Ancient Greek History

Battle of Mycale – Second Persian Invasion

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The Second of Persian Invasion would be the last time Persia attempted to invade Ancient Greece. King Xerxes, who lead the Persian army, had massive numbers in his troops. He was able to defeat the 300 Spartans and some Thespians that had joined forces under King Leonidas of the Greeks in 480 B.C. at Thermopylae, but that did not stop the warring between the Persian Empire and the City-States of Greece. A year later Xerxes pursued a battle in Mycale, Greece. Here’s more information about the Battle:

About the Second Persian Invasion

Persia tried so hard to assimilate Greece in order to expand its Imperial holdings. Unfortunately, the Persians underestimated the ferocity of the Greeks and the battle training most of the soldiers would receive starting as young as age three or four. Hardened at an early age, these Greek soldiers were relentless in battle and often chose “a warrior’s death” to submission or being caught by enemy soldiers.

In this particular battle, the Persians were battle-weary and attempting to avoid more fighting. They had a fleet of ships at Samos, where the Greeks sent their fleet expecting a battle by water. The remnants of the Persian navy were destroyed by the Greeks despite the fact that the Persians had already beached their boats just below the slopes of Mycale mountain. (It was clear that the Greeks weren’t going to allow any survivors to return at a future date and attempt another battle!)

About the Battle of Mycale

Another battle involving the Persian foot soldiers followed. The Athenians in the right wing of the Greek army marched into the Persian camp via the road, while the Spartans in the left wing of the army came through a pass and creeped up behind the Persians from behind and on the other side opposite of the Athenian army. With the Persian army’s camp on the beach near the foot of Mycale, the Persians didn’t have a chance despite their numbers.

Other Defeating Factors in This Battle

A number of strange factors caused the Persians to be defeated before the battle even began. One of those factors is that King Xerxes left his navy and some troops behind in outlying locations about Greece and never went back to fortify them for future battles. Another reason is that the Ionians, who had formed an alliance with the Persians in battle, abandoned their Persian compatriots and went home. They were not entreated by Xerxes or forced to return to their military posts.

Many of the Persian troops were tired of fighting. They had not been home or seen their families in a very long time. Under order of their king, they were required to battle until the end or the King decided otherwise. Many of them became despondent and discouraged with how long this war was going and gave up fighting. They stayed in and around Greece to avoid any punishments they might have faced for desertion.

In the end, these factors, and the stronger Greek army with excellent battle skills, is what led to the Greek victory at Mycale and the end of the second Persian invasion of Greece.


Wikipedia – Battle of Mycale

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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