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Thermopylae Speech

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Thermopylae

The battle at Thermopylae was a long awaited battle, after both powers Athens and Persia submitted to a 10 year inter-war period from 490BC to 480BC, in order to carefully prepare a second invasion from the Persian’s, following the humiliating defeat of Darius at marathon. Xerxes actions were motivated by revenge and the urge to burn Athens to the ground, just like Sardis, however he knew it would not be easy. The Persians spent multiple years recruiting new infantry from all areas of its Empire, gathering a total of 500,000 new soldiers,archers, cavalry and inmortals for the second invasion. Not only this, but Xerxes determination to conquer the Greeks was so great he ordered his engineers to build a Poonton consisting of 314 ships crossing the Hellospont for him and his troops.

The Greeks received information regarding the numbers and desires of the Persians from spies they sent to Sardis, Xerxes headquarters. Having experience gained from previous Persian campaigns, they knew that in order to battle against such super power , they had to form alliances to fight for one common goal, despite the fact they belonged to different races and were organized into city-states. In Autum of 481 B.C. , A Pan-Hellenic meeting was held in Corinth , having 31 cities attending the meeting besides a few that did not. Unanimously Sparta was given leadership of the army and the fleet under the command of King Leonidas, although the general defense plan was commanded by the Athenian Themistocles, who foresaw the battle will be determined on the seas, if only the pass between Central to Southern Greece was guarded.

Fighting in the open land would be fatal as they lacked cavalry units and were highly outnumbered, 3 to 1. Thermopylae was the perfect site. The pass itself was narrow, situated between the sea and the steep cliffs. It had a length of about 9 km and narrows in three places: at the eastern and western ends there was room for only one carriage,...