Doing so required reinforcements. The second day of the Battle of Thermopylae was not all that different from the first in that Xerxes continued to send his men in waves of 10,000. All of this training meant that the Spartan soldiers, also known as Spartiates, were one of the world’s premier fighting force at the time. For example, during the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persian army consisted partly of Ionian Greeks who had been forced to fight as a result of losing their rebellion. Meanwhile, Darius I sent his fleet to attack Eritrea and Athens. The Truth . Most believe it is made from Leonidas’ likeness. Below is a bust of a Greek hoplite found at the Athena temple in Sparta. The Greek army, which was made up of Spartans, Thebans, Thespians, and soldiers from several other Greek city-states, totaled around 7,000. Modern historians believe Darius I retreated to regroup for a second invasion, but he died before he ever had the chance. Facing an invading Persian army numbering around 100,000 men or more under king Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans led a coalition of some 6,000 troops assembled from the city-states of Greece. The Battle of Thermopylae. The force stationed up in the mountains was set to serve not only as a line of defense but also as a warning system that could alert the Greeks fighting on the beaches in the event the Persians found their way around the narrow pass. Xerxes, confident he would now win the Battle, waited until the late afternoon to give his Immortals the chance to make it through the pass and advance on the remaining Greeks. Defending the pass for three days, the Greek force was ultimately defeated. To help show this, we’re going to go over some of the key events that took place leading up to and during the battle, and also discuss how the Battle of Thermopylae impacted the overall course of Greco-Persian Wars. The Spartan society was known for its highly-skilled warriors, elitist administrators, and its reverence for stoicism, people today still look to the Spartans as model citizens in an idealist ancient society. Nearly everyone took him up on this offer except for around 700 Thebans. Carey, Brian Todd, Joshua Allfree, and John Cairns. Here’s a carving of what the Immortals may have looked like in ancient times: The rest of the soldiers Xerxes took with him to Greece came from other regions of the empire, mainly Media, Elam, Babylon, Phoenicia, and Egypt, among many others. Can the Deadly Earthquake Reduce Tensions Between Greece and Turkey? The battle took place simultaneously with the more famous land battle at Thermopylae, in August or September 480 BC, off the coast of Euboea and was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and others, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. In the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. Spartan soldiers falling at the battle of Thermopylae (Source: Wikimedia Commons) At sunrise, after making libations, Xerxes ordered the army to advance and descend the mountain. Vol. The Vale of Tempe provided them with this geographical advantage, but when the Greeks got word that the Persians had learned of a way to go around the vale, they had to change their strategy. The invasion of the Persians into the Greek homelands set in motion the clash of the two greatest powers of the ancient world. 2500 Anniversary: The Battle of Thermopylae (Hot Gates), In 2020 Greece celebrates the 2500-year-anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae, when King Leonidas and his men said "Molon Labe" and fought to death against one million Persians; protecting the foundations of our civilization in one of the most famous battles in history that shaped our world! The Persian forces were accompanied by its massive fleet, and the Greeks had chosen Artemisium, which lies to the east of Thermopylae, as the place to engage with the Persian contingency of ships. The Battle of Thermopylae’s political origins can be traced back to Xerxes’ predecessor, Darius I (the Great), who sent heralds to Greek cities in 491 bce in the hopes of persuading them to accept Persian authority. Unfortunately, there were too few Spartan-IIs to turn the tide of the war. Xerxes marched his armies further south, ransacking much of the Euboean peninsula and eventually burning an evacuated Athens to the ground. The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? Découvrez comment nous utilisons vos informations dans notre Politique relative à la vie privée et notre Politique relative aux cookies. Anyone could see that the Persians would be back, and so most went about preparing for round two. This determination in the face of almost certain defeat is part of the reason why the Battle of Thermopylae is such a famous story. Pantites failed to return to Thermopylae in time for the battle, and branded with shame in the eyes of his fellow Spartans, he hanged himself. Only 2 Spartans are said to have survived: 1 fell at the Battle of Plataea a year later, and the other hanged himself in shame. Thermopylae 480 BC: Last stand of the 300. Of the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae, only two survived the battle: Pantites, who had been sent with a message to Thessaly, and Aristodamus, who was also a messenger or — in a different version — was one of two men excused for severe eye infections. