Category Archive : Famous Battles

Another important battle of the Persian invasion, the Battle of Thermopylae has become the stuff of legends, cementing the Spartan name in the collective consciousness.
It was fought under the guidance of the Spartan King Leonidas and took place at the same time as the naval battle at Artemisium.
While a clash between a 7,000-strong Greek force and a 100,000 to 300,000-strong Persian force got underway, King Leonidas snuck a smaller force to block the only road that the Persians could use to enter the battlefield.
This plan backfired when, two days into the battle, the Greek army was betrayed when a local resident told the Persians about a small secret passage that led behind the Greek lines.

Learning of the betrayal, Leonidas led his group of fighters from the main entrance to the (formerly) secret passage to block the oncoming army.

Though Persia won the battle, the heroic deeds of the small group of fighters have been honored throughout history.

Battle of Salamis, 480 BC

Fought in September 480 BC, the Battle of Salamis was one of the most significant naval battles in ancient Greece.
Once again between the Greek city-states and their perpetual enemy, Persia, the battle took place in the strait between Piraeus and Salamis Island, near Athens.

Although heavily outnumbered (again), and having lost two previous battles, the Greek Allied navy was urged by the Athenian general, Themistocles, to engage the Persian fleet one more time.

The Persian navy, led by Xerxes, sailed into the strait in an effort to block both entrances, but the cramped conditions made it hard to maneuver and forced the Persians into a frenzy.

The Greek navy used this to their advantage, forming a blockade and sinking or capturing most of the opposing ships.
The defeat at Salamis shifted the war in Greece’s favor, and led to Persia’s ultimate demise.

Historians tend to agree that the Battle of Salamis was the single most important battle of ancient Greece and potentially of all human history. They assert that the win influenced the growth and preservation of Athenian democracy, which, in turn, would forever shift Western civilization’s core ideas of freedom and individual rights

The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

The Battle of Marathon, which took place during the first Persian invasion of Greece, was fought between the combined forces of Athens and Plataea against King Darius’ Persian army. Darius attempted to invade Greece after the Athenians had sent aid to Ionia to help with their revolt against the Persians.

After effectively shutting down the revolt, the angry king turned his attention to Greece, first capturing Eretria, then sailing into Marathon for vengeance.

Though heavily outnumbered, the Greek forces managed to defeat the lightly armed Persian army after only five days.
Darius spent the rest of his life rebuilding his army for another invasion — but the second chance at success wouldn’t come until after his death when his son, Xerxes, led troops in.
The Battle of Marathon was significant because it proved to the world that the Persians could be defeated. More interestingly, it led to the creation of marathon running, which was inspired by an inaccurate story about a Greek messenger running to Athens from Marathon with news of victory. The sport was subsequently introduced in the 1896 Athens Olympics.