Persian Wars

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According to Herodotus, one of the reasons for the Persian Wars was the ambition of the Persians to conquer the Aegean Sea and the important Greek cities with ulterior goal to expand their empire to the West.

Under the reign of Darius I the cause for attack was offered by the aid of the Athenians and Eretrians to the Ionians of Asia Minor who had revolted (499 BC).

The first great clash of the opponents on Greek soil took place in 490 BC on the plain of Marathon. The Athenian democracy, which had been established recently (508 BC), was consolidated and reinforced through successfully withstanding a very powerful enemy, against whom it deployed free citizens-hoplites.

The second Persian invasion took place in 480-479 BC. At Thermopylae, Artemision, Salamis and Plataea the Greeks confronted Xerxes’ numerous army, managing to resist and finally prevail both on land and at sea.

The exhibition “Proving History” refers to these exact events. The finds presented in it constitute the pieces of evidence, direct or indirect, of the historical narration. Around the two main axes, set by the battle of Thermopylae and the naval battle of Salamis, thematic units are developed, such as the strategic plan followed by the Greeks in their confrontations with the Persians, the military gear of the warriors, the forging of the strong Athenian naval power. Also, the question why the Persian Wars were connected to the development of democracy and the flourishing of the Classical era, arises, and an attempt is made to trace the echo of the victory both in antiquity and in the following centuries.


Directorate of Archaeological Museums, Exhibitions & Educational Programs
Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Athens
Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica


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