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The 300 sparta warriors
The 300 warriors of Sparta
This is about the battle of
Thermopylae, The 300 Sparta warriors that fought and died there, and how
that battle and their sacrifice changed the course of history
and democracy for the world. There was a lot more significance to
this battle than what most people know. The stand they took united Greece and led to the Greek concept of democracy being introduced to the world.
All boys when born is Sparta were checked to make sure they could be molded into great warriors. If there was anything physically wrong with them, they would be left to die. They lived with their families until they were 7 years old. They were then taken from their families and trained to be warriors. The training got progressively harder and more violent as they got older, many of the warriors died in the training.
When they reached 18, they became part of the army of Sparta. Every summer they would go off and fight other Greek city armies. The Greeks were just city states that would fight mainly against each other. Sparta was always successful because all their men were trained to be warriors for their whole life. The only reason the Sparta men existed were to become warriors for Sparta. King Leonidas was one of the great Sparta warriors, he became one of the two kings of Sparta. Leonidas was near 50 years old at the time of the battle.
The Persians had dominated the world for nearly a century. King Xerxes had a mission, to get revenge for his father and destroy Athens, burn it to the ground. The Persian army had control of a large part of the know world at the time. They had the largest and strongest army in the world. Xerxes brought 300,000 ground soldiers, and 1000 warships to attack Greece and destroy Athens.
The battle of Marathon
This battle took place around 490BC. The Persians attacked the Greeks at Marathon, on the East coast of Greece, 26 miles from Athens. 30,000 Persians attacked 8,000 Greeks, the Greeks were backed up, but the Persians allowed them to get around the flanks, and surround them, they were destroyed from 3 sides and all of the Persians were killed. A runner was sent to Athens to tell news of the great victory,
The marathon race was born from that run. Unfortunately the runner gave his news and died from exhaustion from the run. The Greeks built the original Parthenon as a tribute to the victory over the Persians at Marathon.
The ground battle at Thermopylae
The Greeks found out that Xerxes was coming to destroy Athens, they asked the Sparta warriors to help them defend Athens. Leonidas went to the oracle for guidance on what to do. What the oracle told Leonidas, convinced him to help the Athenians defend Athens. The Spartan council would only allow him to take the best 300 warriors he could round up. Leonidas also initially had the help of around 7,000 other Greek soldiers from different parts of Greece. They were not highly trained warriors like the Spartans. The year was 480 BC. The place was a pass 200 feet wide, with a 300 foot cliff on one side, and the Aegean Sea on the other side. It was called Thermopylae.
Xerxes first tried to get Leonidas to surrender, the messenger told Leonidas that if they didn't surrender that the Persian army would block out the sun with their arrows. Leonidas's lieutenant replied, “Then we will fight in the shade.”
Day one of the ground battle started, Xerxes sent 10,000 soldiers to attack, the Sparta warriors Lined up in their fighting position. The Spartans fought in a 2 row system. The front row were on there knees, the next row wast standing behind. The front row had their bronze shields and their armor, their method was the front line would thrust their spears upward, the second row had their shields and speared down. The Persians shields were wicker, so they were easily penetrated by the Spartan spears. The first day the Spartans lost only a few men, the Persians lost 10,000. They had to stop fighting ever so often for the Persians to clear the bodies out of the way to continue the battle.
On day 2 the Persians sent their elite warriors, the Immortals, the outcome was the same, 6,000 more Persian soldiers were killed. That night, Xerxes found a small pass that led around the mountain to the back of the Spartan position. He sent 10,000 soldiers to go around and attack from behind. Leonidas knew about the pass and had sent 1,000 local Greek soldiers to watch that pass, they got scared and left to go back to protect their city. Leonidas found out they left and sent the rest of the 7,000 Greek soldiers away so they wouldn't die there. They then prepared to put up the final fight, the 300 Spartans and 700 Thebians. Leonidas and the others fought bravely, they all died but they managed to kill another 4,000 Persians in the final day of the battle.
Some of the best scenes from the movie
The Sea Battle
Themistocles was an Athenian general who was the leader of the Navy. The Athenian navy was 200 ships strong, the Persian navy was 1000 ships strong. Themistocles surprised the Persians by attacking late in the day on the first day of the battle and sunk or disabled about 100 Persian ships. Xerxes had sent 200 ships around one of the islands to come up behind the Athenian navy, all 200 ships were lost in a violent storm that night, before they could get around the island.
The next day Themistocles attacked again, and had good success against the Persian navy. The main focus of the navy at the time was to be faster and get in position and ram and sink the enemy ships. They must have had faster oarsman than the Persians. On day 3 they also had good success. When they learned of the outcome of the ground battle, they retreated back to Athens to regroup. Themistocles evacuated Athens, he saved the people, but not the city. 2 months later Xerxes got his revenge and burned Athens to the ground, all the people were gone at the time because of Themistocles. After the Persians left Athens Themistocles ambushed the Persian navy and caused them huge losses, forcing the Persians to retreat back to Persia. This was the beginning of the end of the Persian empire.
The legacy of the Sparta warriors
The significance of the battle of Thermopylae was that it brought the Greeks together to become one nation. It took another 150 years, but they defeated the Persians and spread the Greek democracy to the rest of the world. If the Greeks had not defeated the Persians, it could have been the end of democracy.