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Leonidas statue in Sparta. Sparta was a prominent city-state in Ancient Greece. Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 B.C., Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens.


Spartan General Pausanias. Pausanias was a Spartan general of the 5th century BCE, responsible for the Greek victory over Mardonius and the Persians at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE, and was the leader of the Hellenic League created to resist Persian aggression during the Greco-Persian Wars.


Persian infantry, fifth/fourth century BC. The spearman on the left with the crescent shaped shield is a Takabara light infantryman. The one on the right, with the big round shield, is a Kardaka, a type of imitation hoplite. The bowman in the back is part of a Sparabara team, the heavy archer/spearman pair, a common unit formation during the fifth century BC Greek and Persian Wars.


In 3500BC, the city of Susa, in what is today Iran, housed about eight thousand people. The city was built between two rivers for protection water access. Susa survived thousands of years, becoming an important center of the Babylonian Empire. It was from here, according to the Bible, that Esther married the Persian emperor saved her people from a plotted genocide. According to the Iliad, the city was founded by Memnon, who later died defending Troy from Greek attack in the Trojan War.