The Persian Wars: Greece's Finest Hours
Conflict between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire was probably inevitable. They were too big and too close together and also too ambitious to not have clashed.
And in 499 B.C., they clashed.
For several decades leading up to this clash, Greeks had settled in Asia Minor, on the western coast. The Persians then conquered these colonies and added them to the Empire. The Greeks living in these colonies were used to having their own government of elected officials. Athens was the birthplace of democracy. They soon revolted against the Persians; and in 499, their fellow Greeks (specifically, Athens) sent troops to support this revolt.
This was the beginning of the Persian Wars.
Even with Athens' help, the colonies didn't hold out long against the much larger and stronger Persian army. And when the revolt was crushed, Persian Emperor Darius wanted to punish Athens for aiding the Asia Minor colonies.
A few years later, when his army was trained and ready, Darius led his troops on an invasion of Greece. They sailed to the Bay of Marathon, where one of the most famous battles of all time took place.
Graphics courtesy of ArtToday