Tactics Of The Persian War

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What were the strategies and tactics applied by both the Greeks and the Persians? To what extent was strategy significant in the outcome of the war?
During times of war, strategies are vital to successes of a country. Without a strategy, superior numbers and technology would always win, but with a strategy, even the mightiest army can fall. During the Persian Wars the Persians had the Greeks greatly outnumbered, however, as the Greeks employed many clever strategies in their battles, numbers alone were no longer the most important part of the war.
The Persians typical strategies in warfare were to use their superior numbers and resources to defeat the, frequently smaller, enemy. They would place their strongest warriors in the centre of battle
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This allowed them to meet the Persians in battle at the most strategically advantageous positions for their forces and increase the chances of a successful battle such as the Battle of Thermopylae. ‘The opinion which prevailed was that they should guard the pass of Thermopylae; since it was narrower than the Thessalian defile’ this would create a bottleneck for how many Persians could fight at one time. Although this battle wasn’t won by the Greeks, due to Persia’s superior numbers, however, the Greeks still inflicted catastrophic loss onto the Persians. The battle would have been lost much sooner without the strategic placing of the Greek arming. A notable technique of the Spartans was to spend the night before a battle looking after their hair. They did this to ‘add beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one’ . This heightening of their features was probably done in an attempt to either terrify the enemy forces, making them lose morale and courage, or to distract enemy troops with surprising beauty. Enemy reports of the Spartans activities before battle were also affected by this strategy, as it became almost laughable for the soldiers who were about to die to take such care for their hair, and the Spartans may then be underestimated by the enemy army. The Greeks would typically place their strongest warriors at the sides of formations so that they could surround their enemy and trap them in a circle of warriors and this strategy was employed in the battle of Marathon, when the Greeks encircled the Persians and, while the Persians broke through the front, the Greeks flanking the army were able to ‘engulf and slaughter the trapped Persians’ . Although the Greeks were lacking in numbers they used clever strategies to make up for their numbers and

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