8 December 2010
The Battle of Thermopylae
There have been many battles that have taken place throughout the course of history, but few as important in shaping the course of time as the Battle of Thermopylae. During the summer of 480 BC, the great Spartan King Leonidas and his 300 soldiers accompanied by approximately 7000 Greeks held out for three days against hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers, under the command of King Xerxes. This was no easy feat to accomplish by the Spartans, without their superior combat skills and warlike mentality, they would have easily been demolished by the Persian army. After two days of fighting, they were eventually betrayed by a man named Ephialtes of Trachis, which led to their demise. It was an end to the valiant efforts of these men to save their country.
The beginning of the war between the Persians and Greeks dates back nearly 15 years beforehand in 494 BC, at the Ionian revolt. During this time and age, the Persian Empire is a huge world power and have conquered a majority of the ancient world. Ionia is a small area of land off the coast of present day Turkey, near Greece. It had already been conquered by the Persian Empire, and was populated by Greeks. The Ionians revolted against the Persian rule and called for assistance from Greece. Out of the many polis’ in Greece, Athens was the only one to step in to aid them. They fought valiantly, but their revolt was quickly crushed to discourage any more rebellions. To even further discourage the people under their rule from revolting, King Darius of Persia decided to destroy the city of Athens as well, in order to teach everyone else a lesson not to oppose the great Persian Empire. In 490 BC, he sent 20,000 men across the sea to Greece, and they land in the city of Marathon. Persia demanded Greece to surrender but they would agree to their terms. The message the Greeks sent to the invading Persians stated, “We know you are a...