Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Persian Wars began in 499 BCE, when Greeks in the Persian-controlled territory climbed in the Ionian Revolt.Athens, and also other Greek cities, sent out aid, but were easily forced to back down after defeat in 494 BCE.Subsequently, the Persians suffered plenty of defeats at the hand of the Greeks, led through the Athenians.Silver mining contributed to the resources of a substantial Greek army that was able to rebuke Persian assaults and also eventually loss the Persians entirely.The end of the Persian Wars resulted in the rise of Athens as the leader of the Delian League.Key TermsPersian Wars: A collection of conflicts, from 499-449 BCE, in between the Achaemenid realm of Persia and also city-states of the Hellenic world.

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hoplites: A citizen-soldier of one of the ancient Greek city-states, armed primarily with spears and also a shield.

The Persian wars (499-449 BCE) to be fought in between the Achaemenid Empire and also the Hellenic people during the Greek classical period. The conflict saw the rise of Athens, and led to its gold Age.

Origins of the Conflict

Greeks the the classical period believed, and also historians typically agree, the in the consequences of the fall of Mycenaean civilization, many Greek people emigrated and cleared up in Asia Minor. These inhabitants were from 3 tribal groups: the Aeolians, Dorians, and also Ionians. The Ionians settled along the coastlines of Lydia and also Caria, and also founded 12 towns that continued to be politically different from one another, although lock did identify a shared social heritage. This created the basis because that an to exclude, Ionian “cultural league.” The Lydians of western Asia Minor overcame the urban of Ionia, which placed the an ar at conflict with the average Empire, the precursor come the Achaemenid realm of the Persian Wars, and a strength that the Lydians opposed.

In 553 v 550 BCE, the Persian prince Cyrus led a successful revolt against the last mean king Astyages, and also founded the Achaemenid Empire. Seeing an chance in the upheaval, the famous Lydian king Croesus asked the oracle in ~ Delphi whether he should strike the Persians in stimulate to expand his realm. Follow to Herodotus, he got the ambiguous answer the “if Croesus to be to overcome the Halys he would damage a great empire.” Croesus made decision to attack, and in the process he destroyed his own empire, v Lydia falling to Prince Cyrus. The Ionians seek to keep autonomy under the Persians together they had actually under the Lydians, and also resisted the Persians militarily for part time. However, as result of their unwillingness to rise versus the Lydians during previous conflicts, castle were no granted unique terms. Detect the Ionians challenging to rule, the Persians installed tyrants in every city, together a method of control.

Achaemenid realm Map: The Achaemenid empire at its greatest extent.

The Ionian Revolt

In 499 BCE, Greeks in the an ar rose up against Persian dominion in the Ionian Revolt. In ~ the love of the rebellion put a deep dissatisfaction with the tyrants that were appointed through the Persians to preeminence the neighborhood Greek communities. Specifically, the riot was incited by the Milesian tyrant Aristagoras, who in the wake of a failed exploration to overcome Naxos, used Greek unrest versus Persian king Darius the an excellent to his own political purposes.

Athens and other Greek cities sent aid, but were conveniently forced to back down after defeat in 494 BCE, at the battle of Lade. Together a result, Asia Minor went back to Persian control. Nonetheless, the Ionian rebellion remains far-ranging as the very first major conflict in between Greece and also the Persian Empire, as well as the first phase of the Persian Wars. Darius vowed to specific revenge against Athens, and also developed a arrangement to overcome all Greeks in an effort to certain the stability of his empire.

First Persian invasion of Greece

In 492 BCE, the Persian general, Mardonius, led a project through Thrace and also Macedonia. Throughout this campaign, Mardonius re-subjugated Thrace and also forced Macedonia to become a totally submissive client of the Persian Empire, whereas prior to they had actually maintained a wide degree that autonomy.While victorious, he to be wounded and also forced come retreat ago into Asia Minor. Additionally, he shed his 1200-ship naval fleet come a storm turn off the coastline of mount Athos. Darius sent out ambassadors to every Greek urban to need full entry in light of the current Persian victory, and also all urban submitted, through the exception of Athens and also Sparta, both that which executed their corresponding ambassadors. These actions signaled Athens’ continued defiance and also brought Sparta into the conflict.

