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Word Count: 382
The consolidation of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great in the sixth century BC had a major threat to the fledgling states of Greece The resolution of the clash between East and West was to shape the entire future of the region For the Greeks it was a question of survival for the Persians on the other hand occupation of Greece was simply part of their imperial plan Nonetheless the Persian Wars are significant because they resulted in a separation between Greece and the Near East after centuries of interaction The First Persian War in 490 BC was brief Intending to punish Athens for its participation in a raid in Asia Minor Persia sent a small force by Persian standards about 20000 infantry and 800 cavalry The Greeks met this force with 10000 troops at the plain of Marathon on the west coast of Attica The combination of Greek tactics the superiority of their armor and the new formation proved decisive in the battle the Persians were routed The Second Persian War of 481 BC was a very different proposition Persias king Xerxes planned to lead a huge expedition to conquer all the Greek states The Greeks formed the Hellenic League which included Sparta and its allied states Other Greek states went over to the Persian side In 480 BC Xerxes invaded Greece with a huge fleet and an army of over 100000 men After overcoming fierce Spartan resistance at Thermopylai the Persians occupied central Greece and the Greeks retreated south to the Peloponnesus All of Attica was captured and Athens sacked On the seas however the Greeks completely destroyed the Persian fleet in the Bay of Salamis Xerxes retreated to Asia and then suffered a great land defeat the next year at the Battle of Plataia in which the superiority of Greek armor and tactics was the deciding factor Persian expansionism never threatened Greece again The most important result of the Persian Wars
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