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FIFTH CENTURY BEFORE CHRIST.
(500 - 400.)
The countries of the greatest historical interest and importance during this century are Persia and Greece.
Persia, although the chief power of the world at this time, is of general interest only in connection with her unsuccessful attempt to conquer Greece, known as the Persian War. (See Illustrations, page 13.) The vast territory of the Persian Empire suffers no important change in its extent, except in the loss of Egypt, which revolts and becomes independent in 413 B. c.
Greece is involved between 492 B. C. and 479 B. C. in the famous and decisive struggle with Persia which results in the defeat of the Persians, who are finally driven in disgrace wholly out of Europe. (See Illustrations.) The defeat of the Persians is followed by the wonderfully brilliant period — the highest point of greatness and splendor attained by the Greeks — commonly known as the Age of Pericles. (See Illustrations.)
Rome is merely a little settlement in the infancy of her power. (See Illustrations.)
Egypt revolts from Persia and becomes independent in 413 B. C. Carthage presents no movements of interest.
500. The Patricians and Plebeians begin their civil contests.
500-494. The Ionian War.
494. Secession of Plebeians to Mons Sacer. Creation of Tribunes.
492. The Persians, under Mardonius, invade Greece.
491. Coriolanus banished from Rome.
490. Second Persian expedition against Greece. Battle of Marathon (victory gained by Miltiades).
484. First Agrarian law proposed.
483. Aristides ostracized.
480. Invasion of Greece by Xerxes, King of Persia. Battles of Thermopylae (Leonidas), Artemisium, and Salamis (Themistocles).
479. Battles of Platsea and Mycale.
477. Athens becomes the chief of the Greek states. Confederacy of Delos.
471. Publilian law passed. Increase of privileges of the Plebeians.
466. Battle on the Eurymedon (Cimon).
458. The Hebrew Scriptures collected by Ezra,
458. Cineinnatus chosen Dictator. Defeats the JSqui.
451. Appointment of the Decemvirs. Code of the Twelve Tables.
447. Battle of Coronea.
445. Thirty Years' Truce between Athens and Sparta.
445. Marriage between Patricians and Plebeians.
444. Military Tribunes elected.
443. Office of Censor created.
431-404. The Peloponnesiau War.
430. Plague at Athens.
421. Peace of Nieias between Athens and
Sparta (truce for fifty years). 418. Battle of Mantinea. 415-413. Athenian expedition against
Sicily (Syracuse). 405. Battle of ^gospotamos. The Athenians defeated by the Spartans
(Lysander). 404. Athens taken by the Spartans. The
Thirty Tyrants. 403. The Thirty Tyrants expelled and the
Athenian Democracy restored. 401. Battle of Cunaxa. 401-400. Retreat of Xenophon with the
PROMINENT NAMES OF THE CENTURY.
Statesmen, Generals, and Orators.—Leonidas, Miltiades, Pausanias, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades, Thrasybulus, Critias, Lysander, Xenophon, Gorgias, Isocrates.
Poets and Dramatists.—Anacreon, Simonides, ^schylus, Pindar, Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes.
Philosophers. — Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Zeno (of Elea), Empedocles, Protagoras, Socrates, Democritus, Plato. Historians. — Herodotus, Thucydides.
Sculptors and Painters.—Phidias, Polycletus, Polygnotus, Alcamenes, Zeuxis, Parrhasius, Apollodorus.
Principal Sovereigns. — Darius I. (Hystaspis), Xerxes I., Artaxerxes I. f Longimanus), Xerxes II., Darius II. (Nothus).
General. — Coriolanus. Dictator. —Cineinnatus.
Scribe and Reformer. — Ezra. Governor and Writer. — Nehemiah. Prophet. — Malachi. A
Syracuse: Tyrants. —Hiero, Dionysius. China: Philosopher. — Confucius.
THE PERSIAN WAR.
That great conflict from which Europe dates its intellectual and political supremacy. — Macaulay.
PERSIA was the chief power of the known world at this time, but the main interest of Persian history centres in her relations with Greece. Some Greek cities of Ionia, in Asia Minor, subject to Darius, monarch of Persia, revolted in the year 500 B. c. They received help from Athens, one of the chief cities of Greece. Darius quickly put down the revolt, but was much provoked with the Athenians for their interference, and resolved to punish them.
He [Darius] treated with great contempt the revolt of the Ionians, well knowing who they were, and that their revolt would soon be put down; but he desired to know who, and what manner of men, the Athenians were. On being told, he called for his bow, and shooting an arrow into the air he exclaimed, "Suffer me, O Jupiter, to be revenged on these Athenians." He afterwards directed one of his attendants to repeat to him three times every day, when he sat down to table, "Sire, remember the Athenians." — Herodotus.
This revolt brought on the Persian War, in 490 B. c.
The memorable tragedy (to adopt on this occasion an apt allusion of Plutarch), which ended in the eternal disgrace of the Persian name, may be divided, with propriety, into three principal acts. The first contains the invasion of Greece by Darius' generals, Datis and Artaphernes, who were defeated in the battle of Marathon. The second consists in the expedition, undertaken ten years afterwards by Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, who fled precipitately from Greece, after the ruin of his fleet near the isle of Salamis. The third and concluding act is the destruction of the Persian armies in the bloody fields of Mycale and Platsea; events concurring on the same day, and which happened nearly two years after Xerxes' triumphal entry into Greece.— Gillies.
The first and most important battle of the Persian War, and one of the most momentous in history, was that of Marathon. At the plain of Marathon, near Athens, a small Athenian force of about ten thousand men (with the help of six hundred men from Platsea), under the famous general Miltiades, routed a Persian army of perhaps one hundred and ten thousand, in 490 B. c. This memorable battle, resulting as it did in the defeat of the power which had conquered the greater part of the known world, first taught the Greeks their own strength; and the evidence which it afforded them of their ability to repel the immense forces of Persia was of the greatest importance to them when considered in reference to the subsequent contests in which they were destined to engage.
This was the first of all the victories of the West over the East, the first battle which showed how skill and discipline can prevail over mere numbers. As such, it is perhaps the most memorable battle in the history of the world. — Freeman.
At Marathon for Greece the Athenians fonght;
That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon.— Samuel Johnson.