Greeks at War

Greeks at War

(Parte 1 de 7)

Philip de Souza,

Waldemar Heckel & Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson

First published in Great Britain in 2004 by Osprey Publishing, Elms Court. Chapel Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 9LP. UK Email:

Previously published as Essential Histories 36: The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC. Essential Histories 27: The Peloponnesian War 431-404 BC and Essential Histories 26: The Wars of Alexander the Great

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Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson 7 Chronology 9

Part l: The Greek and Persian Wars 449-386 BC

Introduction 14

Background to war - The coming of the Persians 17

Warring sides - Persia. Sparta and Athens 27

Outbreak - Dareios sends an expedition to Greece 38

The fighting - Xerxes' invasion of Greece 48

Portrait of a soldier - Aristodemos the Spartan 83

The world around war - Persian Architecture 8

Portraits of civilians - Demokedes and Demaratos 91 How the wars ended - The Greeks attack the Persian Empire 96

Part l: The Peloponnesian War 431-404 BC

Introduction 101

Background to war - The rise of Athens 103

Warring sides - Athens and Sparta 1

Outbreak - Fear and suspicion lead to war 120

The fighting - The first twenty years 125

Portrait of a soldier - A ship's captain at war 155 The world around war - Politics and culture 165

Portrait of a civilian - Hipparete, an Athenian citizen woman 171

How the war ended - The fall of Athens 177 Conclusion and consequences - The triumph of Sparta? 183

Part IlI: The Wars of Alexander the Great 336-323 BC

Background to war - The decline of the city-states and the rise of Macedon 190

Warring sides - The Persians, the Macedonians and allied troops 198 Outbreak - Alexander's rise to power 204

The fighting - Alexander conquers an empire 211

Portrait of a soldier - Two generals and a satrap 248

The world around war - Rome, Carthage and India 252

Portrait of a civilian - A historian, athletes and courtesans 257

How the war ended - The death of Alexander 260

The Wars of the Successors (323-301 BC) 262

Conclusion and consequences 267 Glossary 269

Further Reading 271

Appendix -The Greeks at war on screen by Lloyd Llewellyn-jones 273 Index 278

Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson

What we know about the Greek city-states at war mostly begins with their desperate struggle to hold off the Persians between 490 BC and 479 BC - the dramatic Hellenic victories al Marathon, Salamis and Plataea, the historic but failed defence of Thermopylae, and the final pursuit of the Persians across the Aegean at Mycale. From our exciting ancient accounts of these battles, there emerges a peculiar - and especially lethal - way of fighting embraced by these small Greek communities. War making based on shock tactics, group discipline, superior technology, and an audit of military operations by civilian governments trumps numbers and, in fact, presages the Western way of war as it evolved centuries hence.

Phalanxes of heavily-armed infantrymen (hoplites) proved unbeatable on level ground against the far more numerous but lighterarmed and less-disciplined Persians. At sea, victorious Greek triremes reflected not merely the excellence of Greek naval technology, but the empowerment of the lower classes who, from their brilliant seamanship at Salamis, won full participation in radical Athenian democracy.

However, the miracle of the Greek victory over Xerxes' Persians also soon led to an uneasy partnership between the land power Sparta and the maritime Athenians. True, their respective preeminent armies and navies kept Persia on its side of the Aegean for the next half-century, but the growing rivalry between them also turned fifthcentury Greece into a bipolar world of Athenian democratic imperialism set against Sparta's coalition of rural oligarchic states.

Civil war broke out in 431 and then raged tor the next 27 years. Sparta proved to be as incapable of drawing the Athenians into a hoplite battle as the Athenian fleet was in conquering the Laconian homeland.

The results of the subsequent three-decadelong war of attrition were the great plague at Athens that killed off over a quarter of the population, the Athenian catastrophe at Syracuse where 40,0 of Athens' imperial troops never returned home from Sicily, and a terrible last decade of naval warfare in which over 400 Spartan and Athenian triremes were lost in the eastern Aegean.

