, demanding their
submission. He received it from almost all of them, except Athens and
Sparta , both of whom instead executed the ambassadors. With Athens
still defiant, and
Sparta now also effectively at war with him, Darius
ordered a further military campaign for the following year.
490 BC: DATIS AND ARTAPHERNES\' CAMPAIGN
In 490 BC,
Artaphernes (son of the satrap
were given command of an amphibious invasion force, and set sail from
Cilicia . The Persian force sailed first to the island of
where a Lindian Temple Chronicle records that
Datis besieged the city
Lindos , but was unsuccessful. The fleet sailed next to Naxos, to
punish the Naxians for their resistance to the failed expedition the
Persians had mounted there a decade earlier. Many of the inhabitants
fled to the mountains; those that the Persians caught were enslaved.
The Persians then burnt the city and temples of the Naxians. The
fleet then proceeded to island-hop across the rest of the Aegean on
its way to Eretria, taking hostages and troops from each island.
The task force sailed on to
Euboea , and to the first major target,
Eretria. The Eretrians made no attempt to stop the Persians from
landing or advancing and thus allowed themselves to be besieged . For
six days, the Persians attacked the walls, with losses on both sides;
however, on the seventh day two reputable Eretrians opened the gates
and betrayed the city to the Persians. The city was razed, and
temples and shrines were looted and burned. Furthermore, according to
Darius's commands, the Persians enslaved all the remaining
Battle Of Marathon
Battle of Marathon The Greek wings envelop the
The Persian fleet next headed south down the coast of
landing at the bay of Marathon , roughly 40 kilometres (25 mi) from
Athens. Under the guidance of
Miltiades , the general with the
greatest experience of fighting the Persians, the Athenian army
marched to block the two exits from the plain of Marathon. Stalemate
ensued for five days, before the Persians decided to continue onward
to Athens, and began to load their troops back onto the ships. After
the Persians had loaded their cavalry (their strongest soldiers) on
the ships, the 10,000 Athenian soldiers descended from the hills
around the plain. The Greeks crushed the weaker Persian foot soldiers
by routing the wings before turning towards the centre of the Persian
line. The remnants of the Persian army fled to their ships and left
Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted
on the battlefield; the Athenians lost only 192 men.
As soon as the Persian survivors had put to sea, the Athenians
marched as quickly as possible to Athens. They arrived in time to
Artaphernes from securing a landing in Athens. Seeing his
Artaphernes ended the year's campaign and returned
Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars,
showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten. It also
highlighted the superiority of the more heavily armoured Greek
hoplites, and showed their potential when used wisely.
INTERBELLUM (490–480 BC)
After the failure of the first invasion, Darius began raising a huge
new army with which he intended to subjugate
However, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, and the revolt
forced an indefinite postponement of any Greek expedition. Darius
died while preparing to march on Egypt, and the throne of Persia
passed to his son
Xerxes I . Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt, and
very quickly resumed the preparations for the invasion of Greece.
Since this was to be a full-scale invasion, it needed longterm
planning, stockpiling and conscription. Xerxes decided that the
Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and
that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of
Mount Athos (a
Persian fleet had been destroyed in 492 BC while rounding this
coastline). These were both feats of exceptional ambition that would
have been beyond the capabilities of any other contemporary state.
However, the campaign was delayed by one year because of another
revolt in Egypt and
The Persians had the sympathy of several Greek city-states, including
Argos , which had pledged to defect when the Persians reached their
Aleuadae family, who ruled
Thessaly , saw the
invasion as an opportunity to extend their power. Thebes , though not
explicitly 'Medising', was suspected of being willing to aid the
Persians once the invasion force arrived.
In 481 BC, after roughly four years of preparation, Xerxes began to
muster the troops to invade Europe.
Herodotus gives the names of 46
nations from which troops were drafted. The Persian army was gathered
Asia Minor in the summer and autumn of 481 BC. The armies from the
Eastern satrapies were gathered in Kritala ,
Cappadocia and were led
by Xerxes to
Sardis where they passed the winter. Early in spring, it
moved to Abydos where it was joined with the armies of the western
satrapies. Then the army that Xerxes had mustered marched towards
Europe, crossing the
Hellespont on two pontoon bridges .
Size Of The Persian Forces
Further information: Second Persian invasion of
Greece § Size of the
The numbers of troops that Xerxes mustered for the second invasion of
Greece have been the subject of endless dispute. Most modern scholars
reject as unrealistic the figures of 2.5 million given by Herodotus
and other ancient sources because the victors likely miscalculated or
exaggerated. The topic has been hotly debated, but the consensus
revolves around the figure of 200,000.
