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Athens and Sparta Unite 499 – 479 B.C.E. The Persian Wars. Background. The Persian Empire largest and most powerful empire The Persians ruled Africa, the Middle East, and Asia 499 B.C.E., Persians attack mainland Greece

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Athens and sparta unite 499 479 b c e

Athens and Sparta Unite

499 – 479 B.C.E.

The Persian Wars


  • The Persian Empire largest and most powerful empire

  • The Persians ruled Africa, the Middle East, and Asia

  • 499 B.C.E., Persians attack mainland Greece

  • Compared to Persia, in terms of land and soldiers, Greece was very small

The ionian revolt the persian wars begin
The Ionian Revolt: The Persian Wars Begin

The ionian revolt1
The Ionian Revolt

  • Persian ruler, King Darius, divided empire into 20 provinces

  • Provinces made up of Persian leaders, but kept local customs

  • 546 B.C.E., Persians conquered Greek settlements in Ionia. Ionians lost farmland and harbors, forced to pay taxes, and serve in Persian army

Ionian revolt
Ionian Revolt

  • 499 B.C.E., Ionians asked mainland Greece for help

  • Athens sent soldiers and a small fleet of ships

  • Athens support did not last long, Athenians returned to Greece in 493 B.C.E.

  • Ionians defeated, city of Miletus destroyed, many people sold into slavery as punishment

  • Darius set his sights on conquering Athens for helping Ionians

  • Scoreboard: Greece: 0 Persia: 1

The battle of marathon1
The Battle of Marathon

  • Darius decided to invade mainland Greece

  • Darius sent messengers to Greece to ask for presents of earth and water (a sign of Greek acceptance of Persian rule)

  • Legend: Greeks threw messengers into pits and wells, “If you want Greek earth and water, help yourselves!”

  • 490 B.C.E. Persia sent large army of foot soldiers and cavalry across Aegean Sea to plain of Marathon on mainland Greece

The battle of marathon2
The Battle of Marathon

  • Greeks led by Miltades, sent Athenian runner on two day run to Sparta for help

  • Sparta unable to help due to religious festival

  • Miltades stretched men across narrow valley, with men in side hills

  • When Persians attacked in valley, men from hills came down and swarmed Persians; Persians retreated to ships

  • Why was this important to Greece? Confidence

  • Scoreboard: Greece: 1 Persia: 1

The battle of thermopylae 3001
The Battle of Thermopylae: 300

  • Darius died, son Xerxes built huge army (180,000) to attack Greece

  • Xerxes crossed small channel to Greece by roping boats together

  • 480 B.C.E. moved south, Athens and Sparta united

  • Athens set out to defeat Persian navy; Sparta set out to fight the army (led my Leonidas)

The battle of thermopylae 3002
The Battle of Thermopylae: 300

  • Spartans made stand at Thermopylae due to narrow pass through mountains

  • Spartans: 7,000 soldiers; Persians: 180,000

  • Spartans successful until Spartan traitor shared secret passage through mountains, Persians able to attack from front and rear

  • Most Spartans retreated, Leonidas stayed to fight with 300 soldiers; brave fight but all killed

  • Athenians panicked and fled city to islands, Athens burned to the ground

  • Scoreboard: Greece: 1 Persia: 2

The battle of salamis2
The Battle of Salamis

  • Athenian naval leader, Themistocles had plan of victory

  • Trick Persians into entering narrow sea channel where they would be unable to turn ships

  • Themistocles sent slave to Xerxes with message that Themistocles wanted to change sides; if Xerxes attacked at channel in Salamis, Greece would surrender

The battle of salamis3
The Battle of Salamis

  • Xerxes sent ships to channel, Greek ships retreated to draw Persians in

  • Greek ships quickly surrounded Persian ships and used wooden rams on front of ships to sink over 300 Persian ships (the Greeks lost 40)

  • Scoreboard: Greece: 2 Persia: 2

The battle of plataea1
The Battle of Plataea

  • Xerxes retreated to water bridge (boats tied together); bridges destroyed by storms

  • Xerxes fled channel, but left Persian forces behind on mainland Greece to attack Athens in the spring

  • Athens and Sparta joined once more; with an army of 80,000 troops, the Greeks defeated the Persians one last time at Plataea

  • Final score: Greece: 3 Persia: 2


  • Why were the Greeks able to win?

  • National Pride: Sparta and Athens were able to put aside differences and unite in common goal

  • Geography: Greeks were able to use geography to their advantage

  • Comparison to today?

  • American Revolution; others?

  • Final results: Athens rebuilt, “Golden Age of Athens”