The Stand at Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae was one of the most legendary battles history had ever seen, and had been a popular topic in hundreds of poems, stories, and even present day movies, such as “300”. However, many of the facts were omitted or inaccurate. So what is the story behind all the blood and glory? The battle had been a crucial part of the Second Persian Invasion, taking place in 480 BC. Although the battle only took place over a span of 7 days, it was considered one of the most famous last stands in history. In the battle, a vastly outnumbered Greek force pitted themselves against the immense Persian force, blocking the invader’s path of conquest into Southern Greece. The Battle of Thermopylae had an interesting prelude along with an intriguing series of events, and had a huge effect on Second Persian Invasion. It all began when some of the Greek city-states such as Athens aided the Greek colonies in Persia to rebel during the Ionian Revolts in 499 to 494 BC (Miller). Darius, the king of Persia, was able to put down the revolts, but was furious at the Greeks city-states. To punish them, he set out to subjugate Ancient Greece, resulting in the First Persian Invasion. However, the Persians were defeated at the Battle of Marathon, and the remaining forces retreated back to Persia. Undaunted, Darius started to prepare a massive for a second invasion, but was postponed when his Egyptian subjects revolted. Darius died before the invasion can be launched. The responsibilities were handed down to his son, Xerxes I. Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt, and quickly restarted the preparations. A previous expedition was sent to reconquer Thrace and to force Macedon to become Persia’s client kingdom (“Battle of Thermopylae”). Xerxes started the invasion of Greece in 480 BC (Fyre). The Persians built two pontoon bridges a mile long across the strait of Hellespont to enter Europe, then marched toward Greece through Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly. As...
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