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The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
and
Greek city-states ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...

Greek city-states
that started in 499 BC 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 II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
conquered the Greek-inhabited region of
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
in 547 BC. Struggling to control the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed
tyrant A tyrant (from Ancient Greek , ''tyrannos''), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, ty ...
s 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
Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mīlētos; Hittite language, Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' (Exonym and endonym, exonyms); la, Miletus; tr, Milet) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the western coast of Ana ...
,
Aristagoras Aristagoras ( grc-gre, Ἀρισταγόρας ὁ Μιλήσιος), d. 497/496 BC, was the leader of the Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔː.ní.aː/, ''Iōnía'' or Ἰωνίη, ''I ...
, embarked on an
expedition Expedition may refer to: * An exploration, journey, or voyage undertaken by a group of people especially for discovery and scientific research Places * Expedition Island, a park in Green River, Wyoming, US * Expedition Range, a mountain range in ...
to conquer the island of
Naxos Naxos (; el, Νάξος, ) is a list of islands of Greece, Greek island and the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. The island is famous as a source of Emery (rock), emery, a rock rich in corundum, which un ...
, with Persian support; however, the expedition was a debacle and, preempting his dismissal, Aristagoras incited all of Hellenic
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
into rebellion against the Persians. This was the beginning of the
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
, which would last until 493 BC, progressively drawing more regions of Asia Minor into the conflict. Aristagoras secured military support from
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
and
Eretria Eretria (; el, Ερέτρια, ''Eretria'', literally "city of the rowers" grc, Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th cent ...
, and in 498 BC these forces helped to capture and burn the Persian regional capital of
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
. The Persian king
Darius the Great Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...

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 epicenter of the revolt in Miletus. At the Battle of Lade, the 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 conquer Greece and to punish Athens and Eretria for the burning of Sardis. The
first Persian invasion of Greece The first Persian invasion of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is its largest and capital city, f ...
began in 492 BC, with the Persian general Mardonius successfully re-subjugating
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

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 The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
, under the command of
Datis Datis or Datus ( el, Δάτης, Old Iranian: *Dātiya-, Achaemenid Elamite: Da-ti-ya), was a Media (region), Median Nobility, noble and admiral who served the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire, under Darius the Great. He was an expert in Greek af ...
and
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
. This expedition subjugated the
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the Node (ne ...

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 The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Pla ...

Battle of Marathon
, ending Persian efforts for the time being. Darius then began to plan to completely conquer Greece but died in 486 BC and responsibility for the conquest passed to his son
Xerxes
Xerxes
. In 480 BC, Xerxes personally led the
second Persian invasion of Greece The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, t ...
with one of the largest ancient armies ever assembled. Victory over the allied Greek states at the famous
Battle of Thermopylae The Battle of Thermopylae ( ; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popu ...
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 The Battle of Salamis ( ; grc, Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachía tês Salamînos) was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of wate ...

Battle of Salamis
. The following year, the confederated Greeks went on the offensive, decisively defeating the Persian army at the
Battle of Plataea The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Ancient Greece, Greek city-states (including Sp ...
, and ending the invasion of Greece by the Achaemenid Empire. The allied Greeks followed up their success by destroying the rest of the Persian fleet at the
Battle of Mycale The Battle of Mycale ( grc, Μάχη τῆς Μυκάλης; ''Machē tēs Mykalēs'') was one of the two major battles (the other being the Battle of Plataea The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasio ...
, before expelling Persian garrisons from
Sestos Sestos ( el, Σηστός, la, Sestus) was an ancient city in Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical in , now split among , , and , which is bounded ...
(479 BC) and
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
(478 BC). Following the Persian withdrawal from Europe and the Greek victory at Mycale, Macedon and the city-states of Ionia regained their independence. The actions of the general
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
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, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
. The Delian League
continued to campaign
continued to campaign
against Persia for the next three decades, beginning with the expulsion of the remaining Persian garrisons from
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
. At the
Battle of the Eurymedon The Battle of the Eurymedon was a double battle, taking place both on water and land, between the Delian League of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an ...
in 466 BC, the League won a double victory that finally secured freedom for the cities of Ionia. However, the League's involvement in the Egyptian revolt by Inaros II against
Artaxerxes I Artaxerxes I (, peo, 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 , "whose rule (''xšaça'' PlutarchThemistocles, 29/ref> Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah A King Artaxerxes ( he, אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא, ) is described in the Bible ...

Artaxerxes I
(from 460–454 BC) resulted in a disastrous Greek defeat, and further campaigning was suspended. A Greek fleet was sent to
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
in 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, the
Peace of Callias The Peace of Callias is a purported peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, gene ...
.


