Many like to think these 300 Spartans were the only ones fighting, but they weren’t. Instead, they’re famous because of how they got to the battle. The SPARTAN-II program had been a dazzling success for the UNSC. Only the Theban prisoners and a presumed handful of the Spartans' servants had survived the carnage. How many Spartans survived in the battle of Thermopylae? It was an ideal choice because it gave the Greeks the chance to stop the Persian army before they could advance south to Attica, and also because it would allow the Greek navy the chance to prevent the Persian fleet from sailing to Thermopylae and outflanking the Greeks fighting on land. Yet there was another man, one of Leonidas’ 300, who was added to the Battle of Thermopylae’s sub-chapters, namely Aristodemus of Sparta, the only survivor of the epic battle. But when the threat posed by the Persian forces ended, this sense of camaraderie also disappeared, but the Battle of Thermopylae would go on to serve as a reminder for what the Greeks could do when they worked together. The Greek army, despite being severely outnumbered, were able to fight back the Persians during two days of fighting. This was rejected, but the Athenians, angry at Sparta for not contributing more troops, threatened to accept these terms if the Spartans did not increase their commitment to the fight. According to the historian Herodotus, there were only three men out of Leonidas’ elite army who did not fight in the epic battle. This final victory officially drove the Persians from Europe and removed the threat of Persian invasion. ((The topography… Of the 300 Spartans that remained to fight off the Persian advance, none survived, including their king, Leonidas. The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? But this also created a situation where people were forced to fight, at times against their will. Then there were two other men, Aristodemus and Eurytus, who had been stricken by en eye disease and become blind. However, they knew it was unlikely they would be able to fend off the Persians on their own, so they called on the rest of the Greek world to come together and form an alliance to fight the Persians. All of this meant that Xerxes and his army, although it didn’t mobilize until 480 BCE, ten years after Darius I invaded and six years after Xerxes took the throne, was able to quickly and easily march through Thrace and Macedon, meaning the Battle of Thermopylae would be fought before the end of the year. Here’s a carving of what the Immortals may have looked like in ancient times: The rest of the soldiers Xerxes took with him to Greece came from other regions of the empire, mainly Media, Elam, Babylon, Phoenicia, and Egypt, among many others. iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order Mason-Dixon Line The History of Guns, who had grown over the previous century to be the most powerful empire in western Asia, The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Athens vs. Sparta: The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ancient Sparta: The History of the Spartans, Day 3: The Last Stand of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, The History of Salt in Ancient Civilizations, History of Dogs: The Journey of Man’s Best Friend, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. All of this training meant that the Spartan soldiers, also known as Spartiates, were one of the world’s premier fighting force at the time. At the end, the Persian lost at the very least, 20,000 men. Aristodemus was one of only two Spartan survivors, as he was not present at the last stand. Despite losing, the Greek army killed around 20,000 Persians. Farrokh, Kaveh. Accessed December 2, 2020. After defeating Darius I at the Battle of Marathon, the Greeks rejoiced but they did not relax. After the Battle of Thermopylae, things did not look good for the Greeks. The Greeks living there maintained a decent autonomy despite falling under the dominion of Lydia, a powerful kingdom that held most of the territory in what is now eastern Turkey. The Persians held off their attack for three whole days, but the Greeks showed no signs of leaving. The Greeks were able to hold the Persians at sea for the duration of Thermopylae, suffering similar numbers of … Plutarch’s Themistocles: A Historical Commentary. His son, Xerxes I, rose to the throne in 486 BCE, and after spending some time consolidating his power within the empire, he set out to avenge his father and force the Greeks to pay for their insubordination and insurrection, setting the stage for the Battle of Thermopylae. Geography played an important role in the Battle of Thermopylae, as it does in nearly any military conflict. Osprey Publishing, 2007. Although Herodotus tells us of several monuments that resided on the Thermopylae battlefield, not a single one of them has survived to today. The Spartans were joined by three to four thousand soldiers from the rest of the Peloponnese, cities such as Corinth, Tegea, and Arcadia, as well as another three to four thousand soldiers from the rest of Greece, meaning a total of around 7,000 men were sent to stop an army of 180,000. One of the reasons the Battle of Thermopylae is so famous is because of the preparations the Persians took to fight it. Credit: Public Domain. The Greek rearguard, meanwhile, was annihilated, with a probable loss of 4,000 men, including those killed on the first two days of battle. King Leonidas deemed them unfit to fight and ordered them to return home before the battle. 100s of Spartans were killed in many places, but the question probably refers to the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, and the legend of the 300 Spartans. In 480 BC a small force of Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans led by King Leonidas (approximately 300 were full Spartiates, 700 were Thespians, and 400 were Thebans; these numbers do not reflect casualties incurred prior to the final battle), made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting a very high casualty rate on the Persian … However, the previous encounters were mainly fought by the Anatolian Greeks. Madman or not, however, he survived to take part in the Greek-Persian wars until their very end, paying a bitter price for walking away and not returning home dead on his shield from the great Battle of Thermopylae. They engaged with the Locrians and defeated them, but before the fighting began, several Locrians escaped through the narrow pass to warn Leonidas that the Persians had discovered this critical weak point. 