Persian WarsGreek colonization brought the city states in conflict with the Persian Empire
Result was the Persian Wars (500-479 B.C.)Persian leader: Cyrus the Great, King DariusThe huge empire easily beats the small and scattered city-states of the Greeks in Asia Minor
Ionian RebellionAs Persian emperors Cyrus and Darius tightened their grip on Anatolia, the Greek cities on the Ionian coast became increasingly restlessIn 500 B.C., they revolted and expelled the Achaemenid administratorsAthens sent a fleet in support of their fellow Greeks and commercial partnersIn 493, Darius repressed the rebellion
Persian WarsTo punish the Athenians and discourage future interference, Darius attacked Athens in 490The Athenians repelled the invasionMarathon
Battle of MarathonThe Persians landed at the Plains of Marathon on September 9, 490 For eight days, the two armies faced each other On the ninth day, the Persians started to advance, forcing Miltiades, the commander in chief of the Athenian army, to deploy his army of 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plataeans for battle
Battle of MarathonThe Athenians surrounded the Persians in a double envelopmentAlthough the Athenians were outnumbered, their spears were superior to the Persians bows and short lancesThe Persians fled to their shipsPersians lost 6,400 men and seven shipsAthenians lost 192
Battle of MarathonHowever, Miltiades realized that the Persian fleet could sail and attack the undefended city of Athens According to legend, he called upon Phidippides to run to Athens to tell them of the victory and warn them of the approaching Persian ships Phidippides ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens in about three hours, successfully warning the Athenians who repelled the Persian invasionPhidippides was exhausted from the fight at Marathon and the 26 mile run and died upon announcing the warning
Olympic MarathonsThe marathon was part of the 1896 OlympicsThe course was from Marathon to Athens (24.85 miles or 40 km) At the London Olympics in 1908, the Olympic marathon course was set at 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 km) to accommodate the Royal Familys viewingIn 1921 the International Amateur Athletic Foundation made 42.195 km the official distance of a marathon
XerxesDariuss successor Xerxes tried to avenge the Persian losses by launching another attack in 480Thermopylae
ThermopylaeThe Greeks sent an allied army under the Spartan king Leonidas to Thermopylae, a narrow mountain pass in northeastern Greece The point was to stall the Persians long enough that the city states could prepare for later major battles after the Persians broke through Persians attempting to force the pass at Thermopylae
ThermopylaeTwice the Greeks repelled the PersiansThen Ephialtes, a local farmer, traitorously led a force of Persian infantry through a mountain passage and the next morning they appeared behind the Greek linesLeonidas ordered the rest of the army to withdraw and held the passage with just 300 Spartans As true Spartans, they chose death over retreatRemember Lesson 17All died but they did hold off the Persians long enough to ensure the safe withdrawal of the rest of the Greek army. Leonidas
ThermopylaeStranger, go tell the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their laws.(Inscription carved on the tomb of Leonidass Three Hundred) Leonidas at Thermopylae by David
After ThermopylaeThe Persians captured and burned Athens but were defeated by the Athenian navy at SalamisIn 479 the Persians were defeated at Plataea and forced back to Anatolia
Delian LeagueAfter the Persian threat subsided, the Greek poleis had conflicts among themselvesThe poleis formed an alliance called the Delian LeagueAthens supplied most of the military force and the other poleis provided financial supportSparta did not join the leagueIn the absence of the Persian threat, eventually the other poleis came to resent financing Athenss bureaucracy and construction projectsThe resulting tensions led to the Peloponnesian War (431-404) in which the poleis divided up into two sides led by Athens and Sparta
The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.)
