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The battle of Plataea: 479 BC

In 480 BC a huge Persian army invaded Greece, only to be defeated at the battle of *Marathon, immortalised by the feat of Pheidippides who ran 150 miles to Sparta in two days to seek support. Ten years later an even larger Persian army and fleet invaded, was delayed by heroic Spartan resistance at the pass of *Thermopylae, defeated at the sea battle of *Salamis, and finally defeated on land at *Plataea.

Plataea marked the end of *Achaemenid Persian hopes of ever establishing a European empire, and it symbolised the victory of the underdog, of the small hoplite armies of the Greek *city states over the massive armies of Asian archers and cavalry.

The armies of the Greek city states were composed primarily of *hoplites, infantry armed with long spears and swords, protected by helmets, body armour, greaves and large round shields, who fought in a dense, deep battle line called a *phalanx.


Royal Armouries
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