Sources

All the surviving primary sources for the Greco-Persian Wars are Greek; no contemporary accounts survive in other languages. By far the most important source is the fifth-century Greek historian
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
. Herodotus, who has been called the "Father of History", was born in 484 BC in
Halicarnassus Halicarnassus (; grc, Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός ''Halikarnāssós'' or ''Alikarnāssós''; tr, Halikarnas; : 𐊠𐊣𐊫𐊰 𐊴𐊠𐊥𐊵𐊫𐊰 ''alos k̂arnos'') was an city in , in . It was located in southwest , on an advantageous ...
, 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 Thomas Stanley Holland (born 1 June 1996) is an English actor. A graduate of the BRIT School, BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in London, he began his acting career on the West End theatre, West End stage in the title role of '' ...
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 personally."Holland, pp. ''xvi''–''xvii''. Some later ancient historians, starting with
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
, criticized Herodotus and his methods.Finley, p. 15. 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 correcting.
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
criticised 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.Holland, p. 377 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 invasion of Greece The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, t ...
and the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

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.Finley, p. 16.Kagan, p. 77. The richest source for the period, and also the most contemporaneous, is Thucydides' ''
History of the Peloponnesian War The ''History of the Peloponnesian War'' is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which was fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Classical Athens, Athens). It was written by ...
'', which is generally considered by modern historians to be a reliable primary account.Sealey, p. 264.Fine, p. 336.Finley, pp. 29–30. 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.Sealey, p. 248.Fine, p. 343 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
biographies A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or cu ...
of
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

Themistocles
,
Aristides Aristides (; grc-gre, Ἀριστείδης, Aristeídēs ; 530–468 BC) was an ancient Athenian statesman. Nicknamed "the Just", he flourished in the early quarter of Athens' Classical period and is remembered for his generalship in the ...

Aristides
and especially
Cimon Cimon or Kimon ( grc-gre, Κίμων; – 450BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropri ...

Cimon
. 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 omitted in Herodotus and Thucydides's accounts. The final major existing source for the period is the universal history (''
Bibliotheca historica ''Bibliotheca historica'' ( grc, Βιβλιοθήκη Ἱστορική, "Historical Library") is a work of universal history A universal history is a work aiming at the presentation of a history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meani ...
'') of the 1st century BC Sicilian,
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
. Much of Diodorus's writing about this period is drawn from the much earlier Greek historian
Ephorus Ephorus of Cyme (; grc-gre, Ἔφορος ὁ Κυμαῖος, ''Ephoros ho Kymaios''; c. 400330 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, ...
, who also wrote a universal history.Fine, p. 360. 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
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
's ''Description of Greece'', while the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...

Byzantine
Suda The ''Suda'' or ''Souda'' (; grc-x-medieval, Σοῦδα, Soûda; la, Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman ...

Suda
dictionary of the 10th century AD preserves some anecdotes found nowhere else. Minor sources for the period include the works of
Pompeius Trogus Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus also anglicized as was a Gallo-Roman historian from the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Narbonese Gaul who lived during the reign of the emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and u ...
(epitomized by Justinus),
Cornelius Nepos Cornelius Nepos (; c. 110 BC – c. 25 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'' ...
and
Ctesias of Cnidus:''For the beetle genus, see Ctesias (beetle).'' Ctesias (; grc, Κτησίας, ''Ktēsíās'', 5th century BC), also known as Ctesias the Cnidian or Ctesias of Cnidus, was a Greek physician A physician (American English), medical practitio ...
(epitomized by
Photius Photios I ( el, Φώτιος, ''Phōtios''; c. 810/820 – 6 February 893), also spelled PhotiusFr. Justin Taylor, essay "Canon Law in the Age of the Fathers" (published in Jordan Hite, T.O.R., & Daniel J. Ward, O.S.B., "Readings, Cases, Material ...
), 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. A few physical remnants of the conflict have been found by archaeologists. The most famous is the
Serpent Column The Serpent Column ( grc, Τρικάρηνος Ὄφις ''Τrikarenos Οphis'' "Three-headed Serpent";, i.e. "the bronze three-headed serpent"; see See also , . tr, Yılanlı Sütun "Serpentine Column"), also known as the Serpentine Column, P ...
in Istanbul, which was originally placed at
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of , the major who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle was interna ...

Delphi
to commemorate the Greek victory at
Plataea Plataea or Plataia (; grc, wikt:Πλάταια, Πλάταια), also Plataeae or Plataiai (; grc, wikt:Πλαταιαί, Πλαταιαί), was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes (Boeotia), Thebes.Mi ...
. In 1939, Greek archaeologist
Spyridon Marinatos Spyridon Nikolaou Marinatos ( el, Σπυρίδων Νικολάου Μαρινάτος; November 4, 1901 – October 1, 1974) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
found the remains of numerous Persian arrowheads at the Kolonos Hill on the field of Thermopylae, which is now generally identified as the site of the defender's last stand.


Origins of the conflict

The Greeks of the classical period believed that, in the
dark age The "Dark Ages" is a historical periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World ...
that followed the collapse of the
Mycenaean civilization Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC.. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland ...
, significant numbers of Greeks fled and had emigrated to Asia Minor and settled there.Herodotu
I, 142–151
/ref> 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
Aeolians The Aeolians (; el, Αἰολεῖς) were one of the four major tribes in which Greeks divided themselves in the Ancient Greece, ancient period (along with the Achaeans (tribe), Achaeans, Dorians and Ionians).. Name Their name mythologically der ...
,
Dorians The Dorians (; el, Δωριεῖς, ''Dōrieîs'', singular , ''Dōrieús'') were one of the four major ethnic groups into which the Greeks, Hellenes (or Greeks) of Classical Greece divided themselves (along with the Aeolians, Achaeans (tribe) ...
and
Ionians The Ionians (; el, Ἴωνες, ''Íōnes'', , ''Íōn'') were one of the four major s that the considered themselves to be divided into during the ; the other three being the , , and . The was one of the of the , together with the and ...
. The Ionians had settled about the coasts of
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...

