Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Persian Wars began in 499 BCE, as soon as Greeks in the Persian-controlled territory rose in the Ionian Revolt.Athens, and other Greek cities, sent out aid, however were quickly forced to back down after loss in 494 BCE.Subsequently, the Persians suffered plenty of defeats in ~ the hand of the Greeks, led by the Athenians.Silver mining contributed to the capital of a massive Greek army that was able to rebuke Persian assaults and eventually loss the Persians entirely.The finish of the Persian Wars caused the climb of Athens as the leader that the Delian League.Key TermsPersian Wars: A collection of conflicts, indigenous 499-449 BCE, between the Achaemenid empire of Persia and also city-states of the Hellenic world.

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hoplites: A citizen-soldier of among the old Greek city-states, equipped primarily with spears and also a shield.

The Persian wars (499-449 BCE) were fought in between the Achaemenid Empire and the Hellenic human being during the Greek classical period. The problem saw the increase of Athens, and also led to its golden Age.

Origins of the Conflict

Greeks that the classical period believed, and historians typically agree, the in the aftermath of the loss of Mycenaean civilization, numerous Greek tribes emigrated and resolved in Asia Minor. These inhabitants were from 3 tribal groups: the Aeolians, Dorians, and also Ionians. The Ionians cleared up along the shores of Lydia and Caria, and also founded 12 towns that stayed politically separate from one another, although they did recognize a shared social heritage. This created the basis because that an to exclude, Ionian “cultural league.” The Lydians of western Asia Minor dominated the cities of Ionia, which placed the region at problem with the average Empire, the precursor come the Achaemenid realm of the Persian Wars, and a power that the Lydians opposed.

In 553 v 550 BCE, the Persian prince Cyrus led a effective revolt against the last average king Astyages, and also founded the Achaemenid Empire. Seeing an opportunity in the upheaval, the well known Lydian king Croesus asked the oracle at Delphi whether he should attack the Persians in order to expand his realm. According to Herodotus, he got the faint answer that “if Croesus to be to cross the Halys that would ruin a great empire.” Croesus determined to attack, and in the procedure he destroyed his very own empire, v Lydia falling come Prince Cyrus. The Ionians sought to maintain autonomy under the Persians as they had actually under the Lydians, and also resisted the Persians militarily for some time. However, as result of their unwillingness come rise against the Lydians throughout previous conflicts, castle were not granted unique terms. Recognize the Ionians difficult to rule, the Persians mounted tyrants in every city, together a way of control.

Achaemenid empire Map: The Achaemenid empire at its biggest extent.

The Ionian Revolt

In 499 BCE, Greeks in the an ar rose up versus Persian rule in the Ionian Revolt. In ~ the heart of the rebellion lay a deep dissatisfaction through the tyrants that were appointed by the Persians to dominion the local Greek communities. Special, the riot was incited by the Milesian tyrant Aristagoras, that in the wake up of a failed exploration to overcome Naxos, utilized Greek unrest against Persian king Darius the an excellent to his very own political purposes.

Athens and other Greek cities sent out aid, yet were quickly forced to earlier down after defeat in 494 BCE, at the fight of Lade. As a result, Asia Minor went back to Persian control. Nonetheless, the Ionian rebellion remains far-ranging as the an initial major conflict in between Greece and also the Persian Empire, as well as the first phase that the Persian Wars. Darius vowed to exact revenge versus Athens, and also developed a plan to overcome all Greeks in an attempt to certain the stability of his empire.

First Persian invasion of Greece

In 492 BCE, the Persian general, Mardonius, led a campaign through Thrace and also Macedonia. During this campaign, Mardonius re-subjugated Thrace and forced Macedonia to end up being a completely submissive customer of the Persian Empire, whereas prior to they had actually maintained a large degree of autonomy.While victorious, he to be wounded and forced come retreat earlier into Asia Minor. Additionally, he lost his 1200-ship marine fleet come a storm turn off the coast of mount Athos. Darius sent out ambassadors to all Greek cities to need full entry in light of the current Persian victory, and also all cities submitted, v the exceptions of Athens and also Sparta, both the which executed their corresponding ambassadors. This actions signaled Athens’ ongoing defiance and brought Sparta into the conflict.