The size of the Persian fleet is also disputed, although perhaps less
so. Other ancient authors agree with Herodotus' number of 1,207. These
numbers are by ancient standards consistent, and this could be
interpreted that a number around 1,200 is correct. Among modern
scholars, some have accepted this number, although suggesting the
number must have been lower by the
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis . Other recent
works on the Persian Wars reject this number, viewing 1,207 as more of
a reference to the combined Greek fleet in the
Iliad . These works
generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than
around 600 warships into the Aegean.
GREEK CITY STATES
A year after Marathon, Miltiades, the hero of Marathon, was injured
in a military campaign to
Paros . Taking advantage of his
incapacitation, the powerful
Alcmaeonid family arranged for him to be
prosecuted for the failure of the campaign. A huge fine was imposed
Miltiades for the crime of 'deceiving the Athenian people', but he
died weeks later from his wound.
Themistocles , with a power base firmly established
amongst the poor, filled the vacuum left by Miltiades's death, and in
the following decade became the most influential politician in Athens.
During this period,
Themistocles continued to support the expansion
of Athens' naval power. The Athenians were aware throughout this
period that the Persian interest in
Greece had not ended, and
Themistocles's naval policies may be seen in the light of the
potential threat from Persia. Aristides, Themistocles's great rival,
and champion of the zeugites (the 'upper hoplite-class') vigorously
opposed such a policy.
In 483 BC, a vast new seam of silver was found in the Athenian mines
Themistocles proposed that the silver should be used to
build a new fleet of triremes, ostensibly to assist in a long running
Plutarch suggests that
avoided mentioning Persia, believing that it was too distant a threat
for the Athenians to act on, but that countering
Persia was the
fleet's aim. Fine suggests that many Athenians must have admitted
that such a fleet would be needed to resist the Persians, whose
preparations for the coming campaign were known. Themistocles's
motion was passed easily, despite strong opposition from Aristides.
Its passage was probably due to the desire of many of the poorer
Athenians for paid employment as rowers in the fleet. It is unclear
from the ancient sources whether 100 or 200 ships were initially
authorised; both Fine and Holland suggest that at first 100 ships were
authorised and that a second vote increased this number to the levels
seen during the second invasion.
Aristides continued to oppose
Themistocles's policy, and tension between the two camps built over
the winter, so the ostracism of 482 BC became a direct contest between
Themistocles and Aristides. In what Holland characterises as, in
essence, the world's first referendum,
Aristides was ostracised, and
Themistocles's policies were endorsed. Indeed, becoming aware of the
Persian preparations for the coming invasion, the Athenians voted to
build more ships than those for which
Themistocles had asked. Thus,
during the preparations for the Persian invasion,
become the leading politician in Athens.
The Spartan king
Demaratus had been stripped of his kingship in 491
BC, and replaced with his cousin
Leotychides . Sometime after 490 BC,
Demaratus had chosen to go into exile, and had made his
way to Darius's court in
Demaratus would from then on act as
an advisor to Darius, and later Xerxes, on Greek affairs, and
accompanied Xerxes during the second Persian invasion. At the end of
Herodotus's book 7, there is an anecdote relating that prior to the
Demaratus sent an apparently blank wax tablet to
Sparta. When the wax was removed, a message was found scratched on the
wooden backing, warning the Spartans of Xerxes's plans. However, many
historians believe that this chapter was inserted into the text by a
later author, possibly to fill a gap between the end of book 7 and the
start of book 8. The veracity of this anecdote is therefore unclear.
In 481 BC, Xerxes sent ambassadors to city states throughout Greece,
asking for food, land, and water as tokens of their submission to
Persia. However, Xerxes' ambassadors deliberately avoided Athens and
Sparta, hoping thereby that those states would not learn of the
Persians' plans. States that were opposed to
Persia thus began to
coalesce around these two city states. A congress of states met at
Corinth in late autumn of 481 BC, and a confederate alliance of Greek
city-states was formed. This confederation had powers both to send
envoys to ask for assistance and to dispatch troops from the member
states to defensive points after joint consultation.
not formulate an abstract name for the union but simply calls them
"οἱ Ἕλληνες" (the Greeks) and "the Greeks who had sworn
alliance" (Godley translation) or "the Greeks who had banded
themselves together" (Rawlinson translation). From now on, they will
be referred to as the 'Allies'.