Lydia
and
Caria Caria (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

Caria
, founding the twelve cities that made up
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
. These cities were
Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mīlētos; Hittite language, Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' (Exonym and endonym, exonyms); la, Miletus; tr, Milet) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the western coast of Ana ...
,
Myus Myus ( grc, Μυοῦς), sometimes Myous or Myos, was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ro ...
and
Priene Priene ( grc, Πριήνη, Priēnē; tr, Prien) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city of Ionia (and member of the Ionian League) located at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about north of what was then the course of the Maeander River ...

Priene
in Caria;
Ephesus Ephesus (; gr, Ἔφεσος, Éphesos; tr, Efes; may ultimately derive from hit, 𒀀𒉺𒊭, Apaša) was a city in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Gree ...

Ephesus
,
Colophon Colophon may refer to: * Colophon (city) in ancient Greece, located in modern Turkey * Colophon (beetle), ''Colophon'' (beetle), a genus of stag beetle Books and Publishing * Colophon (publishing), a brief description of the manuscript or book t ...
,
Lebedos Lebedus or Lebedos ( grc, Λέβεδος) was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League, located south of Smyrna, Klazomenai and neighboring Teos and before Ephesus, which is further south. It was on the coast, ninety stadia (length), stadia ( ...
,
Teos Teos ( grc, Τέως) or Teo was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and ...

Teos
,
Clazomenae Klazomenai ( grc, Κλαζομεναί) or Clazomenae was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ...

Clazomenae
,
Phocaea Phocaea or Phokaia (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). ...
and
Erythrae Erythrae or Erythrai ( el, Ἐρυθραί) later Litri, was one of the twelve Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔː.ní.aː/, ''Iōnía'' or Ἰωνίη, ''Iōníē'') was an ancient ...
in Lydia; and the islands of
Samos Samos (, also ; el, Σάμος ) is a Greece, Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of western Turkey, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a sep ...

Samos
and
Chios Chios (; el, Χίος, Khíos ) is the fifth largest of the Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, islands, situated in the northern Aegean Sea. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. Chios is notable for its exports of Mast ...

Chios
.Herodotu
I, 142
/ref> 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''. They thus formed a 'cultural league', to which they would admit no other cities, or even other tribal Ionians.Herodotu
I, 143
/ref>Herodotu
I, 148
/ref> The cities of Ionia remained independent until they were conquered by the
Lydians The Lydians (known as ''Sparda'' to the Achaemenids The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran ...
of western Asia Minor. The Lydian king
Alyattes Alyattes ( grc, Ἀλυάττης ''Aluáttēs'', likely from Lydian '; reigned c. 618–561 BC), sometimes described as Alyattes I, was the fourth king of the List of kings of Lydia#Mermnadae, Mermnad dynasty in Lydia, the son of Sadyattes and ...
attacked Miletus, a conflict that ended with a treaty of alliance between 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 In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin wi ...
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 Halys may refer to: * Health-adjusted life years (HALYs), a type of disability-adjusted life year which are used in attempts to quantify the burden of disease or disability in populations * Halys River, a western name for the Kızılırmak River (T ...
set up as the border between the kingdoms. The famous Lydian king
Croesus Croesus ( ; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominant scale or aco ...

Croesus
succeeded his father Alyattes in around 560 BC and set about conquering the other Greek city states of Asia Minor.Herodotu
I, 26
/ref> The
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
n prince
Cyrus Cyrus (Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian lan ...

Cyrus
led a rebellion against the last Median king
Astyages Astyages (Median language, Median: wiktionary:Reconstruction:Old Median/R̥štivaigah, ''R̥štivaigah''; Akkadian language, Babylonian: ''Ištumegu''; spelled by Herodotus as ''Astyages'', by Ctesias as ''Astyigas'', by Diodorus as ''Aspadas'') ...

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 The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
in place of the Median kingdom in the process.Holland, pp. 9–12. Croesus saw the disruption in the Median Empire and Persia as an opportunity to extend his realm and asked the
oracle An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which go ...
of
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of , the major who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle was interna ...

Delphi
whether he should attack them. The Oracle supposedly replied the famously ambiguous answer that "if 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. While fighting the Lydians, Cyrus had sent messages to the Ionians asking them to revolt against Lydian rule, which the Ionians had 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.Herodotu
I, 141
/ref> Cyrus refused, citing the Ionians' unwillingness to help him previously. The Ionians thus prepared to defend themselves, and Cyrus sent the Median general
Harpagus Harpagus, also known as Harpagos or Hypargus (Ancient Greek Ἅρπαγος; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''Arbaku''), was a Medes, Median general from the 6th century BC, credited by Herodotus as having put Cyrus the Great on the throne through hi ...
to conquer them.Herodotu
I, 163
/ref> 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).Herodotu
I, 164
/ref> Some Teians also chose to emigrate when Harpagus attacked Teos, but the rest of the Ionians remained, and were each in turn conquered.Herodotu
I, 169
/ref> 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.Holland, pp. 147–151. 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.Fine
pp. 269–277.
/ref> On the eve of the Greco-Persian wars, it is probable that the Ionian population had become discontented and was ready for rebellion.Holland, pp. 155–157.


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.


Persia

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 armor and style of fighting.Lazenby, pp23–29 The troops were usually armed with a bow, a 'short spear' and a sword or axe, and carried a wicker shield. They wore a leather jerkin, although individuals of high status 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 The ''sparabara'', meaning "shield bearers" in Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire ...
', 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 missile cavalry.


