The Greek fleet was arranged from the Athenians on the left of the line to the Corinthians to the north, covering the Bay of Eleusis, the Pelopponesians on the right and the ships of Megara and Aegina in nearby Ambelaki Bay. Or, if you will, suppose they were to succeed upon one element only-suppose they fell upon our fleet and defeated it, and then sailed to the Hellespont and destroyed the bridge; then my lord you would indeed be in peril.’. Xerxes took the bait and weakened his force by sending an Egyptian squadron west to block a possible escape route; the squadron would not be available during the coming battle. The Persian ships seemed more suited for action in the open sea-they were larger, sat higher in the water and were loaded with approximately 30 marine infantry or archers, as opposed to 14 aboard each Greek ship. The strategy upon which Miltiades and the Greek commanders settled at Marathon was to close rapidly with the enemy, nullifying the effectiveness of the Persian archers, who on so many occasions had decimated their opponent’s ranks under a torrent of arrows. The hoplite was equipped with a steel-tipped spear, a short sword worn on the left side, and a round or oval shield of bronze. Xerxes, now with his uncle’s approval, decided that the invasion would go forward. On the other hand, from whatever angle we justify the Persian decision to invade Greece, their goals were essentially achieved by late 480 BC. By the time Datis and the Persian host sighted Athens and the gleaming Acropolis, it was too late. Second, the famed historian Herodotus states, the Greeks had never even been able to hold their own in battle against the Persians before. The flower of western civilization burst into full bloom five centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. Athens’ citizen army was made up entirely of infantrymen called hoplites, who wore leather breastplates covered with bronze, as well as skirts of leather strips and thick belts. Having attended to these matters, he decided to lead his army to mainland Greece to finally settle what to the Persians would have been seen to be ‘the Aegean Problem’. While Xerxes prepared to march, his subjects accomplished two major engineering feats. A rich vein of silver had been found in the mines at Laurium, and in 482 BC a great debate had raged over the best use of that wealth. There has been much later speculation on the real causes for the expedition. a sovereign by divine right, to whom opposition was as annoying as sacrilege…nervous in temperament, fallen from youthful fire into indolence, incited to make a war he didn’t like. -- The Ionian rebellion. King Xerxes was 38 years old. note.] Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae. On the morning of September 20, 480 BC, the main body of the Persian armada, about 400 triremes, moved toward the showdown. A storm destroyed them, and Xerxes had the sea whipped as punishment. Their soothsayer spoke of death coming with the dawn. -- The avenues to renown. 8 years ago. After a few successes (e.g., Thermopylae, mid-August 480 bce), Xerxes occupied Attica and pillaged Athens on September 21, but on September 29, at Salamis, a naval battle that he had initiated turned into a defeat. When the late-mobilizing Spartans received word that victory had been won without them, they continued onto the battlefield to view the corpses of the fallen Persians. The next year, 490 BC, the Persians once again sallied forth to punish Athens. Late in the afternoon, the ‘Immortals,’ the elite Persian division whose dash, esprit de corps and combat experience made them the envy of the army, moved forward under their commander, Hydarnes. The shores and reefs were strewn with corpses. He married the princess Amestris, daughter of Otanes, who would become mother to his sons Darius, Hystaspes, Artaxerxes I, Achamenes, and daughters Amytis and Rhodogune. The fact that the Athenians chose to meet their enemy at the point of its entry into their country rather than defending the gates of their city is in itself remarkable. Legend says that indeed the spirit came to Artabanus, threatened to destroy him for interfering and was on the verge of putting out his eyes with hot irons when Artabanus awoke and ran to Xerxes. Some of the troops at Thermopylae left the scene, and controversy persists to this day as to whether the Spartan king dismissed them to fight another day or sent them home in contempt. Datis and Artaphernes intended to fight the Greeks at Marathon with 20,000 men while the city of Athens, only lightly defended, would fall easy prey to the second Persian army. Rejoice, we conquer! ’ then he collapsed and died swiftest runner, Pheidippides, to Sparta 150 away! 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