General History/Report


QUESTION: I'm doing a report on the Greek war with the Persians, or more specifically the battle of thermyplae. please reply.

ANSWER: I am familiar with the battle.  Do you have a specific question about it?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What Caused Persia to go to war with greece, and was Thermyplae really the greeks final stand in this war.

The Persian invasion of Greece dates back to an earlier war 10 years earlier.  Several Greek city states had supported a rebellion in the Persian State of Ionia.  This caused the Persian King Darius to see the independent Greek States as a threat to his Empire, and as an opportunity to take control of them and establish a European foothold in Europe.  This invasion failed.  

Ten years later, King Darius' son Xerxes decided to invade Greece again to complete the work that his father had failed to do.  Xerxes had spent many years building up his army and navy for the challenge.  He had a two pronged invasion, sending his army over land invading from the north and his navy to attack from the south.

The battle at Thermopylae was not a last Stand.  It was where the united Greek armies decided to first meet the Persian army.  The battlefield was chosen by the Greeks because the geography forced the Persians to attack across a relatively small area, meaning they could not send all their men into battle at once.

When, after the Persians found a way around the armies so that they could be outflanked and attacked from the rear, the Spartan General allowed most of the Greek forces to retreat while his men, and a few others fought a rear guard action keeping the Persians tied up in battle for a few more days while the bulk of the army escaped.  

The Greek defeat at Thermopylae allowed the Persians to attack and destroy Athens, but most of the people had fled the city, and the combined Greek armies remained intact.  A larger Greek army occupied the isthmus of Corinth and blocked the Persian advance toward several other Greek States, including Sparta.  Additionally the Greek Navy defeated the Persian Navy at Salamis.  Which then convinced Xerxes to pull the bulk of his army back to Persia.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

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Michael Troy


My specialties are 17th through 19th Century history, especially in the Americas and Europe. I also have a fair knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman History, and some knowledge of Medieval European history. My expertise is focuses on Military and political history, but I`ll take a crack at anything.


I have been a guest lecturer at George Washington University. Mostly, I have just read hundreds of books about world history.


J.D. Univ. of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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