Wars of Ancient Greece

Wars of Ancient Greece

The Greeks fought many wars in ancient times. Some were civil wars such as between Sparta and Athens while other wars saw all sides come together to defeat outside enemies such as Persia. The war against Troy known in Greek mythology as the Trojan War is another well known example. Lets take a look at the war between Greece and Persia, who fought in it and why.

Greece against Persia

Sparta and Athens, two Greek states, fought a lengthy war against each other from 431BC to 404 BC. This war was known as the Peloponnesian War, while this war only really ended due to the fact that Persia was trying to invade Greece so the two sides came together to defend their country against a common enemy. From 490 BC to 449 BC these wars were fought at selected intervals as the kings of Persia constantly tried to conquer Greece to make it part of their empire. Greece did eventually defeat Persia in 330 BC when their armies led by Alexander the Great were victorious.

Alexander the Great

Ancient Greek Soldiers

A Greek foot soldier was called a Hoplite. He wore metal armour on his legs called greaves and a metal helmet that usually had a huge crest on top made from horse hair. This crest was used in order to make the soldier look bigger in height and more fearsome to the enemy. The Greek soldier also carried a round shield made from metal and wood, a long spear plus a sword. The Hoplite was expected to pay for his armour, something we would not expect our soldiers to do today. Some, if they were lucky, would inherit armour, while depending on their financial status some wore rounded metal breastplates while others had to make do with armour made from linen that would have metal glued on to it to make it more sturdy defensive wise.

The Hoplites fought in lines of ten one line behind the other forming one big human shield that made it hard for enemy soldiers to penetrate. Greek soldiers were expected to be brave and courageous, while the foot soldiers were accompanied by wagons that carried their supplies and food. Battle commanders would give the order by sounding horns and soldiers would sing as they marched into battle, while generals who battled successfully donated their shields to the gods in their temples. Other fighters in the Greek army included archers and cavalry.

Achilles and the Trojan War

Achilles

Achilles was a warrior of legend from Greek Mythology that fought in the Trojan War. He is also the main warrior character featured in Homer's Illiad. Achilles is the son of Peleus who is mortal and Thetis who is a nymph. He is stated to be the bravest and most handsome warrior of the army of Agamemnon. Thetis his mother was said to have dipped Achilles into the waters of the River Styx in order to make him immortal. The only part of his body not to be covered by the waters was his heel where his mother had gripped him. This was therefore the only part of Achilles that his enemies could penetrate to injure him. This is where the well known saying "Achilles Heel" derives from. 

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