Assess the reasons for Greek victory in the Persian Wars.doc - Assess the reasons for Greek victory in the Persian Wars The Persian Wars were a string

Assess the reasons for Greek victory in the Persian...

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Assess the reasons for Greek victory in the Persian Wars. The Persian Wars were a string of differences between some Greek city-states and the Persian Empire. The Greek success in both the first and second invasion, during 490 BC and in 480-479 BC, was not the result of one aspect, but rather a mix of contributing factors such as unity, leadership, strategy, weapons, body-armour and superiority of the Greek soldier. Each aspect played a strong and definitive role in the various battles to ensure the victory that Greece attained. The Battle of Marathon in 490 BC was the result of Persian revenge, after the Greek city- states of Athens and Eretria involved themselves in the Ionian Revolt from 499-493 BC. According to modern historian, Peter Green, the Persians sought to attack Athens with a fighting force of about 25, 000 men, of both soldiers and cavalry (Green, 1996, p.36). The Cavalry played no actual part in the battle at Marathon, but it is suggested by Herodotus and Green that the cavalry was to be intended to be used to invade Athens. The Persian fleet landed at Marathon along the shores of Schoinia beach (Green, 1996, p.33). This site was chosen by ex-tyrant Hippias due to the protection of landmarks such as the steep hills and the Cynosura promontory, easy retreat via the sea, easy access to Athens, a beach that could lodge 600 ships and best ground for cavalry (Green, 1996, p.30-31) (Cassin-Scott, 1994, p.5). The Athenians marched out with about 10, 000 soldiers and were joined at Marathon with about 600-1000 Plataeans (showing signs of unification), with over all no cavalry and no archers (Green, 1996, p.32) (Cassin-Scott, 1994, p.7). The Greeks took up their position between Mt. Agrieliki and Brexisa Marsh, blocking any Persian advancement towards Athens. The Greek army was under the leadership of 10 strategi , or generals. Of these 10 strategi was Miltiades, a military general who had inside knowledge of Persian warfare from the Ionian Revolt, who played a crucial part in ensuring Greek victory. “Miltiades’ words prevailed, and by the vote of Callimachus the War Archon the decision to fight was made.” (Herodotus 6:110). He was also responsible for saving troops from the “murderous hail of arrows” by breaking “into a double” (Green. 1996, p.36). The Persian force was nearly double that of the Greeks, however due to Miltiades’ reliable expertise on Persian warfare; he was aware that the most elite soldiers would fight in the centre with the weaker ones at the wings (Green, 1996, p.36). He thus came up with a battle strategy to overcome his disadvantage in numbers, cavalry and archers. Miltiades weakened his centre to “a few ranks deep” [to about 3-4 (Green, 1996, p.36)] and thus making it possible “to extend the line sufficiently to cover the whole Persian front” (Herodotus 6:112). The Greeks’ strongest men they positioned on the wings (Green, 1996, p.36). In this way, the Greek centre subsequently gave way, but the now strengthened wings converged and surrounded the Persian soldiers, compelling them to take a part in hand-to-hand combat. “Having got the upper hand, they left the defeated
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