Desotism And Freedom: Herodotus: Despotism Vs. Freedom

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Despotism vs. Freedom Herodotus is the author of what most call the first history of Western civilization: ‘The Persian Wars’, and was the first to use the Greek word historia, which is the derivation of the word history. He also wrote the book, ‘The Histories’, in which Herodotus recounts the battle of Thermopylae. This written account of history is the main source for information on the Persian Wars and, while biased by Herodotus’s beliefs, provides historians with a written retelling of the events that led to the Persian defeat and the rise of the Athenian Empire. The Greeks viewed their conflict with the Persians as a fight between freedom and slavery. Xerxes showcased this idea of Persian control being akin to slavery through his tyrannical…show more content…
His relation of the events speak of how the Spartans, 300 strong, stood against Xerxes army at Thermopylae and were prepared to die in the fight against the Persians. Demaratus, a native Greek in Xerxes’s army, what he thinks of the Spartans and he tells Xerxes: “‘Thous hast now to deal with the first kingdom and town in Greece, and with the bravest men’” (Herodotus). They were preparing themselves for battles during this time, adoring their hair and practicing gymnastics, both showing that war and fighting are important parts of their culture. However, bravery alone is not enough to beat back the force that Xerxes brings against the small army of 300, it is really their cunning combined with this willingness to lay down their lives that make them so successful. Herodotus describes one of their techniques: the Spartans draw their enemy near by pretending to retreat—turning their backs—then when the enemy was close enough, they would turn around and fight, effectively catching their enemy off guard. The Spartans were the first line of defense against the free Greece city-states and the Persians and while ultimately defeated, Herodotus shows how bravery and intelligence must have been integral parts of Spartan culture, taught to them from a young

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