Intervening War Period

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Explain the preparations of the Greeks and the Persians in the intervening war period of 490 BC – 480 BC. After the Persian failure at Marathon, King Darius planned revenge on the opposing empire, however, died in 486 BC. Succeeding the throne was his son Xerxes who set out to advance with Darius’ planned invasion of Greece. Xerxes planned his attack with new strategies, combining both a land and sea offence. As this would require a large army accompanied by a supportive and communicative navy, this logistical exercise took nearly four years to prepare. Hearing of Xerxes planned invasion in just 481 BC simultaneously resulted in a quick development of the Greek war force, instructed mainly by the Hellenic League and Themistocles. As Herodotus suggests, in 481 BC, Xerxes sent envoys throughout Greece with the exception of Athens and Sparta, demanding earth and water as symbols of submission to the Persian Empire. Aware of their own vulnerability, many northern states obeyed with his demands. This aim of diplomatic manoeuvring was accompanied with the need to recruit an army and navy. This recruitment consisted of combining an infantry and cavalry force of over 200 000 men, assembled from all satrapies. Furthermore, a strong 10 000 Immortals and a fleet of 1200 triremes were gathered, as well as warships, supply ships and horse-transports. Herodotus writes “The army was indeed far greater than any other recorded in history … Xerxes, in the process of assembling his armies, had every corner of the continent ransacked”, proving the sheer size and strength of Xerxes newly prepared war force. Furthermore, Xerxes used his power in order to demand the construction of a bridge across the narrowest part of the Hellespont, to enable a more efficient movement of troops from Asia to Europe, and at the mouth of the Thrace’s Strymon River, near the supply depot at Eion. Making use of this supply depot, Xerxes also continued to install more depots along the coast of Thrace and...
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