The defeat of Athens in 404 did not lead to a permanent Spartan empire, but instead to near constant fighting in the subsequent fourth century. Thebes, Sparta and Athens all learned the military lessons of the Pelopunnesian War and increasingly broadened their armed forces to include mercenaries, light-armed and missile troops, and integrated cavalry forces. To the north King Philip I of Macedon was watching these developments eagerly, as he radically modified the old Greek phalanx of citizen soldiers into pike-yielding phalangites - hired professionals who, along with a crack heavy cavalry of landed aristocrats, formed the core of a new national Macedonian army. Along with such a novel and potent military, Philip and his young son Alexander also promoted a new propaganda: only Greek unification under Macedonian leadership could avenge Persia's invasion of Greece nearly 150 years earlier.

After the final defeat of the free Greek states at Chaeronea, and despite the murder of Philip himself, in 334 the 23-year-old Alexander led a small army of 40,0 into Asia Minor in a grand effort to 'liberate' the Greek city-states of Ionia and dismantle the Persian Empire. After three great battles at Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, by 331 the empire of Dareios I was in Alexander's hands. But the 20-something prince kept pressing eastward, defeating an Indian royal army at the Hydaspes river, before meeting

8 The Greeks at War near mutiny on the borders of India and then subsequently almost ruining his army in a disastrous trek back to Babylon through the unforgiving Gedrosian desert. Exhausted, sick and increasingly paranoid, Alexander died in 3, leaving his vast newly acquired, but hardly pacified empire to be fought over and divided by his surviving Macedonian marshals.

The small amateur armies that had once stopped Xerxes at Thermopylae had now come full circle, as Greek-speaking soldiers found themselves 3,500 miles to the east on the borders of India. If an empire of a million square miles and over 50 million subjects once threatened to make a tiny and squabbling Greece its westernmost satrapy. a century-and-a-half later it lay in ruins thanks to the rampage of Alexander and his lethal Macedonians.

These Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, and the conquest of Alexander the Great, are the themes of a new Osprey ottering in its welcomed Essential Histories Specials series. The work of Philip de Souza and Waldemar Heckel offers far more than a narrative history but rather analyses how the Greeks fought on land and sea, in making sense of the seemingly impossible Greek achievement. Yet because it is often difficult to learn of Greek military practice from ancient historians alone, the authors also offer a variety of critical aids to enhance their scholarly analysis, itself based on an array of archaeological, epigraphical, and artistic evidence.

Coloured maps, plentiful photographs, and drawings augment time-lines, glossaries, mini-biographies, and excerpts from ancient historians. Of particular interest is the occasional focus on individual Greeks - Aristodemos and Demaratos, Hipparete, or Callisthenes - whose own private stories help us understand the radical events of the times. These biographical sketches remind us that history is made by real people.

More importantly, the Osprey history is not the usual bland retelling of events so often found in surveys of ancient mifitary practice. Philip de Souza, for example, notes the irony that Sparta's victory over Athens did not liberate the Greeks, but instead substituted an arrogant and poorly run hegemony in place of a coercive but perhaps enlightened empire, leading to a peace imposed by Persia - the original common enemy that had earlier brought the two Greek powers together in the first place. And Waldemar Heckel ends his account of Alexander's startling conquest by emphasising the young conqueror's lack of foresight in establishing a clear succession, a lapse that meant his successor Generals would kill more of each other's armies than were lost to the Persians during Alexander's initial conquest.

The Osprey survey of classical military history is accessible, reliable, and a joy to read. These wars are really not so ancient after all, and will remind us that besides culture and politics, military dynamism is also part of our Hellenic heritage from those most remarkable ancient Greeks.


520/19 519-18

Kyros the Great becomes king of Anshan in Persia Kyros takes control of the

Median Empire

Kyros conquers Lydia and captures Kroisos

Kyros conquers Babylon Death of Kyros and accession of Kambyses Death of Peisistratos; Hippias becomes ruling tyrant of Athens

Kambyses invades Egypt Death of Kambyses; assassination of Bardiya; Dareios becomes king of Persia; death of Polykrates, tyrant of Samos

Dareios campaigns against the Skythians Dareios extends Persian control over Ionians Hippias expelled from Athens

Reforms of Kleisthenes; popular democracy established in Athens

Persians attack island of Naxos;

