The Persian and Peloponnesian Wars
Persian Empire Darius I Ionia Marathon Persian Wars Xerxes Battle of Thermoplyae Themistocles Strait of Salamis
Delian League Peloponnesian
League Pericles Golden Age Peloponnesian Wars Thebes
Persian Empire → Empire established by Cyrus The Great in the 6th Century that spanned from India to the Asia Minor
Controlled the Ionian city-states in the Asia Minor
Sought to extend their rule into the Greek city-states
Athenian Involvement Greek city-state of
Ionia (city-state located in the Asia Minor) was being subjugated by the Persians and requested assistance from the Greeks.
Athenians would assist Ionia but would ultimately be defeated and forced back to Attica
Battle of Marathon
Darius I → emperor of the Persian Empire during the first segment of the Persian Wars
Darius would seek revenge by sending a large force to invade Athens.
Greeks would meet the Persians at Marathon and defeat them with the help of the phalanx.
Results of Marathon
Athenian victory in Marathon was held in high regard by the Greeks.
Themistocles, an Athenian naval officer, warns the Greeks that the win will be short lived.
The Athenians would elect Themistocles over Aristides to take the reins for the coming incursions with the Persians.
Darius would plan another attack but would not live to see it through.
Xerxes and the Coming War
Xerxes → Persian ruler who planned a large scale invasion of the Greek city-states.
Xerxes would bring many of the city-states under his control before his invasion to speed the progress of the war
Xerxes sought to invade the Greek city-states by land and sea.
He sought to cross the Hellespont which was near Byzantium by foot and send in ships to support the land troops after the war had begun.
The remaining city-states knew the troops of Persia were setting up for a large scale invasion and sought to block them in the northern portion of Greece.
The Spartans were to hold off the Persians while the other city-states would amass troops and prepare an evacuation of Athens.
Themistocles would be left in charge of using his navy to hold off the Persian support.
Battle of Thermoplyae
The Spartans would be tasked with slowing down the Persian advance into Greece.
Would select an area known as the “hot gates” near Thermoplyae.
A small force of Spartans was able to buy 2 days time for the Greeks to evacuate Athens and prepare for the rest of the war.
After slowing the Persians down and weakening their land forces, the Persians would send their support ships.
Themistocles would lure them to a narrow strait and battering ram their ships against the rock walls leaving the Persian forces to be finished off by land.
After the Greeks' unexpected victory against the Persians, the Athenians felt that the victory was due to the unity of the Greeks and the leadership of the Athenians.
The Athenians would have the other city-states join them in a union known as the Delian League.
The Periclean Age
Under the leadership of Pericles, Athens underwent a golden age.
Golden Age → period of massive cultural and intellectual achievement.
Athens became extremely powerful during this time period and would attempt to exert this dominance over the other city-states in the Delian League.
Golden Age Achievements
Direct Democracy is established. Stipends are paid to citizens for participation in
government activities. Assembly is given more power and increased to
6000 members. Trial by jury is created. Ostracism is instituted for corrupt officials.
Athens began to impose harsh punishments for going against their orders.
Sparta and other city-states resented this and returned to their own league which was known as the Peloponnesian League.
Athenian dominance or attempts at it would lead to a war between the city-states.
- The Athenian attempt to dominate over the city-states would lead to the Spartans leading opposing city-states against the Athenians.
- Athenians would avoid fighting on land by crowding behind the large walls of Athens.
- The Athenians would end up losing a quarter of their population to a plague which killed Pericles himself.
- The war would last another 10 years and a peace treaty would be made to last another 50.
Re-ignition of War- The Athenians sought to colonize Syracuse, a
territory in Sicily.
- Sicily was considered an ally of Peloponnesus, hence the war would be re-ignited.
- The Athenians would be defeated by land and sea and many would be taken into slavery.
- The Athenians would barricade themselves in the city again,though they would lose many of their citizens to desertion. This stage would last 10 more years.
- A famine would force the Athenians to end the war and they would pay a huge indemnity.
Spartan Dominance- The Spartans would now attempt to turn the
Hellenic states into territories that mirrored Sparta itself → converted democracies into oligarchies and aristocracies.
- Thebes would become the city-state to rebel against its despotic rulers.
- Thebes would remove a Spartan garrison in its city-state and use this to begin their drive to remove the Spartans from power.
- Thebes would use a 50 man column to dismantle the Spartan phalanx.
- Thebes would rule for nine years before being deposed.