The result of the battle was, however, indecisive and on news of Leonidas’ defeat, the fleet withdrew to Salamis. 3 days. The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in central Greece at the mountain pass of Thermopylae in 480 BCE during the Persian Wars. ISBN 0070070628. Last Sunday 8 November, my father and I, in our city of Melbourne, celebrated the 2,500 years of the Battle of Thermopylae. The Battle of Thermopylae, which Herodotus recorded in his writing The Histories, was one of the most arduous and notable battles of western history. Largest and greatest army assembled at this time. On the first day, Xerxes sent his Median and Kissian troops, and after their failure to clear the pass, the elite Immortals entered the battle but in the brutal close-quarter fighting, the Greeks held firm. External links. about three days. How long did Thermopylae last? His forces quickly seized northern Greece and began moving south. The Athenians went to the Pythia, and, indicating they would not win the battle, she said to them: "Now your statues are standing and pouring sweat. It was here, then, in a 15-metre wide gap with a sheer cliff protecting their left flank and the sea on their right, that the Greeks chose to make a stand against the invading army. On the last day of the battle, however, Leonidas dismissed most of the army after learning that the Persians had discovered the “secret” path. Nowadays, ancient ruins attest to its long-vanished greatness, but to the Greeks of the early 5th century bc, the Persian empire was young, aggressive and dangerous. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. three days. The great Battle of Thermopylae and the valiant fight of 300 fearless Spartans under the command of warrior King Leonidas against 10,000 elite Persian soldiers is one of … 15. They shiver with dread. "Battle of Thermopylae." No one knows for certain when the battle … After the battle, Xerxes ordered that Leonidas’ head be put on a stake and displayed at the battlefield. Having been turned back at Marathon in 490 BC, Persian forces returned to Greece ten years later to avenge their defeat and conquer the peninsula. 14. The Greek army was led by Leonidas, who was estimated to have had around 7,000 men. The Greeks sent a no-nonsense reply by executing the envoys, and Athens and Sparta promised to form an alliance for the defence of Greece. The last battle at Thermopylae ended with every last Spartan fighting until they were killed. 19. 16. This figure is probably exaggerated. By the first years of the 5th century BCE, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, under the rule of Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE), was already expanding into mainland Europe and had subjugated Thrace and Macedonia. 3. Xerxes returned home to his palace at Sousa and left the gifted general Mardonius in charge of the invasion. 17. In 1955 a statue of Leonidas was erected by King Paul of Greece in commemoration of his and his troops’ bravery. When defending a narrow pass like the one at Thermopylae a phalanx was basically impenetrable to any attacks, the long spears deterring the attackers from advancing. Thermopylae is primarily known for the battle that took place there in 480 BC, in which an outnumbered Greek force probably of seven thousand (including the famous 300 Spartans, 500 warriors from Tegea, 500 from Mantinea, 120 from Arcadian Orchomenos, 1000 from the rest of Arcadia, 200 from Phlius, 80 from Mycenae, 400 Corinthians, 400 Thebans, 1000 Phocians, 700 Thespians, and the Opuntian Locrians) held off a substantially larger force of Persians under Xerxes. Thermopylae (480 BC) was the first land battle of the second Persian War. What was a Greek soldier called? As a memorial to the 300 Spartans that stayed to fight, 3 inscriptions were set up. The Battle of Thermopylae also served as the inspiration for the film 300 (2006). Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Cartwright, M. (2013, April 16). The Battle of Thermopylae lasted for a little over 3 days, with Leonidas I, the main commander, falling on the final day. Despite the disparity in numbers, the Greeks were able to maintain their position. License. Omissions? Ephialtes, a Greek citizen desiring reward, informed Xerxes of a path that went around Thermopylae, thus rendering the Greeks’ line useless in preventing forward advancement of the Persian army. At close quarters, the longer spears, heavier swords, better armour, and rigid discipline of the phalanx formation meant that the Greek hoplites would have all of the advantages, and in the narrow confines of the terrain, the Persians would struggle to make their vastly superior numbers tell. He survived the battle because he and his buddy Eurytus both got sick with an eye infection and were stricken blind. Xerxes took advantage of this betrayal and sent part of his army along this path, led by Ephialtes himself. ISBN 184176180X. The Battle of Thermopylae’s political origins can be traced back to Xerxes’ predecessor, Darius I (the Great), who sent heralds to Greek cities in 491 bce in the hopes of persuading them to accept Persian authority. Soldiers of which Greek city-state were defending the mountain pass? Winter halted the land campaign, though, and at Salamis the Greek fleet manoeuvred the Persians into shallow waters and won a resounding victory. While history is not favorable to the ancient Achaemenid Persians when it comes to Greek wars, it should be noted that… The second day followed the pattern of the first, and the Greek forces still held the pass. Oxford: Osprey. 300. how many Greeks would join king leonidas. Herodotus, the father of History, or father of Lies depending on who you ask, estimated Persian casualties to 20,000. How long did the Battle of Thermopylae last? Hornblower, Simon & Spawforth, Antony & Eidinow, Esther. Three days. Leonidas famously replied, “Come and take them” (“Molon labe”). The Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BC, was a battle in the second Persian invasion of Greece. Next in King Darius’ sights were Athens and the rest of Greece. The Battle of Thermopylae. I gotta ask, what was the objective of Thermopylae. The wall was in a state of ruin, but the Spartans made the best repairs they could in the circumstances. Indeed, Spartan indifference is epitomised by Dieneces, who, when told that the Persian arrows would be so dense as to darken the sun, replied that in that case the Spartans would have the pleasure of fighting in the shade. But… The Spartans had held on long enough to allow many others to get to safety. OCLC 5889053. 300. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Persians… Xerxes burned Athens to the ground. Persian army. how long did the battle of Thermopylae last. Maps of Attica and Thermopylae; Google Earth view; Coordinates. Learn how a relatively small group of Greek warriors held off the Persian army for days, during the Greco-Persian Wars, before making one of the greatest last stands and demonstrations of bravery in history. When was The Battle of Thermopylae? 13. Although the Persian tactic of rapidly firing vast numbers of arrows into the enemy must have been an awesome sight, the lightness of the arrows meant that they were largely ineffective against the bronze-armoured hoplites. He began the same way his predecessor had: he sent heralds to Greek cities—but he skipped over Athens and Sparta because of their previous responses. Leonidas moved his troops to the widest part of the pass to utilise all of his men at once, and in the ensuing clash the Spartan king was killed. Advertisement. 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. The Greeks, fielding the largest hoplite army ever seen, won the battle and finally ended Xerxes’ ambitions in Greece. By 480 BC, he had an army approximately 100,000 to 180,000 men and a fleet of nearly 600 ships, a large army by Greek standards. Phocians . Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands. The story is well known and easily told. Corrections? Leonidas’ bullish response to Xerxes request was  ‘molōn labe’ or ‘come and get them’ and so battle commenced. They were trying to hold back the Persian army for as long as possible. While the Spartan-led Greeks lost at Thermopylae, their decision to stand together against enormous odds strengthened an otherwise shaky coalition. 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