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In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands. A small force led by King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the only road through which the massive army of Xerxes I could pass. After three days of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a mountain path that led behind the Greek lines. Dismissing the rest of the army, King Leonidas stayed behind with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespian volunteers. The Persians succeeded in taking the pass but sustained heavy losses, extremely disproportionate to those of the Greeks. The fierce resistance of the Spartan-led army offered Athens the invaluable time to prepare for a decisive naval battle that would come to determine the outcome of the war.[3] The subsequent Greek victory at the Battle of Salamis left much of the Persian Empire's navy destroyed and Xerxes I was forced to retreat back to Asia, leaving his army in Greece under Mardonius, who was to meet the Greeks in battle one last time. The Spartans assembled at full strength and led a pan-Greek army that defeated the Persians decisively at the Battle of Plataea, ending the Greco-Persian War and with it the expansion of the Persian Empire into Europe.

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In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands. A small force led by King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the only road through which the massive army of Xerxes I could pass. After three days of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a mountain path that led behind the Greek lines. Dismissing the rest of the army, King Leonidas stayed behind with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespian volunteers. The Persians succeeded in taking the pass but sustained heavy losses, extremely disproportionate to those of the Greeks. The fierce resistance of the Spartan-led army offered Athens the invaluable time to prepare for a decisive naval battle that would come to determine the outcome of the war.[3] The subsequent Greek victory at the Battle of Salamis left much of the Persian Empire's navy destroyed and Xerxes I was forced to retreat back to Asia, leaving his army in Greece under Mardonius, who was to meet the Greeks in battle one last time. The Spartans assembled at full strength and led a pan-Greek army that defeated the Persians decisively at the Battle of Plataea, ending the Greco-Persian War and with it the expansion of the Persian Empire into Europe. More

 
    Leonidas, King of Sparta
  Leonidas, King of Sparta
Leonidas was a king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendant of Heracles, possessing much of the latter's strength and bravery. While it has been establ...
 
    Aristides, Athenian Leader
  Aristides, Athenian Leader
Athenian statesman and general. He was one of the 10 generals who commanded the Athenians at the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) and in the next year became chief archon. In 483 he was ostracized because he opposed the naval policy of Themistocles. How...
 
    Themistocles, Athenian Leader
  Themistocles, Athenian Leader
Themistocles (Greek: "Glory of the Law"), was an Athenian politician and general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides. As a politician, The...
 
    Xerxes I, King of Persia
  Xerxes I, King of Persia
Persian king (486 465 BC) of the Achaemenian dynasty. The son of Darius I, he had been governor of Babylon before his succession. He ferociously suppressed rebellions in Egypt (484) and Babylonia (482). To avenge Darius's defeat by the Greeks a...
 
    The Greco-Persian Wars
  The Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious p...
 
    Battle of Marathon, The First Persian invasion of Greece
  Battle of Marathon, The First Persian invasion of Greece
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the fi...
 
    Herodotus, Father of History
  Herodotus, Father of History
Herodotus of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC in Halicarnassus, Caria; Bodrum in modern Turkey. He is regarded as the "Father of History" in Western culture. He was the first historian known to collect his materials...
 
    Battle of Salamis
  Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between the Greek city-states and Persia in September, 480 BC in the strait between Piraeus and Salamis Island, a small island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. The Greek victory marked the turning point of the...
 
    Battle of Himera, Sicily
  Battle of Himera, Sicily
The Battle of Himera, supposedly fought on the same day as the more famous Battle of Salamis, or on the same day as the Battle of Thermopylae, saw the Greek forces of Gelon, King of Syracuse, and Theron, tyrant of Agrigentum, defeat the Carthaginian...
 
    Battle of Plataea, Defeat of the Persians
  Battle of Plataea, Defeat of the Persians
Battle between Greek and Persian forces near Plataea (modern Plataiaí) in Boeotia on the slopes of Mount Cithaeron. A largely Spartan force, including helots, defeated the Persian army of Xerxes I, led by Mardonius; the victory marked this battle as...
 
    Battle of Mycale, End 2nd Persian Invasion
  Battle of Mycale, End 2nd Persian Invasion
The Battle of Mycale was one of the two major battles that ended the second Persian invasion of Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. It took place on or about August 27, 479 BC on the slopes of Mount Mycale, on the coast of Ionia, opposite the islan...
 
    Peloponnesian War
  Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched r...
 
       
 
         
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