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Chapter Four
Ancient Greece
1750 B.C. - 133 B.C.
Section Three
Conflict in the
Greek World
By the Fifth century B.C., the Persians conquered a huge
empire stretching from Asia Minor to the border of India.
This is a map
of the Persian
Empire around
the time of
Darius the
Great and
The Persians had conquered the Greek citystates of Ionia in Asia Minor.
The Ionians resented
their situation. In
499 B.C., Ionian
Greeks rebelled
against Persian rule.
Athens sent ships to
help them.
The Persians soon crushed the rebel Ionian city-states.
This little blue line that’s all there is.
This maps shows the key
sites of the Persian
Wars. The blue line
indicated at left shows
the first invasion - and
how little time and
effort it took for the
Persians to defeat the
Darius I was furious at Athens for its role in the uprising.
This is a view
of the ancient
Persian city of
Persepolis, a
complex in
Iran founded
by Darius I
around 515
Iran is the
modern name
for Persia.
Darias I ruled Persia
when the empire
was at its peak. He
is often called
Darius the Great.
At left is a sketch of an image of
Darius I on a vase found in 1851 in
Canossa, Italy. The sketch is an
illustration from Monuments of
Classical Alterums, Volume I, 1885.
This is Darius I from a
relief in Persepolis,
the ancient Persian
These are the remains of Persepolis, the ceremonial
capital of the Persian Empire, from about 515 B.C.
Darius’ tomb
can be seen
in the
at center.
The conflict that began in Ionia in 499 B.C. is known
as the first of the Greek’s three Persian Wars.
The Ionian Revolt
(499 to 493 B.C.)
The Second Persian War
(492 to 490 B.C.)
The Third Persian War
(480 to 479 B.C.)
The Second Persian War began in 492 B.C.
The second Persian War was meant
to be Athens’ punishment.
The Persians greatly outnumbered
The Athenians asked for help from
neighboring Greek city-states, but
received little support.
In 490 B.C. the Persians attacked at
Marathon. The location is marked
in red on the map at right.
Athenian foot soldiers ran toward the Persians.
Darius’ archers responded
with a rain of arrows, but
the Greeks rushed onward.
The armies engaged in fierce
hand-to-hand combat, then
the Persians retreated to
their ships.
These are Persian archers shown in a
glazed brick frieze in Darius’ palace in
Susa, Iran from about 510 BC.
This is the
where the
their dead
after the
battle of
This is Pheidippides Giving Word of Victory after the
Battle of Marathon by Luc-Olivier Merson, 1869.
Pheidippides is
supposed to have run,
without stopping, from
Marathon to Athens.
Upon arriving, he
announced his news
with one word,
“victory,” then, his
mission complete, he
collapsed and died.
A modern marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards. Marathon
is about twenty-five miles southeast of Athens.
The legend of Pheidippides was honored at the first
modern Olympic Games that were held in Greece in
1896. That first modern marathon was 40,000 meters
(or 24.85 miles) long. At the 1908 Olympic Games in
London the marathon distance was changed to 26.2
miles. The extra two miles were added so that the race
could finish in front of royal family’s viewing box.
This is a
of the
arrival of
Pietri of
Italy at the
finish of
the 1908
Pietri was initially declared the winner, but later, after other competitors protested
that he was assisted during the race, he was disqualified.
The Athenian leader Themistocles knew that success
at Marathon would not end the Persian Wars.
convinced Athenians
to build a fleet of
warships and
prepare themselves
for another attack.
This is Crossing the Hellespont by Xerxes, an illustration for an 1896 text entitled The Story of the Greeks.
Darius died while preparing an
army for the Third Persian
War. He left the task of
punishing Athens to his son.
In 480 B.C., Darius’ son, Xerxes, sent another,
much larger force to conquer Greece.
This time Athens persuaded Sparta and other
city-states to join the fight against the Persians.
