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300 спартанцев не собирались спасать Грецию от персов!Probably, there is no such a person who has not heard of the outstanding feat of 300 Spartan warriors, getting in the way of a huge Persian army in the gorge Thermopylae. About heroes-the Spartans and their king Leonid wrote books, composed poems, Hollywood twice filmed this story. But still many details of the battle in Fermopilskomu gorge, which allowed to look at what happened two and a half thousand years ago, a very different way...

It is considered that, going to Thermopylae, the king Leonid took with him only a detachment of his personal guards. In fact this was not so.

Going to death

In the campaign Spartan kings were usually accompanied by a detachment of 300 riders, consisting of the best warriors under the age of 30 years. This time Leonid was accompanied by soldiers, had children. That is, they were at least 30 years (only after thirty the Spartan was considered an adult citizen and could marry, to build a house and to drink wine).

Leonid and his soldiers went on a campaign to end religious holiday Carney, contrary to all the traditions of Sparta. I must say that at that time the attitude of the Spartans to religion was very strict, and the journey to start a week before the end of the nine-day Carnacki festivities was unheard of.

Headed Spartan king Leonidas. In Sparta, the laws Do-Coorg, was not one, but two of the king, and from different dynasties. Both the king had equal powers, and each of them had the right to take a decision without agreeing with his colleague on the king's position that made it impossible concentration of power in one hands.

However, their power is severely limited the Council of elders - gerousia, and Spartan kings were, in fact, simply leaders troops. Leonid headed the detachment of the Spartans in a rather respectable age - he was about sixty years. Second Spartan king, Leo-Tihic that was over Leonid five years, remained at home.

Thus, the king Leonidas and his soldiers went to certain death.

Corinthian passage

The king Leonid was well aware that in the battle with the Persian army is waiting for him to die. And he deliberately walked toward death. But not for the whole of Greece, and exclusively for the home Sparta. Even before the campaign Delphic Oracle foretold that in the future the us will die or all of Sparta, or one of its kings. The king decided to sacrifice himself to save the country.

He also believed that his team has been on for some time delay hordes of the Persians, to inflict maximum losses and show the "coolness" of Spartan hoplites. Leonid believed that if the Persians learn how terrible in battle Spartans, they may opt out of the trip to his hometown. And although before the performance troops Spartan elders tried to persuade Leonid take more soldiers: "Take at least a thousand", Leonid was adamant: "to win - and a thousand little to die - and quite three hundred".

Speaking after a week noqie complete celebrations 9000 Spartan warriors reached only to the Corinth isthmus separating the Peloponnese Peninsula from the rest of Greece. Here, under the leadership of king Leticia they were trying to build the fortress wall. She was supposed to stop the isthmus at the narrowest point (width 7 km). To help king Leonidas the main force of the Spartans and did not think. They came later on using m Athens, when the city was captured and burned down the Persians immediately after Fermopil battle. The Spartans came reinforcements from other cities of the Peloponnese. On the construction of the defensive walls, day and night worked tens of thousands of slaves. Soon, the fortifications were ready, and more than 15 thousand chosen warriors (the Spartans and their allies) blocked the Peloponnese from attack of the Persians.

Above the Olympic Champions

I must say that the Spartans to death in battle were treated as the greatest mercy of the gods. Warrior, valiantly fallen on the battlefield, was considered in Sparta above olimpionikiv. By the way, the champion of the Olympic games while living in his hometown put the monument and freed from all taxes. So three hundred of warriors who meet the Persian hordes were proud of their honor. The very same old king Leonid could ever want to die with a sword in his hand on the battlefield, not from senile diseases in his bed.

That Spartans initially considered himself to be suicide bombers, and says a historical fact. When the Persian scouts first came to the camp of the Spartans, they saw with surprise that those comb your hair like women. Surprised Xerxes could not understand such behavior of the enemy. And just a quick Spartan king Demaret, found refuge in the camp of the Persians, explained Xerxes that his countrymen adorn their heads, just going on his last mortal combat (by the way, not with whether those times is our old military tradition to dress in clean before battle?).

Secret weapon: long spears and flight

In Fermopilskomu gorge, but three hundred of Spartan hoplites (heavily armed Marines), in the unit were at least a thousand of pericom (residents of Sparta, limited political rights) and helots (public servants), who served as obodnikov, squires, bowmen, dart throwers and slingers.

In addition, together with the Spartans fought units karintsev, mantineia, tegeytsev, fountian, orho-Mintsev, the Mycenaeans, Arkady months, fespiad, fivantsev, Loktev and Tokarev. Only the Persians were confronted about seven thousand soldiers.

