Against All Odds: Greece's Battles Against Persia

Topics: Battle of Thermopylae, Battle of Salamis, Greco-Persian Wars Pages: 4 (1336 words) Published: December 12, 2010
Against All Odds:
Greece’s Enduring Battle to Preserve Culture and Way of Life.

Greek culture has blessed mankind with a number of technological and cultural developments which are still considered marvels to this day. It seems strange however, that such a seemingly advanced civilization had encountered many stumbling blocks when it came to unity between the Greek states and defending their homeland/integrity. The Greeks faced a number of military and moral dilemmas during the Persian War of 480 B.C. Multiple factors plagued the Battle of Thermopylae from the beginning like: religious obligations, unity between Greek states, and a distinct lack of Spartan presence. Ultimately, the Greek defeat would come at the hands of one of their own countryman, Ephialtes. If the Persian king, Xerxes had not learned of a small path that led behind the Greek lines, the outcome may have been very different. Learning from their mistakes and defeat at the ‘hot gates’ of Thermopylae, the Greeks employed similar military tactics in the Battle of Salamis later that year. Being careful not to repeat the same oversights, the Greeks employed their knowledge from previous defeat to become successful in the Battle of Salamis. In both battles, the Greeks used their superior knowledge of land and sea to help turn the tide against a sea of oppression and immeasurable numbers of Persians. The Battle of Thermopylae took was an ostensibly impossible undertaking from the beginning. The sheer numbers of the Persian Army had already scared a number of Greek states into compliance. There were those however, who chose to oppose tyranny and took up arms. Led by a force of 300 warriors from Sparta, the Greeks hatched a plan to eliminate vast numbers of Persian forces. Their idea was to draw the Persian army into an area known as the ‘hot gates’. Here the hoplite army would be at a distinct advantage. The ‘hot gates’ acted as a funnel. It drew Persian forces into an increasingly...

Bibliography: Nagle and Burstein. Reading in Greek History. (Oxford University Press: New York, 2007), 83-86
Pomeroy, Burnstein, Donlan, and Roberts
[ 4 ]. Nagle and Burstein, Reading in Greek History (New York, 2007), 86.
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