what advantages did persia have at the battle of thermopylae

[137][140] Thermopylae is famous because of the heroism of the doomed rearguard, who, despite facing certain death, remained at the pass. It has been reported that others also remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans. Thermopylae did not. The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece.It was a decisive victory for the Greeks as it ended that war. [78] The Persians, therefore, had to retreat or advance, and advancing required forcing the pass of Thermopylae. Herodotus claimed that there were, in total, 2.6 million military personnel, accompanied by an equivalent number of support personnel. ... What advantage did the Greeks have over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis? [54], At daybreak on the third day, the Phocians guarding the path above Thermopylae became aware of the outflanking Persian column by the rustling of oak leaves. While there are many theories regarding Leonidas' choice, including the idea that Spartans never retreated, it was most likely a strategic decision as a rearguard was necessary to prevent the Persian cavalry from running down the retreating army. Persian infantry was lightly equipped, no armor, and wooden shields. [130] Meanwhile, at the near-simultaneous naval Battle of Mycale, they also destroyed much of the remaining Persian fleet, thereby reducing the threat of further invasions. In the face of such imposing numbers, many Greek cities capitulated to the Persian demand for a tribute of earth and water. [79] Leonidas was made aware of this path by local people from Trachis, and he positioned a detachment of Phocian troops there in order to block this route. [66][b] These estimates usually come from studying the logistical capabilities of the Persians in that era, the sustainability of their respective bases of operations, and the overall manpower constraints affecting them. The number of Persian troops present at Thermopylae is therefore as uncertain as the number for the total invasion force. By and large, the battle of Thermopylae from Herodotus’ The Histories was an extremely notable and remarkable battle for the history of the west, as well as the world. Though possessing a weak army, Athens commenced building a large fleet of triremes under the guidance of Themistocles. 2. Knowing that the end was near, the Greeks marched into the open field and met the Persians head-on. When defending a narrow pass like the one at Thermopylae a phalanx was basically impenetrable to any attacks, the long spears deterring the attackers from advancing. Today, it is considered to have been much smaller. The Greeks allowed him to come up to the camp, observe them, and depart. The Persian Empire was still relatively young and prone to revolts amongst its subject peoples. While the Thebans ultimately surrendered, the other Greeks fought to the death. It is commonly stated that the Spartans were obeying the laws of Sparta by not retreating. [110], However, this alone does not explain the fact that they remained; the remainder of Thespiae was successfully evacuated before the Persians arrived there. Look at other dictionaries: battle of Thermopylae — noun a famous battle in 480 BC; a Greek army under Leonidas was annihilated by the Persians who were trying to conquer Greece • Syn: ↑Thermopylae • Regions: ↑Greece, ↑Hellenic Republic, ↑Ellas • Instance Hypernyms: ↑pitched battle … Useful english dictionary. [19] In fact, Herodotus' account of the battle, in Book VII of his Histories, is such an important source that Paul Cartledge wrote: "we either write a history of Thermopylae with [Herodotus], or not at all". [62][63]Top rank: Persian, Median, Elamite, Parthian, Arian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Chorasmian, Zarangian, Sattagydian, Gandharan, Hindush (Indians), Scythian.Bottom rank: Scythian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Arabian, Egyptian, Armenian, Cappadocian, Lydian, Ionian, Scythian, Thracian, Macedonian, Libyan, Ethiopian. ", "The Battle of Thermopylae was a Pyrrhic victory for [the Persians] but it offered Athens invaluable time to prepare for the decisive naval battle of Salamis one month later. An alliance of Greek city-states of about 6,700 men fought the invading Persian Empire, which had an army of about 242,000 men, at the pass of Thermopylae in … Leonidas (c. 530-480 B.C.) A Thessalian delegation suggested that the Greeks could muster in the narrow Vale of Tempe, on the borders of Thessaly, and thereby block Xerxes' advance. That boosted the morale of all Greek soldiers in the second Persian invasion. The Geographical Analysis of the Battle of Thermopylae and how it Affected the Outcome The Spartans at Thermopylae held the advantage due to the massive bluffs on either side of the pass. The battle Thermopylae is a classic example of the military might of both the Greek Phalanx and the warriors of Sparta. [110][111] If all the troops had retreated, the open ground beyond the pass would have allowed the Persian cavalry to run the Greeks down. A few months later, the Greeks were victorious in the naval battle of Salamis, and in 479 BC, the rest of the Persian army was defeated in the battle of Plataea. Having been turned back at Marathon in 490 