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Greco-Persian Wars dushka
Transcript of Greco-Persian Wars dushka
of Persia and city-states of the Hellenistic world
over a period of almost half a century
(492-449 BC) source the main source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus Herodotus is the "Father of History" and—according to some—also the "Father of Lies." As a discipline, history begins with Herodotus' Histories, the first known systematic investigation of the past. Explicitly, The Histories deal with the Persian Wars, the Greeks' double defeat of the formidable forces led against them by the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes, but Herodotus' work includes much more than just the narration of that conflict. It mixes geography, gossip, gods and even a bit of arithmetic. A master storyteller, Herodotus won an audience for history not only in his day but for all time. Since he invented history, no century has passed without a historian to record it. background two different visions of the world The Persians The Greeks The Persians were a mountain people that lived on the great Iranian plateau, east of Mesopotamia.
It's rich in minerals and agricultural resources, but through most of early antiquity the people who inhabited it remained impoverished because the land was subject to frequent invasion and conquest.
It took a long time for the Persians to establish their political independence and at the end they created the largest empire that the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia. Cyrus the Great (550-529 BC)
His first major conquest was that of the Medes, a people who lived immediately to the north of the Persians.
Then Cyrus moved to the northwest and subdued Lydia in Asia Minor (Herodotus used this conquest to begin his Histories with the tale of Gyges and Candaules).
Turning south, he next conquered Babylon, bringing all of Mesopotamia under Persian rule. There, he freed the ancient Hebrews. Empire: an empire is generally made up of a lot of states joined together.The usual pattern is that one state, for whatever reason, becomes stronger than its neighbors and conquers them. Conquerors try to keep its control over the conquered people maintaining them in a servant situation.
The military expansion and the ideology of serving a great universal empire under the rule of the Great Persian King were the pillars of the Persian Empire. Cambises II (528-521 BC)
Cyrus' son and successor.
He conquered and occupied Egypt.
But he made the fatal error of failing to consolidate his power base. A rebellion broke out back in Persia and he was assassinated. Darius (521-486 BC)
A succesional crisis followed Cambises dead, out of which arose a strong leader, Darius, who restored order to the Persian Empire.
The new king reorganized his empire into satrapies, administrative districts run for provincial governors called satraps who answered to the king directly.
Darius also sponsored a new religion, Zoroastrianism, based on the cosmic battle between the forces of light and dark.
He perfected a road system running across his kingdom from the capital Persepolis, known as the Royal Road, very useful for carrying messages.
Despite all these successes, Darius failed as king in one crucial regard: conquest. He began the attack against Greece but died without have succeeded. Xerxes
Xerxes was Darius' son and his successor.
He continued the attempt of the conquest of Greece, but he failed as his father did. Achaemenid dinasty First Persian war
the Persian army defeated the Ionian League and forced it to disband. Then Darius moved his great naval force to face the Athenians, and landed at Marathon.
The Persian army had no doubt that the Greeks would be easy to conquer. The Greeks were outnumbered - what chance would they have? But the Greeks had one advantage, the topography of the their land and the little room for the Persian cavalry to form, stopping the overwhelming attack the king had planned. The Athenians, leaded by Miltiades, won the battle of Marathon... but war was not finished yet... But Persians were not the ones growing and trying to expand their influence. Greeks, or Hellens, were Indo-European peoples (Dorians, Ionians, etc.) that colonized Greece in different waves.
After the defeat of the Phoenicians by Assyria, Greeks began to expand their commercial interests and trading network across eastern Mediterranean. They have colonized in particular Asia Minor, which brought them into direct contact with the Persians, a confrontation which ultimately turned violent. Greeks were a particular people, which character was influenced by the relief and the features of their land: the partition into small divisions of territory is the main characteristic, while, at the same time, the relationship between them is facilitated by the sea. In fact, the origins of the Greek culture are based on independent individualities. Even if there were a feeling of national unity as Greeks (they shared language, religion, art or sport), they organized themselves politically into a lot of little city-states (called poleis), each one with a strong personality and totally independent. Ionian revolution
Inhabiting the frontier between the new rising European powers in the West and the huge ancient empires of the East, the Greeks who lived in the southwestern part of Asia Minor, a land at that time called Ionia, were by nature a restless, curious and energetic people.
Out of Ionia in the second half of the sixth century BC emerged innovative modes of thinking which for the first time in Western history were not expressed in theological terms. It was the born of philosophy. Ionian revolt
This intellectual revolution early spread to politics: traditional governments in Ionia and other Greek-speaking city-states started to collapse, unable to control the situation when free thought were unleashed in society. Athenians, infected by the Ionian revoIution, ousted their ruler, a tyrant named Hippias and democracy was born.
The revolt exploded: in 500-499 BC a political movement to oust all tyrants from the city-states of Ionia began to grow, but from a very unexpected source. One of the reigning tyrants himself, Aristagoras of Miletus ousted himself from power by abdicating his throne.
The newly freed cities form the Ionian League to oust all the tyrants from the region. In 498 BC the League captured Sardis, the capital of Darius' Lydian satrapy, which brought them to the direct conflict with the Persian Empire, a perfect pretext for Darius, who needed to conquest something. Second Persian war
After the war a new leader arose in Athens, Themistocles, who convinced his neighbors to build a new navy of ships called triremes, just in time for Xerxes arrival.
The Persian king lead o double expedition, both by land and sea. The first one finished into a narrow pass, and the stage was set to the famous Battle of Thermopylae. The Persians tried for three days to push their way through but the Greeks resisted. From a traitorous, the Persians knew a trail and the Greeks were then trapped. Leonidas, the Spartan king in charge, remained there with his 300 best warriors and fought till dead.
Furious, Xerxes conducted his navy over Athens. The Greeks evacuated the city and found shelter in the island of Salamis, while the Persians torched most of the city. Athenians gathered their full navy to face the enemy in the straits between the island and the mainland. Thus, the Battle of Salamis began and ship after ship from the King´s armada were picked off by the Greeks.
Persians decided to look for an open area to fight and the result was the Battle of Platea, but they miscalculated one more time, and the Persian troops leaded by Mardonius suffered a hard defeat. Persians came back home and Greece were finally saved. Battle of Marathon
490 BC Battle of Themopylae
480 BC The battle of Salamis
480 BC consequences -The beginning of the decadence of the Persian Empire.
-Athens and other Greek cities created the Delian League to free the Ionian cities.
-Athens took benefit of the league and used its treasure for its own glory. Athenians imposed their hegemony over Greece and became a cultural and artistic center.
-Its power awoken suspicion in the other cities, specially in Sparta... and Greece had to live another war, a civil war... But that's another story. But maybe the most important consequence is that the Persian Wars gave a permanent sense of identity to the Greeks. Free Hellas was seen as the "Glorious West, home of beauty and wisdom, while the East was the seat of slavery, brutality and ignorance.
The notion that Greece was all liberty and Persia all tyranny provided the foundation of a tradition which has persistently linked "civilization" with "Europe" and "West".