Talk:Battle of Thermopylae/Archive 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

Epitaph of Simonides

I'm a little confused, for the translations that have no citation, did random people just come up with them? I feel like they shouldn't be there if there's no attributable source, but there's so many I didn't want to go ahead and delete it. Thoughts? WLGades 07:53, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. There's no need for 17 different translations, half of which have no attribution. At the very least I'm going to remove the ones with no attribution whatsoever, and I think more could be removed as well. Kafziel Talk 17:16, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Indeed. Do we actually need more than one? Or would there just be argument over which was nicest? Some of them are just dreadful. It seems bonkers having so many versions --Orias 11:39, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I think there would just be argument over which to keep. I actually find it kind of interesting to see the different translations, as there's always something lost when you go from one language to another. WLGades 12:08, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Use the one that is seen as the 'standard' translation. This shouldn't be too difficult to find out, as there are plenty of Herodotus scholars out there. CaveatLectorTalk 16:04, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
As this is probably the most famous epitaph in history, perhaps it deserves its own article, where these translations could appear. Also, I don't find the Ruskin interpretation very good -- asking the stranger to go reassure the Spartans that the 300 were on-message. Rather, it seems clear to me that the epitaph is meant to function as a perpetual reminder to the Spartans that the 300 exemplified their code. Also, the 300 are still obedient to the code even in death. 01:28, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, land's sake and odds bodykins. Swounds. You admit this is the most famous epitaph in history, yet you do not see any point in the English translations. Why, the translations alone are poems all by themsleves. There is no "standard translation" you know. How could there be? How can you standardize a translation of a poem? It isn't an automobile, you know. You can't mass produce poetry according to specification. I was hoping more of the table would get filled in. Maybe the epitaph SHOULD have its own article. Why don't you do it? Or you? Meanwhile to try and stop it from being demoted I have to try to find sources on the translations. I mean, they ARE translations- about like the Rubayat of Omar Khayam. The original poem is so good the translator tries to match the creativity by generating another poem that has the same spirit and meaning, poem for poem. That is the point of the whole section. We are in the realm of eternal spirit here not on the assembly-line floor thinking of threads per inch or distance between crankshafts on a heat-treating tray. Understand, a properly designed and built car is a poem too, but it is a different kind of a statement. What did Simonides mean? How would you put that in meaningful English? That in some distant place surrounded by enemies without any hope of victory some rag-tag piece of Sparta faithfully put into effect the Spartan creed choosing it over personal survival? Why don't you try and translate it and then see how you feel about it. Maybe you'd like to see what others have done then.Dave 04:27, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

While all the translations that remain to-date in this article are as you say "poetic translations" MY translation, ( I am afterall Greek with some knowledge of ancient Greek and perhaps some modern English) which virtually was word for word, was deleted. It had EXACTLY what Simonides wrote, only in English. But no, let's not keep the actual FACTS, lets keep the subjective feelings of some obscure dead poet, instead of exactly how it was written. All existing translations mention Spartans; there is NO SUCH WORD in Simonides' writing on the epitaph.( Try to translate THAT word into English.)Steve Ad. (talk) 06:55, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Unprotect request

Please unprotect the page.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Why? Kafziel Talk 17:50, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
So that users who don't spend enough time on wikipedia to have an account could correct obvious mistakes. For example, there's a wikilink at Artapanus, a Persian commander, leading towards the Artapanus article about a... peaceful writer. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2007 (UTC).
Sorry, but the subject is too high-profile at the moment, and the levels of vandalism from anonymous addresses have forced us to block anonymous editing for now. Believe me - the article is much better off now than it would be if unprotected.
Out of curiosity, what would you do to fix that link if the article was unprotected? Kafziel Talk 18:20, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Remove the wikilink of course. Duh. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:08, 12 March 2007 (UTC).
Well, I don't think I'd say "duh", exactly. It would be better to create an article on the right person and then change the link so it leads to that one. I've already done that. The link no longer leads to the Jewish historian. Kafziel Talk 19:11, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Date of the Battle

In the Battlebox, it states that the Battle took place on August 11, 480 BC and later on in this article it concludes that the battle took place in September 480 BC

So which is correct?

Mercenary2k 23:12, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I would say August otherwise Salamis took place in mid-Coctiber, impossible Ikokki 15:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

They decided to defend it and send a fleet to Artemision, a naval choke point, as Xerxes' army was being supplied and supported by sea. Using the fleet, Xerxes' army might have crossed Maliacos bay and outflanked the Greek army again.[8]

Artemision,the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus should be replaced with Artemisium the penisula in the island of Euboea.

The suffix -um is latin and not greek.As you might know or guess, greeks (and romans as being parent-language and lingua franca) spoke and wrote in greek and not latin.Anyway,the latin second or -us-um declension of nouns is derived from the greek second or omicron or -os-on declension of nouns...just read wiki or any other web-based or a just plain ol' paper Ancient Greek Grammar and Latin Grammar...

Thanatos666 22:37, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I have to correct Thanatos666 here. The Latin o-declension on -us, -um is certainly not derived from the Greek o-declension on -os, -on. Rather, they are parallel morphological features of two languages that are related by common descent from the proto-Indo-European language. Artemisium could be considered "correct" insofar as the Latinized forms of names of persons, places etc. from ancient Greece were traditionally used in scholarly literature, so it would be the traditionally correct form; but this practice has been in decline during the last decades. Iblardi 21:41, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
dear Iblardi

hellenic language and latin language didn't evolve apart from each other nor did the people nor the culture,so using the indoeuropean theory argument is a little bit too much here IMO. if one uses (ad nauseam :-) ) this way of thinking then simply by extrapolating almost nothing in any modern or ancient indoeuropean language is derived from latin or greek or sanskrit or ... but only from protoindoeuropean.
as for artemision vs artemisium ,of course artemisium is correct per se being latinised greek.but in the context of the post by the user above (Ikokki?),at least as I understand it , one ,if not one who speaks greek or latin,might think that the two words represent-symbolise different "things" although they are just two forms of the same word.
Thanatos|talk 01:47, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

The idea that the battle was conducted during a full moon is ridiculous, by the way. The Persians didn't know in advance that the battle would be so bad that they would have to sneak around through a pass to finish it, therefore they had no reason to wait for a full moon. Even if they did want to wait for a full moon, the size of their army would have prevented them from delaying just for that. IMO, the Date of the Battle section needs a citation or a removal. Sounds like someone's off-the-cuff guesswork and doesn't make much sense. -- 17:36, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Possible translation error(s)

Just happened to notice a possible translation error... "the Greeks" is translated as "οι Έλληνες". Shouldn't it be "οι Έλληνοι"? I'm not confident enough in my ancient Greek to fix it myself, but could an expert enlighten me? Gitman00 18:35, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

ho Hellen ,hoi Hellenes.belongs to third or labial and velar declension of nouns.For more check Wiki Ancient Greek Grammar. Thanatos666 20:42, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. Gitman00 14:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Substitution of the picture

There is an artistic picture by Jacques-Louis David which doesn't show the reality of battle. Nor Persian neither Greek were bare. Thus we should substitute it with more correct picture. I've find some better pictures but I can't find their copyright situation.1, 2, 3 and 4 What's your idea about them?Sa.vakilian(t-c)--07:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

No visual representation of hoplites from antiquity is acurate. They are usually shown nude with their shield and spear. Nudity in antiquity was considered a sign of bravery. Jacques-Louis David is simply following ancient models. I actually like the picture though I have not seen the alternates yet Ikokki 16:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I've seen the picture in the first three links and it is unrealistic too. Phtiotis is not that green in august. I still prefer the romanticism of David Ikokki 16:54, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Several of my sources say that the spartans would have been armored with;A heavy bronze helmet,Heavy bronze shield,bronze greeves, a heavy iron or bronze slashing sword, a bronze tipped spear, in the case of the spartans they would have indeed had a long red cloak.

-- 20:40, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Only men who had fathered sons?

There's a slight contradiction in the article concerning the force the Spartans sent. In one sentence we say it was the King's Personal bodyguard, and in the next that he only took men who had already fathered sons. Now, this is because he disbanded his bodyguard (traditionally form of the elite young soldiers in their early twenties) and reformed it with older soldiers. As it is the article looks like it contradicts itself, even if it actually doesn't.
We should change the wording, yes? --Orias 11:20, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

You have to remember that back in this time period people didnt live long, they had children young, grew up fast.It was a hard time and thus a man in his twenties was ,yes young by our standards, but was a full blown adult back then.-- 20:37, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Uh, nope. For a start to serve on the spartan council you had to be 60 (or 65, I forget), the active military was between 20 and 30. You could marry aged 20, but again could not live with your wife and family until aged 30. Indeed you were also not considered a full citizen until you reached that age either. Your point is not entirely invalid, but the fact is that the king's bodyguard was of the very best of the fresh (ie. very early twenties and unlikely to have children) trainees, and Leonidas disbanded his usual entourage to replace them with older ones all of which had children. --Orias 20:56, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Earth and Water

The first paragraph of Battle_of_Thermopylae#Greek_preparations says that Sparta and Athens killed Xerxes' messengers that asked for earth and water. But the Heroditus bit that is referenced actually says that Xerxes did not bother to send messengers to Sparta and Athens, because they had killed Darius' messengers previously. I'm not sure how to fix this, so I'm leaving it for now. -- Calion | Talk 05:44, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

The Spartans and Athenians had killed the messenger that was sent in 492 BC before Mardonius' campaign ...

In ancient Greece it was taboo for anyone to kill and official messenger.He carried a special emblem of his position and could supposedly ride freely through any situation.Which is why the killing of the messengers by Sparta was so unusual.--Co1dLP1anet 19:41, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

That doesn't answer the question. Is Herotodus accurate, and no messengers were sent before the battle because the Athenians and Spartans had earlier killed the messengers of Darius? Or were messengers sent to Athens and Sparta before the battle of Thermopylae? If so, were they killed? The cited reference does not support the text as written. 05:13, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Someone needs to change the Spartan causalities to say 299. As I understand it Leonidas summoned 300 men making him have an army of 301. Then 2 men left the battle from those 301 and were not killed making 299 Spartans killed.

--Greg.loutsenko 13:45, 21 March 2007 (UTC)== clash of civ's ==

I've read somewhere on wikipedia, it was prob this article, that if the Persians did win the battle and the war then democracy would have been destroyed and replaced by Persian monarchy. hence this battle was the most post important to our modern civilization because the spartans managed to defend the earliest development of democracy, free speech and liberty, no matter how far away from our modern standards, from authoritarian imperialist, xerxes 1. i was just wondering where has that bit of thinking gone? i remember that the idea outlined above had citation in couple of history books so i dont think it should have been deleted. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GregLoutsenko (talkcontribs) 22:19, 20 March 2007 (UTC).

