How many Spartans survived in the battle of Thermopylae? The coward was not punished, but he was treated as if he did not exist; he was invisible and no one would touch him. Aristodemus suffered an eye injury and was sent behind the lines, eventually ordered back to Sparta with the retreating allies by the King. Eurytus, however, turned back again to the battlefield, and though literally blind, met his valiant death very early on in the battle. Only 2 Spartans are said to have survived: 1 fell at the Battle of Plataea a year later, and the other hanged himself in shame. So, instead of mobilizing his entire army, Spartan King Leonidas gathered 300 Spartans and organized them into an “expeditionary” force. To cite this article in an academic-style article or paper, use: Matthew Jones, "The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World", History Cooperative, March 12, 2019, Of the 300 Spartans that remained to fight off the Persian advance, none survived, including their king, Leonidas. On at least one key detail Herodotus’ informants were sound: excavations at Thermopylae in the 1930s unearthed arrowheads of an Anatolian design in large numbers on a hill in the pass, confirming both the location and the manner of the deaths. If you are 13 years old when were you born? Wars between the Greek and the Persians would continue for another 25 years, but there was never another battle fought on Greek territory between the two sides. When Xerxes was finally convinced that the Greeks were not kidding him when they insisted on confronting his vast army, he truly believed it was a given that the complete obliteration of the single-minded defenders of Thermopylae was just a matter of time. It was the most important religious event on the Spartan calendar, and Spartan kings were strictly forbidden from going to war during this celebration. Greek forces put up little resistance, and Darius I managed to reach Eritrea and burn it to the ground. In the Battle of Thermopylae Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. Two Spartans survived the conflict. He figured the Greeks would see just how outnumbered they were and eventually surrender. By the end of the day, Xerxes, likely irritated that his soldiers could not break the Greek line, sent the Immortals into battle, but they too were rebuffed, meaning that the first day of battle would end in failure for the Persians. The Athenians, who had led the fight against the Persians the first time around, began building a new fleet using silver they had recently discovered in the mountains of Attica. The first was Pantites, who had been sent by Leonidas as an emissary to Thessaly to call for reinforcements. Xerxes prepared for his invasion by amassing one of the largest armies the ancient world had ever seen. They engaged with the Locrians and defeated them, but before the fighting began, several Locrians escaped through the narrow pass to warn Leonidas that the Persians had discovered this critical weak point. However, on this second day, in the late afternoon or early evening, something happened that would turn the tables of the Battle of Thermopylae in favor of the Persians. 188. This alliance, which was made up of the major Greek city-states at the time, mainly Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos, Thebes, Phocis, Thespiaea, etc., was the first example of a pan-Hellenic alliance, breaking up centuries of fighting amongst the Greeks and planting the seeds for a national identity. Plutarch’s Themistocles: A Historical Commentary. To add to this, Xerxes, the Persian king, was out for revenge after the Greek army had defeated his father just 10 years prior. He was even called “Aristodemus the Coward” from then on. The Greeks did follow, and they won several victories throughout Thrace, as well as the Battle of Byzantium, which took place in 478 BCE. The size of the Persian army is disputed. The Battle of Thermopylae. Much legend has been attributed to this decision made by Leonidas. The other man, Eurytus, is said to have gone into battle anyhow, led by his servant. 2500 Anniversary: The Battle of Thermopylae (Hot Gates), In 2020 Greece celebrates the 2500-year-anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae, when King Leonidas and his men said "Molon Labe" and fought to death against one million Persians; protecting the foundations of our civilization in one of the most famous battles in history that shaped our world! Xerxes marched his armies further south, ransacking much of the Euboean peninsula and eventually burning an evacuated Athens to the ground. On either August 20 or September 8-10, 480 BC, the Persians defeated the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae. On the other side, Leonidas, was following the prediction of the oracle, which had stated that Sparta or one of its kings would be lost while leading an army of dedicated, valiant warriors who were ready to sacrifice themselves along with him. Geography played an important role in the Battle of Thermopylae, as it does in nearly any military conflict. The plan was to invade the Greek island of Naxos and begin subjugating more Greek cities and regions. The Battle of Thermopylae lasted a total of seven days, but there was no fighting on the first four, as the Persians waited to see if the Greeks would surrender. Herodotus estimated the Persian army to number in the millions, but modern historians tend to doubt his reportage. