The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in 480 BC between the Persian Empire and a group of allied Greek city-states. [137] Furthermore, this idea also neglects the fact that a Greek navy was fighting at Artemisium during the Battle of Thermopylae, incurring losses in the process. The story is well known and easily told. [75][76] However, this is only one approach, and many other combinations are plausible. Marching from Asia Minor, Xerxes intended to bridge the Hellespont and advance on Greece through Thrace. What advantages did the Greeks have at Thermopylae? At daybreak on the third day, the Phocians guarding the path were stunned to see the advancing Persians. [27] A preliminary expedition under Mardonius in 492 BC, secured the lands approaching Greece, re-conquered Thrace and forced Macedon to become a client kingdom of Persia's. Simonides went as far as to put the Persian number at Three million. The way to Greece is almost wide open and Persia's armies are … The first line of the epigram was used as the title of the short story "Stranger, Bear Word to the Spartans We…" by German Nobel Prize laureate Heinrich Böll. [112] This seems to have been a particularly Thespian trait – on at least two other occasions in later history, a Thespian force would commit itself to a fight to the death.[110]. It features a bronze statue of Leonidas. The metope below depicts battle scenes. P. Cartledge, Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World (2006). Hi, I'm doing a project on the Battle of Thermopylae and our class is supposed to use the 'Persian War' by Herodotus and our textbooks as sources. In 481 BC, Xerxes sent ambassadors around Greece requesting "earth and water" but very deliberately omitting Athens and Sparta. It was well known in ancient Greece that all the Spartans who had been sent to Thermopylae had been killed there (with the exception of Aristodemus and Pantites), and the epitaph exploits the conceit that there was nobody left to bring the news of their deeds back to Sparta. Upon hearing this, Tigranes, a Persian general, said: "Good heavens, Mardonius, what kind of men are these that you have pitted against us? Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army of freemen defending native soil. "[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. "[81], It is also said that on the southern side of the track stood cliffs that overlooked the pass. [17] Grundy also explored Plataea and wrote a treatise on that battle. The performance of the defenders at the battle of Thermopylae is also used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds. Wherever we are posted, there we stand, come life or death, to the end. With the elimination of Leonidas' remaining force, the Persians claimed the pass and opened the road into southern Greece. The next day, believing that the Greeks had been significantly weakened by their exertions, Xerxes attacked again. The fame of Thermopylae is thus principally derived not from its effect on the outcome of the war but for the inspirational example it set. For centuries, students, scholars, historians and military strategists have studied it, and they continue to do so. [32] Finally, it moved to attack Athens, landing at the bay of Marathon, where it was met by a heavily outnumbered Athenian army. [35] Xerxes decided that the Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of Mount Athos (rounding which headland, a Persian fleet had been destroyed in 492 BC). [111], It is sometimes stated that Thermopylae was a Pyrrhic victory for the Persians[3][4] (i.e., one in which the victor is as damaged by the battle as the defeated party). The fighting was most intense during two invasions that Persia launched against mainland Greece between 490 and 479. [77] As long as they could prevent a further Persian advance into Greece, they had no need to seek a decisive battle and could, thus, remain on the defensive. It is also the hill on which the last of them died. Rahe, The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge (2015). ... Xerxes had every reason to congratulate himself",[139] while Lazenby describes the Greek defeat as "disastrous".[134]. The width of the pass allowed fewer allied, Athenian and Spartan soldiers, to fight off more Persian troops. Perhaps better known today as “that battle from the movie 300,” the Battle of Thermopylae was an epic, three-day face-off between a small group of Greek soldiers and the massive Persian Army in 480 B.C. To play this quiz, please finish editing it. The army was to be supported by a large fleet which would move along the coast. The battle was fought for over three days, at the same time as the naval Battle of Artemisium on 20 August or 8–10 September, 480 BC. To this Leonidas gave his famous answer: Μολὼν λαβέ (pronounced Greek pronunciation: [moˈlɔːn laˈbe]) "Come and get them. [135] Far from labelling Thermopylae as a Pyrrhic victory, modern academic treatises on the Greco-Persian Wars tend to emphasise the success of Xerxes in breaching the formidable Greek position and the subsequent conquest of the majority of Greece. Iranica Antiqua Vol. By 480 BC, Xerxes had amassed a massive army and navy and set out to conquer all of Greece. W. Heckel, "Alexander at the Persian Gates", Second Persian invasion of Greece § Size of the Persian forces, The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources of the Achaemenid Period, "Battle of Thermopylae | Date, Location, and Facts", http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0160%3Abook%3D10%3Achapter%3D21, "Diodorus Siculus, Library, Book XI, Chapter 8, section 5", "Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Thermopylae", "Sparse Spartan Verse: Filling Gaps in the Thermopylae Epigram", "Herodotus, The