The Persian Wars were the battles between Persia and Greece in the 5th century B.C. These wars started because the Persians wanted to conquer the Greek city-states, so they would have control of the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes the Persians were victorious, however in the end the Greeks were triumphant. In fact, if the greeks had been defeated, their culture might have been lost forever, and we might not have had some of their ideas today.
The Persian Wars
WE WON!!!! TAKE THAT PERSIANS!
King Darius sent his army of 90,000 men to attack the Greeks, whereas the Greeks only had about 10,000-20,000 men. Despite the fewer amount of men, the Greeks won! The Greeks had advanced weaponry, and their hoplites (a large round shield), spears and swords, were able to defeat the Persians with their bow and arrows. Because of their humiliating loss, the Persians were angry and wanted revenge against the Athenians.
Battle of Marathon
Yeah, yeah we won. Let's go already! I really need to pee!
Ahah! A win for us Persians! Xerxes led a huge force to attack Greece in 480 B.C. The Persians invaded Greece through the mountains of Thermopylae. The Spartans bravely fought for 3 days, until every last one of them were killed. To summarize, King Xerxes got what he wanted, to control the Greek city-states! But watch out! The Greeks will be back, as this bought them sometime to face even bigger challenges.
Battle of Thermopylae
The Greeks were ready to overthrow the Persians! This time the Greeks used their trusty triremes and their experienced general, Themistocles! With their bold plan to lure the Persian fleet into the Straits of Salamis and defeat them then and there, the Greeks had a great victory, remembered to this day. On the other hand, Xerxes wasn't ready to give up yet.
Battle of Salamis
After the battle of Salamis, Persia was still in control of most of the Greek city states. Xerxes was determined to gain back full control, so he put General Mardonius in charge to train his army and devise a plan. In 479 B.C. it was time to end it all. The Greeks gathered the largest hoplite army ever seen. The Persians once again brought their horsemen and bow and arrows. Once again, the superiority of the hoplite and phalanx (straight line) that won the battle for the Greeks. Due to another loss, Xerxes had finally gotten over his ambition to conquer Greece.
Battle of Plataea
After their victory in Plataea, the Greeks finished off the rest of the Persian forces in the Battle of Mycale. Later, around 449 B.C. a peace treaty was finally signed between Persia and Greece, keeping them from getting into anymore battles. But it turned out that the Persian Empire only thrived for another year or so. Luckily, for Greece winning the Battle of Plataea guaranteed freedom from foreign rule. Also, their victory granted Greece a time in which everything was harmonious, and artistic and cultural growth began to lay the foundations for a European civilization.