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The Persian Wars Marathon 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 Wars. 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 • • • attack. 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 Marathon. Thermopylae • 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 pass. • 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.