Xerxes' Invasion of Greece

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Xerxes’ invasion of Greece was unsuccessful due to myriad causes. Being a son of a great King Darius, he was coerced to live up to his Father’s name and be as a mighty sovereign as King Darius was. Xerxes’ failure evolved around his mannerisms, as he was a man who was irresolute and need persuasion. Only after he was given that assertiveness, was he able to go forth with decisions. His tactics that he performed during the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Salamis also portray Xerxes’ defeat of the invasion of Greece. King Xerxes I was the son of King Darius the Great, arguably “the greatest monarch in all of the ancient world”1. Unlike his more successful father Darius, Xerxes’ actions did not strengthen the Persian Empire, but led to its eventual undoing.2 Xerxes was manipulated and cajoled to go forth with the battles. A great influence upon him was Mardonius – the cousin of Xerxes. He would say such pronouncements as “Master…the Athenians have done us great injury, and it is only right that they should be punished for their crimes…lead an army against Athens. Do that, and your name will be held in honor all over the world”.3When Xerxes is convinced, Mardonius further provides Xerxes with fallacious confidence, “Of all Persians who have ever lived…you, my lord, are the greatest”.4 Xerxes also had messengers from Aleuadae “promising zealous assistance”.5 Though this can be argued, the great manipulation held against Xerxes could have aided to his lack of success with his invasion. The basis that he was not at first willing to do so, yet was provided with false hope and was thus altered into another direction. The manipulation handed to Xerxes may have made him haughty of himself, “Now I myself…have been thinking...And now at last I have found a way to win for Persia…and at the same time get satisfaction and revenge”.6

The battles of significance were at Thermopylae and the crucial battle of Salamis where Xerxes was defeated. The Persian strategy for 480 BC7 was to simply progress through Greece in overwhelming force.8 Xerexes arrived and reconnoitered the position of the Greek forces under the Spartan King Leonidas. He finally sent in his troops against the Greek hoplites on the forth day.9 “200 000 Persians were killed in this battle”10 and it was the battle where Xerxes’ tactics were exposed and judged. Diodorus said "the men [Persians] stood shoulder to shoulder" and the Greeks were "superior in valor and in the great size of their shields."11 This is most likely describing the standard Greek phalanx, in which the men formed a wall of overlapping shields and layered spear points, which would have been highly effective as long as it spanned the width of the pass.12 - Diodorus Siculus XI, 7. This also does not fail to expose the sheer strength and competence from each troupe, explicitly the Greeks. “Xerxes’ commanders had warned him that great risks were involved”13,, yet by that time it seemed as though over credence had surpassed him. http://www.livius.org/th/thermopylae/thermopylae2.html.

“Xerxes was fast coming down the country with all his forces to endeavor to force a passage there.” Xerxes – With Engravings. Jacob Abbott. READ BOOKS, 2010 The Greeks set up camp and then waited for orders from Leonidas. When Xerxes' spies told him what the Greeks were doing, “he laughed”. The Greek warriors who fell at Thermopylae bought valuable time for the other Greek city states to gather the military strength required to inflict a decisive defeat on the Persian army. - The Battle of Thermopylae The Valiant Last Stand of the Allied Greek Forces at Thermopylae

Jun 9, 2008 Grant Sebastian Nell
Thermopylae 480 BC - Last stand of the 300 , Nic Fields

This battle by the Persians was a “combination of superior Greek tactics and the Persians' own ineptitude in tactical and strategic planning.” Xerxes failed to see that a smaller, well-trained and equipped force could prevail over a much larger and less...
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