Well, it is sort of true for the war as a whole, but this particular battle was among armies that had little interest in democracy. Besides, democracy, or anyway a rough approximation like the kind that appeared in some places in Greece at this time, popped up elsewhere including Rome without much reference to Athens or Greece. Perhaps the point you are trying to make should go in another article, such as Democracy or Graeco-Persian Wars or Ancient Greece, but a battle article is usually about the battle, not the war. American slavery, or Russian Communism, for example, should be mentioned in an article about the civil wars that destroyed the former and established the latter, but not in one about the taking of Vicksburg or Kiev, which should concentrate on immediate and technical questions. Jim.henderson 23:48, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
The Spartans lost this battle, so I guess democracy must have been destroyed for ever. This was a shame, as the Spartans kept most of the population it ruled under abject slavery subject continually to random violence. It really is a terrible tragedy that these freedom loving proto-liberals experienced this setback ... but they did indeed recover I can happily inform you. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 04:37, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
pndapetzin, what i was refering to was the fact that because the persians lost so many men at the battle and were so demoralised they were never quite the same after the battle. the spartans were there to hold the persians up not to destroy them. and i would disagree with your harsh description of spartan life. their customs were different from ours. lets just say that if i had to choose whether to live under the persians in the acient world or athenes, with a pan greek army for protection i would gladly choose the later.

This is totally wrong, the Spartans did NOT believe in democracy,they were ruled by a small aristocracy making them more of a Fascist government.The Persians WERE enlightened basically all the Persians demanded of their conquered enemies was a tax. The conquered nations kept all their leaders who were only responsible to the Persian emperor.--Co1dLP1anet 20:32, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


Actually, by a strictly 'Greek,' i.e. Athenian definition, the Spartans were akin to a democracy in that they voted for their leaders, the ephors, who, in Xenophon's time, had enough control of the state that 'even the Kings ran to them' rather than walk. Of course, they had an enormous subject population, as did most poleis, but the 'citizens' themsleves were 'relatively' democratic by Greek standards in terms of fifth century government. It should be remembered though that the 'ethos' of the Spartiates was that of an 'aristocracy,' rather than the 'vulgar mob' of Athens. However, I guess others will attack this regardless, so I await condemnation. Unsigned User.

GA nom

Please source the section Battle of Thermopylae#Date of the battle, and format ref#14 — Jack · talk · 10:09, Monday, 26 March 2007

Numbers in the warbox AGAIN

PLEASE, Wikipedia is NPOV. Wikipedia does not express the concessus reached at Cambridge or at Athens or Tehran, it expresses all POVs by all authors without taking position. To have a 50,000-100,000 estimate on the warbox destroys Wikipedia's neutrality, express everything. There ARE authors who accept Ctesias' 800,000 number as realistic, others who think it was more like 400,000, others that say it was 200,000, there was even a Turk who claimed it was only 18,000 Persians that accompanied Xerxes. Because every source one has read claim there were only 50-100,000 Persian combattants with Xerxes that does not mean that he has the right to change the warbox no more than I have the right to change it to 400,000 to 2,000,000. Please respect that and do not POV-push the size debate. And BTW IMO we do not need an extra article discussing the number of the troops at Thermopylae since there is an article already that does that: Greco-Persian Wars especially if it is to be split into campaigns as I have suggested. An article discussing Xerxes' campaign is the bext place to discuss the size of his army. Ikokki 15:06, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Excellent. I can only recommend adding a question mark, since even the very broad range of 50,000 to 500,000 is somewhat uncertain. Jim.henderson 19:53, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Typically for infoboxes, this field becomes the subject of extensive POV-pushing. The 15,000 is just laughable, we might as well say that the battle is a product of Greek mythology. Any figure that doesn't meet modern consensus should be avoided, and that includes mainly figures lower than 100,000 and higher than a certain figure. In brief, the field should remain empty and let the reader find his information in the corresponding section. Miskin 23:16, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Possible date problem?

No problems with the dates given, there just seems to be a logic problem. In the opening paragraph the date of the battle is given as 480BC. Then under "Greek Preparations" it is implied that the Athenians knew that a smaller force could hold off a larger force, by referencing a battle that occurred 130 years AFTER the Battle of Thermopylae.

Some have argued that the Athenians were confident that a small Greek force led by Leonidas would be enough to hold back the Persians; otherwise, they would have already vacated their city and sent their whole army to Thermopylae.[10] There is one known case in which a small force did stop a larger invading force from the north: in 353 BC/352 BC the Athenians managed to stop the forces of Philip II of Macedon by deploying 5,000 hoplites and 400 horsemen.[13]

Did I misread this? If it is just an example of another David-vs-Goliath-type battle, that's cool. It just seems to read as if the Athenians had crystal balls. It's probably better if a regular editor fix this ambiguity. -- Bakarocket 11:59, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


I just reverted to an older version because Jagger 85's edits had massacred the article. Not only did he remove sourced meterial, but he also changed the numbers provided in various sources to those that pleased him the most - this could be possibly identified as vandalism. My revert removed various references concerning the Persian armies under "other views". Although this removal was an accident, I think it is a good idea. The article should stick to the most mainstream views and avoid extreme ones e.g. estimates lower than 100,000 and higher than 500,000. Otherwise the section simply won't make any sense. The current version of the section describes in detail what academic consensus thinks, there's no reason to complicate things by adding every individual view we can find. If someone disagrees with the consensus mention in the section then please do find a source which states otherwise. Oh, and please let's try to protect this article from similar pov-pushing. Miskin 23:34, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Jagger 85, in case you haven't noticed, you've been changing material that was directly taken from credible sources. This edit [1] for instance does by no means "confirm" your claim. This alleged consensus is the result of your own original research. If you want to claim that a view meets consensus then you need to cite a source which explicitely states "current consensus rests on..." or something along those lines. You can't just draw conclusions based on your hand-picked sources (which clearly do NOT meet consensus) and present them as a consensus. The reference you presented as a "consensus" view does not have one single google result[2]. The rest of the sources that claim consensus in that section (whose material you chose to remove) are all modern publication from credible publishers. See also my suggestions above. Miskin 00:01, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to revert your edits, because I thought they were quite outrageous in my opinion. I suspect you may be POV-pushing for an agenda, because not only did you revert my edits, but you even went as far as to remove all the dozens of scholarly evidence I've provided which clearly point to Persian numbers below 100,000. Although Ikokki also disagreed with my earlier edits, his response above in #Numbers in the warbox AGAIN was a lot more reasonable, and I probably agree with him that Wikipedia is not the place to be POV-pushing no matter how ridiculously large some of the Persian estimates might be. The article should mention both the lower numbers and higher numbers given by modern scholars (not ancient scholars) to give an overall view of the debate.
If you want to know what the consensus is among many scholars, this is what Livio Catullo Stecchini stated (who was himself arguing for a larger number):
"In conclusion, since the beginning of this century there has been among scholars a substantial agreement to the effect that the army that King Xerxes brought across the Hellespont for the invasion of Greece numbered between 50,000 and 100,000 combatants."[3]
This is why I was pushing for the 50,000 to 100,000 range earlier, but now I don't really mind including larger and smaller numbers in the article either. Jagged 85 04:58, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Nah-huh, Livio says that this was is argued to be the number of troops coming crossing the Hellespont, not the number assembled finally a Thermopylae, there's a huge difference. The consensus claimed in the books from the Cambridge University Press refer explicitely to the events of Thermopylae, and are by far more credible than anything I've seen so far. Miskin 11:30, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Boss, I couldn't care any less whether you think I've got an agenda or not, this is not an argument for reversion. Then again I've been editing this article since long before you watched a hollywood movie. Your edits are massacring the article and you keep replacing the information provided in credible sources by information you get in random websites and 19th century sources (yet to be verified). You didn't answer any of my querries regarding your "sources" with zero google result. I've already said that the reversion removed some individual views from both extremes, and not just lower numbers. Also those sources are 19th century estimates, clearly not what wikipedia regards as credible. Miskin 11:26, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

The idea of 50-100,000 I find absurd. Why pile up food in Europe for 10 years to feed them? Why build up two bridges to have them cross the Hellespont? Why dig a canal in Athos? Why split them in three columns when they marched across Thrace considering that the 80,000 of Mardonius proved a vulnerable target to night attck by Vrygians? Why not send them on the fleet, they definitely fit if they were that few. Most absurdly of all, since the Greeks did manage to gather 110,000 in Plataea and another 40,000 were campaining in the Aegean why invade with so few. Thucydides who double and triple checked his numbers talks of a 150,000 men Thracian invasion in Macedon in book II paragraph 99. The 100,000 limit for pre-modern armies is too artificial. Procopius who had access to the official archives talks of a 140,000 men Byzantine invasian force sent by Leo the Thracian that failed to conquer the Vandal kingdom. But my opinion is irrelevant in Wikipedia. There is a large number of repectable historians who argued that there were 300,000 Persians at Plataea and thus there were more invading earlier with Xerxes. Since the box will cause too much trouble I am removing completely the the strength and casualties boxes. Ikokki 08:39, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I have _never_ yet run into a source which claims that mainstream views places the Persian numbers at 50,000-100,000. Jagged's sources for that alleged consensus were a book which gives "zero" results in a web search. Also Stecchini's website, even if we were to regard it representative of consensus, it talks about the force that came with Xerxes from the Asia and the one that was assembled at Thermopylea, there's a huge different. But in any case, Stecchini himself supports a 350K figure a Thermopylae, so Jagged 85's claims become moot. Miskin 11:26, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

In brief, Jagged 85 cites unreliable 19th century sources that he hasn't even verified himself. He got them from Stecchini's website, ignoring the fact that its authors argue for a figure of 350,000. There's no question about "consensus" here, there's only a question about including unreliable sources which supports extreme views (too high or too low), or sticking to the credible mainstream opinions. For the obvious reasons I vote for the second. Miskin 11:36, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Stecchini argues for 800,000. Read his articles betterIkokki 12:56, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Re: Miskin:

  1. Most of the references I've given are 20th century sources referenced in Livio Catullo Stecchini's article, which you can find online: [4] If you actually read the article, you'll see that most of the references I've given are references he mentioned in order to point out that the most common agreement is 50,000 to 100,000 and why he is arguing against that consensus.
  2. I've not seen the movie 300 yet. What does that have to do with anything?
  3. Since I doubt you've even read the Wikipedia guidelines, no original research is allowed on Wikipedia, which is clearly what you are doing by trying to make up your own imaginary consensus and not providing any references which support your claim.
  4. Another Wikipedia guideline is attribution: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a publisher of original thought. Every claim you make needs to be attributed to another scholar or institution which you need to cite. Since you have failed to do so, I will have to assume there is no consensus agreeing on numbers above 100,000. Since the only source we have that mentions anything close to a consensus is Stecchini, I will assume 50,000 to 100,000 is the consensus until you can find another source which gives a different consensus. If you can't even do that, then please stop reverting and vandalising the article with your unsourced POV.

