Ïá¿¶Î½ ÎÎµÏÎ¼Î¿ÏÏ Î»á¿¶Î½, MáchÄ tÅn ThermopylÅn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas I of Sparta, and the Achaemenid Empire of Xerxes I.It was fought over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It is believed that he was sending a message asking for additional troops, although this part of the story is disputed. This final victory officially drove the Persians from Europe and removed the threat of Persian invasion. To do this, the Persian king, Darius I, enlisted the help of a man named Aristagoras, who was ruling as the tyrant of the Ionian city Miletus. At Artemisium, the Athenian-led navy was able to inflict heavy damages on the Persian fleet by luring them into tight corridors and using their more agile ships to defeat the Persians. Eighty Years Later Greece Repeats Its Historic OXI, This Time to…, Pfizer CEO Bourla Announces Second Hub in Thessaloniki at Greek Economic Summit. After the Battle of Thermopylae, and using the same tactics that allowed them to inflict heavy damages on the Persian army, the Greek army managed to defeat the Persians at the Battle of Salamis (naval) and the Battle of Plataea, which effectively ended the threat of Persian invasion and tipped the scales of the Greco-Persian Wars in the Greeks’ favor. Worse, the program's director, Dr. Catherine Halsey, had postponed the training of new Spartan-IIs for years due to the specific age selection criteria, despite having candidates who met tâ¦ Farrokh, Kaveh. Herodotus believed that had both Aristodemus and Eurytus returned to Sparta alive, or Aristodemus alone been ill and excused from combat, the Spartans would have ascribed no blame to him. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? However, most historians now believe he sent off most of his force so that they could rejoin with the rest of the Greek armies and live to fight the Persians another day. As much as modern historians question many of the elements quoted by Herodotus, it was in essence a handful of warriors — 300, or 1,000 if we add the Thespians or 5,000-6,000 according to other estimates — standing against an enormous horde of opponents. As a result, almost everyone knows about the 300 Spartans who died trying to hold back the Persian Empireâs 300,000-strong army on its way to conquer Greece. The word “coward” was the worst insult for the supremely warlike Spartans. Plutarch’s Themistocles: A Historical Commentary. According to the historian Herodotus, there were only three men out of Leonidas’ elite army who did not fight in the epic battle. The other man, Eurytus, is said to have gone into battle anyhow, led by his servant. With all of this done, the stage was set for the fighting to begin. The plan was to invade the Greek island of Naxos and begin subjugating more Greek cities and regions. The Persians were meticulous record keepers; but no Persian source has survived. So, in 499 BCE, much of Ionia was in open rebellion, an event known as the Ionian Revolt. Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: The Battle of Thermopylae was just one of many battles fought between the Greeks and the Persians in a conflict known as The Greco Persian Wars. One of the reasons the Battle of Thermopylae is so famous is because of the preparations the Persians took to fight it. By the end of August, or perhaps beginning of September 480 BCE, the Persian army was nearing Thermopylae. Two Spartans survived the conflict. The Immortals traveled in the middle of the night and reached the entrance to the pass sometime before daybreak. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE. Like Thermopylae, it was a holding action, and the success of each Greek action depended on the other battle. Knowing full well that this meant their doom, he told his soldiers it was time to depart. First, the Greeks, who have had a tremendous influence in the formation of world culture, fought this battle to protect their very existence. The Persian army at the beginning of the battle is estimated to have numbered 180,000 with most of the troops being taken from the various regions of Persian territory. Flower, Michael A., and John Marincola, eds. That the 300 Spartans had significant help is one of the parts of the Battle of Thermopylae that has been forgotten in the name of mythmaking. There are three different ways you can cite this article. A major selling point for the Battle of Thermopylae was the idea that only 300 Greek soldiers â specifically Spartans â went to impede the Persian invasion. After seeing what the Greeks had managed to do at the Battle of Thermopylae, and now without a fleet to support his invasion, Mardonius was hoping to avoid a direct battle, so he sent envoys to the leaders of the Greek alliance to sue for peace. The size of the Persian army is disputed. Like in Marathon 10 years earlier when the Spartans had their religious festival of Karnea dedicated to Apollo, at the end of summer in 480 BC people from all over the Hellenic lands (including those in Africa and Sicily) participated to the Olympic Games. Frost, Frank J., and Plutarchus. Although the above scene from the 2006 movie 300 is fiction and likely exaggerated, the Spartans who fought the Battle of Thermopylae have gone down in history as one of the most fearsome and elite fighting forces to have ever existed. Greek soldiers at the time were known as hoplites. Xerxes, confident he would now win the Battle, waited until the late afternoon to give his Immortals the chance to make it through the pass and advance on the remaining Greeks. Seeing this as his opportunity to finally break the Greek line, Xerxes sent a large force of