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Lecture 7

CLA160 Lecture 7 Not

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University of Toronto St. George
Johnathon Burgess

CLA160 Lecture 7 Notes The Persian Wars: Freedom vs. Empire? - Leonidas – manly defender of freedom - Xerxes – tyrant oppressor – invader - war between Greek peoples and Persian Empire - Greeks were very divided - Greek city-stare only recently established - after Xerxes’ invasion – saw themselves as a cohesive cultural group The Integration of the Persian Empire - eastern prequels to the Persian Wars - where did the Persians come from? - Indo-European language – similar to Sanskrit - first mentioned in Mesopotamian text around 1000 B.C. - rise of Persia – King Cyrus - transformed Persia into a large empire during his twenty-nine year rule – from 559 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C. Persian Expansion - 559-530 B.C. – reign of King Cyrus - 549 B.C. – Cyrus conquers Lydia - 539 B.C. – campaigns in eastern regions of empire - 530-522 B.C. – reign of King Cambyses - 522-486 B.C. – reign of King Darius I - 331 B.C. – Battle of Gaugamela and end of the Persian Empire – defeat of Persia by Alexander the Great - Persian Empire lasted over 200 years Dynamics of Imperial Integration in Persia - steady collection of taxes – such an expansive empire – difficulty in relaying messages - king may learn of events such as revolts, receive taxes, etc. – months after occurrence - impressive expanse of empire - enlist powerful families/leaders of conquered lands to maintain Persian government - religious – Nebuchadnezzar – King Cyprus conquered Babylon – allowed Israelites to return home and funded the restoration of their temples - the Book of Isaiah – “anointed” in reference to Cyrus – wins the hearts of Israelites, so to speak – “saviour” to liberate people of Israel and allow their return home – interesting that it is used to refer not to a Jewish leader, but a Persian in this case - kings of Persia – protect religious practices of Persian subjects - King Darius I – letter to Gadatas • tax exemption for the temple of Apollo • protects the Greeks and their religion • angered that Gadatus’ attempts to exact taxes from the priests of the god Apollo • not just an offense to the Greek god and his priests – but also an affront to the king himself - shows the efforts of Persian kings to protect all local religions/cults that are a part of the Persian Empire - not violent – Persian imperial policy – to win administration and respect of subjects - appeal to the local leaders to cooperate Persian Invasion - Persian Wars and the division of Greece - 500 B.C. – Greeks have a weaker sense of shared identity - belonging – weakly linked to city-states or tribes - Hellenistic unification of Greek people has not yet occurred - division not between Greeks and barbarians but between poleis – within the Greek civilization - some Greeks became successful under Persian rule - 499 B.C. – insurrection against Persian king in Ionia - only two poleis offered support to the Ionians – even Sparta refused to help - failure to offer support – no common identity – no unified front - the Ionians were beaten down - 492 B.C. – Darius expedition to Greece – to quell the Athenian revolt – Persian embassies went to poleis to demand tribute to the king – of earth and water – symbolic gesture of defeat – Sparta among other poleis refused - Sparta – man sent by Persian Empire was thrown down their well - Athens – man sent by Persian Empire was put on trial, then thrown in the pit where criminals are sent – “well” - Persian army landed in Marathon – no Greek help to Athenians – runner sent to Sparta to appeal for help but Spartans were in the middle of a religious festival – by the time they reached Athens the battle was over - Persian army about three times larger than the Athenian army – however the Athenians were able to defeat the Persians - surprising victory of the Athenians – powerful moment for Athens - lack of support by other poleis and willingness to subjection by Persia is important - Xerxes – son of Darius I - Herodotus claims that entire rivers ran dry due to the size of Xerxes’ army - Xerxes invasion – still no sense of Greek unity – Athens, Sparta, and a few minor poleis resisted - Thebes – subjected themselves to Persian rule – sent the tribute of earth and water to Persian army to welcome Xerxes - Leonidas and his 300 men – sacrifice themselves to the Persian army at Thermopylae – “Hot Gates” – a narrow pass that the Persian army had to cross to enter the Greek mainland - Persian invasion force arrived in Athens son after – much destruction as they sacked Athens - Salamis battle – over 300 ships in the Persian fleet were sunk – Persian king left Greece, invasion was left to his general - only a minority of Greek poleis involved in the war – their own poleis took precedence over foreign invasion Aftermath of Persian War - created new sense of Greek unity - came to identify themselves as a united people with a shared identity and culture - freedom – almost absent from Greek political vocabulary before the Persian wars - after Persian invasions – very important to Greeks – defining term, “freedom” - subjects of the Persian empire – basically slaves of the Persian king – claimed firm cultural boundary between themselves and neighbours – unified people different from all others around them – defining difference being freedom - Greek tragedy – Aeschylus, the Persians – first performed in 472 B.C. - play – the Persians ask who the ruler of the group of resisting people is – Queen is surprised to learn that the Greeks are “not called slaves or subjects to any man” – define Greek unity by freedom – democracy - freedom as a cry for unity – “come on, sons of the Greeks, for the freedom of your homeland” - Herodotus – freedom is prevalent as well: “you now well how to be a slave, but you, who have never tasted freedom, you do not know whether it is sweet or not” - Greeks resist submission due to their strong sense of freedom, according to Herodotus - Persians ask why the Spartans “shun the king’s friendship” - Persian subjects are all slaves to their king – were the Persians to ta
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