Understanding the Persian War Assignment to hand in: Summary of an assigned event from the Persian Wars, &

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Understanding the Persian War

Assignment to hand in: Summary of an assigned event from the Persian Wars, & Basketball Metaphor Activity.

Objective: The Students will learn about the events of the Persian Wars by scanning five major events, but focusing on one, and presenting that event to the class.


  1. Read the "Background" for each event discussed in the Persian War below.

  2. Look at the corresponding picture and read the text that follows.

  3. Click on the website links as well to better your understanding of each event. You may want to watch some of the videos at home.

  4. Complete the Basketball Metaphor Activity linked above.

  5. Using the Event you were assigned, work with your partner to create a way to summarize that event. Here are some ideas:

  1. Pretend you were a news reporter for a Greek or Persian newspaper during the time of the Persian Wars. Write a 50-100 word news update for the Greek or Persian people back home about your event. Remember your audience.

  2. Write a song lyrics describing what happened during your event.

  3. Create a PowerPoint, using visuals, to summarize your event.

  4. Draw a cartoon history of your event, summarizing visually and with captions.

  5. If you can think of another way to summarize your event, go for it.

Event A: The Expansion of the Persian Empire (Background for Event A)

This is a picture of the Grand Palace at Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire. Reliefs depicting Persian kings decorated the steps leading to the entrance of the palace, such as the roof and lions shown in the drawing. The courtyard and one of the smaller palaces that surrounded the main palace are also shown.

Website Links:
Persia - Wikipedia (good overview of the empire)
Persepolis (History)
Women’s Lives in Ancient Persia
History For Kids – Persian Empire

Event B: The Ionian Revolt (Background for Event B)

This is a relief of the Persian king Darius I seated on a cushioned throne and holding a staff and flower, two traditional symbols of royal power in Persia. The subject approaching Darius to offer tribute stands behind two incense burners, which were intended to keep visitors a respectful distance from the king. Persian subjects like the one shown here were obligated to offer tribute to the king annually. The Ionians revolted against Darius because they did not want to observe this custom.

Website Links:
Ionian Revolt - Wikipedia (good overview)

Event C: The Battle of Marathon (Background for Event C)

This is a drawing of the Battle of Marathon with the Greeks dressed in red, the Persians in blue. One of the warships that carried the Persians to Greece is shown at left, and the battle field is visible at right. The confrontation shown here took place after the Greek leader Militiades learned that the Persians had sent their calvalry ahead to Athens, reducing their strategic advantage on the flat, open battlefield.

Website Links:
Battle of Marathon - Wikipedia (good overview)
Battle of Marathon (some pictures and links)
Video Supplement:
Battle of Marathon Part 1
Battle of Marathon Part 2

Event D:The Battle of Thermopylae (Background for Event D)

This is a drawing of the Battle of Thermopylae with the Persians in the foreground and the Greeks in the background. This drawing shows the narrow pass that made it difficult for the larger Persian army to overwhelm the Greeks early in the battle.

Website Links:
Battle of Thermopylae - Wikipedia (good overview)
Basics of Thermopylae
Supplemental Videos:
Battle of Thermopylae Part 1
Battle of Thermopylae Part 2
Battle of Thermopylae Part 3
The Last Stand of the 300

Event E: The Battle of Salamis (Background for Event E)

This is an engraving of the Battle of Salamis showing Greek warships destroying Persian warships at close range.

Website Links:
Battle of Salamis - Wikipedia (good overview)
Salamis (overview)

Supplemental Video:

History's Turning Points - Battle of Salamis

Greece After the Persian Wars: "Golden Age" of Greece

The Persian Wars were immensely important in the history of ancient Greece. Working together to defeat a common foe reminded the Greek city-states that they shared a common language, culture, and religion. After the wars ended, Spartans, Athenians, and residents of other Greek city-states referred to themselves collectively as "Greeks" more than they had in the past. Additionally, victory over the mighty Persian Empire filled the Greeks with a new level of confidence. At times, this confidence expressed itself as sheer arrogance. For example, in Herodotus's history of the Persian Wars, he repeatedly referred to the Persians as "barbarians." However, this newfound confidence led to the development of stunning cultural achievements, especially in the city-state of Athens. The Athenians were determined to rebuild their city and make it one of the most spectacular in the ancient world. During the 40 years following the Persian Wars, the achievements of the Athenians - in theater, philosophy, sculpture, architecture, and government - were so numerous that many have referred to the period as the "Golden Age" of Athens.

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