Re: Ikokki: I've responded in the Greco-Persian Wars talk page.

Jagged 85 18:00, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Boss, your accusations are laughable. Like I said 10 times already, there are at least two modern sources already linked in the article that speak of a "general consensus". They have been there for a long time, until you came and modified their content to your personal "assumptions". If you think that the consensus provided is original research then I invite you to follow WP:V procedures and verify the sources linked in the reference tags. Until you have done so, do not revert again. Your sources are old and outdated and did not reflect any consensus in the first place, this is your personal conslusion, i.e. original research. Some of them do not get any google results, please read WP:CITE to get an idea on credible references. All your information comes from a website which support the opposite from what you're trying to prove here. Stecchini article talks about the army crossing the Hellespont, not the army assembled at Thermopylae, please do read my answers every now and then. Also the author supports a figure of 350,000, so citing this cite is rather as a source for lower numbers is manipulatory and desperate. And for the last time, stop changing the information provided in referenced material. Miskin 02:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC) 01:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

To make it easier for you: The Cambridge companion to Herodotus (linked in the article) speaks about a consensus of 210,000, based on Herotodus' calculation error (already detailed in the article). The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 by Philip De Souza claims a consensus of nearly 200,000 as well. Literally all modern sources, many of which are already linked in the article, speak about a consensus around 200,000. It's time you stopped replacing those figures with your personal POV. Figures lower than 100,000 are as unpopular and outdated as figures over 500,000, so I suggest avoiding them both. The 15,000 figure is just laughable, If we are to mention this then we might as well stick to 2,000,000 or claim that the battle might be product of Greek mythology (actually suggested by extremists). Miskin 02:15, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I've read the Cambridge Companion to Herodotus and it does not speak of any consensus among scholars agreeing on 210,000, but just gives 210,000 as a likely figure. Consensus is not just a few scholars giving their own estimates, but an actual agreement among many scholars on certain estimates, which the Cambridge Companion to Herodotus does not mention. On the other hand, Stecchini specifically stated that there is a substantial agreement among many scholars (which he gave a list of) for figures between 50,000 to 100,000. Now that is certainly a consensus. For someone like Stecchini who is arguing for larger numbers to actually state something like that in itself shows that the consensus (up to the late 20th century) is 50,000 to 100,000. Most of the references I gave was from his research paper. Are you suggesting Stecchini is a liar giving false references? If so, why would someone who is actually arguing for larger numbers want to give false references supporting his opposition? If Stecchini can be considered reliable, then so can his references. Now I haven't yet got hold of de Souza's book yet, but when I do, I'll get back to you on it. Although I doubt it will mention anything about a consensus (like you tried to suggest with the Cambridge reference), I'll take your word for it that there is a consensus among other scholars who agree on 200,000 (for now). If that is the case, then both consenses should be presented in the article as two schools of thought, which the article was already doing before you reverted it. Anyway, I'll try to rewrite the article presenting all three schools of thought. If you disagree on anything, why don't you at least try to co-operate and actually edit the parts you disagree with instead of just reverting everything to suit your own POV? Capiche? Jagged 85 05:13, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

How many times do I need to point out that Stecchini talks about the armies crossing the Hellespont, NOT the army present at Thermopylae, there's a huge difference. The guy supports a figure of 350,000 at Thermopylae and admits a consensus of >100K crossing into Greece, so either he's trying to look stupid, or you haven't understood what he said. I'll cite quotes from different sources which explicitely specify the "consensus" on the topic, although the most popular view does rest on the error of the calculations. Miskin 12:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't have reverted you if you had actually taken the time to consider the reference tags provided in the article before replacing their content with your POV. It really is ironic that after such poor editing and sourcing you call those edits a POV. Miskin 12:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Also I couldn't help but noticing that you chose the sources from Stecchini's site selectively, ignoring the fact that Sctecchini roots for a 300,000 figure. Some of them are even manipulated, and I'm planning to correct this soon. The Cambridge guy to Herodotus does not mention the word "consensus" but it does present 210K as the most popular view, as do many others. Souza speaks of a consensus between 150K-200K and other sources linked in the article about 180K. Souza ellaborates on why Xerxes lead a massive army in person, imitating the likes of Cyrus and Darius, the book is not available to me right now otherwise I'd quote directly. Steccchini whom you've been constantly quoting has brought up many sources which support higher numbers than 200K, without refusing the initial 50-100K figure crossing the Hellespont. Please become more familiar with the actual historical event before passing judgement. After the army crossed into Europe it received substantial reinforcements. Miskin 12:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Dude, the debate's over. There's no need for any personal attacks, although I do find your childish rants amusing. Jagged 85 12:50, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Where was the personal attack boss? This ranting is called "discussion", as opposed to disruptive editing. I'm amused by your selective edits, you hand-picked Stecchini's citations which mentions numbers equal or lower than 100K, completely ignoring Stecchini's point of view, along with his citation on larger numbers. Ludicrous figures of 15,000 will be removed. You are trying to imply a fake consensus by naming all scholars you can find who have given the numbers you prefer. Those are manipulative edits for a topic which is by definition controversial, implying a non-existent consensus. I'm going to add more sources from Stecchini's article when I've got more time to spend. So long. Miskin 12:57, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Dude, you're still not finished arguing yet? Wow, you really are persistent (but still amusing). Once again, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a publisher of original thought. EVERY POV will be mentioned here, not just the ones that suit your own POV. Capiche? Jagged 85 13:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Please do not quote policies that you have clearly not understood yourself. Your POV-pushing and poor understanding of the sources and the subject at hand nearly massacred the article. You put the figure of 15,000 in the infobox for crying out loud, you might as well add a "Science Fiction" category to the article. I'm of the opinion that in controversial topics the consensus view should take precedence and minority views of both extremes should be ignored. I didn't try to favour any POV, I was willing to remove both extreme figures (high and low) and stick to the consensus of 200K. The problem is that what you considered too high a figure, happened to be the consensus of western scholarship, i.e. what wikipedia labels 'credible'. I could flood the section (as you did) with countless sources supporting 150-300K but this would be silly since the currect consensus is already mentioned. Miskin 13:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry but that does not sound like a discussion, but a blatant personal attack. You're just sounding more immature with each response you make. I don't care what you think of me, nor do I care what your opinion is. EVERY POV will be mentioned here, regardless of whether you think its much higher or much lower than your "consensus". In fact, I think I'll just stop responding to you and just let you have the last word if that makes you feel happy. Jagged 85 13:34, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I actually spoke to a Professor of mine a few days ago on this very subject, he claims that the consensus at Thermopylae is of around 200,000 troops. Persians and other Asians are just bitter because Alexander delivered the Hellenic revenge (we hellenes will always gain vengeance on our enemies - never forget this) on them.

Jagged 85 before complaining about the edits I'm going to make, please consult WP:UNDUE in order to get a better understanding of the NPOV policy. There are already two sources in the article claiming a general consensus near 200,000 (not including the Cambridge guide to Herodotus). What you're doing by adding so many individual sources which support your POV, while intentionally ignoring other sources from Stecchini's article, including Stecchini's POV, falls under undue weigh. You're simply putting emphasis on a minority view by trying to introduce terms such as "Western consensus" vs "global consensus" etc. I'll give you some times to improve the neutrality of all those edits and adjust it to NPOV and WP:UNDUE. If you fail to do so I'll proceed with the adjustments myself, and if you keep POV-pushing and reverting I'll ask for a third opinion. Miskin 14:14, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Actually I just realised that you selectively restored information on my initial revert. You chose to create a large section on the vies of your POV but left out many of Ikkoki's sources on larger numbers, i.e. the opposite view. Furthermore I removed all undue weigh put on non-consensus and minority views including suggestions on large figures, per WP:UNDUE. There's no reason to have such a large section on something that can be explained in few lines. I also had a look at Britannica 2006's article, it treats the subject in literally one line. If you don't agree then I'm going to ask for a third opinion. If you decide to revert, I would advise you to restore all of kokki's previous edits that were removed during the reverted, and not selectively as you did last time. I would also advise you to include Stecchini's POV along with the modern scholars he cites. If despite this warning you fail to do so, it's just going to show to the mediator that NPOV is not exactly your priority. Miskin 14:58, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Livio C. Stecchini. The Size of the Persian Army, The Persian Wars.

To the people involved in this article: Stecchini is arguing about double the normal Persian army (300,000 infantry + 50,000 cavalry= normal size) analysing the use of 2 bridges, the delay of the army for reaching Thermopylae and then Athens, the force left to Mardonius for Plataea and other parameters hence giving a fighting force of about 700,000 combatants. To that figure he adds (about) one non-combatant for each soldier thus suggesting a figure of about 1.4 million people. Just wanted to clear that out.

I am in the process of gathering literature (have access to 3 University libraries), so if you can recommend a good source please do so. In the mean time, if I can get access to the books cited as references, I will try to verify some figures. This article provides a very good analysis and decent, reliable sources for the Persian forces but others just simply lack 'sound' academic sources and instead 'rely' in websites or online bloggers with historical interests (e.g. N. Welman, eventhough I enjoy and value his writings). I do not dismiss them just because they publish their work on the web (after all we are in an online open project) but I would prefer to see cited articles published in reputable journals, books published by academic presses or other respectable/reliable publishing houses i.e. sources that went through scholarly, scrutinised peer review. After all, one can also use google.books and google.scholar...Regards --Zippocar (can not log-in)16:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Hence why I removed all non-consensus views which violate the WP:UNDUE concept of the NPOV policy. Most of those sources are old and outdated, and their view is already mentioned in the article, there's no reason to flood the section with handpicked sources of questionable credibility. Besides, all of that info is already POV-pushed in Greco-Persian War. I would prefer to keep the emphasis on larger figures restricted as well, for the time being it has only provoked POV-pushing similar to jabber's. Miskin 17:31, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

No worries. I will try to remain as clear and faithful to the secondary sources as possible. Here's some books that I manage to gather so far:

  • Lazenby, J.F. (1993) The defence of Greece 490-479 B.C., England:Aris & Phillips Ltd., ISBN 0 85668 591 7
  • Cartledge, Paul (2006) Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World., London:Macmillan ISBN 1-4050-3289-8.
  • Grundy, G. B. (1901) The Great Persian War and its preliminaries; A study of evidence, literary and topography, London: John Murray (No ISBN obviously) - Ground work.
  • Hignett C. (1963) Xerxes' Invasion of Greece., Oxford: Oxford University Press (Very important work, extensive analysis and criticism of Delbruck's work)
  • Wallinga H. T. (2005) Xerxes' Greek adventure: the naval perspective, The Netherlands, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 90 04 14140 5, ISSN 0169-8958
  • Burn A. R. (1984) , Persia and the Greeks, the defence of the West, c. 546-478 B.C., second ed., Stanford: Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-8047-1235-2
  • Green, Peter, (1998) The Greco-Persian Wars, Berkely/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, Ltd. ISBN 0-520-20313-5

