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The differences between the size and nature of the greek and persian forces

Cyrus II turned against Lydia and its king Croesuswho controlled most of Western Anatolia including the Greek cities along the Aegean coast and who clearly intended to exploit the upheaval in Media and Persia to his own advantage by crossing the Halys frontier and invading Cappadocia.

Cyrus did not resume the fight on the following day, and Croesus therefore withdrew in the direction of Sardis and disbanded his army.

Battle of Thermopylae

Having been informed of this, Cyrus took up the chase at once, besieged Sardis, and after two weeks captured the city and the king.

By conquering Sardis and consequently seizing power over the whole of the Lydian empire, Cyrus became the ruler of most of Western Asia Minor, too. His rule was consolidated, however, only after several of his generals Tabalus, Mazares and, above all, Harpagus had forcefully subjugated the somewhat unruly or even openly rebellious Greek cities on the Aegean coast. From then on for two centuries the Persians were neighbors of the Greek population resident in Anatolia and became partners of the Greeks in trade and commerce as well as their adversaries in war, since in the long run the latter was inevitable.

In the course of time the tumult amid the Ionian and other Asiatic Greeks abated; they made their peace with the new masters and learnt to live under Persian rule as more or less loyal subjects of the Great King.

But since the Greek cities were afraid of further increase in Persian power and weary of Persian imperial ambitions altogether, and on the other hand the Persians suspected possible interference by the main-land Greeks in Asia Minor, some kind of conflict was inevitable. When the Persians expanded both to Egypt under Cambyses and into the Black Sea and the Propontis region under Darius I and began favoring the Phoenician trade, the Greeks felt more and more hampered.

Increasing taxes, the pressure of military service, and the overall political system, which appeared tyrannical to the Greeks, intensified their dissatisfaction and in the end, beginning from Miletus, led to a serious revolt, instigated in 499 B. Aristagoras laid down his office, called upon the Ion-ians to overthrow their Persian-backed tyrants, and even gained some military support from small Athenian and Eretrian squadrons.

In view of the refusal by Sparta, Argos, and other cities to bring the expected aid, the only military success of the rebels was the occupation and destruction of the lower town of Sardis in 498, which encouraged other cities of the Hellespont and Caria to join them. Overall, their actions were not systematic and coordinated, although Herodotus refers once 5.

The Greek cities on Cyprus revolted at the same time too, under Onesilus of Salamis, but they were recaptured already in 497 B. Finally the Persians united all their armed forces by land and sea and the differences between the size and nature of the greek and persian forces for the attack on Miletus.

In the autumn of 494 B. Thus the Persians took their revenge for the destruction of Sardis, and subsequently the Persian supremacy over the whole of the Aegean coastal region and the offshore islands Chios, Lesbos, etc. But the destructions of the cities and their depopulation must have stayed within limits, because already by 480 B.

However, as Oswyn Murray p. And indeed there are indications showing that already during the reign of Darius the Persians were looking beyond the Western frontiers of their empire. Thus the ultimate cause of the Persian Wars was the westward expansion of the Persians, which in connection with the Scythian expedition of Darius I intended to bring peace to the northern frontier of the empire and which went far beyond the Black Sea had led to a European bridgehead between the northern Aegean Sea and the lower reaches of the Danube River.

It has to be added, however, that the Persians became aware of the close relationship between the Western Anatolian Greeks and their kinsmen on the other side of the Aegean, and the serious implications of this situation for themselves, only through the events of the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had supported the Ionian rebels see the differences between the size and nature of the greek and persian forces.

After these experiences Darius may have thought that the Ionian Greek cities would keep peace only if their cognates beyond the Aegean Sea had been eliminated as potential sympathizers and active supporters. The expedition was almost a total failure and merely succeeded to consolidate the Persian rule in Thrace and Macedonia at the Northern Aegean coast Herodotus 6. In the meantime Athens now adopted an anti-Persian line as favored by Themistocles and Miltiades, whereas before, the Pisistratidae and in 507 B.

In the course of the year 491 B. The first direct expedition against Greece took place in the following year 490 B. It seems most likely that the Persians themselves considered it a punitive operation designed to safeguard their maritime supremacy.

They forced Naxos and other islands into submission again, then turned to Carystus at the southern end of Euboea, and took Eretria by betrayal Herodotus 6.

  1. Herodotus reports that the first statement of the King at the conference in which the war against Greece was discussed for the first time, was that he had decided to add to the dunamis of Persia at least as much as it had been increased by his predecessors VII 8 ; the Greek term dunamis means "military and political power," but also quite specifically "force of war. Even before the start of the Persian Wars Aristagoras with the help of a map had tried to convince the Spartans of this possibility.
  2. The Greek cities on Cyprus revolted at the same time too, under Onesilus of Salamis, but they were recaptured already in 497 B.
  3. What Xerxes had not anticipated was that the Greeks held the tactical advantage at Thermopylae. The significance of the Thespians' refusal to leave should not be ignored.

