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Greco-Persian Wars
Persian Empire
Cyrus the Great – 550BC
United collection of people from
Indus R to Aegean Sea, Egypt to
Black Sea
◦ Royal Road
◦ Postal Service
◦ Uniformity and Autonomy
Focus on trade – push to Greece
Ionian Revolt
Resentment over tyrants
and taxes builds
Miletus overthrows
rulers (499)
◦ Appeal to Greece
 Only Athens helps
◦ Destroy local capital Sardis
Persians recapture Ionia
and sack Miletus (494)
◦ King Darius I wants
revenge on Athens
First Persian Invasion (490)
Darius sends a force to destroy Athens
Battle of Marathon
◦ Athens outnumbered
◦ Pheidippides’ Run
◦ Heroic Greek Victory
 Hoplite Discipline
 Power of Athens
 Sense of Nationalism
Interbellum (490-480)
Persia looks to rebuild
◦ Put down internal revolts
◦ King Xerxes build massive army
Greeks worry about future attacks
◦ Themistocles builds navy (triremes)
◦ Congress of Corinth
 Attempt to create a united Greece
 Sparta and Athens to lead
 Many refuse to join
Second Persian Invasion
Persia marches on Greece
◦ Many cities destroyed or
Battle of Thermopylae (480)
◦ Greeks make a stand in
narrow pass
◦ Hold off until betrayed
◦ Spartans remains to buy time
 All slaughtered – Heroic Defeat
 Athens evacuated and sacked
Battle of Salamis (480)
◦ Oracle advises to “put faith
in the wooden wall”
◦ Set trap for Persian Navy in
narrow straights
◦ Superior Athenian Navy is
 Persia retreats
Platea & Mycale (479)
◦ Greeks wait until prepared
to attack when
◦ Defeat of remaining Persian
army and navy
Collection of Greek City-states defeat
mighty Persian Empire
◦ Affects moral of each
Celebration of the Hero
◦ Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis
New sense of Greek nationalism
◦ Look to become united
Athenian navy now dominant force
◦ Look to Athens protection