The Battle of Thermopylae


The Battle of Thermopylae took place in 480 BC between the Spartan led Greek forces and the Persians. Despite the comparatively few losses of the Greeks in comparison with the Persians, the battle was ultimately a loss for the Greeks due to the treachery of Ephialtes. According to Tom Holland, “The Athenians . . . no doubt at Themistocles’s urging” voted for troops to be sent to Thermopylae, a narrow and easily defensible pass, under the leadership of the Spartan king Leonidas. Between 7000 and 8000 Greeks had been sent to oppose hundreds of thousands of Persians. At first the Greeks were able to defend the pass and killed many Persian soldiers in close combat. However Ephialtes, a Greek man, told the Persians of a mountain pass which they could use to bypass the Greek defences. With the news of this betrayal, Leonidas sent most of the Greek forces back to Athens to ensure their survival, remaining with a few thousand soldiers who, despite managing to inflict casualties upon the Persian forces, were eventually all killed. Strategically the Battle of Thermopolyae was of little importance but the stories of the battle boosted Greek morale in the face of Perisan invasion,


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