Greece

The style of warfare between the Greek city-states, which dates back until at least 650 BC (as dated by the '
Chigi vase Chigi may refer to: * Chigi (dog), a crossbreed between a Welsh Corgi and a chihuahua (dog) * House of Chigi, a Roman princely family * Chigi (architecture), an element in Japanese architecture See also * Palazzo Chigi (disambiguation) {{disambig ...
'), was based around the
hoplite Hoplites () ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 B ...
phalanx The phalanx ( grc, φάλαγξ; plural phalanxes or phalanges, , ) was a rectangular In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry with four Edge ...
supported by missile troops.Holland, pp69–72 The '
hoplite Hoplites () ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 B ...
s' 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 Achilles heals Patroclus, since he learned the arts of medicine from his tutor, Chiron. Both men are believed to be wearing linothoraxes. Attic pottery, attic Red-figure pottery, red-figure kylix, signed by Sosias, c. 500 BC, Antikensammlung Berl ...
, greaves, a helmet, and a large round, concave shield (the ''
aspis An aspis ( grc, wikt:ἀσπίς, ἀσπίς, plural ''aspides'', ), sometimes also referred to as an hoplon ( el, ὅπλον), was the heavy wooden shield used by the infantry in various periods of ancient Greece. Construction An aspis was de ...
or
hoplon An aspis ( grc, ἀσπίς, plural ''aspides'', ), sometimes also referred to as an hoplon ( el, ὅπλον), was the heavy wooden shield Wall painting depicting a Mycenaean Greek "figure eight" shield with a suspension strap at the midd ...
'').Lazenby, pp. 256 Hoplites were armed with long spears (the ''
dory A dory is a small, shallow-draft Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sail), degree of curvature in a sail * Air draft, distance from wat ...
''), which were significantly longer than Persian spears, and a sword (the ''
xiphos The ''xiphos'' ( grc, ξίφος ; plural ''xiphe'', grc, ξίφη ) is a double-edged, one-handed Iron Age straight shortsword used by the ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a peri ...

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
psiloiImage:Macedonian battle formation-en.svg, 280px, Macedonian battle formation with psiloi at the fore, courtesy of The Department of History, United States Military Academy. In Ancient Greek warfare, Ancient Greek armies, the ''psiloi'' (Ancient Gree ...
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 Greco-Persian Wars.


Naval warfare

At the beginning of the conflict, all naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean had switched to the
trireme A trireme (, ; derived from Latin: ''trirēmis'' "with three banks of oars"; 'triērēs'', ''literally "three-rower") was an ancient vessel and a type of galley A galley is a type of ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the w ...

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 side.Lazenby, pp. 34–37 The Persian naval forces were primarily provided by the seafaring people of the empire:
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns,
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المصريين, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group of people originating from the country of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning t ...

Egyptians
,
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
ns and
Cypriots Cypriot (in older sources often "Cypriote") refers to someone or something of, from, or related to the country of Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island nation i ...
.Herodotu
VII, 89
/ref>Herodotu
VI, 9
/ref> Other coastal regions of the Persian Empire would contribute ships throughout the course of the wars.


Preliminary contacts between Persia and mainland Greece (507 BC)

In 507 BC,
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
, as brother of
Darius I Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...
and Satrap of
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
in his capital
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
, received an embassy from newly democratic
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
, probably sent by
Cleisthenes Cleisthenes ( ; grc-gre, Κλεισθένης, Kleisthénēs, ) or Clisthenes ( la, Clīsthenēs ) was an ancient Athenian lawgiver credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens , image_skyline = File:Ath ...

Cleisthenes
, which was looking for Persian assistance in order to resist the threats from
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
.
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
reports that Artaphernes had no previous knowledge of the Athenians, and his initial reaction was "Who are these people?". Artaphernes asked the Athenians for "Water and Earth", a symbol of submission, if they wanted help from the Achaemenid king. The Athenians ambassadors apparently accepted to comply, and to give "Earth and Water". Artaphernes also advised the Athenians that they should receive back the Athenian
tyrant A tyrant (from Ancient Greek , ''tyrannos''), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, ty ...

tyrant
Hippias Hippias of Elis Elis or Ilia ( el, Ηλεία, ''Ileia'') is one of the regional units of Greece The 74 regional units ( el, περιφερειακές ενότητες, ; sing. , ) are Administrative divisions of Greece, administrative units of G ...
. The Persians threatened to attack Athens if they did not accept Hippias. Nevertheless, the Athenians preferred to remain democratic despite the danger from Persia, and the ambassadors were disavowed and censured upon their return to Athens. There is a possibility that the Achaemenid ruler now saw the Athenians as subjects who had solemnly promised submission through the gift of "Earth and Water", and that subsequent actions by the Athenians, such as their intervention in the Ionian revolt, were perceived as a break of oath, and a rebellion to the central authority of the Achaemenid ruler.


