Xerxes Invade Greek History

1046 Words 5 Pages
In the narrative, The Histories, Xerxes Invades Greece, Herodotus, also known as the “father of history”, attempted to capture what a free society could achieve when they worked together in the form of the poleis. He did this by showing the differences between the Persian and Greek soldiers and their mindsets during the Persian War. Herodotus wrote this narrative after the Persian War was over and during the early years of the Peloponnesian War which was around 431 B.C.E. Herodotus believed that the Greeks were upon a new glorious age and believed it was due to their success in the Persian War and the creation of the poleis which promoted the “free society” concept. This narrative was targeted towards future historians as well as Greeks …show more content…
When Xerxes asks a Greek citizen, Demaratus, if the Greeks would put up a fight to his large Persian army, he responds “for if a thousand of them should take the field, they will meet thee in battle, and so will any number, be it less this or be it more.” (Herodotus, 6) This statement by Demaratus shows the pride and patriotism that was built from the poleis and embedded into the Greek infantry. Regardless of their numbers, the infantry performed their duty and fought as they felt that was their contribution and duty as a citizen of the empire and a member of the polis. This patriotism was felt in spite of any potential negative outcomes that may result. Demaratus also stated, “I would rather not fight even with one. But, if need appeared, or if there were any great cause urging me on, I would contend with right good will against one of those persons who boast themselves a match for any three Greeks.” (Herodotus 6) Demaratus is saying that because they all have a common goal and cause that they believe in, which was protecting their homeland; they will fight regardless of the circumstances – win or lose. This is the epitome of what patriotism is and shows the positive impacts it had on the Greek infantry. (Frankforter and Spellman, …show more content…
At the battle at Thermopylae, when it was evident that the Persians were going to dominate the Greeks for that particular battle, many troops stayed anyway in order to stand by Leonidas, their commander. According to Herodotus, “it is said that Leonidas himself sent away troops who departed, because he tendered their safety”. (Herodotus 10) This shows that Leonidas respected his soldiers and thought of their safety. Once he knew that the battle was lost to the Persians he released the soldiers in order to spare their lives. Even though Leonidas tried to send away troops, some stayed of their own free will, such as the Thespians. According to Herodotus, the Thespians “stayed entirely of their own accord, refusing to retreat, and declaring that they would not forsake Leonidas and his followers. So they abode with the Spartans, and died with them”. (Herodotus 11) This shows the loyalty that the infantry had to their commander and the strong brotherhood that was developed between them. The brotherhood was so strong that many thought it was worth giving their own life in exchange for, this applied to both the commanders and the soldiers. (The Histories, Xerxes Invades

Related Documents