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Wood was the primary element used to make furniture but these can sometimes be accentuated with ivory and different metals. More families lived in the rural areas compared to the cities wherein the rich usually prefer to reside. The wealthy may have residences in the city while their servants take the responsibility of maintaining their countryside homes. The poorer farmers had the help of the children to do the agricultural chores such as herding sheep and goats or ploughing the fields. Crops like grapes and olives grew well in the stony land but wheat to make bread had to be bought from Egyptians.

These grapes either became raisins or wine while the olives became oil or pickles. Farmers also took care of farm animals because they are excellent sources of basic needs like clothing, milk and meat. The Persian Wars The Persian Wars began to affect Greek life in 490 BC, “with a Persian invasion in Greece led by Darius the Great of Thrace” (History of Ancient Greece, n. d. ). Darius’ army was almost crushed by his first attempt to conquer the Danube if not for the Ionian Greeks who were his allies at that time.

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However, this made the Ionians realize that they should rebel from the empire and they asked for the support of the other city-states to go against Persia. This started the popularly known Ionian Revolt. Only the Athenians gave ships to the effort and were able to win the war. The Persians proudly retaliated, recaptured their supremacy in the battle of Lade in 494 B. C. and destroyed the city of Miletus by massacring or enslaving the inhabitants (Setzer, n. d. ). Angered by the Athenian bravado, Darius sought to battle on mainland Greece at around 492 B. C. but the ship that held his army became badly hit by a storm.

Another fleet was sent and this time, Eretria was completely destroyed. The next target was Athens and the army went onshore at Marathon which led towards Athens. The Athenians tried to ask Spartans for help but due to “a religious festival, the Spartans were detained, and the 10,000 Athenians had to face the Persians aided only by 1,000 men from Plataea” (Greco-Persian Wars, 2007). However, the Athenians under the leadership of ten generals including Miltiades, were able to block this attempt which made the Persians retreat and reorganize to try and attack from the Saronic Belf.

They were surprised to find the Athenian army back in their territory and ready to fight them again. The Persians went back to Asia Minor, defeated. A runner was sent to Athens to deliver the good news and this was how the Marathon Race got its name (The Persian War, n. d. ). After a decade from the first attempt of invasion, Darius’ son, Xerxes took the throne of Persian Emperor and wanted to target Greece. His strategy involved less violence because instead of attacking head on, he decided it would be best to send envoys to start negotiating with the different cities to surrender without battle.

He constructed a bridge at Hellespont and ensured that a canal was dug across the isthmus to protect his army from storms while rounding the Cape of Mount Athos (Setzer, n. d. ). He collected his troops from every satrapy (territory within the Persian Empire) which numbered about 150,000 of the best soldiers from Persia and Mede while his naval fleet had about 1200 ships that were prepared against an estimated 300 brave warriors from Athens and Sparta. The large army of the Persians resulted to a slower pace in their attack and this gave the Greeks a chance to plan out their defense (Greco-Persian Wars, 2007).

The different cities of Greece held a meeting to plan their defense which resulted to the delegation of the army to Sparta while Athens was in-charge of the navy fleet under Themistocles, an Athenian statesman (Kreis, 2006). They also consulted the Delphic Oracle. The oracle of Delphi was at Mount Parnassus where a Pythia (woman supposedly used by the God Apollo as his medium) could be asked to predict answers to their questions (Roach, 2001). The Pythia foretold that they would lose the battle and that their only chance of success was through a wooden wall.

There were so many interpretations that could mean “wooden wall” but in the end, the Athenians took it to imply that the wooden walls were their ships. The Spartans suggested that the only way to position themselves well against the great army of Persia was by blocking them at the Isthmus of Corinth. The Athenians and authorities from Central Greece did not agree because their territories will be pillaged by the Persians before they reach the Isthmus of Corinth.

However, Evaenetus, commander of the 10,000 Hoplites who decided to help Greece agreed with Sparta and so the minute number of soldiers repositioned themselves at the Isthmus of Corinth. The Spartans and Hoplites were at an advantageous position in Thermopylae until a “traitorous Greek led a Persian force through the hills to the rear of the Greek forces” (Kreis, 2006) for a surprise attack that led to a massacre. On the naval side, the Athenians left their city which allowed the Persians to burn it.

Themistocles realized that battling with the Persians in the open sea will make them lose because of their minute number. He realized that the only way to win against the Persians was to turn their large army into their own handicap. This he did in the Battle of Salamis – a very narrow strait between Athens and the Island of Salamis. “He sent his best slave to Xerxes to tell him that the Greek navy was retreating to the Isthmus of Corinth to form a combined force with the army” (Moerbeek, 1998).

He tricked Xerxes by sending a misleading message that the time of the Persian army to attack was at hand. Xerxes then allowed his unsuspecting contingent to enter the strait between Athens and the island of Salamis where a surprise attack by the Greeks was waiting for them. This caused the eventual defeat of the Persians. By 479 B. C. , the Greek forces had all conquered the Persian army and navy (Kreis, 2006). Conclusion The fast paced development of civilization owes its foundations to the very intelligent and industrious Greeks.

Every aspect of modern day life has its roots on Ancient Greek mathematics, logic, philosophy, science, art and even politics. Wars were intelligently won through cunning minds and not annihilating weaponry. Our modern world can truly learn so much just by looking at its past.


Ancient Greek Civilizations. (2003). In Minnesota State University Mankato Online. Retrieved June 11, 2007, from http://www. mnsu. edu/emuseum/prehistory/aegean/timeline. html Ancient Greeks. (n. d. ). In Anglia Campus Online. Retrieved June 11, 2007, from http://www. angliacampus. com/public/pri/history/greeks/index. htm


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