Greco–Persian Wars

Greco–Persian Wars

"For other Persian wars, see Roman-Persian Wars, Arab-Persian Wars, Persian Gulf Wars, and Military history of Iran."] Some place the upper limit at 250,000 total land forces. Others place even these numbers as too high.

The size of the Persian fleet is also disputed. According to Herodotus the Persian fleet numbered 1,207 triremes and 3,000 ships with 50 oars. "penteconter" (Greek πεντηκοντήρ) Many modern scholars concur with this number.

See below under the heading "Discussion on size of forces."

Persian advance to Therme

Two bridges were constructed across the Hellespont made of Egyptian and Phoenician ships but they were destroyed by storm. Thus two new bridges were constructed, one of 314 triremes, the other of 360. The army took seven days and nights to cross to the European side. One of the bridges was used by foot soldiers and the other by cavalry. Five major food depots had been set up along the path: at Lefki Akti on the Thracian side of the Hellespont, at Tyrozis on lake Bistonis, at Doriskos at the Evros river estuary where the Asian army was linked up with the Balkan allies, at Eion on the Strymon river and at Therme, modern-day Thessaloniki. There, food had been sent from Asia for several years in preparation for the campaign. Animals had been bought and fattened, while the local populations had been ordered for several months to grind the grains into flour. [Herodotus VII,25]

The Persian army took 3 1/2 months to travel unopposed from the Hellespont to Therme, a journey of about 600 kilometres or 360 miles. It paused at Doriskos where it was joined by the fleet. Xerxes reorganized the troops into tactical units replacing the national formations used earlier for the march. [Herodotus VII,100] A canal was dug over the isthmus of the Athos peninsula large enough to fit through two ships at a time, by which the fleet avoided the perilous journey around Cape Athos. [Herodotus VII,122]

From there, the Persian fleet traveled down the coast, capturing a few Greek ships that were sent to monitor its movements. [Herodotus VII,181] It fell into a storm off Mt. Pelion, between Casthanaia and Cape Sepias, which caused the loss of one third of the fleet. [Herodotus Vii,188] This was seen as divine retribution by the Greeks, reportedly lifting the morale of the allied force.

Battered from the storm, the Persian fleet rested at Aphetes. [Herodotus VII,193] and rejoined the army at Therme. [Herodotus VII,124]

In later Greek literature the raising of a massive army and fleet, the construction of the bridges over the Hellespont and the digging of the channel in Athos was seen as a sign of hubris, of great arrogance that was to be punished by the gods. [See for example Lysias, Funeral oration 27-29 or Gregory Nazianzen, Logoi,43]

From Therme to Megara

A force of 10,000 Athenians and Spartans led by Euenetus and Themistocles was dispatched to the vale of Tempe between Thessaly and Macedon after a call by Thessalian cities that disliked the Alevades. It arrived there traveling by ship to Phthiotis and from there by land. There they blocked the pass, but were joined by few Thessalian horsemen. Alexander I of Macedon warned the allied force that Xerxes intended to pass through another pass, so they left the way they came. This happened at the time Xerxes was still at Abydos. [Herodotus VII,173] All of Thessaly then defected to the Persians, as did many cities north of Thermopylae when they saw that help was not to come. It took Xerxes 13 days to travel from Therme to Thermopylae.

At Thermopylae, a force was assembled led by King Leonidas of Sparta who was only accompanied by the 300 Spartans, literally horsemen though they fought on foot and served as the royal bodyguard. [Dionysius Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities II,13]

:"His general Artapanus, with 10,000 men, fought an engagement with Leonidas, the Spartan general, at Thermopylae; the Persian host was cut to pieces, while only two or three of the Spartans were slain. The king then ordered an attack with 20,000, but these were defeated, and although flogged to the battle, were routed again. The next day he ordered an attack with 50,000, but without success, and accordingly ceased operations" (Persica 27,Edited by Roger Pearse)

