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Lecture

Herodotus Sections 7.1 - 139


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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CLA232 Greeks and BarbariansMonday February 7th 2011
Herodotus Histories 7.1 - 139
90 minutes
Part 1: Short Answer, 10 questions, 20 points totals, terms, dates, names
Part 2: Longer short answer: paragraphs, like the questions on the site
Part 3: Essay Question, 1 of 3 questions
Persian Wars
First time since the Trojan War that Greece had to work together as a united force
Defining moment for Greece as a force in the Mediterranean
Time of self-definition for the different poleis within Greece
Paradox: although it united Greece together, it also highlighted the differences between
the poleis
Helping the Persians were held against those poleis for decades afterwards
For Herodotus, the Persian Wars most importantly showed the differences between
Sparta and Athens
Sparta, much further South than Athens, pursued a policy of blocking off the passage
towards them to prevent the Persians to get to them
Athens didnt have this choice, they had to battle
Herodotus believes that if the Athenians, through fear of the approaching danger had
abandoned their country or surrendered to Xerxes, the Persian invasion of Greece
would have succeeded, and so he believes that Athens saved the Greeks
Athens, because of their geographical location, fought the Persians and according to
Herodotus opinion, saved all of Greece from the Persians
Athens would use this is a way to justify their power after the Persian War
So, the wars defined Greece as a whole and also the poleis themselves, as well as
individual factions within the poleis, especially within Athens
The most defining moment for Athens was the Battle of Salamis, and also for the
Athenian navy (powered by the lowest classes) who then agitated for more political
rights
So the Persian Wars also fed Athenian democracy
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CLA232 Greeks and BarbariansMonday February 7th 2011
Herodotus Histories 7.1 - 139
So, the Persian Wars affected the national, the poleis, and the inter-poleis levels
Herodotus gives us the history of these wars since the very beginning all the way to the
end and the defeat of Persia
He gives a lot of historical details, but no history as we know is every neutral
This is especially true of war, where the stakes are very high
So, Herodotus has to sort through the details and shape the story
The shape he gives the Persian Wars is a tragedy
We see this already with the story of Croesus
Hubris: arrogance and violence
So he shapes the story of the Persian wars as hubris and its punishment
The story begins in 499 BCE with the Ionian Revolt
The Ionians were Greeks who lived in Asia Minor, sent out as colonies during the
Archaic period
Greek-speaking, but governed by Persia
Being Greeks, they resented being ruled by Persians and want their freedom
They send to Greece for help
The Spartans decline the invitation to help, but the Athenians feel a strong kinship
with them and send a navy to help the Ionians with their revolution against the
Persians
They help the Ionians free themselves and then they march on to Sardis and burn
Sardis (capital of Lydia, important to Persian geopolitics)
The Ionian revolt is ultimately put down, the Ionians dont have the power to resist for
long, but Darius never gets over his grudge against Athens
In 490 BCE he sets out to conquer Greece
He sails against the Aegean and lands in Marathon
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CLA232 Greeks and BarbariansMonday February 7th 2011
Herodotus Histories 7.1 - 139
Marathon is only 24 miles from Athens
Athenians freak out
They send to Sparta for help and the story goes that they send a runner who ran the
entire distance from Athens to Sparta in the same day
The runner tells the Spartans that the Persians have landed in Attica, and the Spartan
response was; wed love to, but unfortunately were in the middle of a religious festival,
so youre going to have to wait until the festival is over
So the Athenians are faced with a choice: they can either wait to be invaded or go out
and face the Persians alone
General Miltiades decides that they have to fight for their freedom
They fight the Persians at Marathon
First time many of these Athenians ever saw an Asian, the other
Vastly outnumbered
Terrified though they are, the Athenians run at the Persians and fight them hand-to-
hand and drive the Persians back to the sea
Herodotus tells us that only 192 Athenians died vs. 6000ish Persians
After the battle, the Spartans show up and praise the Athenians and go home
So Marathon is extremely important to Athens self-image
The people who fought at Marathon, the Marathonomakhoi, were seen as Athens
greatest generations
They were given the unique honour of being buried on the battlefield
To the Greeks, it was a battle of slavery over freedom, Greece vs. Persia, defending their
way of life
So Marathon elevated the Athenian position in Greece
After the war, it was clear that the Athenians were going to need to develop some sort of
defense against a future Persian invasion
They send to Delphi and ask how to prepare themselves
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