REASONS FOR HELLENIC VICTORY OVER THE PERSIANS (STRATEGY (MARATHON 490 BC:…
REASONS FOR HELLENIC VICTORY OVER THE PERSIANS
MARATHON 490 BC: (1) Hdt 6.122: "they were the first Greeks... to charge at a run" - Miltiades ordered the Athenian hoplites to charge at the Persian forces, in order to avoid arrow fire. (2) Hdt 6.113: "drawing the two wings together into a single unit, they turned their attention to the Persians who had broken through the centre." - Miltiades encircled the Persians, cutting them down in droves despite having so archers, cavalry and inferior warrior numbers.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.211: "pretend to be retreating" - Leonidas tricked the Persians into combat by faking a Spartan retreat, only to turn and fight.
SALAMIS 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.60.b: "fighting in narrow waters... we shall win" - Themistocles used the narrow straits of the Isthmus to negate the Persian fleet. (2) Hdt 8.60.b: "Salamis, where we have put our women and children" - The Athenians evacuate to Troezen, show casing that their sacrifice for the Greek cause is great. This also allowed the Greeks to fight close to the land where their peoples were staying.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.58: "Greeks had slipped away under the cover of darkness" - Pausanias orders the Spartans to retreat during the night so as to avoid the detection of the Persian forces.
MYCALE 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.98: "our password, Hebe" - Leotychies tricks the Persians by using the Greek safety word. Either the Persians wouldn't understand what he had said, and would distrust their medisers, or the Ionians would be rallied the the Greek cause.
ARTEMISIUM 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.100 "I suggest, therefore, an immediate attack" - Themistocles tricks Xerxes into arriving at Artemisium by claiming that the Hellenic League is falling apart, and so will not be able to offer opposition to the Persians.
PRE-THERMOPYLAE: (1) Hdt 7.139 "Greece was saved by the Athenians" - Herodotus believes that the cause of the Greek victory over the Persians was due to the Athenian navy, because without it, the Persians would've commanded the sea, therefore rendering the Spartan's wall at the Isthmus futile.
ARTEMISIUM 480 BC: Hdt 8.62 "in this war everything depends upon the fleet" - Themistocles tells Eurybiades that without the Athenians navy, Greece will not be able to defend herself.
PRE THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.144 "the outbreak of this war at that moment saved Greece by forcing Athens to become a maritime power" - Greece is saved by the Athenian navy.
MARATHON 490 BC: (1) Hdt 6.109 "it is now in your hands, Callimachus... either to enslave Athens, or to set her free" - Miltiades gives a rallying speech in order to convince his fellow commanders to vote to fight at Marathon. (2) Hdt 7.110 "generals held the presiding position in succession... those of them who had voted with Miltiades... surrendered it to him" - The Athenians betray tradition in order to achieve the best military leadership possible.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.224 "Leonidas fell, having fought most gallantly" - Leonidas chooses to stay and die at Thermopylae as a necessary sacrifice in order to save Sparta and honour Pythias' prophecy. (2) Hdt 7.226 "if the Persians hide the sun, we shall have our battle in the shade" - Dieneces manages to motivate the Greek forces to face their doom with optimism, keeping the troops faithful in their leaders.
SALAMIS 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.59 "Themistocles, unable to restrain his eagerness, broke into a passionate speech" - Themistocles uses heartfelt language to win over the favour of his fellows, with the idea to abandon the defence of the Isthmus in favour of Salamis.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.56 "thinking - quite rightly, as the event proved - that Amompharetus would not stay behind if all the other Lacedaemonian troops withdrew, at last gave the order for retreat" - Pausanias shows great leadership by retreating to an island, and forcing the hand of his fellow commander, in order to achieve a strategic advantage over the Persians.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.102 "by valour Greece now keeps both poverty and despotism at bay" - The Hellenes have collectively overcome common weaknesses, enabling them to focus together on their foreign threat. (2) Hdt 7.102 "not under any circumstance accept...slavery" - The Hellenic League could not be weakened by internal betrayal or bribery, as none of the Poleis would sway towards the Persian cause.
SALAMIS 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.63 "chief motive was apprehension of losing Athenian support" - Eurybiades knows that a divided Greece is a weak one, so opts in favour of Themistocles' proposal to fight at Salamis.
ARTEMISIUM 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.3 "Athenians wavered their claim in the interest of national survival, knowing that a quarrel about the command would certainly mean the destruction of Greece" - The Athenians are more concerned with the unity of the commanders than jostling for power with the other allied states. This allows the Greeks to formulate strong lines of command and good battle plans during meetings.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.144 "there is no such gold in the world nor land so fair that we would take it for pay to join the common enemy and bring Greece into subjection" - Despite being offered favourable terms, the Athenians will not betray the common cause and medise.