BC, Persian forces returned to Greece ten years later to avenge their defeat and conquer the peninsula. When the Persians recovered Leonidas' body, Xerxes, in a rage, ordered that the body be decapitated and crucified. [105] He feared they were Spartans but was informed by Ephialtes that they were not. The performance of the defenders at the battle of Thermopylae is also used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds. [111], It is sometimes stated that Thermopylae was a Pyrrhic victory for the Persians[3][4] (i.e., one in which the victor is as damaged by the battle as the defeated party). [106] Upon discovering that his army had been encircled, Leonidas told his allies that they could leave if they wanted to. With the sea on one side and steep, impassable hills on the other, King Leonidas and his men chose the perfect topographical position to battle the Persian invaders. As the Persians advanced south, capturing Athens, the remaining Greek troops began fortifying the Isthmus of Corinth with the fleet in support. The fighting was most intense during two invasions that Persia launched against mainland Greece between 490 and 479. It was held at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae ("The Hot Gates") in August or September 480 BC. With the elimination of Leonidas' remaining force, the Persians claimed the pass and opened the road into southern Greece. . Greek epitaphs often appealed to the passing reader (always called 'stranger') for sympathy, but the epitaph for the dead Spartans at Thermopylae took this convention much further than usual, asking the reader to make a personal journey to Sparta to break the news that the Spartan expeditionary force had been wiped out. [99] According to Ctesias, the first wave was "cut to ribbons", with only two or three Spartans killed in return. While most favored an immediate retreat, Leonidas decided to stay at the pass with his 300 Spartans. [134] It seems clear that the Greek strategy was to hold off the Persians at Thermopylae and Artemisium;[77] whatever they may have intended, it was presumably not their desire to surrender all of Boeotia and Attica to the Persians. While they all knew it was coming, they didn’t see it in the same way. Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus, The stranger is also asked to stress that the Spartans died 'fulfilling their orders'. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands. The timing proved problematic for the Spartans as it coincided with the feast of Carneia and the Olympic truce. One of which is a statue of King Leonidas I, portrayed as bearing a spear, and shield. It was a narrow pass so the massive Persian army's front line got smaller as it pushed through. [c] However, compared to the probable time (about one month) between Thermopylae and Salamis, the time bought was negligible. The Athenian politician and general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, while simultaneously blocking the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium. 2. However, there is no suggestion by Herodotus that the effect on the Persian forces was that. The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in central Greece at the mountain pass of Thermopylae in 480 BCE during the Persian Wars. [93][94] Details of the tactics are scant; Diodorus says, "the men stood shoulder to shoulder", and the Greeks were "superior in valour and in the great size of their shields. Simonides went as far as to put the Persian number at Three million. As on the first day, these efforts were turned back with heavy casualties. Greco-Persian Wars, also called Persian Wars, (492–449 bce), a series of wars fought by Greek states and Persia over a period of almost half a century. ", Barkworth, 1993. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους = History of the Greek nation volume Β', Athens 1971, This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 16:59. [38], The Athenians had also been preparing for war with the Persians since the mid-480s BC, and in 482 BC the decision was taken, under the guidance of the Athenian politician Themistocles, to build a massive fleet of triremes that would be essential for the Greeks to fight the Persians. [12][13] The Persian army arrived at the pass in late August or early September. [97] The Spartans apparently used a tactic of feigning retreat, and then turning and killing the enemy troops when they ran after them. First, he ordered 5,000 archers to shoot a barrage of arrows, but they were ineffective; they shot from at least 100 yards away, according to modern day scholars, and the Greeks' wooden shields (sometimes covered with a very thin layer of bronze) and bronze helmets deflected the arrows. [54], Finally, in mid-August, the Persian army was sighted across the Malian Gulf approaching Thermopylae. 5) Battle of Thermopylae: The Numbers Game – Source: ThingLink. The performance of the defenders is used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers.[143]. The text from Herodotus is:[71], The alternative ancient reading πειθόμενοι νομίμοις (peithomenoi nomίmois) for ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι (rhēmasi peithomenoi) substitutes "laws" or "orders" for "words." This offended the proud Greeks greatly; the Athenians went so far as to toss the Persian heralds into a pit, while the Spartans followed suit and tossed them into a well. Under the statue, a sign reads: "In memory of the seven hundred Thespians.". [25] Darius then died whilst preparing to march on Egypt, and the throne of Persia passed to his son Xerxes I. A plate below the statue explains its symbolism: The monument to the Thespians is placed beside the one to the Spartans. For instance, Cawkwell states: "he was successful on both land and sea, and the Great Invasion began with a brilliant success. The simultaneous naval Battle of Artemisium had been a tactical stalemate, and the Greek navy was able to retreat in good order to the Saronic Gulf, where they helped to ferry the remaining Athenian citizens to the island of Salamis. [168] While this anniversary will take place in 2021, the coins show the dates 2020 and 480 BC and the text "2,500 years since the Battle of Thermopylae. Persian Battle at Thermopylae in 300 Movie, King Leonidas of Sparta and the Battle at Thermopylae, Top Battle of Thermopylae (and Artemisum) Books, 30 Maps of Ancient Greece Show How a Country Became an Empire, Persian Wars - Battle of Marathon - 490 BCE, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. The location at which King Leonidas encamped was narrow in diameter and did not allow for the deployment of large infantry divisions, so the Persians lost their only advantage, that of numerical superiority. [31], Darius thus put together an amphibious task force under Datis and Artaphernes in 490 BC, which attacked Naxos, before receiving the submission of the other Cycladic Islands. As a previous Persian fleet had been wrecked off Mount Athos, Xerxes intended to build a canal across the mountain's isthmus. With the defeat on land, the Greek fleet withdrew south after the Battle of Artemisium. [45] However, the Peloponnesian cities made fall-back plans to defend the Isthmus of Corinth, should it come to that, whilst the women and children of Athens would evacuate en masse to the Peloponnesian city of Troezen. Although no obstacle to individuals, such terrain would not be passable by an army and its baggage train. The battle of Thermopylae is one of the most memorable battles fought during the Persian wars. This confuses me greatly, because my textbook does not mention where the Persians … The way to Greece is almost wide open and Persia's armies are … [45] Furthermore, to prevent the Persians from bypassing Thermopylae by sea, the Athenian and allied navies could block the straits of Artemisium. [18], On the Battle of Thermopylae itself, two principal sources, Herodotus' and Simonides' accounts, survive. A variant of the epigram is inscribed on the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino. As the morning progressed, Xerxes began another frontal assault on the pass. The monument is made of marble and features a bronze statue depicting the god Eros, to whom the ancient Thespians accorded particular religious veneration. [53] In fact, as noted below, the pass was 100 metres wide, probably wider than the Greeks could have held against the Persian masses. in, Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, section "Leonidas, son of Anaxandridas", saying 11. Along the path itself was a series of three constrictions, or "gates" (pylai), and at the centre gate a wall that had been erected by the Phocians, in the previous century, to aid in their defence against Thessalian invasions. 27, pp. [106][108] The contingent of 700 Thespians, led by their general Demophilus, refused to leave and committed themselves to the fight. The encounter took place between Greece and their allies (Thespians and Thebans) which were led by King Leonidas, and the Persian Empire led by Xerxes I. Arriving, he elected to establish a position at the "middle gate" where the pass was the narrowest and the Phocians had previously built a wall. A well-known epigram, usually attributed to Simonides, was engraved as an epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound of the Spartans at Thermopylae. Here, therefore, we must remain; and the Persians, if they go through the pass at all, must go through it over our graves. Edit; Sorry for not being as clear. The two marble statues on the left and the right of the monument represent, respectively, the river Eurotas and Mount Taygetos, famous landmarks of Sparta. After three days resisting the much larger Persian army of Xerxes I, Greek forces were betrayed by Ephialtes and sent into retreat by their leader, Leonidas, who died during a final stand. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians. Intended as a full-scale invasion, the task of assembling the necessary troops and supplies consumed several years. Herodotus, a contemporary writer put the Persian army strength as one million and went to great pains to describe how they were counted in groups of Ten thousand at a review of the troops. [115] Of the remaining defenders, Herodotus says: "Here they defended themselves to the last, those who still had swords using them, and the others resisting with their hands and teeth. [60] With the Persian emissary returning empty-handed, battle became inevitable. The battle was fought for over three days, at the same time as the naval Battle of Artemisium on 20 August or 8–10 September, 480 BC. [128] He left a hand-picked force, under Mardonius, to complete the conquest the following year. A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the middle of 480 BC. Not only that, but they also held the advantage militarily as the Spartans were trained form a very young age to fight as soldiers, while the Persians did not train as soldiers until well into their adult years. [53] The name "Hot Gates" comes from the hot springs that were located there. During the Carneia, military activity was forbidden by Spartan law; the Spartans had arrived too late at the Battle of Marathon because of this requirement. