But the embers of war were stoked much earlier, in the sixth century, when the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek region of Ionia.

The wars saw some of the biggest and most important battles in the history of ancient warfare, such as the Battle of Marathon or the Battle of Thermopylae.

The latter saw a host of a few thousand Greek soldiers hold their own against an estimated 70,000 to 300,000 Persians.

Today, the battle is perhaps best known as the battle of the 300 Spartans.

The lands of modern-day Israel and Palestine were under Persian control in the sixth century BC.





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