On the third day, a local deformed man named Ephialtes betrayed the existence of a mountain path that led behind Greek positions. Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, as well as Demophilus and his contingent of 700 Thespians, proved their bravery by staying back to allow the rest of the army to escape. [Herodotus VII,222]

In the meantime a Greek naval force of 271 triremes attacked the Persian fleet off Artemisium, [Herodotus VII,2] with a fleet of 75 triremes guarding against a Persian encirclement at Chalkis. The Persians had indeed sent out a strong contingent to encircle the Greek fleet, but it fell in a storm off Euboea and was damaged. [Herodotus VIII,8] Herodotus makes a direct parallel between the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, even placing them on the same day. While not a "fight to the death" as Thermopylae had become, Herodotus records that roughly half of the Athenian fleet had been destroyed or damaged beyond repair, in addition to other losses to the allied fleet overall, [Herodotus VIII,18] while at the same time the small Greek fleet had done immense damage to the larger, bulkier Persian fleet, which, as would be seen again at Salamis, became trapped in the narrow strait and unable to manoeuvre. Furthermore fifteen Persian ships had been captured when they sailed in error to the Greek lines earlier. [Herodotus VII,162] When news of the withdrawal from Thermopylae arrived, the Greek fleet secretly abandoned its position.

Soon afterwards Athens was evacuated, and the Greek fleet withdrew to Salamis to aid in the transfer of the population of Attica to the island. [Herodotus VIII,40] The Peloponnesians proposed a defensive line at the Isthmus of Corinth, relying on the ground forces and using the fleet to keep the Isthmus supplied. [Herodotus VIII,49] Themistocles instead forced a confrontation with the Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis and routed the Persian fleet, forcing it to withdraw to the Ionian coast. According to a story related by Herodotus, before the battle, Xerxes had set up a throne on Mt. Aegaleo, so he could watch his great victory over the smaller Greek fleet. However, once again the narrow gulf provided little room for his heavy triremes to maneuver, allowing the lighter Greek ships to flank and destroy them.

After Salamis, Xerxes at first attempted to build a causeway across the channel to attack the Athenian evacuees on Salamis according to Herodotus. Strabo, who had access to works by other authors disagrees. He places the construction before the naval battle. Describing the coast between Eleusis and Piraeus notes::"and to the passage to Salamis, about two stadia wide, across which Xerxes attempted to build a mole but was forestalled by the naval battle and the flight of the Persians" (Geography,9.1.13, translated by H.L. Jones)Ctesias [ Persica, 26 ] also places this attempt before the battle. In any case this project was soon abandoned. The Greek cities of Halkidiki rebelled against the Persians. Xerxes, fearing being trapped in Greece, halted his armies advance, withdrew with his family, retainers, the remaining fleet, and a large part of his army to Sardis. Artabazus who was following Xerxes besieged Potidaia and Olynthus. [Herodotus VIII,128] The siege lasted five months, at the end of which he rejoined Mardonius. Mardonius with a handful of junior officers and the rest of the army had accompanied Xerxes until Thessaly. Then he returned south, wintering in Attica and Boeotia. [Herodotus VIII,129]

End of the Campaign

The following spring (479), Mardonius twice offered Athens through Alexander I of Macedon a separate peace, but was rebuffed. The Peloponnesians decided to send their army out in Boeotia to take advantage of the situation, before Athenians could change their mind. [Herodotus IX,10] Cavalry harassment of the Greek forces eventually led to the Battle of Plataea. The Greeks were warned on eve of the attack by Alexander of Macedon. [Herodotus IX,44] The Spartans and the Tegeans attacked the main body of the Persians while most of their Greek allies feigned cowardice and abandoned the battle, the notable exception being the Thebans who were attacking Athenians. [Herodotus IX,61] Mardonius was killed, and his army routed. The remnants of the Persian army left Greece, but the largest part of them did not make it to Asia, being ambushed by the forces of Alexander of Macedon in the estuary of the Strymon river. [ Demosthenes, Against Aristocrates, 200 ]

Reportedly, on the same day as the battle of Plataea a 110 ship Greek fleet commanded by the Spartan king Leotychides routed a repaired and refitted 300 ship Persian fleet guarded by 60,000 troops in the Battle of Mycale. [Herodotus IX,90] Then they advanced towards the Hellespont intending to break the bridges. They found the bridges destroyed. The Spartans left after that. When Ionians had asked for more assistance, the Spartans suggested that they migrate to the cities in the Greek peninsula that supported the Persians. [Herodotus IX,106] The Athenians under Xanthippus continued the campaign and besieged Sestus. The Athenians continued the siege alone until the city fell a few months later. [Herodotus IX,120] This is where Herodotus ends his book.

