From a typical Western history perspective, Xerxes I comes off as the bad guy whose sole goal was to bring ancient Greeks to their knees and wipe out every trace...
Category: Xerxes the Great
Xerxes I, commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth king of the Achaemenid Empire, reigning from 486 BC to 465 BC.
Here are some frequently asked questions about him:
How is Xerxes related to Darius the Great?
Xerxes was the son of Darius the Great and Queen Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great.
Why is Xerxes famous for his invasion of Greece?
Xerxes is particularly known for his massive invasion of Greece in 480 BC, which included the famous battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea.
What was the outcome of the Battle of Thermopylae?
At the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, a small Greek force led by King Leonidas of Sparta resisted the larger Persian army for three days. Though the Greeks were ultimately defeated, their valiant stand became legendary.
Did Xerxes’ invasion of Greece succeed?
Initially, Xerxes had some successes, like the burning of Athens. However, the Greek naval victory at Salamis and the subsequent land battle at Plataea led to the retreat and eventual failure of the Persian invasion.
What are the “Xerxes Canal” and the “Hellespont Bridge”?
Xerxes ordered the construction of a canal across the Athos peninsula to provide a safe passage for his navy. He also commissioned two pontoon bridges, known as the Hellespont Bridge, across the Dardanelles strait for his army to cross.
How did Xerxes the Great die?
Xerxes was assassinated in 465 BC, possibly as part of a court conspiracy. He was succeeded by his son, Artaxerxes I.
How is Xerxes depicted in ancient texts?
Greek historians, especially Herodotus, depict Xerxes as a hubristic and often irrational despot. However, Persian sources present him as a revered and competent ruler.
How did Xerxes impact the Achaemenid Empire?
Despite his mixed military successes, Xerxes oversaw administrative reforms and monumental architectural projects, strengthening and beautifying the empire.
How is Xerxes the Great portrayed in popular culture?
Xerxes has been depicted in various films, books, and TV series, often drawing from both historical accounts and dramatic embellishments. A notable portrayal is in the movie “300” and its sequel, “300: Rise of an Empire”. The former, a 2006 action film directed by Zack Snyder, is a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, where King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fought against the massive Persian army led by Xerxes I.