The Battle of Thermopylae. The feat that entered the ages

The Battle of Thermopylae - a battle in the course of the war between the Persians and the Greeks, which occurred in mid-September 480 BC. e.

One of the most violent battles in historyantiquity took place ten years after Darius sent his ambassadors to all Greek policies with a humiliating demand for obedience and recognition of the power of the Persians. "Land and water" demanded the envoys of the mighty Persian king, to which almost all the cities of Ancient Greece agreed. The Athenians, who executed the ambassadors, and the Spartans, who threw them into the well, did not want to show obedience with the suggestion to get there the desired - both land and water. King Darius undertook an expedition to the shores of Attica, but in the Battle of Marathon the Persian army was defeated. After the death of the ruler, his son Xerxes continued the cause of the father.

Battle of Thermopylae
Of the many peoples of the immense empire of the Persians,assembled an unprecedentedly large for that time land army and equipped with a powerful fleet. When the army of Xerxes went to conquer southern Greece, the Greek Congress decided to follow the advice of the Athenian strategist Themistocles to resist the invaders in the Thermopil Pass, the narrowest point on the army's path. The calculation was correct. But for the Battle of Thermopylae to end with the victory of the Hellenes, it was necessary to collect a large army that the Greek policies failed to make.

In mid-August, the Persian army appearedbefore entering the gorge. The event, during which the feat of 300 Spartans was accomplished, was preceded by negotiations. On the offer of Xerxes to surrender in exchange for freedom, new lands and a friendly disposition, the Tsar of Sparta Leonid refused.

300 Spartans History

Enraged Xerxes ordered the allied armyGreeks to lay down their arms, which he received, according to Plutarch, a worthy answer: "Come and take." The most battle-worthy detachments of the Persian army, at the direction of the tsar, began the assault. Thus began the battle of Thermopylae - the battle, which became the most vivid episode of the Greco-Persian wars. In ancient sources, researchers give conflicting data on the number of participants in the battle. The data of modern historians on the ratio of forces of opponents and losses of the parties are presented in the table.

The Battle of Thermopylae
OpponentsGreek policiesThe Persian Empire
CommandersSpartan king LeonidThe Persian King Xerxes
The forces of the parties

At the beginning of the battle: 5200-7700 soldiers (hoplites)

On the third day: 500-1400 soldiers (hoplites)

Approximately 200,000 soldiers
LossesFrom 2,000 to 4,000 dead, about 400 prisonersApproximately 20,000 killed

Two days Greek warriors managed to repel attacksPersians, but Xerxes managed to make a roundabout maneuver and surround the defenders of Thermopylae. The outcome of the last battle for the Greeks was predetermined, since it was impossible to defeat the enemy's army, which exceeds by a factor of hundreds of times. The Greeks could only count on a glorious death on the battlefield.

a feat of 300 Spartans
It is not known for certain how many hoplitestook battle with the Spartan king. Ancient sources indicate that there were also the Thebans (surrendered) and the Thessians, who died with the detachment, which consisted of 300 Spartans. The history of heroism of heroes, who gave their lives for the freedom of their native land, has become a legend, educating and inspiring for several centuries in a row the young men of all European states.

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