If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:8:57

Video transcript

the last videos we saw a dominant Persia have to put down a rebellion by the Ionians in the Anatolian Peninsula and they were really really mad that these Ionians were helped by the Athenians and the Eritrea ng's and so Darius the King of Kings goes off to try to conquer and put down the Athenians and the Eritrea ins the first time he sends a fleet in 492 BCE its destroyed by a storm and we'll see this is not the last time that part at least part of a Persian fleet is destroyed by a storm then in 490 he sends a fleet again and then he is defeated by the Athenians at marathon and we saw that right right over there let me do that in a color you can actually see but as I mentioned in the last video the Persians were not done Darius would not would not live to see another round with the Greeks but his successor Xerces would not only try another attempt but he would amass a huge huge force against the Greeks - in his mind finally take them over and he wants it done so badly that he leads the forces himself and so we are now 10 years after ten years after the first Persian invasion we are now at 480 BCE where Circe's is going to land is going to try to invade Greece by land and by sea but as we will see he is also not going to be successful but this second invasion is is the stuff of legend and once again it the the historical accounts come to us primarily from Herodotus who was Greek and who was not a direct observer of this so you might want to take all of this with a grain of salt because it does make the Greeks look awfully good but we do think that most of this happened but you know it obviously Herodotus probably added a little bit of bias there we are likely to never know so let's think about or let's see what xur sees attempt to do so we see this magenta line this is the line of attack of Xerces in 480 and you can see there's one magenta line that is going by see one magenta line that is going by see here and another magenta line that is going that is going by land and let's zoom in a little bit more I have another map here so let's zoom in to this map right over here that gives us a clearer picture of what's about to happen in this next Persian invasion so just to reorient ourselves here are the land forces and according to Herodotus and historians of that time they numbered this force in them in the potentially millions of soldiers modern historians think it was closer to 50,000 to 300,000 we really don't know but we think it's in the approximately hundred thousand or a few hundred thousands not millions but by any measure that is a huge a huge military force so you know this is the hundreds of thousands right over here so hundreds hundreds of thousands or let me write this one hundred hundreds of thousands maybe between 50 and 300,000 they're coming this way the Persian forces and they also have a fleet of approximately 1200 1200 ships now the persians really are not having good luck with weather whatever they try to attack greece they face a storm and about a third of their fleet is destroyed and so up here they're left with about and these are all approximate remember this happened over 2,000 years ago roughly 2500 years ago so it's amazing that we know anything about it at all but and obviously we have to rely on Herodotus and and whatever historical accounts we can find so the Persians are invading by land and sea and the Greeks have a strategy of let's try to stop them by land at Thermopylae and stop them by sea at the Strait of Artemisium right over here and there's some historical debate of you know was this a big grand strategy to eventually try to defeat the Persians at Salamis which eventually happens or were they you know genuinely trying to stop them there and they were because they couldn't they had to retreat back to Salamis as we'll see that second narrative is what actually happens well I guess in some level both of those narratives happen that they are able to at least slow down the Persians at both of these places and the Persians are eventually defeated at the Strait of Salamis now Thermopylae is the stuff of legends it is if you've ever seen the movie 300 it is about the the Spartan the 300 Spartans soldiers led by King Leonidas along with roughly 7,000 other Greeks that they're able to collect to stop the Persians at Thermopylae and Thermopylae you're in this coastal area where there's a very limited area for for the this massive Persian army to be funneled through and they the Greeks are trying to stop them at the pass of Thermopylae and you could see this you can see that right over there and by Herodotus accounts they are actually quite successful of because they're funneling that Persian army into a very narrow space the Spartans along with the other Greeks are able to push back and you know this is a massive outnumbering roughly 7,000 versus many tens or hundreds of thousands but as Herodotus as Herodotus Herodotus is accounts go there was a traitor amongst the Greeks who go to the Persians and tell it and show them another way around and show them another way around and so the Persians are essentially are able to not only get around the Greeks but by surrounding them are able to defeat the Greeks at Thermopylae and continue their march and remember they were able to get to Eritrea before 10 years before but they really want to seek their revenge on Athens and they are able to go to Athens and but by the time they go there they see that the the town has been for the most part evacuated that the Athenians when they saw that the the Persians were coming they went to they went to Salamis right over here so even though Athens was sacked and destroyed the Athenian people were not destroyed now simultaneous simultaneous with with Thermopylae you had a naval battle happened in the Strait of our Artemis ium and once again even though there was about 600 ships from Persian ships that were in this battle there was on the order of about 2 or 300 Greek ships so the Greeks were once again outnumbered and they were able to slow down the Persians but not stop them and the persons kept having bad luck because especially with these storms because even we had this these first ships get destroyed they sent some 200 ships around you boliya I'm probably not pronouncing it perfectly right over here but then they get destroyed by a storm so now you have the ships that were that engaged the Greeks in the street in the Straits of Artemis IAM the greeks pullback because they know they're outnumbered and they essentially go and retreat or what the persians think our retreat so the persians followed the Greek fleet all the way back to the Strait of Salamis and it's over there that the Greek fleet is able to because is able to plan a defeat of the Persian fleet so you have the Persian fleet gets destroyed decisively at Salamis you have the Persian army still in Athens is able to destroy Athens but the Athenian people have not been destroyed and so there's a question for Xerces what to do at this point this is all now this is all in 480 BCE and what is our seize decides to do he says hey I don't want to get stranded in in in Europe at the edge of my Empire and so Zeus ease heads back but he leads he leaves his some of his ground forces there and they eventually face a decisive defeat at Plataea Plataea I should say right over here and so that is the last significant threat of the persians against the greeks from then they're the greco-persian wars continue for the next several decades for the next 20 or 30 years but at that point it's more of the Greeks on the offensive and this really is the beginning of the gross of the Golden Age of the Greek civilization