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.
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.
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.
|Opponents||Greek policies||The Persian Empire|
|Commanders||Spartan king Leonid||The 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|
|Losses||From 2,000 to 4,000 dead, about 400 prisoners||Approximately 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.