The Persian Invasion of Ancient Greece
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece and the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.----more----
The Persians are determined to get their revenge for their defeat at the Battle of Marathon. The new Persian Emperor, Xerxes, decides to conquer all of Greece once and for all.
He assembles the largest army the world has ever seen. The army is too big to be taken by sea. So he builds a bridge of boats to get it from Asia to Europe. However, in building the bridge we learn how Xerxes is a cruel ruler. One of the nobles asks for his son to be left behind. Xerxes agrees but executes the nobles son and chops his body in two. There is a storm and the bridge of boats is destroyed. Xerxes has the sea whipped and red hot irons placed in it as a punishment.
Finally, his army gets across and marches into Greece. Many Greek cities surrender. However, Athens and Sparta fight. The Spartans are fierce warriors. Their King, Leonidas, visits an Oracle to find out what is going to happen. The Oracle says that either a Spartan King will die or Greece will be conquered. Leonidas realises that he will have to die if Greece is to be saved.
The Spartans choose a clever place to fight. It is called Thermopylae. It is a narrow path between the mountains and the sea. The Persians cannot get their whole army down the path as it is too narrow. The Spartans hold the massive Persian army at bay. However, the Persians discover a path through the mountains. Now they can get behind the Spartans. Most of the Greeks retreat. But Leonidas and 300 Spartans decide to fight to the death to delay the Persians. Leonidas also knows that if he dies then Greece will be saved. Persian archers kill Leonidas. However, his sacrifice has never been forgotten.
Before the invasion, the Athenians had discovered silver in the hills near Athens. After a long discussion they had decided to use the money to build a mighty fleet.
Athens is captured by the Persians but the Athenians still have their fleet. The Persian and the Athenian led fleet meet in battle near the island of Salamis. The Persian Emperor settles down on the land to watch the battle. The seas are narrow near Salamis and the Persians numbers do not help them. The Greeks win the battle.
The Persians realise that now the Greeks can say to the bridge of boats and destroy it. This would trap the Persian Emperor in Greece. Quickly the Emperor and most of his army run home. A little of their army stays and is destroyed the next year.
This war did not just save Ancient Greece. It also saved all the things that the Greeks had invented, like Democracy and Freedom. They gave those ideas to us. This is why we remember the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis today.
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