The Greek Counterattack

The Unification of Macedonia

Alexander of Macedon, encouraged by the Greek success at Plataea and his victory over the Persians in the Strymon river, expanded his realm to include the other Greek tribes living east of Mount Pindus. He conquered the land east until the banks of the Strymon river, conquering several non-Greek tribes living there. [Thucydides 2,99] He founded three cities to expand Greek influence into his newly conquered land, and managed to expand his realm east of the Strymon river, gaining part of Mount Pangaion and its famous gold mines. Thus he created the largest individual Greek state in terms of area, population, and income. However, despite its potential, the kingdom of Macedon retained a splintered and feudal style of government, with the king holding little central authority and subservient to the combined force of the aristocracy. Only in the 4th century BC, when the city-states in its south were in general decline, would Phillip II of Macedon, a king with great political genius, firmly unite the Macedonian aristocracy into a strong, centralized monarchy and expand the kingdom beyond these borders and raise it to prominence.

The Last Joint Operation in Byzantium

Encouraged by Xerxes' failures, the Greeks of Asia Minor and the Cyclades revolted again. In 478 BC, a fleet composed of 20 Peloponnesian ships, 30 Athenian ships under Aristides, and other allied forces, with the general command given to Pausanias, sailed to Cyprus. There they succeeded in liberating the Greek cities, but did not succeed in their sieges against the Phoenician cities. Thus Cyprus remained a base of the Persian fleet. The Greek fleet then sailed to Byzantium. [Thucydides 1.94] Control of the Hellespont and Bosporus was of vital importance to Athens, since throughout the classical age Athens produced only 40% of the food required to feed her population, the rest being imported from the Greek colonies of the Black Sea.

The city of Byzantium fell after a siege. Many Persians including nobility fell prisoner to the Greek forces. Pausanias, who was of the royal house of Agis, was greatly impressed by the new way of life he witnessed it and adopted it. He started wearing Persian dress and offering Persian-style banquets. He also mistreated the Ionian delegates. His Persian-style behaviour scandalised both the Ionians and the Peloponnesians and Pausanias was recalled to Sparta. There he faced charges that he was plotting with the Persian king to become tyrant of Greece, that he was in secret communication with him and that he had asked his daughter as his wife. He was acquitted of those charges, found guilty only of mistreating individuals in their private affairs and sentenced not to lead another campaign outside Sparta. [Thucydides 1.95] Being impatient he took a warship from Hermion and travelled back to Byzantium. No longer welcome there, he crossed the Propontis to the Troas region where he stayed for some time. [Thucydides I,128] What he did there is completely unknown. He was recalled to Sparta by special envoy where he was to be brought against charges that he was again plotting with the King of Kings and that he was planning a helot revolution. On his way back, while he was inside the Spartan state limits, he saw the ephoroi, the elected council of five that ruled Sparta, approaching and one of them signalled to him that he was doomed. He took refuge in a nearby temple, where he died of starvation several days later. Some modern historians, [Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους = History of the Greek nation volume Γ1, Athens 1972] based on that he was never condemned and that had he been in league with the Persians he would have sought refuge there and not return, claim this was all a fabrication by his political enemies in Sparta.

In the meantime, in 477 BC the Spartans had sent Dorkis as general in Byzantium with a small force. The Ionians, with the memories of Pausanias' mistreatment of them fresh, asked them to leave. Relieved, the Spartans who no longer wished to continue fighting the Persians withdrew. [Thucydides 1.95] Athens gladly filled the vacuum, forming the First Athenian Alliance, better known as the Delian League.

