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Lecture 7

Clas 201: Lecture 7 Notes

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Department
Classical Studies
Course
CLAS 201
Professor
Nicholas Maes
Semester
Fall

Description
 2nd Persian War  Xerxes leads army into Greece  Greece knew disaster was coming their way (they come together/work together for defense)  Themistocles: coordinating a defense o Uses money found in the vein of silver found to improve its army o Creates 200 triremes o Thetes are actually providing their services in public defense (as rowers)  Built a wall across the isthmus (only a couple miles across) o Will prevent Persian army to move in to Pelepennesus  Delphic Oracle tells the Greeks to surrender o Oracle loses a great deal of reputation, b/c it encouraged Greeks to surrender, however the Greeks actually succeed (prove the Oracle wrong)  Thermopylae is 100 miles north of Athens  300 Spartans under Leonidas make a stand + allies of Spartans that come along (~7000 troops) o Each Spartan was accompanied by 3 or 4 helots (that provided them with food, tended to their wounds, etc.) o Thermopylae was an interesting piece of terrain: there’d be 2 mountains that directed you into a narrower and narrower space until finally you reach a point where part of it was fortified with very solid walls (until it was narrowed to about a meter or 2) o It was a way of making sure armies could not pour from the north into the south o Persians would be coming at them 3 at a time (rather than thousands), which was easier to handle/fight off  Artemisium: where Xerxes stationed his fleet/many of his ships o A storm blows over and 400 or so ships are destroyed (Greeks got lucky)  After a couple of days of fighting, a greek betrays them and gives crucial information to the Persians that allows them to get an edge on the Spartans  10,000 Immortals that guarded Xerxes: called Immortals b/c when 1 was killed, he was replaced by another and kept at a number of 10,000 at all times  Spartans cannot retreat from battle unless given permission to  All the Spartans eventually die, except for a couple that survived: 1 was potentially blinded, and another got knocked out and woke up seeing everyone dead (he was shunned b/c he was the only one that survived which was considered shameful in Sparta)  Spartan mothers would give their sons motherly advice: “with it or on it” o Means you come back with your shield (you survived and won the battle) or you come back on it (now used as a stretcher b/c you died); never come back without shield  One of the glorious instances of martial courage that the Greeks were in love with (even though the battle of 300 Spartans vs persians didn’t have a big impact on the war overall, it was remembered and admired)  Semonides  Once the Spartans have been bested, they move back south  Xerxes army roles over Attica and into Athens  The population was evacuated and sent to Salamis (while the city is being burned by the Persians)  Athenian fleet destroyed the Persian fleets (naval fleet)  Xerxes hurries home (since he was away and suffered a major defeat, people may think of rebelling against him)  Mardonius: Persian general that Xerxes left half the army with  Spartan general Pousanias  Spartans provide the best form of leadership when it comes to any type of infantry  Mycale: there is a strong Persian fleet that comes to shore  2 victories: infantry battle at Plataea, and destruction of persian fleet at Mycale  Aeschylus makes a play (based on historical event, rather than mythological event) to celebrate  All are a symbolic way of the Greeks beating the Persians o Greeks vs amazons, Lapiths, Centaurs, ustlosans?  Greek does not understand how a King can rule over everyone (tyrants are u
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