Battles I: Thermopylae
King Leonidas I of Sparta and Themistocles of Athens, the two best generals of Greek poleis, made a plan to stop the Persians' invasion.
The Greek soldiers led by Leonidas would stop the Persians at the narrow pass of the Thermopylae, meanwhile the Greek fleet led by Themistocles would stop the Achaemenid fleet at Artemisium, another narrow zone.
The conformation of the two places made the Persians' numerical superiority useless, and the Achaemenid army had also logistic problems.
In Thermopylae, about 7.000 Greek hoplites (of which 300 men of the Spartan king's guard) faced between 70.000 and 300.000 Persians, trying to stop their advance.
They resisted, fighting courageously and killing many enemies, for two long days, and the Persians couldn't advance.
But a local man called Ephialtes told the Persians about a passage on the mountain nearby to get behind the Greek, so their position was lost, as they were surrounded.
Leonidas decided to stay at the pass, with his guard, a contingent of 700 Thespians and about 1.200 other Greeks, to cover the retreat of the others, letting about 3.000 hoplites to stay alive for other following battles in the war.
All of the remaining were killed, after fighting until death, but their sacrifice protected the pthers' lives.
About 4.000 hoplites, including Leonidas, were killed, while 20.000 Persians died, despite the victory. Since Themistocles' plan was to keep both Thermopylae and Artemisium, and the Greek fleet had suffered heavy losses, he retreated to Athens, that was evacuated, and stopped at Salamis, to prepare for the great battle.~Alexandros
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