- Thermopylae - The Battle to Save Greece

The Battle Begins

Spartan Statue

After three or four days of waiting for the attack by Xerxes' Persian army, the Persian leader sent in his Medes on the first day of fighting.

The Medes were somewhat seasoned troops and numbered about 2,000. But up against the highly armored and drilled Spartans, they were no match.

The failure of the Medes attack would be repeated throughout the day as Xerxes sent in more and more troops.

It was said that Xerxes was so appalled by the loss of his troops that in three occasions, he lept from his throne in horror.

As the Spartans continued to use tactics such as fighting in relays, Xerxes sent in his royal bodyguard. The elite 10,000 Immortals moved forward under the command of Hydarnes, but met the fate of his other troops at the hands of the Spartans and retreated after heavy losses.

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Image from www.csupomona.edu. Spartan Warrior Statuette.