Persian Wars

Persian Wars

(492–449 BC) Series of wars between Greek states and Persia, particularly two invasions of Greece by Persia (490, 480–479).

When Darius I came to power in Persia in 522, the Ionian Greek city-states in Anatolia were under Persian control. They rose up unsuccessfully in the Ionian revolt (499–494). The support lent by Athens provoked Darius to invade Greece (492). His fleet was destroyed in a storm. In 490 he assembled a huge army on a plain near Athens; his devastating defeat at the Battle of Marathon sent him back to Persia. In 480 the Persians under Xerxes I again invaded Greece, seeking to avenge the defeat. This time all Greece fought together, with Sparta in charge of the army and Athens of the navy. A band of Spartans under Leonidas was overcome at the Battle of Thermopylae, allowing the Persian army to reach Athens, which they sacked (480). When the Persian navy was soundly defeated at the Battle of Salamis, Xerxes withdrew it to Persia. His army was defeated at the Battle of Plataea in 479 and driven from Greece, and the navy met a similar fate at Mycale on the Anatolian coast. Sporadic fighting went on for 30 more years, during which Athens formed the Delian League to free the Ionians. The Peace of Callias (449) ended the hostilities.

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Universalium. 2010.

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