--Zippocar 18:51, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your input Zippocar. If you think that one of the views receives undue weigh then it should be revised by collecting proper references. Miskin 22:06, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


To editors: Please stop adding hand-picked, outdated sources which give undue weigh to a certain POV. As you can see I removed both sources which support non-consensus views, including modern views such as Stecch's. We don't need to list individual names of scholars, it can only become subject to POV-pushing. Plus we shouldn't be repeating information from other articles. I won't allow one view to be favoured over the others, such as for example ignoring Stecchini's view and using his refercing in such a manipulative manner. For a non-consensus view to receive special treatment, it needs to be proved explicitely. Miskin 22:03, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Also concerning this edit: "Not wishing to be delayed by having to carry out a full-scale assault, Hydarnes resorted to a tactic that later turned out to be a victorious one: he fired showers of arrows at them". Such claims cannot stay in an article without a reference. As you said it jabber, wp is not a publisher of original thought, it's time to pass from theory to practice. Miskin 22:32, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Your comment is ridiculous! Talk about outdated, why is Herodotus in this article then? Not only are his figures, according to modern scholars, heavily exaggerated, but Herodotus is known to be highly biased. I will readd my sourced information in the future. The only POV pushing is when people try to keep out information they obviously do not like. And I listed the names of the scholars to make it more NPOV, incase someone like you tried to do what your doing right now, but evidently, that didnt stop you. Also, I dont understand what your talking about when you say "non-consensus" view. Most scholars generally accept the 100-200 thousand figure, but as this article includes figures well above 200,000, its only fair to also show figures that estimate the numbers below 100,000. Make this article neutral by either removing all mention of the estimates above 200,000, or leave in the estimates that are below 100,000. Remember, this is all by your logic, dont be a hypocrite.Azerbaijani 00:25, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I re-added the sourced information which you took out. Your argument makes no sense. Again, the generally accepted figure today is 100 thousand to 200 thousand, if your going to show figures above 200,000, then you must also be willing to show figures below 100,000, its only fair! Either show all of them or none of them. Not to mention, all the sources giving figures above 200,000 are also outdated and also stray from the general consensus of modern scholars! See Wikipedia NPOV, if you cannot keep neutral on such an issue, then I suggest you leave the editing to other users. Thanks.Azerbaijani 00:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
You are confused. I'm showing "none", there are modern sources supporting figures from 250-1,000,000 but none is mentioned. Herodotus is a primary source. If you can't tell the difference then we should ask for a third opinion. Besides, it is explicitely mentioned that Herodotus' and Ctesias' figures are not accepted today (which is only half true anyway). Zero attention is paid to the few scholars who have given support to the primary sources (e.g. Stecchini). Therefore the view on the high numbers is actually given less weigh than what is has, so I don't know what you're talking about. Miskin 13:18, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Herodotus is a primary source and is mentioned in the respective subsection of primary sources. If you have a primary source which claims that the battle never took place then we are obliged to add it there too. Primary sources are not treated as outdated secondary sources, hence why I created the subsections. The modern accepted consensus is around 200,000 (180,000-210,000). Around 150,000 is also a popular, albeit non-consensus view - all of which is already mentioned. There are many modern scholars suggesting figures greater than 350,000 which I removed. Therefore I don't see why we should pay undue weigh to the older sources supporting figures lower than 100K, which is today an outdated minority view. It's already mentioned that some less popular views have supported figures lower than 100K and higher than 350K, there's no need to get into detail about the people who support 800K or 20K respectively. Miskin 13:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Furthermore if you really care about this article and hope it becomes a "good" article, i.e. candidate for FA-status then the numbers section has to be kept to the minimum. Britannica's article treats the subject in a single line. All of the information you're trying to add is already mentioned (with undue weigh) in Greco-Persian Wars, an article which never had any hopes of escaping POV-pushers. There's no rational, neutral motive for wanting to repeat such bad and outdated sources in several articles at once. Miskin 13:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you consider this a modern estimate:
It is assumed that if Herodotus' 300,000 estimate at Plataea were to be accepted, then the land army at Thermopylae may not have surpassed 500,000, and the total Persian presence in Greece would be estimated at 1,000,000. This accounts for one fifth of Herodotus' record.[58]
I suggest you take this out then.Azerbaijani 14:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

This is almost directly taken from a modern source which states an estimate of the upper limit at Thermopylae via the Herodotian figures at Plataea. It doesn't make a direct estimation at Thermopylae, nor does it come from 19th century scholar. As Stecchini affirms, modern scholarship explores the possibility of larger figures, which is already given less weigh in the article. If you remove this or add extra information you'll add more undue weigh. Miskin 14:37, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Your double standard amazes me! Well, couldnt the figures I added in be considered lower limits?! 1 million is NOT an upper limit that modern scholars view as legitimate. Your POV is destroying this article. The modern source is citing out dated figures! Do you know when George Grote lived?! Furthermore, if a modern source cites a statistic created over 100 years ago, that does not make that statistic "modern".Azerbaijani 14:40, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

There is no explicit mention of an estimation at Thermopylae in that edit, if you can't understand what it says then that's not my fault. It would have been a double standard to mention sources supporting figures of 400K and 800K, but I removed those a long time ago. You haven't understood what the edit says, it does not give an upper limit of 1 million at Thermopylae. Miskin 14:54, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

That 1M was not about the fighting force at Thermopylae, it was about men on the fleet, support stuff and everything already mentioned in the paragraph. However I removed it in order to avoid further confusions. Miskin 15:12, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Miskin, you are in violation of Wikipedia policies. You do not own this article, and thus you do not get to dictate anything to anyone.
If the statement It is assumed that if Herodotus' 300,000 estimate at Plataea were to be accepted, then the land army at Thermopylae may not have surpassed 500,000, which accounts for one fifth of Herodotus' record.[58] Others give an upper limit of 250,000 total land forces and 500,000 for the expedition is included in the modern estimates section, then so should every other statistic that estimate less than 100,000. I dont know who you are, but you obviously are not neutral on this issue.Azerbaijani 15:49, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Iranian POV pushing

Iranians have been arguing and attacking this article for some time now. They have absolutely no idea what the 'modern historical consensus' is. I very much doubt they have read the volume of books I have read on the subject in both my capacity as a student of Ancient History and as something I am particularly interested in. They do not have access to backcatalogues of Journal articles on the subject, they have absolutely no IDEA what constitutes a 'consensus' yet they throw this word around like they are the next Edward Gibbon or something. Iranians are horrifically ultra-nationalist people, consumed with hate for those who question their 'knowledge' on the subject, nowhere, and I repeat, nowhere have I read a figure of 50,000 or even 100,000, for that matter, they attack this article for only one reason, pride and collective narcissism. Once one points out the absurdity of their beliefs they display supercilious impertubility and nonchalantly claim that they know more than everyone else. This has to stop, Iranians have far more problems than a 2500 year old battle to worry about.

Oh please, I have been using Western sources! LOL! Whose the ultra nationalist? Obviously you had some feelings when you wrote this...Azerbaijani 20:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I assume you're referring to me aswell? If so, what makes you think I'm an Iranian in the first place? 50k-100k was the Western consensus mentioned in Stecchini's article, which was written in the 1970s (Stecchini's own view was in the minority at the time). I'm not sure how the consensus could have risen to 200k in the last 30 years (and I'm still in doubt), but I haven't read some of the other books mentioned here yet, so I won't comment on it any further until the next time I visit the library. Like Azerbaijani said, all of the sources used in this article are entirely from a Western perspective, and not a single Iranian source is used. Now that you mention it, what are the opinions of Iranian scholars on this subject? Jagged 85 21:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

In fact you haven't noticied we Iranians care a lot about our countries, and we do not allow liars and morons spread lies about our wonderful country with such great history, we will not allow movies such as 300 to get out there without voicing our opinion, and we will not ALLOW people writing bullshit about our history and our beloved country Iran and try to make the Greeks look better and braver than us even though we kicked thheir asses plenty of times.

Asides from being besides the point, when exactly have you ever 'kicked [our] asses'? We crushed both your invasions and then Alexander destroyed your Empire, later, the Byzantines under Heraclius destroyed Persian forces once again. When exactly have you ever won a war against us? As for Jagged, he claims there is a historical consensus of 50,000-100,000, either he had admittedly limited resources (i.e. has read a couple of books and arrived at a bias conclusion), or he is actively pursuing an agenda of which he knows little of - Let me restate, the consensus is 200,000 - and there are far more estimates from modern scholars of a larger force than there of a smaller force, anyone who has even basic access to scholarly journals dealing with the subject would conclude with me. In fact I am kind of glad this issue has been brought about by the brilliant adaptation of Frank Miller's "300" as it has shown to Greeks just how pedantic the Iranians are. And to be brutally honest, regarding recent events you have more problems than a simple movie adaptation, far, far more problems.
Hey, how about the Iranian nationalist and Greek nationalist anon users either start contributing with good edits and comments or not comment at all.
Jagged, I agree with you. We should either include the figures that say that the army was less than 100,000, or we should remove all references to figures above 200,000. There is a double standard here that needs to be fixed.Azerbaijani 15:48, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Where on earth is the double standard? It is already mentioned in the article that both extremes have been supported. The sentence which Azerbaijani regards as a double standard is in fact an estimate on the Persians' upper limit, which is based on Herodotus data on a different battle. Ajerbaijani has yet to understand what it is about. If you add individual minority views then I'll follow two steps in order to balance it out: First I'll add all modern sources which make estimates larger than 300,000 (you'll be suprised to find out how numerous they are) and secondly I'll ask for a mediation in order to have a third opinion on the neutrality of all views. Miskin 01:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

And finally, I don't understand why the non-Iranian Asian crowd sees this as a "pan-Asian" fight. This war was purely a Persian matter, serving only the pride and expansionism of the Persian Emperor, nothing more. The fact that non-Persian peoples participated doesn't mean they did it in their own will. Despite what Iranian scholarship says, even the Medes were merely a subject people. Maybe the terms "army of slaves" Herodotus is using are exaggerated, but it was unarguably an army of "subject peoples", including Greeks living in Asia and in Northern Greece who had fallen under Persian rule. This fanaticism is based on primitive anachronistic parallels. Miskin 01:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Wrong coordinates?

