The Iranian History 480 BC


Spartans Crushed At Thermopylae

Aug, 10, 480 BC

Embossed relief of an Achaemenid legendary deity with a human head and the body of a LionAfter 3 days of intensive fight at a narrow pass along the coast called Thermopylae, Iranian mountain troops leaded by Hydarnes composed of 1,000 units succeeded to bypass the passage and showed up on the rear of the Spartans. The Persians, leaded by Xerxes I were easily able to outflank them. The Spartans leaded by king Leonidas showed great courage and bravery by resisting in front of the enormous Persian army and being killed till the last soldier. After this victory, Iranians captured Athens. Xerxes I fulfilled what his father Dariush the great had been preparing for before his death. The Greek had been meddling in Achaemenid empire's affairs and sometimes incited revolts in Anatolia. The city of Athens was burnt in revenge for a similar act: In 498 BC the Athenians captured and had burnt Sardis, the headquarters of local Persian government. (Updated: Apr, 4, 2008)

Naval Battle Of Artemisium

Aug, 11, 480 BC

An artist's rendering of Artemis, the first female Iranian admiralThe naval battle of Artemisium took place between a Greek alliance and Iranians while the battle at Thermopylae was still being fought. Euribiades, the Spartan commander decided to attack the Iranian navy with 127 triremes thinking that this would stop the food supply to the Iranian army which was proceeding along the shore. He was unaware of the defeat of Leonidas in Thermopylae.
First engagements happened off the coast of Thessaly. The Iranian fleet outnumbered the Greeks and soon the battle turned into chasing Greek triremes around islands. When the night fell, a violent storm destroyed around 200 Persian naval units. Encouraged by this incidents, the Greeks sent more ships the following day. The battle continued in the strait of Artemisium. Heavy casualties were inflicted on both sides. The news of defeat in Thermopylae arrived and demoralized the Greeks who had already lost almost half of their naval forces so far. The remaining Greek forces fled towards south and Artemisium was captured. Athens fell at the same time and Athenians fled to the Salamis island to regroup. (Updated: Jan, 23, 2009)

Persians Capture Athens

Sep, 27, 480 BC

A well preserved relief from Farvahar, Zoroastrian deity in PersepolisKing Dariush the Great was preparing for an expedition to Greece before he died in November 486. His son Xerxes succeeded him and as soon as he suppressed rebellions in Egypt and Babylon, a large army of 600,000 was gathered at Sardes to start an expedition towards west. After victories in Artemisium and Thermopylae, Thessaly and Boeotia were added to the Achaemenid empire. The Persian army captured Athens on September, 27th. Acropolis fell the next day and thus Persians took full control of the Greek harbor. Although the Persian victory looked complete, it's navy while trying to attack retreating Greeks in Salamis suffered heavy losses. Meanwhile civil unrest in Babylon made Xerxes leave early and appointed his commander Mardonius in charge of Persian army in Greece. Mardonius tried hard to keep Greece under control but he was killed in the Battle of Plataea in August 479 and Artabazus, one of his subordinates was hardly able to lead a large contingent back to Asia. (Updated: Apr, 4, 2008)

The Battle Of Salamis

Sep, 27, 480 BC

One Night With King XerxesAfter taking care of the revolts in Egypt and Babylon, Xerxes turned towards Greece which was interfering in the areas in Persian realm using a hit and run tactic. Xerxes deployed a great army accompanied by a fleet of naval forces to Greece and soon after crushing a resistance in Thermopylae entered Athens without any resistance. He put the temples in Acropolis on fire in revenge to what Greeks did in Sardis. But Xerxes was tricked into sending naval forces to Salamis Island due to wrong intelligence.
The Iranian ships were caught between attacking Greek union forces with little area to maneuver. There's no correct account of casualties but it seems that Iranians lost all their navy comprised of 400-700 ships. Xerxes returned to Asia due to unrest in Babylon leaving 1/3 of his army in Athens leaded by Mardonius who was defeated the following year at Plataea.
The Salamis battle has been a case study showing the importance of naval forces. In the 16th century Philip of Spain underestimated the Queen's forces and was defeated in the sea; thus putting an end to Spain's hegemony.
Salamis was the first battle in which a female named Artemis was commander of 5 Iranian navy units succeeding in saving at least some of the naval forces and thus promoted as admiral by Xerxes. In 1960's the Iranian navy named a vessel after Artemis.
Afterwards the Persian made no more attempts to conquer the Greek mainland. These battles of Salamis and Plataea thus mark a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars as a whole. (Updated: Dec, 15, 2007)

Xerxes' Alliance With Carthage

Oct, 19, 480 BC

Xerxes KhashayarshahXerxes signs an alliance with Carthage in order to create a barrier against the Greek and keep them busy in far away battles. The Anatolian cities of Iran were frequently invaded by the Greek and it was risky to deploy armies to this area besides high costs. This treaty lasted for 70 years until 410 B.C. The Carthage were Phoenician migrants that settled in an area covering parts of Tunisia, , Libya, Lebanon and some parts of Italy. Hannibal was a famous warrior from Carthage that attacked Spain and Italy using elephants. Carthage was destroyed by Romans in 146 B.C. (Updated: Oct, 19, 2008)

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