Aristagoras visits Athens and Sparta

Ionians, Eretrians and Athenians attack and burn Sardis

Unsuccessful attempt by Ionians to aid Greeks of Cyprus against Persians Persian counter-offensive against Greeks in Asia Minor; death of Aristagoras Persians defeat Ionians in the battle of Lade

Persian rule restored in Ionia and eastern Aegean; Themistokles elected archon at Athens

478/7 465-64

Persians remove tyrants from Ionian Greek states Dareios demands that all Greek states submit to Persian rule Aigina defeats Athens in sea battle; Persians capture Naxos; Persians defeated in the battle of Marathon Death of Dareios; Xerxes becomes king of Persia Birth of Herodotus Ostracism of Aristeides; Athenians begin building fleet of 200 triremes

Xerxes gathers forces at Sardis; Persian envoys sent to Greece; Hellenic League formed at Sparta; Athens and Aigina make peace Xerxes invades Greece; battles of Artemision and Thermopylae Xerxes captures Athens; battle of Salamis; Xerxes returns to Asia Minor Battles of Plataia and Mykale; some Ionians join Hellenic League

Greek expeditions to Cyprus and Byzantion; recall of Pausanias to Sparta Formation of the Delian League Earthquake at Sparta; (Messenian) Helots revolt Spartans appeal for Athenian help against Messenians; Kimon's forces sent away by Spartans; reforms of Ephialtes; Athenians form alliance with Megara, Argos and Thessaly Ostracism of Kimon Athenian expedition to Cyprus and Egypt Athenians begin building their Long Walls

10 The Greeks at War c. 455 454 c. 450 449 c. 443

441-440 c. 440

Battles of Tanagra and Oinophyta

Defeat of Messenians at Mt Ithome; Tolmides' expedition around the Pelopooaese Thucydides the historian born Delian League Treasury transferred to Athens (Tribute Lists begin) Perikles' law on Athenian citizenship; five-year truce between Athens and Sparta; 50 year peace treaty between Sparta and Argos Alkibiades born

Peace of Kallias between Athens and Persia

Building of the Parthenon begun Athenians defeated at battle of Koroneia and driven out of Boiotia; Thirty Years' Peace agreed between Athens and Sparta Athenians make treaties with

Sicilian cities of Leontini and

Rhegion Revolt of Samos

Hipparete born Surrender of Samos Dedication of the Parthenon Foundation of Amphipolis Conflict between Corinth and Corcyra over Epidamnos begins

Alliance of Athens and Corcyra; sea battle of Sybota; Athens renews treaties of alliance with Leontini and Rhegion

Revolt of Poteidaia; Megarian decrees

Peloponnesian War Thebans attack Plataia; Peloponnesians invade Attika Plague reaches Athens; Perikles' expedition to Peloponnese; Perikles is deposed as general and lined; Poteidaia surrenders to Athenians; Phormio's expedition to Naupaktos Siege of Plataia

429 42H-27

4IK 416

Death of Perikles Revolt of Mytilene; eisphora tax levied in Athens First Athenian expedition to Sicily

Athenians fortify Pylos; Spartans captured on island of Sphakteria; Spartan peace offer refused by Athenians Athenians lake Kythera and launch raids on lakonian coast; Boiotians defeat Athenians at the battle of Delion; Brasidas captures Amphipolis;

Thucydides the historian exiled One year armistice between Athens and Sparta; revolts of Skione and Mende; Dareios I (Ochos) becomes king of Persia Kleon and Brasidas killed at Amphipolis Peace of Nikias; 50-year alliance concluded between Athens and Sparta Battle of Mantinea Athenians invade and capture Melos Egesta appeals to Athens for help against Selinous; Second Athenian expedition to Sicily; Alkibiades recalled Siege of Syracuse; death of Lamachos; Spartans send Gylippos to Syracuse Athenians send reinforcements to Sicily; Spartans capture and fortify Dekeleia; defeat and surrender of Athenians in Sicily Spartans and Persian king negotiate treaty; revolts of Athenian allies Oligarchic revolution installs government of 400 in Athens; army and fleet at Samos remain loyal to democracy; Alkibiades takes command Spartans defeated at Kyzikos; restoration of full democracy in Athens

(Parte 1 de 7)