When the Theban-Athenian alliance was defeated by Macedon at the Battle of Chaeronea, Sparta was taken over. The Spartans refused, however, to attack the Persians with Alexander. Alexander died in Babylon before he could settle them. This triggered yet another Greek civil war which Sparta used to break from Thebes. The Romans then saw Sparta as a good conquest, and brought the Achaeans against the
It is well assumed that without the Coalition of the Greek states the Greeks could not have won the Persian war "the Greek achievement in the wars was amazing. Under the threat of Persian conquest a group of cities, many hostile to and jealous of one another, joined in a Hellenic league in order to present a united front against the invader." - Sidney Fine. Sparta’s involvement in as a founding member of the league gives good evidence to the extent of the Spartan significance in the war. “Ten years later, the battle at
The Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon is significant not only to the Greeks, but the whole world. At the beginning of their fight, the Greeks had won a stunning victory. This was a battle no one will forget. It was only the first of many battles between the Greeks and the Persians. It all started when King Darius decided to conquer the tiny Greek city states of mainland Greece.
Many battles and conflicts, which have occurred throughout the course of history, have been responsible for shaping the civilizations of the 21st century. One of the most significant events is that of the Battle of Salamis, a naval battle, which occurred in September 480 BCE, between the invading Persians and the united city-states of Greece. It has been documented and argued by historians, both ancient and modern, as the decisive victory, which led to the Greek city-states being able to defeat the might of the Persian Empire. This triumph shifted the course of the Persian Wars in favour of the Greeks, which fundamentally changed the course of history (Hegmann:n.d.). After the Battle of Thermopylae, the Greeks were at the mercy of the powerful Persian Empire.
One of the generals told him to wait until morning to fight but alexander attacked straight away. This tactic took the Persians by surprise and therefore confused and disrupted the Persians formation and battle strategies. The battle started and there was a general advance. While the Persians were busy one of alexander’s cavalry attacked the left side of the Persian formation. The Persians could not defend themselves from this and the cavalry ploughed a huge hole through the Persian formation.
Leonidas’ valour and courage is legendary. Herodotus records him retorting to a frightened soldier about the Persian arrows covering the sky: ‘then we shall fight in the shade’. Leonidas and his men were completely outnumbered yet they managed to delay the troops for roughly 4 days. This decision made by Leonidas meant that the Athenian troops could return to Athens, evacuate the city and decide on a battle place that suited the Greeks- Salamis. It was this delay that allowed Themistocles to persuade to the other military leaders to fight at Salamis which, according to Barry Strauss, was the turning point in the Persian wars.
Herodotus’ account of Thermopylae is one of the most accurate and contemporary records we have on the battle, and the skills the Spartans implemented throughout. He outlines three main reasons how the Spartans were ‘successful’ in their attempt to stall the Persian invasion. The first reason is that their military experience and skill outmatched the Persian infantry, Herodotus states that Xerxes “had in his army many men, indeed, but few soldiers” while this is contrasted with the homoioi of Sparta who had years of training and were trained heavily in their Agoge, where the weak were punished and the strong praised. Herodotus shows us how their ‘victory’ showed ow fearless they were in battle as they battled over the body of Leonidas four times with finally succeeding against massive odds with their “valour” in fighting. Spartan’s role in the infamous battle of Thermopylae was one of great importance; I have stated before how they were ‘successful’, the reason I used this word is because they were successful in their objective in stalling the Persian invasion.
But all in all what most historians debate is not why Leonidas stayed but whether or not his decision to stay was the overall right choice. My perspective on the situation is that Leonidas’ decision to stay was not the right choice. I postulate this because the whole goal was to protect the pass so that the Persians could not reach Athens, but after the defeat of the Spartans the Persians pushed forward and burned Athens to the ground. So in essence the last stand of the Spartans was pointless because the Persians completed their goal of the ransacking of Athens. Themistocles was the true hero; he evacuated Athens before the Persians came and defeated the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis, which forced the Persians to flee back to Asia.
The Greeks being citizen soldiers fought for their homes; families; religious shrines; city states; to preserve their new democratic way of life; and their desire to be free and rule themselves without an oriental overlord. The Persian army were conscripted and therefore they were not fighting to defend their homeland. As a result of this they were often poorly trained and some only took part in the army and battles as a way of impressing the king. As well as conflicting reasons behind the victory, the Persians and Greek army adapted many different fighting strategies. The Greeks had their advantage in close range.
This is still an insurmountable force but definitely one more realistic than the former figure. Nevertheless, both sources agree that this army was to clash head to head against “Leonidas, with 4000 soldiers” (Diodorus.4) at the Battle of Thermopylae. After abandoning Thessaly due to warning from Alexander of the scale of the Persian advancement, the Greeks set to discuss where they should make a stand. The most favored proposal was to guard the pass of Thermopylae on the grounds that it was “narrower than the pass into Thessaly and at the same time nearer to home” (H.7.175). Upon making this decision,