Formation of the Delian League

Aristides, as leader of the Athenians, had made a very good impression on the Ionians with his character. Also, since Athenians were also Ionians, they were more trusted than the Dorian Spartans. A congress was called in the holy island of Delos where the alliance was formed. The members were given a choice of either offering armed forces or paying a tax on the joint treasury. Most cities chose the tax. [ Thucydides 1.96] Aristides spent the rest of his life occupied in the affairs of the alliance, dying (according to Plutarch) a few years later in Pontus determining what the tax of new members was to be. [Plutarch Aristeides 26]

Themistocles was marginalised politically when the leadership of the aristocratic party passed from Aristides to Kimon, son of Miltiades. Themistocles was later exiled and eventually charged of conspiring with Pausanias against Greece. After a long journey he eventually presented himself to the Persians and, following an old Persian tradition of giving sanctuary to prominent Greek politicians, he was given three cities in Asia Minor to rule. He died there a few years later. [Plutarch Themistocles 32]

Campaigns in the Aegean and Pamphylia

Cimon, in 476 BC, began a campaign against Eion, which still had a Persian guard. The city fell after he diverted the flow of the Strymon river and the walls collapsed. The campaign continued towards Doriskos, however the city refused to capitulate. With Persians out of Heion, many Greek colonies of the Thracian coast joined the Delian League. Doriskos apparently fell at a later date, though precisely when is not recorded. Finally, in 465 BC, with four triremes Kimon removed the last Persians from the Thracian peninsula; thus ended Persian presence in Europe. In the intervening years, Kimon had forced Karystos in Euboea to join the league, conquered Skyros and sent Athenian colonists there, and suppressed Naxos's desertion in 468 BC. [Thucydides I.98]

In 468 BC Kimon had gathered a force of 200 improved Athenian triremes in Knidos and 100 allied triremes with 5,000 Athenian hoplites and campaigned in Phaselis in Pamphylia. With mediation from Chios (a League member), Phasilis joined the league. The Persian forces that had been gathered at the mouth of the Eurymedon river were defeated and the cities of Ionia officially joined the alliance. [Plutarch, Kimon 12]

In 465 BC Athens founded the colony of Amphipolis in the Strymon river. Thassos, a member of the League, saw her interests in the mines of Mt. Paggaion threatened and defected from the League. She called to Sparta for assistance but was denied, as Sparta was facing the largest helot revolution in its history (see the Messenian Wars). [Thucydides I,100] An aftermath of the war was that Kimon was ostracised and the relations between Athens and Sparta turned into hostility. After a three year siege, Thassos was recaptured and forced back into the League. The siege of Thassos marks the transformation of the Delian league from an alliance into, in the words of Thucydides, a hegemony. [ Thucydides 101]

Athens Fights in the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece

Ever since the battle of Eurymedon in 466 BC Athens was engaged in operations against the Persian forces in Cyprus. In 462 BC Egypt rose again against Persia. Their king Inaros asked in 460 BC Athens for assistance which was gladly rendered because Athens wished to colonise Egypt. The Persians had gathered a force of 400,000 (according to Ctesias and Diodorus) [Diodorus 11.75] to suppress the revolution. A force of 200 Athenian triremes that was campaigning in Cyprus was immediately ordered for assistance. [Thucydides I.104] A battle took place on Papremis in the west bank of the Nile river. [Herodotus III,12] According to Diodorus who is our only source about Athenian engagement in this battle, the Athenian phalanx again defeated the numerically superior but individually inferior Persian archer. The Egyptians and Libyans that were previously retreating on the rest of the front followed the breach in the Persian ranks the Athenians caused and won the battle. The Persian army retreated to Memphis. [Diodorus 11.74] A sea battle took place near there, where 40 Athenian under Charitimedes and 15 Samian ships (of the 200 that had arrived) sunk 30 and captured 20 Persian ships, according to Ctesias.

