Achaemenid Settlements > Athens

Athens

Background

The Achaemenid destruction of Athens was accomplished by the Achaemenid Army of Xerxes I during the Second Persian invasion of Greece, and occurred in two phases over a period of two years, in 480–479 BCE. In 480 BCE, after the victory of Xerxes I at the Battle of Thermopylae, all of Boeotia fell to the Achaemenid Army. The two cities that had resisted Xerxes, Thespiae and Plataea, were captured and razed. Attica was also left open to invasion, and the remaining population of Athens was thus evacuated, with the aid of the Allied fleet, to Salamis. The Peloponnesian Allies began to prepare a defensive line across the Isthmus of Corinth, building a wall, and demolishing the road from Megara, thereby abandoning Athens to the Persians.

Athens fell a first time in September 480 BCE. The small number of Athenians who had barricaded themselves on the Acropolis were eventually defeated, and Xerxes then ordered Athens to be torched.[4] The Acropolis was razed, and the Old Temple of Athena and the Older Parthenon destroyed:

Those Persians who had come up first betook themselves to the gates, which they opened, and slew the suppliants; and when they had laid all the Athenians low, they plundered the temple and burnt the whole of the acropolis. — Herodotus VIII.53

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