Article

Greeks and Achaemenid Persians

Bruce Laforse

in The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195304657
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195304657.013.0029

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Greeks and Achaemenid Persians

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This chapter addresses the battle against Achaemenid Persians. Shortly before the fateful battle of Cunaxa, Cyrus the Younger told his Greek officers why they fought and how their lives would improve if they should defeat the army of his brother, Artaxerxes II. Cyrus framed his speech entirely in terms of the Greek/Barbarian dichotomy. The chapter also shows how key aspects of the Greek/Barbarian dichotomy developed. The poetry from Homer until the Persian Wars contains only hints of the Greek/Barbarian stereotypes. In the Persae, Aeschylus presents the victorious Greeks as free men, collectively fighting in disciplined well-organized fashion, their numbers and resources comparatively modest. To many Greeks, Persia was the enemy against whom it was in the best interests of all Greeks to set aside internal differences and unite.

Keywords: Achaemenid Persians; Cyrus the Younger; Artaxerxes II; Greek/Barbarian dichotomy; Homer; Persian Wars; Greek/Barbarian stereotypes; Persae; Aeschylus; Persia

Article.  8654 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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