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The Battle of Thermopylae Essay

According to the essay Herodotus: Xerxes Invades Greece, from The Histories, Herodotus was a very famous historian, who gave his account of the battle of Thermopylae. It is significant though to recognize that Herodotus was Greek and giving an account of what happened when the Persians defeated them. In the text Xerxes has many incidents that portray him as superstitious and tyrannical.

Some examples of Xerxes’ tyranny is his plans to “march an army through Europe against Greece,” his want to not rest until he has taken and burnt Athens, wants to extend the Persian territory throughout all of Europe, his beheading of his master- builders, and his lack of mercy towards his slave and his five sons.

Xerxes shows his superstitions when he sends for the Magians to tell him why the sun has disappeared, and the day has so quickly tuned to night. Turning to the actions in battle, those of the Spartans tell me that they are a strong willed people who do not give up easily, if at all, even when faced with a great challenge and are outnumbered.

Besides this essay showing the Greeks strong will, this essay seems to promote their use of wit and skill in tricking the Persians into thinking there were less of them than there actually was. The account was written by a Greek, so the information in the story would cast them in a more positive light. Lastly, in our text, Western Civilization, there is a thurough evaluation of the significance of the Persian invasions on the Greek political and intellectual development.


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