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. [97], On the second day, Xerxes again sent in the infantry to attack the pass, "supposing that their enemies, being so few, were now disabled by wounds and could no longer resist. [14] The Greco-Persian Wars, are also described in less detail by a number of other ancient historians including Plutarch, Ctesias of Cnidus, and are referred to by other authors, as in Aeschylus in The Persians. Although the Persians had enjoyed the upper hand in previous contests during the recent Ionian revolt, the terrain at Thermopylae would better suit Greek warfare. [6], According to Herodotus and Diodorus, the king, having taken the measure of the enemy, threw his best troops into a second assault the same day, the Immortals, an elite corps of 10,000 men. Xerxes may have been victorious but too many of his men were killed and too much time was wasted with futile mini battles with determined, under-manned Spartans. Residing in the direct path of the Persian advance, they gave all the fighting men they had - according to Pausanias 6,000 men - which added to Herodotus' 5,200 would have given a force of 11,200. The odds were in favor of the Persians in this battle… [131], Thermopylae is arguably the most famous battle in European ancient history, repeatedly referenced in ancient, recent, and contemporary culture. [42], The "congress" met again in the spring of 480 BC. Thermopylae was a Greek defeat. The Persian defence at the Persian Gate shares many similarities with the story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. According to Plutarch, Xerxes, king of Persia, demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons and King Leonidas I responded with the phrase “Molon labe”, which means “Come and take them”. And there is perhaps no better precedent for this archetype than one of the first such examples in recorded history: The Battle of Thermopylae. [20] Also surviving is an epitome of the account of Ctesias, by the eighth-century Byzantine Photios, though this is "almost worse than useless",[21] missing key events in the battle such as the betrayal of Ephialtes, and the account of Diodorus Siculus in his Universal History. The pure ruggedness of this area is caused by torrential downpours for four months of the year, combined with an intense summer season of scorching heat that cracks the ground. [170][172] Curtius describes the subsequent battle fought by the surrounded, unarmed Persians as "memorable". [75][76] However, this is only one approach, and many other combinations are plausible. [15] George B. Grundy was the first modern historian to do a thorough topographical survey of the narrow pass at Thermopylae, and to the extent that modern accounts of the battle differ from Herodotus' where they usually follow Grundy's. The Persians overran Boeotia and then captured the evacuated city of Athens. Many of the Greek contingents then either chose to withdraw (without orders) or were ordered to leave by Leonidas (Herodotus admits that there is some doubt about which actually happened). This battle has been at the center of legends and myths since it took place; and for good reason. Not only that, but they also held the advantage militarily as the Spartans were trained form a very young age to fight as soldiers, while the Persians did not train as soldiers until well into their adult years. To play this quiz, please finish editing it. Vegetation is scarce and consists of low, thorny shrubs. Having been turned back by the Greeks in 490 BC at the Battle of Marathon, the Persians elected to begin preparing a larger expedition to subjugate Greece. What did the Persians do after The Battle of Thermopylae? Herodotus writes that when Dienekes, a Spartan soldier, was informed that Persian arrows would be so numerous as "to block out the sun", he retorted, "So much the better...then we shall fight our battle in the shade. [65] Modern scholarly estimates are generally in the range 120,000–300,000. Herodotus observes this was very uncommon for the Persians, as they traditionally treated "valiant warriors" with great honour (the example of Pytheas, captured off Skiathos before the Battle of Artemisium, strengthens this suggestion). In the Battle of Thermopylae (as detailed almost entirely by Herodotus), which occurred in 480 BC , an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. There was no place for cavalry at Thermopylae and, even more critical, no place to volley arrows. , accompanied by an equivalent number of support personnel [ 13 ] the number for the invasion was to... 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