In 490 BCE, approximately 100,000 Persians landing in Attica intended to overcome Athens, yet were defeated at the fight of Marathon by a Greek army of 9,000 Athenian hoplites and also 1,000 Plateans, led by the Athenian general, Miltiades. The Persian fleet ongoing to sail to Athens but, see it garrisoned, chose not to effort an assault. The battle of Marathon was a watershed moment in the Persian Wars, in the it demonstrated to the Greeks the the Persians could be defeated. It also demonstrated the superiority the the much more heavily equipped Greek hoplites.


Greek-Persian duel: depiction of a Greek hoplite and a Persian warrior fighting each various other on an old kylix.

Interbellum (490-480 BCE)

After the fail of the first Persian invasion, Darius increased a huge army through the intent of invading greece again. However, in 486 BCE, Darius’s Egyptian topics revolted, postponing any advance against Greece. Throughout preparations to march top top Egypt, Darius died and his son, Xerxes I, inherited the throne. Xerxes easily crushed the Egyptians and resumed preparations to attack Greece.

Second intrusion of Greece

In 480 BCE, Xerxes sent a much much more powerful pressure of 300,000 soldiers by land, v 1,207 pearls in support, throughout a double pontoon bridge over the Hellespont. This military took Thrace prior to descending top top Thessaly and Boetia, whilst the Persian navy skirted the coast and resupplied the soil troops. The Greek fleet, meanwhile, dashed come block Cape Artemision. After gift delayed by Leonidas I, the Spartan king the the Agiad Dynasty, in ~ the fight of Thermopylae (a battle made famous as result of the thin imbalance of forces, through 300 Spartans dealing with the whole Persian Army), Xerxes advanced into Attica, where he captured and also burned Athens. However the Athenians had actually evacuated the city by sea, and also under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persian fleet at the fight of Salamis.

In 483 BCE, during the duration of peace between the two Persian invasions, a vein of silver ore had actually been found in the Laurion (a little mountain variety near Athens), and also the ore that was mined there paid because that the construction of 200 warships to combat Aeginetan piracy. A year later, the Greeks, under the Spartan Pausanias, defeated the Persian military at Plataea. Meanwhile, the allied Greek marine won a decisive success at the fight of Mycale, damaging the Persian fleet, crippling Xerxe’s sea power, and also marking the ascendency of the Greek fleet. Following the battle of Plataea and the battle of Mycale, the Persians began withdrawing from Greece and never attempted an intrusion again.

Greek Counterattack

The battle of Mycale to be in numerous ways a turning point, after i beg your pardon the Greeks go on the offensive versus the Persian fleet. The Athenian fleet turned come chasing the Persians native the Aegean Sea, and in 478 BCE, the fleet climate proceeded to catch Byzantium. In the course of law so, Athens enrolled every the island states, and also some mainland states, into an alliance referred to as the Delian League— for this reason named because its treasury was retained on the spiritual island the Delos, whose purpose was to proceed fighting the Persian Empire, prepare for future invasions, and organize a method of separating the spoils of war. The Spartans, back they had actually taken component in the war, withdrew right into isolation afterwards. The Spartans believed that the war’s purpose had currently been got to through the liberation that mainland Greece and also the Greek urban of Asia Minor. Historians likewise speculate the Sparta was skeptical of the ability of the Delian league to secure long-term security for eastern Greeks. The Spartan withdrawal from the League enabled Athens to create unchallenged naval and also commercial power within the Hellenic world.

Effects the the Persian Wars

Despite their victories in the Persian Wars, the Greek city-states arised from the conflict more divided 보다 united.

Learning Objectives

Understand the result the Persian Wars had actually on the balance of strength throughout the timeless world

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAfter the 2nd Persian invasion of Greece was halted, Sparta i was withdrawn from the Delian League and reformed the Peloponnesian organization with its original allies.Many Greek city-states had been alienated indigenous Sparta adhering to the violent action of Spartan leader Pausanias during the siege that Byzantium.Following Sparta’s leave from the Delian League, Athens was able to usage the resources of the organization to its own ends, i beg your pardon led the into problem with less an effective members the the League.The Persian Empire embraced a divide-and-rule strategy in relationship to the Greek city-states in the wake of the Persian Wars, stoking currently simmering conflicts, including the rivalry between Athens and Sparta, to defend the Persian Empire versus further Greek attacks.Key TermsPeloponnesian League: an alliance formed around Sparta in the Peloponnesus, from the 6th to fourth centuries BCE.Delian League: An association of Greek city-states under the leadership of Athens, the objective of which was to proceed fighting the Persian empire after the Greek victories at the finish of the second Persian invasion of Greece.hegemony: The political, economic, or armed forces predominance or manage of one state end others.