This is a rock relief of Xerxes from Persepolis.
The Third Persian war
began in 480 B.C. when
the Persians landed in
northern Greece. They
were met by a small
Spartan force guarding
the narrow mountain
pass at Thermopylae.
This is a view of the Thermopylae pass.
The Spartans held out heroically
against the enormous Persian force,
but were defeated in the end.
This is
Leonidas at
from 1814.
The Persians marched south and burned Athens.
The Battle of
Thermopylae gave the
Athenians time to
empty their city and
withdraw to safety.
This image from a Fifth century B.C. Greek drinking
cup shows a Greek hoplite (citizen-soldier) and a
Persian warrior fighting.
The Greeks now put their faith in the fleet of ships
that Themistocles had urged them to build.
This is a copy of a stone relief
from a graffito found at the
House of Dionysos on Delos
Island in the early 1930s. It
shows an ancient Greek warship
and its crew. The original stone
relief has since badly
Ancient Greek
warships, called
triremes, were
powered by rowers
and equipped with
underwater battering
This is the Olympias, a reconstruction of an ancient Greek trireme. Notice that its wooden
ram is reinforced with bronze. When tested with an inexperienced crew it made a 180° turn
in less than one minute. The Persian ships could not match the trireme’s maneuverability.
His fleet in place, Themistocles tempted the
enormous Persian navy to fight at Salamis.
into the
These are Athenian soldiers preparing
to fight the Persians as portrayed in
2014’s 300: Rise of an Empire.
In the cramped conditions of the Straits of Salamis the great Persian ships struggled to maneuver and
became disorganized. The Greeks destroyed the Persian fleet Xerxes retreated with his army.
On the shore, Xerxes watched as his mighty fleet sank.
The next year, the
Greeks defeated the
Persians on land in
Asia Minor. This
victory marked the
end of the Persian
The Greek city-states
saved themselves from
the Persian threat.
The Battle of Salamis, by Wilhelm von Kaulbach
(1868), shows the aftermath of the Persian’s defeat.
Themistocles’ foresight saved Athens
foresight had
saved Athens.
Too proud,
years later his
boasting got
him exiled. He
went to Persia
and became
an advisor to
the king.
This is Burial of Themistocles’ Ashes, by Giuseppe Bossi from about 1809.
He died in Ionia
in 459 B.C.
Athens emerged from the
war as the most powerful
city-state in Greece. Athens
created an alliance with other
Greek city-states. Modern
scholars call this alliance the
Delian League after Delos,
the location where the
league held meetings. From
the start, Athens dominated
the Delian League.
Athens (in red above) and the other city-states
of the Delian League (in yellow above) joined
forces to defend against future Persian
invasions. Notice that Sparta is not a member.
The most important long-term contributions of
ancient Greek civilization are primarily found
in the area of government and law.
The architectural
style in
Washington, D.C.
is neoclassical,
meaning that it is
inspired by
ancient Greek
and Roman
These styles use
tall columns,
shapes, and
pediments, like
those seen in the
Supreme Court
Building at left.
The architecture of
the nation’s capital
expresses the
influence of
classical Greek and
Roman political
ideals on our
The Hall of Columns is a dramatic, high-ceilinged corridor over 100 feet long. It runs along the NorthSouth axis of the first floor of the House wing in the U.S. Capitol, directly beneath the Hall of the
House of Representatives. These columns, like to columns at the front of the Supreme Court Building,
are of the Corinthian style.
There are three main columns in Greek
architecture, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
Ionia and Corinth
were Greek citystates. The term
Doric derives from
the Dorian invaders
who built the citystate of Sparta.
These are the Doric columns of the crypt in the
U.S. Capitol Building.
These sandstone
columns support
the arches that hold
up the floor of the
Rotunda above.
These ionic
belong to the
House Office
Our Congressman, Andre Carson, has his office in room 2453 of this building.
