Monthly Archives: January 2012

Medicine? Maybe a little Religion?

  Battle of Marathon Battle of Thermopylae Battle of Salamis
Time August/September490 BCE August 7 or September 8-10, 480 BCE September, 480 BCE
Where it was fought Marathon Greece Thermopylae, Greece The Straits of Salamis
 Who’s fighting who AtheniansAnd Plateans

 

Greek City- States  Persian Empire  Persians  Greek City-states  Achaemenid Empire 
  

Led By

Miltiades the younger, Callimachus Themistocles, Leonidas I and Demophilus Xerxes I of Persia, Mardonius, and Hydarnes Datis,  Artaphernes Eurybiades, Themistocles Xerxes I of Persia, Artemisia I of Caria, and Ariabignes
Result Greek victory Persian Victory Greek Victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herodotus gives 378 ships of the alliance, but his numbers add up to 366.[1]

Looking at the Persian Wars from the Greeks side, the Medicine is much as would be expected. Back then they didnt have to worry about things like .50 cals’, Grenades, RPG’s, or Nukes. The main use’s for medicine were for battle fatigue, “shell shock”, and arrow wounds. After a battle in the war, the Greek warrior Ajax, appeared to have battle fatigue. Homer described his behavior as “delusional”. Herodutus  suggested combat induced mental illness; in the Battle of Marathon, particularly with the Athenian army. However, battle related abnormalities were rarely diagnosed as disease prior to the 20th century.

 

 

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Scouting and Intelligence in the Battle of the Marathon

  Battle of Marathon Battle of Thermopylae Battle of Salamis
Time August/September490 BCE August 7 or September 8-10, 480 BCE September, 480 BCE
Where it was fought Marathon Greece Thermopylae, Greece The Straits of Salamis
 Who’s fighting who AtheniansAnd Plateans Greek City- States Persian Empire Persians Greek City-states Achaemenid Empire
  Led By Miltiades the younger, Callimachus Themistocles, Leonidas I and Demophilus Xerxes I of Persia, Mardonius, and Hydarnes Datis,  Artaphernes Eurybiades, Themistocles Xerxes I of Persia, Artemisia I of Caria, and Ariabignes
Result Greek victory Persian Victory Greek Victory

The Battle of the Marathon took place in 490 BC, between the Athenians, aided by their allies the Paletean hoplites (estimated to be between 600-1000 men), and the Persians (Doenges, 1988).  This battle was important for the Greeks they proved that they could defeat the Persians.  In spite of the fact that the Persians solders out-numbered the Greeks by two to one, the Greeks won the battle using a strategic plan to block the road to Athens. This allowed them the strategic advantage of physically blocking the Persians from entering city, thus illuminating the need for an army as large as the Persians (Battle of the Marathon, 2012).  Their strategy was to stand close together and in a tight line and align their shields so that it was hard for the Persians to get through.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_Phalanx.jpg

Modern drawing of the Phalanx formation employed by Greek hoplites (File:Greek Phalanx.jpg, 2007)

Isolated Figure from a Panathenaic Black-figure amphora, Berlin Painter, 480-470 BC, showing a middle-distance race “hippios”

(File:Greek Phalanx.jpg, 2007)

When the Greeks determined the size of the Persian army they would be facing it was determined that reinforcements would be needed.  The blocked the road to Athens and at the same time sent a messenger named Phiedippides to ask the Spartans to join them in the battle.  Phiedippides was known for his ability to run great distances in a short time. He made the trip to Sparta and back to the front in three days.  He brought the message that the Spartans were going to send reinforcements (Battle of Marathon, 2010).

Works Cited

File:Greek Phalanx.jpg. (2007, August 21). Retrieved from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_Phalanx.jpg

Battle of Marathon. (2010, September 12). Retrieved Jan 31, 2012, from http://www.livius.org: http://www.livius.org/man-md/marathon/marathon.html

Battle of the Marathon. (2012, January 9). Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_marathon

Doenges, N. A. (1988, 1st Qtr.). The Campain of the Battle of the Marathon. Retrieved Jan 31, 2012, from http://www.jstor.org: http://www.jstor.org.hal.weber.edu:2200/stable/4436491?seq=7

Painter, B. Phidippides. Retrieved from http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Philipides.htm

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Military Tech of the Battle of Salamis: the Trireme

The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle that took place in September 480 BC, in the straits of Salamis, between the island of Salamis and the mainland of Greece. As part of the second Persian invasion of Greece, the Persian fleet of 1,207 ships sought a decisive battle against the allied Greek fleet of 380 ships (“The Battle of Salamis”).

