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One reason why the Persian Wars began was because the Ionian
Greeks found themselves under the control of Persia.  The Greeks had established a democracy which
did not coincide with the monarchial Persian rule.  This created a deep root of rebellion in the
Greeks.  However, the differing style of
government was not an issue in the beginning. 
Everything changed when the Ionian tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras,
organized a revolt in 499 B.C.E.  With
help from the Athenians, the rebels attacked and burned the old capital of
Lydia.  After this attack, the Persians
proceeded to reestablish their control, and the Ionian rebellion came to an
end.  The Western Heritage book required
for this class states that in 490 B.C.E., the Persians organized an expedition to
restore Hippias and gain control of the Aegean Sea.  This action was the beginning factor which
led towards the Battle of Marathon. 
Instead of falling under the hated tyranny that was Hippias, the
Athenians decided to resist the Persian dominion.  If the Athenians would have lost this battle
at Marathon, the Persians would have gained control of all of the Greek mainland
and Athenian freedom would have been no more. 
Ten years had passed and no real conflict had taken place until King
Xerxes devised a plan to conquer Greece in order to revenge the Persian loss at
Marathon.  This first attack began the
Battles of Thermopylae, Artemisium, and Salamis.  These battles were largely naval based.  This factor favored the Greeks because they
knew that the Aegean Sea was home to many severe storms, and while the Greek
army could wait safely in a harbor for the storms to pass, the Persian army was
unprotected which caused much damage to their ships and supplies.  After a series of back and forth attacks
between the two armies, the fall of Thermopylae ultimately allowed the Persian
army to move into Attica and burn the city of Athens.  Finally, after the loss at Thermopylae, the
Greeks regained their strength and fought another battle at sea which caused
the Persians to retreat to Asia.  At
last, the threat of Persian rule was gone. 
The long term results of these numerous battles brought a sense of
victory and pride to the Greek army as well as gave Athens the power to create
a strong navy and flourish economically. 

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