Warfare > Siege of Sestos

Siege of Sestos


In 479 BC-478 BC, after the Greek victories (against Persia) at Plataea and Mycale, Greek forces under the command of Xanthippus besieged the Persian forces. The Athenians attacked the Persian forces, and defeated the Persians. Since the Persians were defeated, the Persian garrison at Sestos allowed the Greeks to conquer the city. As a result, Persian influence along the Hellespont was significantly reduced. This served the dual goal of denying Persian land forces access to the Greek mainland, while restoring Athenian trade to Black Sea ports such as Byzantium.

The Siege of Sestos in 479 BCE was a significant military engagement during the Greco-Persian Wars, marking the final stage of the Greek campaign to liberate the Greek city-states of the eastern Aegean from Persian control. The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts fought between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE. After the decisive Greek victory at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE, the Persian forces were largely expelled from mainland Greece, leading to a renewed focus on liberating Greek territories in the Aegean and Asia Minor.

Key Players:

Greek Allies: The Greek coalition was led by the Athenian general Xanthippus and included naval forces from various Greek city-states, notably Athens and Sparta.

Persian Garrison: Sestos, located on the Hellespont (modern-day Dardanelles) in Asia Minor, was a strategically important Persian stronghold guarding the entrance to the Black Sea.

Course of the Siege:

Naval Blockade: The Greek fleet, composed of triremes and other warships, established a blockade around Sestos, cutting off the city from maritime supply routes and reinforcements.

Siege Operations: The Greek forces launched a coordinated assault on Sestos, employing siege engines, battering rams, and other siege tactics to breach the city's defenses.

Resistance and Surrender: Despite fierce resistance from the Persian garrison, the Greek besiegers gradually gained ground and inflicted heavy casualties on the defenders.

Fall of Sestos: After a prolonged siege, the Persian defenders at Sestos were overwhelmed, and the city fell to the Greek forces.


The capture of Sestos marked a significant victory for the Greek coalition, as it effectively ended Persian control over the Hellespont and secured Greek dominance in the eastern Aegean. The successful siege of Sestos was a testament to the military prowess and determination of the Greek forces, who had achieved their objective of liberating the Greek city-states from Persian oppression in the region.


The Siege of Sestos was one of the final engagements of the Greco-Persian Wars, consolidating Greek control over the Aegean and paving the way for the emergence of the Athenian Empire. The victory at Sestos bolstered Greek confidence and fostered a sense of unity among the Greek city-states, contributing to the cultural and political development of classical Greece. In summary, the Siege of Sestos in 479 BCE was a pivotal event in ancient Greek history, marking the culmination of the Greek campaign to expel Persian forces from the eastern Aegean and solidify Greek dominance in the region.

Persian Warfare

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