 

The trireme (Greek for “three-oarer”) was a type of warship used in the Mediterranean, consisting of three stacked rows of oars on each side of the ship. Evolving from the bireme (two rows of oars), the first triremes were likely from Phoenicia, though some earlier historians suggested it was introduced to Greece from Corinth. The trireme became the warship-of-choice in the Mediterranean area by the early 5th century (“Trireme”).

 

The trireme was a fast, agile ship. With 170 men rowing in synchronization, they could reach speeds of 9-10 nautical miles per hour (in a short burst of speed), or 5-8 at a normal or somewhat hurried pace. Unfortunately, these thin ships were not equipped for the harsh open waters, and were only useful in coastal seas (Strauss, xviii).

 

Depiction of a Greek trireme

 

Trireme design varied from area to area. The most historical documentation is on the Athenian trireme. These ships would have been approximately 130 feet long and 18 feet wide (39 feet wide when the oars were extended), and would have sat 8½ feet above the waterline. Weapons themselves, the ships featured a prow that would have been tipped with a large, bronze-encased ram that extended about 7 feet off the stem at the waterline. The Phoenician triremes (which made up approximately ¼ of the Persian fleet) were wider than the Athenian triremes, to hold more troops on the decks. The Phoenician ram would have been longer and more tapered than the Athenian counterpart (Strauss, xvii-xviii).

 

Triremes were ships of considerable size, and required a considerable amount of wood to build. Greece was mostly deforested by the sixth century, so they had to import their lumber for building ships. Other countries, like Egypt, also had this problem (Johnson, 199). As expected, those countries that contributed the most to the Persian fleet were those that had more available lumber, except Egypt, which was wealthy enough to import it (Johnson, 203).

 

The Persian fleet was made up of 1,207 ships of Persian-controlled nations. Herodotus lists that the Phoenicians provided 300 ships, the Egyptians provided 200, the Cyprians 150, the Cilicians 100, the Ionians 100, as well as six other countries providing various two-digit numbers of ships (Herodotus). Because the Persians were a land power, they felt uncomfortable in a sea-battle of merely ships. Instead of relying only on the abilities of the ships and their crews, they packed the ships with infantry and archers in order to try boarding enemy ships instead of sinking them. This was an additional 70 infantrymen and archers (30 Persian/Mede, the rest miscellaneous other troops) on each of the ships in the Persian fleet (Strauss, 132). Unfortunately, this was a futile strategy, because many ships in the Persian fleet were sunk before they could board the enemy ships. And more unfortunately, most of the Persian troops couldn’t swim.

 

 

Works Cited

Herodotus. The Histories of Herodotus: Book VII. Trans. George Rawlinson, 1942. Ed. Bruce J. Butterfield. ParsTimes.com. Web. 1 Feb. 2012. <http://www.parstimes.com/history/herodotus/persian_wars/polymnia.html&gt;

 

Johnson, Allan Chester. “Ancient Forests and Navies.” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 58 (1927): 199-209. Print.

 

Mitchell, F. Greek Trireme. 1984. <http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/gabrmetz/gabr0066.htm&gt;

 

Strauss, Barry S. The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece – and Western Civilization. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.

 

Wikipedia Contributors. “Trireme.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

 

Wikipedia Contributors. “Battle of Salamis.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

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Honor and Shame for Battle of Thermopylae

After the defeat of the battle of Marathon, the Persian King Darius I was enraged and “needed to Punish Athens for its involvement in Persian affairs.” (Brosius, 23) However this was postponed for reasons such as the revolt from Egypt and Babylon, as well as the fact that Darius I died in the winter of 486 B.C. (Brosius, 23) His son, Xerxes I, was the next in line for the thrown and had to reclaim their land and to punish the Athenians for everything they have done.

