CHRONOLOGY

EARLY HISTORY

B.C.

550 Foundation of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Elder.

547 Defeat of Croesus, King of Lydia.

539 Cyrus incorporates Babylon and all the lands adjacent to Persia including Syria and Phoenicia.

530 Accession of Cambyses, who incorporates Egypt into the Empire.

522 Accession of Darius.

513-12 Darius extends Persian Empire to Scythia and establishes a bridge-head into Greece by subduing Thrace.

5 00    Revolt of Ionian Greeks (in Asia Minor) against Persian rule.

494    Final suppression of Ionian revolt.

490    Persian invasion of Greece is defeated at Marathon.

486    Death of Darius and accession of Xerxes.

THE INVASION OF XERXES

481 Spring. Xerxes sets out from Susa.

Autumn. Sends demands for submission from Greek states. Spends winter in Sardis.

480 Spring. Xerxes crosses the Hellespont.

Greeks withdraw their advance force from the Pass of Tempe.

hate June-early July. While Xerxes and the army move south the Persian fleet heads for the canal cut behind Mount Athos.

Mid-August. Bulk of Greek fleet moves up to Artemisium. Leonidas and his small holding-force march north to Thermopylae.

Leonidas fortifies the pass at Thermopylae and raids the country to the north of it.

The Persian fleet is caught in a storm off the Greek coast north of Cape Sepias and suffers considerable losses.

c. in August. Themistocles persuades the other Greek naval commanders to attack the Persian fleet which is regrouping after the storm in the Gulf of Pagasae.

On the same day Xerxes orders his crack troops forward for the first attack on the Spartan position. They are repulsed with heavy losses.

In a further great storm part of the Persian fleet, which had been sent to round Euboea, is wrecked off the southern coast of the island.

Second day of the Battle of Thermopylae. The Persians are again badly defeated. The Greek fleet scores another small victory.

Third day of the Battle of Thermopylae. During the previous night Xerxes’ imperial guard, the Immortals, have outflanked Leonidas by following the route over the mountains behind the pass. In the morning Xerxes orders another frontal attack on the Spartan position. Meanwhile the Immortals have come down the mountain and take the Spartans from the rear. Leonidas and a chosen handful die to a man. On the same afternoon the Greek fleet scores an important victory over the Persians at Artemisium. (The day that Thermopylae was overrun was possibly 20 August - the day of the Spartan festival, the Carneia, which had been the cause of the main body of their army being withheld.)

The same night, on hearing the news, the Greek fleet withdraws from Artemisium, southward down the Euboea Channel.

23 August (?) Xerxes’ army advances into southern Greece. By the end of the month the main body of the army is into Attica itself.

hate August. Failure of the Persian-inspired Carthaginian attack on Sicily.

First week of September. The fall of the Acropolis of Athens.

c. 20 September. The Battle of Salamis. A few days after this crushing defeat Xerxes and the main body of the army begin their withdrawal from Greece.

480-479 Winter. A picked body of the Persian army under General Mardonius remains behind in Thessaly to prepare for an offensive in the spring.

479 hate spring. Mardonius and his army march south. Attica is once again overrun and Athens reoccupied. The Athenians once more withdraw to Salamis.

Early summer. The Spartans and their allies march north to join up with the Athenians. Mardonius relinquishes Athens and Attica. He withdraws to Thebes and his Greek allies in that area. The Persians encamp on the north bank of the River Asopus, covering the roads leading to Thebes itself.

479 Plataea. The final battle. The Persian invasion is over.

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