As It Is Written . . .
Two Views of Persia
When "Western Civilization" came into being during the fifth century before Christ, two inseparable components formed its nucleus: first, a two-staged war, and second, a long literary reflection on the context and meaning of that war.
First, the war. In 490 the Persian Emperor, Darius I, landed a massive force on the shores of Attica, northeast of Athens. In prompt response, a handful of Athenians and their neighbors arrived on the scene and, in one afternoon, routed the invading army at a town called Marathon.
A decade later, Xerxes brought the Persians to Greece again, and again they were vanquished in a series of engagements, most notably by the Athenian navy at the Battle of Salamis in September of 480, and then, the following April, by a mere thousand hoplites at a place called Platea.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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