The Graeco-Persian Wars: The Battle Of Thermopylae

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The Graeco-Persian Wars: The Battle of Thermopylae The King with half the East at heel is marched from land of morning; Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air, And he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no returning. The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair. - AE Housman Thermopylae is a legend. There is no better way to describe it. The battle fought there two and-a-half millennia ago has sent ripples through the corridors of time to the present day. While it was not as important as the other battles of the Graeco-Persian Wars in the driving out of the Persians from Greece, its cultural influences are wide-ranging. It immortalised the 300 Spartans who died in the pass1, and since then the Spartan myth has captured the imaginations of countless individuals. The most famous last stand ever made held up the vast army of the King of Persia for several days. It could be argued that without the time this bought the rest of Greece for preparations of the eventual defeat of the Persian expedition, Greek victory could not have been achieved. Prelude Greece was in turmoil in the spring of 480 BC. News was spreading of the King of Persia's advance, accompanied by the…show more content…
During the stalemate before the battle, two men fell ill with an eye infection, and were dismissed so they could recuperate. When the battle came, however, one ordered his helot to lead him, blind as he was, into the heart of the fight, where they both died. The other, Aristodemus, followed his orders and returned home. There he was branded a 'trembler' (coward) and effectively abandoned by his city. He was allowed to live there, but he was ignored by his friends, considered as low as a helot in rank, and his daughters were refused husbands. The other man to survive the battle was a messenger sent by Leonidas to Thessaly - he was unable to endure the shame and hanged

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