Aristogoras of Miletus Essay

Aristogoras of Miletus Essay.

In 499 BCE, Aristagoras made a mistake that greatly changed history and led to western ideas being spread throughout the world, a major turning point in shaping the culture of future generations. It resulted in many wars and conquests but ultimately this mistake is why today delegates to the United Nations wear suits and ties instead of turbans.

Aristagoras was the Persian governor of Miletus on the edge of the Persian Empire. The nearby island of Naxos rebelled against the Persian Empire and Aristagoras seized the opportunity to take it back and get a promotion to a better position from the Persian emperor Darius I.

At the very least, even if it did not lead to advancement, he could add Naxos to his growing state and get money from the taxes on its citizens.

Since Naxos was an island, Aristagoras needed a navy to conquer it so he got the help of Artaphernes, the governor of Lydia and Darius’ brother, to supply his navy to take Naxos in exchange for some of the plunder.

In addition, Artaphernes provided Aristagoras with his skilled and clever naval admiral, Megabates. Unfortunately, Aristagoras publically insulted Megabates leading him to warn the people of Naxos of the impending invasion. The invasion failed because the people of Naxos were prepared and Aristagoras was defeated. The problem was that Aristagoras promised Artaphernes a portion of his booty and since he had none, Artaphernes would take revenge. At the very least Aristagoras would be exiled, but most likely Artaphernes would kill him, easily within his power since he was the brother of the king and had connections.

To save his skin, Aristagoras started a revolt against Persia and got some of his neighbors to help him, such as Athens and Ephesus. His army marched to Sardis, the capital of Lydia, and burnt it to the ground while Artaphernes hid in the citadel. Darius I saw what happened and quickly defeated all of the rebels except for the Athenians who escaped by ship.

Darius then launched the first of the Persian Wars which culminated at the Battle of Marathon, where the Greeks easily defeated the Persians, ending the war. The second of the Persian Wars was launched by Darius’ son, Xerxes, which the Persians “won” after the battle of Thermopolis, but they later lost Greece in a rebellion. Greece survived and a few hundred years later, the son of Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, spread Western culture in his vast conquests. “The world as we know today” is because of Aristagoras’ mistake that shaped the west (Fawcett 5).

Context of that World

The Mediterranean world in 499 BCE was very different from our own; the main power was the Persian Empire. Persia was a very large empire consisting of twenty provinces called satrapies which were ruled by a governor, or satrap. The satrap was appointed by the king who at that time was Darius I. The satrap’s duties included taxing the people, acting as a judge, and making important decisions for the satrapy. The farther the satrapy was from the capital, the more autonomous it was because at that time the fastest communication was on horseback, which often took months to get from one part of the empire to another. It also took many months to raise an army and march it to the farthest part of the empire if a problem needed to be handled. As a result, the satraps on the far reaches of the Persian Empire acted as kings of their own satrapies and could, in general, do as they pleased, which describes Aristagoras and his satrapy Miletus.

While the rule of the different satraps varied based on their location, they were all united with a uniform system of laws and judges. They shared abundant resources and order was maintained. They were also all connected by a well maintained and patrolled system of roads and cultural and technological exchange was ongoing. This existed in sharp contrast to the Greeks, who were divided in hundreds of different independent entities, called polis, ruled by tyrants. Though bound together by language, religion, and lifestyle, they were a resource poor region. As a result, each polis was fiercely jealous of independence and suspicious of their neighbors, with frequent conflicts erupting. While, collectively, they occupied a large area, they were not a dominant world force at that time. All this changed after Darius declared war, and the major polis came together and formed an alliance to counteract the Persian threat.

Although Greece continued as an independent collection of city states after they defeated the Persians, they were eventually brought together under the rule of Philip of Macedon. Expansion of the Greek Empire continued under the rule of his son Alexander the Great as the Greek way of life spread throughout much of the Mediterranean area and into southwest Asia, forming the foundation western culture.

Abbott, E. A History of Greece, Part II: From the Ionian Revolt to the Thirty Years’ Peace 500-445 B.C. New York, Putnam, 1892.

Although an old work, this book will provide a good synopsis of Greek history and the impact of Aristagoras’ actions on Greek history.

Curtis, John E. and Nigel Tallis. Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia. Los Angelos: University of California Press, 2005.

This resource provides an in-depth perspective of the complete history of the Persian Empire and the impact of Aristagoras. It also has a lengthy bibliography that can be used to find further resources.

Fawcett, Bill. 100 Mistakes that Changed History. New York: Penguin Group, 2010.

This book provides an excellent overview of Aristagoras’ rule of Miletus and the subsequent rebellion that resulted in the war between the Persian Empire and the Greeks and how his actions changed history.

