The Greeks this time sallied forth from the wall to meet the Persians in the wider part of the pass, in an attempt to slaughter as many Persians as they could. [121] A full 40 years after the battle, Leonidas' bones were returned to Sparta, where he was buried again with full honours; funeral games were held every year in his memory. Xerxes found the scout's reports of the size of the Greek force, and that the Spartans were indulging in callisthenics and combing their long hair, laughable. [36] By early 480 BC, the preparations were complete, and the army which Xerxes had mustered at Sardis marched towards Europe, crossing the Hellespont on two pontoon bridges. [111], Following Thermopylae, the Persian army proceeded to sack and burn Plataea and Thespiae, the Boeotian cities that had not submitted, before it marched on the now evacuated city of Athens and accomplished the Achaemenid destruction of Athens. The pass at Thermopylae was a superb place to withstand an attack. usurper and had spent considerable time extinguishing revolts against his rule. [94] A Persian force of 10,000 men, comprising light infantry and cavalry, charged at the front of the Greek formation. [129] However, under pressure from the Athenians, the Peloponnesians eventually agreed to try to force Mardonius to battle, and they marched on Attica. One of which is a statue of King Leonidas I, portrayed as bearing a spear, and shield. 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[56] Some Peloponnesians suggested withdrawal to the Isthmus of Corinth and blocking the passage to Peloponnesus. The open wing symbolizes the victory, the glory, the soul, the spirit and the freedom. Leonidas. Screenplay by Wendell Mayes, based on the novel "Incident at Muc Wa" by Daniel Ford. [113] As the Immortals approached, the Greeks withdrew and took a stand on a hill behind the wall. While many of the Greeks took him up on his offer and fled, around two thousand soldiers stayed behind to fight and die. [citation needed]. A sign, under the statue, reads simply: "Μολὼν λαβέ" ("Come and take them! What is another name for a Greek city-state? The number of Persian troops present at Thermopylae is therefore as uncertain as the number for the total invasion force. 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. Vegetation is scarce and consists of low, thorny shrubs. It is also the hill on which the last of them died. [80], It is often claimed that at the time, the pass of Thermopylae consisted of a track along the shore of the Malian Gulf so narrow that only one chariot could pass through at a time. According to Herodotus[52][68] and Diodorus Siculus,[69] the Greek army included the following forces: Pausanias' account agrees with that of Herodotus (whom he probably read) except that he gives the number of Locrians, which Herodotus declined to estimate. Start studying Greece -Thermopylae. [54], Finally, in mid-August, the Persian army was sighted across the Malian Gulf approaching Thermopylae. Herodotus reports that the Phocians had improved the defences of the pass by channelling the stream from the hot springs to create a marsh, and it was a causeway across this marsh which was only wide enough for a single chariot to traverse. He added that if Xerxes ever managed to subdue the Spartans, "there is no other nation in all the world which will venture to lift a hand in their defence. 1 decade ago. [48] It was also the time of the Olympic Games, and therefore the Olympic truce, and thus it would have been doubly sacrilegious for the whole Spartan army to march to war. As discussed in Immediate Consequences , the rear-guard and battle in general were very successful in temporarily delaying the progress of the invasion across Central Greece. [110] The likelihood is that these were the Theban "loyalists", who unlike the majority of their fellow citizens, objected to Persian domination. At sea a detachment of 200 Persian ships attempted to surprise the Greek fleet, but the Greeks, forewarned, engaged the main Persian navy. [77] The major weak point for the Greeks was the mountain track which led across the highland parallel to Thermopylae, that could allow their position to be outflanked. As Holland puts it, "in short...we will never know. [114] The Thebans "moved away from their companions, and with hands upraised, advanced toward the barbarians..." (Rawlinson translation), but a few were slain before their surrender was accepted. The Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BC, was a battle in the second Persian invasion of Greece. 300. Favorite Answer. Thereupon the Spartans sent these men to Media for execution." [114] The king later had the Theban prisoners branded with the royal mark. [131], Thermopylae is arguably the most famous battle in European ancient history, repeatedly referenced in ancient, recent, and contemporary culture. [6], Later that day, however, as the Persian king was pondering what to do next, he received a windfall; a Trachinian named Ephialtes informed him of the mountain path around Thermopylae and offered to guide the Persian army. [104] The Phocians retreated to a nearby hill to make their stand (assuming the Persians had come to attack them). Although no obstacle to individuals, such terrain would not be passable by an army and its baggage train. "[84] The pass still is a natural defensive position to modern armies, and British Commonwealth forces in World War II made a defence in 1941 against the Nazi invasion mere metres from the original battlefield. Although coming from a mountainous country, the Persians were not prepared for the real nature of the country they had invaded. Demaratus called them "the bravest men in Greece" and warned the Great King they intended to dispute the pass. [105] By covering the retreat and continuing to block the pass, Leonidas could save more than 3,000 men, who would be able to fight again. Iranica Antiqua Vol. (Godley translation) or otherwise, "Ye Gods, Mardonius, what men have you brought us to fight against? gave Athens ebough time to build ships and abandon city What was built … As the sea battle failed, the Thermopylae defence had no effect in the course of the war. [110], However, this alone does not explain the fact that they remained; the remainder of Thespiae was successfully evacuated before the Persians arrived there. Simonides went as far as to put the Persian number at Three million. [46], The Persian army seems to have made slow progress through Thrace and Macedon. Wary of being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia (losing most to starvation and disease), leaving Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest of Greece. "[164] Then the ambassador asked him more forcefully to surrender their arms. Stranger, bear this message to the Spartans. A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the middle of 480 BC. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. That night a tremendous storm destroyed the Persian squadron while the Greeks were safely in port. [95][97] However, the Immortals fared no better than the Medes, and failed to make any headway against the Greeks. Wary of being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia (losing most to starvation and disease), leaving Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest of Greece. [55] With the Persian army's arrival at Thermopylae the Greeks held a council of war. The battle itself had shown that even when heavily outnumbered, the Greeks could put up an effective fight against the Persians, and the defeat at Thermopylae had turned Leonidas and the men under his command into martyrs. [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. [170][172] Curtius describes the subsequent battle fought by the surrounded, unarmed Persians as "memorable". [78] Thus, despite the heavy losses, forcing the pass was strategically a Persian victory,[111] but the successful retreat of the bulk of the Greek troops was in its own sense a victory as well. It branched, with one path leading to Phocis and the other down to the Malian Gulf at Alpenus, the first town of Locris. [124] As at Thermopylae, making this an effective strategy required the Greek navy to stage a simultaneous blockade, barring the passage of the Persian navy across the Saronic Gulf, so that troops could not be landed directly on the Peloponnese. Answer Save. The number of troops which Xerxes mustered for the second invasion of Greece has been the subject of endless dispute, most notably between ancient sources, which report very large numbers, and modern scholars, who surmise much smaller figures. [171] Here, on Alexander the Great's campaign against Persia in 330 BC to exact revenge for the Persian invasion of Greece, he faced the same situation, encountering a last stand of the Persian forces (under Ariobarzanes) at a narrow pass near Persepolis who held the invaders for a month, until their fall as the enemy found a path to their rear. Upon hearing this, Tigranes, a Persian general, said: "Good heavens, Mardonius, what kind of men are these that you have pitted against us? Recent core samples indicate that the pass was only 100 metres (330 ft) wide, and the waters came up to the gates: "Little do the visitors realize that the battle took place across the road from the monument. It has been reported that others also remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans. Today, it is considered to have been much smaller. [161], In 1997, a second monument was officially unveiled by the Greek government, dedicated to the 700 Thespians who fought with the Spartans. Herodotus says they jumped up and were greatly amazed. The Greek fleet—seeking a decisive victory over the Persian armada—attacked and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC. The Persians overran Boeotia and then captured the evacuated city of Athens. The naked body symbolizes Eros, the most important god of the ancient Thespians, a god of creation, beauty and life. The Greek cities in the … The Greeks were offered their freedom, the title "Friends of the Persian People", and the opportunity to re-settle on land better than that they possessed. This place was Thermopylae, a pass where it was only 60 feet wide. More specifically, the Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern notion of despotism and monarchy—freedom proving the stronger idea as the more courageous fighting of the Greeks at Thermopylae, and their later victories at Salamis and Plataea attested. Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, Go, way-farer, bear news to Sparta's town. Luring the Persian navy into the Straits of Salamis, the Greek fleet was able to destroy much of the Persian fleet in the Battle of Salamis, which essentially ended the threat to the Peloponnese. It was fought over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. [110] They thus probably came to Thermopylae of their own free will and stayed to the end because they could not return to Thebes if the Persians conquered Boeotia. The outstretched chest symbolizes the struggle, the gallantry, the strength, the bravery and the courage. It was fought over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. ... Who was the Spartan king that was killed at the Battle of Thermopylae. [78] The Persians, therefore, had to retreat or advance, and advancing required forcing the pass of Thermopylae. In other words, the "orders" are not personal but refer to official and binding phrases (the Ancient Greek term can also refer to a formal speech).[145]. [106][108] The contingent of 700 Thespians, led by their general Demophilus, refused to leave and committed themselves to the fight. Themistocles was in command of the Greek Navy at Artemisium when he received news that the Persians had taken the pass at Thermopylae. The ambassador told Leonidas that Xerxes would offer him the kingship of all Greece if he joined with Xerxes. In Thermopylae Battle, two large groups confronted each other in order to repel the invasion that [130] Mardonius retreated to Boeotia to lure the Greeks into open terrain, and the two sides eventually met near the city of Plataea. 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. [114][120] However, Xerxes was known for his rage. Anopaea behind the cliffs that flanked the pass. Herodotus claimed that there were, in total, 2.6 million military personnel, accompanied by an equivalent number of support personnel. Approximately how far apart was Athens and Sparta? 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). [125] However, instead of a mere blockade, Themistocles persuaded the Greeks to seek a decisive victory against the Persian fleet. The answer was: all the other men were participating in the Olympic Games. "[57] Herodotus reports a similar comment, but attributes it to Dienekes. [113] Leonidas also died in the assault, shot down by Persian archers, and the two sides fought over his body; the Greeks took possession. The fifth day of the Persian occupation at Thermopylae would be the day the conflict began. [99] According to Ctesias, the first wave was "cut to ribbons", with only two or three Spartans killed in return. [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. 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 central Greece. [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. Herodotus' colorful account of the battle has provided history with many apocryphal incidents and conversations away from the main historical events. 27, pp. [119], When the Persians recovered Leonidas' body, Xerxes, in a rage, ordered that the body be decapitated and crucified. 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