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The Persian Wars, 490-479 BC

2. Unity and Disunity

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About this Lecture


In this module, we consider the extent to which the Greeks were unified in the face of the Persian threat, focusing in particular on why certain states might have chosen to resist the Persians while others joined them, and what we can learn from the most famous monument in honour of those who helped repel the Persians – the so-called Serpent Column in Delphi.


In this course, Professor Paul Cartledge (University of Cambridge) explores the Greco-Persian Wars of 490-79 BC. We begin by exploring the concept of Greekness before turning in the second module to think about the extent to which the Greeks formed a unified resistance to the Persian threat. In the third module, we look at our main source for the Greco-Persian Wars – Herodotus' Histories – before turning in the fourth module to the means by which the Athenians and Spartans commemorated their victory over the Persians, including the Serpent Column at Delphi and the Parthenon in Athens. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about what might have happened if the Persians, not the Greeks, had won the Greco-Persian Wars.


Paul Cartledge is Professor of Greek History in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge, where he has taught since 1979; he is also a Fellow of Clare College. His undergraduate and doctoral qualifications where obtained at Oxford, where he completed a dissertation on the archaeology and history of early Sparta under the supervision of Professor Sir John Boardman. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of a score of books, including most recently The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece; The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization; Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History c.1300-362 BC; The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others; The Spartans: An Epic History; Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past and Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World . He co-edits two monograph series, sits on the editorial boards of three learned journals and serves as consultant in ancient history to Duckworth publishers. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and holds the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour awarded by the President of the Hellenic Republic.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cartledge, P. (2018, August 15). The Persian Wars, 490-479 BC - Unity and Disunity [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Cartledge, P. "The Persian Wars, 490-479 BC – Unity and Disunity." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,