Sunday, October 2, 2016

The truth about Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans who accompanied King Leonidas to the Gates of Fire

The story of King Leonidas and the Spartan 300 warriors who accompanied him to the Gates of Fire (that is, in fact, Thermopylae) has fascinated generations of people from all over the world. It's a story told uninterrupted for over 2,000 years, about one of the most tragic confrontations in history. Yet, it is a true story? And if not, what was the truth about Thermopylae?

The only source of historical large, the battle of Thermopylae is the story of Herodotus, the Greek historian of contemporary events that would change the history of the Western world practically. However, although it is known as the greatest historian of antiquity, Herodotus is famous for falsehood that you insert, often in his text reason prompting some would change the name of the "father of history" in "the biggest liar of history". Is his story the most credible source of what happened at Thermopylae in 480 BC? That we are in the following.


Map of the Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC  Photo: emersonkent.com
Real reasons wars Greco-Persian

What is not said Herodotus, in his "History", were the real reasons for which the Persian Empire tried repeatedly to defeat cities states of ancient Greece. It seems strange that an empire so vast and distant (first world empire, actually) as it was the Persian and wished occupying arid and impoverished as they were the Peloponnese. It is known that many of the more than 1,000 Greek cities of the time, were forced to import goods necessary for survival and for civil or military.

As an example, why the Greeks have not had for a long time, a fleet strong is precisely that lacked the necessary wood for its construction, an essential raw material in the ancient world, that the Hellenes is forced to buy in exchange for huge amounts. There just seems ideal that any of those times oriental monarch wants to conquer it. Instead, the few historical sources of the time, other than Greek, speak Greek organized groups of pirates attacking merchant vessels and ports Persian systematically.
Photo: wikipedia.org

It seems like so much grown drawbacks caused by these corsairs of antiquity, that of Darius the Great, was to declare war on the Greek and even invade the Peloponnese in order to put an end, once and for all robberies who had to assist his subjects . The campaign was to be a resounding failure, however, ended with the defeat against the Athenians at Marathon in 490 BC, and the hasty withdrawal of the Persian vessels.

Darius the Great 

The second big invasion, you probably similar reasons but pride exacerbated by the desire for revenge family honor Xerxes, son of Darius the Great, the new monarch of the Empire in the spirit of diplomatic norms of the time, Xerxes would send ambassadors to Athens and Sparta to ask them their symbolic "earth and water" as evidence of their obedience toward the huge empire he leads. Not only would receive obedience requested, nay, His messengers were to be killed by the Athenians by throwing a mountaintop, that while in Sparta, messengers were thrown into a well, mentioning laconic that can dig themselves there after things required. It was probably the pretext for large-scale campaign that Xerxes will undertake only ten years after the humiliating defeat of his father.








Leonidas


Paradaxol but not limited Xerxes appears to have wanted this war between civilizations, Leonidas, one of the two Spartan kings of the moment, one of the most ardent supporters of the fight that was to blame. It will receive grievances from his contemporaries because bellicose attitude and even be accused of corrupting the message received from the Oracle of Delphi, who had said "Persians will not prevail as long as one of the kings Spartans will be sacrificed."

                    King Leonidas   Photo: ahistoryofgreece.com

In a society that had led almost perfect the arts of war and had made it a major goal in life Fortress, Leonidas's desire can no longer seemed so absurd. All testimonials indicate that this time we wanted, indeed, become a hero, and his death on the battlefield to be the ticket to eternity. In fact, this was not the dream of every Spartan?

Even Herodotus mentions that in one recent discussions he has had with his wife, Gorgo, King Spartan asked by this how it could better help the city in which they lived, he would have provided the following answer: " Find a good man and give him as many children. " It is obvious that Leonidas has not ever made a plan to return, and that soldiers chose to fight only veterans, whose sons they procreate in turn betrays its intentions. In fact, more than likely his desire was shared by all those who were to accompany him to succeed without the battle against the giant Persian.


Xerxes


Xerxes Photo: wikipedia.org
Impressive force that would mobilize a Persian king in view of the imminent invasion of ancient Greece, was probably wanted a veritable parade in the eyes contemporaries, a testament to the tremendous strength and power of the Persian Empire. It was also the humiliation and an attempt to intimidate the Greeks are proud and conceited that he had done so many problems.

