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Explain the Battle of Salamis summary

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The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between the Greek and Persian fleets during the Persian Wars.

The battle is described in detail in Herodotus' "Histories".

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Who won?

The result was a victory for the Greek fleet.

How was the Greek fleet able to defeat the mighty Persian fleet?

Background of the Battle of Salamis

Before the Battle of Salamis, the Persian army broke through Thermopylae and other important defensive sites.

To learn more about the Battle of Thermopylae, which also led to the Battle of Salamis,

What was the Battle of Thermopylae? A History of Seven Battles with Different Troops

Please read this article first.

The Greeks, at the request of the Greek city of Athens, brought their ships to the island of Salamis.

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Now, under these circumstances, where to place the main battlefield for the war against the Persian army...

The Greek allied forces discussed it.

When they heard the news of Greek cities falling one after another to the Persian army, the whole Greek army trembled.

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Let's make a land different from Salamis a place of decisive battle for the time being.

This is how they decided.

Themistokles' Intrigue

However, Themistocles of Athens opposed the decision.

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If the assembling of the fleet at Salamis were to be lost, the fleets of the cities would return home, and Greece would never again be united.

He argued it strongly for the naval battle at Salamis.

This argument led to the decision to hold the naval battle of Salamis, but there were some who opposed the decision, so the conference was troubled.

On the other hand, Themistocles, who insisted on the battle of Salamis,

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The Greek fleet seems to have reached a consensus to fight at Salamis.

He secretly sent a messenger to Xerxes I, king of Achaemenid Persia, to inform him of the content of the meeting.

Even if Themistocles loses the war by communicating with Xerxes I,

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I have to have a way to save my own life.

He thus secured his own passage, and even induced the Persian fleet to fight a decisive battle at Salamis.

Overview of the Battle of Salamis

The Persian army, believing Themistocles' words, completely surrounded the Greek fleet in the middle of the night.

The Greeks were completely unaware of this move.

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The Greek fleet is completely surrounded by the Persian army...!

Then, they hurriedly prepared for battle.

  • The Greek fleet's trireme (warships): 380 ships in total
  • The Persian fleet's trireme: 684 ships in total

The Persian fleet had almost twice as many ships as the Greek fleet.

So how were the Greeks able to win the battle?

It is not well known how the Battle of Salamis began.

However, it is said that Themistocles tried to buy time by going in the opposite direction of the Persian fleet to take advantage of the wind that blew at a certain time.

The wind that Themistocles had been waiting for created a great tidal wave in front of the Persian fleet.

It is said that the Greek fleet was built to withstand the tidal wave, while the Persian fleet was built to be affected by it.

The high waves made it difficult for the Persian fleet to move as expected.

Furthermore, the sea area of the battle was too small for Persia with its large fleet, and the Greek fleet attacked when the battle lines were disrupted.

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This is no good anymore ...

Xerxes I must have realized it.

The battle, which started early in the morning, ended when the Persian fleet fled at sunset.

Impact of the Battle of Salamis

The Greek fleet did not feel that the battle was over.

However, Xerxes I said that

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No, I'm already completely demoralized by the battle... Even without me, you should show your willingness to fight.

Then he withdrew.

Meanwhile, the Greek fleet was chasing and attacking the Persian fleet, but they held a military conference on the way.

They discussed the future.

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We should go after the King of Persia!

Themistocles insisted so.

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No, if we do that, on the contrary, the Persians might fight back to us!

The Spartan general advised it to Themistocles.

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Let's not pursue the Persian fleet for a moment...

Themistokles called out to the Athenian fleet so.

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Well, I managed to stop the pursuit of the Persian fleet myself.

Themistokles told Xerxes I so in secret.

The victory of the Greek navy at the Battle of Salamis brought the Persian War to a standstill.

However, even though the Persian army had retreated, the mighty Persian power was still strong.

For Athens, on the other hand, this naval victory was very significant.

This victory was an important event in the growth of Athens into a maritime state.

After Themistokles

Themistocles, such an Athenian native, did many things, including the following.

  • Themistokles, a native of Athens, was a man who took money and goods from other polis (city-states) that joined the Persian side.
  • Themistokles made various policies to favor Athens in Greece.

Such self-indulgent accomplishments were not always appreciated by the citizens of Athens.

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He looks a bit like a dictator, doesn't he?

He looked like a tyrant.

In ancient Greece as a whole, a tyrant was not considered a dictator.

But in Athens, where there was a strong democratic system of government, a leader like this could easily be considered a dictator.

And, Themistocles is deported by the Athenian citizens, called the ostracism.

There is an article that describes in detail about this tyrant and ostracism.

Please refer to these articles if you like.

Themistocles was further charged with treason.

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Damn, why did this happen to me...! At any rate, I should flee to Persia, even though it is an enemy country

And he fled to Achaemenid Persia.

After Themistokles' exile,

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Persia may come back...

The Delian League, a confederation of polis, was formed as a preparation for the coming of Persia.

To learn more about the Delian League,

The difference between the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League, explained in simple terms!

Please read this article.

There is also a brief article on the Persian War, including the Battle of Salamis.

What is the Persian War? A quick and easy summary of the order of battles.

Please read this article as well.

There are many more histories of Mesopotamian civilization.

To learn more about the history of Mesopotamian civilization,

What is the Mesopotamian Civilization? I explain in detail what kind of civilization it is!

Please also read this article.

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