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? A map indicating the location and military positions taken in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE between the Persian invading forces of Xerxes I against a small Greek force led by Spartan king Leonidas. At the time, Xerxes did not know this back route existed, and Spartan King Leonidas knew his learning of it would doom the Greeks. However, when we dig a bit deeper into the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, we can see why it has become such a beloved tale from our ancient past. Doing so required reinforcements. The Greeks were able to hold the Persians at sea for the duration of Thermopylae, suffering similar numbers of … The Greek army, despite being severely outnumbered, were able to fight back the Persians during two days of fighting. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal The battle constituted a major turning point in history. At Artemisium, the Athenian-led navy was able to inflict heavy damages on the Persian fleet by luring them into tight corridors and using their more agile ships to defeat the Persians. His regular army, the well-trained, profession corps known as the Immortals, totaled just 10,000 soldiers. How many Spartans survived in the battle of Thermopylae? Yet, as is often the case, many of the perceptions we have Fields, Nic. But not wanting to expose those retreating to the Persian advance, Leonidas informed his troops that he would remain with his force of 300 Spartans, but that all others could leave. This determination in the face of almost certain defeat is part of the reason why the Battle of Thermopylae is such a famous story. Yet there was another man, one of Leonidas’ 300, who was added to the Battle of Thermopylae’s sub-chapters, namely Aristodemus of Sparta, the only survivor of the epic battle. τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Máchē tōn Thermopylōn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas I of Sparta, and the Achaemenid Empire of Xerxes I.It was fought over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. The Greek force consisted of approximately 7000 men, of whom 300 were Spartan hoplites, 700 Thespians, and 100 Phocians, among others. It forever cemented Thermopylae as a place where ancient… However, Spartan King Leonidas knew to do nothing doomed his people to almost certain death. Farrokh, Kaveh. He had no civil rights and was even obliged to step aside when a Spartan passed by. Meanwhile, receiving word that the Persians had found a way around the Pass of Thermopylae, the Greek fleet at Artemisium turned around and sailed south to try and beat the Persians to Attica and defend Athens. The Persians were destined to face the Greek forces in Thermopylae, where they had set their defense. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE. But now, he was mad at the Greeks for their insurrection, and he had his eyes set on revenge. Warfare in the Ancient World. Flower, Michael A., and John Marincola, eds. How many Spartans survived the Battle of Thermopylae? In contrast, the Greeks lost just 4,000 men, according to estimates made by Herodotus. As much as modern historians question many of the elements quoted by Herodotus, it was in essence a handful of warriors — 300, or 1,000 if we add the Thespians or 5,000-6,000 according to other estimates — standing against an enormous horde of opponents. The Greek army, which was made up of Spartans, Thebans, Thespians, and soldiers from several other Greek city-states, totaled around 7,000. The Persian forces were accompanied by its massive fleet, and the Greeks had chosen Artemisium, which lies to the east of Thermopylae, as the place to engage with the Persian contingency of ships. Herodotus: Histories. The Games were dedicated to Zeus and war was forbidden when they were held. The word “coward” was the worst insult for the supremely warlike Spartans. The Big Dilemma: Should COVID-19 Vaccines be Mandatory? Like Thermopylae, it was a holding action, and the success of each Greek action depended on the other battle. Several waves of 10,000 Medes were all beaten back. However, most historians now believe he sent off most of his force so that they could rejoin with the rest of the Greek armies and live to fight the Persians another day. Univ of California Press, 1996. To help show this, we’re going to go over some of the key events that took place leading up to and during the battle, and also discuss how the Battle of Thermopylae impacted the overall course of Greco-Persian