Sparta and Athens had a leading role
in the congress but the interests of all the states influenced
defensive strategy. Little is known about the internal workings of
the congress or the discussions during its meetings. Only 70 of the
nearly 700 Greek city-states sent representatives. Nevertheless, this
was remarkable for the disjointed Greek world, especially since many
of the city-states present were still technically at war with one
SECOND INVASION OF GREECE (480–479 BC)
Main article: Second Persian invasion of
EARLY 480 BC: THRACE, MACEDONIA, AND THESSALY
Having crossed into
Europe in April 480 BC, the Persian army began
its march to Greece, taking 3 months to travel unopposed from the
Therme . It paused at
Doriskos where it was joined by
the fleet. Xerxes reorganized the troops into tactical units replacing
the national formations used earlier for the march. Major events
in the second invasion of
The Allied 'congress' met again in the spring of 480 BC and agreed to
defend the narrow
Vale of Tempe on the borders of
Thessaly and block
Xerxes's advance. However, once there, they were warned by Alexander
Macedon that the vale could be bypassed and that the army of
Xerxes was overwhelmingly large, thus the Greeks retreated. Shortly
afterwards, they received the news that Xerxes had crossed the
Hellespont. At this point, a second strategy was suggested by
Themistocles to the allies. The route to southern
Attica and the
Peloponnesus ) would require the army of Xerxes to
travel through the narrow pass of
Thermopylae . This could easily be
blocked by the Greek hoplites, despite the overwhelming numbers of
Persians. Furthermore, to prevent the Persians bypassing Thermopylae
by sea, the Athenian and allied navies could block the straits of
Artemisium . This dual strategy was adopted by the congress. However,
the Peloponnesian cities made fall-back plans to defend the Isthmus of
Corinth should it come to it, while the women and children of Athens
were evacuated to the Peloponnesian city of
AUGUST 480 BC: BATTLES OF THERMOPYLAE AND ARTEMISIUM
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae and
Battle of Artemisium
Xerxes's estimated time of arrival at
Thermopylae coincided with both
the Olympic Games and the festival of
Carneia . For the Spartans,
warfare during these periods was considered sacrilegious. Despite the
uncomfortable timing, the Spartans considered the threat so grave that
they dispatched their king
Leonidas I with his personal bodyguard (the
Hippeis) of 300 men. The customary elite young men in the
replaced by veterans who already had children. Leonidas was supported
by contingents from the Allied Peloponnesian cities, and other forces
that the Allies picked up on the way to Thermopylae. The Allies
proceeded to occupy the pass, rebuilt the wall the Phocians had built
at the narrowest point of the pass, and waited for Xerxes's arrival.
The pass of
When the Persians arrived at
Thermopylae in mid-August, they
initially waited for three days for the Allies to disperse. When
Xerxes was eventually persuaded that the Allies intended to contest
the pass, he sent his troops to attack. However, the Allied position
was ideally suited to hoplite warfare, the Persian contingents being
forced to attack the Greek phalanx head on. The Allies withstood two
full days of Persian attacks, including those by the elite Persian
Immortals . However, towards the end of the second day, they were
betrayed by a local resident named Ephialtes who revealed to Xerxes a
mountain path that led behind the Allied lines. Made aware by scouts
that they were being outflanked, Leonidas dismissed most of the Allied
army, remaining to guard the rear with perhaps 2,000 men. On the final
day of the battle, the remaining Allies sallied forth from the wall to
meet the Persians in the wider part of the pass to slaughter as many
Persians as they could, but eventually they were all killed or
Simultaneous with the battle at Thermopylae, an Allied naval force of
271 triremes defended the Straits of
Artemisium against the Persians,
thus protecting the flank of the forces at Thermopylae. Here the
Allied fleet held off the Persians for three days; however, on the
third evening the Allies received news of the fate of Leonidas and the
Allied troops at Thermopylae. Since the Allied fleet was badly
damaged, and since it no longer needed to defend the flank of
Thermopylae, the Allies retreated from
Artemisium to the island of
SEPTEMBER 480 BC: BATTLE OF SALAMIS
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
Thermopylae meant that all
Boeotia fell to Xerxes; Attica
was then open to invasion. The remaining population of Athens was
evacuated, with the aid of the Allied fleet, to Salamis. The
Peloponnesian Allies began to prepare a defensive line across the
Corinth , building a wall, and demolishing the road from
Megara , abandoning Athens to the Persians. Athens thus fell to the
Persians; the small number of Athenians who had barricaded themselves
Acropolis were eventually defeated, and Xerxes then ordered
Athens to be razed. Schematic diagram illustrating events during
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Persians had now captured most of Greece, but Xerxes had perhaps
not expected such defiance; his priority was now to complete the war
as quickly as possible. If Xerxes could destroy the Allied navy, he
would be in a strong position to force an Allied surrender;
conversely by avoiding destruction, or as
Themistocles hoped, by
destroying the Persian fleet, the Allies could prevent conquest from
being completed. The Allied fleet thus remained off the coast of
Salamis into September, despite the imminent arrival of the Persians.