I was visiting the topic and suddenly wondered "visiting" the place of the battle. I´ve tried the coordinates assigned on the wiki content (38°48′19″N 22°33′46″E), on Goog Earth, and it didn´t seem to be the exact place. At least, it differs from the cenography of the movie "300" and even more, it differs from beeing the "... only road through which the massive army of Xerxes I could pass..." (Battle of Thermopylae article, 1st paragraph, 5th line). Researching a little more on the Web, I found another coordinates (38° 47' 60 N 22° 31' 60 E) which is more alike, in geographycal terms, them the actual one.

Considering that, I´m suggest changing the coordinates and let this question open for further considerations...

--Odicsan 16:34, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It's explained in the article that the geography has changed. The land has filled in a bit since the old days and the place of the battle is now further from the sea than it used to be. -- 18:52, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Two New Articles

I recommend all the regular editors here to read these two unbiased new articles written by major history professors [5] and use them for them to improve the article. --Mardavich 16:46, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, I read through the first article. Very nice. It really lends Herodotus some credibility, not in the sense that his numbers were accurate but rather, that he was simply repeating what he'd heard. According to the paper, the original numbers of "1,700,000 men" very likely was the number used by the Persians themselves, not because it was accurate but because they wanted the Greeks to believe it and surrender without a fight. As a side note, all these quibbles about numbers seem silly to me. Whether it was 60,000 or 600,000, the bottom line was that the Greeks were vastly outnumbered. --TheCynic 15:07, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for those journal articles. I've just added the modern range of estimates given in one of these journal articles into this Wikipedia article. Jagged 85 01:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Those edits did not change much, they only removed some precision. It was alredy mentioned that some views have been supporting the extreme opposites, now the section only repeats it. The author does not explicitely mention that the "consensus" of those scholars who support 60,000 to 300,000 is actually down at 200,000 (as mentioned in other sources). Unless the author suggests that all estimates of the view have the same weigh, your new edit makes the section more imprecise. Also the "lower than 60,000 and higer than 300,000 gives undue weigh to a minority view. The estimates lower than 60,000 are as popular as the ones higher than 600,000 or so. Please correct that by changing one of the limits. Miskin 01:45, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

If the journal article provided by Mardavich gives 60,000 to 300,000 as the modern range of estimates, then it is implying that estimates below and above this range are just as unpopular. Jagged 85 01:52, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I've just re-worded the part you mentioned. Feel free to agree or disagree with the wording. Jagged 85 01:57, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for being cooperative. That's not what I meant above, let me put it this way: If 10%, 50% and 10% of scholars support the views of ~60K, ~200K, ~300K accordingly (the rest 30% is distributed inbetween), then the statement that "most scholars support a range of 60K-300K" is logically true. However, it does not contradict the statement that "200K is the modern consensus". Therefore nothing changes regarding the consensus mentioned in the wp article. The information made in the new source were already covered in the older version, except with less precision regarding the consensus of that 60K-300K range. Miskin 02:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I just checked your edit, I guess you understood what I meant. I just don't think that the new information and addition changes much from before. Miskin 02:06, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

On the contrary, I believe the journal article has given us a more precise bound of estimates. Without it, we could be arguing forever about where to set the upper and lower bounds for an acceptable range of modern estimates. Jagged 85 02:18, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I think what Miskin meant was, what is the extent of the support for such estimates? In other words, the 60,000 figure clearly has little support from modern historical scholarship whereas the 200,000 figure has support. I think there is a tendency of dislike from English people towards Greeks, I have lived as a Greek Cypriot in the UK (London) all my life and I have seen it with my own eyes, I see it as just part of the general Anglo-Saxon sneering attitude towards other peoples ala Daily Telegraph.-- 05:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Like I said, the journal article doesn't give us the general consensus, but it gives us an upper and lower bound for an acceptable range of modern estimates. I've also just added the second article provided by Mardavich in Further reading. Jagged 85 12:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Visual material

I have compiled a web site about the battle of Thermopylae using related wikipedia articles. My purpose was to build on the wikipedia text, presenting the information in a more attractive way and enriching it with visual material. On this site you will find many pictures of the ancient battlefield area and the modern monuments. All the photos were taken by me. Of course, I'm giving it back to the community under the GFDL license. So you may use my photos in wikipedia articles or other projects. You can visit my site here : Battle of Thermopylae

--Fkerasar 13:27, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Persian Army origins

It's been said that the Persian army consisted entirely of forced conscripts, including the Immortals. Some section on the origin and recruitment methods of the Persian army vs the Greek army would be of interest. Generally I've heard this in terms of another reason why the Persian losses were so heavy: forcibly conscripted men don't have a lot of motivation to fight, whereas the Greek volunteers were highly motivated. -- 18:50, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


 20,000 (Modern estimates)
 20,000 (Herodotus)[2]

This seems redundant; can't it be simplified to "20,000"? --Xiaphias 07:35, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Nevermind, I've changed it to include the footnoted info---it's no longer redundant (and the formatting now matches the 'Strength' box above).--Xiaphias 09:26, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

If the article states 2 Spartans survived, why does it say there were 300 Spartan casualties?

Τhebans didn't fight.They were taken as hostages by Leonidas

It's really rediculous(and of course not accurate) to include them in the Greek army.They fled in the heat of the battle anyway.

==i think this article should be permanently locked to all unregistered users. it is being vandalised. please lock it.

I removed the Thebans. Please stop removing the primary sources, they have to be there to explain all the huge number that circulate in popular culture. Removing them is like hiding information from public view, a practice against wikipedia's spirit. Also I'm a bit skeptical about the alleged consensus. This is more like a range of popular views not an actual "consensus", as in most popular view among the existing ones. This is most likely the 200,000 figure. I just ran into a very specialised source claiming 300,000:

Darius' army in the Scythian campaign numbered 200000 men, and the force deployed by Xerxes against the Greeks comprised 300000 men and 60000 horsemen.[The Great Armies of Antiquity (p. 160) - Richard A. Gabriel].

Also a documentary on the history channel claims a figure of 250,000. Maybe we should change the figure to 150,000 - 250,000. Anything below 150K and especially below 100,000 is a minority view. You don't see such claims in modern, published sources. The source which provides this range is definitely not credible than the ones contradicting it. Miskin 22:09, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed links to Kelly because his work isn't published and the theory on the "persian propaganda" is a not a mainstream one. In any case I made some edits in order to reflect better the modern consensus according to new sources that came into light. Even if we were to consider Kelly's unpublished article, I don't see how he takes precedence over other published sources, so that his claims get to be mentioned in the infobox. This doesn't make any sense. Miskin 22:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Although I would prefer Kelly's range of 60,000-300,000, it seems not everyone agrees. In that case, I think it would be best just leaving it as Estimates vary in the infobox like before, or else there'll always edit wars over which numbers to include in the infobox. The Persian numbers secion already explains the estimates well enough. Anyone else agree on removing the Persian numbers from the infobox? Jagged 85 02:36, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree and will do it once lockdown is over. What I do not agree is removing referenced material from the text below. 300,000 is an estimate for Plataea, not Thermopylae. Ikokki 09:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
PLEASE restore the referenced sources on that the Persian army could have been over 800,000. Kelly expresses the concensus of the sources HE read. Undue weight is currently given to sources written in English Ikokki 09:19, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Mardavich you might as well participate in Talk before reverting and claiming consensus in an edit summary. My latest edits were only a new proposal, meaning that I didn't expect everyone to agree, but you in particular have not participated enough in discussion to know what sources have been brought forth (this is evident from your edit summaries and sporadic comments). In any case I agree as well to leave the infobox blank, it's the only way to avoid edit-warring and pov-pushing. Ikkoki I removed those sources because they are not mainstream views. This is a controversial topic so you can find sources for almost any number you wish, that doesn't mean that it's a popular view. Our goal however is to keep controversy to a minimum and stick to the most popular views. Don't you agree that this is a better approach? From what I've seen so far, views above 300,000 and below 150,000 are not popular enough. On the other hand views above 800,000 and below 100,000 are simply minority views by modern standards, and they should not be given undue weigh. Personally I've never run into a modern published sources which claims an estimate lower than 120K, and some fairly specialised and reliable sources I recently ran into made me a bit skeptical on Kelly's lowest estimates and credibility. In other words I can't help but noticing that Kelly's estimated consensus is contradictory to most modern accounts, and his range should not be used as a factual "consensus" as it has been claimed. Similarly I don't think that individual views on estimates above 500K or even 300K should be given undue emphasis. Jagged, I propose to use a consensus range of 150K-250K in order to be fair with Ikkoki, in respect to the high-estimate sources I removed. I agree that the infobox however should be kept empty. See my edits in the 'modern estimates' paragraph prior to Mardavich's revert. Pay no mind to User:Immortal's blanking which had gone unnoticed. Miskin 12:53, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The mainstream view among Greek historians is that Mardonius led 300,000 in Plataea and thus Xerxes arrived with over 400,000. Only Papademetriou has ever claimed that there were only 200,000. It is not undue weight to claim there were over 300,000 with Xerxes. In addition to those below Syntomoros accepts Kampouris' estimate in his translation and commentary of Herodotus, Ioannis Kakridis, Maronitis and Gedeon (who were all University professors) talk of ~ 400,000, Karykas also has these size numbers in his book on the Medic Wars and the list goes on. If it is undue weight among english-speaking sources, it is an example of WP:BIAS to base our concensus only among them. The Battle of Marathon includes a list of estimates in different languages on the size of Datis and Artaphernes' army, why shouldn't this page do the same? Ikokki 13:28, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Because in my opinion this is a much more controversial topic. It's only natural that Greek and Persian historians will be supporting the two opposite extremes. If we were to list all views from all involved nations then we'd have to create a separate article for it. In such a controversian topic we should consider the consensus of non-partisan, preferably English sources. This is just my opinion. However I do believe that the lowest estimates as stated by Kelly, are given undue weigh. Miskin 15:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

We do have a separate article for discussing the size of the Persian army,Graeco-Persian Wars. Here we should have at list a paragraph listing ALL estimates, from that Turkish historian claiming Xerxes led 18,000 to Herodotus. 3 extra lines do not make the article less readable Ikokki 07:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Quote:"It's really rediculous(and of course not accurate) to include them in the Greek army.They fled in the heat of the battle anyway."
This is incorrect. Thebes like most Greek cities did not support Athens and had a pro Persian faction. Leonidus suspected Thebes would renounce the Greek alliance as they had already willingly submitted to the Persians so he went there to see if they would support the alliance (which was fighting for Greece not Athens) or actively help the Persians. Thebes did support the alliance (possibly reluctantly) and the 400 Thebans who went fought alongside the Spartans for 5 days. Then Leonidus sent his allies away but the Thesbians volunteered to stay and he forced the Thebans to stay as well. The Thebans fought in the last battle and continued to fight even after Leonidus was killed. Then the Persians crossed the mountain and attacked from behind so the Spartans then fell back to the hilltop (to die). This was when the Thebans surrendered as any army today would have given the same circumstances. So it is rediculous to exclude them from the Greek army as they did fight throughout the engagement. Wayne 01:34, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Sources claiming the Persian Army was over 400,000