Wars. After seeing what the Greeks had managed to do at the Battle of Thermopylae, and now without a fleet to support his invasion, Mardonius was hoping to avoid a direct battle, so he sent envoys to the leaders of the Greek alliance to sue for peace. The battle resulted in the death of Leonidas, who became a hero for his decision to remain behind and fight to the death. As a result, almost everyone knows about the 300 Spartans who died trying to hold back the Persian Empire’s 300,000-strong army on its way to conquer Greece. Off to the side of the larger statue of Leonidas at Thermopylae, there is a monument to the 700 Thespians who died alongside the Spartans. The Greeks had chosen the Isthmus of Corinth as their next point of defense, which provided similar advantages as the Pass of Thermopylae, although it left Athens in Persian-controlled territory. The name of the King of Sparta became synonymous with bravery and devotion, while that of Ephialtes came to be the ultimate symbol of treason and the baser instincts, forever to be connected with the image of a pile of dead Spartan soldiers at Thermopylae Pass. There, it was recorded that he foght fiercely, desperately desiring rid himself of his shame and clear his name. They became the archetype for the courageous last stand. Then there were two other men, Aristodemus and Eurytus, who had been stricken by en eye disease and become blind. Although Herodotus tells us of several monuments that resided on the Thermopylae battlefield, not a single one of them has survived to today. If your web page requires an HTML link, please insert this code: The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Gods of Death How old is the United States of America? This turned out to be the battle of Plataea, just one year after Thermopylae. Vol. Ann Rutledge: Abraham Lincoln’s First True Love? The Greeks were ultimately defeated when one of their own betrayed them by alerting Xerxes of a route around the narrow pass of Thermopylae. It was not a coincidence that all 300 of the soldiers already had male children; therefore their replacement in the Spartan Army was a given. When Pantites returned to the free city-state of Sparta, thanks to the sacrifice of his fellow Spartans at Thermopylae, he was accused of cowardice — and he soon killed himself. Furthermore, he set up marketplaces and other trading posts all along the route he was planning to take to make it easier to supply his massive army as it proceeded west into Europe. It was directly on the path of the Persians’ southward advance into Greece, but the narrow pass of Thermopylae, which was protected by mountains the west and the Gulf of Malias to the west, was just 15m wide. But a much more interesting subject of eternal study will be how so few not only did not fear the enemy, but were able to ultimately stop them, defeating them first in the mind and then on the battlefield. The Persians were meticulous record keepers; but no Persian source has survived. Athens and several other Greek city-states, mainly Eritrea, sent help to their fellow Greeks, but this proved to be folly as Darius I marched his armies into Ionia and by 493 BCE had ended the rebellion. However, Xerxes made an error by following Greek ships into the narrow straits of Salamis, which once again neutralized his superior numbers. One can only imagine how motivated they really were to kill their countrymen at the bequest of their imperial overlord. The Spartans were joined by three to four thousand soldiers from the rest of the Peloponnese, cities such as Corinth, Tegea, and Arcadia, as well as another three to four thousand soldiers from the rest of Greece, meaning a total of around 7,000 men were sent to stop an army of 180,000. This simply wasn’t true. All of this training meant that the Spartan soldiers, also known as Spartiates, were one of the world’s premier fighting force at the time. Only the Theban prisoners and a presumed handful of the Spartans' servants had survived the carnage. Branded a Coward, Died a Hero: The Story of the Only Survivor... 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Up until the Battle of Thermopylae, the Immortals were the premier fighting force in the ancient world. The pass was so narrow that most of the fighting took place between just a few hundred men in close quarters. It’s far more likely the Persian Army was made up of around 180,000 or 200,000 men, which is still an astronomical number for ancient times. After the battle was finally won by the Persians and the remaining rear guard of … Although the above scene from the 2006 movie 300 is fiction and likely exaggerated, the Spartans who fought the Battle of Thermopylae have gone down in history as one of the most fearsome and elite fighting forces to have ever existed. Nearly all historical events have both heroes as well as villains. The result was a resounding Greek victory, and the Persians were forced to turn and run for Asia, fearing that the Greek forces would destroy their bridge at the Hellespont and trap them in Greece. The Battle of Thermopylae’s political origins can be traced back to Xerxes’ predecessor, Darius I (the Great), who sent heralds to Greek cities in 491 bce in the hopes of persuading them to accept Persian authority. The Greek rearguard, meanwhile, was annihilated, with a probable loss of 4,000 men, including those killed on the first two days of battle. Leonidas sent the local contingent to defend Anopaea, a single-file pass near Thermopylae, while the 300 Spartans and others remained on the narrow, yet somewhat larger pass of Thermopylae. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE 2. After the Battle of Thermopylae, things did not look good for the Greeks. iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order Mason-Dixon Line The History of Guns, who had grown over the previous century to be the most powerful empire in western Asia, The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Athens vs. Sparta: The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ancient Sparta: The History of the Spartans, Day 3: The Last Stand of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, The History of Salt in Ancient Civilizations, History of Dogs: The Journey of Man’s Best Friend, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. In 480 BC a small force of Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans led by King Leonidas (approximately 300 were full Spartiates, 700 were Thespians, and 400 were Thebans; these numbers do not reflect casualties incurred prior to the final battle), made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting a very high casualty rate on the Persian … After seeing his father defeated by a smaller Greek force at the Battle of Marathon, Xerxes was determined to not make the same mistake. This would have significantly cut down the amount of time required to make this journey. For this accused of cowardice, death may have been preferable. The Greco-Persian Wars. However, once again, the Persian numbers were too great and the Greek fleet was in trouble. Découvrez comment nous utilisons vos informations dans notre Politique relative à la vie privée et notre Politique relative aux cookies. Part of this force was made up of Spartiates, but the majority were regular hoplites and helots, Spartan slaves. However, the Athenians were responsible for putting together and directing the Allied navy. However, this does not take away from the fact that the Greeks were severely outnumbered as they took up their positions at Thermopylae. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. In the Battle of Thermopylae Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. Here’s a map of the Persian Empire in 490 BCE. A Fallen King. Ancient Sparta is one of the most well-known cities in Classical Greece. This story of Spartan King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans is one of bravery and valor. A major selling point for the Battle of Thermopylae was the idea that only 300 Greek soldiers — specifically Spartans — went to impede the Persian invasion. Ancient Civilizations Timeline: 16 Oldest Known Cultures From Around The World. Tales of Spartan supersoldiers fighting off thousands of Covenant attacks had become the stuff of legend. However, as impressive as the size of Xerxes’ army was,  the preparations he undertook for his invasion are perhaps even more remarkable. In the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. The phalanx was a formation of soldiers set up as an array that when combined with the heavy armor worn by hoplites proved to be nearly impossible to break. In between each attack, Leonidas rearranged the phalanx so that those who had been fighting would be given a chance to rest and so that the front lines could be fresh. Leonidas, one of the Spartan kings at the time (Sparta always had two), led the Greek forces, whereas the Persians were led by their emporer Xerxes, as well as his main general, Mardonius. The Thespians held Eros above all other gods, likely because he had no parents. After Leonidas was killed, the Greeks attempted to recover his body, but they failed. Remember that Leonidas has dispatched a force of 1,000 Locrians to defend the second route around the pass. While the Battle of Thermopylae has gone down in history as one of the most famous battles in the history of the world, it was really just a small part of a much larger conflict. But it did also result in the death of Leonidas, as well as his entire force of 300 Spartans and 700 Thebans from the initial tally of 7,000 men. The final outcome, namely the fact that the Persians did cross the strait, is not surprising or admirable. However, they knew it was unlikely they would be able to fend off the Persians on their own, so they called on the rest of the Greek world to come together and form an alliance to fight the Persians. The alliance was technically under the direction of the Athenians, but the Spartans also played a key role largely because they had the largest and most superior land force. Wikimedia Commons Students may be familiar with this famous battle from its depiction in Zack Snyder's movie 300 , … For example, during the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persian army consisted partly of Ionian Greeks who had been forced to fight as a result of losing their rebellion. 