A history of the battle of thermopylae

The Battle of Marathon Many will know of the Battle of Thermopylae as it was made famous by the film which depicts a small number of Greek forces under the leadership of Leonidas battling against thousands of Persian warriors. This is a great film but there is more to this battle than meets the eyes, this being said the outline of the film does depict one famous part of the battle.

A history of the battle of thermopylae

Dattatreya Mandal January 23, Popular culture has been kind to the historical episode of the Battle of Thermopylae, but with romanticized anecdotes intertwined between the actual events that took place before and during the particular military encounter.

One apt example would pertain to King Leonidas I himself, who was probably closer to the age of 60 at the time of the battle, as opposed to what Hollywood would make us believe by contrast, Xerxes was only years old at the time of the battle.

So without further ado, let us try to sift some of the facts from fiction, and have a gander at the 10 things one should know about the Battle of Thermopylae — a momentous episode of history that stands testament to the importance of tactics and bravery in war.

In that regard, the Greeks were not able to stop the Persian juggernaut in the four clashes out of five that took place in open-land during the preceding Ionian revolt.

Battle of Thermopylae - Wikipedia

The fifth clash was a chaotic affair with a night-time ambush on the part of the Greeks. But beyond just the numbers game, it was the Persian combined-arms style of mass combat that allowed them to regularly triumph over the Greek armies.

According to much impressed Thucydides, at the commencement of the battle, the Spartan army officers grouped the hoplites and their lines started moving forward with some wearing wreathswhile the king began to sing one of many marching-songs composed by Tyrtaios.

He was complemented by pipers who played the familiar tune, thus serving as a powerful auditory accompaniment to the progressing Spartan army. Interestingly, as with many Greek customs, there might have been a practical side underneath this seemingly religious veneer.

To that end, the songs and their tunes kept the marching line in order, which entailed a major battlefield tactic — since Greek warfare generally involved closing in with the enemy with a solid, unbroken line.

This incredible auditory scope ended in a crescendo with the collective yet sacred war-cry of paean, a military custom that was Dorian in origin. As a matter of fact, even some of the regular infantrymen, armed with short spears and double-edged daggers, carried their bows and a fair share of arrows in a gorytos, a case that housed both the weapon and the projectiles.

As for the dedicated Persian archers, they probably carried composite bows that were rather large by contemporary standards.

According to Xenophon, the Persian archers even outranged the Cretans, who were considered as specialists in archery from the Greek domain. And beyond just the bow itself, much of the improved shooting probably had to do with the better archery techniques and the lighter arrows preferred by the Persians.

And thus many of the Achaemenid Great Kings could boast how he could conquer Greece with his archers, with a possible pun in the offering. The decimal system was also upheld when ten such regiments were combined to form a division baivarabam of 10, men. In other words, the casualties in this elite division might have been replaced as soon as possible from the best candidates from other Persian baivarabam.

Training as a Hoplite

As Herodotus goes on to describe these Athanatoi Immortals in the battle of Thermopylae BC — …a body of picked Persians under the leadership of Hydarnes, the son of Hydarnes. This corps was known as the Immortals, because it was invariably kept up to strength; if a man was killed or fell sick, the vacancy he left was at once filled, so that the total strength of the corps was never less — and never more — than ten thousand.

Of all the troops in Persian army, the native Persians were not only the best but also the most magnificently equipped; their dress and armor I have mentioned already, but I should add that every man glittered with the gold which he carried about his person in unlimited quantity.

The Battle of Thermopylae The position of the Greek army at the narrow pass at Thermopylae was a tactical move, the idea that was the Greek army was a lot smaller but because the pass was tight the Persian army would not be able to overrun the Greeks. Aug 21,  · Watch video · Leonidas (c. B.C.) was a king of the city-state of Sparta from about B.C. until his death at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian army in B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, ( bce), battle in central Greece at the mountain pass of Thermopylae during the Persian Wars. The Greek forces, mostly Spartan, were led by Leonidas.

