The Persian War stemmed from the Ionian Revolt which began in 499 BC. The Ionians became a part of the Persian Empire in 546 BC, but after many years desired to break away from this forced bond. Therefore, the Ionians sought help from the mainland Greeks. The Athenians and Eretrians responded by sending ships, but eventually became more involved. "What began as a relatively minor involvement in the revolt became more serious when the Athenian and Eretrian forces aided in a surprise attack on Sardis, during which the city was set afire" (Demand 1996, 184). Although the Ionian revolt was ultimately unsuccessful, it sparked the anger of Darius, the King of Persia, that the Athenians dared to interfere with his vast empire. Herodotus writes he was so angry that he "ordered one of his servants to say to him three times every day before dinner, 'Sire, remember the Athenians" (Hdt. 5.105.2). Whether Darius really said this is questionable, but it is clear that either to exact venge...
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...reeks won a war of unbeatable odds because they had both everything to lose and everything to gain - their very survival.
Crane, G., ed. The Perseus Project. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/text?lookup=trm=ov&vers=english&browse=1
Demand, Nancy. A History of Ancient Greece, Indiana University. McGraw-Hill, Janson by Ruttle, Shaw & Wetherill, Inc., 1996, pp. 185-196.
Dillon, Mathew, and Garland, Lynda. Ancient Greece: Social and Historical Documents from Archaic Times to the Death of Socrates. Routledge International Thompson Publishing Company, 1994, pp. 179-215
Lefkowitz, Mary. "You Are There- A novel set in ancient Greece revisits a key battle between Sparta and Persia". The New York Times Book Review, Nov. 1, 1998
Pressfield, Steven. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermpoylae. New York: Doubleday
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