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Ancient Greece
The Persian Wars
The Persian Wars (490-479 BC)
Herodotus, a Greek scholar, tells the full story of the
Persian Wars. He is considered to be the first
Persians blocked the entrance to the Hellespont,
keeping Athens from trading in the Black Sea. The
Persians controlled former Greek city-states in Asia
This was a clash between East and West. Greeks
had a variety of governments in which the citizens
generally could participate. In Persia, the ruler was
Sequence of the War
Greeks defeat Persians at Marathon.
10,000 Athenians defeat 25,000 Persians.
Persians try to defeat Athens, but fail. The
Persians wouldn’t attack again until 10 years
In 480 BC, the Spartans fight a delaying action
at Thermopylae. Leonidas holds off the
Persians with 300 Spartans.
Persian soldiers occupied
Athens and completely burned
it. The Greeks would then
decide to meet the Persians at
Sequence of the War
City-states in Asia Minor revolt.
Persian fleet is defeated at sea in the Battle of
Salamis. Xerxes watches as Persians are
defeated by better navigable Greek ships.
Emperor Xerxes returns to Persia after defeat
at sea with half of the Persian army.
The remaining half of the Persian army is
defeated at the Battle of Plataea ending the
second Persian invasion.
Outcome of the War
140 Greek city-states combined to form the
Delian League, designed to prevent future
Persian attacks. Athens served as the leading
City-states were forced to pay yearly dues to
Athens, which used force when needed to keep
the allies in line.
The Delian League just became another name for
the Athenian empire. Athens would soon enter
its golden age lasting from 480 to 430 BC.