Ionian Revolt (499–493 BC)

The
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
and associated revolts in
Aeolis Aeolis (: , ''Aiolís''), or Aeolia (; , ''Aiolía''), was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of , mostly along the coast, and also several offshore islands (particularly ), where the city-states were located. Aeolis incor ...
,
Doris Doris may refer to: People Given name * Doris (mythology) of Greek mythology, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys * Doris, fictional character in the Canadian television series '' Caillou'' * Doris (singer) (born 1947), Swedish rock and pop singer * ...
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
, and
Caria Caria (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

Caria
were military rebellions by several regions of
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature 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 Histiaeus (, died 493 BC), the son of Lysagoras, was a Greek ruler of Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mīlētos; Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' ( exonyms); la, Miletus; tr, Milet) was an ancient Greek ...
and
Aristagoras Aristagoras ( grc-gre, Ἀρισταγόρας ὁ Μιλήσιος), d. 497/496 BC, was the leader of the Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔː.ní.aː/, ''Iōnía'' or Ἰωνίη, ''I ...
.Holland, pp. 153–154. In 499 BC the then tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position in Miletus (both financially and in terms of prestige).Herodotu
V, 31
/ref> The
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
was a debacle,Herodotu
V, 33
/ref> and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king
Darius the Great Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...

Darius the Great
. Struggling to rule the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed local
tyrant A tyrant (from Ancient Greek , ''tyrannos''), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, ty ...

tyrant
s 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.Herodotu
V, 100–101
/ref> However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus.Herodotu
V, 102
/ref> 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,Herodotu
V, 116
/ref> but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant the largest army, under
Darius Darius may refer to: Persian kings ;Kings of the Achaemenid Empire * Darius I (the Great, 550 to 487 BC) * Darius II (423 to 404 BC) * Darius III (Codomannus, 380 to 330 BC) ;Crown Prince * Darius (son of Xerxes I), Crown Prince of Persia, may ha ...

Darius
, moved there instead.Herodotu
V, 117
/ref> While at first campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was wiped out in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus.Herodotu
V, 121
/ref> This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 and 495 BC.Boardman ''et al''
pp. 481–490.
/ref> By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus.Herodotu
VI, 6
/ref> The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was defeated decisively at the Battle of Lade, after the
Samians Samos (, also ; el, Σάμος ) is a Greece, Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of western Turkey, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a sep ...

Samians
had defected.Herodotu
VI, 8–16
/ref> Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was enslaved.Herodotu
VI, 19
/ref> This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result.Herodotu
VI, 25
/ref> The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them,Herodotu
VI, 31–33
/ref> before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia that was considered to be both just and fair.Holland, pp. 175–177. The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Achaemenid Empire and represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. 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 in 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)

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 The first Persian invasion of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is its largest and capital city, f ...
consisted of two main campaigns.Holland, pp. 177–178.


492 BC: Mardonius' campaign

The first campaign, in 492 BC, was led by Darius's son-in-law Mardonius,Herodotu
VI, 43
/ref> who re-subjugated
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
, which had nominally been part of the Persian empire since 513 BC. Mardonius was also able to force
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
to become a fully subordinate client kingdom of Persia; it had previously been a
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
, but retained a broad degree of autonomy.Herodotu
VI, 44
/ref> However, further progress in this campaign was prevented when Mardonius's fleet was wrecked in a storm off the coast of
Mount Athos Mount Athos (; el, Ἄθως, ) is a mountain and peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. Th ...

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.Herodotu
VI, 45
/ref> 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 Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
, both of whom instead executed the ambassadors.Herodotu
VI 48
/ref> With Athens still defiant, and Sparta now also effectively at war with him, Darius ordered a further military campaign for the following year.Holland, pp. 181–183.


490 BC: Datis and Artaphernes' campaign

In 490 BC,
Datis Datis or Datus ( el, Δάτης, Old Iranian: *Dātiya-, Achaemenid Elamite: Da-ti-ya), was a Media (region), Median Nobility, noble and admiral who served the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire, under Darius the Great. He was an expert in Greek af ...
and
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
(son of the satrap
Artaphernes Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
) were given command of an amphibious invasion force, and set sail from
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
. The Persian force sailed first to the island of
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the sout ...

Rhodes
, where a Lindian Temple Chronicle records that
Datis Datis or Datus ( el, Δάτης, Old Iranian: *Dātiya-, Achaemenid Elamite: Da-ti-ya), was a Media (region), Median Nobility, noble and admiral who served the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire, under Darius the Great. He was an expert in Greek af ...
besieged the city of
Lindos Lindos (; grc-gre, Λίνδος) is an archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, b ...

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.Holland, pp. 183–186. 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.Herodotu
VI, 96
/ref> 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 Euboea (, ) or Evia (, ; el, Εύβοια Euboea (, ) or Evia (, ; el, Εύβοια ; grc, Εὔβοια ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia ...

Euboea
, and to the first major target, Eretria.Herodotu
VI, 100
/ref> 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 townspeople.Herodotu
VI, 101
/ref>


Battle of Marathon

The Persian fleet next headed south down the coast of
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
, landing at the bay of
Marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running or with a run/walk strategy. There are also ...
, roughly from Athens. Under the guidance of
Miltiades Miltiades (; grc-gre, Μιλτιάδης; c. 550 – 489 BC), also known as Miltiades the Younger, was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Repub ...
, 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 the battle.Holland, pp. 195–197. Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield; the Athenians lost only 192 men.Herodotu
VI, 117
/ref> As soon as the Persian survivors had put to sea, the Athenians marched as quickly as possible to Athens. They arrived in time to prevent Artaphernes from securing a landing in Athens. Seeing his opportunity lost, Artaphernes ended the year's campaign and returned to Asia. The 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)


Achaemenid Empire

After the failure of the first invasion, Darius began raising a huge new army with which he intended to subjugate Greece completely. However, in 486 BC, his
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
subjects revolted, and the revolt forced an indefinite postponement of any Greek expedition.Holland, pp. 202–203. Darius died while preparing to march on Egypt, and the throne of Persia passed to his son
Xerxes I Xerxes I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 ; grc-gre, Ξέρξης; – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 ...