Aftermath of the Persian Wars

As a an outcome of the allied Greek success, a large contingent the the Persian fleet to be destroyed and all Persian garrisons were expelled indigenous Europe, marking an end of Persia’s advance westward into the continent. The cities of Ionia were likewise liberated indigenous Persian control. In spite of their successes, however, the spoils of war caused greater inner problem within the Hellenic world. The violent action of Spartan leader Pausanias in ~ the siege that Byzantium, for instance, alienated plenty of of the Greek says from Sparta, and led to a transition in the armed forces command the the Delian league from Sparta to Athens. This set the stage for Sparta’s ultimate withdrawal native the Delian League.

Two Leagues

Following the 2 Persian invasions of Greece, and also during the Greek counterattacks the commenced ~ the war of Plataea and Mycale, Athens enrolled all island and some mainland city-states right into an alliance, called the Delian League, the purpose of which to be to pursue conflict with the Persian Empire, prepare because that future invasions, and organize a means of dividing the spoils of war. The Spartans, return they had actually taken part in the war, i was withdrawn from the Delian League beforehand on, believing that the war’s initial purpose had been met with the liberation of mainland Greece and the Greek cities of Asia Minor. Historians likewise speculate the Sparta made decision to leaving the league for realistic reasons, remaining unconvinced that it was feasible to secure permanent security for Greeks residing in Asia Minor, and also as a result of your unease through Athenian efforts to rise their power. When Spartawithdrew indigenous the Delian league after the Persian Wars, it reformed the Peloponnesian League, which had actually originally been developed in the 6th century and noted the blueprint because that what was currently the Delian League. The Spartan tap the money from the League had the effect, however, of enabling Athens to establish unchallenged naval and commercial power, unmatched throughout the Hellenic world. In fact, shortly after the League’s inception, Athens started to usage the League’s marine for its own purposes, which commonly led the into dispute with other, less powerful League members.

Map the the Athenian realm c. 431 BCE: The Delian league was the basis because that the Athenian Empire, presented here top top the brink of the Peloponnesian war (c. 431 BCE).

Delian league Rebellions

A series of rebellions developed between Athens and also the smaller sized city-states that were members of the League. For example, Naxos to be the first member the the organization to effort to secede, in around 471 BCE. That was later defeated and also forced come tear down its defensive city walls, surrender that is fleet, and lost poll privileges in the League. Thasos, an additional League member, likewise defected when, in 465 BCE, Athens started the colony of Amphipolis top top the Strymon River, which endangered Thasos’ interests in the mines that Mt Pangaion. Thasos allied v Persia and also petitioned Sparta for assistance, yet Sparta to be unable to aid because it was dealing with the largest helot transformation in its history. Nonetheless, relations in between Athens and Sparta were soured by the situation. ~ a three-year lengthy siege, Thasos was recaptured and also forced earlier into the Delian League, despite it likewise lost its defensive walls and fleet, its mines were turned over to Athens, and also the city-state was forced to pay yearly tribute and fines. According to Thucydides, the siege that Thasos significant the change of the league from an alliance into a hegemony.

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Following their defeats at the hands of the Greeks, and plagued by internal rebellions the hindered their capability to fight international enemies, the Persians embraced a policy of divide-and-rule. Beginning in 449 BCE, the Persians attempted to aggravate the cultivation tensions between Athens and Sparta, and would even bribe politicians to accomplish these aims. Their strategy was to store the Greeks distracted with in-fighting, so regarding stop the tide of counterattacks reaching the Persian Empire. Your strategy was greatly successful, and also there to be no open conflict in between the Greeks and also Persia till 396 BCE, as soon as the Spartan king Agesilaus briefly got into Asia Minor.