In the mean time Athens was engaged in war in the Greek peninsula. While the helot revolution was in its final stages and Kimon in Athens, Argos rose against Sparta. The small force that was sent to quell this was defeated by a joint Athenian and Argos force in Oenoe in 460 BC. The war was generalised, and the allies of Plataea found themselves 19 years later at each other's throat. Several battles followed, the most important of which was in Tanagra. [ Thucydides I.108] Using the insecurity of the Aegean as a pretext Athens moved the joint Treasury and the seat of the alliance to Athens in 454 BC/453 BC. The war in Greece was halted in 453 BC when Kimon was recalled from exile and negotiated a five year peace with the Spartans. [Plutarch Kimon 18]

Athens Defeated in Egypt but Victorious in Cyprus

Between 459 BC and 456 BC the Egyptians and their Athenian allies were still engaged in the siege of the Persian force in Memphis. A large part of the Athenian fleet had been recalled to the Aegean to help with operations there. The Persians organised another force that, according to Ctesias, numbered 200,000 soldiers and 300 ships, though according to Diodorus had over 300,000 infantry and cavalry. It was led by Megabyzus. A new battle took place near Memphis. Charitimedes was killed, king Inaros escaped to the naval base that had been set up in Prosoptis island on the Nile Delta. There, assisted by 6,000 Athenians and their fleet he was besieged for 18 months. The Persian generals did not dare land. They drained the land between the river bank and the island and surprised the Egyptians. The Egyptians quickly surrendered except king Inaros. The Athenians were left alone. [Thucydides I,109] Megabyzus negotiated with the Athenians their surrender and were allowed through Cyrene to return to their home. A number of them though was kept prisoner according to Ctesias. A fleet that was being sent to relieve the force at Prosoptis unaware they had surrendered was defeated by the Persians near Cape Mendesium. The result of this loss was that Cyprus fell again to the Persians. [Thucydides I.110] Athenians and their allies lost some 20,000 men in this campaign if Isocrates' numbers are accepted. [Isocrates, On the Peace,85] However these dead were very well remembered and Plato puts them along the dead of Euremedon and Cyprus.

Kimon after his recall and the five year peace was sent in Cyprus and Cilicia to fight the Persians. The Persians had helped several cities in Ionia that had tried to defect from the league. [Thucydides I.115] With Kimon in Cyprus was sent a force of 200 triremes. [Plutarch Kimon 18] They were facing a force of 300 Persian ships in Cyprus led by Artabazus and 300,000 soldiers in Cilicia led by Megabyzus. Kimon conquered Marion, but was unsuccessful in his siege of a Persian stronghold at Kition in Cyprus. He sent 60 ships to Egypt. During that siege of Kition he died of a wound or disease. [Plutarch Kimon 19] On his deathbed he ordered his army to lift the siege and retreat towards Salamis. His death was kept a secret from the Athenian army and their allies, until 30 days later the Athenians defeated both at land and sea the Persians. According to Thucydides both battles took place in Salamis. [ Thucydides I.112] According to Diodorus though the land battle took place in Cilicia where the defeated fleet had fled. [Diodorus 12.3] Thus Kimon, even after his death, defeated the Persians.

The Peace of Callias

After this battle both enemies were exhausted. None of the sides were in full control of the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. The king of Persia sent emissaries to Athens. Pericles responded favourably and, in the autumn of 449 BC according to Diodorus, sent Callias son of Ipponicus in Susa to negotiate. The exact nature of the agreement that became known as the peace of Callias remains unclear (formal treaty or non-aggression pact). According to Diodorus it was an "important treaty", Thucydides doesn't even mention it. The terms, according to Diodorus were: [Diodorus 12.4]
* All Greek cities of Asia were to be autonomous
* Persian satraps were not to reach closer than three days walk from the sea
* No Persian warship was to be in the area between Phaselis in Pamphylia and the Bosporus
* If the Great king and his generals were to comply the Athenians were not to campaign against ArtaxerxesAfter the peace was agreed Athenians recalled the 60 triremes from Egypt and their forces from Cyprus (apparently this was part of the agreement though it is not mentioned) and ceased operations in this front. The situation in Greece though had flared up and war continued there until the Thirty Year Peace of 445 BC. Afterwards Greece entered in what is called the Greek Golden Age, a time of security and development.

