The Persian Wars
Like the Trojan War, the Persian Wars were a defining moment in Greek history. The Athenians, who would dominate Greece culturally and politically through the fifth century BC and through part of the fourth, regarded the wars against Persia as their greatest and most characteristic moment. For all their importance, though, the Persian Wars began inauspiciously. In the middle of the sixth century BC, the Greek city-states along the coast of Asia Minor came under the control of the Lydians and their king, Croesus (560-546 BC). However, when the Persians conquered the Lydians in 546 BC, all the states subject to the Lydians became subject to the Persians. The Persians controlled their new subject-states very closely; they appointed individuals to rule the states as tyrants.