The Persian Wars

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The Persian Wars. Lecturer: Wu Shiyu. The Rise of Persia. Cyrus (600 BC–530 BC ): The model of a good king. Under his own rule : expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of The Persian Wars

  • The Persian WarsLecturer: Wu Shiyu

  • The Rise of PersiaCyrus (600 BC530 BC ): The model of a good king.Under his own rule expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, to create the largest empire the world had yet seen.

  • Very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects

  • The Rise of PersiaDarius (550 BC-486 BC): ascended the throne by assassinating the alleged usurper Bardiya with the assistance of six other Persian noble families; Darius was crowned the following morning. Proved to be a very competent leader, and quelled rebellions. held the empire at its peak, then including Egypt, northern India, and parts of Greece. Darius organized the empire, by dividing it into provinces and placing satraps to govern it. Invaded Greece: The Battle of Marathon (490 BC)

  • Darius

  • The Rise of Persia Xerxes (519BC-465BC): took the empire to its height and set on its path of decline and ultimate demise. Invasion of the Greek mainland:The Battle of Thermopylae (in August or September 480 BC )The Battle of Salamis (September 29, 480 BC)

  • And the story of Pythius. Xerxes roars out, How dare you make such a request like this? Here I am, leading the army myself, and you are asking your son to stay behind. Alright, I grant it. Let him stay behind. With a great sword, the executioner splits the son right down the middle, and one side of the body was placed at one side of the gate, and the other side, the other part of the gate, and through the sliced body of the son of Pythius, the mighty army marches out.

  • Now again, the lesson from Herodotus: What is it like to live under a despot? Even the highest and richest man who the king might behold for favors, has no security of life or property. And Pythius is not only a symbol of what it is under a tyrant, but also hybris.

  • Hellespont: has his engineers lay a bridge over boats to cross it.. Suddenly, a storm comes up, but he still wants to cross. Xerxes now is rolled out into the Hellespont, and lashes the waters with his whip, You briny stream, how dare you stand before me? And he beat the water over and over and over again, and of course executed the engineers. And another bridge is laid down. And he crosses.

  • Hellespont

  • The superb cavalry, men and horse wrapped in armor, his immortals, ten thousand Persians carrying their spears, golden and silver pomegranate at the end, marching across, his body guards, and then the troops of the far ranging empire. His Arabs on horseback, Sythians with their bows and savage spears. Ethiopians, their bodies painted half white, half red, carrying spears all crossing in majesty. And it seems nothing can stop this expedition.

  • The Beginning of the Persian War: The Ionian Revolt

    When Lydia and also many other Greek cities in the north were subjugated by Cyrus, they were however quite unhappy about the Persians control. Taxes were heavy and the Ionians resented the puppet tyrants.

  • The Ionian Revolt

  • By 499B.C. the Ionians were ready to rise up. Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, having noticed the restlessness of the Ionians, decided to unite them in revolt. The Ionians showed their enthusiasm and did overthrow most of the tyrants. Aristagoras decided to go and seek support from the Spartans (army), was rejected.Aristagoras then went to Athens and had better luck with the Athenians (agreed to send troops).

  • Aristagoras presented before the Spartan king Cleomenes a bronze map of the world and showed him the prospect of conquering the wealthy peoples and liberating the Ionians. But when Cleomenes heard it would take the Spartans three months time just to get to the Persian kingdom, Cleomenes cut short Aristagoras saying, Get out of Sparta before sundown, Milesian stranger, for you have no speech eloquent enough to induce the Lacedemonians (Spartans) to march for three months inland from the sea. (The Histories 5:50; Blanco)

  • Aristagoras was not yet willing to give up and he followed Cleomenes to his house,. As the suppliant sat in Cleomenes house, he noticed Cleomenes young daughter, Gorgo (8 years old), standing by his father. He asked Cleomenes to send his daughter away, but Cleomenes declined and told him to say whatever he liked. Aristagoras then started by promising ten talents if he Cleomenes could send help. When this was rejected, Aristagoras kept adding up the amount until it reached fifty talents. At this time, the child cried out, Father, this stranger will corrupt you with a bribe if you dont get up and leave! Delighted with the childs advice, Cleomenes withdrew into another room and Aristagoras failed in his attempt to gain help from the Spartans. Foreign customs, cautious, conservative, and wary of foreign adventures, and who allowed their women to be assertive.

