Herodotus was a Greek historian whose work encompassed Western civilization involving conflicts between Greece and the Persian Empire. There were many differences between the Greeks and the Persians. For instance, the Greeks struggled to find freedom during 480 B. C – 400 B. C. They were determined to train their soldiers, especially Spartan warriors, to be brave, courageous, and strong for defensive purposes from Persian invasion. On the other hand, the Persians differed from the Greeks because they believed their Empire needed more power.
The Persians exercised gaining absolute power under their leader, Xerxes, by invading civilization west of Asia to strengthen their Empire. Xerxes’ intentions for invasion were also based on vengeance from previous battles for expansion of their Empire. Xerxes motives for invading Greece were tyrannical, and the events that lead the Persian Empire western invasion were based on reckless intentions from a ruthless leader. The Persian motive for gaining power began with Xerxes’ father, Darius, who led the Persian army to expand their Empire.
The Greeks defended the Ionians against the Persian army burning the city of Sardis. Darius never marched to invade Greece, and before Darius’ death, Xerxes was chosen to become the next leader of the Persian army. The motive for gaining power was still instilled for the Persian Empire, and Xerxes continue to enforce Persian expansion. Herodotus wrote about Xerxes intentions to invade Greece starting by building a bridge in the northwest region of Asia Minor, Hellespont, to begin an invasion across Europe and into Greece.
Xerxes believed expansion was necessary for more power for the Persian Empire from his father’s intentions, but Herodotus also believed Xerxes’ motive was for vengeance. This was an important factor for his belief of invasion, and Herodotus revealed in his literature that Xerxes’ also invaded Greece because he was seeking revenge when the Greeks helped the Ionians revolt in Asia Minor. Herodotus wrote about Xerxes intentions to invade Greece to the people in the Persian Empire.
Xerxes wanted his people to follow his beliefs for expansion, and he allowed others to speak their mind after his proposition. Herodotus explained in history that not every Persian member of the Empire agreed with Xerxes proposition. Some Persians believed the Greeks did not deserve a free escape from their aid to the Ionians, and some believed the invasion would cause more Persian deaths from battle or disasters during the march to Greece. Xerxes heard all of his Persian’s opinions on his plan for invasion, and he ignored the opinions who opposed the march through Europe into Greece.
This evidence from Herodotus story shows how Xerxes final decision was leadership through tyranny. His decision to invade was already determined before he allowed his people to speak their mind. This leadership is oppressive and unjust which was much different from the Greeks. The Greek army was led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and King Leonidas was given the throne after both of his elder brothers were deceased. The Greeks were aware of Persia’s invasion, and their plan was to defend Greece holding the Persians from passing the Thermopylae.
The Greeks prepared their army very strategically, and Herodotus wrote about the Battle of Thermopylae as a major defensive battle to defend Greece from Persian invasion. Leonidas chose three hundred of his Spartan warriors to march north with him to protect Greece’s native soil knowing death was upon them, and these men held off thousands of Persian warriors for two days. This shows how Spartan culture showed pride, bravery, and courage. Spartan warriors trained tactically preparing for warfare using spears, heavy shields, and Spartan helmets.
These men did not fear death, and they were prepared to defend Greece against any Persian fleet that would attempt to pass Thermoplyae. Xerxes army eventually defeated Leonidas’ three hundred Spartan warriors which led Xerxes further into his invasion of Greece. Interestingly, the Persians delayed their invasion after this great battle allowing the Greeks to continue to prepare for further invasion. Xerxes feared the Greeks would not surrender, and would continue attacking his army forcing him to retreat back to Asia.
Xerxes motives for invasion were very tyrannical, and the Persian Empire invasion of Greece was deeply wounded after battle. The Battle of Thermopylae was a defeat for the Greeks, but the bravery and courage showed pride for Greece. This bravery and courage led to the growth of the Athenian Empire creating the Delian League who marched to Asia defeating the Persian Empire. Xerxes was assassinated by a Persian political member which implied his tyrannical leadership was a failure. The Greeks favored new imperial policy under an aristocrat, Pericles who established a democratic government in Greece later in history.