In 490 BCE, approximately 100,000 Persians landing in Attica intending to dominate Athens, yet were beat at the fight of Marathon by a Greek military of 9,000 Athenian hoplites and 1,000 Plateans, led through the Athenian general, Miltiades. The Persian fleet ongoing to sail come Athens but, seeing it garrisoned, made decision not to attempt an assault. The fight of Marathon to be a watershed minute in the Persian Wars, in that it prove to the Greeks the the Persians could be defeated. It likewise demonstrated the superiority of the more heavily equipped Greek hoplites.


Greek-Persian duel: depiction of a Greek hoplite and a Persian warrior fighting each other on an old kylix.

Interbellum (490-480 BCE)

After the failure of the first Persian invasion, Darius raised a big army through the intent of invading greece again. However, in 486 BCE, Darius’s Egyptian topics revolted, postponing any development against Greece. During preparations to march on Egypt, Darius died and also his son, Xerxes I, inherited the throne. Xerxes conveniently crushed the Egyptians and also resumed preparations to invade Greece.

Second intrusion of Greece

In 480 BCE, Xerxes sent out a much more powerful force of 300,000 soldiers through land, through 1,207 ships in support, throughout a double pontoon leg over the Hellespont. This military took Thrace before descending top top Thessaly and also Boetia, whilst the Persian navy skirted the coast and resupplied the floor troops. The Greek fleet, meanwhile, dashed to block Cape Artemision. After gift delayed through Leonidas I, the Spartan king that the Agiad Dynasty, at the battle of Thermopylae (a fight made famous due to the thin imbalance of forces, with 300 Spartans facing the whole Persian Army), Xerxes advanced into Attica, whereby he captured and burned Athens. However the Athenians had actually evacuated the city by sea, and also under the command that Themistocles, defeated the Persian fleet in ~ the fight of Salamis.

In 483 BCE, throughout the period of peace in between the two Persian invasions, a vein of silver ore had actually been discovered in the Laurion (a little mountain range near Athens), and also the ore the was mined there paid for the building and construction of 200 warships to combat Aeginetan piracy. A year later, the Greeks, under the Spartan Pausanias, defeated the Persian army at Plataea. Meanwhile, the allied Greek navy won a decisive victory at the battle of Mycale, damaging the Persian fleet, crippling Xerxe’s sea power, and marking the ascendency of the Greek fleet. Following the fight of Plataea and the battle of Mycale, the Persians began withdrawing native Greece and also never check an intrusion again.

Greek Counterattack

The fight of Mycale was in plenty of ways a transforming point, after i beg your pardon the Greeks go on the offensive against the Persian fleet. The Athenian fleet turned come chasing the Persians native the Aegean Sea, and in 478 BCE, the fleet then proceeded to catch Byzantium. In the course of law so, Athens enrolled every the island states, and some mainland states, right into an alliance called the Delian League— therefore named due to the fact that its treasury was preserved on the spiritual island of Delos, whose purpose was to proceed fighting the Persian Empire, prepare for future invasions, and organize a means of dividing the spoils of war. The Spartans, return they had actually taken part in the war, withdrew into isolation afterwards. The Spartans believed that the war’s objective had currently been reached through the liberation that mainland Greece and the Greek cities of Asia Minor. Historians additionally speculate that Sparta was doubtful of the ability of the Delian league to secure long-term security for eastern Greeks. The Spartan withdrawal from the League enabled Athens to develop unchallenged naval and commercial strength within the Hellenic world.

Effects that the Persian Wars

Despite your victories in the Persian Wars, the Greek city-states arised from the conflict more divided than united.

Learning Objectives

Understand the effect the Persian Wars had actually on the balance of power throughout the classic world

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAfter the second Persian invasion of Greece was halted, Sparta i was withdrawn from the Delian League and reformed the Peloponnesian organization with its initial allies.Many Greek city-states had been alienated from Sparta adhering to the violent plot of Spartan leader Pausanias throughout the siege the Byzantium.Following Sparta’s departure from the Delian League, Athens to be able to use the sources of the league to its very own ends, i beg your pardon led the into dispute with less powerful members that the League.The Persian Empire adopted a divide-and-rule strategy in relationship to the Greek city-states in the wake of the Persian Wars, stoking currently simmering conflicts, including the rivalry in between Athens and Sparta, to defend the Persian Empire against further Greek attacks.Key TermsPeloponnesian League: an alliance formed around Sparta in the Peloponnesus, from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE.Delian League: An association of Greek city-states under the leadership of Athens, the purpose of which to be to continue fighting the Persian empire after the Greek victories at the finish of the second Persian intrusion of Greece.hegemony: The political, economic, or military predominance or regulate of one state end others.

