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Herodotus' Histories is the primary source for the second Persian invasion of Greece, which started with the famous1 Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Herodotus describes the battle in Book 7 (Polymnia) of the Histories, starting at paragraph 175: The Greeks, on their return to the Isthmus, took counsel together concerning the words of Alexander, and ...


33

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, ...


21

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, ...


20

Hoplite and phalangite at the time of the Persian Wars preferred a linen upper body armour called linothorax. Unfortunately, no examples have survived from ancient times, and we can't be sure for the details of its construction. Bronze cuirasses were also used, but were too expensive for infantryman and probably impractical for regular use in battle. We can'...


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 ...


16

This question fits my definition of trivial. If you copy the question and paste it into google, three of the top five responses answer the question. One mentions the Hoplites I'll grant you that Yahoo answers answer is as sparse as the movie's armor. Roman Army Talk cites (unreliably) an interesting counterexample The best answer is the first, from ...


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.


13

If you look at Xerxes' route, the answer is obvious: Source: Map showing the Greek world during the Greco-Persian Wars (ca. 500–479 BC). Xerxes' army moved North from Sardis, seeking alliances with or conquering Ionian cities. There was extremely little of interest for Xerxes after Abydos (the crossing point, according to Herodotus). Going all the way to ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

War Elephants in the west were a military fad that started with Alexander the Great's encounter with them at the battle of Gaugamella. They became popular for a while, but their ineffectiveness for Hannibal at Zama 113 years later spelled the beginning of the end for the fad. The extinction of the Syran and North African species iced it. By the beginning of ...


12

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 ...


9

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 it didn't happen. The earliest likely date for helots becoming citizens is the late 3rd century, at least 250 years after the Battle of Plataea. There is also no evidence that any ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


8

Question: Why didn't the Persians create good infantry units? The defeat at Marathon, Platea, march of the 10,000, and the hold up at Thermopylae would really suggest the need for some heavy infantry that can fight on a par with the Greek Phalanx. How much of your infantry really needs to be very mobile? The battle of Gaugamela also displayed the ability ...


4

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


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

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 ...


4

It's tempting to think of war elephants as some kind of super cavalry, but in reality they were far from that. War elephants were unpredictable and hard to control. At times they were as dangerous to your own troops as they were to the enemy. They were primarily a psychological weapon and used as such. You line them up and send them running at the enemy ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


2

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 ...


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

The question: The Immortals had a reputation in the Persian empire, but were they also feared by the Greeks because of their so-called "immortal" status? Short Answer: Given initially the Persians were seeking symbolic acceptance of Persian Rule and the Greeks would not even give them this token; suggest the Greeks really didn't fear the Persians. Even an ...


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 ...


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