Xerxes I
. Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt, and very quickly resumed the preparations for the invasion of Greece.Holland, pp. 208–211. Since this was to be a full-scale invasion, it needed longterm planning, stockpiling and conscription. Xerxes decided that the
Hellespont satellite in September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and A ...
would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of
Mount Athos Mount Athos (; el, Ἄθως, ) is a mountain and peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. Th ...

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.Holland, pp. 213–214. However, the campaign was delayed by one year because of another revolt in Egypt and
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
. The Persians had the sympathy of several Greek city-states, including
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...

Argos
, which had pledged to defect when the Persians reached their borders. The
Aleuadae The Aleuadae ( grc, Ἀλευάδαι) were an ancient Thessalian Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth d ...
family, who ruled
Larissa Larissa (; el, Λάρισα, , ) is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly modern regions of Greece, region in Greece. It is the fifth-most populous city in Greece with a population of 144,651 according to the 2011 census. It is also capita ...

Larissa
in
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

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.Holland, p. 263. 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 in Asia Minor in the summer and autumn of 481 BC. The armies from the Eastern satrapies were gathered in Kritala,
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
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 bridge A pontoon bridge (or ponton bridge), also known as a floating bridge, uses floats or shallow-draft Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sai ...
s.


Size of the Persian forces

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.de Souza, p. 41. 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 The Battle of Salamis ( ; grc, Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachía tês Salamînos) was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of wate ...

Battle of Salamis
.Lazenby, pp. 93–94. 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 The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
. These works generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than around 600 warships into the Aegean.


Greek city states


Athens

A year after Marathon, Miltiades, the hero of Marathon, was injured in a military campaign to
Paros Paros (; el, Πάρος; : ''Paro'') is a Greek island in the central . One of the island group, it lies to the west of , from which it is separated by a channel about wide. It lies approximately south-east of . The of Paros includes numero ...
. Taking advantage of his incapacitation, the powerful
AlcmaeonidThe Alcmaeonidae or Alcmaeonids () were a powerful noble family of ancient Athens, a branch of the Neleides who claimed descent from the Greek mythology, mythological Alcmaeon, the great-grandson of Nestor (mythology), Nestor. __NOTOC__ The first ...
family arranged for him to be prosecuted for the failure of the campaign. A huge fine was imposed on Miltiades for the crime of 'deceiving the Athenian people', but he died weeks later from his wound.Holland, pp. 214–217. The politician
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

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.Holland, pp. 217–219. In 483 BC, a vast new seam of silver was found in the Athenian mines at
Laurium Laurium or Lavrio ( ell, Λαύριο; grc, Λαύρειον (later ); before early 11th century BC: Θορικός ''Thorikos''; from Middle Ages until 1908: Εργαστήρια ''Ergastiria'') is a town in southeastern part of Attica Region, ...
.Plutarch, Themistocles, 4 Themistocles proposed that the silver should be used to build a new fleet of triremes, ostensibly to assist in a long running war with
Aegina Aegina (; el, Αίγινα, ''Aígina'' ; grc, Αἴγῑνα) is one of the of in the , from . Tradition derives the name from , the mother of the hero , who was born on the island and became its king. Administration Municipality The mu ...

Aegina
.Holland, pp. 219–222. Plutarch suggests that Themistocles deliberately 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.Fine, p. 292 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 Ostracism ( el, ὀστρακισμός, ''ostrakismos'') was an Athenian democratic procedure in which any citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitl ...
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, Themistocles had become the leading politician in Athens.Plutarch, Themistocles, 5


Sparta

The Spartan king
Demaratus Demaratus, or Demaratos ( el, Δημάρατος), was a king of Sparta from around 515 BC until 491 BC, 15th of the Kings of Sparta#Eurypontid, Eurypontid line. He was the first son born to his father King Ariston of Sparta, Ariston. As king, Dem ...
had been stripped of his kingship in 491 BC, and replaced with his cousin
LeotychidesLeotychidas (also Leotychides, Latychidas; grc, Λεωτυχίδας; c. 545 BC–c. 469 BC) was co-ruler of Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric, or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variant ...
. Sometime after 490 BC, the humiliated Demaratus had chosen to go into exile, and had made his way to Darius's court in
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
. 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 second invasion, 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.


Hellenic alliance

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 Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
in late autumn of 481 BC, and a confederate alliance of
Greek city-states ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...
was formed.Herodotu
VII, 145
/ref> 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. Herodotus does 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.Herodotu
VII, 160
/ref> 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 another.Holland, p. 226.


Second invasion of Greece (480–479 BC)


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 Hellespont to . 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. 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.Holland, pp. 248–249. However, once there, they were warned by Alexander I of 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.Herodotu
VII, 173
/ref> At this point, a second strategy was suggested by Themistocles to the allies. The route to southern Greece (Boeotia,
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

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.Holland pp. 255–257. 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 Troezen.


