This is the twenty-sixth of thirty-one readers used in the Veritas Press Phonics Museum program, designed for first grade.
The skills of archers are important.
We can keep the enemy back with our arrows.
The East has a grudge with Greece.
We lost a major battle with them ten years ago at the Battle of Marathon and the King of the East will not forget it.
The Persian empire attempted to conquer Greece in two great campaigns, in 490 B. C. and 480/79 B. C.. The conflict began when Asiatic Greeks revolted in c. 500 B. C.; with the aid of mainland Greeks, they fought for independence from Persian rule. Persian king Darius I crushed the rebellion in 493 and realized that his western frontier was unsafe so long as the mainland Greeks remained free. Thus he launched the first campaign into Greece, which ended in failure at the Battle of Marathon.
The second Persian campaign into Greece, under Darius' son and successor, Xerxes, is the setting for our story. Mustering at Sardis, Xerxes marched his great army over an ingeniously-constructed bridge across Hellespont (today's Dardanelles Strait). After this, Xerxes numbered his host (the 1.7 million figure is from Herodotus, the great Greek historian, but many scholars believe his estimate to be exaggerated). Xerxes continued through Thrace and Macedonia as his navy shore-hopped alongside. His army faced its first resistance when bottlenecked at Thermopylae pass, where our story ends. Here Xerxes overcame a small but valiant Spartan contingent; meanwhile his navy suffered defeat at the Battle of Artemesium off the northern tip of Euboea. Marching onward, the Persian army overran Athens, but its navy was destroyed by Athenians off Salamis Island. Without his navy, Xerxes retreated, and the small contingent he left behind with General Mardonius was defeated the following spring at the Battle of Plataea.
Greek resistance halted Persia's western expansion, and paved the way for Athenian naval power and cultural dominance in its Golden Age.
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