2. This offended the proud Greeks greatly; the Athenians went so far as to toss the Persian heralds into a pit, while the Spartans followed suit and tossed them into a well. For this accused of cowardice, death may have been preferable. But before retreating, an envoy was sent to Thermopylae to see how the battle was transpiring, for they did not want to abandon the fight altogether and leave the right flank of the Greek force at the pass exposed. The scene of the battle was the city of Plataea, and due to the Spartan contribution of troops, both sides were roughly equal. Furthermore, he set up marketplaces and other trading posts all along the route he was planning to take to make it easier to supply his massive army as it proceeded west into Europe. After Leonidas was killed, the Greeks attempted to recover his body, but they failed. If you are 13 years old when were you born? Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? Initially a stalemate, the Battle of Plataea took place when Mardonius misinterpreted a simple troop movement as a Greek retreat and decided to attack. 188. Branded a Coward, Died a Hero: The Story of the Only Survivor... 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Yet, as is often the case, many of the perceptions we have The Persian forces were accompanied by its massive fleet, and the Greeks had chosen Artemisium, which lies to the east of Thermopylae, as the place to engage with the Persian contingency of ships. Some believe it was because during his trip to the Oracle before the battle began he was given a prophecy that said he was going to die on the battlefield if he did not succeed. The name of the King of Sparta became synonymous with bravery and devotion, while that of Ephialtes came to be the ultimate symbol of treason and the baser instincts, forever to be connected with the image of a pile of dead Spartan soldiers at Thermopylae Pass. There are three different ways you can cite this article. In Sparta, being a soldier was considered a great honor, and all men, except for the first born of a family, were required to train at Sparta’s special military school, the agoge. Remember that Leonidas has dispatched a force of 1,000 Locrians to defend the second route around the pass. Can the Deadly Earthquake Reduce Tensions Between Greece and Turkey? Because of this, the Battle of Thermopylae has remained in our collective memories for well over 2,000 years. With all of this done, the stage was set for the fighting to begin. Xerxes marched his armies further south, ransacking much of the Euboean peninsula and eventually burning an evacuated Athens to the ground. Carey, Brian Todd, Joshua Allfree, and John Cairns. The Spartans withdrew to a small hill near the pass, together with the few other Greek soldiers who had refused to leave. Although there were 300 Spartans present at the defense of Thermopylae, there were at least 4,000 allies involved on the first two days and 1,500 men involved in the fatal last stand.Still a tiny figure compared to the forces against them—there is evidence that the vast Persian army has been vastly exaggerated—but more than the legend, which forgets some contributors. Pantites failed to return to Thermopylae in time for the battle, and branded with shame in the eyes of his fellow Spartans, he hanged himself. Once again, Aristodemus was in a difficult position and was forced to apologize for his stance. About ten years before the Battle of Thermopylae, in an attempt to punish the Greeks for their support of the Ionian Revolt, Darius I gathered his army and marched into Greece. This move ended up being a success in that it allowed around 2,000 Greek soldiers to escape. Anyone could see that the Persians would be back, and so most went about preparing for round two. In the Battle of Thermopylae Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. Frost, Frank J., and Plutarchus. The Spartan society was known for its highly-skilled warriors, elitist administrators, and its reverence for stoicism, people today still look to the Spartans as model citizens in an idealist ancient society. The battle took place simultaneously with the more famous land battle at Thermopylae, in August or September 480 BC, off the coast of Euboea and was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and others, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. Thermopylae was chosen for a similar reason. When their weapons broke, they fought with their hands and teeth (According to Herodotus). However, on this second day, in the late afternoon or early evening, something happened that would turn the tables of the Battle of Thermopylae in favor of the Persians. Knowing full well that this meant their doom, he told his soldiers it was time to depart. The Greeks (7,000 men) made it to the pass first, but the Persians arrived shortly thereafter. The Games were dedicated to Zeus and war was forbidden when they were held. The ‘mainland’ Spartans on the other side… Below is an engraving of a hoplite (left) and a Persian soldier (right) to give an idea of what they might have looked like. Most believe it is made from Leonidas’ likeness. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Like Thermopylae, it was a holding action, and the success of each Greek action depended on the other battle. Understandably, Aristodemus sought to attain a glorious death at the very next opportunity presented to him. Below is a map detailing the movements of Darius I and his troops during this first invasion of Greece. Doing some reaserch . He did this by tying ships side-by-side across the entire stretch of water, which allowed his troops to easily cross from Asia into Europe while also avoiding Byzantium. Seven hundred Thespians and 300 Thebans refused the order to withdraw and remained with the Spartans. This story of Spartan King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans is one of bravery and valor. To do this, the Persian king, Darius I, enlisted the help of a man named Aristagoras, who was ruling as the tyrant of the Ionian city Miletus. Tales of Spartan supersoldiers fighting off thousands of Covenant attacks had become the stuff of legend. An oracle had foretold that either Sparta would be overthrown by the barbarians or one of its kings had to perish.