Spartan Army and Thermopylae Flashcards Preview

Sparta > Spartan Army and Thermopylae > Flashcards

Flashcards in Spartan Army and Thermopylae Deck (18):

What were the main tactics of the Spartan army?

They prided themselves on their teamwork, and used the phalanx, which protected themselves and their neighbour. If the phalanx needed to move, they would use music to coordinate their movements.
They used spears and swords, so they could attack from a long distance.
They wore red cloaks to maintain morale and intimidate their enemies.
They would pretend to retreat to trick the enemy.
They allowed the enemy to flee.


Who was Xerxes and what did he want?

Xerxes was the king of Persia. He led an expedition directed against Athens, although his real objective was to conquest all of Greece.


Why did Herodatus state the Athenian decision to join the war was particularly courageous?

The oracle of Delphi had predicted eminent doom if Athens stood firm.


What did the Spartans learn from the Delphian prophetess?

They would either see a city in ruins or a dead king. They chose a dead king.


When and where did the Persians attack?

In 480 BC, the Persians invaded from the East of Greece, led by Xerxes.


How was Thermopylae involved and how did the Greeks use this to their advantage?

The only way for the Persians to get through the peninsulas of Greece was to go through Thermopylae, which was a very narrow pass. The Greeks hid in the pass so they couldn't get through.


How many soldiers were in the different armies?

Persian army - 100,000-200,000
Greek army - 7000


What dates did the battle take place on?

17, 18, 19 September, 480 BC


What began the defeat of the Greeks?

A local Greek, Ephiliates, betrayed the Greeks by telling the Persians about the mountain pass of Thermopylae.


What happened on the third day of battle?

The Greeks realised they would be trapped in the mountain pass, surrounded by Persians.
Leonidas dismissed the Greek army, and told them to fall back and regroup.
He left himself and 300 of the Spartan elite to face the Persian onslaught - they wanted to be chosen, as it was a great honour.
All were killed, but they delayed the Persian onslaught.


What did the Persians do to Leonidas and all who had died?

The Persians crucified Leonidas, as Xerxes had exceptional hatred for him because of the delay he caused.
Typically, a Persian was supposed to mutilate the bodies of defeated enemies and they wouldn't go down to the Underworld whole.


What do people argue about the 300?

Whether it served any military purpose, which many believe it didn't.


Why might have Leonidas and the 300 not cared that they was going to die?

- It may be that Leonidas had religious motivation, as the oracle said they would lose either the town or the king. He sacrificed himself so Sparta could be saved.
- Dying in battle was the only thing they could do - they could not return defeated.
- They were able to achieve kleos.


What were the positives of the 300 onslaught?

- It brought the Greeks time to abandon Athens and retreat to the Peloponnesean peninsular.
- It boosted Greek morale and gave them courage to later face off the Persians in a sea battle, as the Persians were land fighters.


What was the Athenian plan after they had retreated?

- All Athenian residents deposited their children and wives at Trozean, and entrusted them to Athene.
- 100 were to defend Greece at Artemisium.
- They would lie in wait and defend the land. They wouldn't be expected by the Persians, who thought they were just in retreat.


Why did Xerxes fall back?

He need ships to bring supplies to his troops. When the Athenians destroyed his navy at Salamis, could not maintain his oversized army. He fell back but was not totally defeated.


What happened the following year, after the Battle of Thermopylae?

The Greeks went on the offensive and defeated the Persian army at the Battle of Plataea, ending the invasion of Greece.


Talk about the sources for the battle.

- The main source for the Greco-Persian was in Herodatus, born in 484 BC.
- Plutarch criticised Herodatus, describing him as 'Philobarbaros' (barbarian-lover) for not being pro-Greek enough.
- Thucydides chose to begin his history where Herodatus left off (the Siege of Sestos), feeling Herodatus's amount was accurate enough.