Even after Athens fell, the Allied fleet remained off the coast of
Salamis, trying to lure the Persian fleet to battle. Partly because
of deception by Themistocles, the navies met in the cramped Straits of
Salamis. There, the Persian numbers became a hindrance, as ships
struggled to maneuver and became disorganised. Seizing the
opportunity, the Allied fleet attacked, and scored a decisive victory,
sinking or capturing at least 200 Persian ships, therefore ensuring
the safety of the Peloponnessus.
According to Herodotus, after the loss of the battle Xerxes attempted
to build a causeway across the channel to attack the Athenian evacuees
on Salamis, but this project was soon abandoned. With the Persians'
naval superiority removed, Xerxes feared that the Allies might sail to
Hellespont and destroy the pontoon bridges. His general Mardonius
volunteered to remain in
Greece and complete the conquest with a
hand-picked group of troops, while Xerxes retreated to Asia with the
bulk of the army.
Mardonius over-wintered in
Boeotia and Thessaly;
the Athenians were thus able to return to their burnt-out city for the
JUNE 479 BC: BATTLES OF PLATAEA AND MYCALE
Battle of Plataea and
Battle of Mycale
Over the winter, there was some tension among the Allies. In
particular, the Athenians, who were not protected by the Isthmus, but
whose fleet was the key to the security of the Peloponnesus, felt that
they had been treated unfairly, and so they refused to join the Allied
navy in the spring.
Mardonius remained in Thessaly, knowing an attack
on the Isthmus was pointless, while the Allies refused to send an army
outside the Peloponessus.
Mardonius moved to break the stalemate, by
offering peace to the Athenians, using Alexander I of
Macedon as an
intermediate. The Athenians made sure that a Spartan delegation was
on hand to hear the Athenians reject the Persians' offer. Athens was
thus evacuated again, and the Persians marched south and re-took
possession of it.
Mardonius now repeated his offer of peace to the
Athenian refugees on Salamis. Athens, with
Plataea , sent
Sparta demanding assistance, and threatening to accept
the Persian terms if they were not aided. In response, the Spartans
summoned a large army from the
Peloponnese cities and marched to meet
Mardonius heard the Allied army was on the march, he retreated
into Boeotia, near
Plataea , trying to draw the Allies into open
terrain where he could use his cavalry. The Allied army, under the
command of the regent Pausanias , stayed on high ground above Plataea
to protect themselves against such tactics. After several days of
maneuver and stalemate, Pausanias ordered a night-time retreat towards
the Allies' original positions. This maneuver went awry, leaving the
Athenians, and Spartans and Tegeans isolated on separate hills, with
the other contingents scattered further away near Plataea. Seeing
that the Persians might never have a better opportunity to attack,
Mardonius ordered his whole army forward. However, the Persian
infantry proved no match for the heavily armoured Greek hoplites, and
the Spartans broke through to Mardonius's bodyguard and killed him.
After this the Persian force dissolved in rout; 40,000 troops managed
to escape via the road to Thessaly, but the rest fled to the Persian
camp where they were trapped and slaughtered by the Greeks, finalising
the Greek victory.
Herodotus recounts that, on the afternoon of the
Battle of Plataea ,
a rumour of their victory at that battle reached the Allies' navy, at
that time off the coast of Mount
Mycale in Ionia. Their morale
boosted, the Allied marines fought and won a decisive victory at the
Battle of Mycale that same day, destroying the remnants of the Persian
fleet, crippling Xerxes's sea power, and marking the ascendancy of the
Greek fleet. Whilst many modern historians doubt that
place on the same day as Plataea, the battle may well only have
occurred once the Allies received news of the events unfolding in
GREEK COUNTERATTACK (479–478 BC)
MYCALE AND IONIA
Mycale was, in many ways, the beginning of a new phase in the
conflict, in which the Greeks would go on the offensive against the
Persians. The immediate result of the victory at
Mycale was a second
revolt amongst the Greek cities of Asia Minor. The Samians and
Milesians had actively fought against the Persians at Mycale, thus
openly declaring their rebellion, and the other cities followed in
Shortly after Mycale, the Allied fleet sailed to the
break down the pontoon bridges, but found that this had already been
done. The Peloponnesians sailed home, but the Athenians remained to
attack the Chersonesos , still held by the Persians. The Persians and
their allies made for
Sestos , the strongest town in the region.
