The Greco-Persian Wars

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Challenges to Cartledge’s view on the size of the Spartan deployment force that other historians have provided other justification for sending the small contingent which are equally possible and valid. Cartledge himself poses three alternative explanations prior to his symbolism explanation. His first alternative explanation is that Leonidas had simply miscalculated the force needed to hold the Isthmus pass and that he accordingly when he realised he was outnumbered. Another explanation proposed is based on the Themistocles Degree rationalises Leonidas mobilisation as an attempt to hold off the Persian advance to allow the Athenians and their allies to evacuate and abandon Attika. This approach is problematic to Cartledge as he disregards the decree as another form of Athenian propaganda and requires the reader to believe that the sacrifice of the Spartan army was planned well ahead of Leonidas’ arrival at Thermopylae. The last of these alternatives mentioned is that Leonidas acted under the worst of conditions considering Delphi oracles discouragement, the issues of another possible helot uprising and Sparta’s narrow foreign policy that did not encourage aiding their Greek allies. These problems accumulated with the festival of Carneia and the Olympic truce which both forbidden military activity on the grounds of sacrilege. Cartledge’s explanation for the deployment of 300 Spartans is contentious but his rationalisation of Leonidas’ decision to hold his position in Thermopylae is inclusive of several possible explanations and thus highly representative of other historians’ works. Despite all the critiques that Green and Cartledge give to their sources, there is unison found in how they have interpreted the end of the Persian... ... middle of paper ... ...oned by the historians. When historians overlook these historiographical issues new interpretations of the same event are created. This is evidently seen in the case of the Themistocles Decree which could redefine Greek strategy during the Persian invasion and in the case of the Callias Peace Treaty which could redefine how the war formally concluded. This investigation into the historical views of the past also established that between Cartledge and Green there points where they provided different views on the same topic as seen in the case of oath of Plataea. Historical truth is often a virtue rather than a reality and as historians produce their own interpretations of the past with the same sources competing views arise and all these view either fall into a representative of current historical consensus or they challenge and redefine how we look into the past.
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