The defeat of the Persian army and navy by the Greek city-states at the battles of Marathon and Salamis in 490 and 480 B.C. ended Persia's attempt to conquer southeastern Europe and with it the direct influence of Asia in the early development of a European culture. Both battles and their surrounding actions, including the legendary stand of 300 Greek Hoplites at Thermopylae and final battle on the plain at Plataea, continue to be a source of fascination for readers, as does their significance in the history of the West. Following these victories, the Greek city-states began their complex but unfettered development into what is now known as a "classical period," with an unparalleled explosion of intellectual advancements in the arts, sciences, and philosophy that form the backbone of Western civilization and ideals. Until these battles, Persia was the literate world's cultural and political focal point, and while Persia would continue to exert its power and influence for centuries, it would remain barred from Europe, where Greek and subsequently Roman power would shape the future of the continent. Originally published as part of the "Great Occasions" series of the 1930s, this is the first paperback edition of this lively and engaging work.
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