Amongst them was one Oeobazus of Cardia , who had with him the cables
and other equipment from the pontoon bridges. The Persian governor,
Artayctes had not prepared for a siege, not believing that the Allies
would attack. The Athenians therefore were able to lay a siege around
Sestos. The siege dragged on for several months, causing some
discontent amongst the Athenian troops, but eventually, when the food
ran out in the City, the Persians fled at night from the least guarded
area of the city. The Athenians were thus able to take possession of
the city the next day.
Most of the Athenian troops were sent straight away to pursue the
Persians. The party of Oeobazus was captured by a Thracian tribe, and
Oeobazus was sacrificed to the god Plistorus . The Athenians
eventually caught Artayctes, killing some of the Persians with him but
taking most of them, including Artayctes, captive.
crucified at the request of the people of
Elaeus , a town which
Artayctes had plundered while governor of the Chersonesos. The
Athenians, having pacified the region, then sailed back to Athens,
taking the cables from the pontoon bridges with them as trophies.
In 478 BC, still operating under the terms of the Hellenic alliance,
the Allies sent out a fleet composed of 20 Peloponnesian and 30
Athenian ships supported by an unspecified number of allies, under the
overall command of Pausanias. According to Thucydides, this fleet
Cyprus and "subdued most of the island". Exactly what
Thucydides means by this is unclear. Sealey suggests that this was
essentially a raid to gather as much treasure as possible from the
Persian garrisons on Cyprus. There is no indication that the Allies
attempted to take possession of the island, and, shortly after, they
sailed to Byzantium. Certainly, the fact that the Delian League
repeatedly campaigned in
Cyprus suggests either that the island was
not garrisoned by the Allies in 478 BC, or that the garrisons were
The Greek fleet then sailed to
Byzantium , which they besieged and
eventually captured. Control of both
Byzantium gave the
allies command of the straits between
Europe and Asia (over which the
Persians had crossed), and allowed them access to the merchant trade
of the Black Sea.
The aftermath of the siege was to prove troublesome for Pausanias.
Exactly what happened is unclear;
Thucydides gives few details,
although later writers added plenty of lurid insinuations. Through
his arrogance and arbitrary actions (
Thucydides says "violence"),
Pausanias managed to alienate many of the Allied contingents,
particularly those that had just been freed from Persian overlordship.
Ionians and others asked the Athenians to take leadership of
the campaign, to which they agreed. The Spartans, hearing of his
behaviour, recalled Pausanias and tried him on charges of
collaborating with the enemy. Although he was acquitted, his
reputation was tarnished and he was not restored to his command.
Pausanias returned to
Byzantium as a private citizen in 477 BC, and
took command of the city until he was expelled by the Athenians. He
then crossed the
Bosporus and settled in
Kolonai in the
Troad , until
he was again accused of collaborating with the Persians and was
recalled by the Spartans for a trial after which he starved himself to
death. The timescale is unclear, but Pausanias may have remained in
Byzantium until 470 BC.
In the meantime, the Spartans had sent Dorkis to
Byzantium with a
small force, to take command of the Allied force. However, he found
that the rest of the Allies were no longer prepared to accept Spartan
leadership, and therefore returned home.
WARS OF THE DELIAN LEAGUE (477–449 BC)
Wars of the
* 3rd Naxos
* Salamis in
Delian League Athens and her "empire" in 431 BC.
The empire was the direct descendant of the
After Byzantium, the Spartans were allegedly eager to end their
involvement in the war. The Spartans were supposedly of the view that,
with the liberation of mainland
Greece and the Greek cities of Asia
Minor, the war's purpose had already been reached. There was also
perhaps a feeling that securing long-term security for the Asian
Greeks would prove impossible. In the aftermath of Mycale, the
Leotychides had proposed transplanting all the Greeks
Asia Minor to
Europe as the only method of permanently freeing
them from Persian dominion.
Xanthippus , the Athenian commander at
Mycale, had furiously rejected this; the Ionian cities were originally
Athenian colonies, and the Athenians, if no-one else, would protect
the Ionians. This marks the point at which the leadership of the
Greek Alliance effectively passed to the Athenians. With the Spartan
withdrawal after Byzantium, the leadership of the Athenians became
The loose alliance of city-states that had fought against Xerxes's
invasion had been dominated by
Sparta and the Peloponnesian league.