The war went back and forth until 404 when the Spartans and their allies forced Athens to surrenderConflicts continued however and the world of the poleis steadily lost powerAlexander the Great is going to step into this power vacuum (next lesson)
Failure of the NerveXenophon lamented that up to this point, the City-state, the Polis, had concentrated upon itself all the loyalty and the aspiration of the Greek mind. It gave security to life. It gave meaning to religion.Then, however, it was not now ruled by the best citizens. The best had turned away from politics.Intellectual and imaginative life of 4th Century Greece gave way to an atmosphere of defeatGilbert Murray explains it as a failure of nerve
Part 2: Alexander the Great
Theme: Advances in WarfareLesson 20
Philip IIRuled Macedonia from 359-336 B.C. and transformed it into a powerful military machineMoved into northern Greece and met little resistance due to residual effects of Peloponnesian WarBy 338 he had Greece under his control
Alexander the GreatPhilip intended to use Greece as a launching pad to invade Persia, but he was assassinated before he could begin his planInstead the invasion of Persia would be left for Philips son Alexander who was just 20 when Philip was assassinatedAlexander inherited from his father the most perfectly organized, trained, and equipped army of ancient times.J.F.C. Fuller, The Generalship of Alexander the Great
Conquests of AlexanderIonia and Anatolia333Syria, Palestine, Egypt332Mesopotamia331Persepolis331King of Persia330India327Returns to Susa324Dies (age 33)323
Warfare in the Age of AlexanderPhalanx: A formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears, developed by Philip II and used by Alexander the Great
Warfare in the Age of AlexanderHoplite The main melee warrior of the Macedonian army. Worked mainly in the tight phalanx formation, creating impregnable lines that often left the enemy demoralized.
Hoplites in Action
Warfare in the Age of AlexanderCompanionsAlexanders elite cavalry, the offensive arm of his army, and his elite guard. They would be used in conjunction with the phalanx. The phalanx would fix the enemy in place and then the companion cavalry would attack on the flank. Alexander would lead the charge with his cavalry, normally in a wedge formation. These troops would also protect the flanks of the Macedonian line during battle.
Warfare in the Age of AlexanderSieges involved the surrounding and blockading of a town or fortress by an army trying to capture it. A variety of weapons were built to hurl projectiles over city walls, scale or batter the walls, and transport soldiers over them.
Tyre if Alexander deserves permanent commemoration as a general, then it is above all in his capacity as a besieger, and of all his sieges Tyre was his masterpiece.Paul Cartledge, Alexander the Great, 147
TyreOld city on the mainland was abandonedNew city built on an island two miles long and separated from the coast by a half mile channelWalls were 150 feet highHad two harbors (Sidonian and Egyptian)Alexander originally had no ships so he built a mole across the channel
TyreMole was designed to be 200 feet wide and was built by driving piles into the bottom and filling in the space with stones, earth, and woodEntire trees --- branches, leaves, and all - were thrown beside the piles to serve as a breakwallStone was hauled in from the old cityA city and a forest were exhausted to build this wonderful mole.Theodore Dodge, Alexander, 330.Alexanders original mole has grown over the centuries and is now a broad landbridge with roads and buildings on it.
TyreTyrians attacked the mole with missiles, ships, and diversAlexander was forced to build two towers on the end of the mole to fend off attacksTyrians launched a fire ship carrying cauldrons of sulfur, naphtha, and chemical oils to destroy the towersFire ship burned down the towers and cracked the end of the mole so that it later was washed away by wavesThe work of months was lost in an hour, but Alexander began building another, better mole
Tyrian Fire Ship Burns the Towers
TyreAlexander collected a fleet of over 200 ships and maneuvered them into moorings off the Sidonian and Egyptian harborsBlockaded the Tyrian fleet in its harbors and now was at liberty to use his siege engines to reduce the citys wallsComposition of Alexanders FleetNo. of ships Origin 80Sidon, Aradus, andByblus 10Rhodes 3Soli and Mallus 10Lycia 1Macedon120Cyprus
TyreFinally the engines penetrated the wall on the side toward EgyptThe fleet had captured the north and south fronts of the cityLadders were thrown up against the walls and the Macedonians burst in5th Century Greek Battering Ram
TyreAfter a seven month siege, Tyre fell8,000 Tyrians were killed in the fighting2,000 more were hung afterwards400 Macedonians were killed in the siege and just 20 in the assault
Gaugamela (Arbela)Most agree that this was Alexanders greatest set-piece battle.Paul Cartledge, Alexander the Great, 151.
Gaugamela (Arbela)At Issus, Alexander captured Dariuss family and was holding them hostage but treating them wellDarius appeared to have lost the character for strength which he was thought at one time to possess. An excellent ruler in peace, he was his own worst enemy in war.Theodore Dodge,