Immortals to find the pass. This determination in the face of almost certain defeat is part of the reason why the Battle of Thermopylae is such a famous story. Defending the pass for three days, the Greek force was ultimately defeated. Below is a map detailing the movements of Darius I and his troops during this first invasion of Greece. Ancient Sparta is one of the most well-known cities in Classical Greece. After the Battle of Thermopylae, things did not look good for the Greeks. Lastly, the Greek army was grossly outnumbered. But before retreating, an envoy was sent to Thermopylae to see how the battle was transpiring, for they did not want to abandon the fight altogether and leave the right flank of the Greek force at the pass exposed. The Spartans who fought at the Battle of Thermopylae had been trained at this school, but they are not famous because they were good soldiers. Leonidas got word that the Persians had found the route around Thermopylae at dawn on the third day of battle. Athens and several other Greek city-states, mainly Eritrea, sent help to their fellow Greeks, but this proved to be folly as Darius I marched his armies into Ionia and by 493 BCE had ended the rebellion. However, Spartan King Leonidas knew to do nothing doomed his people to almost certain death. But now, he was mad at the Greeks for their insurrection, and he had his eyes set on revenge. However, all of this was happening during the Carneia, which was a festival dedicated to the god Apollo. Unveiled in 1997, it depicts Eros, the oldest of the gods. It’s far more likely the Persian Army was made up of around 180,000 or 200,000 men, which is still an astronomical number for ancient times. Modern historians believe Darius I retreated to regroup for a second invasion, but he died before he ever had the chance. The Greeks were able to hold the Persians at sea for the duration of Thermopylae, suffering similar numbers of â¦ The Thespians held Eros above all other gods, likely because he had no parents. But at the time, few Greeks were professional soldiers, except for the Spartiates, who were highly-trained soldiers that ended up having a significant impact on the Battle of Thermopylae. However, the previous encounters were mainly fought by the Anatolian Greeks. To link to this article in the text of an online publication, please use this URL: https://historycooperative.org/the-battle-of-thermopylae-300-spartans-against-the-world/. Herodotus, whose account of wars between the Greeks and Persians is the best primary source we have on these long wars, estimated the Persians had an army of nearly 2 million men, but most modern estimates put this number much lower. The Spartan society was known for its highly-skilled warriors, elitist administrators, and its reverence for stoicism, people today still look to the Spartans as model citizens in an idealist ancient society. Then there were two other men, Aristodemus and Eurytus, who had been stricken by en eye disease and become blind. Fearful of Athens becoming a part of the Persian empire, the Spartans pulled together a force of around 45,000 men. Aristodemus suffered an eye injury and was sent behind the lines, eventually ordered back to Sparta with the retreating allies by the King. Yet there was another man, one of Leonidas’ 300, who was added to the Battle of Thermopylae’s sub-chapters, namely Aristodemus of Sparta, the only survivor of the epic battle. In Sparta, being a soldier was considered a great honor, and all men, except for the first born of a family, were required to train at Sparta’s special military school, the agoge. When Xerxes was finally convinced that the Greeks were not kidding him when they insisted on confronting his vast army, he truly believed it was a given that the complete obliteration of the single-minded defenders of Thermopylae was just a matter of time. They were so named because royal decree required this force always have 10,000 soldiers, meaning fallen soldiers were replaced one-for-one, keeping the force at 10,000 and giving the illusion of immortality. This decision to ignore the gods and fight anyway has helped enshrine Spartan King Leonidas as the epitome of a just and loyal king who felt truly indebted to his people. He knew that should they be successful, they would be able to get in behind Greek line, which would have allowed them to attack from both the front and back, a move that would have meant certain death for the Greeks. In the late summer of 480 B.C., the Spartan king Leonidas and his soldiers epitomized this principle at the Battle of Thermopylae. Eurytus, however, turned back again to the battlefield, and though literally blind, met his valiant death very early on in the battle. But this also created a situation where people were forced to fight, at times against their will. However, as impressive as the size of Xerxes’ army was, the preparations he undertook for his invasion are perhaps even more remarkable. The Athenians, who had led the fight against the Persians the first time around, began building a new fleet using silver they had recently discovered in the mountains of Attica. In the Battle of Thermopylae Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes — and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. Fields, Nic. In the Battle of Thermopylae Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes â and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. During this training, Spartan men learned not only how to fight but also how to trust in and work with one another, something that proved to be rather effective when fighting in the phalanx. According to modern historians, he