With the withdrawal of these states, a congress was called on the holy
Delos to institute a new alliance to continue the fight
against the Persians. This alliance, now including many of the Aegean
islands, was formally constituted as the 'First Athenian Alliance',
commonly known as the
Delian League . According to Thucydides, the
official aim of the League was to "avenge the wrongs they suffered by
ravaging the territory of the king". In reality, this goal was
divided into three main efforts—to prepare for future invasion, to
seek revenge against Persia, and to organize a means of dividing
spoils of war. The members were given a choice of either supplying
armed forces or paying a tax to the joint treasury; most states chose
CAMPAIGNS AGAINST PERSIA
Main article: Wars of the
Delian League Map showing the
locations of battles fought by the Delian League, 477–449 BC
Throughout the 470s BC, the
Delian League campaigned in
the Aegean to remove the remaining Persian garrisons from the region,
primarily under the command of the Athenian politician
Cimon . In the
early part of the next decade,
Cimon began campaigning in
Asia Minor ,
seeking to strengthen the Greek position there. At the Battle of the
Pamphylia , the Athenians and allied fleet achieved a
stunning double victory, destroying a Persian fleet and then landing
the ships' marines to attack and rout the Persian army. After this
battle, the Persians took an essentially passive role in the conflict,
anxious not to risk battle if possible.
Towards the end of the 460s BC, the Athenians took the ambitious
decision to support a revolt in the Egyptian satrapy of the Persian
empire. Although the Greek task force achieved initial successes, they
were unable to capture the Persian garrison in Memphis , despite a
3-year long siege. The Persians then counterattacked, and the
Athenian force was itself besieged for 18 months, before being wiped
out. This disaster, coupled with ongoing warfare in Greece, dissuaded
the Athenians from resuming conflict with Persia. In 451 BC however,
a truce was agreed in Greece, and
Cimon was then able to lead an
expedition to Cyprus. However, while besieging
and the Athenian force decided to withdraw, winning another double
victory at the Battle of Salamis-in-
Cyprus in order to extricate
themselves. This campaign marked the end of hostilities between the
Delian League and Persia, and therefore the end of the Greco-Persian
PEACE WITH PERSIA
After the Battle of Salamis-in-Cyprus,
Thucydides makes no further
mention of conflict with the Persians, saying that the Greeks simply
returned home. Diodorus, on the other hand, claims that in the
aftermath of Salamis, a full-blown peace treaty (the "Peace of
Callias") was agreed with the Persians. Diodorus was probably
following the history of
Ephorus at this point, who in turn was
presumably influenced by his teacher
Isocrates —from whom there is
the earliest reference to the supposed peace, in 380 BC. Even during
the 4th century BC, the idea of the treaty was controversial, and two
authors from that period,
Theopompus , appear to
reject its existence.
It is possible that the Athenians had attempted to negotiate with the
Plutarch suggests that in the aftermath of the
victory at the Eurymedon, Artaxerxes had agreed a peace treaty with
the Greeks, even naming
Callias as the Athenian ambassador involved.
Callisthenes denied that such a peace was
made at this point (c. 466 BC).
Herodotus also mentions, in passing,
an Athenian embassy headed by
Callias , which was sent to
negotiate with Artaxerxes. This embassy included some Argive
representatives and can probably be therefore dated to c. 461 BC
(after an alliance was agreed between Athens and Argos). This embassy
may have been an attempt to reach some kind of peace agreement, and it
has even been suggested that the failure of these hypothetical
negotiations led to the Athenian decision to support the Egyptian
revolt. The ancient sources therefore disagree as to whether there
was an official peace or not, and, if there was, when it was agreed.
Opinion amongst modern historians is also split; for instance, Fine
accepts the concept of the Peace of Callias, whereas Sealey
effectively rejects it. Holland accepts that some kind of
accommodation was made between Athens and Persia, but no actual
treaty. Fine argues that Callisthenes's denial that a treaty was made
after the Eurymedon does not preclude a peace being made at another
point. Further, he suggests that
Theopompus was actually referring to
a treaty that had allegedly been negotiated with
Persia in 423 BC. If
these views are correct, it would remove one major obstacle to the
acceptance of the treaty's existence. A further argument for the
existence of the treaty is the sudden withdrawal of the Athenians from
Cyprus in 449 BC, which Fine suggests makes most sense in the light of
some kind of peace agreement. On the other hand, if there was indeed
some kind of accommodation, Thucydides's failure to mention it is odd.
In his digression on the pentekontaetia, his aim is to explain the
growth of Athenian power, and such a treaty, and the fact that the
Delian allies were not released from their obligations after it, would
have marked a major step in the Athenian ascendancy. Conversely, it
has been suggested that certain passages elsewhere in Thucydides's
history are best interpreted as referring to a peace agreement. There
is thus no clear consensus amongst modern historians as to the
The ancient sources that give details of the treaty are reasonably
consistent in their description of the terms:
* All Greek cities of Asia were to 'live by their own laws' or 'be
autonomous' (depending on translation).
* Persian satraps (and presumably their armies) were not to travel
west of the
Halys River (
Isocrates ) or closer than a day's journey on
horseback to the
Aegean Sea (
Callisthenes ) or closer than three days'
journey on foot to the
Aegean Sea (
Ephorus and Diodorus).
