In this episode of Travels Through Time, British ancient historian and academic Professor Paul Cartledge, takes us back to the 'Graeco-Persian Wars' to visit a major event in the history of western civilisation and culture.
The mighty Persian empire - based in Iran, founded by Cyrus II in the mid-6th century BCE - launches a massive amphibious expedition in the spring of 480 led by Persian King-Emperor Xerxes. Their aim is to punish Persia's Greek subjects, who together with Eretria and Athens, have risen up in armed rebellion.
This forces all the many Greek cities of the mainland to make a choice: cave in without a fight, try to stay neutral, or resist. The latter was the choice of some 30-plus cities, led by the legendary Sparta King, Leonidas.
Scene One: Sparta - King Leonidas chooses 'the 300' for Thermopylae
Scene Two: Thermopylae - a 1-kilometre long E-W pass in northern Greece, where Thessaly (a region whose rulers were already on the Persian side) gives way to (resisting, loyalist) Phocis.
Scene Three: The morning of the final day of the Battle
Memento: A bronze Persian arrowhead
Presenter: Artemis Irvine
Interview: Violet Moller
Guest: Paul Cartledge
Production: Maria Nolan
Podcast partner: Colorgraph
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