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Why Did The Greeks Win The Greco-Persian Wat

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There are times in history that something will happen and it will defy all logic. It was one of those times when a few Greek city/states joined together and defeated the invasion force of the massive Persian Empire. The Greeks were able to win the Greco-Persian War because of their naval victories over the Persians, a few key strategic victories on land, as well as the cause for which they were fighting. The naval victories were the most important contribution to the overall success against the Persians. The Persian fleet was protecting the land forces from being outflanked and after they were defeated the longer had that protection. While the Greeks had very few overall victories in battle they did have some strategic victories. The Battle of Thermopylae is an example of a strategic success for the Greeks. The morale of the Persian army was extremely affected by the stout resistance put up by King Leonidas and his fellow Spartans. The Greeks fought so hard against overwhelming odds because of what they were fighting for. They were fighting for their country and their freedom. They fought so hard because they did not want to let down the man next to them in the formation. Several things contributed to the Greeks success against the Persian invasion that happened during the Second Greco-Persian War.

The main reason that the Greeks were able to win the Second Greco-Persian War was the fact that their victory on the sea dealt a crippling blow to the land army. The Greeks owe their naval success to a man named Themistocles. If it had not been for him then Athens would have not used some newly found silver to build 200 new ships for their navy. These ships were later used in the war against the Persians. The two forces were working in unison and they were dependent upon each other for victory. The Persian naval forces were there in order to protect the flank of the army's advance. If the Persian navy were not present then the Greeks would have been able to get on ships and sail to a spot behind the Persian lines and outflank them. They also delivered supplies to the armies that were necessary for its survival.

The deathblow was dealt at the Battle of Salamis. It was a culmination of misfortune for the Persian navy. The Persians lost many ships to bad weather conditions. That is the only thing that allowed the Greeks a chance to win. If it had not been for those losses in the storms then the Greeks would been up against two ships for each one of theirs. A large Persian contingent of about 200 ships was destroyed while on maneuver to get behind the Greek navy. More tragedy would strike the Persians when stormy weather struck and damaged their ships during the Battle of Artemisium.

The Battle of Salamis was the icing on the cake for the Greeks. They were able to defeat the larger Persian fleet by dictating the terms of the battle. They choose a location that favored their smaller swifter ships instead of the much larger, heavier Persian ones. The Greeks were able to maneuver and ram the Persians at will and had most of the Persian fleet in check by nightfall. The funny thing about it is that Xerxes had a throne set up for him on the island of Salamis to watch the battle. After the Greeks victory here they had control of the seas. This restricted the Persian fleet from keeping the army supplied and protected. Xerxes took the remaining elements of his fleet and headed back to Asia after the battle.

The victory that sealed the deal for the Greeks was the Battle of Plataea. It took place the following spring after the Persian general Mardonius wintered in Thessaly with the Persian army. Hoplites from Athens and Pelopennesia combined to make the largest army in Greek history. A Spartan king, Pausanias, who routed the Persian army and killed their general, led them.

The Greek ground forces achieved some strategic success as well. They were able to affect the will of the non-regular soldiers to fight. One example in particular is the great Greek stand at Thermopylae. King Leonidas of Sparta led the forces at Thermopylae. He and his forces, which numbered about 7,000, were greatly outnumbered by the Persian army, which consisted of about 250,000 soldiers made up from many different nations. The Greeks were able to hold out for two days of unrelenting attacks from Xerxes' troops. On one certain occasion he even sent his Immortals against the Spartans and their allies. The Immortals were professionally trained soldiers just like the Spartans. The Persian Immortals were not able to turn the tide against the defenders. The rest of the Persian army was greatly affected by someone repelling the Immortals, as it was the first time that it had been done. The Spartans would probably have been able to hold off a little while longer had a traitor not told Xerxes about a goat path the bypassed the main Greek force.

It was also a victory because the Greeks inflicted large losses on the Persians. Xerxes buried all of his dead so that people would not be able to see the casualties inflicted during the battle. This lost had to have quite an affect on his army, to be beat back by so few troops when such a large army is at your disposal. Granted it was a very defendable position, but still they should have been able to overwhelm them. Xerxes is said to have gotten up from his throne several times over the concern for his army. It is no wonder why the exiled Spartan king Demaratus spoke so highly of his people's will

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