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The Persian Wars
The cause of this battle was the fact that the Persian king
Darius wanted to punish Athens for their role in the Ionian
revolt, and he also wanted to expand his empire.
This battle was one of the most famous battles of the Persian
The great Athenian general Miltiades marched his army out
to the plains of Marathon, hoping to delay the battle until
Sparta could send more troops.
• General Militades sent a professional runner named
Pheidippides to Sparta.
He ran 250 km from Marathon to Sparta in two days.
Spartans had religious responsibilities at the time, and
could not come.
Pheidippides died after delivering the message.
Marathon running became a popular sport after his death.
• The Athenians were heavily outnumbered by the Persians.
• The Athenians had no archers or cavalry, but chose to
The Persians broke through the weakened Athenian centre,
but the Greeks defeated them on the wings.
Once the Persians entered the Athenian centre the Greek
soldiers closed in on them and trapped them.
As a result the Persians were sent back to their ships.
• Persians soldiers that managed to escape sailed
south to Athens.
• The Greeks suspected this and raced back to
Athens, and forced the Persians to sail back to Asia.
• Thousands of Persians died at the battle of
• The Greeks feared the Persians would return, so they
developed a strong navy with around 200 ships.
Xerxes son of King Darius was determined to continue the
Persian attack on Greece.
In 480 BCE Xerxes set sail for Greece with over 1200 ships
Thermopylae was a narrow pass the Persians had to cross
and this was the place the Greeks chose to attack.
• Spartan king Leonidas brought with him 300 of
the best Spartan soldiers.
• A Greek traitor led the Persians along a mountain
• Leonidas saw that his army was being trapped, and
he sent the majority of his army away.
• Not one Greek soldier survived this battle.
• Open your textbooks to page 142, and begin to
read about the battle of Salamis.
Answer the following questions
What were the major causes of the Persian Wars?
State in your own words the strategies used by the
Greeks and Persians at the battles of Marathon,
Thermopylae, and Salamis.
Explain the victor’s success in each case.