Xerxes, the Persian king: Biography and the Battle of Thermopylae –

Surely if you are not very into history, the name of Xerxes will sound familiar to you from the cinema. A cinema that showed us a not too exact vision of this great warrior and we refer to the film 300. A character that alienated the viewer when the King of Sparta, Leonidas faces with his 300 men before the great Persian God King, Xerxes I and its more than 100,000 soldiers. But to be faithful to history, we should first learn about the exciting life of Xerxes I, a man who came to rule from India to Cush, present-day Ethiopia. Xerxes, the Persian King: Biography and the Battle of Thermopylae, who was Xerxes, how his life developed and what circumstances led him to the war of Thermopylae.

Who was Xerxes, the Persian King

Xerxes Ialso know as Xerxes the Great, Xerxes or Ahasuerus, as they appear in the stories of the Bible. His exact birthplace is unknown, it is known that it must have been approximately around the year 519 BC, dying in the year 465 BC in Susa.

reigned as fifth king of the Achaemenid Empire, his mother Atosa was the daughter of King Cyrus II the Great, while his father was the King Darius I. He was the Archaemenid king of Persia and with him began the terrible decline of the Persian Empire in favor of Athens. At the death of King Darius I, Xerxes will try to appease the empire, first by pacifying the area of ​​Egypt or putting down revolts in Babylon.

Undisputed enemy of the Greeks, Xerxes always had in mind avenge the death of his father, King Darius I in the battle of Marathon at the hands of the Greeks, (battle belonging to the first medical war), so it was used throughout his life, to fight against the Greeks.

Remembered for his epic battles like the one he sustained against the Greek army of Leonidas, while they tried to prevent the entry of the Persian army through the Gorge of Thermopylae.

He sacked cities, towns and regions, such as Attica and destroyed Greek sanctuaries such as the sanctuaries on the Acropolis in Athens. But he made a serious mistake, underestimated the greek army who had been regrouping through their fleet in the straits comprised between Attica and the Island of Salamisthe ambush ended with the defeat of the Persian army in 480 BC. His last years were spent retired from politics, dedicated to building large buildings in cities like Persepolis, dying in Susa 465 BC, assassinated.

Biography of Xerxes the Persian King

After the death of Darius I, Xerxes ascends the throne. the persian empire was in a very delicate situation, on the one hand the loss of the campaign waged against Greece and that had given rise to the First Medical War, on the other hand Egypt longed for its independence which originated constant rebellions, all this put the empire in a delicate moment plunged into a serious crisis.

The problems that Xerxes encountered to finish carrying out the imperial plans of Darius, they passed by regain control over Egypt and to finish off Greece. First he dedicated himself to quelling the rebellions that were taking place in Egypt, so before the end of the second year of his reign he managed to crush the Egyptian insurgents, leaving a detachment of more than 20,000 men in Memphis.

Until now the ancient civilizations that had been subdued by the Persian Empire, had been little conciliatory, first Egypt and then Babylon. Faced with this new problem, Xerxes decided to settle it definitively, and he did so. abolishing in 484 BC, the kingdom of Babylon definitively, stripping them of the golden statue of Bel or Morodachwhose tradition prayed that the legitimate king of Babylon should touch his hands on the first day of the year, killing all the priests who tried to prevent it.

It is for this reason that Xerxes will not appear in history as king of Babylon, although as King of Persia and Media or King of Nations, or what was the same, king of the world. The disappearance of Babylon as a kingdom had immediate consequences such as the revolution of the year 484 BC and that of 479 BCtwo rebellions that were vigorously and brutally put down.

After quelling the revolts, Xerxes, influenced by his own cousin Mardonius, tried avenge the defeat that his own father, Darius I, had suffered from Greek hands in the battle of Marathon, in the year 490 BC, events that happened during the First Medical War. Darius had died before punishing the Athenians for meddling in the Ionian Revoltsoccurred in Asia Minor, so now Xerxes would take his time to get punishment and revenge finishing it off with his own conquest.

Xerxes had the so-called Xerxes Canal that managed to communicate the Chalcidic Peninsula with the European continent, thus avoiding losing ships as happened in 492 BC when a Persian fleet was shipwrecked at the foot of Mount Athos. A whole conscientious plan, where no factor was left to chance, stopovers were placed along the entire route that ran through the territory of Thraceon these scales provision was storedyes, they got up bridges that facilitated reaching the Hellespont.

Xerxes signed an important alliance with Carthageleaving the Hellenic Greeks isolated by losing the support of the Sicilian Greeks in the area of ​​Agrigento and Syracuse. annexed for the empire the Greek territories of Thessaly, Macedonia, Thebes and Argos. Everything was almost ready for the great offensive, the alliances prepared, the supplies well distributed along the way, finished infrastructures and a fleet made up of Phoenicians and Cypriots. On land, a powerful army, well prepared.

Thus, before the summer of the yearor 480 BC, Xerxes left the city of Sardes to lead their armies against the great Greek alliance, formed by Athens and Sparta. Xerxes was on his way to start the Second Medical War and his already famous Battle of Thermopylae.

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