sent his army in waves of 10,000 men, but this did not do much. On at least one key detail Herodotusâ informants were sound: excavations at Thermopylae in the 1930s unearthed arrowheads of an Anatolian design in large numbers on a hill in the pass, confirming both the location and the manner of the deaths. After the movie 300 came out in 2006, the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE became globally recognized. Most of Xerxes’ army was made up of conscripts from around the empire. It was not a coincidence that all 300 of the soldiers already had male children; therefore their replacement in the Spartan Army was a given. Aristodemus was one of only two Spartan survivors, as he was not present at the last stand. Before going into much more detail about the events that took place leading up to and during the Battle of Thermopylae, here are some of the most important details of this famous battle: 1. Herodotus: Histories. One can only imagine how motivated they really were to kill their countrymen at the bequest of their imperial overlord. Professor Low opened the lecture with a quick summary of the battle and reminded us that, although the Battle of Thermopylae has survived as a strong symbol of resilience and resistance, the actual battle itself only delayed the Persian army from continuing south. 1. One in particular pays tribute to the last stand of the Spartans and their Thespian allies on Kolonos Hill, the probable spot where they fell. The first was Pantites, who had been sent by Leonidas as an emissary to Thessaly to call for reinforcements. On the other side, Leonidas, was following the prediction of the oracle, which had stated that Sparta or one of its kings would be lost while leading an army of dedicated, valiant warriors who were ready to sacrifice themselves along with him. Ann Rutledge: Abraham Lincoln’s First True Love? Can the Deadly Earthquake Reduce Tensions Between Greece and Turkey? In the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas and his brave 300 were the heroes â and Ephialtes of Trachis, the vile traitor who betrayed the Spartan army, served as the villain. There, it was recorded that he foght fiercely, desperately desiring rid himself of his shame and clear his name. Branded a Coward, Died a Hero: The Story of the Only Survivor... 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In 480 BC a small force of Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans led by King Leonidas (approximately 300 were full Spartiates, 700 were Thespians, and 400 were Thebans; these numbers do not reflect casualties incurred prior to the final battle), made a legendary last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae against the massive Persian army, inflicting a very high casualty rate on the Persian â¦ However, when we dig a bit deeper into the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, we can see why it has become such a beloved tale from our ancient past. Although very seriously injured in the battle, he was accused of being insane. Thermopylae 480 BC: Last stand of the 300. Once again, Aristodemus was in a difficult position and was forced to apologize for his stance. The Greek army, which was made up of Spartans, Thebans, Thespians, and soldiers from several other Greek city-states, totaled around 7,000. The Greeks were ultimately defeated when one of their own betrayed them by alerting Xerxes of a route around the narrow pass of Thermopylae. It is thought that the number of Greeks was closer to 7,000. They wore bronze helmets and breastplates and carried bronze shields and long, bronze-tipped spears. After defeating Darius I at the Battle of Marathon, the Greeks rejoiced but they did not relax. This would have significantly cut down the amount of time required to make this journey. Osprey Publishing, 2007. Off to the side of the larger statue of Leonidas at Thermopylae, there is a monument to the 700 Thespians who died alongside the Spartans. The Battle of Thermopylae. This turned out to be the battle of Plataea, just one year after Thermopylae. Ancient Civilizations Timeline: 16 Oldest Known Cultures From Around The World. It wasn’t until weeks later that they were able to get it, and when they returned it to Sparta, Leonidas was enshrined as a hero. By the end of the day, Xerxes, likely irritated that his soldiers could not break the Greek line, sent the Immortals into battle, but they too were rebuffed, meaning that the first day of battle would end in failure for the Persians. In this way, he was technically not going to war, but he was also doing something to hopefully stop the Persian forces. The battle resulted in the death of Leonidas, who became a hero for his decision to remain behind and fight to the death. How many Spartans survived in the battle of Thermopylae? Univ of California Press, 1996. Here’s a carving of what the Immortals may have looked like in ancient times: The rest of the soldiers Xerxes took with him to Greece came from other regions of the empire, mainly Media, Elam, Babylon, Phoenicia, and Egypt, among many others. The âmainlandâ Spartans on the other sideâ¦ All of this meant that Xerxes and his army, although it didn’t mobilize until 480 BCE, ten years after Darius I invaded and six years after Xerxes took the throne, was able to quickly and easily march through Thrace and Macedon, meaning the Battle of Thermopylae would be fought before the end of the year. The Greeks fought the Persians with all their remaining strength. The Persian Empire stretched from what is modern-day Turkey, down to Egypt and Libya, and all the way east almost to India, making it the second largest