The most well-known campaigns of the Persian emperor, Xerxes, were fought during his invasion of Greece in 480 BCE. These were the battles of Thermopylae, Artemisium and Salamis. In 485 BCE, Xerxes acceded to the throne upon the death of his father, Darius the Great. Xerxes inherited a Persian empire that included Thrace and Asia Minor with vassal states in Macedonia and Illyria. After subduing several rebellions, including an uprising in Babylon, he spent four years planning a second Persian invasion of Greece. In spring 480 BCE, the Persian army left Sardis and travelled south, where it fought and defeated the Spartan Greeks at Thermopylae. Almost simultaneously, the Persian navy destroyed the Greek fleet at Artemisium, followed by the fall of Athens. Persia’s fortunes then reversed when their navy was defeated at Salamis. The remainder of Xerxes’ forces were repelled in 479 BCE, but hostilities limped on for a further 13 years.
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