Herodotus, The Histories, Revised. Trans. Aubrey de Salincourt. Ed. John M. Marincola. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.

The only existing primary source, this edition also includes editorial comments to aid in understanding of the text, a glossary, timetable, and index. An updated bibliography is also provided which can be used to find
additional sources for further research.

Holland, Tom. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West. New York: Doubleday, 2006.

A relatively recent work, this book will provide a more updated viewpoint and accounting of historical events surrounding Aristagoras.

How, W. and J. Wells. A Commentary on Herodotus, with Introduction and Appendices Volume 2 (Books V-IX). New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Aristogoras of Miletus Essay

Greek Unity Essay

Greek Unity Essay.

There is much discussion over whether it was Greek unity that caused the victory against the Persians in the years 490BC-479BC. The three main points of view on the matter is that they were not united at all, which can be seen from the accounts of Herodotus, that they were united, which can be seen in the Themistocles Decree and that it was Themistocles himself that made them unified.

It is on the research of Herodotus that we rely most heavily on for our information of the Persian War period.

He is often criticised for his inaccuracy, bias and failure to evaluate events properly. Unfortunately there is no other major ancient source against which scholars can check his facts. Plutarch writes about him with “blasphemy and slander lie beneath his smooth, delicate surface and we must beware of unconsciously accepting his false and absurd ideas about the greats noblest cities and men of Greece.”

He is generally reliable when it comes to the principal events, even though he is prone to exaggerate the size of the Persian armies brought against Greece.

He is not, however, as useful when it comes to analysis, particularly his judgements about causes for events or tactics in battles. He openly declares his admiration for Athens and his accounts are largely written from the Athenian point of view. However, it must be remembered that he received his information at a time when Athens and Sparta were hostile to one another, after 464. This could be a contributing factor as to why he writes as if there wasn’t unity between the Greeks.

Herodotus dismisses the idea that the Greeks were ever unified. In his writings he gives endless examples of how the Greeks fought with each other constantly. He describes bribery, treachery and blackmail amongst the Greek camps. One of these descriptions is that of Ephilates who showed the Persians the secret pass to the Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae. He believed that if the Greeks were actually unified, it was accidental and never planned. Some modern historians tend to agree with this opinion.

In the battle of Marathon, a Persian armada of 600 ships embarked on an invasion force of approximately 20, 000 infantry and cavalry on Greek soil just north of Athens. Their mission was to crush the Greek states in retaliation for their support of their Ionian cousins who had revolted against Persian rule. Athens mobilized 10, 000 hoplite warriors to defend their territories. The two armies met on the Plain of Marathon which was ideal for Persian cavalry.

The Athenians asked the Spartans for aid in the battle but according to Herodotus, the Spartans were unable to come straight away as they had their religious festival on at the time; “And the Spartans wished to help the Athenians, but were unable to give them any present succour, as they did not like to break their established law.” They did say that they would come as soon as it was over as quickly as they could which shows the unity at the time between Athens and Sparta, the two main forces at the time. When Athens was in need, Sparta would come to help. Herodotus states “After the full of the moon, two thousand Lacedaemonians came to Athens. So eager had they been to arrive in time that they took but three days to reach Attica from Sparta.”

But it wasn’t unity that helped the Greeks win this battle, they were at a slight advantage as they had knowledge of their land unlike the Persians who had no understanding of the Greek geography as it was very different to their own. The greeks knew the Plain of Marathon well and could use the rugged land and the mountains surrounding the plain to their advantage. The Athenians kept in the high land whereas the Persians stationed themselves on the plain.

Another thing that helped the Greeks win was the absence of the Persian cavalry when the Athenians decided to attack. The cavalry was one of the elite units of the Persian army and, if it were present at the battle, would most probably have caused the Persians to win. There are two theories as to why the cavalry weren’t there. The first being that the Persians had ordered the cavalry back onto the Persian ships, perhaps to sail around the Greek army and attack them from behind. The second being that the horses were off eating grass and the Persians couldn’t get them to the battle in time.

According to Bury, the Spartans didn’t really want to go to Thermopylae which suggests that the Greeks weren’t unified. This is assuming that the goal of this battle was to win and not a holding plan. Bury states that the spartans “attempted to cover his [Leonidas] selfish and short-sighted policy by the plea that they were hindered from marching forth in full force by the celebration of the Carnean festival” suggesting that the Spartans did not want to send a full army to help the Athenians.

