King Darius of Persia liked rules. One of the rules he liked was that you must treat a messenger from a king, like he was a king. Which brings up the story of the war between Persia and the two main Greek city-states, Athens and Sparta. King Darius threatened the city-states in a nice manner. He said, "Bring me gifts of the Earth and water, or else." He wasn't asking for a truck load of dirt, or a huge bottle of water. He was asking for these gifts for symbolic reasons. It meant that the city-states were surrendering and agree to be under his control by giving him soil from the ground in a decorative box and water from their lakes and rivers in a beautiful glass bottle with decorations on it.
The messengers went to the Ionian city-states and everyone was afraid of this massive empire. They gave him the gifts with no fuss. The messenger then moved to Mainland Greece and two major city-states of Greece rejected his offer and treated the messenger like spit. Athens was a very wise city-state. They were very proud of their life and their city-state. They gladly rejected his offer. They threw the messenger in a pit and filled it to his neck with soil and poured water on top of it.
The messenger at Sparta was thrown into a well and the Spartans laughed in his face saying "There's plenty of earth and water down there!". When the messengers returned to the king, he was furious! Other Greek city-states had refused and they were on his list, but Athens and Sparta were at the top of his list. He was going to crush these little city-states like a bug!
He sent out Persian ships across the Aegean and storms crushed over half of his fleet. Persian ships are very easy to spot in a sea like the Aegean, so Athens was warned. Athens then did something that they thought they would never do. They asked Sparta for help. The Spartans accepted, but told Athens that they must first finish their religious ceremony, and if the Persians arrived before that, it would be bad luck for Athens. The only thing the Spartans admired more than war, was their religion.
Athens heard that the Persian's plan was to stay along the coast line to Marathon. Athens however, was ready when the Persians arrived. Athens had one power on their side that they thought they could not lose. It wasn't Sparta, or any other city-state. It was no human of mass strength. In fact, it was the opposite of a human. It was a god. Poseidon, God of the Sea. Athens was confident that they were going to win, having a god on their side. The Athenians hid among the hills of Marathon and waited until the Persian ships arrived. They then ran screaming and singing and eliminated the Persians. Only a few Athenians were killed. Only a few Persians survived.
Sparta's religious ceremony was finally over, and a new threat was unleashed. The prince of Persia, Xerxes. He had made a plan to stay along the coastline where storms were not likely. He would then cross along the mountain path, but there was one problem Xerxes did not foresee. The most powerful Spartan general hand picked 300 of his best men and they stayed along the mountain path. The Persians arrived and Sparta slaughtered them. The next day, the Persians had to move bodies out of the way of dead Persians to get through. The next army was also defeated. Xerxes knew there was always one rat in the crowd. One rat that would betray everyone around him for the right price. He was right. A man went and told him about a secret passageway. Sparta had put some men to guard the passageway, but they left before Persia arrived. The Persians got through and came up on the Spartans from behind. It was a glorious battle. The Persians were amazed at the bravery of the Spartans. None of the 300 men ran. They fought until they were no longer able to fight. If they had no weapon, they would kick. If they had no legs, they would punch. If they had neither arms nor legs, they would bite. They would do anything to protect their city-state, Athens, and the Greek city-states that refused. Sparta was now defeated.
TO BE CONTINUED...
(NeoAddict does not vouch for the correctness of the guide.)