Xerxes knew that to have his father’s vengeance, he had to make a greater army, greater navy and stronger warriors in order to defeat the Greeks. (Picture) The honor/shame that Xerxes had was one that had been passed down for many generations of early Persian kings was how great their power becomes during their reign. Each king had to try to succeed the other and to surpass their father, grandfather, and sometimes brother. (Brosius, 33) With Darius failing with their first invasion to Greece, Xerxes “over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion to Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae (The Hot Gates).” (Wikipedia)

When the first invasion of Greece happened in 490 BC, the Persians were brutally defeated at the Battle of Marathon. However, with Xerxes out for revenge for the second invasion, he had his mind set on destroying the Greeks. King Leonidas I, the Spartan leader and leader of the Greeks in the second invasion, underestimated the new Persian army under Xerxes. Leonidas not know that Xerxes had created an army that would not end or what they called the “Immortals” (Livius) Leonidas underestimated how many attacks and heats of people Xerxes had, and this was the element of surprise that Xerxes used against Leonidas. After the first two heats of the Persian warriors were defeated, Kind Leonidas had a problem. The honor/shame of losing the men of his army because they left, or because they were told to leave because the Athenians thought they were going to win. The honor/shame of leaving your army was not acceptable to the Greeks and especially the Spartans in the early centuries. (Kraft, 183) At Thermopylae, which is a passage in the mountains, there were only 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, the vast majority of whom were killed. (Wikipedia) It is not known if Leonidas told the rest of his army to leave or if they were cowards or over confident and went home, but this was one of the first steps of the fall of the Greek Empire. And Xerxes did a job that his own father could not do, and they wiped the Spartans and the rest of the Greeks out.

File:Persian warriors from Berlin Museum.jpg

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

http://www.livius.org/th/thermopylae/thermopylae2.html

The Pass at Thermopylae, Greece.John C. Kraft, George Rapp, Jr., George J. Szemler, Christos Tziavos and Edward W. Kase

Journal of Field Archaeology , Vol. 14, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 181-198
Herdotus, Histories. 1. VII. Rawlinson: <http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.7.vii.html&gt;.
Brosius, Maria. The Persians: An introduction. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

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Greek Strategy in the Battle of Marathon

  Battle of Marathon Battle of Thermopylae Battle of Salamis
Time August/September

490 BCE

August 7 or September 8-10, 480 BCE September, 480 BCE
Where it was fought Marathon Greece Thermopylae, Greece The Straits of Salamis
 

Who’s fighting who

Athenians

And Plateans

Greek City- States Persian Empire Persians Greek City-states Achaemenid Empire
 

 

Led By

Miltiades the younger, Callimachus Themistocles, Leonidas I and Demophilus Xerxes I of Persia, Mardonius, and Hydarnes Datis,  Artaphernes Eurybiades, Themistocles Xerxes I of Persia, Artemisia I of Caria, and Ariabignes
Result Greek victory Persian Victory Greek Victory

Looking at the Battle of Marathon from the Greek side, we see that strategically the Greek (particularly Athenian) motivation was to defend themselves against Persian invaders. It is believed that King Darius of Persia ordered his general, Mardonius, to pillage, burn and enslave Athens as punishment for their role in the feeding the Ionian Revolt which lasted from c. 499 to 493 BCE (“Greco-Persian Wars”). In the battle of Marathon, 10,000 Athenian citizen-soldiers confronted an overwhelmingly larger Persian force and miraculously emerged victorious.

Even though fighting on home turf, the Greek force was still at a disadvantage.  Terrain is a definite deciding factor in any battle as each group developed fighting tactics based on the nature of the country—therefore, if one group can entice their opponent into an engagement on favorable terrain, there is a decisive advantage given to one party while the other is fatally handicapped. While the Greeks may have had home court advantage, the flat battlefield and surrounding country was ideal for the Persian cavalry (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC). Greek victory may be partially attributed to the ineffectiveness or tardiness of the Persian cavalry.

