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January 24, 2007



The book -Gates of fire- by Steven Pressfield is a great book about the Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae

andrew lubin

Read the Pressfield book "Gates of Fire"
the best book written about the Spartans and their courageous stand. It's Honor - Courage - Committment to the ultimate.
Molon Labe !

Not 1,7 millions. Look up in wikipedia, they have a fair and neutral covered article on why it is less than 1,7 millions. Just search thermopylae on google you will see the link.

The count I cite comes from Herodatus, who died about 60 years after the Persian invasion. He was able to talk to people who were alive at the time of the battles. He is very specific about the counting of 10,000 soldiers, building a wall around them, and then running the rest of the army through the counting ring.

I'm not a professional historian, but I tend to distrust historians who say that ancient people could not have done something because the modern historian can't figure out how they did it. They figure there was not enough water for that many troops, so there must not have been that many troops. Xerxes was planning the invasion his whole life, and putting plans into action for 4 years prior. They set up huge stores of food for the army in lands they would march through, and built a canal through a penninsula for the navy. The navy was vast, and could have been carrying even more food and water for the troops. I'm going to give Herodatus the benefit of the doubt, and assume he knows what he was talking about.

The same reasoning could be used to say that, if we didn't have proof that they did, the Egyptians did not have the technology, metal tools, manpower, infrastructure, and funds to build the pyramids.

The Celts did not have the science, metal tools, stone moving technology, manpower, and resources to build Stonehenge, except we have the proof that they did.

Plus, more and more Herodatus' facts and figures are being confirmed by archeology, so I'll stick with his numbers.


The reason they doubt Herodatus' numbers for the army is that he has a very heavy Greek bias (being greek himself this makes perfect sense to glorify a victory his people had over a hated enemy). He wanted it to seem as though the greeks defeated an army over a million men to make the eventual victory all the more epic. Also another indicator is that modern historians believe that the ancient greek word Herodatus used for his calculations might have been mis-translated. It used to be translated into a measurment meaning 10,000 but they believe that it might actually mean an amount closer to 2,000 making the size of 1.7 million shrink to around 360,000. Despite all of that the number isn't terribly important, the main idea is that the greeks were outnumbered several times. The victories were still impressive.


even if the army was 1.7million though almost 2.5millenia ago would have been virtually impossible. still is no were even close to the largest armies every assembled.

world war 2 the germans assembled approx 7million troops

and the British assembled 5.5million.

not sure on the americans or russians but they must have been close.


I have read on sevral occasions that the largest single army ever assembled was that of the red army during the second world war, numbers being around the 25 million mark!

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