Ancient Greece: The Kings. Essay

859 words - 3 pages

Despite their defeat by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, the Persians were not finished with their determination to conquer mainland Greece. For the Persians, Marathon barely registered; the Persians after all controlled almost the entire world: Asia Minor, Lydia, Judah, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.The loss at Marathon was no more than an irritation to the Persians. Darius was unable to respond immediately to his defeat because of rebellions on the other end of his empire. While he was quelling these, he was killed in battle.King Xerxes, son of Darius, ascended to the throne of Persia after his father's death in 486 BC. After securing his throne, Xerxes began to muster forces to once again invade Greece. He was determined to avenge his father's defeat. By 480 BC, Xerxes had built up an enormous army of some one hundred fifty thousand men and a navy of six hundred ships. Peoples from many little-known nations in the vast empire of Xerxes joined in the army of the Great King to invade little Greece. Following the chariot of Or'muzd are soldiers from India, Thrace, Chal'y-be'a and both Ethiopias.The Greeks heard of Xerxes army amassing and were better prepared for the invasion than in the first Persian War (the Battle of Marathon). Athenians and Spartans combined with about 29 other city-states, under the leadership of Sparta to oppose this powerful army and the Athenians contributed a fleet of 200 triremines for their navy.Themistocles, an Athenian general, convinced the Athenians that the battle would be won at sea and that the profits from a newly discovered silver mine should be used to build a navy. He knew that the Persian army could only succeed if it were successfully supported by supplies and communications provided by the fleet.Travel by sea was perilous; armies always traveled by land when possible. Xerxes decided to cross the Bosporus and travel by way of Thrace, Macedonia and Thessaly. To cross the Bosporus, he had a boat bridge built with each boat connected to the other with planks. This bridge would be over a mile long and required a perfectly calm sea. On several attempts winds and rough seas broke it apart. Frustrated and enraged, Xerxes ordered that the Bosporus receive three hundred lashes with a chain. Properly chastened, the sea remained calm and the bridge was completed.Some Greek city-states in the north submitted to the Persians rather than face destruction. One reason was because the stronger city-states in the south, such as Athens, Sparta and Thebes, had decided...

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