To Fight, or Not to Fight:

Herodotus recounts Athenian generals being divided in opinion whether to risk battle with the Persians because the Athenian forces were too few in number. The ten generals cast a vote, with the deciding eleventh vote belonging to Callimachus of Aphindae. It is believed that Miltiades, a general in favor of battle, approached Callimachus in an attempt to persuade his vote toward engaging in battle. His argument for conflict was that the people of Athens were faced with one of two options: submit to slavery without engaging in conflict or fight to defend themselves with the hopes that with a just cause and the assistance of the gods they can overcome the enemy and leave a legacy for future generations (Koeller).

When the vote was cast, the Athenian force prepared for battle. The small army succeeded in blocking the two exits to the plain of Marathon which brought about a stalemate. After waiting five days, the Athenians attacked the Persians (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC”). To the astonishment of the Persian army, what appeared to be a small handful of men charged across the plain of Marathon without archers or cavalry—apparently welcoming their own destruction (Koeller). Even outnumbered as they were, the Greek hoplites were much more effective against the Persian infantry (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC”).  In defense of their lives, freedom and city, the Athenian army slew about six thousand four hundred barbarians, while only losing one hundred ninety two of their own (Koeller). The victory at Marathon was monumental to Greeks, so much so that after the death of Aeschylus (a famous Greek playwright who is considered the father of tragedy) his participation in the Battle of Marathon was held in higher esteem than his life as a successful playwright (West).

Αἰσχύλον Εὐφορίωνος Ἀθηναῖον τόδε κεύθει

μνῆμα καταφθίμενον πυροφόροιο Γέλας·

ἀλκὴν δ’ εὐδόκιμον Μαραθώνιον ἄλσος ἂν εἴποι

καὶ βαθυχαιτήεις Μῆδος ἐπιστάμενος

Beneath this stone lies Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, the Athenian,

who perished in the wheat-bearing land of Gela;

of his noble prowess the grove of Marathon can speak,

and the long-haired Persian knows it well.

Copy & Translation of the inscription on Aeschylus’s tomb (“Aeschylus”)

 

Battle Plan: Battle of Marathon (Hatzigeorgiou)

 

Fighting on the plain of Marathon (Hatzigeorgiou)

 

Sources:

Research:

Koeller, David. Then Again. “Herodotus The Persian Wars: The Battle of Marathon.” Liberal Arts College in Chicago , IL., 2005. Web. 24 Jan 2012. http://www.thenagain.info/Classes/Sources/HerodotusMarathon.html

“Aeschylus.” Wikipedia, 26 Jan 2012. Web. 24 Jan 2012. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeschylus

“Greco-Persian Wars” Wikipedia, 20 Jan 2012. Web. 31 Jan 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GrecoPersian_Wars

“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC.” EyeWitness to History, 2006. Web. 31 Jan 2012. eyewitnesstohistory.com

 Images:

Hatzigeorgiou, Karen J. “Battle of Marathon.” Karen’s Whimsy, 2011. Web. 31Jan 2012. karenswhimsy.com/battleofmarathon.shtm

“Aeschylus.” Wikipedia, 26 Jan 2012. Web. 24 Jan 2012. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeschylus

 

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Women and Warfare: Queen Artemisia at Salamis

Figure 1: Artemisia of Caria. Adapted from Guillaume Rouille. Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum. “Artemisia I of Caria.” Wikipedia. com. Wikipedia. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

King Darius of Persia tried to invade Greece after a series of revolts, but was defeated at the Battle of Marathon. In 480 BCE, the Persian King Xerxes I, the son of Darius, began a second invasion of Greece (“Battle of Salamis”). After defeating the Greeks at the battle of Thermopylae, the Persians prepared a fleet of 1,207 ships to fight at sea in the straits between Salamis, a large island, and the Greek mainland (Munson 92). Five of these ships belonged to a female commander from Halicarnassus: Queen Artemisia.

Herodotus introduces Artemisia by saying, “Of the officers I shall make no mention…but I shall mention Queen Artemisia at whom I especially marvel, who being a woman went to war against Greece….on account of her daring and manly courage, and not under any compulsion” (qtd. in Munson 91). Another translation of Herodotus substitutes the words “great spirit and vigor of mind” for “daring and manly courage” (Herodotus 344). It is at any rate clear that the qualities which Herodotus ascribes to Artemisia are worthy of the highest esteem.