August 480 BC: Battles of Thermopylae and 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 Hippeis were 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.Holland, pp. 257–259. The Allies proceeded to occupy the pass, rebuilt the wall the Phocis (ancient region), Phocians had built at the narrowest point of the pass, and waited for Xerxes's arrival.Holland, pp. 262–264. 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 Hoplites () ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 B ...
warfare, the Persian contingents being forced to attack the Greek Phalanx formation, 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 of Trachis, Ephialtes who revealed to Xerxes a mountain path that led behind the Allied lines, according to Herodotus. Herodotus has often been dismissed as a 'story teller', by Aristotle himself amongst others, and this may be a piece of folklore to create a more engaging narrative. In any case, it is impossible to determine with absolute certainty the legitimacy of Ephialtes' involvement in the battle. The Anopoea path was defended by roughly 1000 Phocians, according to Herodotus, who reportedly fled when confronted by the Persians. 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 captured.Herodotu
VII, 223
/ref> 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.Herodotus
VIII, 2
/ref> 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 Salamis Island, Salamis.


September 480 BC: Battle of Salamis

Victory at 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 Isthmus of 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 on the Acropolis were eventually defeated, and Xerxes then ordered the Achaemenid destruction of Athens, destruction of Athens. 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.Holland, pp. 327–329. If Xerxes could destroy the Allied navy, he would be in a strong position to force an Allied surrender;Holland, pp. 308–309 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.Holland, pp. 310–315 There, the Persian numbers became a hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganised.Herodotu
VIII, 89
/ref> 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.Holland, pp. 320–326. 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 the 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 winter.


June 479 BC: Battles of Plataea and 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.Holland, pp. 333–335. 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.Holland, pp. 336–338. 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 Megara and Plataea, sent emissaries to 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 the Persians. When 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.Holland, p. 339. The Allied army, under the command of the regent
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
, 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.Holland, pp. 342–349. 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.Holland, pp. 350–355. Herodotus recounts that, on the afternoon of the
Battle of Plataea The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Ancient Greece, Greek city-states (including Sp ...
, a rumour of their victory at that battle reached the Allies' navy, at that time off the coast of Mycale, Mount Mycale in Ionia. Their morale boosted, the Allied marines fought and won a decisive victory at the
Battle of Mycale The Battle of Mycale ( grc, Μάχη τῆς Μυκάλης; ''Machē tēs Mykalēs'') was one of the two major battles (the other being the Battle of Plataea The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasio ...
that same day, destroying the remnants of the Persian fleet, crippling Xerxes's sea power, and marking the ascendancy of the Greek fleet.Holland, pp. 357–358. Whilst many modern historians doubt that Mycale took place on the same day as Plataea, the battle may well only have occurred once the Allies received news of the events unfolding in Greece.


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 their example.Herodotu
IX, 104
/ref>Thucydide
I, 89
/ref>


Sestos

Shortly after Mycale, the Allied fleet sailed to the Hellespont to break down the pontoon bridges, but found that this had already been done.Herodotu
IX, 114
/ref> The Peloponnesians sailed home, but the Athenians remained to attack the Thracian Chersonese, Chersonesos, still held by the Persians. The Persians and their allies made for
Sestos Sestos ( el, Σηστός, la, Sestus) was an ancient city in Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical in , now split among , , and , which is bounded ...
, the strongest town in the region. Amongst them was one Oeobazus of Cardia (Thrace), Cardia, who had with him the cables and other equipment from the pontoon bridges.Herodotu
IX, 115
/ref> The Persian governor, Artayctes had not prepared for a siege, not believing that the Allies would attack.Herodotu
IX, 116
/ref> 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,Herodotu
IX, 117
/ref> 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.Herodotu
IX, 118
/ref> 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.Herodotu
IX, 119
/ref> Artayctes was crucified at the request of the people of Elaeus, a town which Artayctes had plundered while governor of the Chersonesos.Herodotu
IX, 120
/ref> The Athenians, having pacified the region, then sailed back to Athens, taking the cables from the pontoon bridges with them as trophies.Herodotu
IX, 121
/ref>


Cyprus

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 sailed to Cyprus and "subdued most of the island".Thucydide
I, 94
/ref> 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.Sealey, p242 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 quickly expelled.


Byzantium

The Greek fleet then sailed to
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
, which they besieged and eventually captured. Control of both Sestos and 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.Fine, p. 331. 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.Thucydide
I, 95
/ref> The 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.Fine, pp. 338–339. The timescale is unclear, but Pausanias may have remained in possession of 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)


Delian League

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 Spartan king
LeotychidesLeotychidas (also Leotychides, Latychidas; grc, Λεωτυχίδας; c. 545 BC–c. 469 BC) was co-ruler of Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric, or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variant ...
had proposed transplanting all the Greeks from 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.Holland, p. 362. 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 explicit. 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 island of 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 The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
. According to Thucydides, the official aim of the League was to "avenge the wrongs they suffered by ravaging the territory of the king".Thucydide
I, 96
/ref> 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 the tax.


Campaigns against Persia

Throughout the 470s BC, the Delian League campaigned in Thrace and the Aegean to remove the remaining Persian garrisons from the region, primarily under the command of the Athenian politician
Cimon Cimon or Kimon ( grc-gre, Κίμων; – 450BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropri ...

