The Athenians sailors would see the smoke of Athens itself as it burned. The genius of Themistocles as strategos was his early conception of a long-term strategy aimed at Persian weakness and his ability to convince other actors to subordinate their short-term goals to the strategy. ". Views contained in this post do not represent the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or then U.S. Government. Please help spread the word to new readers by sharing it on social media. Simultaneously, he worked as a lawyer which maintained his connections with the aristocratic population. There were also disadvantages. The Battle of Salamis (480 B.C.E) In August 480 BCE the Persian army was met at the mountain pass of Thermopylae by a small band of Greeks led by Spartan King Leonidas. Themistocles and the Battle of Salamis (480) Greeks Sail to Salamis, Athenians Abandon Attica (480) After leaving Artemision, the Greek fleet puts in at Salamis (island off the west coast of Attica and Athens). This is the function of strategy and a key facet of the relationship between strategy and tactics; focus on the long-term ends and the ability to force tactical decisions — the means — to further it. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. "The Greek Strategy at the Battle of Salamis 480 BCE." The significance of Cleisthenes’ reforms and Themistocles’ military naval project during the Greco-Persian wars will be examined, as well as the transformation of … If either of those battles were lost, then Attica and Athens would be abandoned and its population evacuated to the Peloponnesus. Themistocles’ Exhortation before Salamis: On Herodotus 8.83 Vasiliki Zali N THE COURSE of Book 8 of Herodotus’ Histories and after the battle at Artemisium, the Greek fleet puts in at Salamis at the Athenians’ request. However, if the discrepancies of Herodotus’ narration are carefully analysed, the Decree can be shown to be helpful in resolving them in a consistent and logical way. Appointment will also be made of trierarchs, two hundred in number, one for each ship, by the generals, beginning tomorrow, from those who are owners of both land and home in Athens and who have children who are legitimate. Themistocles was the creator of Athenian sea power and the chief savior of Greece from subjection to the Persian Empire at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. The time will come for you to confront them. He sent a message to Xerxes describing the attitude of the other Greeks. Herodotus states that the reason for this was to force the Greeks to fight at Salamis, but there are valid reasons why he would have wanted to draw the Persian fleet to Salamis. Die Seeschlacht von Salamis fand am 29. After the fleet received word of the fall of the Greek army at Thermopylae, however, the Greek fleet could do no more. Artemis was the tyrant of Halicarnassus, was a queen who led the troops of King Xerxes during the Second Medical War and also participated in the battle of Salamis. Battle of Salamis, 480 BCE by Dept. Themistokles war Sohn des Neokles aus dem alt-attischen Priestergeschlecht der Lykomiden (Lykomidai), das den Mysterienkult in Phlya versah. Again, this is an example of strategic vision; those fortifications were a key component of Athenian strategy during the Peloponnesian War about 100 years later. The rest of the Persian fleet was scattered, … After threatening to sail with the whole Athenian people into exile in Sicily, he eventually persuaded the other Allies, whose security after all relied on the Athenian navy, to accept his plan. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Follow the logo below, and you too can contribute to The Bridge: Enjoy what you just read? However, there was no other alternative historical source to contradict Herodotus, so his story of the Greco-Persian wars was widely accepted without doubts. By this time, Themistocles was the most powerful man in Athens. The battle was fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, and marked the high-point of the second … The Greek Strategy at the Battle of Salamis 480 BCE, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Similarly, the Peloponnesians were able to build a, Jameson, M. H. "A Decree of Themistokles from Troizen. Dark blood pours, foreseeing the straits of woe. Therefore Athens was evacuated at about the same time. The Battle of Salamis was fought in September 480 BC during the Persian Wars (499 to 449 BC). It plays to the strength of the Greek hoplite infantry by planning tactical defenses on favorable ground that would force Xerxes to attack them directly with only a portion of his troops. He was, in the later words of Clausewitz, concerned with the use of battle to further the political ends of his city. Clausewitz’s ideas were intended to be applicable for all of military history so it can be instructive to look into the past — at the genesis of strategy itself. Themistocles, Athenian politician and naval strategist who was the creator of Athenian sea power and the chief saviour of Greece from subjection to the Persian empire at the Battle of Salamis in 480 bce. The first one was a general comment confirming the unquestionable superiority of the Persian forces. The two oracles were fundamentally different. Hence, the Decree of Troezen was probably voted by the Assembly in the spring of 480 BCE, not in the summer. Interestingly, a second option for the time is specified but with a smaller probability (“or when it is gathered in”) meaning the following spring. The generals shall also enlist marines, ten for each ship, from men over twenty years of age up to thirty, and archers, four in number. The first major Greek strategist, and perhaps the most gifted, was Themistocles. But strategy may demand that very thing and tactics must be subordinated. If some brave Greeks hadn't defeated the Persians 2500 years ago, it would have been the end of Greece as we know it … In particular, it specified the main weapon of the final battle, the navy (“a wall of wood”), its place, Salamis, and its time, late September (“when the seed is scattered”). The first plan was to block a pass in northern Greece while Attica was abandoned, but the Persian Army moved through the pass before the Greeks were ready. This probably means May 480 BCE. While he was no tyrant, he used his connections, his oratory skills, and the Athenian process of ostracism to dominate the political scene. The elderly and movable property shall for safety be deposited at Salamis. Battle of Salamis (480 BC) Battle of Salamis was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC which resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. The head is unstable, the trunk totters; nothing—, Not the feet below, nor the hands, nor anything in between—. Thus, when the leading cities of Greece discussed the coming war, Themistocles spoke for Athens. Themistocles was an Athenian politician, general and naval strategist whose emphasis on naval power and military skills were instrumental during the Persian wars. Even though Athens thus far had been a leader in both defeating the Persians at Marathon and supporting Ionian Greek cities in Asia Minor in rebellions against Persian rule, the Spartans wanted command over all Greek forces in the war. There the Greeks, sparked by fear and indecisiveness, conduct successive discussions about the most suitable location to face the Persian invaders. Related Content We have finally arrived at the Battle of Salamis. If a strategist must have a gift for long-term planning, then Themistocles was a born strategist. Mistriotis, Antonis. The genius of this strategy is clear. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. We can totally win this one! Artemisia, his favorite admiral, was the only one of his advisors to warn him of a trap, but she was overruled. All this information converges to substantiate the fact that the Athenian strategy was developed very early in the war. The treasurers and the priestesses are to remain on the Acropolis and guard the possessions of the gods. The details of the battle itself remain sketchy. Nothing endures; all is doomed. of History, US Military Academy (CC BY-SA) The most striking weaknesses in … Many are the strongholds he will destroy, not yours alone; Many the temples of the gods he will gift with raging fire, Temples which even now stand streaming with sweat, And quivering with fear, and down from the roof-tops. The Greeks kept a line abreast as if their ships were a phalanx, operating as a group and preventing the Persians from outflanking them. I shall tell you once more, and endue my words with adamant: While all else that lies within the borders of Cecrops’ land. He also resorted to deception in order to force a fight on his chosen terrain. Leave my temple! "We shall be fighting in narrow waters, and there, with our inferior numbers, we shall win. Fire and bitter War, hastening in a Syrian chariot. The Battle of Salamis was the most important naval engagement of the Greco- Persian Wars. Those who have been deprived of citizen rights are to have their rights restored. Specifically, it is stated that Athens was evacuated at about the same time as the navy sailed out of Athens to get its position in Artemision. The Battle of Salamis - 480 BC The Greeks defeated the Persians at sea The ruling political figure in those years was military strategist Themistocles (ca. In other words, the strategos had to keep the long-term goal in mind and ensure that the tactics work to further that goal. This gave the Greeks a great strategic advantage. Submitted by Antonis Mistriotis, published on 20 March 2014 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. It was probably half of the Greek force which marched to Tempe, while the other half remained in Artemision guarding the entrance of the Pagasae Bay and the ships which were left at Alos. 83 of Book 8, Herodotus heightens the tone of his language. However, Themistocles tried to convince them to remain in the Straits of Salamis, invoking the lessons of Artemisium; "battle in close conditions works to our advantage". Needless to say, the Athenian fleet did not defect. In a series of naval engagements, the superior seamanship of the Greeks allowed them to keep the more numerous Persian fleet from passing for three days (reportedly the same three days that the Persian army was engaged with the Greeks at Thermopylae). When elected Archon, he began a program which fortified Athens’ port city of Piraeus. What did Themistocles do at the actual Battle of Salamis? Die meisten Historiker nehmen an, dass Mnesiphilos, der die Philos… A strategos was not solely concerned with winning battles — the tactics. The marble tablet was dated to be Hellenistic. It was clear to the Greeks, however, that the Battle of Marathon did not mark the end of the Persian threat. Captain B. AN OSTRACIZED ATHENIAN. She was the most important advisorto Xerxes, but in spite of this, she did not listen to his advice and decided to attack the Greeks. 525 - 459 BC). When they have completed the manning of the ships, with one hundred they shall bring assistance to the Artemision in Euboea, while the other hundred shall, all around Salamis and the rest of Attica, lie at anchor and guard the country.  Only this will stand intact and help you and your children. I think a battle in the narrow Bay of Salamis is a great idea! A fight in close conditions would be a huge advantage for us. Modern historians expressed the theory that the second oracle was invented retrospectively by Herodotus, who was a warm supporter of Delphi and their oracles. Recently another possible source of information on the Greek strategy was discovered. In 490 BCE Greek forces led by Athens met the Persians in battle at Marathon and defeated the invaders. This exact situation occurred during the Persian Wars in Fifth Century Greece. The Greek triremes were located in the Saronic Gulf, in waters near the island of Salamis. Which exactly was the Athenian strategy designed by Themistocles? As the land forces prepared to blockade the narrow isthmus leading from Attica, the Greek allies decided not to fight at Salamis but to withdraw the fleet further west. According to Herodotus, the Athenians insist that their compatriots must send their fleets to Salamis, a small island just opposite the Athenian harbors. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/671/. Fire will bring it down. Last modified March 20, 2014. It's way too narrow. Our ships are lighter and faster than the Persians. As a child, he reportedly fostered friendships with well-born children despite rules against such liaisons in pre-democracy Athens. He fled to Persia and was made a governor by Artaxerxes I, son of Xerxes. The next logos opens with a description of a serious quarrel between the Greek admirals. When news came of the Greek defeat at Thermopylae, the remaining Greek triremes sailed south to Salamis to provide security for the city of Athens. The same type of restricted terrain was offered by Artemisium, and blocking the Persian fleet prevented Xerxes from using it to supply his army and using it to transport troops around the Greek army at Thermopylae. The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between the Greek city-states and Persia, fought in September, 480 BC in the straits between Piraeus and Salamis, a small island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, Greece. 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