empire in the world at the time next to China. Most hoplites were regular citizens who were required to buy and maintain their own armor. When called upon, they would mobilize and fight to defend the polis, which would have been a great honor. The Greek phalanx, along with their heavier bronze armor and longer spears, stood strong despite being so hopelessly outnumbered. Indeed, he fought fiercely and bravely at Plataea and was wounded. The Persians were destined to face the Greek forces in Thermopylae, where they had set their defense. He went west through Thrace and Macedon, subjugating the cities he crossed. The Romans knew him as Cupid. The Persian forces were accompanied by its massive fleet, and the Greeks had chosen Artemisium, which lies to the east of Thermopylae, as the place to engage with the Persian contingency of ships. Pantites, was sent by Leonidas to raise support in Thessaly but returned to Thermopylae only after the battle's conclusion. Much to their surprise, they faced approximatelâ¦ This offended the proud Greeks greatly; the Athenians went so far as to toss the Persian heralds into a pit, while the Spartans followed suit and tossed them into a well. iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order Mason-Dixon Line The History of Guns, who had grown over the previous century to be the most powerful empire in western Asia, The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Athens vs. Sparta: The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ancient Sparta: The History of the Spartans, Day 3: The Last Stand of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, The History of Salt in Ancient Civilizations, History of Dogs: The Journey of Man’s Best Friend, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. The Vale of Tempe provided them with this geographical advantage, but when the Greeks got word that the Persians had learned of a way to go around the vale, they had to change their strategy. The Battle of Marathon had shown that Greek forces would be able to defeat the Persians if they could force them into tight areas where their superior numbers no longer mattered. But when the threat posed by the Persian forces ended, this sense of camaraderie also disappeared, but the Battle of Thermopylae would go on to serve as a reminder for what the Greeks could do when they worked together. The Spartans withdrew to a small hill near the pass, together with the few other Greek soldiers who had refused to leave. Xerxes prepared for his invasion by amassing one of the largest armies the ancient world had ever seen. Tales of Spartan supersoldiers fighting off thousands of Covenant attacks had become the stuff of legend. For example, during the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persian army consisted partly of Ionian Greeks who had been forced to fight as a result of losing their rebellion. The first is the Battle of Artemesium, a battle fought concurrently with Thermopylae. Wars between the Greek and the Persians would continue for another 25 years, but there was never another battle fought on Greek territory between the two sides. â (âMolon LaveâCome and take them!â) was said to be the response by the Spartans at Thermopylae to the Persian demand that the Greeks surrender their weapons. Accessed December 2, 2020. If your web page requires an HTML link, please insert this code: The Battle of Thermopylae: 300 Spartans vs the World, Gods of Death How old is the United States of America? Princeton University Press, 1980. Most of the Athenian population had been taken to the nearby island of Salamis, and it looked as though this would be the site of a potentially decisive Persian victory. Every move outside the battle plan was considered as endangering the lives of fellow warriors. Leonidas sent the local contingent to defend Anopaea, a single-file pass near Thermopylae, while the 300 Spartans and others remained on the narrow, yet somewhat larger pass of Thermopylae. The force stationed up in the mountains was set to serve not only as a line of defense but also as a warning system that could alert the Greeks fighting on the beaches in the event the Persians found their way around the narrow pass. He had no civil rights and was even obliged to step aside when a Spartan passed by. Doing some reaserch . That these men were willing to stay behind and fight to the death speaks to the spirit of the Spartan fighting force, and it reminds us of what people are willing to do when their homeland and very existence are threatened. Instead, they’re famous because of how they got to the battle. The Greeks did follow, and they won several victories throughout Thrace, as well as the Battle of Byzantium, which took place in 478 BCE. It was the most important religious event on the Spartan calendar, and Spartan kings were strictly forbidden from going to war during this celebration. Nearly 600 yearsâ¦ This was rejected, but the Athenians, angry at Sparta for not contributing more troops, threatened to accept these terms if the Spartans did not increase their commitment to the fight. Pen and Sword, 2006. The Battle of Thermopylaeâs political origins can be traced back to Xerxesâ predecessor, Darius I (the Great), who sent heralds to Greek cities in 491 bce in the hopes of persuading them to accept Persian authority. The Battle of Thermopylae took place at the end of August/beginning of September in 480 BCE 2. As a result, he consulted the Oracle anyway, and he was denied permission to summon an army and go to war, leaving him with the tremendous dilemma between appeasing the gods and defending his people. However, the Athenians were responsible