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Xerxes

Xerxes (d. 465 B.C.), King of Persia, succeeded his father Darius in 485 B.C. After quelling a rising in Egypt, he turned his attention to the conquest of Greece, projected by Darius, and collecting a motley host, in which all the various races subject to the Persian dominion were represented, set out on the expedition in the year 480. The little band of Spartans which, under the command of Leonidas (q.v.), endeavoured to guard of the pass of Thermopylae, was annihilated after an heroic defense, and Xerxes advanced unopposed to Athens. In the narrow strait which divides Attica from the island of Salamis (q.v.) the Persian fleet, manned by Phoenicians, was utterly defeated by that of the Greeks, and Xerxes hastily returned northwards. The conduct of the campaign was left in the hands of Mardonius, but the Greek victory at Plataea (479) completed the discomfiture of the Persians. Xerxes was assassinated.

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