What is the most widely accepted number of Persians that faced the Spartans and allies at the battle of Thermopylae?
#77683. Asked by milky54. (Mar 22 07 6:17 PM)
Size of the Persian army|
Xerxes I, king of Persia, had been preparing for years to continue the Greco-Persian Wars started by his father Darius. In 481 BC, after four years of preparation, the Persian army and navy arrived in Asia Minor. A bridge of ships had been made at Abydos. This allowed the land forces to cross the Hellespont. Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who wrote the first history of this war, gave the size of Xerxes's army as follows:
Fleet crew 517,610
Arabs and Libyans 20,000
Greek troops allied with Persians 324,000
This is the account for the land armies present at Thermopylae. Regarding the total number of forces Xerxes assembled to invade Greece (land army, fleet crew, etc.), this number needs to be nearly doubled in order to account for support troops and thus Herodotus reports that the total Persian force numbered 5,283,220 men, a figure which is regarded as erroneous by modern estimations.
Size of the Greek army
According to Herodotus, the Greek army included the following forces:
Arcadian Orchomenos 120
Other Arcadians 1,000
Opuntian Locrians 13
To this number must be added 1,000 other Lacedemonians mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and perhaps 800 auxiliary troops from other Greek cities, bringing the total up to 7,000. Diodorus gives 4,000 as the total of Greek troops, and Pausanias 11,200. Modern historians, who usually consider Herodotus more reliable, prefer his claim of 7,000 men.
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