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Persian Wars

Athens and Sparta teamed up to fight the Persians, who were invading from Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).

Major battles:

1. Marathon - Pheidippides ran between Athens and Sparta and died of exhaustion, Greece won

2. Thermopylae - Spartan fighters died defending the mountain pass

3. Salamis - the Greeks used a strategy to trap the Persians and won

The Persians (from modern-day Iran) expanded their empire until it came
close to Greece. When the Persians conquered Ionia, the people of Ionia fought back. They knew they needed help so they asked Athens to assist them. The Athenians sent ships and soldiers.

Persian King Darius was angry and declared war on the Greeks. At the battle of Marathon,
Athens was attacked by the Persians, and they asked for help from Sparta, via a messenger, Pheidippides. He ran for two days to give Sparta the message. Sparta said they would help out in time, so Pheidippides ran to Athens to tell them the news. The Athenians, who were outnumbered, could not wait, and attacked the Persians. The Persians were taken by surprise and ran back to their ships. Pheidippides was then told to run back to Sparta with news of their
victory--which he did--then he dropped dead of exhaustion. This is what our marathon race is attributed to in the Olympics.

At Thermopylae, the Athenians and Spartans united to fight the Persians, lead by King Darius’s son Xerxes at a place called Thermopylae. It was a narrow mountain pass where King Leonidas of Sparta lead his army to fight. A Spartan traitor led the Persians to a way into the pass. Outnumbered, King Leonidas sent many of his men away to remain safe. All Spartan men were slaughtered. The Xerxes marched to Athens and burned it to the ground.

Salimas was a naval battle where Xerxes was set to conquer all of Greece, but failed. The Greeks led Persian ships to shallow water and sunk them. Defeated, Xerxes immediately left Greece for home.

A Spartan general fought at Plataea and drove the Persian army out of Greece.