Cimon
.Sealey, p. 250. In the early part of the next decade, Cimon began campaigning in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
, seeking to strengthen the Greek position there.Plutarch, Cimon, 12 At the
Battle of the Eurymedon The Battle of the Eurymedon was a double battle, taking place both on water and land, between the Delian League of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an ...
in 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.Plutarch, Cimon, 13 Towards the end of the 460s BC, the Athenians took the ambitious decision to support a revolt in the
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
satrapy of the Persian empire. Although the Greek task force achieved initial successes, they were unable to capture the Persian garrison in Memphis, Egypt, Memphis, despite a three-year long siege.Thucydide
I, 104
/ref> The Persians then counterattacked, and the Athenian force was itself besieged for 18 months, before being wiped out.Thucydide
I, 109
/ref> This disaster, coupled with First Peloponnesian War, ongoing warfare in Greece, dissuaded the Athenians from resuming conflict with Persia.Sealey, pp. 271–273. In 451 BC however, a truce was agreed in Greece, and Cimon was then able to lead an expedition to Cyprus. However, while besieging Kition, Cimon died, and the Athenian force decided to withdraw, winning another double victory at the Battle of Salamis (in Cyprus), Battle of Salamis-in-Cyprus in order to extricate themselves.Thucydide
I, 112
/ref> This campaign marked the end of hostilities between the Delian League and Persia, and therefore the end of the Greco-Persian Wars.Plutarch, Cimon, 19


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.Diodoru
XII, 4
/ref> Diodorus was probably following the history of
Ephorus Ephorus of Cyme (; grc-gre, Ἔφορος ὁ Κυμαῖος, ''Ephoros ho Kymaios''; c. 400330 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, ...
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, Callisthenes and Theopompus, appear to reject its existence.Sealey, p. 280. It is possible that the Athenians had attempted to negotiate with the Persians previously. Plutarch suggests that in the aftermath of the victory at the Eurymedon, Artaxerxes I of Persia, Artaxerxes had agreed to a peace treaty with the Greeks, even naming Callias as the Athenian ambassador involved. However, as Plutarch admits, 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
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
to negotiate with Artaxerxes. This embassy included some Ancient Argos, 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.Kagan, p. 84. 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.Sealey, p. 281. 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.Fine, p. 363. 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.Sealey, p. 282. 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 treaty's existence. 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 Halys may refer to: * Health-adjusted life years (HALYs), a type of disability-adjusted life year which are used in attempts to quantify the burden of disease or disability in populations * Halys River, a western name for the Kızılırmak River (T ...
(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 Ephorus of Cyme (; grc-gre, Ἔφορος ὁ Κυμαῖος, ''Ephoros ho Kymaios''; c. 400330 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, ...
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 Artaphernes ( el, wikt:Ἀρταφέρνης, Ἀρταφέρνης, Old Persian language, Old Persian: Artafarna, from Median language, Median ''Rtafarnah''), flourished circa 513–492 BC, was a brother of the Achaemenid king of Persia, Darius I, ...
, following the
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
). 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 The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
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 The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

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.Dandamaev, p. 256. Repeatedly defeated in battle by the Greeks, and plagued by internal rebellions that hindered their ability to fight the Greeks, after 449 BC,
Artaxerxes I Artaxerxes I (, peo, 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 , "whose rule (''xšaça'' PlutarchThemistocles, 29/ref> Portrayal in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah A King Artaxerxes ( he, אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא, ) is described in the Bible ...

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 Greece and 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 Ten Thousand (Greek mercenaries), 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 conflict. The Ionians refused to capitulate and called upon Sparta for 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 Peace of Antalcidas, "King's Peace" that brought the war to an end, Artaxerxes II demanded and received the return of the cities of 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.Dandamaev, p. 294 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.


See also

* History of Greece * History of Iran * List of wars extended by diplomatic irregularity


Notes


References


Bibliography


Ancient sources

*
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, ''Histories (Herodotus), The Histories'' (Godley translation, 1920) **Commentary: *
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
, ''
History of the Peloponnesian War The ''History of the Peloponnesian War'' is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which was fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Classical Athens, Athens). It was written by ...
'' *Xenophon, ''Anabasis (Xenophon), Anabasis'', ''Hellenica'' *
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
, ''Parallel Lives''; Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles, Cimon *
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
, ''
Bibliotheca historica ''Bibliotheca historica'' ( grc, Βιβλιοθήκη Ἱστορική, "Historical Library") is a work of universal history A universal history is a work aiming at the presentation of a history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meani ...
'' *
Cornelius Nepos Cornelius Nepos (; c. 110 BC – c. 25 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'' ...
, ''Lives of the Eminent Commanders''; Miltiades, Themistocles


Modern sources

* * * *de Souza, Philip (2003). ''The Greek and Persian Wars'', 499–386 BC. Osprey Publishing, () * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Persian Wars – World History Encyclopedia

The Persian Wars at History of Iran on Iran Chamber Society

Article in Greek about Salamis, includes Marathon and Xerxes's campaign

EDSITEment Lesson 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae: Herodotus' Real History
* Batchelor, J
The Graeco–Persian Wars Compared
Clio History Journal, 2009. {{good article Greco-Persian Wars, 490s BC conflicts 480s BC conflicts 470s BC conflicts 460s BC conflicts 450s BC conflicts 440s BC conflicts Wars involving ancient Greece Wars involving the Achaemenid Empire Wars involving ancient Cyprus Wars involving Macedonia (ancient kingdom) Wars involving ancient Egypt Wars involving Sparta Wars involving Athens 5th century BC History of Europe History of the Balkans