More than likely that Xerxes has not never imagined he could lose a war in the face of cities whose army was insignificant in number in front of its immense armed forces, which is why he will bring with him a huge golden throne that to assist in the crushing victory over the Greeks.


In fact, one of the largest historical disputes regarding the battle of Thermopylae is the number of soldiers deployed to the Persian monarch on the battlefield. Herodotus speaks of an impressive figure of nearly 2 million warriors from 47 nations, accompanied by a relatively equal number of subject that would have accompanied them. A century later, another Greek historian, Ctesisas of Cnidus, speaks of a much smaller number, only 800,000 fighters.

The truth about Thermopylae

No actual number of Greeks is not mentioned by Herodotus. Greek historian talks about the 300 Spartan warriors, accompanied by about 900 hoplites, 400 Thebans and 700 volunteers tespieni, steadfast allies of Sparta. It neglecting to mention the help received from 10 other cities Greek aid would increase the number of soldiers under the command of Leonidas to over 7,000 people. But even so, the Greek army had been exceeded net immense fighting force of Persians.

It is said that the Persian Emperor would have expected four days before the battle begins, awaiting a clear response from the tiny Greek armed, and hoping that it will go out to fight in the open.

Hidden in the narrow pass of Thermopylae, the Spartans were however aware that only thus will destroy the numerical advantage of the Persians, and in response to demand Xerxes to cave in, they had to sculpt in wall mount a response visible today: " Come and take them . " 
Currently, the place where you can read the statement Spartan is a true place of pilgrimage for millions of Greeks and tourists keen to follow in the footsteps of Greek warriors fearless.


The Spartan King, Leonidas Photo: pinterest.com

Despite the enormous numerical disproportion between the two forces, the Spartans have the determination to be noticed and fellow Athenians; those asking them on how they will cope with millions of Persian arrows, whose lot is said covering sunlight, they receive the following answer: "The better, we shall fight in the shade." The statement belongs remaining celebrate Dienekes soldier, who would prove in the end, the bravest of warriors of Leonidas.

The fight that would last for three days will bring huge losses Xerxes, losses that totaled over 20,000 people that while victims of the Greeks did not exceed a few hundred soldiers. Frontal attacks of the Persians had to be rejected one after another, culminating in the defeat of the elite troops of oriental monarch, so-called "immortals" group of 10,000 veterans steeled in countless wars. Clenching have to be so bloody that it will make Xerxes to rise three times from imposing or throne in uncontrollable bouts of anger. Greek historian Ctesias mentions even the first wave of warriors Persians, counting several thousand people had to be decimated by spears Spartan, with only two or three victims of the Greeks.



It is easy to imagine the impotent fury of the Persian king, who will punish armies, killing the generals guilty of failure ends attacks. Xerxes will appeal but one of the "weapons" against which many Athenians would have left the gold. In exchange for promises of enrichment beyond the power of imagination, Ephialtes, the traitor Greek native of Athens Persians have to disclose only access that would have worn behind the Spartan army. In time, his name would become synonymous with the Modern Greek language "nightmare".

Despite the defeat of his countrymen, Ephialtes would never receive any money, he killed a few years by Athenades, the Greek warrior who, after his act, would be regarded as a genuine hero in Sparta.

They say the most dramatic episode of clenching all, it was the last battle. Upon hearing the treason and the fact that Persians will surround the Greek camp, the majority of Greek soldiers will leave the battlefield. The only ones who will remain to face the Spartans had to be, accompanied by loyal hoplitii and a small group of Thebans that, it seems that Leonidas would have kept weapons under threat of death. 

Although the fight was one brief, it would be perhaps the bloodiest of all those before. Mark the last order of the Spartan king, which is to kill as many Persians before being killed themselves, the Spartans had to provoke a real slaughter in which life will lose even two brothers of Xerxes.


Although practically victory will belong to Persians, it does not have to be long lasting. Boosted by the end of his heroic Leonidas and his warriors, the Greeks will mobilize in the southern peninsula and in less than a year, finally had to reject the armies of Xerxes after sweeping successes of Salamis and Platea. Greek victory and stopping the Persian expansion in Europe today is viewed by many historians as one of the most important victories ever in history, and one that would lay the foundation for the entire Western civilization.



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