Here are a few reliable mostly academic sources claiming that the Persian army numbered over 400,000 so that you cannot claim "undue weight":

  • Macan, The 7th,8th and 9th book of Herodotus, first published ca 1904, republished New York 1971
  • J.A.R. Munro, Cambridge ancient history vol IV 1929
  • Glotz G., Roussel P., Cohen R., Histoire Grecque vol. I-IV, Paris 1948
  • Olmstead, A.T., History of the Persian Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1948.
  • Stecchini, THE SIZE OF THE PERSIAN ARMY ca. 1960
  • Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους = History of the Greek nation (collective work) volume Β', Athens 1971
  • Dr. Manousos Kampouris, Η στρατηγική διάσταση των Μηδικών Πολέμων (The strategic dimension of the Persian Wars), Πόλεμος και Ιστορία (War and History) Magazine no.34, October 2000
  • Christos Romas, Οι δυνάμεις των Ελλήνων και των Περσών (The forces of the Greeks and the Persians), E Istorika no.164, 19/10/2002

This is what I found on short notice. I am aware of several more but I cannot refer by article now —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ikokki (talkcontribs) 12:28, 12 April 2007 (UTC).

most of these sources are Greek and therefore unreliable.—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])
5 of the 8 are NOT Greek and, in any case, why are Greek historians, who like every university professor had to submit to peer reviewed international magazines works to advance unreliable? Are British Historians unreliable when talking about British history? Are French historians unreliable when talking about French history?Ikokki 07:24, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Ikokki there's an equal number of sources (though of older publication) which estimate numbers below 100,000. However those remain minority views since they're not cited by modern mainstream sources. From what I've seen modern sources give numbers between 150K-300K. I've provided most of them in the talk page. Miskin 16:00, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The article is NOT complete without sources claiming that Herodotus was right in claiming there were 300,000 Persians at Plataea. As Stecchini points out the 60,000 or 200,000 or even 300,000 number are based on pure speculation, the 400,000 number is supported by a significant number of academic aka hard sources (the kind preffered for sourcing in the guidelines) and is based on analysis of existing texts. Ikokki 07:24, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I didn't say that Greek sources are unreliable, that came from an anon user. In my opinion, if there was a controversial matter of British or French history, I would most definitely suggest to prefer non-British or non-French scholars. I would even prefer non-European scholars for that matter, but this is just me. In any case, I think we both agree that Kelly's range does not reflect a consensus view. Recently I came to realise that most "specialized" sources favor larger numbers, for example the source I provided earlier on ancient armies gives with confidence a number of 300,000 in Greece and Darius 200,000 in Scythia. A British documentary on the history channel stated 250,000 (I can look up its details if required). So larger estimates do have more weigh than smaller ones, but I'm not sure that the consensus range is at 150K-250K. Besides that range, other popular views exist, and if it is proved that either very large estimates or very small estimates are a popular (albeit non-consensus) view, then they should be given the corresponding weigh. So far it is certain that views lower than 100K are a accepted by a minority of modern scholars, and even the ones lower than 150K are less popular. This becomes evident from the estimates provided both in sources focusing on history and sources specializing on ancient warfare. If it can be proved that larger number (above 300K) is popular enough and deserves more weigh, then I wouldn't have a problem to state it. What I'm trying to avoid is a huge section on "numbers of the Persians" which is flooded by controversial information. If we provide _all_ views we can find then the article's focus will be on Persian numbers rather than the fight itself. I'm not trying to impose my view over yours or Jagger's, I'd like to reach a consensus with both of you. Miskin 09:18, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Ikkoki, even if there are many sources that suggest numbers over 300,000, do you have any sources that actually cites numbers above 300,000 as a popular range of estimates among modern historians? According to the claims of consensus policy, we need sources that actually specify what the consensus is, rather than trying to figure it out ourselves (which would be POV of course).

So far, I've seen three sources that speak of a consensus:

  • According to De Souza, the consensus is around ~200,000. This gives us what might arguably be the most popular modern estimate, but it doesn't give us a popular range of estimates.
  • According to Stecchini, the consensus was 50,000 to 100,000. This range is somewhat outdated, since it was from several decades ago.
  • According to Kelly, the consensus range is 60,000 to 300,000. The reason why I would support this view is because it actually sets a lower and upper bound for popular modern estimates, and doesn't contradict De Souza's consensus of ~200,000 either.

If there are any other sources that actually speak of a consensus (or a range of popular modern estimates), then we should list them here to give us a better idea of what the popular views are among modern historians. Jagged 85 17:43, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I double checked De Souza this weekend, he actually gives a range of 150,000-200,000. This is more consensus-like than the much wider 60K-300K. The way I see it consensus means agreement, so the range cannot be too large. I'm not familiar of other sources but I'll keep looking. Jagger, as I pointed out earlier, Stecchini's claim on consensus does not refer to the numbers at Thermopylae. As Hammond verifies, it is generally accepted that the Persian strength was significantly enforced by Greek, Thracian, Illyrian and many sorts of subjects from the newly conquered European lands. So I wouldn't say that it's outdated, it's just that it isn't relevant. Miskin 23:45, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

The 'history of the Greek nation' tells that simply there is no consensus among historians and then cites Macan and Munro that there were 29 baivabarams at Plataea facing 110,000 Greeks. Blaveris in his articles notes that Herodotus numbers have been attacked a lot in the 19th century by foreign philologists and even more in the 20th century by militaries. The general idea that I draw is that in the late 19th century, at the time of New Imperialism Herodotus was attacked, maliciously at times, by "critical" historians. In the late 20th century Herodotus' reputation has significantly riser because archeology confirm many of his claims, even some of the more exuberant. The theory that Herodotus massively over inflates his armies is based on the assumption that before the railroad armies could not have possibly surpassed 100,000 men and thus every historian claiming otherwise is a lier, even among scientific historians like Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon or Procopius who had access to official archives or where eyewitnesses. For simple chroniclers like Malalas and Theophanes I agree, they are probably exaderating but we must not confuse them with scientific historians. On the other hand Herodotus gives significant details that imply a major undertaking: You do not create 5 major food depots and send food over years to Europe if you believe that the army can live off the land. You do not send half a million men on ships to support a smaller army. This is why among the later historians those who have been more specialized in military rather than general history large number are more accepted. The 400,000 number is probably not in the consensus again since there have not been a significant number of papers in English yet supporting it (makes you wonder what the heck are they supposed to be doing in the University of Athens) but this does nto mean it should not be mentioned. If anything there has been a significant number of non-greek literature supporting a 60,000+ combatant number in Marathon, since Xerxes sent more 10 years later the consensus number is bound to rise. Ikokki 09:13, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

In that case, do you have any Greek sources that actually speak of a consensus above 300,000? I wouldn't really mind briefly mentioning the popular Greek or Iranian views, but I believe the popular English views should still be given more priority since this is an English Wikipedia. Jagged 85 20:30, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Greek sources rarely talk of consensus because it is quite rare for the Greeks to form a consensus on anything. The 'History of the Greek Nation' generally expresses the academic consensus of the late '60s/early '70s (not just among Greek historians since it had many foreign contributors) but since its publication no major work of history has really been published. Military history has exploded in popularity since the mid-1990's these works have been quoted in the latest editions of ancient works (and I have referred to them here) but among the professors in the humanities departments of Greek universities none have really bothered to actually write something on the subject and so tell us what THEY think on the size of Xerxes' army. Makes you wonder what they are actually supposed to be doing ... Ikokki 14:17, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

When you think about it imagine the Persian empire at the time? It was huge, it would have theoretically had enough resources to field such a great army, and remember this was revenge the Persians were marching to revenge their defeat at marathon.--Co1dLP1anet 14:00, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Pro Leonidas?

From what i have seen there does not seem to be a proper assessment on whether or not Leonidas actually made the right descision to withdraw the rest of the troops or not. And whether or not his descision to sacrifice himself and the soldiers that stayed with him was foolhardy. It can be argued that he was driven by the prophecy about the destruction of sparta and really lost his judgement. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:41, 14 April 2007 (UTC).

No one can make an assessment of whether Leonidus did the right thing because there is no eyewitness account of what happened. Herodotus is the only source for the end of the battle and he admits he is only guessing that the Spartans sacrificed themselves. Many scholars believe the Spartans tried to retreat when they found they were being outflanked and some (notably Julius Beloch) even say that Leonidus was an incompetent commander. He may have been a bad leader but probably not incompetent. Wayne 23:22, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Just an NB on claiming 'Greek sources' to be unreliable, this kind of logic is used all over wikipedia, most notably by Turkish editors on controversial pages to justify denial of one of their respective genocides or another. There is a well known term for this, it is called 'poisoning the well'. If one wishes to refute something they should address the content, not the author.--NeroDrusus 13:33, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

They fought naked?

like in the painting? -- 16:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

No. Spartans fought with full body armour that covered their entire bodies along with plumed helmets. Also, all wore identical armour regardless of rank. Wayne 04:23, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Nudity is a common artistic device representing heroic status. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:23, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

full body armour? not something like this ? -- 19:13, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Your picture shows a Greek Hoplite not a Spartan. Spartans never wore a metal cuirass like the Greeks but a linen corselet because it was lighter. They all wore red cloaks but these were discarded before battle. The hair in the following pic is accurate as well. Spartans were known for growing their hair long and spending the time before battle combing it. In fact according to Herodotus, Xerxes sent a scout to see if the number of defenders was as low as he had been told. The scout reported back that the numbers were correct and that the Spartans were combing their hair which meant they would fight.
This picture is a Spartan Hoplite. Wayne 22:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Persian situation prior to battle?

I note a section on the Greek preperations, but little on the Persian buildup and dispositon? Am I just misreading the article or this section genuinely missing? ShakespeareFan00 13:15, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

300 - popular culture

The film 300, the same as the graphic novel, is only about this battle. I think they should be mentioned in "popular culture" section, redirecting to "sparta in popular culture" is stupid in this case. --Have a nice day. Running 14:00, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

DAB link


The passage:

The Oracle is said to have made the following prophecy in hexameter verse:

Should read:

The Oracle is said to have made the following prophecy in hexameter verse:

This change is purely maintenance and unrelated to any vandalism or previous edit war.

