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Explain Greco-Persian Wars summary in order

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Whenever you study world history, the Greco-Persian Wars will always come up.

Many people may not know about the cause of this Greco-Persian Wars in the first place.

The Greco-Persian Wars was a battle between the Persian Army and the Greek Confederacy.

It is not a single battle, but a series of battles between the Persian and Greek armies, and the name "Greco-Persian Wars" is a summary of all these battles.

Since most of the information about this war relies on Herodotus' "Histories ",

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Herodotus' subjectivity has distorted the Greco-Persian Wars.

There has even been some criticism of this kind.

Here's a quick summary of the Greco-Persian Wars!

A sense of crisis to Persia

Greek Athens gradually became a powerful polis (city-state) through trade.

In addition, Athens began to import grain due to the increase in population,

  • There were pirates along the import route
  • Poor relations with the surrounding polis

For these reasons, trade was not easy.

However, trade was not easy due to the pirates on the import routes and the poor relations with the surrounding polis

Furthermore, the political system was changed from aristocracy to direct democracy, and Athens succeeded in growing into a powerful city-state that could compete with its rival, Sparta.

But it also causes Sparta and its allied city-states to be wary.

Not only that, Athens was at war with the northern polis, and Athens was surrounded by enemies.

They must have thought that this isolation was not good for Athens.

They sent a messenger from Athens to Achaemenid Empire.

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Please, ally with Athens!

The messenger asked for an alliance with Achaemenid Empire.

However, the other party demanded complete obedience to Athens.

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This is not right!

Thus, the Athenian people's association reacted against this and the alliance negotiations broke down.

However, even if Athens did not accept the complete obedience, they had a great sense of crisis against Achaemenid Empire.

At that time, Achaemenid Empire had puppet tyrants in each city-state, through whom they interfered in internal affairs.

Anonymous image

What is a tyrant?

If you are wondering so, read this article first.

What is the politics of usurpation? A simple, easy-to-understand history!

This tyrant's politics was a political maneuver that did not work for Athens.

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We don't need a leader. Citizens support politics!

This is because they had such the direct democracy.

Even such Athens felt a different sense of urgency toward Achaemenid Empire.

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Even if there is no influence by the tyrant's politics, Persian influence might come to the trade route of grain import, right...?

Such was their concern.

And the sense of urgency is spot on.

Ionian Revolt

The direct cause of the Persian War was the revolt of Ionia, which was a dependency of Achaemenid Empire.

The intervention of Athens there was a major trigger.

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We are Greeks who speak the same Ionian dialect! That's why we will help you.

This is why they intervened in this rebellion.

However, the Ionian revolt fails.

And the Achaemenid Persians considered the intervention of Athens as interference in their internal affairs.

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Don't get cocky, Athens! With this, I'm going to invade Athens without any worries♪

Darius the Great decided to invade Greece under the pretext of the Ionian Revolt.

To learn more about Darius the Great, the man who triggered the Persian War,

Please also read this article.

On the other hand, after Athens decided to support the Ionian rebels, the debate between the Persian moderates and the radicals were at odds for a while.

However, after the rebellion ended in failure, the Persian extremists gradually gained power.

Invasion of Mardonios

To revenge on Athens and Eretria (the Greek polis) on the side of Ionia,

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Hey, Athens and Eretria sided with Ionia at first, right? So, please go and punish them, right?

Darius the Great dispatched a force to Greece, including his nephew, Mardonios.

This revenge was an excuse for Darius the Great to invade Greece.

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Now we could finally rule all the Greek cities, right?

In fact, it is said that he actually planned to rule all of Greece.

If we consider that it was a small expeditionary force,

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Conquest is an exaggeration; it may have been nothing more than a reconnaissance expedition.

Some historians have this opinion.

By the way, The expedition, led by his nephew Mardonios, was severely damaged by a rainstorm.

Moreover, Mardonios himself was wounded, forcing the expedition to retreat.

The Greek expedition thus ended in failure, and Mardonios was sacked.

Even after that, Darius the Great was still concerned about the Greek polis.

He then makes the following request toward each Greek polis.

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Let's ask them to offer soil and water to see if they are willing to comply.

Most of the polis obeyed the order of Darius the Great.

However, Athens and Sparta refused.

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Obey Darius the Great? What to do?

Thus, Athens at that time was wavering about what to do.

Furthermore, Athens saw that the polis, which was not on good terms with them, obeyed Darius the Great, and they came into conflict with that polis.

Sparta, like Athens, was shaken up and had its own internal conflicts.

Battle of Marathon

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Let's attack the polis that didn't give in to our demands! Especially the Athenians and Spartans!

Thus, Darius the Great dispatched 600 three-oared ships for his army.

The Persian fleet then invaded Eretria.

Eretria was also wavering over whether to join Persia or not.

