By Philip de Souza

This booklet covers one of many defining classes of ecu historical past. The sequence of wars among the Classical Greeks and the Persian Empire produced the well-known battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, in addition to an ill-fated try to overthrow the Persian king in four hundred BC, which helped to motivate the conquests of Alexander the Great.To inform the tale of those momentous occasions, of the lives of serious women and men, of the societies and cultures that produced them, and to provide an explanation for how and why they got here into clash used to be the purpose of Herodotus, 'the Father of History', whose account of the wars is our vital resource and the 1st booklet to be referred to as a 'history'.

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The Macedonian king, Alexander I, allowed Xerxes to prepare a supply depot on his territory and he contributed some infantry to the ever-growing ranks of the Persian army. The supply depot was part of a series of such bases established along the marching route through Thrace and Macedonia. One of the most impressive achievements of the whole march from Sardis to central Greece is that Xerxes' 44 Essential Histories • The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC commanders managed to keep feeding and watering their men and animals.

The 3,000 or so other vessels that Herodotus says accompanied the warships would not have needed such large crews, and their purpose would have been to carry sufficient supplies to keep the fleet provisioned, but not the army. Some food will have been transported with the army, using draught animals, including camels, as well as some human porters. Supplies of fresh water will have been collected and carried from one camp to the next, but only in small quantities. Ensuring a constant supply of water was always a very high priority for ancient armies.

The decision to abandon Athens and Attika to the Persians and evacuate the population by sea was a brave one, made by a vote of the Athenian citizen assembly. It is a remarkable example of Athenian democracy in action, with the majority view prevailing after an impassioned debate, carried out under the shadow of the Persian invasion. While the Persians were advancing through northern Greece the Athenians sent an official delegation to the famous oracle of the god Apollo at Delphi to ask for divine guidance.

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