In the end the Persians and their faithful follower Hippias, the exiled Athenian tyrant, landed in the first days of September 490 at Marathon in Attica supposedly a suitable location for a cavalry battlewhere the Athenian contingents 9,000 hoplites, reinforced by about 1,000 Plataeans, as well as their lightly armed troops came up to them and surprisingly thanks to new masterly tactics used by Miltiades managed to repulse the numerically much superior Persians perhaps about 90,000 men and 1,200 horses back onto the ships Herodotus 6.

Having suffered considerable losses 6,400 menand seeing no chances of success, the Persians sailed back to Asia Minor. After the failure of this first expedition to Greece, a second attempt was only to be expected, and indeed Darius prepared an army of far greater magnitude for this war Herodotus 7.

Beyond any doubt this second campaign was to be a serious attempt to move the Aegean frontier of the Empire further westwards and to set up Greece as an additional satrapy or at least as a vassal state dependent on the Persian King. But the Greeks did not stand idly by: Sparta was able at last to overcome her internal problems after the recent war with Messenia, and Athens was also actively engaged in both political and military spheres.

Just in time Themistocles was allowed to build up a powerful navy and was therefore able to lay the foundations for establishing Athens as the leading maritime power in Greece. And somewhat late in the day, in 481 B. Military preparations and rearmament on the Persian side were delayed by some years owing to the death of Darius I in November 486 B. The steps taken to store provisions for soldiers and draught animals are also stressed by Herodotus 7. The Great King himself was in command of an enormous army, perhaps about 100,000 men and 600 triremes, advancing from the north.

Most figures given by the ancient authors, as for example by Herodotus 7. The Greeks first took a defensive position in the Tempe Valley between Mt.

Ossa, but abandoned it when they realized that there was an alternative detour passable without difficulty. Thus they moved out of Thessaly and took a new position at the Thermopylae Pass, while the Greek navy was massed at Cape Artemisium on the northern tip of Euboea. In September 480 the Thermopylae Pass fell into the hands of the Persians, since they could overcome the positions held by the Greek defenders thanks to the treachery of Ephialtes, a man of Malis, and were thus able to break the resistance of the Spartan king Leonidas I and the Thespians and Thebans accompanying him after three days of heroic resistance.

The strategists responsible for this location had inexcusably overlooked this alternative detour on their reconnaissance. The Greek fleet at first defended itself skillfully and with some success against the Persians, but then withdrew to the Saronic Gulf and took part in a successful evacuation of the inhabitants of Athens, after the Athenian Council had decided to confront the Persians at Salamis.

The Greeks appeared to be in a hopeless situation, but Themistocles held on to his strategy of initiating a decisive naval battle at Salamis and not at the Isthmus of Corinth, where most of the fleet had retreated toand since it was relatively late in the year one of the last days [ca. The Persian fleet advanced into the narrow waters between the Attic coast and the island of Salamis, with the Athenians and Themistocles, who was better acquainted with the local conditions, laying in wait.

Thus in the end the Persians were beaten under the very eyes of Xerxes, sitting enthroned on the beach, though the Greeks had only about 400 ships Herodotus 8. The Greeks proved superior in tactics by ramming their opponents and showing greater mobility in maneuver rather than concentrating on boarding the enemy. This great victory of the Greeks is described in detail, though with a host of digressions, by Herodotus 8.

After some days spent making preparations for further attacks, Xerxes seems to have altered his plans suddenly, returning unexpectedly to Asia Minor with the remaining fleet.

We can only speculate about his reasons: Had there been a revolt somewhere in the empire or was he merely afraid of a potential one? Or was it just the seasonal factor, making it increasingly unsuitable for him to launch an expedition? His commander-in-chief, Mardonius, and the presumably now much smaller army, left with him, spent the winter in Thessaly and tried, through the good offices of the Macedonian king Alexander I, to win over Athens as the differences between the size and nature of the greek and persian forces Persian ally against Sparta and the Peloponnesians, but he failed Herodotus 8.

Encyclopædia Iranica

Early in 479 B. On the same day says Herodotus 9. Mycale opposite Samos Herodotus 9. These great victories of the Hellenes in 480 and 479 B. Since Sparta, the leader of the victorious Greek League, showed little appetite for taking on any engagement in favor of the Asiatic Greeks, Athens could take advantage of this opportunity and in 478 B. The Athenian Empire as it werethus became the leading power in the Aegean Sea for the next decades.

Already in the same year Pausanias had taken the offensive in Cyprus and at the Bosporus, where he could recapture Byzantium, before he was ordered back to Sparta. The Peace of Kallias. The aggressive policy of this League, or in reality Athens, during the period after 478 B. Whereas several of the confederates of the Attic-Delian League were weary of the incessant fighting and hostilities, in Athens herself this anti-Persian policy came to an end only by 450 B.

