34

On the Immortals specifically, we do not have enough information from ancient sources to get a clear picture of what the Greeks thought of this elite Persian infantry unit. Further, the available evidence suggests that the Greeks were far more concerned about the size and wealth of the Persian empire than about one particular component of their army, ...


22

According to Herodotus, there was no conquest in the sense. The Phoenician cities including Tyre had belonged to the Neo-Babylonian empire and recognized the suzerainty of the Persians willingly when Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BCE. Specifically, in Histories 3.19 Herodotus says (in a different context, when talking about Cambyses, a later Persian ruler) ...


22

We have no way to be sure, but probably not. The way I'm reading the question is, did the illusion of immortality cause any fear in the Greeks? Well, no source attests to the existence of the Immortals except for Herodotus. Opinions are split on his reliability, but it is believed that Herodotus did not personally speak Persian. In Paligaro's view, ...


19

The waters around Mount Athos were known to be dangerous.[Note] It was here that an earlier Persian fleet met its demise during the invasion of 492 BC. According to Herodotus in his Histories (VI. 45): Crossing over from Thasos [the Persians] travelled near the land as far as Acanthus, and putting out from there they tried to round Athos. But a great and ...


18

From the Oxford English Dictionary (1928): Ethiop ... The Ethiopians are mentioned by Homer as a people dwelling in the far east and far west; in later Gr[eek] the name was applied chiefly to the inhabitants of Africa south of Egypt, but also to people of swarthy complexion from other parts of the world. Under the heading for Ethiopian it further mentions ...


15

OK. I know that I said in the comments that the short answer to the question is "yes". In fact, the short answer should more accurately be "probably". That's because this question is an example of a particular bête noire of mine. It falls within the weird and wacky, "what-if ...?" world of counter-factual history. (I think I've mentioned elsewhere on a ...


14

In hindsight, the Ancient Greek heavy infantry were vastly superior to the Persian armies. It was precisely their battles - Marathon, Thermopylae, Plataea - that demonstrated this. Before those battles, no one knew that the Greeks had a superweapon in the form of the Hoplite Phalanx in their hands. The Greeks were busy fighting each other. As great as the ...


14

SHORT ANSWER If there was any reward at all for the helots at Plataea, it was plunder. There is no evidence from ancient sources that any helots were made citizens in the aftermath of Plataea. Also, there is very strong circumstantial evidence which suggests that citizenship was not awarded to helots. The earliest likely date for helots becoming citizens is ...


13

The "Aethiopia" of Herodotus was not the same thing as modern Ethiopia. Rather, the term described anyone from non-Mediterranean Africa. At the time of the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persian Empire included part of Aethiopia, so it's not surprising that an army composed of soldiers from all over the empire would include some Aethiopeans.


10

The Greek historian Herodotus is the main primary source of information about the battle of Thermopylae. Most other records of the battle come from historians who lived centuries after the battle. They are all fairly consistent with each other. How did Herodotus get his information? The most common way historians did for centuries. By travelling the world ...


9

In his comment, Semaphore alludes to propaganda and this is indeed how Alexander's speech (see Arrian) should primarily be viewed. He is tapping into the Greek 'traditions' of resisting foreign domination and of the superiority of Greeks over barbarians (non-Greeks). Slavery is not really the issue here; rather, it is about subjugation. The peoples the ...


9

No, because much if not all of the Persian Fleet consisted of contributions from Greek cities and thus had "free" rowers as well. Slave rowers are really a creation of the medieval period, not ancient times, despite what Ben Hur says. Persia was a landlocked nation and had no naval tradition. However, its conquest of Asia Minor and the shores of the ...


8

It is unlikely that the Achaemenid Empire depended solely on cornel-wood. That empire started out without direct control over those areas now known as natural distribution of that species. If ancient and current areas of distribution are even largely identical that means they build their empire just fine without cornel-wood or imported it. But take a ...


