Persian Empire Essay

1015 Words 5 Pages
On a hot, clear day on a coastal plain, ten thousand men marched out in defense of a nation. Most clad in bronze armour, armed with a spear and shield, others with a mere bow and arrow, and others still on horseback. These men were probably scared to death of the fleet on the horizon and the camp below them. The great Persian Empire has fielded 30,000 members of their unstoppable army, which has razed cities into ashes and forged an Empire so large 44% of the world’s population called the Shahanshah of Persia their King. But, against the odds, they won, and unleashed a chain of events leading to an insignificant city state into becoming the hegemon, or first city, of all of Greece. There were more battles to be fought, and the young democracy …show more content…
faded into the chaotic 5th century, the Athenians were faced with an enormous problem. The city-state, at the time, not one of any substance compared to cities like Corinth or Sparta, had managed to incur the wrath of Persia, as mentioned, the globe-spanning empire who could call on manpower from the Indus River to the Nile of Egypt. The Athenians had decided to intervene on behalf of the Greek city states of Ionia, which had decided to revolt against their Persian overlords. The rebels from Miletus, one of the largest of the city states, had Athenian soldiers among their ranks, when they overthrew their Persian-backed tyrant and burned down palace of the Persian Satrap of Ionia at Sardis. The Persians were furious about this, to the point where King Darius had a servant whisper daily to him “Remember the Athenians, sire”. However, Athenian-Persian relations were not always so bad. During one of Athens’s many wars with Sparta and the other cities of Peloponnesian Greece, the Athenian Assembly had sent a delegation to the Persians to ask for assistance. The Persians agreed to help, they did not want Greece under absolute Spartan hegemony anymore than the Athenians did, but the asked the Athenians to give them “earth and water”. The symbolic giving of soil and water from a city’s territory was essentially ceding independence to Persia. The Athenian ambassadors thought that it wasn’t a bad idea to do this, but the assembly immediately cut them off and …show more content…
Classical sources, like Herodotus put this army at somewhere near 100,000 men, which was possible but not likely. A more realistic number. Still, Athens and its Attican countryside could only reasonably field 10,000 men. The men that would be fighting the hordes of the east would be mostly of the Hoplite class, the warriors of ancient Greek society. With 10,000 in their ranks, these men were moderately well off, enough to afford the bronze armour, shields, and spear and sword required to be a soldier of Greece. The Hoplites fought in a phalanx formation, a square of shields and spears. The remainder of the army were the horsemen, the wealthy nobles who defended their polis (city state) on horseback. The horsemen numbered about 4,000 and were not as good compared to an average Persian cavalryman compared to the difference between the sparabara (lightly armoured spear infantry, armed with a bow and large shield) and the Greek hoplite phalanx. The remainder of the men on the field would have been of thetes class, the poorer citizens of the city. They would have typically only been armed with a bow, sling or javelins. The remaining six hundred nobles of the landowning class were primarily generals and admirals, with very few actually fighting on the

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