Rosaria Munson states that “Unlike most other ruling queens of the Histories, Artemisia is of Greek stock and a ruler and commander of Greeks” (Munson 93). She retained power in her kingdom after the death of her husband (“Artemisia I of Caria”), but translations differ about whether she maintained power because her son was not yet of age or because of her sheer force of will (Herodotus 344, Munson 91). Her military judgment was unimpeachable in the narrative: she advised Xerxes to engage in a “joint land-sea offensive” at Salamis, and Xerxes ignored the advice which resulted in a loss at Salamis (“Artemisia I of Caria”). After the battle, she advised Xerxes to return home to protect himself: this time he followed the advice to positive ends (“Artemisia I of Caria”). The King’s trust and regard for Artemisia were expressed after this incident when he sent his children with her to Ephesus (Herodotus 406). Artemisia was not, however, revered by everyone. The Greeks offered 10,000 drachmae for her capture because they believed that it was “a most disgraceful circumstance that a woman should fight against Athens” (Herodotus 403). She also had political enemies in the Persian court who envied her relationship with the King (Herodotus 397).

Works Cited

“Artemisia I of Caria.” Wikipedia.com. Wikipedia. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

“Battle of Salamis.” Wikipedia.com. Wikipedia. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

Herodotus. Herodotus, Translated from the Greek, with Notes and Life of the Author. Trans. William Beloe. Philadelphia: McCarty and Davis, 1844. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

Munson, Rosaria Vignolo. “Artemisia in Herodotus.” Classical Antiquity 7.1 (1988): 91-106. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

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Tactics and Strategies at Marathon

The battle of Marathon was fought in 490 b.c.e. between the Athenians and their allies against the mighty Persian army. The great Datis and Artaphernes, leaders of the Persian force, chose to fight on the coastal plain approximately 25.4 miles south of Athens (fig.1) due to the plains being ideal for use of the cavalry that gave the Persian force the advantage in many battles (Evans).

 

(fig. 1)

The Persian army brought somewhere between twenty-thousand and one hundred-thousand infantry to go along around one thousand cavalry, given by modern estimates. This force was at a minimum twice the size of the Athenians who could only field nine-thousand to ten-thousand troops along with one thousand plataens.

However the numbers were tilted, the Athenians showed both strong tactical and strategic movements that were able to undo the might of the Persians. Firstly, the Athenians pinned down the two main exits from the plains, not allowing the Persians to get out into Greece and run rampant. The hoplites that the Athenians fielded were superior to the Light Infantry that was the main body of the Persian force.

The second reason that the Athenians were able to sweep the Persians from the field was an incredibly unorthodox, but ultimately successful charge. The Athenians formed a line that was very weak in the middle ranks, yet very heavy on the wings. When the Athenian force charged the Persians it caught them unaware and according to Herodotus many Persians thought that the Athenians were crazy and had a death-wish. This ultimately worked in the Athenians favor. (Herodotus)

As the Athenian force collided into the Persian army the Persians focused on breaking through the middle of the Athenians force. They were successful in breaking the middle of the line, only to have them fall into the trap that the Athenians had setup. With the middle broken and the Persians attempting to pour through the hole it created, the Athenians swung the heavy wings down on the Persians and routed them in a pincer move. (Herodotus)

With the Persians soundly defeated the Athenians chased the Persians back to their ships on the coast and managed to capture seven vessels before the Persians could sail away. The only glimmer of positive for the Persians was that many famous Athenians were killed in the attacks on the ships.

The Athenians, while greatly outnumbered only sustained approximately 192 casualties to Athenians and 11 plataens. On the other side the Persians lost approximately 6400 soldiers and 7 ships. A resounding victory for the Greeks and a painful sting to the Persians. (Evans)

 

Works Cited

Evans, J. A. S. Herodotus and the Battle of Marathon. Sitz Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993. web.

Herodotus. The landmark Herodotus: the histories/a new translationby Andrea L. Purvis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2007. print.

Wikipedia contributors. “Battle of Marathon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

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