Battles have been an integral part of human history for millennia. Shaping the future of the world, the most significant battles have spread culture, civilization, and religions. They have witnessed countless fallen heroes, glorious victories, and bloody defeats. Battles have seen incredible stories of honor and courage as well as horror and betrayal. To learn more about some of the most epic battles ever fought, check out these 25 Amazing Battles In History.
Battle of Marathon (490 BC)
One of the most famous military engagements as well as one of the earliest recorded battles, the Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. In the battle, approximately 20,000 infantry and cavalry of the Persians wanted to crush the Athenians, who had mobilized just about 10,000 warriors. However, the courageous Greeks beat their numerically superior enemies and defended themselves. The battle is therefore considered a defining moment in the development of European culture.
Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC)
Just ten years after they lost the Battle of Marathon, the Persians made another attempt to conquer Athens. This time around, however, their numerical superiority was even much greater – they arrived with at least 70,000 (some sources say up to 150,000) men. The Greeks, led by their heroic king Leonidas, put up a stunning fight and managed to beat the Persians again. With just about 7,000 warriors, the Greeks went to this battle as one of the greatest underdogs in the history, and their patriotic army succeeded in defending their soil.
Siege of Syracuse (414-413 BC)
A part of the Sicilian Expedition, an Athenian military expedition to Sicily, the Siege of Syracuse was one of the most important campaigns during the Peloponnesian War. A massive and well-equipped Athenian army was sent to Sicily, officially to help their allies. In reality, though, they came to conquer Syracuse, Sicily’s most powerful state. Despite their great superiority, the Athenians blundered into disaster, and their glorious army was annihilated. Athens’ other enemies were encouraged by this event and many rebellions broke out in the region.
Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC)
Also known as the Battle of Arbela, the Battle of Gaugamela was the final meeting between Alexander the Great of Macedon and King Darius III of Persia near the ancient town Gaugamela (modern Northern Iraq). Even though heavily outnumbered (100,000 Persians against 40,000 warriors of the League of Corinth), Alexander emerged victorious due to his army’s superior tactics and his deft employment of light infantry. After this glorious victory, Alexander became the king of all Asia.
Battle of the Metaurus (207 BC)
Fought in 207 BC, the Battle of the Metaurus was a pivotal battle in the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, the two greatest ancient powers of the Mediterranean. Both armies were vigorous, aggressive, exceptionally organized, and well-led. However, the Romans took advantage of their numerical superiority (47,000 Romans against 30,000 Carthaginians and 15 war elephants) to claim a victory in the battle, killing and capturing most of their enemies.
Photos: 25. Cleber.knfire, Battle of Marathon 001, CC BY-SA 3.0, 24-20. wikimedia commons (public domain), 19. Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany, Militaria finds from the Battle of Teutoburg Forest weapons, pieces of equipment and horse trappings, Museum und Park Kalkriese, Germany (9702933844), CC BY-SA 2.0, 18-4. wikimedia commons (public domain), 3. RIA Novosti archive, image #602161 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0, RIAN archive 602161 Center of Stalingrad after liberation, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2-1. wikimedia commons (public domain)