Aftermath of the Persian Wars

As a an outcome of the allied Greek success, a large contingent the the Persian fleet to be destroyed and all Persian garrisons to be expelled from Europe, marking an end of Persia’s breakthrough westward into the continent. The cities of Ionia were likewise liberated from Persian control. Regardless of their successes, however, the spoils of battle caused better inner dispute within the Hellenic world. The violent plot of Spartan leader Pausanias at the siege that Byzantium, because that instance, alienated many of the Greek states from Sparta, and also led come a change in the armed forces command the the Delian league from Sparta to Athens. This collection the phase for Sparta’s ultimate withdrawal from the Delian League.

Two Leagues

Following the 2 Persian intrusions of Greece, and also during the Greek counterattacks that commenced after the war of Plataea and also Mycale, Athens enrolled all island and some mainland city-states right into an alliance, called the Delian League, the purpose of which was to pursue problem with the Persian Empire, prepare because that future invasions, and also organize a method of separating the spoils that war. The Spartans, back they had taken component in the war, i was withdrawn from the Delian League at an early stage on, believing that the war’s early purpose had been met with the liberation the mainland Greece and also the Greek urban of Asia Minor. Historians additionally speculate the Sparta decided to leaving the league for pragmatic reasons, continuing to be unconvinced the it was possible to secure irreversible security because that Greeks resident in Asia Minor, and as a an outcome of their unease with Athenian initiatives to increase their power. When Spartawithdrew from the Delian organization after the Persian Wars, it reformed the Peloponnesian League, which had actually originally been developed in the 6th century and detailed the blueprint for what was now the Delian League. The Spartan withdrawal from the League had actually the effect, however, of allowing Athens to create unchallenged naval and commercial power, unequaled throughout the Hellenic world. In fact, soon after the League’s inception, Athens started to use the League’s marine for its very own purposes, which frequently led that into problem with other, less powerful League members.

Map that the Athenian realm c. 431 BCE: The Delian league was the basis for the Athenian Empire, displayed here on the brink the the Peloponnesian war (c. 431 BCE).

Delian organization Rebellions

A series of rebellions emerged between Athens and the smaller sized city-states that were members the the League. Because that example, Naxos to be the an initial member that the league to effort to secede, in around 471 BCE. That was later on defeated and also forced come tear down its defensive city walls, surrender that fleet, and lost vote privileges in the League. Thasos, another League member, also defected when, in 465 BCE, Athens established the nest of Amphipolis top top the Strymon River, which endangered Thasos’ interests in the mines the Mt Pangaion. Thasos allied with Persia and also petitioned Sparta for assistance, but Sparta was unable to help because that was encountering the largest helot revolution in the history. Nonetheless, relations in between Athens and also Sparta to be soured through the situation. ~ a three-year lengthy siege, Thasos to be recaptured and also forced earlier into the Delian League, though it additionally lost its defensive walls and also fleet, that mines were turned over to Athens, and also the city-state was compelled to pay yearly tribute and fines. According to Thucydides, the siege of Thasos marked the revolution of the organization from an alliance into a hegemony.

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Following your defeats at the hand of the Greeks, and plagued by interior rebellions the hindered their ability to fight international enemies, the Persians embraced a policy of divide-and-rule. Beginning in 449 BCE, the Persians attempted come aggravate the cultivation tensions in between Athens and Sparta, and would also bribe politicians to achieve these aims. Your strategy was to save the Greeks distracted through in-fighting, so regarding stop the tide of counterattacks reaching the Persian Empire. Your strategy was greatly successful, and also there was no open up conflict in between the Greeks and also Persia till 396 BCE, once the Spartan king Agesilaus briefly invaded Asia Minor.