Later Conflicts

The Persians and Greeks continued to meddle in each others' affairs. The Persians entered the Peloponnesian War in 411 BC forming a mutual-defence pact with Sparta and combining their naval resources against Athens (see Tissaphernes) in exchange for sole Persian control of Ionia. In 404 BC when Cyrus the Younger attempted to seize the Persian throne, he recruited 13,000 Greek mercenaries from all over the Greek world of which Sparta sent 700-800, believing they were following the terms of the treaty and unaware of the army's true purpose. After the failure of Cyrus, Persia tried to regain control of the Ionian city-states. The Ionians refused to capitulate and called upon Sparta for assistance, which she provided. Athens sided with the Persians, setting off the Corinthian War (see Artaxerxes II). Sparta was eventually forced to abandon Ionia and Persian authority was restored with the peace of Antalcidas. No other Greek force challenged Persia for nearly 60 years until Phillip II of Macedon, who, in 338 BC formed an alliance called οι Ελληνες (the Greeks), modelled after the alliance of 481 BC, and set in motion an invasion of the western part of Asia Minor. He was murdered before he could carry out his plan. His son, Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great, set out in 334 BC with 38,000 soldiers. Within three years his army had conquered the Persian Empire and brought the Achaemenid dynasty to an end, bringing Greek culture up to the banks of the Indus river.

Historical Sources

What is known of this conflict today comes almost exclusively from the Greek sources. Herodotus of Halicarnassus after his exile from his home town, in the middle of the 5th century BC travelled all over the Mediterranean and beyond, from Scythia to Egypt collecting information over the Persian Wars and other events that he complied in his book "Ιστοριης Απόδειξη" (known in English as "The Histories"). He begins with Croesus's conquest of Ionia [Herodotus I,6] and ends with the fall of Sestus in 479 BC. [Herodotus IX,121] He is believed to repeat what was told to him by his hosts and sponsors without subjecting it to critical control, thus giving us at times the truth, at times exaggerations and at times political propaganda. However, ancient writers consider his work much better in quality than that of any of his predecessors which is why Cicero called him father of history. [De legibus I,5]

Thucydides the Athenian intended to compile a work from where Herodotus ends until the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. His collection of books is entitled "Ξυγγραφη" (known in English as "The Peloponnesian War"). It is believed that he died before completing his work, as he gives a full account only of the first twenty years of the Peloponnesian War. There is little information on what happened before. The events that interest us here are recounted in Book I paragraphs 89 to 118.

Among later writers Ephorus wrote in the 4th century BC a universal history which includes the events of these wars. Diodorus Siculus wrote in the 1st century AD a book of history since the beginning of time that also includes the history of this war. The closest thing to a Persian source in Greek literature is Ctesias of Cnedus who was Artaxerxes Mnemon's personal physician wrote a history of Persia according to Persian sources in the 4th century BC. In his work he also mocks Herodotus and claims that his information is accurate since he heard from the Persians. Unfortunately the works of these last writers have not survived complete. Since fragments of them are given in the Myriobiblon which was compiled by Photius that later became Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the 9th century AD, in the book "Eklogai" by the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos (913-919 AD) and the Suda dictionary 10th century AD it is believed that they were lost with the destruction of the imperial library of the Holy Palace of Constantinople by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Thus historians are forced to supplement Herodotus' and Thucydides' information with works of later writers intended for other uses like 2nd century AD Plutarch's biographies and the tour guide of southern Greece compiled at the same time by the geographer and traveller Pausanias, who is not to be confused with the Spartan general of the same name mentioned later. Some Roman historians in their works give account of this conflict. Justinus who information, as are in Cornelius Nepos's Biographies.

