Essay on Greek War

Topics: Peloponnesian War, Ancient Greece, Sicily Pages: 4 (1483 words) Published: April 12, 2014
Failure can bring along a success for a culture on the doorstep of annihilation, as success can bring upon failure to the greatest empires ever to expand across the land. Success and failure in the ancient world reaches much farther than a single battle or campaign, it influences culture, ways of life for empires and city-states in the present time and in the seemingly far, but near future. The failures of Xerxes’ invasion of Greece and the Sicilian Expedition provide more than a look into militaries and warfare in ancient Greece. A unique parallel between leadership and its expectations, desire for power, and decisive naval encounters develops through Herodotus, The Histories, and Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, leading the Persian and Athenian empires into their unavoidable and spectacular failures. The leadership of Xerxes over the Persian Empire’s invasion of Greece and the Athenian government and its generals in the Sicilian Expedition is insufficient and the expectations are unrealistic for the invading forces to have success. Xerxes’ belief in his divine power is the base of his leadership and expectations of the invasion. Xerxes holds control of his people and army because of their fear of his divine power and the fear of the consequences of their actions. This fear of their leader is coupled with underlying hatred. Xerxes overlooks the morale of his fighting force; the fear and hatred of their leader is passed over due to the vast size of the Persian Army. Xerxes may appear confident due to the size of his army and his belief in his power, but he “was at first reluctant to make war in Greece” and only brought to the final decision to invade and wage war because of Mardonius’ persuasion (Herodotus, 7.5-7). Unrealistic expectations of success and power from Xerxes and his generals develop from a false sense of confidence and desire for expansion and power. Greater numbers and size of an army does not lead to success and victory. Xerxes...
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