4

There is a lot of truth in it Ancient Macedonia was a borderline Hellenistic kingdom (border towards barbarians to the north mostly) . As such, it was tribalistic warrior culture, with many customs similar to aforementioned barbarians. Being a member of Macedonian army was seen as a duty, but it was also an honor. Essentially, those who would try to avoid ...


4

The Persian army at Marathon was (as at Thermopylae) at a serious disadvantage because of the terrain, which favoured the much smaller defending force tremendously. Their failure to win in both cases is more to blame on the leadership insisting on frontal assaults on a narrow front against a force trained and equipped specifically to deter such an assault ...


4

The wood of Cornus mas is extremely dense and, unlike the wood of most other woody plant species, sinks in water. This density makes it valuable for crafting into tool handles, parts for machines, etc. Cornus mas was used from the seventh century BC onward by Greek craftsmen to construct spears, javelins and bows, the craftsmen considering it far superior to ...


4

Careful examination of the Google Earth photos led me to the following conjecture. The difference between the Mount Athos peninsula, and the other two is that there are no beaches on the Mount Athos peninsula. The mountain rises steeply from the water. This means that one has no landing for about 70 miles if one tries to sail round it. The other two ...


4

This probably could occupy a whole essay; pretty sure the only primary reference we have for the opinion of Ionian Greeks (i.e., Greeks literally from Ionia) is Herodotus. If you mean more broadly to include Athenians (who for many purposes are also considered "Ionian"), Athenian mercenaries (such as Xenophon) in the period after the Peloponnesian War had no ...


3

There were a lot more than 300 Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae. The 300 were just the Spartan contingent. According to Herodotus the whole Greek army had about 5,000 men in it from all parts of Greece.


3

As summarized in the Wikipedia article on the Second Persian Invasion of Greece, Herodotus lists 47 diverse ethnic groups which together constituted 1.7 million infantry troops, a large share of Xerces' 2.6 million forces. Whatever the accuracy of these numbers, Xerces clearly recruited soldiers from far and wide, and there may not be anything particularly ...


3

I think your question is THE key for making sense of the following two events: A) the fate of Pausanias and B) the "ceremony" of the helots in Thucydides (IV 80). I am not a historian, but I have a genuine interest in the subject and I hope that the following thoughts may prove useful in answering your question. Thucydides is very clear in that the Spartans ...


3

Another question is why did the Greeks develop good heavy infantry. Heavy infantry required a lot of discipline, mutual trust, and nerve--if part of the line broke, everyone's life was at risk (whereas in a cavalry rout individuals could still get away). If you look at other good heavy infantry units in history, such as Flemish or Swiss pikemen, they all ...


2

One problem of Persia was that it was not one ethnicity, but a conglomerate of many different small countries. Each of these countries produced their own armies and formations, led by their own officers; there was really no central "Persian" army. So Persian military strength was on paper only; hundreds of thousands of men in "national" militias but with no ...


2

Europe is big, Persia is far off to one side, and supply would be really long. (Living off the land would be impossible for Persia's huge army.) Thus, I don't think Persia could have gone any farther than the Black Sea and what we call the Balkans. (What the Greek victory did do, though, was ensure that the roots of Western civilization didn't get snuffed ...


2

Alexander crossed the Gedrosian desert, with the main body of his army. The fleet you have in mind is the fleet raised by Nearchus to explore the Persian Gulf. According to Arrian (Anabasis, Book 6), the fleet sailed from the city of Patala, somewhere at the head of the Indus delta.


1

Alex's answer is correct, more or less. I will add the following: The problem with Athos is that it is very high, a sheer, conical rock and the waters around Athos are littered with sharp, craggy rocks. Therefore, when sailing around it you have to give it wide berth and if a storm or strong winds arise you are screwed. In that area the North wind is the ...


1

Only about 100 of the heavier Persian triremes could fit into the gulf at a time, and each successive wave was disabled or destroyed by the lighter Greek triremes. At least 200 Persian ships were sunk The Persians could not go all out because only 100 ships could fit in the gulf at one time so 1st wave = defeated 2nd = defeated because greeks had like 500 ...


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