--Selket Talk 20:56, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

The page has been unprotected. CMummert · talk 14:46, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I made the edit, but think more could be done than a piped link. Agathoclea 09:04, 25 April 2007 (UTC)



I would like to request the following spelling errors to be fixed. In the "Modern Estimates" section under the heading "Size of the Persian Army", it states:

Some historians have suggested numbers higher and lower than the modern consensus. At the higher end of modern estimates, som historians begin with the assumption that Herodotus is accurate in claiming that Mardonius led a remnant of 300,000 Persians the next year in the battle of Plataea and thus Xerxes led a larger army at Thermopylae. Kampouris claims that Ctesias' 800,000 figure was accurate [65] as does Stecchini while Despotopoulos [15] and Romas[66] believe that the army numbered liottle more than 400,000. At the lower end of modern estimates, some historians have suggested numbers lower than 60,000.[63]

The words in bold text are typos that should be fixed ("some" and "little"), thank you. Atamasama 01:00, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I have unprotected the page. I hope the edit war has cooled off. CMummert · talk 14:45, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I fixed the typos myself. Atamasama 18:42, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Lessons from the battle


I added a line and a footnote to the third paragraph which talks about the lessons taken from the battle. It is misleading to say that the major lessons were about training, tactics and equipment, because the ancient and modern writers who have commented on the battle have overwhelmingly concentrated on the significance of Thermopylae as symbolizing the collision of Western and Oriental models of national governance, and the purposes for which their militaries fought. This was the point made in my ancient history class in college, and also has been the result of my readings in Herodotus and other commentaries. This article is the first reference I've come across that claimed tactics, training and equipment were the prime lessons drawn from the Spartan defense at Thermopylae.

To justify the change, I included a footnote by noted historical commentator Victor Davis Hanson, which summarizes how ancient and near-modern writers have referred to the battle. I only discovered this quote after writing my change and realizing it needed a footnote. I searched up the footnote after someone deleted the change, which I have put it in again. With this information supplied, there is no justification for removing the sentence because the tactics, training and equipment interpretation is a minority interpretation and does not reflect the vast bulk of the commentary that has been made about Thermopylae through the ages.

Prestonmcconkie 02:22, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Requested changes to infobox


I'd like to suggest:

  1. Changing the "result=" to Pyrrhic Persian victory, as the win greatly diminished Xerxes' strength?
  2. Adding "c. 200,000<br>" to the front of "strength2=", as that is a reasonable summary given the following lines as a disclaimer. 08:37, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

This page is semiprotected; any username more than a few days old can edit it. There is no need for administrator assistance to edit this page. CMummert · talk 14:59, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Since that change has been discussed before (see above) and nobody seems to oppose the designation Pyrrhic victory, I will edit it in (again). Please do not revert the edit without discussing it on these pages. Sakkura 00:56, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi Sakkura, there actually was a very long conversation on this issue, and it was decided fo a number of strategic reasons that it cannot be classified as Pyrrhic. I think the page that beas the brunt of this argument is no archived, try looking at the second page of the discusion board. The overwhelming consensus was that it cannot be classified as Pyrrhic. I will change it back, but if you ae not satisfied please post, thanks.--Arsenous Commodore 22:10, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Well there is a long discussion near the top of this page where the majority in the end seems to favor Pyrrhic victory. Sakkura 14:05, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I had a look in archive 2, the discussion there isn't longer than the one on this page, and isn't much more conclusive either. Then I had a look at the two victories that are the basis for the term "Pyrrhic victory" - Pyrrhus' victories against the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum. At Heraclea, Pyrrhus lost about 11.3% of his men. At Asculum he lost about 8.8% of his men. According to the consensus of modern historians, the Persian force at Thermopylae was probably between 100,000 and 200,000. And the casualties are stated as 20,000. That means the Persians lost 10-20% of their men at the battle, which certainly matches (if not exceeds) what Pyrrhus lost. In terms of campaign objectives, the battle was also costly for the Persians. Having a huge force delayed for days by a small force and in the end only defeating it at the cost of heavy casualties is bad, and even more so when the delay allowed the Greeks more time to evacuate Athens and in turn assemble the land forces that would finally repel the Persians at Plataea. Likewise, the victories of Pyrrhus against the Romans did not achieve his campaign goals either. Sakkura 14:30, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Hi Sakkura, and sorry for my late response. You raised some good points, but here is the problem. You have categorized modern estimates for the Persian strength and applied antiquity results for the casualties. Herodotus was known to exaggerate when it came to Persian strength and casualties. If 20,000 is assumed as what the Persian's truly lost then, it would have to be matched against over 2.6 million. Which makes it a really tiny percentage loss. And as Thermopylae showed, the Persians were stilly prepared to fight 10 more such battles if the 200,000 strength figure is used (alongside Herodotus casualties, which makes the ratio more innaccurate). After this battle Athens was captured, and formidable infantry forces were still present to fight at Plataea and Mycale, even when Xerxes took a large portion back to Asia as well. "One more such victory and I shall be undone" I believe characterizes a Pyrrhic victory. Xerxes could have fought on, if the naval damages of Salamis were not inflicted. This battle had no resulting favourable outcome did. Salamis won the war. Finally, one main school of thought also suggests that the casualties in this battle were really many levies vis-a-vis the SPartan Royal guard. Although I have seen some modern sources for 10,000 Persian casualties, I will try to find them though and post them here.--Arsenous Commodore 19:14, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Alright, if the problem is a lack of reliable info on the Persian casualties, then I guess it is most prudent to just keep the simple designation "Persian victory". Even if Thermopylae was actually a setback for the Persians, buying time for the Greeks to retreat, evacuate Athens, and win the war at sea. Sakkura 20:57, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Numbers and neutrality

I doubt the neutrality of the article. It is based too much in the story as given by Herodot. While being a good story, it is also known for long that it cannot be true in the form it was told.

One example is the aspect that quite a part of the Persian army travelled a longer distance than, for instance, Hannibal's army and they had to cross several mountain aras. After all, light troops used as scouts came from what is now Afghanistan (the Bactrians). And there were mountain troops in the Persian army. Passing mountains or finding a way to do that was not exactly a rocket science to them. Hence, the story of Ephialtes makes little sense.

Further, the article states: Whatever the real numbers were, it is clear that Xerxes I was anxious to ensure a successful expedition by mustering an overwhelming numerical superiority by land and by sea. Anybody who is not a military ignoramus can tell that increasing the size of an army does not increase its efficiency. To the contrary, it creates a lot of problems, starting with the logistic ones. The statement is also politically ignorant, the invasion was to be supported by Greek allies who would inevitably appear with a Persian army in the country. The Persian army was an expeditionary force, not hordes of barbars from the East - even though the story continues to be told that way.

I do not know why the article is based on the numbers as given by de Souza. He is hardly an authority in land warfare. Reconstructions by military historians who actually saw war, based on the logistics, other contemporary sources, and the battles themselves, give numbers definitely on the low range of his estimates - i.e less than 70.000 Persians. -- Zz 13:39, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Herodot claimed there were over 2 million Persians at the battle. The article includes this number as well as far lower ones, noting that the most popular view among modern scholars is a size of 150,000-200,000, which means the article places little weight on the account Herodotus gives.
Finding your way across mountains is one thing - finding your way across mountains in foreign countries is quite another, especially when there are enemies in the area.
Xerxes brought a large force, which points to his desire to face the often individually superior Greek troops with a numerical superiority to ensure victory. That an impressive force would also persuade more people to join him or surrender only helped that strategy further. And a larger army can perform better, if the numerical superiority can be put to use in the battle. Thermopylae seems to be the prime example of a battle where superior numbers did not help matters since they could not be brought to bear (due to the narrow battlefield). Sakkura 07:57, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
The article does say that the most popular view of modern scholars is a size of 150.000 to 200.000. However, this comes from a secondary source and that secondary source, Philip de Souza, is not an expert on these matters. Further, we do not know whether these historians or historic writers he refers to have any expertise at all.
See for instance the numbers for the Battle_of_Gaugamela. There, a Persian army deep in its own country is said to be no bigger than 100.000. Even then it is beaten by a smaller Macedonian army. This also puts the claim into perspective that increasing the size of an army makes it more powerful. Swelling the numbers by troops not suited reduces the efficiency of the army, the number just becomes a burden. This holds even more for an expeditionary force.
The military historians starting with Delbrück, however, have pointed out that both the the storyline starting with Herodot is not to be trusted and that the numbers are ridiculously high. Fielding 100.000 soldiers in antiquity happened only rarely and under extreme circumstances. Even the 80.000 Romans (+ Italic allies) at Battle of Cannae, coming from a densely populated Italy and the army being on its home turf again, is high. Let us just field hundred thousands or millions of soldier is naive.
These military historians point out the often neglected questions as logistics and supply, the length of the marching column (!), the actual size of the Persian military together with its organization and economic base, and the fact that the Persian king could not afford to strip his ever rebellious country of troops. They point out further that most writers about history have little to no military experience of their own. They also point out that it is a historical constant to exaggerate, even ridiculously exaggerate the size of an enemy army.
Lastly, finding your way around some mountains is a different story when you are in enemy country, even if these mountains are neither high nor steep as it is the case for the Thermopylae, but that is what happens to an expeditionary force and the Persians had troops for that. -- Zz 13:37, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
The strategic situation prior to the battle of Gaugamela was completely different. Achaemenid Persia had at that point lost several battles and sieges against Macedonia, and that shortly after Darius III became emperor (with the brief unrest that usually comes with a regime change). So it is quite plausible that a larger force could have been present at Thermopylae.
If the Persians thought they were expanding the army with troops that were useful (if nothing else then for show and as cannon-fodder) then what does it matter if later events showed their inefficiency? The Persians could hardly see into the future.
It is true that exaggerating the size of the enemy was commonplace in antiquity. However, saying the article is based too much on Herodot seems quite harsh when the numbers given as the probable size of the Persian army are about ten times smaller than Herodot claimed. And his description of specific events during the battle are clearly delineated as his statements (and even described as legend at one point).
Your reference to the forces at the battle of Cannae don't seem to have any relevance to this matter. The Roman Republic as of 216 BC was nowhere near the size of Achaemenid Persia in 480 BC. And the military developments during that period was quite dramatic, making the comparison even less relevant. Sakkura 14:39, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Can We Protect the Article Again

I am seeing all sorts of wierd stuff here, I think the hype from 300 is stil not over. Can we semi-protect this article again? I am seeing things such as "Xerxes the Tyrant", Half of Persian force slain (according to Herodotus) and "Extremely Large" for strength in the warbox. What's very troubling is that it appears to be only anons, who are not contributing with references or Talk posts. Thanks. --Arsenous Commodore 19:18, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Pyrrhic victory?