At that time an embassy headed by Kallias went to Susa and in 449 B. The historicity of this so-called Peace of Kallias is still at issue see Meister.

Kallias is said to have been one of the richest people of his time; he married a daughter of Miltiades and half-sister of Kimon, but later joined Pericles. He was given a carte blanche for the negotiations with King Artaxerxes I see Herodotus 7. As we have already suggested, our analysis of the Greco-Persian relations is restricted by the fact that our sources shed little light on the motives behind the political actions and policy taken by the Persians.

For in general it holds true that any continuous account of the history of the western part of the Persian Empire must be based on the Greek sources. But our sources are very scanty for the period following the events described by Herodotus, and this is already true for Thucydides, whose intense concentration on the Peloponnesian War also entailed an undue disregard for the role of the Persians.

At some time during the Peloponnesian War, about 412 B.

  1. It has to be added, however, that the Persians became aware of the close relationship between the Western Anatolian Greeks and their kinsmen on the other side of the Aegean, and the serious implications of this situation for themselves, only through the events of the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had supported the Ionian rebels see above. You could have achieved the same result without going to that trouble" VII 56.
  2. On the same day says Herodotus 9.
  3. The Spartan would do his duty. Especially from the reign of Darius I we hear of Greeks who were in the service of the Persian King etc.

When the Attic-Delian League began to gradually fall apart during this war, the Persians laid claim to the Ionian cities in Asia Minor and to their tributes Thucydides 8. And because the Persians had always carefully watched internal Greek developments and conflicts of interests, they could quickly exploit the situation through bribery and corruption, as they had often done in the past.

Presumably it was soon after the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, that Sparta made the first attempts to start negotiations with the Persians. The embassy of a certain Artaphernes to Sparta, which has been described by Thucydides 4. For occasionally the Greek sources deal with such official embassies, either sent by the Great King to some Greek city-state or some Greek envoy s going to Susa. On the other hand already in the summer of 430 B.

Thus the three treaties between Sparta with her allies and the Persians i. They stipulated in an increasingly detailed manner see Thu-cydides 8. The regulations as laid down took into account the interests of both sides, and reflected the events at the theatre of war and provided more and more detailed financial arrangements.

As a result of these treaties Sparta succeeded in dragging Persia into the war against Athens, which had been so drastically weakened after the Sicilian defeat in 413 B. On the other hand, having destroyed the Peloponnesian fleet in 410 B. This is one of many cases where the great rivalry among the Persian satraps in Asia Minor is plainly manifested.

  • Spyridon Marinatos discovered large numbers of Persian arrowheads there;
  • To Dieneces that was just as well;
  • For notwithstanding definite territorial reorganizations during the Achaemenid period, most of western Asia Minor seems to have been divided between the Lydian satrapy OPers;
  • Others, shoved aside, drowned in the sea;
  • With the exception of Miletus who had not participated in this rebellion from now on all the Greeks had to do military service for their new masters and had to provide the Great King with troops, particularly with naval contingents and warships;
  • Whereas several of the confederates of the Attic-Delian League were weary of the incessant fighting and hostilities, in Athens herself this anti-Persian policy came to an end only by 450 B.

The Persian War of Sparta. The financial resources of the Persians had enabled Sparta to build a fleet and had therefore contributed to the great victory of Sparta over Athens in the war for the hegemony in Greece, while in exchange, Sparta had sold off the Asiatic Greeks to the Persians. The Ionian cities, to which and to the tributes of which the Persian laid claim, asked Sparta for help in order to defend their autonomy and thus Sparta, for the first time, began a war on Persian ground, in Asia Minor.

For six years 400-394 B. Agesilaus tried to exploit the strivings for autonomy by the different Anatolian nations and to turn them against the Persian King. His actions, however, were rather haphazard, and he dissipated his energies in too many different operations. Thus after more than eighty years Persian naval supremacy in the Aegean and the entire east Mediterranean Sea had been re-established. The war had spelt out the weaknesses in the structure and organization of the Persian Empire: This instability of the Persian Empire or, to be more exact, its Anatolian part, where the control exercised by the Persians was at times somewhat precarious, appeared openly here for the first time, and it increased dangerously in the course of the 4th century.

The retreat of Sparta from Asia Minor and the renewed war in the motherland led to an increasing indifference towards the problems of the Asiatic Greeks. This peace settlement, which Antalcidas extracted from Artaxerxes II, was in reality a dictate by the Great King imposed on the Greeks but at a time when the Persian empire had become rather weak.

The most important challenge of the Persians was triggered off by Euagoras, the king of Salamis on Cyprus Diodorus 14.