  • In 498B.C., the ships from Athens and Eretria arrived. Aristagoras led the Milesians and Athenians to launch a surprise attack on the Persians in Sardis. They captured the city, burned the sanctuaries, and dashed back to Ionia, where they found a Persian force waiting for them. In the following fight, the Ionians were defeated; the Athenians barely escaped destruction and had to return home. Not surprisingly, Darius was furious. As a revenge for the destruction of Sardis, Miletus was ruined. Its women and children were enslaved, and the men were relocated to the mouth of the Tigris. Miletus, which had been one of the most cultured cities as it was home of the philosophers Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenens, and the geographer Hactaeus, was wholly wiped out.

  • The First Persian War Darius thought Athens should also be punished for their role in aiding the Ionians in their revolt. The Athenians was aware of the situation. They began to worry that the mainland Greece might have the same fate as Miletus. Themistocles, a very capable Athenian leader, was then elected archon. He persuaded the Athenians to turn the Piraeus harbors into a fortified naval and commercial base.

  • The Battle of Marathon (490BC)In 490B.C. Darius sent an army straight across the Aegean Sea. Along the way, many other Greek cities offered earth and water as recognition of the kings supremacy. Upon the same request, however, Sparta and Athens, among others, refused to submit to the Persian king. Then, under guidance of Hippias, the Persians landed on Marathon in northern Attica.

  • The Athenians knew what was coming and they were now under a critical situation (betraying). The Athenian forces were heavily outnumbered (more than two to one ) and Plataea, the only neighbor who sent help, had only an army numbered in the hundreds. Still, the Athenian Assembly immediately voted to send their forces to meet the Persians. Also a messenger was sent to Sparta to ask for help.

  • Greece : rugged terrain, so rocky and steep that runners instead of horsemen were often sent to convey message between cities. The runner named Philippides who was sent off to request Spartan help covered the distance of a little over 200 kilometers between Athens and Sparta in about thirty-six hours, which was quite remarkable. More remarkable, the Spartan army, in full battle gear, covered the same distance in three days.

  • However, the Spartans could not send their troops immediately (celebrating a festival of Apollo, the Carneia, and the ritual requirement forbade them to send an army into the field until the moon was full, which would be six days later).

  • The Persians had landed at Marathon, twenty-odd miles from Athens, on the other side of Mt. Pentele, where there was a small plain suitable for cavalry operations, a Persian strength.

  • At the time when Philippides was sent to Sparta, the Athenian army quickly marched to block the two exits from the plain of Marathon under the guidance of Miltiades, who had the greatest experience of fighting the Persians. The Persians were prevented from moving inland for the time being. Both the Athenians and the Persians seemed to have been unwilling to take the initial risk of attacking, and for approximately five days the two armies confronted each other in stalemate across the plain of Marathon.

  • The Persian forces: cavalry, archers, and skirmishing troops. The Athenian and also the Spartans: fought as hoplites, or heavy infantry, armored in greaves, helmet, and breastplate, and bearing a substantial hoplon or shield. They deployed in closely packed lines, each hoplite bearing a thrusting spear overhand on his right and shielding his comrade to the left. The resulting phalanx was a formidable formation, but vulnerable to the flank attack from cavalry. And so, it could be seen that the Persian cavalry would be the major threat to the Athenian hoplites.

  • Ten Athenian strategoi (generals) at Marathon, Miltiades being one of them. Elected and each took in turn a day to command the army. In addition, a war archon in overall charge, elected by the whole citizen body. The war archon was Callimachus. As there was disagreement among the ten Athenian strategoi whether to wait or attack soon, they had a debate. Arguments went on until they learned that the Persian cavalry was suddenly missing and probably heading for Phaleron. The general Miltiades, who had been eager to attack, tried to persuade his colleagues to launch the attack immediately. The ten strategoi came to a draw of five to five, thus the decision fell upon Callimachus, the war archon, who had a vote when the ten strategoi could not rea

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