Battle of Thermopylae August 480 BC
Thermopylae or Thermopílai in
Greek, means hot gates. It is so called because of the hot
springs in the area.
Where is Thermopylae
Thermopylae, or Thermopylai, is a very narrow pass on Greece's east coast. Back then
it was the entrance to Greece from the north. The pass is 4 miles or
6 kilometers long.
Here is a map:
MAP OF THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE, 480 BC
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
At the time of the battle, the cliffs where right by the sea, making
the pass a real pass. Today, the water is about a mile away.
Who Fought the Battle
Greek King Leonidas, 300 Spartans,
1,100 Boeotians, and their
King Xerxes and a
huge Persian army.
The size of the Persian army differs
depending on who you ask. Some say Xerxes had 200,000 troops, some
say it was closer to 400,000.
In any event, the Battle of Thermopylae
is most likely one of the most outnumbered battles ever fought.
Most outnumbered battle in history
LEONIDAS AT THERMOPYLAE
PAINTING BY JACQUES LOUIS DAVID
The Spartans kept a much larger Persian army busy,
but busy long enough for the Greeks at home to get ready to defeat
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The defense that the
Spartans put up in the pass for 3 days didn't in any way help them
in the war, since it would only take 1 week max for Xerxes to reach
Athens, which was his ultimate goal, and the goal that he reached,
it left no time for the defenders to create a strong enough defense
against him, the only reason that he turned back is because he lost
his naval supply lines when he lost most of his fleet at the battle
The battle lasted two or three days and
the Greeks might have been even more successful if Greek traitor
Ephialtes wouldn't have shown the
Persians a secret path around the pass. This path enabled the
Persians to attack the Greeks from both sides.
The Exact Dates of the
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae took place over a period of three days in
mid-August 480 BC. The exact dates are not known.
During the first two days, the Persians
suffered many losses. At the end of the second day, the
Persians were shown the pass, which led them behind the Greek army.
Parallel to their attack at Thermopylae,
the Persians attacked at sea in the naval Battle of Artemisium.
When the Greeks heard about the setback at Thermopylae, they
Who Won the Battle of
The Persians won the battle but the Greeks won the war.
The Battle of Thermopylae was part of
What Were the
Casualties of the Battle of Thermopylae?
The Persians killed each and every one of their enemies. But the
Greeks gave them the fight of their lifetime. Persian King
Xerxes ordered to bury some of his fallen soldiers because he was
embarrassed by the great number the Greeks managed to slay.
Read the story straight from the source:
of Herodotus by Herodotus.