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Science&TechnologyArcheologyHow the Persian king Xerxes ordered the sea to be flogged as...

How the Persian king Xerxes ordered the sea to be flogged as punishment

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Xerxes I, who ruled the Persian Empire in the 5th century, goes down in history with his military invasion of Greece, marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis and Plateia. But according to historians, this invasion became known not only for its battles, writes Ancient Origins. In 480 BC. Xerxes’ army advanced on the Hellespont (Dardanelles), which separated Asia from Europe. In order to quickly transfer his army to the opposite shore, the Persian king ordered the construction of a 1.2 km pontoon bridge across the strait. The bridge was built, but before the Persian army could take advantage of it, a storm broke out at sea and destroyed the structure. Enraged, Xerxes ordered his soldiers to punish the sea for disobedience. By order of the king, the sea was whipped 300 times and pierced with red-hot iron to obey Xerxes.

In addition, according to historical records, the engineers involved in the construction of the pontoon bridge were beheaded. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the bridge was eventually built. More than 600 boats were tied with ropes, which allowed Xerxes I’s army to cross to the opposite shore.

It is known that crossing the strait takes the Persians 7 days and nights. But for Xerxes and his army, all is in vain. The Persians were defeated by the Greeks and when they retreated to the bridge, they found that the sea had destroyed the bridge again.

Photo: The Scourging of the Hellespont (illustration from 1909). Public Domain

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