It was then that Athenian reinforcements arrived.

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What, are you still wavering over whether to join Persia or not?

The Athenian reinforcements witnessed the chaos in Eretria.

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Well, we were going to defend Eretria, but in such the state, we'd better go home!

Thus, they abandoned their defenses and left.

Meanwhile, Eretria was under attack by Persian troops.

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This was no time to be worried! If we don't fight, we will be killed...!

In this way, the will to engage was solidified.

The Persian army attacked for 7 days.

However, there were still some people inside the city who wanted to join the Persian army.

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If we open the gates and surrender, the Persian army might be able to help us...

They may have thought so.

By opening the gates, Eretria was successfully dropped by the Persian army.

However, the Persian army was defeated by the Athenians on the plain of Marathon.

This is called the Battle of Marathon.

If you would like to know more about this,

Please also read this article.

Darius the Great was preparing again to go on an expedition himself.

However, he died without being able to achieve it due to the rebellion in Egypt and Babylon.

Xerxes I

The next king was Xerxes I.

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I'm the next king, and I'm going on an expedition. I don't want to go on this expedition....

Thus, Xerxes I was backward-looking.

However, Mardonius, the son-in-law of Darius the Great, persuaded him to conquer Babylon and Egypt.

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Yes, let's try a Greek expedition!

Eventually, he decides to do so.

The Greek Confederation

According to Herodotus' account, the total number of the Persian expeditionary force was said to be over 5.28 million.

But this is clearly too many.

So there are many theories about the number of troops that were mobilized.

In any case, there is no doubt that it was so large that it far exceeded the number of troops on the Greek side.

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Persia is attacking...!

This threat frightens the polis.

Themistocles, a politician and military leader of Athens, called a meeting and invited representatives of the polis who were willing to fight.

Here is what was decided.

  • An immediate end to the conflict between the polis
  • Dispatch of spies

And they were done quickly.

Here, a system that could be called the Greek Confederation was set up.

However, some of the polis, which were in the first position to be attacked by Persia, took the Persian side.

Battle of Thermopylae

In the land of Thermopylae, the Spartan army led by Leonidas, the king of Sparta, fought against the Persian army.

However, the Greeks who sided with the Persians betrayed them and taught the Persian army the secret roads of Thermopylae.

As a result, the Spartan army including King Leonidas was defeated.

To learn more about this battle,

What is the Battle of Thermopylae?

Please read this article.

The Battle of Salamis

With the breakthrough of the main defense lines such as Thermopylae, the Persian army was closing in on Athens.

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Let's have a naval battle in the waters of Salamis!

Themistocles argues so even at the expense of the other Greek allies.

As a result, Themistocles united the Greek fleet and defeated the Persian fleet.

To learn more about the Battle of Salamis,

Please read this article.

Battle of Plataea

Achaemenid Persian general Mardonios again entered Athens.

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Obey us!

He demanded the Athenians to do so.

The Athenians, however, were furious and shot the messenger to death.

For this reason, Mardonios completely destroyed the city of Athens.

Triggered by this, the Persian army was attacked mainly by the Spartan army and the Athenian army.

To learn more about the Battle of Plataea,

What is the Battle of Plataea?

Please read the article here.

Impact of the Greco-Persian Wars

Xerxes I was assassinated.

However, a bit of strife followed.

Neither Persia nor Greece achieved decisive war results, and the war ended in peace.

Although Greece seemed to have been united by the Persian War, the struggle for supremacy among the leading polis continued behind the scenes.

Especially after the war, the struggle for power between Athens and Sparta became more and more intense.

In a series of Greco-Persian Wars, Athens succeeded in growing from a land power to a maritime trading nation with strong naval power.

After the Greco-Persian Wars

In the Delian League, which was concluded under the initiative of Athens for the Greco-Persian Wars, although it was said to be an alliance based on economic unity, in reality it was dominated by the polis that had formed the alliance.

As a matter of fact, when a polis tried to leave the Delian League, it was besieged by the Athenian army and forced to rejoin the alliance.

In addition, the money collected from the allies was diverted to the Athenian treasury, and later the vaults themselves were placed in Athens and used to rebuild the castle.

To learn more about the Delian League,

The difference between the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League!

Please read this article as well.

On the other hand, agricultural-oriented polis such as Sparta, which contributed considerably to the Persian War, received little in return for their victory.

Furthermore, the alliance of Athens with Sparta's adversary caused a decisive friction between Sparta and Athens.

This conflict developed into the later Peloponnesian War.

To learn more about the Peloponnesian War,

Who won the Peloponnesian War? Sparta vs. Athens.

Please also read this article.

There are still numerous other histories of Mesopotamian civilization.

To learn more about the history of Mesopotamian civilization,

What is the Mesopotamian Civilization?

Please also read this article.