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Persian Wars.

Persian Wars

Wars between Persia and Greece (500 - c449 bc ). The Persian king Darius, enraged at the defiance of Athens and Eretria, which had delayed his conquest of the Ionian cities of Asia Minor, moved against the two cities in revenge. Hippias, the exiled son of Pisistratus, traitorously led thirty thousand Persians to the plain of Marathon, terrain supposedly favorable to the Persian cavalry. There eleven thousand Greeks under Miltiades, fighting in close array, won a glorious victory (490 bc ). This battle ended the first Persian War, and Darius, busy putting down revolt in Egypt, did not live to return to Greece. After his death in 485 bc, his successor, Xerxes, spent three years preparing for the second Persian War. Athens was then under the leadership of Themistocles, and the Greek states had joined in a defensive confederation. At the invasion of Xerxes, the Spartan Leonidas and an army of six thousand Greeks defended the narrow pass of Thermopylae (480 bc ). Betrayed by the traitor Ephialtes, Leonidas detached most of his army and, with three hundred Spartans and seven hundred Thespians, held back the Persians until all were slain. Simonides wrote a famous epitaph for the valorous Greeks. Upon hearing the news of the defeat at Thermopylae, the Greek fleet retired to Salamis. There they encountered the Persians and routed them. See Themistocles. After the defeat at Salamis, Xerxes left his army under the leadership of Mardonius. In 479 bc the Greeks won a complete victory in the battle of Plataea. Further battles were fought during the next thirty years, but the Greeks had assumed the aggressive position. Some mark the end of the Persian Wars at 479 bc; others consider the final date to be 449 bc, when the Peace of Callias was established. Our knowledge of the Persian Wars comes from the history of Herodotus, which covers the course of the wars to 479 bc.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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