Ancient Greece was a civilization that existed thousands of years ago, and yet its legacy still lives on today. From democracy to philosophy, the Greeks have left an indelible mark on the world. However, like any civilization, they too faced challenges and enemies during their time.
One of the most well-known enemies of Ancient Greece was the Persian Empire. In 490 BCE, the Persians invaded Greece under their king Darius I.
They landed at Marathon and were met by a smaller Greek force led by Athens. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Greeks emerged victorious in what became known as the Battle of Marathon.
However, this was not the end of the Persian threat. In 480 BCE, Darius’ son Xerxes I launched a massive invasion of Greece with an army and navy estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
The Greeks formed an alliance under Sparta and Athens and met the Persians at Thermopylae. Though they fought valiantly, they were eventually defeated due to a traitor showing Xerxes a secret path through the mountains.
The Persians went on to sack Athens but were eventually defeated by the Greek navy at Salamis. This victory marked a turning point in the war as it allowed Greece to continue fighting and eventually drive out the Persians.
While Sparta was an ally against Persia, they were also seen as enemies by other Greek city-states due to their militaristic society and brutal treatment of slaves (known as helots). In fact, during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), Sparta fought against Athens in a conflict that saw both sides suffer heavy losses.
After Alexander the Great’s conquests in Asia, his former empire was divided amongst his generals known as Diadochi. One of these generals was Antigonus I, who established the Antigonid dynasty in Macedon.
In 215 BCE, the Achaean League (a confederation of Greek city-states) declared war on Macedon but were defeated at the Battle of Sellasia. This marked the beginning of Macedonian dominance over Greece.
By 146 BCE, Rome had emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean and had already defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars. Rome saw Greece as a valuable addition to its empire and invaded in 146 BCE. The Greeks put up little resistance and were eventually absorbed into the Roman Empire.
In conclusion, Ancient Greece faced enemies both foreign and domestic throughout its history. From Persia to Sparta, Macedon to Rome, these conflicts shaped Greek society and ultimately led to its downfall. Today we remember Ancient Greece not only for its achievements but also for its struggles against adversity.