Histories, Book 7, chapter 226, section 1", "Greece Issues Commemorative Coins for 2500th Anniversary of Battle of Thermopylae", "Herodotus: The Seventh, Eighth & Ninth Books with Introduction and Commentary: Commentary on Herodotus, Histories, book 7, chapter 228", Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae: Herodotus' Real History, "Herodotus' twenty-second logos: Thermopylae", 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Thermopylae&oldid=999723828, Articles with dead external links from June 2020, Articles with permanently dead external links, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Not only that, but they also held the advantage militarily as the Spartans were trained form a very young age to fight as soldiers, while the Persians did not train as soldiers until well into their adult years. The Greeks had positioned themselves behind the rebuilt wall. At this time of year the Spartans, de facto military leaders of the alliance, were celebrating the festival of Carneia. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path used by shepherds. But Thermopylae did – crucially – prove that the Persian war machine could be stopped. [97], On the second day, Xerxes again sent in the infantry to attack the pass, "supposing that their enemies, being so few, were now disabled by wounds and could no longer resist. It is commonly stated that the Spartans were obeying the laws of Sparta by not retreating. [66][b] These estimates usually come from studying the logistical capabilities of the Persians in that era, the sustainability of their respective bases of operations, and the overall manpower constraints affecting them. [110] The likelihood is that these were the Theban "loyalists", who unlike the majority of their fellow citizens, objected to Persian domination. One of which is a statue of King Leonidas I, portrayed as bearing a spear, and shield. [103] The path led from east of the Persian camp along the ridge of Mt. 1. On the morning of September 17, 490 bc, some 10,000 Greeks stood assembled on the plain of Marathon, preparing to fight to the last man. 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). [37], After the Persians' departure, the Greeks collected their dead and buried them on the hill. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους = History of the Greek nation volume Β', Athens 1971, This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 16:59. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. "[162], It is reported that, upon arriving at Thermopylae, the Persians sent a mounted scout to reconnoitre. This was refused and the Greeks met that fall to form an alliance of the city-states under the leadership of Athens and Sparta. And there is perhaps no better precedent for this archetype than one of the first such examples in recorded history: The Battle of Thermopylae. [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 Greeks allowed him to come up to the camp, observe them, and depart. [62][63]Top rank: Persian, Median, Elamite, Parthian, Arian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Chorasmian, Zarangian, Sattagydian, Gandharan, Hindush (Indians), Scythian.Bottom rank: Scythian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Arabian, Egyptian, Armenian, Cappadocian, Lydian, Ionian, Scythian, Thracian, Macedonian, Libyan, Ethiopian. The broken wing symbolizes the voluntary sacrifice and death. The Battle of Thermopylae [thər móppəlee] (Template:Lang-el) took place over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece.It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the pass of Thermopylae ('The Hot Gates'). With the sea on one side and steep, impassable hills on the other, King Leonidas and his men chose the perfect topographical position to battle the Persian invaders. Fighting to the last, the battle saw Leonidas killed and the two sides struggle for his body. Herodotus says they jumped up and were greatly amazed. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. The number of Persian troops present at Thermopylae is therefore as uncertain as the number for the total invasion force. After defeating the Persian defence, Alexander continued through the Mountains and soon reached Persepolis where he seized the Persian royal treasury and burned the royal palace to the ground – a symbolic end to Achaemenid rule over Persia. Alerted to the betrayal by a Phocian runner, Leonidas called a council of war. J.F. in, Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, section "Leonidas, son of Anaxandridas", saying 11. The legend of Thermopylae, as told by Herodotus, has it that the Spartans had consulted the Oracle at Delphi earlier in the year. [130] Meanwhile, at the near-simultaneous naval Battle of Mycale, they also destroyed much of the remaining Persian fleet, thereby reducing the threat of further invasions. 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 … [110][111] If all the troops had retreated, the open ground beyond the pass would have allowed the Persian cavalry to run the Greeks down. Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country, Mourn for the loss of a king, descendant of great Heracles. [115] Of the remaining defenders, Herodotus says: "Here they defended themselves to the last, those who still had swords using them, and the others resisting with their hands and teeth. And they continue to do so from the Greeks to disperse, before sending to. Better land in return for their obedience ( Map ) therefore as uncertain as the Persians at Artemisium he... Withdrew south after their victory, the latter assumed a defensive position at the pass fewer... Spartans became the symbol and standard of Spartan warrior virtue went as as. 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