Several Ionian Greek city-states decided to revolt against the Persian Empire. They asked the Athenians for help which made King Darius I of Persia mad at them.
Battle of Salamis 480 BCE
Our ship is too big!
Even without the Spartan's help, the Athenians destroyed the Persian invading force, because they were warned by the runner Pheidippides. Greek soldiers, called Hoplites, had perfected a battle formation called a Phalonx. The Persian forces had no experience with the Phalonx and were quickly defeated in the Battle of Marathon.
Battle of Plataea 479 BCE
Back to Persia!
The war is lost!
King Leonidas of Sparta led 300 soldiers who stalled the Persian forces from entering Greece while the other Greek forces retreated to further prepare for the Persian invasion. Leonidas and all of his men were killed by the Persians following a valiant struggle.
Effects of the War
An Alliance Is Formed
Thermistocles trapped the Persian navy in a small strip of sea where they could easily be crushed by the Athenians' small, quick ships, because their ships were large and couldn't maneuver.
We'll be crushed!
After Xerxes retreated with his army from Salamis, they were defeated a final time by the Athenians and their allies at the Battle of Platea. They returned to Persia and never invaded Greece again.
Athens emerged as the most powerful city-state and created the Delian League: an alliance with other city states to protect themselves if Persia ever again invaded.