Starting in 499 BC, a series of conflicts and battles rose between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and Greek city-states. This event known as the “Persian Wars” began when Athens agreed to come to the aid of the Greek speaking city-states on the coast of Asian Minor. As these city-states rebelled against the great and powerful Persian empire, the Persians grew bitterly toward the Athens. After nine years, Darius the Great, the fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire launched an attack against the Greek Mainland. This was known as the “Battle of Marathon”.As the Athenian army was only a fraction of the side of the Persians, the Persians won this battle. This led to Greece under control of the Persians.
After ten quiet years, the Persians’ new king, Xerxes (Darius’s son) were determined to use overwhelming force against the Athens. He gathered several 100,000 armies and 600 ships after the Battle of Marathon. We can interpret that Xerxes’s demanding and controlling behavior was a threat to the Athens.
Because of this overwhelming force, this convinced the Athenians to begin a navy-building project which resulted over 200 ships. As the Persian army gathered, the 31 Greek city states decided to resist the Persians and were uniting under the leadership of Sparta. However, the smaller city states conceded defeat and refused to send armies as the Persian army was extremely strong and powerful. This was called the “Battle of Thermopylae” where the Spartans won against the huge Persian army. On the right is the Battle of Thermopylae.
The Persian navy and fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Salamis. However, the battle of Plataea ended the Persian Wars. The Persian Wars showcased the superiority of Greek military methods and effective planning from the Greeks. One major outcome is the new military method known as the Greek phalanx which is a rectangular military formation composed entirely of heavy infantry, armed with heavy spears and pikes. The second major outcome is the Delian League which was an alliance of Greek city states. However, most important outcome is that the defeat of the Persian Empire, it allowed Greek culture to thrive and spread throughout the world. If the Persian Empire won, the world wouldn’t have any of the Greeks’ achievements, culture and lifestyle.