Lecture#9-Greeks .1-and Barbarians (Herodotus 7.1-139)
•During this time period, Greeks were very united.
•Herodotus gives us a long list
•Medize (mede) were the sub group of Persians.
•Polis especially in the Northern Greece had to decide: are we going to
stick to the Greeks?
•When Persians first attacked by land, the Spartan strategy was to pull
all the Greeks into the Peloponnese and built a wall at Corinth. “every
time push comes to shove, the Spartans always did that”
•The Athenians were north of the war and were in trouble. They did not
have this option and had to face the Persians themselves.
•When the Persians came to invade, they HAD to fight the Persians and
had no chance
•Section 139 (Chapter 7), Herodotus has an opinion about the Athenians
calling them “brave”.
•It was a defining moment for Greece. In Athens for example, great
victory over Persians, was fought by sea. (their powerful navy defeated
oThat allowed the Navy, lowest class, had the highest prestige for
being in the Navy. (this is what brought about Athenian
democracywe were the ones who beat the Persians)
•Herodotus accounts for the war between Persia and Athens with
internal stories (struggle within Sparta and Athens)
oBoth sides had their own internal stakes in the battle.
oHerodotus gives the history of the Persian wars from the
beginning to the end.
Herodotosus shapes his facts to tell history like a tragedy.
He puts a trageic spin…a story of Persian ambition and
arrogance and their eventual punishment by Greeks/Gods.
Tragedieswas one that Greece were very familiar with.
oMany tragedies were structured by an individual who
overextends himself to achieve something.
It gives meaning to these events
oInstead of just a chronological historical events
The Persian Wars
499 BCE-Ionian Revolt
•Ioniansculturally Greek, sent out as colonies of Greek and lived in
Asian Minor for centuries. (conqured by Cyrus and brought into Persian
and ruled by Darius (his successor)
•Greeks really valued their freedom and they do not want to be ruled by
a foreign ruler.
•They revolted against Darius and send for help. Sparta refuse to do
anything for them (recurring pattern) but the Atehnians helped these
•Not only did they help out the Ionians but once they get to Asian
minor, they decided to KEEP GOING and until they hit Sardis (the
capital of Lydia)
•The Ionians were subdued (darius had a huge army/resources and
enslaves the Ionians). He held a long term grudge against Athenians
for burning Sardis (his capital)
o“Zeus, gives me a chance to defeat Athenians”-Darius
•DARIUS DID remember about Athenians. 9 years later, in 490 BCE, he
sailed across the Aegean Sea with a large force and decided to get his
REVENGE on the Ionians.
•Athenians freak out b/c Darius showed up overnight on his beach.
•A messenger had to run from Athens to Sparta (240 km) (is it history or
a lie? For Herodotus)
oAccording to his account, Herodotus might have fictionalized
some parts of history but shows how Athenians were desperate
•Messenger tells Sparta, “we need help” but Sparta stated that “they
were in a religious event” (but the time Spartans got there, it was too
•Spartan strategy was one of delay
•What was Athenians to do? Sparta did not want to help. Options?
oSit here? Or fight?
•Met at Marathon and drew battle line one mile away from the huge
•The Athenians were outnumber at least 1000 to 1.
oTerror factor: Athenians never encountered Persians face to face
before. “These were the first Greeks to face the Persian dress.”-
o“they covered the distance in full run”Athenians RAN toward
the Persian army and fought them hand to hand
oThe Persians were drive back to the sea (wow)
o192 Athenians were dead and 6400 Persians were dead at the
end (is this accurate?)
•Gives an idea of how outnumbered Persians were. SPARTA then
SHOWS UP AT THE END OF THE BATTLE. And thanks Athens for saving
Martahonomakhoi (guys who fought battle at Marathon)
•In reality, it isn’t clear that Darius wanted to conquer Greece
oHe heard that it was a poor country—divided into many polis
oIt may be that he actually wanted to add Greece to his empire
•For the Greekssaw it as a battle between freedom and slavery
oThe battle stands as a defining point for what they believed in
•Marathon elevated the status of Greeks and had internal reflection
oAlmost invaded and needed to prepare themselves for the future
oGreek sends people to Delphi to ask for what they should do.
Oracle “wretched ones..flee and go to the most remote
ends of the earth and escape”
oThe Athenians were not happy with such an answer and tried to
get a better response.
•“Athena can’t help you…here is your only help…Zeus grants Athena’s
wish that the wooden wall would not fail”