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE. His son, Xerxes I, rose to the throne in 486 BCE, and after spending some time consolidating his power within the empire, he set out to avenge his father and force the Greeks to pay for their insubordination and insurrection, setting the stage for the Battle of Thermopylae. So, in 499 BCE, much of Ionia was in open rebellion, an event known as the Ionian Revolt. Before the battle that lasted three days began, Leonidas had ordered Pantites to go into Thessaly. Seven hundred Thespians and 300 Thebans refused the order to withdraw and remained with the Spartans. However, most historians now believe he sent off most of his force so that they could rejoin with the rest of the Greek armies and live to fight the Persians another day. The final outcome, namely the fact that the Persians did cross the strait, is not surprising or admirable. Lastly, the Greek army was grossly outnumbered. Geography played an important role in the Battle of Thermopylae, as it does in nearly any military conflict. Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: The Battle of Thermopylae was just one of many battles fought between the Greeks and the Persians in a conflict known as The Greco Persian Wars. After seeing what the Greeks had managed to do at the Battle of Thermopylae, and now without a fleet to support his invasion, Mardonius was hoping to avoid a direct battle, so he sent envoys to the leaders of the Greek alliance to sue for peace. With all of this done, the stage was set for the fighting to begin. Several waves of 10,000 Medes were all beaten back. But a much more interesting subject of eternal study will be how so few not only did not fear the enemy, but were able to ultimately stop them, defeating them first in the mind and then on the battlefield. The pass was so narrow that most of the fighting took place between just a few hundred men in close quarters. The alliance was technically under the direction of the Athenians, but the Spartans also played a key role largely because they had the largest and most superior land force. But it did also result in the death of Leonidas, as well as his entire force of 300 Spartans and 700 Thebans from the initial tally of 7,000 men. ” (“Molon Lave—Come and take them!”) was said to be the response by the Spartans at Thermopylae to the Persian demand that the Greeks surrender their weapons. This website is dedicated to King Leonidas, the 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and other Greek warriors who fought to the death during the Battle of Thermopylae (Hot Gates) in August, 480 B.C. Xerxes drew upon his empire to build one of the largest armies the ancient world had ever seen. He figured the Greeks would see just how outnumbered they were and eventually surrender. Leonidas got word that the Persians had found the route around Thermopylae at dawn on the third day of battle. The Battle of Marathon had shown that Greek forces would be able to defeat the Persians if they could force them into tight areas where their superior numbers no longer mattered. The plan was to invade the Greek island of Naxos and begin subjugating more Greek cities and regions. Meanwhile, receiving word that the Persians had found a way around the Pass of Thermopylae, the Greek fleet at Artemisium turned around and sailed south to try and beat the Persians to Attica and defend Athens. At Artemisium, the Athenian-led navy was able to inflict heavy damages on the Persian fleet by luring them into tight corridors and using their more agile ships to defeat the Persians. After defeating Darius I at the Battle of Marathon, the Greeks rejoiced but they did not relax. Eighty Years Later Greece Repeats Its Historic OXI, This Time to…, Pfizer CEO Bourla Announces Second Hub in Thessaloniki at Greek Economic Summit. Madman or not, however, he survived to take part in the Greek-Persian wars until their very end, paying a bitter price for walking away and not returning home dead on his shield from the great Battle of Thermopylae. Nearly 600 years… Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: 1. 100s of Spartans were killed in many places, but the question probably refers to the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, and the legend of the 300 Spartans. Professor Low opened the lecture with a quick summary of the battle and reminded us that, although the Battle of Thermopylae has survived as a strong symbol of resilience and resistance, the actual battle itself only delayed the Persian army from continuing south. They were so named because royal decree required this force always have 10,000 soldiers, meaning fallen soldiers were replaced one-for-one, keeping the force at 10,000 and giving the illusion of immortality. Worse, the program's director, Dr. Catherine Halsey, had postponed the training of new Spartan-IIs for years due to the specific age selection criteria, despite having candidates who met t… Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? The Greeks (7,000 men) made it to the pass first, but the Persians arrived shortly thereafter. King Leonidas deemed them unfit to fight and ordered them to return home before the battle. The Greeks living there maintained a decent autonomy despite falling under the dominion of Lydia, a powerful kingdom that held most of the territory in what is now eastern Turkey. Frost, Frank J., and Plutarchus. In this way, he was technically not going to war, but he was also doing something to hopefully stop the Persian forces. However, Xerxes made an error by following Greek ships into the narrow straits of Salamis, which once again neutralized his superior numbers. There are three different ways you can cite this article. The Greek forces chose to meet the Persians in battle, and they won a decisive victory at the Battle of Marathon, forcing Darius I to retreat back to Asia, effectively ending his invasion for the time being. The first is the Battle of Artemesium, a battle fought concurrently with Thermopylae. Although there were 300 Spartans present at the defense of Thermopylae, there were at least 4,000 allies involved on the first two days and 1,500 men involved in the fatal last stand.Still a tiny figure compared to the forces against them—there is evidence that the vast Persian army has been vastly exaggerated—but more than the legend, which forgets some contributors. Ancient Sparta is one of the most well-known cities in Classical Greece. When Xerxes was finally convinced that the Greeks were not kidding him when they insisted on confronting his vast army, he truly believed it was a given that the complete obliteration of the single-minded defenders of Thermopylae was just a matter of time. The Greco-Persian Wars. After three days, it became clear to Xerxes the Greeks were not going to surrender, so he began his attack. However, on this second day, in the late afternoon or early evening, something happened that would turn the tables of the Battle of Thermopylae in favor of the Persians. All of this meant the Greek army was firmly entrenched as the underdogs, but even so, they fought hard and did everything they could to beat the odds. When called upon, they would mobilize and fight to defend the polis, which would have been a great honor. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE 2. The Battle of Thermopylae, fought between the Greeks and the Persians in 480 BCE, has gone down in history as one of the most significant last stands of all time, despite the fact the “hero,” the Greeks, walked away from this battle defeated and on the brink of complete destruction. However, there are numerous modern recreations. The word “coward” was the worst insult for the supremely warlike Spartans. However, when the Persians invaded Lydia and conquered it in the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Ionian Greeks became part of the Persian Empire, yet in their quest to maintain their autonomy, they proved difficult to rule. So, instead of mobilizing his entire army, Spartan King Leonidas gathered 300 Spartans and organized them into an “expeditionary” force. To add to this, Xerxes, the Persian king, was out for revenge after the Greek army had defeated his father just 10 years prior. Most hoplites were regular citizens who were required to buy and maintain their own armor. Aristodemus was one of only two Spartan survivors, as he was not present at the last stand. iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order Mason-Dixon Line The History of Guns, who had grown over the previous century to be the most powerful empire in western Asia, The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Athens vs. Sparta: The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ancient Sparta: The History of the Spartans, Day 3: The Last Stand of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, The History of Salt in Ancient Civilizations, History of Dogs: The Journey of Man’s Best Friend, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. It wasn’t until weeks later that they were able to get it, and when they returned it to Sparta, Leonidas was enshrined as a hero. Leonidas, one of the Spartan kings at the time (Sparta always had two), led the Greeks, whereas the Persians were led by their emporer Xerxes, as well as his main general, Mardonius. That the 300 Spartans had significant help is one of the parts of the Battle of Thermopylae that has been forgotten in the name of mythmaking. After the movie 300 came out in 2006, the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE became globally recognized. The story goes that Xerxes, as he made his way into Greece, sent envoys to the still free Greek cities offering peace in exchange for tribute, which the Spartans of course refused. Most of Xerxes’ army was made up of conscripts from around the empire. Below are maps that show not only what the Pass of Thermopylae looked like but also how the troops moved around throughout the three days of fighting. Although the above scene from the 2006 movie 300 is fiction and likely exaggerated, the Spartans who fought the Battle of Thermopylae have gone down in history as one of the most fearsome and elite fighting forces to have ever existed.