MYCALE 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.106 "oaths were sworn, and all these communities bind themselves to be loyal to the common cause" - The end of the Persian wars show that the Greeks' unity has been strengthened by the conflict, as the Hellenic League grows in membership.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.220 "wish to lay up for the Spartans a treasure of fame which no other city could share" - Leonidas fights at Thermopylae even though death is inevitable, because he is honour bound to do so.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.144 "burning of the temples and images of our gods... it is our bounden duty to avenge this desecration" - The Athenians will not sacrifice their Greek culture in order to medise, and wanted to restore the honour of their deities through revenge against the Persians. (2) Hdt 9.143 "such is our love of freedom that we will defend ourselves in whatever way we can" - The Athenians want to protect their infant democracy.
MYCALE 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.98 "first remember Freedom" - The Spartans remind the medised Greeks before the battle of what they have lost, which are the liberties the Greek allies are fighting to preserve.
MARATHON 490 BC: (1) Hdt 6.109 "if we submit to the Persians, Hippias will be restored to power... misery must then ensure" - The Athenians were fighting as free men in defence of their infant democracy against tyranny.
USE OF TERRAIN
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.223 "many fell into the sea and were drowned, and still more were trampled to death by one another" - Many Persians die by trying to pass through the narrow pass at Thermopylae, which negates their numbers allowing the Spartans to easily fight them.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.46 "we will take your place on the left" - The Greeks switch sides in order to utilise their respective fighting experience and experience. (2) Hdt 9.51 "enemy cavalry would be unable to hurt them" - Greeks retreat to the Island, thus rendering the Persian cavalry useless.
PRE-SALAMIS 480 BC: (1) Hdt 8.59b "fighting in narrow waters... fighting in defence of the Peloponnese" - The stretch of land across the Artemesium sea will restrict the Persian numbers, giving the Greeks the advantage.
MARATHON 490 BC: (1) Hdt 6.108 "Athenians drawn up to a piece of ground scared to Heracles" - The Athenians position themselves atop hill, rendering the Persian arrow fire ineffective. The also choose a narrow passage for the Persians to follow in order to get to Marathon, chopping down trees so that their cavalry cannot pass through.
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.53 "refused to run away from the 'strangers'" - Amompharetus initially disobeys Spartan orders, but is later honoured in the battle, showing that combat performance was more important to the Spartans than compliance. (2) Hdt 9.82 "came to Greece to rob us of our poverty" - Pausanias saw the Persian lifestyle as excessive, feminine and weak, whereas the Spartans are masculine and strong, with a superior hoplite attitude to battle.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.208 "combing their hair... no one attempted to catch him" - The Spartans at camp are not afraid to die, and are mentally ready to sacrifice themselves for their state. (2) Hdt 7.211 "Medes, after their rough handling" - Xerxes resigns to whipping his soldiers in forced to force them to fight for him. (3) Hdt 7.230 "he was called a Trembler" - Aristodeums is rejected by Spartan society for his lack of participation during the battle, reflecting the spartiate orientated lifestyle adopted in Sparta.
EQUIPMENT / TRAINING
PLATAEA 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.62 "deficient in armour, untrained and greatly inferior in skill" - These are the reasons that Herodotus believes led the Spartans to defeat the Persians at Plataea. (2) Hdt 9.63 "cause of their discomfiture was their lack of armour, fighting without it against hoplites" - The Persians are physically exposed to the Spartan weaponry, whereas the Spartans had bronze cladding.
THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.211 "many men, indeed, but few soldiers" - Xerxes' troops lacked proper training, so could not defend themselves against the Spartans. (2) Hdt 7.211 "using shorter spears than the Greeks and having no advantage in their numbers" - Persians were inappropriately equipped for combat.
MARATHON 490 BC: (1) Hdt 6.44 "sea in the neighbourhood of Athos is full of monsters...ship's companies... seized and devoured" - Herodotus sites that sea monsters destroyed three hundred Persian ships that were on their way to Marathon.
PRE-THERMOPYLAE 480 BC: (1) Hdt 7.144 "Athenians had amassed a large sum of money... mines at Laurium" - Themistocles' is lucky to have struck a silver vein at Laurium, the proceeds from which fund the Athenian navy.
MYCALE 479 BC: (1) Hdt 9.98 "our password, Hebe" - Leotychies is lucky that none of the Persians speak Greek, or vise versa, as this would have foiled his plan.