* No Persian warship was to sail west of
Phaselis (on the southern
coast of Asia Minor), nor west of the Cyanaean rocks (probably at the
eastern end of the
Bosporus , on the north coast).
* If the terms were observed by the king and his generals, then the
Athenians were not to send troops to lands ruled by Persia.
From the Persian perspective, such terms would not be so humiliating
as they might at first seem. The Persians already allowed the Greek
cities of Asia to be governed under their own laws (under the
reorganization conducted by
Artaphernes , following the Ionian Revolt
). By these terms, the
Ionians were still Persian subjects, as they
had been. Furthermore, Athens had already demonstrated their
superiority at sea at the Eurymedon and Salamis-in-Cyprus, so any
legal limitations for the Persian fleet were nothing more than "de
jure" recognition of military realities. In exchange for limiting the
movement of Persian troops in one region of the realm, Artaxerxes
secured a promise from the Athenians to stay out of his entire realm.
AFTERMATH AND LATER CONFLICTS
Towards the end of the conflict with Persia, the process by which the
Delian League became the Athenian Empire reached its conclusion. The
allies of Athens were not released from their obligations to provide
either money or ships, despite the cessation of hostilities. In
Greece, the First
Peloponnesian War between the power-blocs of Athens
and Sparta, which had continued on/off since 460 BC, finally ended in
445 BC, with the agreement of a thirty-year truce. However, the
growing enmity between
Sparta and Athens would lead, just 14 years
later, into the outbreak of the Second
Peloponnesian War . This
disastrous conflict, which dragged on for 27 years, would eventually
result in the utter destruction of Athenian power, the dismemberment
of the Athenian empire, and the establishment of a Spartan hegemony
over Greece. However, not just Athens suffered—the conflict would
significantly weaken the whole of Greece.
Repeatedly defeated in battle by the Greeks, and plagued by internal
rebellions that hindered their ability to fight the Greeks, after 449
Artaxerxes I and his successors instead adopted a policy of
divide-and-rule. Avoiding fighting the Greeks themselves, the
Persians instead attempted to set Athens against Sparta, regularly
bribing politicians to achieve their aims. In this way, they ensured
that the Greeks remained distracted by internal conflicts, and were
unable to turn their attentions to Persia. There was no open conflict
between the Greeks and
Persia until 396 BC, when the Spartan king
Agesilaus briefly invaded Asia Minor; as
Plutarch points out, the
Greeks were far too busy overseeing the destruction of their own power
to fight against the "barbarians".
If the wars of the
Delian League shifted the balance of power between
Persia in favour of the Greeks, then the subsequent
half-century of internecine conflict in
Greece did much to restore the
balance of power to Persia. The Persians entered the Peloponnesian War
in 411 BC forming a mutual-defence pact with
Sparta and combining
their naval resources against Athens in exchange for sole Persian
control of Ionia. In 404 BC when
Cyrus the Younger attempted to seize
the Persian throne, he recruited 13,000 Greek mercenaries from all
over the Greek world, of which
Sparta sent 700–800, believing they
were following the terms of the defence pact and unaware of the army's
true purpose. After the failure of Cyrus,
Persia tried to regain
control of the Ionian city-states, which had rebelled during the
Ionians refused to capitulate and called upon
assistance, which she provided, in 396–395 BC. Athens, however,
sided with the Persians, which led in turn to another large-scale
conflict in Greece, the
Corinthian War . Towards the end of that
conflict, in 387 BC,
Sparta sought the aid of
Persia to shore up her
position. Under the so-called "King\'s Peace" that brought the war to
Artaxerxes II demanded and received the return of the cities
Asia Minor from the Spartans, in return for which the Persians
threatened to make war on any Greek state that did not make peace.
This humiliating treaty, which undid all the Greek gains of the
previous century, sacrificed the Greeks of
Asia Minor so that the
Spartans could maintain their hegemony over Greece. It is in the
aftermath of this treaty that Greek orators began to refer to the
Peace of Callias (whether fictional or not), as a counterpoint to the
shame of the King's Peace, and a glorious example of the "good old
days" when the Greeks of the Aegean had been freed from Persian rule
by the Delian League.
* History of
History of Iran
List of wars extended by diplomatic irregularity
* Iran portal
^ I: The exact period covered by the term "Greco-Persian Wars" is
open to interpretation, and usage varies between academics; the Ionian
Revolt and Wars of the
Delian League are sometimes excluded. This
article covers the maximum extent of the wars.
