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Assess the respective contributions of Athens and Sparta and other Greeks to Greek victory over Persia in 480-79 B.C.

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Introduction

Assess the respective contributions of Athens and Sparta and other Greeks to Greek victory over Persia in 480-79 B.C. The war between Persia and Greece is one that has been remembered in history, particularly recorded by Herodotus in his Histories. Athens and Sparta, along with other Greeks contributed greatly to the victory over Persia in 480-79 B.C. along with other factors. This essay will assess how their contributions and other factors contributed to the Greek victory over Persia. The Persians were very well prepared for their invasion of Greece which can be seen through the canal which was dug through isthmus north of Mt Athos (VII 1-24). The Persians also built a bridge to cross the Hellespont and made provision dumps which were carefully chosen by a survey to feed the army as they made their march. (VII. 25-26) Herodotus also states that for four years "the mustering of troops and the provision of stores and equipment continued, and towards the close of the fifth Xerxes... began his march." (VII 20-21) The vast preparations of Xerxes' invasion would mean that the Greeks would be facing a huge challenge and would have to come together to repel the invasion. Athens and Sparta could be seen to be the two major contributors to the victory over Persia. Athens could be seen as the major contributor in terms of naval contribution. ...read more.

Middle

(VII. 168-170) The Corcyraeans did offer to send a fleet in support but later began to change their mind and as Herodotus states "the dawdled about before getting to sea, and then sailed only as far as the Peloponnese" making their support to Greece redundant. The Greeks also asked for help from Gelon of Sicily; however his help was refused as he wanted command of the whole Greek army which the Spartans were unwilling to give up. There were still some states which helped a great deal such as Corinth and Aegina which Bengtson states that they provided the Greek fleet with ships. (Chapter 6: 101) Their contribution of ships was only beaten by Athens, yet Corinth and Aegina's contributions helped greatly/The lack of help from some of the more dominant and powerful Greek city states meant that the Greeks would be weakened and while some smaller one's did help, their contribution was not as great as that of Sparta or Athens. Despite the contributions of Sparta and Athens to the victory over Persia, there were other factors that contributed to the victory. For example, the Greeks strategy of using the topography of Greece to render the Persian numbers useless such as the use of narrow passages to use as the battlefield to condense the Persians into a small space to make use of their Phalanx and longer spears. ...read more.

Conclusion

fleet was caught in a heavy blow." (VII. 188-89) The storm resulted in a suspected four hundred ships destroyed in the Persian fleet (VII. 190) which would have not only left the fleet greatly weakened but would have also caused a huge dip in morale in the Persian army. The fact the weather changed so quickly may also have caused the Persians to believe that it was a God who did it, and in contrast, this would have shown to the Greeks that the Gods were on their side and their morale would have been boosted. The fact the Persians fell into Themistocles' trap at the Battle of Salamis also contributed to the Greek victory as it allowed the Greeks to utilise their ships better fighting prowess in narrow straights while rendering the Persians' faster and more manoeuvrable ships (cf. VIII, 10, 60) useless. If the Persians had waited or landed on the Peloponnese they may have won but the victory for the Greeks proved to be the turning point of the invasion (VIII. 75-95) and would have greatly improved the Greek morale and damaged the Persians with it. In conclusion while the Athenians, Spartans and other Greeks contributed greatly to the victory over Persia, however there were other factors such as the morale of the men and lucky events such as the weather, which altogether contributed to the victory over the Persians. Were if it not for them, then the outcome of the war may have been very different. ...read more.

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