But according to most historians, the aim at Thermopylae was to hold the Persian army back while the Greece forces ready themselves at the Isthmus. Buckley states “The Persian army could not be defeated in such a position, but it’s advance could be held up indefinately.” This shows that the Greeks had a plan and knew exactly what they were doing. Leonidas’ decision to stay and die with the 300 spartans is said to have been in the vain hope that the Persian force that had travelled down the path might itself be trapped between the 300 Spartans and the main Greek force south of Thermopylae. This shows unity between the Greek states against Persia rule. Herodotus suggested that it was because of the prophecy that Sparta would be plundered unless a Spartan king died.

While the events at Thermopylae were unfolding, a limited and indecisive naval engagement took place at Artemisium. If either side gained an advantage in this battle, modern historians would say that it was probably the Persians. Nevertheless, a storm blew up and inflicted damage on both fleets. In this instance, the Persians became the losers. This battle lessened the Persian fleet which later proved as an advantage to the Greeks in the battle of Salamis.

During this battle the Athenians gave up their leadership position as they knew that they would have better chances if someone else was to lead. This strategy used also shows unity between the Greeks. Herodotus states that “The Athenians waived their claim in the interest of national survival, knowing that a quarrel about the command would certainly mean the destruction of Greece.”

The Themistocles Decree shows a planned outline of the Athenian evacuation suggesting that it was the plan the whole time and that the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium were to hold the Persians back. This also suggests unity between the Greeks as they follow the plan Troezen inscriptions say before Thermopylae. The decree states that “Who live in Athens shall place [their children and women] on Troezen – the Founder of the land. [The elderly and (movable)] property shall (for safety) be deposited at Salamis. [the Treasurers and] the Priestesses are [to remain] on the Acropolis [and guard the possessions of the] gods. The rest of Athenians in their entirety and those aliens who have reached young manhood shall embarks [on the readied] two hundred shops and they shall repulse the [Barbarian for the sake of] liberty.” If this decree was in fact sound, it shows that the Greeks were deliberately unified.

Also, the Hellenic League is recorded to have held many conferences at Corinth to discuss their strategies against the Persians. This indicates that the Greeks were organized and prepared to work together to destroy the Persians.

Themistocles is said to be one of the most brilliant and innovative leaders of Athens. Thucydides describes him as “a man who showed an unmistakable natural genius; in this respect he was quite exceptional, and beyond all others deserves our admiration.” He believed that when the Persians came in greater force the only way that they would cut off their supply lines was by defeating them at sea. He also knew that Athens future lay with the sea. Herodotus and Aeschylus present Themistocles as the brilliant leader who fooled the hapless Xerxes into fighting in the narrow waters of the straits of Salamis. He apparently sent a messenger posing as traitor to Xerxes to tell him that the Greek fleet was about to retreat and that unless he acted, they would get away.

Themistocles convinced the Greeks that fighting in the narrows would favour the smaller and heavier Greek fleet as fighting in the Isthmus would favour the greater number of Persians. He also convinced them that a defeat for the Persians at Salamis would stop the army advancing to the Isthmus. By doing this, he helped the Greeks greatly and according to Thucydides, saved the Peloponnese.

Some historians say that the arguing that took place between the different Greek leaders which shows disunity was actually planned. They say that the arguments were staged because of Persian spies who were listening in. The spies would then go back to Xerxes and tell him that the Greeks had no chance of winning against the Persians as all they did was fight with each other.

Hammond states that “the battle of Plataea was the finest achievements of Greek unity.” Approximately twenty-three states had taken an oath of comradeship to fight together until the Persian invaders were destroyed, and for around three weeks over 100,000 Greeks had faced extreme difficulties. They had resisted the attacks of the Persians and their allies. There were threats to unity during those weeks, but it was a national alliance, however short lived.

The Serpentine Column, now located in Turkey, is archaeological evidence that suggests that the Greeks were unified. The column shows all the Greek cit-states that were in the Hellenic league and helped fight against the Persians. The list goes from most important to least important.

Although it is hard to tell whether the Greeks were unified or not, it is clear that when the crunch time came, they all pulled together and succeeded in defeating the Persians. As Thucydides says, “It was by common effort that the foreign was repelled.”

Greek Unity Essay

Traveling To Greece Essay

Traveling To Greece Essay.

Reading about Greece is like going aboard an airplane to visit the country for a vacation. I have learned a lot about Greece from conducting research and further readings that it seems like I have been there already. Greece has a rich historicity and culture. It also boasts of beautiful sceneries and wonderful vacation spots that I would want to visit, enjoy and indulge myself in. Greece is made up mostly of mountainous areas. The highest mountain peak in the country is the popular Mount Olympus, which reminds me of the Greek’s artistry and creativity as its association to Greek mythology is established through subjects literary studies of the western civilization.