The White
House and the
Memorial are
also examples
of classical
architecture in
These are Corinthian columns in the Library of
Congress’ main reading room in Washington, D.C.
the Central
columns are
The Indiana
columns are
The memorial is based upon the Mausoleum at
Halicarnassus, a tomb built by Greek architects in
the Fourth century B.C.
inside the
are in the
The years after the Persian Wars, from 460 B.C. to
429 B.C., were a golden age for Athens.
Under the leadership of
Pericles, Athens was a direct
democracy. In a direct
democracy, all citizens vote
on all laws.
This is Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to Pericles, Aspasia,
Alcibiades and Friends, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, from 1868.
Citizens took
part directly
in the day-today affairs of
Today, the citizens in
most democratic
countries participate
in government
indirectly through
We have a representative (or indirect) democracy. We vote to elect
others who vote on legislation because they represent us.
By the time of Pericles, the Athenian assembly met
several times a month. A Council of Five Hundred,
selected by lot, conducted daily government business.
believed that
all citizens,
regardless of
wealth or
social class,
should take
part in
This is Raphael’s School of
Athens. It was painted
between 1509 and 1511 to
decorate a room in the
Apostolic Palace in the
Vatican. Nearly every great
ancient Greek philosopher
can be found in the
Athens paid a salary to
men who participated in
the government, enabling
poor men to serve.
The setting suggests the open exchange of ideas
that occurs in a democracy. Socrates, Plato, and
Aristotle are numbers 12, 14, and 15, respectively.
Many Greeks outside of Athens resented
Athenian domination. Before long, the Greek
world was split into rival camps.
This is Spartan Woman Giving a
Shield to Her Son by Jean-JacquesFrançois Le Barbier (1805). In the
folklore of Sparta, when a son left
home for the armed forces, his
mother said: “Fight well and fairly.
Return with your shield - or on it.”
To counter the Delian League, Sparta and other enemies
of Athens formed the Peloponnesian League.
In 431 B.C., warfare
broke out between
Athens and Sparta. This
conflict, which became
known as the
Peloponnesian War, soon
engulfed all of Greece.
The fighting lasted for
twenty-seven years.
(Sparta) is in
yellow and the
Delian League
(Athens) is in
orange on the
map at left.
When Sparta’s
powerful army came
near to Athens,
Pericles allowed
people from the
countryside to move
inside the city walls.
The overcrowded
conditions led to a
terrible plague that
killed many
Athenians, including
Pericles himself.
This is Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts from about 1652.
As the war dragged on, each
side committed savage acts
against the other. Sparta even
allied itself with Persia, the
longtime enemy of the Greeks.
Finally, in 404 B.C., with the help of
the Persian navy, the Spartans
captured Athens.
The victors stripped
Athens of its empire.
The Peloponnesian War
ended Athenian domination
of the Greek world.
Athens remained the cultural
center of Greece. However, its
spirit and vitality declined.
This vase was created by the Spartan artist known as the Rider Painter in the Sixth century B.C.
While the Greeks battled among themselves,
a new power rose in Macedonia, a kingdom
to the north of Greece.
By 359 B.C., its
ambitious ruler
stood poised to
conquer the
Greek citystates.
This is Aristotle Tutoring
Alexander, by Jean Leon
Gerome Ferris from 1895.
and now…
some more final exam
Which civilizations were organized
into city-states?
Ancient Greece and Mayans
Rome and Egypt
Phoenicia and India
Ancient China and Ghana
Which civilizations were organized
into city-states?
Ancient Greece and Mayans
Rome and Egypt
Phoenicia and India
Ancient China and Ghana
Important long-term contributions of Ancient
Greek and Roman civilizations are primarily found
in the area of
government and law.
military technology.
religious doctrine.
economic policy.
Important long-term contributions of Ancient
Greek and Roman civilizations are primarily found
in the area of
government and law.
military technology.
religious doctrine.
economic policy.