Is the Battle of Thermopylae be considered a Pyrrhic victory? It had devastating casualties to the Persians, compared to very few from the Greeks. In the long run it also became the Persian Empire's undoing (in regards to expanding into Europe). The battle is given as an example in the Pyrrhic victory article. --Ted87 07:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

We've had this debate countless times; the consensus was that it wasn't a pyrrhic victory. The Persians didn't incur "devastating" casualties. They lost many men, but losing approximately 10% of available manpower is nowhere near devastating, and the actual impact of Thermopylae on the Persian advance is subject to debate. --Scottie_theNerd 09:43, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, if we could know with any hint of accuracy that the Persian casualties were in the area of 10%, it should be named a Pyrrhic victory, since that is the casualty rate Pyrrhus suffered in his victories against Rome. But it seems that where the estimates on the size of the Persian army vary widely, the amount of Persian casualties is almost impossible to even guess at, unless you accept Herodotus' numbers outright (and nobody accepts his numbers for the army size, so the casualty number he gives probably isn't reliable either). So it is impossible to find out what the casualty rate was, and thus we should stick with simply calling it a "Persian victory". Sakkura 01:48, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Ancient Greek "Democracy" versus Modern Democracy

One « » who prefers not to give any name, though obviously is no vandal at all, has just deleted from the main text a sentence stating that "(The Battle of Thermopylae) ... ultimately helped to form democracy as it is seen today". I would kindly ask this contributor to reason out his/her deletion.

Being as I am a profound admirer of Ancient Greek Culture, in principle I cannot help but agree, however.

Kind regards, Zack Holly Venturi 12:29, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Infobox error

  • I hope that Wikipedia's good articles are watched enough that the infobox error will be rectified shortly. As I have some wiki experience, I tried to fix it, but was unable to find the template page with all the infoboxes on it. Cheers.
    • Never mind. I found the infobox coding in a prior revision of the page and corrected it. 18:04, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Theban hostages

The article needs to explain this whole Theban issue. From the article:

The Spartans had pledged themselves to fight to the death, while the Thebans were held as hostage against their will.

Say what? Is that suppose to be self-explanatory? I know the Thebans were Greek, so, if they were sent to protect Thermopylae, why would the Spartans suddenly turn around and treat them as hostages, especially since they could hardly have had any available manpower to do so. If, on the other hand, they were allied to the Persians, how were they captured by the Spartans in the first place? 10:31, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

OK, I've just done some googling on this: several historians question Herodotus's statements about the Thebans at the battle. After Thebes surrendered to Persia, there was a great deal of anti-Theban sentiment in the Greek world. Herodotus may have been rationalizing why people who he saw as "treacherous" were also at the "heroic" battle. In fact, even an ancient author criticized Herodotus on this point, Plutarch of Chaeronea, in a treatise called Herodotus' Malice. 11:28, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Greek epitaph text

The link for the version "πειθόμενοι νομίμοις" doesn't work for me, and searching the domain with google renders nothing. If I'm not missing something, this should, regrettably, count as unsourced now. In any case, the editor who added it should have mentioned the ancient sources that were cited by Hendry. If he had done so, things would be simpler now.-- 22:40, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

300 spartans didnt die

2 spartans left before the battle ended so they lived and only 298 spartans died

And your source is?-- 16:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Aristodemus and Eurytus had an eye infection and leonidas ordered them to leave and both did, but Eurytus went back to the battle and died with the others. Pantites was sent by leonidas to Thessaly as an ambasador to possibly recruit allies for the upcoming battle. Pantites didnt return to Thermopylae in time. Pantites Hanged himself because he was branded a "trembler" shunded and outcasted.
After the battle Aristodemus had humiliation and disgrace upon him. no spartan would talk to him.
at the battle at Plataea Aristodemus fought with such fury that spartans regarded him as redeemed himself.but no medals or awards were given to him because he fought with suicidical recklesness.
Also in the movie 300 Aristodemus had his name changed to Dilios
try googling them also for more information.
Pathfinder_898 as annoymous
Fine, but are you sure that Lenoidas' Spartans were precisely 300, justifying your calculation (300-2=298)? This kind of round figures are usually meant to be taken as approximates. -- 14:37, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Well with large numbers it is approximate, but when their is a small amount like this, you might assume that it is pretty accurate. I've always thought it was actually 301 (that fought), cause when the commander is not included in this number. --Ted87 09:12, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Good article

Since I left the article it has been beefed up a bit. I have not checked out the new things that were said but they are cited (most of them). Eventually I will. I note with amusement the changes to the Phocian excuses. How could they possibly NOT know that the Persians were interested in flanking the pass? That is why they were there! They gave a lame excuse after the battle that they were, like the Spartans, going to make a last stand on the hill. How convenient for them, and what a lie. They knew perfectly well that the Persians were going to go around them. They refused to sacrifice themselves and got up on the mountain to escape the Persians. And, that stuff about their being a "rear guard" is just total bunk. They were nowhere near the rear. I'm reminded of the Battle of Shiloh, when Union officers as high as colonel took one look at the advancing confederate mass and ran for their lives to the rear, outstripping their men to do that. I think whever made those changes must be a Phocian or else some sort of defense lawyer. Anyway, this argument has been going on for centuries. I'm not sure what do do about it at this point. Let me think about it. Overall I think the article is correctly classified as good also. The great interest in it justifies the extra length. It still need some clean-up. I made a few small corrections. I'm not in the mood right now to do another detailed check. It is definitely better.Dave 19:26, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

700 voulenteers?

I am watching a program on the History channel as we sepak, and it says that there were 7,000 Geek voulenteers. Has anyone heard of either 700 or 7,000?

Watched the same program. The History Channel documentary mentions the 1000 Thespians that stayed behind and died. I come here looking for more information and find a number of 700. Hmmmm... I like this article but for the constant raging dispute over numbers. The Herodotus numbers as inaccurate seem to be not in dispute so why aren't the modern more accurate estimates in a box form? Placing only the Herodotus numbers in a box makes it appear to be the final word and is in my opinion why there is an edit war earlier this year. Alatari 21:09, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced section removed

I'm removing the section Date of the battle as it has been tagged "unsourced" since February. If anyone can find sources to back up the claims, please re-add them. I'm also removing the August 11 date from the infobox, as it is also unsourced and contradicts the information in the removed section. Without good sources, I don't see how we could possibly know what specific day the battle took place on. —Angr 12:31, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Themistocles and the Athenian Navy's Contribution to the Battle of Thermopylae

Modern accounts (including the wiki article) of the battle seem to completely ignore Themistocles and the Athenian Navy's blocking actions during the battle. The History Channel's account of Thermopylae is the only modern popular source I have seen give a good accounting of the Athenians contribution to the battle. It was the Athenians sacking of Sardis (during the reign of Darius) that was the impetus for Xerxes' expedition (another missing fact). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:42, August 20, 2007 (UTC)

Article defaced

Some moral idiot has added, in such a way that it is invisible to editing, the phrase "The chicks had big tits" to the article, in the paragraph entitled "Political Considerations". 06:37, 19 September 2007 (UTC)Doug Hainline

Lone survivor?

This article says that 300 spartans were there, but only 299 died. Who was the lone survivor? If this is correct it should be mentioned in the article, in a trivia section at the least.Mwv2 04:39, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

The lone survivor of Herodotus committed suicide. He only survived by being away and then he could not stand the opprobrium of his peers in Sparta. Is he a casualty? In another source two Spartans were invalided out but when they heard of the last stand one ran back abd was killed, while the other received all the vituperation only Spartan ladies could give and committed suicide. I think he was a casualty too. Don't go fer a sojer, boys. Do you want to mention it or not? We can't put everything in. I notice the box keeps bouncing between 300 and 299. Well, 299 person, this is nothing new. The box is for generalities. By the way Herodotus is on-line so you can read it yourself without undue effort. I would guess it is in Book VII. Read it through, you'll like it. If the suicide goes in he would be happiest in Aftermath I think, and not in the box. He doesn't need any more boxes.Dave 01:31, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: On Hold

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria. I'm specifically going over all of the "Conflicts, battles and military exercises" articles. I believe the article currently meets the majority of the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. In reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that may need to be addressed, and I'll leave the article on hold for seven days for them to be fixed.

General fixes:

  1. "While some of the remaining Greeks fought with their xiphoi, some were left with only their hands and teeth." Consider rewording the last half of this sentence. If it is a quote, then add a source for it.
  2. The tag in the "Epitaph of Simonides" section needs to be addressed.
  3. A small introductory paragraph should be included in the "Thermopylae in popular culture" section instead of just having two links to go two. Mention notable popular culture references in various forms (books, films, etc.)
  4. The current inline citations in the "Notes" section should use the citation templates (found at WP:CITET for the notes that only show the URL. Include the author, date it was written, publisher, accessdate, etc. (whatever is available on the website)
  5. Go through the external links and see if there are any that can be removed or incorporated as sources into the article.
  6. It appears that Wikimedia Commons has multiple images for use, consider putting one in the infobox or any other related sections.

Add inline citations:

  1. "Herodotus calls them simply "οἱ Ἕλληνες" (the Greeks) or "the Greeks who had banded together.""
  2. "Herodotus writes that when Dienekes, a Spartan soldier, was informed that Persian arrows would be so numerous as "to blot out the sun", he responded with a characteristically laconic remark, "So much the better, we shall fight in the shade.""
  3. The poet Simonides, who was a contemporary, talks of four million.
  4. One century later, Ctesias of Cnidus gives 800,000 as the total number of the original army that met in Doriskos, Thrace, after crossing the Hellespont.
  5. "John Ruskin said of this epitaph that it was the noblest group of words ever uttered by man."

If these are not addressed within seven days, the article may be delisted. If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. I don't see that being a problem since these should be easy to fix. I will leave notices on the talk pages of the main contributors to this article along with related WikiProjects to ensure that the above issues are addressed by the appropriate people. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page. Regards, --Nehrams2020 23:45, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

I've put strikes through the items that have been completed so far. The last three issues appear to be citation-related. I don't see the rest of these taking too much longer. Keep up the good work. I'll look over the article again in two days. --Nehrams2020 23:55, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Finished list

I finished the list and that may answer the immediate objections but there is still a lot to do on straightening out the notes, fixing the errors and more subtle vandalism. I'll just go on with that for a bit and then get back to what I was doing. Meanwhile people with no user page continue to try and lard the article with opinions and irrelevant detail without a thought for the flow of the thing.Dave 02:29, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: Pass

I have rereviewed this article according to the requirements of the GA criteria and have determined that the article has passed at this time since the above issues were addressed. It is great to see that the article is being improved further for other things I was unaware of. Make sure all new information is properly sourced and that the article maintains its high quality. I'd also recommend archiving part of the talk page, it's getting quite long. I have modified the article history to reflect this review. Happy editing! --Nehrams2020 18:50, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

The last Spartan survivor founght in another battle after Thermopylae. Yes he was shunned but he did not hang himself or commit suicide.Gunnerdevil4 03:56, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

This is interesting. Which battle? How do you know?Dave (talk) 16:36, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
The only Spartan survivor was Aristodemus (Herodotus 7.229-230). He later fought in the Battle of Plataea (Herodotus 9.71). Nev1 (talk) 15:28, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

This is a great source containg lots of info

This is a great source containg lots of info!!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 2 November 2007 (UTC)