Four days Persian king waited, hoping that the Spartans come to their senses and give up. He tried to intimidate them that from the arrows of the Persian warriors will not see the sun, that one of the Spartans said: "Great news! It will be easier to fight in the shade!" The ability to speak briefly and clearly was in the customs warriors of Sparta. When Xerxes in the course of negotiations, asked them to surrender their weapons and obediently to wait for a decision on their fate, king Leonid said the Persian ruler: "Come and take himself".

On the fifth day of Xerxes decided to conduct reconnaissance. He sent to attack the Medes and kassites, relatives of those soldiers, who killed the Greeks ten years ago in the battle of Marathon. The Persians with rage, rushed to the Spartans, but they were repulsed with heavy losses. The fact that the fight they had in the narrow passage, limited to the sea and the steep hundred-meter rock. Moreover, in Fermopilskomu gorge remains of defensive fortifications that were built here many years ago, Pokazi.

The Greeks managed over the four previous days to patch up the old walls and gates.

Therefore, the Greek phalanx, blocked the passage through the gorge, did not give the Persians to turn around and crush the enemy with their numbers. On the front face to the enemy could be built only two dozen soldiers with shields. Besides, the Greek phalanx were longer than the Persians, spears. The Spartans and their allies defeated the enemy before he could approach the phalanx. Fierce fighting occurred in a small space between two gates Thermopylae. Width of passage in this place was only 14 meters!

On the second day we went to attack Immortals - the personal guard of the king of Persia. But this choice soldiers failed to achieve success. Taking advantage of the excellent combat training, the Spartans made complex maneuvers. They started feigned retreat, and then waited until the enemy will be broken, suddenly did turn "circle" and short counterattack cast of the Persians. While randomly retreating Persians suffered huge losses. But the Spartans with its allies, pushing the enemy, bring it back to the original position in 14-meter-long passage.

This continued all the first two days of the battle.

Thermopylae Spartans first introduced in his army post flutist that music was asking the rhythm of movement of the phalanx.

In the battle of Thermopylae was attended not only the Spartans, but other Greek warriors. Only squad fo-Kizel was sent to protect the mountain path, coming from the Persian camp in the rear of the Greek army. On this path, the Persians did not know. To plant in the rear of the defenders of Thermopylae Marines proved impossible, Greek ships blocked coastal waters. And battered by the storm Persian fleet until he was ready for the war. But there was a traitor, who for a generous reward told the Persians on a secret way to bypass Greek fortifications.

The defeat and eternal glory

Afield - was the name of the traitor - on the third day, led a large group of "immortal" by the secret path. Hearing this, the king Leonid ordered his allies to depart, and he with the Spartans and joined him fivantsy, the Mycenaeans and Fe-spitsami remained to cover the retreat of the Greeks. Knowing that it was his last day in the life, Leonid jokingly said to his soldiers that they this well had Breakfast because dine they now have only Aida - the realm of the dead.

The Persians began the attack two hours before noon. A battle took place in open areas, and the Greeks immediately were surrounded by. Very soon survived not more than five hundred men, went to the hill colon. Here and was killed Leonid. Began a bitter battle over his body. Four times (!) the place where he fell Leonid, passed from one to another. Many Greeks during three days of fierce fighting has become blunted sword and fell into disrepair military equipment. Then they made good use of the ancient art of pankration - kind antique "fights without rules". In the battle were notlike fists and teeth. The Persians suffered huge losses. In the end, all the defenders killed Darts and arrows. The last battle lasted almost six hours. In the last battle Leonid his soldiers, and the Mycenaeans with vespinae died, but fivantsy broke down and decided to give up. The Persians condemned prisoners hot metal and later sold them into slavery.

After Thermopylae Persians seized and burned Athens. They then fire and sword walked on the attic. But on the Peloponnese Peninsula, the invaders did not go. High stone wall and fear' before the terrible Spartans stopped the army of Xerxes before the Corinth isthmus. King Leonidas and 300 Spartans died not in vain, they defended their country from the enemy.

In the same 480 BC the Persians suffered a crushing defeat from the Greeks in the naval battle of Salamis. Among 380 Greek ships 16 Trier were Spartan. All the fleet formally commanded Spartan captain Mribi-hell, though in fact he headed the naval forces of the allies Athenian Themistocles. In this battle the Greeks destroyed half of enemy ships. And a year later the joint Greek troops broke and land hordes of the Persians at the battle of platejah. In this battle the army of the Persians was dispersed and its leader, the Satrap Mardonius, killed. Xerxes once burned Athens, immediately left the army. More important than the conquest of Greece, the Persian king were beginning of excitement in his Empire. So ignominiously ended Greek campaign of the Persians.
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