100s of Spartans were killed in many places, but the question probably refers to the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, and the legend of the 300 Spartans. Pantites, was sent by Leonidas to raise support in Thessaly but returned to Thermopylae only after the battle's conclusion. He left his top general, Mardonius, in charge of carrying out the rest of the attack. Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: 1. Most believe it is made from Leonidas’ likeness. Although there were 300 Spartans present at the defense of Thermopylae, there were at least 4,000 allies involved on the first two days and 1,500 men involved in the fatal last stand.Still a tiny figure compared to the forces against them—there is evidence that the vast Persian army has been vastly exaggerated—but more than the legend, which forgets some contributors. Eighty Years Later Greece Repeats Its Historic OXI, This Time to…, Pfizer CEO Bourla Announces Second Hub in Thessaloniki at Greek Economic Summit. But the Persian soldiers vastly outnumbered them and finally the Spartans were overwhelmed with a volley of Persian arrows. Meanwhile, Darius I sent his fleet to attack Eritrea and Athens. The story goes that Xerxes, as he made his way into Greece, sent envoys to the still free Greek cities offering peace in exchange for tribute, which the Spartans of course refused. To link to this article in the text of an online publication, please use this URL: However, the previous encounters were mainly fought by the Anatolian Greeks. Defending the pass for three days, the Greek force was ultimately defeated. There are three different ways you can cite this article. So, in 499 BCE, much of Ionia was in open rebellion, an event known as the Ionian Revolt. This move ended up being a success in that it allowed around 2,000 Greek soldiers to escape. Every move outside the battle plan was considered as endangering the lives of fellow warriors. The ‘mainland’ Spartans on the other side… The Battle of Thermopylae was one of many battles fought between the Greeks and the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars, which took place between c. 499 BCE and c. 450 BCE. The Spartan society was known for its highly-skilled warriors, elitist administrators, and its reverence for stoicism, people today still look to the Spartans as model citizens in an idealist ancient society. With all of this done, the stage was set for the fighting to begin. It was instrumental to the Greeks’ success against the Persians. His next objective was Athens – the other city which offered support to the Ionians – but he never made it. It wasn’t until weeks later that they were able to get it, and when they returned it to Sparta, Leonidas was enshrined as a hero. Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? This offended the proud Greeks greatly; the Athenians went so far as to toss the Persian heralds into a pit, while the Spartans followed suit and tossed them into a well. He could not exercise or train to fight and he could not marry because no woman would have him. Most of Xerxes’ army was made up of conscripts from around the empire. But before retreating, an envoy was sent to Thermopylae to see how the battle was transpiring, for they did not want to abandon the fight altogether and leave the right flank of the Greek force at the pass exposed. Below is an engraving of a hoplite (left) and a Persian soldier (right) to give an idea of what they might have looked like. Seven hundred Thespians and 300 Thebans refused the order to withdraw and remained with the Spartans. New York: Osprey, 2007. Before the battle that lasted three days began, Leonidas had ordered Pantites to go into Thessaly. This move resulted in a resounding victory for the Greek fleet, and Xerxes, seeing now that the invasion was taking longer than he’d expected, and that it might not succeed, left the frontline and returned to Asia. The Greeks (7,000 men) made it to the pass first, but the Persians arrived shortly thereafter. Modern historians believe Darius I retreated to regroup for a second invasion, but he died before he ever had the chance. When their weapons broke, they fought with their hands and teeth (According to Herodotus). It is believed that he was sending a message asking for additional troops, although this part of the story is disputed. Princeton University Press, 1980. 3. Thermopylae was chosen for a similar reason. Can the Deadly Earthquake Reduce Tensions Between Greece and Turkey? Below are maps that show not only what the Pass of Thermopylae looked like but also how the troops moved around throughout the three days of fighting.