Greek Wars

The ancient Greeks used to fight a lot, even among themselves.

The people of ancient Greece lived in city-states with each being around the size to the small towns of today.

The people of Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and Thebes used to fight regularly on the borders.

Sometimes city-states got together as one to fight enemies.


The ancient Greeks also fought in wars when they invaded other countries or other countries tried invading Greece. Four major wars stand out.

These are the Trojan War (1250 BC), Persian Wars (500-448 BC), Peloponnesian War (460- 446 BC and 431-404 BC) and the wars led by Alexander the Great (331-323 BC).

The Trojan War

Legend states that the Trojan War was fought against Troy city in Asia Minor.

The war began when Paris of Troy kidnapped Helen of Sparta. Some myths suggest Helen ran away to Troy.

This is one of the most famous wars in Greek myths.

Paris fell in love with Helen and wanted to marry her, but the people of Greece did not want this and wanted Helen brought back to Greece.

Ships full of warriors were sent to get her back. Legend states more than one thousand ships set sail to Troy.

The Greek warriors landed in the city of Troy and remained there for nine years.

During this time, there were a lot of fights between the soldiers of Greece and Troy, along with towns in the neighborhood.

Many people died during the Trojan wars.

The Trojan horse is one of the most talked about relating to the Trojan Wars.

Legend says that when the Greek warriors could not beat the warriors of Troy, they built a huge wooden horse outside of the gates to the city and left it.

The Trojans were foolish and pulled the horse inside the city gates.

What they did not know was that Greek warriors had hidden inside the horse and when night arrived, they came out of the hollopw horse and destroyed the city of Troy killing all the people. The Greek warriors returned home with Helen.

The Persian Wars

The Persian Wars were fought between the ancient Greeks and the Persian Empire.

The battles fought during this time were some of the most famous in Greek history.

They included battles at Marathon, Salamis, Thermopylae, and Plataea.

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian Wars were split between two stages.

The first war, 460 to 446 BC was fought by Athens and Corinth. Sparta also took part in the fight.

The second and biggest war was held from 432 to 404 BC. The wars took place both at home and abroad.

The wars were long with both sides suffering damage and loss of men. Sparta won the war in 405 BC when they destroyed the Athenian ships.

Wars of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great, real name Alexander III of Macedon, became king when his father died in 336 BC and he went on to become a great warrior.

Alexander got the nickname of “Great” because he was great at fighting in wars and battles.

One of the first battles he was involved in was the “Battle of Chaeronea” in 338 BC when he was just 18.

Alexander the Great was in charge of an army of more than 32,000 men.

He fought alongside them in wars including Baalbek, Ephesos, the Battle of Issos, Sidon, Syria, and Egypt.

The king was also involved with the Persian battle campaigns, fighting in battles in Gaugamela, Susa, Persepolis, Bactria, and Sogdiana, among others.

While Alexander the Great fought in many wars, it was not fighting that killed him. He died when he was only 32 from a high fever.

Facts about Greek Wars and Battles

  • While the warriors and soldiers in the wars had weapons most of the fighting was done hand to hand.
  • The Sparta army was the first full-time army to fight in wars going on to fight using tactics and weapons.
  • The first of the Peloponnesian Wars was also known as the “Archidamian War”.
  • The second of the Peloponnesian Wars also had the name of “Ionian War”.
  • The Spartans asked Persia for a loan so they could build warships, which were crucial to them winning the war.
  • During the first Peloponnesian War, the Spartans fought from the land while the warriors of Athens were on the sea.
  • The Peloponnesian Wars involved nearly all Greek city-states.
  • The wars that took place during the Greek Dark Age were only minor fights or raids on land.
  • Even after the Persian Wars finished, fights between Greece and Persia kept happening for another 30 years.

Questions and Answers

Question 1 – How did the Greek warriors win the Trojan War?

Answer – The Trojan horse

Question 2 – How many stages was the Peloponnesian War fought over?

Answer – Two stages

Question 3 – What was Alexander the Great real name?

Answer – Alexander III of Macedon

Question 4 – How old was Alexander the Great when he went to war for the first time?

Answer – 18 years old

Question 5 – How did Alexander the Great Die?

Answer – A high fever


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