They were accompanied, moreover, by covered carriages full of their women and servants, all elaborately fitted out. Special food, separate from that of the rest of the army, was brought along for them on dromedaries and mules.

The Greek historian further mentions their rich attire — The dress of these troops consisted of the tiara, or soft felt cap, embroidered tunic with sleeves, a coat of mail looking like the scales of a fish, and trousers; for arms they carried light wicker shields, quivers slung below them, short spears, powerful bows with cane arrows, and short swords swinging from belts beside the right thigh.

As a matter of fact, such elite divisions tended to flaunt their vibrant and ritzy uniforms and armaments — as is evident from their accounts of carrying spears with golden pomegranates, silver pomegranates, and even golden apples.

The numbers game — Source: ThingLink The most popular misconception about the Battle of Thermopylae probably relates to the numbers fielded in the battle. In fact, in many corners of popular culture, the encounter is often depicted as Spartans aided by their rag-tag group of allies versus over a million Persians.

These numbers, however, are without a shred of doubt exaggerations based on flawed historical accounts, modern-day pop culture sensationalism and of course romanticism.

In fact, during the period circa BCSparta alone could have fielded over 8, of its free adult citizens as hoplites. But historically they could not bring forth their entire army at the Battle of Thermopylae due to religious observances like the feast of Apollo Karneia and the Panhellenic Olympic Games.

This brings us to the question — how many men did each side have in this incredible encounter? Well interestingly enough, Herodotus — the man who claimed that the Persian forces numbered over a million troops, clarified how the Greek side at least had 5, men as opposed to only Spartans.

The figure included the over thousand perioikoi the free yet non-citizens of SpartaMantineans, Tegeans, Arcadians, Corinthians, Thespians and even Thebans who probably numbered overalong with groups of other Peloponnesians. Modern historians also add the helots to this array of forces, thus bringing the total number of Greeks probably over 7, men.

The Persians on the other hand, while undoubtedly having their numerical superiority, would have had logistical constraints to even field half-a-million men, considering the size of their fleet. To that end, modern scholarship suggests that the Persians could have carried forth aroundmen in their 1, triremes — but only a percentage of them were actual soldiers, with others serving the duties of oarsmen, baggage carriers, and camp followers.

To summarize, the plausible figure range for the Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae was somewhere between 80, —men. ThingLink Another popular misconception though more valid about the Battle of Thermopylae relates to how Leonidas made his last stand in the encounter.

A history of the battle of thermopylae

And while the Greek forces were busy repairing the makeshift fortification, Leonidas also took heed of many of the flanking routes that bypassed the gates.

One of these treacherous pathways, known as the Anopaia path, was actually guarded by around 1, Phokian hoplites under the directive of the Spartan king. ThingLink It is no hidden secret that the sheer level of training and high morale of the Spartans allowed to them to be steadfast in the face of an overwhelming Persian force in the first day of the Battle of Thermopylae.Casualties for the Battle of Thermopylae are not known with any certainty but may have been as high as 20, for the Persians and around 2, for the Greeks.

With the defeat on land, the Greek fleet withdrew south after the Battle of Artemisium. Trace major events of the battle at Thermopylae and understand the significance of the conflict.

Compare the leaders and the armies of the Greeks and the Persians and understand what they reveal about ancient Greek and Persian culture.

A history of the battle of thermopylae

Thermopylae is a mountain pass near the sea in northern Greece which was the site of several battles in antiquity, the most famous being that between Persians. The Battle of Thermopylae The position of the Greek army at the narrow pass at Thermopylae was a tactical move, the idea that was the Greek army was a lot smaller but because the pass was tight the Persian army would not be able to overrun the Greeks.

Thermopylae is a mountain pass near the sea in northern Greece which was the site of several battles in antiquity, the most famous being that between Persians and . The long path to battle at Thermopylae began in what is now Iran, heart of the once vast Persian empire. Nowadays, ancient ruins attest to its long-vanished greatness, but to the Greeks of the early 5th century bc, the Persian empire was young, aggressive and dangerous.

Leonidas - HISTORY