Discussion on size of forces


Herodotus gives the following numbers of the invasion forces:

These numbers are close but not exactly what Herodotus claims and this have been interpreted as a confirmation of the 1,200 number. Among modern scholars Köster [ Köster, A.J. Studien zur Geschichte des Antikes Seewesens. Klio Belheft 32 (1934) ] Olmstead, and Green have accepted this number. Commodore Simpsas [ Commodore Marios Simpasa HN, Το ναυτικό στην ιστορία των Ελλήνων (The navy in the history of the Greeks), Hellenic Navy General Staff 1982 ] interprets the 207 fast ship comment as that only these 207 were fully manned and the rest were not. Christos Romas [Οι δυνάμεις των Ελλήνων και των Περσών (The forces of the Greeks and the Persians), E Istorika no.164 19/10/2002] believes that there were 1,200 ships gathered in Doriskos but the reinforcements that later came did not cover the losses from the storms and battles. Other recent works on the Persian Wars (Peter Green's recent revision, [Green, Peter, The Greco-Persian Wars. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. 1996] works by A.R. Burn, [Burn, A.R., "Persia and the Greeks" in The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 2: The Median and Achaemenid Periods, Ilya Gershevitch, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1985.] and Pierre Briant's recent work) [Briant, Pierre, From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, Peter Daniels, trans. Indiana: Eisenbrauns. 2002] reject this accounting, 1,207 being seen as more of a reference to the combined Greek fleet in the Iliad than an actual accounting, and generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than around 600 warships into the Aegean.



The Greek army at Thermopylae included the following forces: [Herodotus VII, 202] {| class="wikitable" border="1"
align="right" | 2
align="right" | 2
align="right" | 2
align="right" | 2
align="right" | 1
align="right" | 1
align="right" | 1
- style="background:lightgrey;"
align="right" | 371 As can be seen his numbers add only to 371. It has been argued that the 12 missing ships were from Aegina guarding there against invasion. To those forces two more have to be added that defected from the Persians to the Greeks, one before Artemisium and one before Salamis. According to Aeschylus the Greek fleet numbered 310 triremes, while Ctesias claims there the Athenian fleet numbered only 110 triremes and not 180 as Herodotus claims.

ee also

*Persian Empire
*Earth and water
*History of Greece


Further reading

*Herodotus, "Ιστορίης Απόδειξη" ("The Histories")
*Thucydides, "Ξυγκραφη" ("The Peloponnesian War" or "History of the Peloponnesian War")
*Xenophon, "Κυρου Ανάβασις" ("Anabasis")
*Plutarch, "Βίοι Παράλληλοι" ("Parallel lives"), Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles
*Diodorus Siculus, "Ιστορικη Βιβλιοθήκη" ("Library")
*Cornelius Nepos, "Biographies", Miltiades, Themistocles
*"Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους" (History of the Greek Nation) volumes Β (1971) and Γ1 (1972),Ekdotiki Athinon, Athens
*Bengston, Hermann, ed., "The Greeks and the Persians: From the Sixth to the Fourth Centuries". New York: Delacorte Press. 1965
*Briant, Pierre, "From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire", Peter Daniels, trans. Indiana: Eisenbrauns. 2002
*Burn, A.R., "Persia and the Greeks" in "The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 2: The Median and Achaemenid Periods", Ilya Gershevitch, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1985.
*Cook, J.M., "The Persian Empire". New York: Shocken Books. 1983.
*Green, Peter, "The Greco-Persian Wars". Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. 1996
*Hignett, C., "Xerxes' Invasion of Greece". Oxford: The Calrendon Press. 1963.
*Olmstead, A.T., "History of the Persian Empire". Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1948.
*Pomeroy, Sarah B., Stanley Burstein, Walter Donlan, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, "Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History"'. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999.
*Brown Reference ltd, "Atlas of World History" Sandcastle books Ltd. 2006.
*Gore Vidal, Creation (novel), a sardonic view of the wars from a fictional Persian's perspective.

External links

* [ The Persian Wars at History of Iran on Iran Chamber Society]
* [ Article in Greek about Salamis, includes Marathon and Xerxes' campaign]

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