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Persian Wars

The Persian Empire tried several times to invade and conquer the Greek city-states in the days of Athens and Sparta. The Persians were successful at invading but never conquered Greece. Read how the Greeks won despite overwhelming odds against them, time after time.


The Persian Wars: Greece's Finest Hours
Get down to basics with this easy-to-read article describing the Greeks' mighty struggles against the mighty Persians. Includes maps and timeline, as well as interactive windows describing each of the four important battles.

Herodotus: Greece's First Historian
Herodotus is regarded by many to be the "Father of History," for his famous work The Histories, an account of the causes and particulars of the Greco-Persian Wars. However, his work also includes many fanciful tales, which has led others to term him the "Father of Lies." One thing is for sure: We know a lot more about the Greek world, the Persian world, and the world around both ancient civilizations from what Herodotus wrote down than we ever would have if he had not been compelled to scrawl on scrolls with an eye toward posterity. 

Persian Wars Timeline
This detailed timeline puts the events of the war in historical perspective. Notice how many years go by between invasions.

Maps of the Persian Empire
Know how close Persia was to Greece? Find out using these helpful maps.

Essays on the Persian Wars
Follow the thread as these essays explain the causes and the results of Persia's repeated attempts to conquer Greece.

Darius the Great
Read all about the man who made Persia into a great Empire. He was followed by two other Dariuses, neither of whom was as Great as Darius I.

Xerxes
Read the story of Darius's son, who wouldn't take no for an answer, brought a bigger army than his father ever had, and still lost battle after battle to the sturdy Greeks.

Battle of Marathon
This historic battle was the first of four great Greek victories. Badly outnumbered, the Greeks charged and drove the invading Persians from the field of battle.

Thermopylae
This is the famous battle of the Spartans' heroic last stand. Three hundred Spartans held off thousands of Persians at the tiny mountain pass near Thermopylae until the rest of the Greek army could safely retreat.

Salamis
The big naval battle of the war. Xerxes brought twice as many ships as the Greeks had, but he still lost, thanks to Greek smarts and superior seamanship.

Plataea
This was the last straw for Persia. Athenians and Spartans fought side by side, driving the Persians from the Greek shores forever.

 Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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