Greco-Persian Wars are defined as a series of collisions between the Persian Empire and Greek city-states. Starting from the conquest of the Greek-inhabited regions by the Persians who regarded them as appealing, this collision changed its course due to several battles that played a highly essential role in the war outcome (Vasunia 1835). The purpose of this essay is to identify how two scholars evaluate the Battle of Plataea that is defined as the most important battle between the Persians and the Greeks. The reasoning and evidence that led the authors to their conclusions will be examined as well.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
The Greco-Persian Wars were the conflict that had been lasting for fifty years and subsequently decreased. It resulted at the end of Persian expansion and the reinforcement of Greek institutions. Despite the fact that the unsuccessful outcome in the wars for the Persian Empire potentially consisted in wrong tactics and the mistakes of Persian commanders, the wars ended in favor of the Greeks. The Battle of Plataea conducted in 479 BC provided this result. Cartledge describes this conflict as a “key and pivotal moment not just in ancient or classical Greek history but in all Western history” (12).
Cartledge’s idea of the significance of the Battle of Plataea is supported by Tucker as well. According to him, the battle provided a momentous outcome of the Greco-Persian Wars (Tucker 23). Greece gained independence, stopped Persian expansion, and “entered its Golden Age” (Tucker 23). It was empowered to control the sea and export its products and ideas throughout the Mediterranean region.
The Greek and Persian armies took their positions on the opposite sides of the Asopus River (Tucker 21). Mardonius, a Persian military commander, forced the joint armies of the Greeks and the Spartans to fight on the open terrain of Boeotia and defeat the allies with his cavalry. Instead, the Greeks protected themselves against the enemy’s tactics by staying on high ground near Plataea. When the Greeks run out of supplies, they framed a plan to involve the Persians in the battle closer to Plataea (Tucker 21). The Persian army immediately attacked the allies and isolated them; however, a prevalent part of its infantry was subsequently defeated by Greek hoplites, heavily armored soldiers. The rest of the Persians either escaped or were trapped and killed by the allies.
Reasoning and Evidence of the Battle’s Significance
The significance of Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea should be taken into consideration as it profoundly influenced the outcome of the wars. Both scholars, Cartledge and Tucker, describe the battle and underline two main factors that subsequently made it the most important confrontation in the war course. First of all, the Persian army lost a critical number of soldiers in the battle. The Greeks lost approximately 1,000 soldiers, while the Persians lost more than 10,000 men (Tucker 22).
The remaining army was “scattered in every direction” and made Persian further military advance impossible (Tucker 22). Another episode of the battle that “actually decided the Persian Wars” was the death of Mardonius (Cartledge 12). The commander was a cousin of Xerxes; his leadership skills and kinship with the King made him highly authoritative in the Persian Army. During the Battle of Plataea, Mardonius made his fatal mistake when he joined the battle. His death destroyed the combat efficiency and fighting spirit of the Persians, which determined the end of the wars.
From a personal perspective, the battle of Plataea may be defined as the most important and decisive in the Greco-Persian Wars. Despite the fact that it was potentially won by the Greeks and the Spartans due to the mistakes of their enemy, it defined the war outcome. One part of the Persian army was destroyed, while another part had to leave Greek territories to guard abandoned Asia (Olmstead 322).
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
In the battle, the Greeks showed their ability to cooperate against a serious threat despite their fear of the Persian forces’ magnitude. Persian commanders significantly underestimated “the fighting ability of the individual Greek, backed against a mountain wall” (Olmstead 321). The fighting spirit of the Greeks “made them the last men standing at Plataea” (Konijnendijk 16). Their victory in this confrontation inspired people to fight for their sovereignty and promoted the strengthening of Greece after the wars.
The Greco-Persian Wars were a conflict that had been lasting for fifty years and resulted in the end of Persian expansion and the reinforcement of Greek institutions. The outcome of these wars was substantively defined by the Battle of Plataea that is regarded by various scholars as to the most decisive conflict of the wars. The main factors that subsequently made it the most important confrontation in the war course are the crucial losses of the Persian army, the death of its highly authoritative commander, and the inspiration of Greeks due to their victory that promoted the strengthening of Greece after the wars.
The Greeks showed their ability to cooperate against a serious threat despite their fear of the Persian forces’ magnitude. As a result of the Battle of Plataea, one part of the Persian army was destroyed which made Persian further military advance impossible, while another part had to leave Greek territories to guard abandoned Asia.
Cartledge, Paul. After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Konijnendijk, Roel. “Neither the Less Valorous Nor the Weaker”: Persian Military Might and the Battle of Plataia.” Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte, vol. 61, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1–17. JSTOR, Web.
Olmstead, A. T. “Persia and the Greek Frontier Problem.” Classical Philology, vol. 34, no. 4, 1939, pp. 305–322. JSTOR. Web.
Tucker, Spencer C. Battles that Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO, 2011.
Vasunia, Phiroze. “Herodotus and the Greco-Persian Wars.” PMLA, vol. 124, no. 5, 2009, pp. 1834–1837. JSTOR. Web.