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Assess The Reasons For The Greek Victory Over The Persians In 490 To 480/479 Bc. Make A Judgement Based On Outcome, Results And Values

2860 words - 12 pages

Assess the reasons for the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 to 480/479 BC. Make a judgement based on outcome, results and values.The reasons for the Greek victory against the Persians in 490 to 480/479 BC was a mixture of exceptional leadership, skilful tactics and strategy, superior weapons and soldiers, and Greek unity. Strong leadership was the most important aspect of the Greek defence, as without the intelligence and bravery of the leaders, the Greeks would have been easily defeated. As a result of the excellent leadership; Greek tactics, strategy, and unity were greatly strengthened. Combined with their better weapons and soldiers, the Greeks held the advantage and seized ...view middle of the document...

However Miltiades' excellent leadership persuaded the council to take supplies and leave the city if the Persians landed. This is seen in the 'Miltiades' Decree.' Despite being the Polemarch, Callimachus relied on advice from Miltiades who had in depth experience in Persian combat. As opposed to the Persians, the Greeks were willing to co operate in the defence of their country which directly lead to their success. Both Callimachus and Miltiades convinced the Athenian Assembly to send an army to Marathon. At Marathon, the 10 strategoi were equally divided in decision as to whether to attack the Persians or retreat, as they were heavily outnumbered. A decision was made to attack, and each of the generals was given one day to hold in command. Aristides and three other leaders gave their leadership command to Miltiades. This meant that Miltiades was in command for five out of the ten days of battle, and due to the generosity of the other generals, was able to carefully plan a much more effective attack over five days instead of one. When Miltiades was informed that the Persian calvary was absent, he timed the attack to surprise the Persians."We know enough to realise the brilliance of Miltiades' generalship at every stage: his decision to march to Marathon, his determination to attack, his grasp of the suitable opportunity, and his tactical disposition of the infantry line." (Hammond)It was this brilliance that allowed the Greeks to win at Marathon, which directly increased their confidence and improved future chances of defeating the Persians.The Persian leaders Datis, Hippias, and Artaphernes were confident of a victory over Athens after their defeat of Eretria. "Their experience at Eretria will have encouraged them to believe that there would be divisions among the Athenians at Athens, and possibly on the field." (Bury& Meiggs)They therefore did not predict the Athenians to challenge them at Marathon, and dismissed their own cavalry. This foolish decision costed them the battle as the Athenians would have been intimidated by the excellent Persian cavalry, which could have easily defended a Greek attack. It is this arrogance and poor insight from the Persian leaders that added to a Greek victory.After the death of Darius, his son Xerxes was persuaded by his overconfident advisor Mardonius to attack the Greeks, and in doing so, Mardonius exaggerated Greek weaknesses and character. Even when Damaratus repeatedly told Xerxes that the Spartans were the bravest and best fighters of Greece, Xerxes still mocked them for their appearance and actions. "For four whole days he suffered to go by, expecting that the Greeks would run away." (Herodotus)Contrasting with Persia's arrogant and assuming leaders, Greece produced the finest leadership after Marathon. Themistokles was an example of excellent leadership, as he prepared for the possibility of renewed attacks from Persia. He fortified the Piraeus bay, and used surplus to build 100 new triremes to...

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