for putting together and directing the Allied navy. Doing so required reinforcements. They became the archetype for the courageous last stand. Before the battle that lasted three days began, Leonidas had ordered Pantites to go into Thessaly. Herodotus – ancient Greek historian – writes that when Dienekes, a Spartan soldier, was informed that Persian arrows would be so numerous as “to block out the sun”, he retorted, “So much the better…then we shall fight our battle in the shade.” Such bravery doubtlessly helped to maintain morale. Most believe it is made from Leonidas’ likeness. After the battle was finally won by the Persians and the remaining rear guard of â¦ The scene of the battle was the city of Plataea, and due to the Spartan contribution of troops, both sides were roughly equal. Because of this, the Battle of Thermopylae has remained in our collective memories for well over 2,000 years. This alliance, which was made up of the major Greek city-states at the time, mainly Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos, Thebes, Phocis, Thespiaea, etc., was the first example of a pan-Hellenic alliance, breaking up centuries of fighting amongst the Greeks and planting the seeds for a national identity. Understandably, Aristodemus sought to attain a glorious death at the very next opportunity presented to him. How many Spartans survived the Battle of Thermopylae? Others attribute the move to the notion that Spartan soldiers never retreated. But not wanting to expose those retreating to the Persian advance, Leonidas informed his troops that he would remain with his force of 300 Spartans, but that all others could leave. He left his top general, Mardonius, in charge of carrying out the rest of the attack. However, when the Persians invaded Lydia and conquered it in the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Ionian Greeks became part of the Persian Empire, yet in their quest to maintain their autonomy, they proved difficult to rule. Remember that Leonidas has dispatched a force of 1,000 Locrians to defend the second route around the pass. The SPARTAN-II program had been a dazzling success for the UNSC. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. However, once again, the Persian numbers were too great and the Greek fleet was in trouble. During these three days, a few things happened that would have an impact on the Battle of Thermopylae as well as the rest of the war. This story of Spartan King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans is one of bravery and valor. It is true there were only 300 Spartan soldiers at the Battle of Thermopylae but they were not alone, as the Spartans had formed an alliance with other Greek states. Leonidas, one of the Spartan kings at the time (Sparta always had two), led the Greeks, whereas the Persians were led by their emporer Xerxes, as well as his main general, Mardonius. But a local Greek, who was likely trying to win over Xerxes’ favor in an attempt to receive special treatment after their victory, approached the Persian camp and alerted them to the existence of this secondary route. The coward was not punished, but he was treated as if he did not exist; he was invisible and no one would touch him. Xerxes drew upon his empire to build one of the largest armies the ancient world had ever seen. Pantites failed to return to Thermopylae in time for the battle, and branded with shame in the eyes of his fellow Spartans, he hanged himself. At the time, Xerxes did not know this back route existed, and Spartan King Leonidas knew his learning of it would doom the Greeks. Up until the Battle of Thermopylae, the Immortals were the premier fighting force in the ancient world. The movement of the Persians through Thermopylae. Warfare in the Ancient World. His regular army, the well-trained, profession corps known as the Immortals, totaled just 10,000 soldiers. When their weapons broke, they fought with their hands and teeth (According to Herodotus). But just as on the first day, the Greek phalanx proved to be too strong to beat even with a heavy barrage from Persian arrows, and the Persians were once again forced to return to camp having failed to break the Greek lines. ((The topographyâ¦ Aristodemus, who duly returned to his homeland, was regarded as a coward and subjected to humiliation. He did this by tying ships side-by-side across the entire stretch of water, which allowed his troops to easily cross from Asia into Europe while also avoiding Byzantium. Is Covid-19 Triggering a Populist Backlash in Greece? Herodotus estimated the Persian army to number in the millions, but modern historians tend to doubt his reportage. This is because when civilizations were conquered and made part of the Persian empire, they were required to give troops to the imperial army. When Pantites returned to the free city-state of Sparta, thanks to the sacrifice of his fellow Spartans at Thermopylae, he was accused of cowardice — and he soon killed himself. The Persians knew about these ceremonies and had chosen (once again) to campaign against Greece during the summer. Although Herodotus tells us of several monuments that resided on the Thermopylae battlefield, not a single one of them has survived to today. The phalanx was a formation of soldiers set up as an array that when combined with the heavy armor worn by hoplites proved to be nearly impossible to break. This move resulted in a resounding victory for the Greek fleet, and Xerxes, seeing now that the invasion was taking longer than he’d expected, and that it might not succeed, left the frontline and returned to Asia.
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