Some areas of Greece also consist of numerous islands. (CultureGrams)

The entire population of Greece is made up of Albanians, Turks, Romas or gypsies, and other nationalities and groups who have migrated to the country. Despite the variety of its inhabitants, the official language of the country is still Greek.

In fact, some Greek terms have been popularized as part of our everyday conversations in medicine, physics, and other fields of study. The prevailing religion in Greece is the Eastern Orthodox. Majority of the Greek population is a member of this religious institution, as it is declared to be the state’s official religion. Greeks also hold similar values to other culture because they consider family, friends, religion, culture, and education as significant in their lives. (CultureGrams)

The Greeks are pleasant people as shown in how they express themselves, how they treat each other, and how they live as a whole. They are affectionate and expressive of their feelings. For instance, I have read that they greet other people through hugs, kisses and greetings that express respect, especially to the elderly. It seems that family honor is also valuable to them because they avoid causing disrespect or disgrace to their families. Moreover, if I am to go travel to Greece for a vacation, I am sure I will be enjoying my stay there because Greeks consider visitors as gods in disguise that is why they treat them kindheartedness. (CultureGrams)

I have only discussed a sneak peek of Greece. Further research through the use of online travel guides and advisories have provided answers to my inquiries regarding Greece as a tourist destination and other relevant information. Lamb, seafoods, olives and cheese, cooked with olive oil and garnished with a variety of spices, are the usual ingredients of the traditional Greek menu. (CultureGram) Since I am craving for an authentic Greek delicacy, I have discovered two dishes that are part of the traditional home cooking. These are the avgolemono soup, lamb fricassee, stifado, arni psito, and many more. The Greek menu would not be complete without the barrel wines. (Fodor’s)

I have also read several tourist destinations that complete the total Greek experience. Athens is a great destination for a glance of the history of Greece. I will be able to appreciate the architectural design of the Parthenon and Propylaea upon visiting the Acropolis in Athens by mean of hiking or walking trips (Fodor’s). To gain more information about the history of Greece, I want to tour the National Historical Museum, where the ingenuity and creativity of the Greeks are exhibited (Orbitz). In the evening, live presentations to entertain dinner guests are enjoyed in fine dining restaurants situated adjacent to the Acropolis (Expedia).

Mount Athos is also a perfect place for relaxation and soul-searching; however, men are only allowed to visit the sanctuary of monks and monasteries. (Travelocity)  Since some areas of Greece are islands, tourists seeking for water adventures can visit Crete, Rhodes and other islands. Several beaches surround these islands, and establishments situated in these areas guarantee total entertainment for tourists visiting the islands. (Travelocity) Activities are available for the sports-minded and the athletic type of tourist. I have discovered that there activities for vacationers who are always on the go, such as biking, diving along the Attican coast, Crete, Rhodes and other islands, fishing, hiking in Crete and other mountainous areas of Greece, horseback riding, mountaineering, skiing on Mount Parnassus, spelunking, and other water sports.

Water sports include cruising over the numerous islands of the Greek archipelago, parasailing, kayaking and river rafting in Epirus, and many more. (Travelocity) The Absynnia Square, the Central Market, and flea markets in Monastiraki and Pasalimani are perfect places for shopping and bargain hunting for the tourists who want to take home a piece of Greece with them. There are various finds in these marketplaces such as food, clothes, and dry goods. (Fodor’s)

I have also researched about travel advisories and other requirements in traveling to Greece. Travel advisories have suggested that it is best to go to Greece during the end of fall and spring, where the weather is favorable for touring vacationers. This is also to avoid crowded streets and places. To enjoy the Greek’s celebration of Easter, it is also an option to visit Greece in April or May. (Fodor’s) Tourists who visit Greece are only required to obtain a passport, which is only valid within 90 days. Visa extensions are needed to stay in Greece for after the duration period of 90 days. Fines will be paid, in Euro (Greek currency), their when these conditions are violated. (Fodor’s) For currency conversions, banks along Syntagma and Omonia squares are most accessible.

However, currency exchange in banks is only available until two in the afternoon. (Fodor’s) Concerning time difference, conversions may be based on the time zone adapted by Greece, which is Eastern European Time (EET) +0200 UTC (WorldTimeServer). There are still other information available for review and readings in numerous sources to encourage people to visit Greece; however, nothing beats personal experiences. After conducting much research and readings about Greece, I for one, am convince that visiting Greece would be a worthwhile experience. I can write about travel advisories I have read in online sources, but for me, the best travel advisory is to have fun, enjoy, and indulge in everything Greek for the total Hellenic experience.



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Traveling To Greece Essay