^ II: Achaeological evidence for the Panionion before the 6th
century BC is very weak, and possibly this temple was a relatively
^ III: Although historically inaccurate, the legend of a Greek
messenger running to Athens with news of the victory and then promptly
expiring, became the inspiration for this athletics event, introduced
at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and
* ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Greco-Persian Wars
* ^ Ehrenberg, Victor (2011). From
Solon to Socrates: Greek History
and Civilization During the 6th and 5th Centuries BC (3 ed.).
Abingdon, England: Routledge. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-0-41558487-6 .
* ^ Roisman & Worthington 2011 , pp. 135-138.
* ^ Cicero, On the Laws I, 5
* ^ A B C Holland, pp. xvi–xvii.
* ^ Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, e.g. I, 22
* ^ A B Finley, p. 15.
* ^ Holland, p. xxiv.
* ^ A B Holland, p. 377
* ^ Fehling, pp. 1–277.
* ^ Finley, p. 16.
* ^ Kagan, p. 77.
* ^ Sealey, p. 264.
* ^ Fine, p. 336.
* ^ Finley, pp. 29–30.
* ^ A B Sealey, p. 248.
* ^ Fine, p. 343
* ^ e.g.
Themistocles chapter 25 has a direct reference to
Thucydides I, 137
* ^ A B C D E F G H Fine, p. 360.
* ^ Green, Greek History 480–431 BC, pp. 1–13.
* ^ Roebuck, p. 2
* ^ Traver, p. 115–116.
* ^ A B C
Herodotus I, 142–151
Thucydides I, 12
* ^ Snodgrass, pp. 373–376
* ^ Thomas & Contant, pp. 72–73
* ^ Osborne, pp. 35–37
Herodotus I, 142
Herodotus I, 143
Herodotus I, 148
Herodotus I, 22
Herodotus I, 74–75
Herodotus I, 26
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 9–12.
Herodotus I, 53
* ^ Holland, pp. 13–14.
* ^ A B
Herodotus I, 141
Herodotus I, 163
Herodotus I, 164
Herodotus I, 169
* ^ A B C D E Holland, pp. 147–151.
* ^ A B Fine, pp. 269–277.
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 155–157.
* ^ A B C D E Lazenby, pp23–29
* ^ A B C D E F Lazenby, pp. 256
* ^ Holland, p196
* ^ Farrokh, p. 76
* ^ Lazenby, p232
* ^ Holland, pp69–72
* ^ Holland, p217
* ^ Lazenby, pp. 227–228
* ^ A B Lazenby, pp34–37
* ^ A B
Herodotus VII, 89
Herodotus VI, 9
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 153–154.
Herodotus V, 31
Herodotus V, 33
Herodotus V, 100–101
Herodotus V, 102
Herodotus V, 116
Herodotus V, 117
Herodotus V, 121
* ^ Boardman et al, pp. 481–490.
Herodotus VI, 6
Herodotus VI, 8–16
Herodotus VI, 19
Herodotus VI, 25
Herodotus VI, 31–33
* ^ A B C Holland, pp. 175–177.
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 177–178.
Herodotus VI, 43
* ^ Holland, p. 153.
* ^ A B
Herodotus VI, 44
* ^ Roisman & Worthington 2011 , p. 343.
Herodotus VI, 45
* ^ A B
Herodotus VI 48
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 181–183.
* ^ Lind. Chron. D 1–59 in Higbie (2003)
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 183–186.
* ^ A B
Herodotus VI, 96
Herodotus VI, 100
* ^ A B C D
Herodotus VI, 101
Herodotus VI, 102
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 195–197.
Herodotus VI, 117
Herodotus VI, 115
Herodotus VI, 116
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 202–203.
* ^ Holland, pp. 206–208.
* ^ A B Holland, pp. 208–211.
* ^ Holland, pp. 213–214.
Herodotus VII, 7
Herodotus VII, 150
* ^ Holland, p. 225.
* ^ Holland, p. 263.
Herodotus VII, 62–80
Herodotus VII, 26
Herodotus VII, 37
Herodotus VII, 35
* ^ de Souza, p. 41.
* ^ Köster (1934)
* ^ Holland, p. 320.
* ^ A B Lazenby, pp. 93–94.
* ^ Green, p. 61.
* ^ Burn, p. 331.
* ^ A B C D E Holland, pp. 214–217.
* ^ Holland, pp. 217–219.
* ^ A B Plutarch, Themistocles, 4
* ^ A B C D E Holland, pp. 219–222.
* ^ A B C Fine, p. 292
* ^ Plutarch, Themistocles, 5
* ^ Holland, pp. 223–224.
Herodotus VII, 239
* ^ How J. Wells (1990). A commentary on Herodotus. Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-872139-0 .
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