Warfare > Siege of Eretria

Siege of Eretria


The Siege of Eretria was a significant military engagement during the Greco-Persian Wars, marking the Persian invasion of Greece in 490 BCE. The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts fought between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE. In 490 BCE, King Darius I of Persia sought to punish the Greek city-states for their support of the Ionian Revolt and to expand Persian influence in the Aegean region.

Key Players:

Persian Forces: Led by Datis and Artaphernes, the Persian invasion force consisted of a sizable army and a formidable fleet.

Eretria: A prominent Greek city-state located on the island of Euboea, Eretria was a strategic target for the Persians due to its proximity to Athens and its support for the Ionian Revolt.

Course of the Siege:

Persian Landing: The Persian fleet, carrying troops from Asia Minor and other subject territories, landed near Eretria on the island of Euboea.

Siege Operations: The Persians laid siege to Eretria, surrounding the city and blockading its harbor to prevent reinforcements or supplies from reaching the defenders.

Assault on the City: The Persian forces launched repeated assaults on Eretria's walls, utilizing siege engines and infantry tactics to breach the defenses.

Fall of Eretria: After a prolonged siege, Eretria fell to the Persian forces, who captured the city and enslaved its population.


The fall of Eretria was a significant setback for the Greek city-states, as it demonstrated the military might of the Persian Empire and the vulnerability of Greek territories to invasion. The Persian victory at Eretria emboldened King Darius and paved the way for the subsequent Persian invasion of mainland Greece, culminating in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE.


The Siege of Eretria highlighted the strategic importance of naval power and coastal defenses in ancient warfare, as well as the challenges faced by Greek city-states in defending against Persian aggression. The Persian victory at Eretria set the stage for further conflicts between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire, shaping the course of ancient history in the Aegean region. In summary, the Siege of Eretria in 490 BCE was a pivotal event in the Greco-Persian Wars, demonstrating the Persian Empire's military strength and setting the stage for future conflicts between Greece and Persia.

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