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Born:c.519 BCE...(Show more)Died:465 BCEPersepolisIran...(Show more)Title / Office:king (486BC-465BC), Persia...(Show more)House / Dynasty:Achaemenian dynastyAchaemenid dynasty...(Show more)Notable family Members:father Darius Ison Artaxerxes I...(Show more)

Upon his accession to the Persian throne in 486 BCE, Xerxes I had actually to very first remove a usurper satrap indigenous Egypt. That handily crushed this insurgents. Worse, however, was the Babylonian revolt, i m sorry Xerxes sent out his son-in-law to quell. That punished Babylon there is no mercy and toppled the statue of Marduk, your chief god.


Xerxes ns was likely convinced by his cousin Mardonius to invade Greece in 480 BCE in order come avenge the so late king Darius I. Darius, Xerxes’ father, had actually abandoned his own invasion after an embarrassing defeat at Marathon in 490. Mardonius might have preferred war so that he could end up being satrap the Greece.


Modern scholars calculation that Xerxes i crossed the Hellespont with around 360,000 soldiers and also a marine of 700 to 800 ships, getting to Greece in 480 BCE. He defeated the Spartans in ~ Thermopylae, overcame Attica, and also sacked Athens. However, rising Greek nationalist sentiments conspired to hold together the opposition and rob that of his successes.


Despite early on successes, Xerxes I’s fortunes soured in ~ the fight of Salamis in 480 BCE. A little Greek fleet lured his massive navy right into the strait in ~ Salamis, wherein they rammed his ships to piece in the cramped space. Through Xerxes’ fleet routed, he retreated to Asia, and the Persian war effort waned over the adhering to years.


After his failure in Greece, Xerxes I began a lavish construction program in Persepolis at great expense to his subjects. He constructed a new palace and began job-related on the monumental Hall of a hundred Columns. He was assassinated through his courtiers in 465 BCE, prior to it was completed.


Xerxes I, Old Persian Khshayarsha, byname Xerxes the Great, (born c. 519 bce—died 465, Persepolis, Iran), Persian king (486–465 bce), the boy and follower of Darius I. The is best known because that his enormous invasion of greek from throughout the Hellespont (480 bce), a campaign marked by the war of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate loss spelled the start of the decline of the Achaemenian Empire.

Accession come the throne

Xerxes to be the son of Darius I and Atossa, daughter that Cyrus; he to be the first son born come Darius after his ascede to the throne. Xerxes to be designated heir evident by his dad in choice to his elder brother Artabazanes. A bas-relief top top the southerly portico that a courtyard in the treasury the Persepolis, and also the bas-reliefs ~ above the east door that the tripylon (an ornamental stairway) depict him as the heir apparent, standing behind his father, who is seated on the throne. When his father died, in 486 bce, Xerxes was about 35 year old and had currently governed Babylonia for a dozen years.

One the his very first concerns ~ above his accession to be to pacify Egypt, where a usurper had actually been administer for 2 years. However he was compelled to use much stronger approaches than had Darius: in 484 bce he devastated the Delta and chastised the Egyptians. Xerxes then learned of the rebellion of Babylon, where 2 nationalist pretenders had showed up in swift succession. The second, Shamash-eriba, was dominated by Xerxes’ son-in-law, and violent repression ensued: Babylon’s fortresses were torn down, its holy places pillaged, and the statue the Marduk destroyed. This latter act had good political significance: Xerxes to be no much longer able come “take the hand of” (receive the patronage of) the Babylonian god. Conversely, Darius had actually treated Egypt and Babylonia as kingdoms personally united to the Achaemenian empire (though administered as satrapies), Xerxes acted v a new intransigence. Having actually rejected the fiction of an individual union, he then exit the title of king the Babylonia and king that Egypt, do himself just “king that the Persians and also the Medes.”

It was more than likely the revolt of Babylon, although some authors speak it was troubles in Bactria, to which Xerxes alluded in an engraving that proclaimed:


And among these countries (in rebellion) there to be one where, previously, daevas had been worshipped. Afterward, v Ahura Mazdā’s favour, I damaged this sanctuary the daevas and also proclaimed, “Let daevas not be worshipped!” There, whereby daevas had been venerated before, I worshipped Ahura Mazdā.

Xerxes thus declared himself the evil one of the daevas, the old pre-Zoroastrian gods, and doubtlessly identified the Babylonian gods through these fallen god of the Aryan religion. The questions arise of even if it is the damage of Marduk’s statue need to be linked with this message proclaiming the destruction of the daeva sanctuaries, of whether Xerxes was a an ext zealous support of Zoroastrianism than was his father, and, indeed, of whether he himself was a Zoroastrian. The trouble of the relationship between the Achaemenian religion and also Zoroastrianism is a daunting one, and also some scholars, such as M. Molé, have also thought the this is an wrong posing that the question—that over there were, rather, three different states of religion: a faith of strict observance, a royal religious beliefs as attested by the Achaemenian inscriptions, and also the famous religion as explained by the Greek chronicler Herodotus.

War versus the Greeks

With the tranquillity of the realm reestablished, Xerxes would certainly willingly have dedicated himself to serene activities. But many the those around him were pushing for the rejuvenation of hostilities. His cousin and brother-in-law Mardonius, supported by a solid party that exiled Greeks, incited that to take it revenge because that the affront that Darius had actually suffered in ~ the hand of the Greeks at Marathon (490 bce). The impressionable Xerxes gave way to pressure from his entourage and also threw himself into patient diplomatic and also military preparations because that war, which required three years to finish (484–481 bce). Herodotus notes that never prior to had such an effort been undertaken. Troops were levied in every the satrapies, and a navy, plan to be the army’s supply line, to be gathered. The treatment lavished top top this enterprise mirrors that the king did no regard it as a young operation.

There has actually been much later speculation on the real reasons for the expedition. They could not have actually been economic, since Greece to be not important then. Maybe it was only the manifestation the a imperial absolutism: Xerxes, whose character was later distorted in Greek legend, was neither foolish no one overly optimistic; back sensible and also intelligent, he was nevertheless, according to G. Glotz,

a can be fried by magnificent right, to who opposition was as annoying as sacrilege…nervous in temperament, fallen native youthful fire into indolence, incited to do a battle he didn’t like.

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At the head of his armies, he left Sardis for the Hellespont and had two watercraft bridges placed throughout the strait. A storm destroyed them, and also Xerxes had the sea whipped together punishment. V the bridges remade, for 7 days he supervised the crossing of the army—5,000,000 men according to Herodotus and 360,000 by contemporary estimate, supported by 700 to 800 ships. Your passage was assisted in by a massive engineering works: a channel to be dug throughout the Isthmus the Actium so the the peaks of mountain Athos might be avoided. Nevertheless, the army’s dimension was of no help, partly due to the fact that of misinformation around the adversary terrain and partly since of the illustration of a nationwide feeling in Greece. After a few successes (e.g., Thermopylae, mid-August 480 bce), Xerxes lived in Attica and pillaged Athens ~ above September 21, but on September 29, at Salamis, a naval fight that he had initiated turned right into a defeat. Without a fleet come take gives to the army, he had to retreat; he crossed over into Asia, leaving Mardonius in Thessaly. Throughout an indecisive battle near Plataea on respectable 27, 479 bce, Mardonius was killed, and his death obliged the military of occupation come withdraw. Hostilities continued for 13 years, however thenceforth Xerxes involved himself only slightly.