(ORDO NEWS) — Xerxes I, also known as Xerxes the Great, was a 5th-century Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire.
He is best known for leading a massive invasion of Greece, marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. He is also known for his strange acts, including ordering the punishment of the sea.
Xerxes had just won victories over the uprisings against Persian rule in Egypt and Babylon and now set his sights on Greece, wanting to avenge his father’s defeat at their hands.
In 480 B.C. his huge army headed for the Dardanelles (Hellespont), which separates Asia from Europe.
To get his army into Greece quickly, Xerxes ordered the construction of a 1.2 kilometers (1,300 yd) long pontoon bridge across the strait.
But before his army could cross, a storm came up and destroyed the bridge.
Enraged at the sea, Xerxes ordered his soldiers to punish him by 300 blows with chains and piercing him with red-hot iron.
Handcuffs were also thrown into the water to symbolize the submission of the sea to its power. Finally, he ordered the beheading of the engineers who were building the bridge.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus in his “History” describes that after that the bridge was restored.
More than 600 ships were tied together with papyrus and linen ropes, which finally made it possible to bridge the gap between the continents.
Crossing the strait took the army of Xerxes seven days and nights. Unfortunately for Xerxes, it was all in vain.
The Persians suffered a crushing defeat and, retreating to the bridge, found that it was destroyed … again.
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