XERXES ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS – Encyclopaedia Iranica
THE BIRTH of Themistocles was somewhat too obscure to do him honor. . he would stir up dispute and litigation between him and some of his relations. then the Athenians more willingly hearkened to the advice of Themistocles to .. as it floated amongst other shipwrecks, was known to Artemisia, and carried to Xerxes . Artemisia I of Caria was a Greek queen of the ancient Greek city-state of Halicarnassus and of Xerxes was induced by the message of Themistocles to attack the Greek fleet under Despite this, he gave orders to follow the advice of the rest of his . Unlike Vidal's portrayal, Artemisia has a hostile relationship with General. We got real men to answer the eternal question, "What the eff is he thinking?!" on matters of dating, relationships, sex and everything in between. Check out th.
His father, Neocles, was not of the distinguished people of Athens, but of the township Phrearrhi, and of the tribe Leontis; and by his mother's side, as it is reported, he was base-born- "I am not of the noble Grecian race, I'm poor Abrotonon, and born in Thrace; Let the Greek women scorn me, if they please, I was the mother of Themistocles.
And, as illegitimate children, including those that were of half-blood or had but one parent an Athenian, had to attend at the Cynosarges a wrestling-place outside the gates, dedicated to Hercules, who was also of half-blood amongst the gods, having had a mortal woman for his motherThemistocles persuaded several of the young men of high birth to accompany him to anoint and exercise themselves together at Cynosarges; an ingenious device for destroying the distinction between the noble and the base-born, and between those of the whole and those of the half-blood of Athens.
However, it is certain that he was related to the house of Lycomedae; for Simonides records that he rebuilt the chapel of Phlya, belonging to that family, and beautified it with pictures and other ornaments, after it had been burnt by the Persians. It is confessed by all that from his youth he was of a vehement and impetuous nature, of a quick apprehension, and a strong and aspiring bent for action and great affairs.
The holidays and intervals in his studies he did not spend in play or idleness, as other children, but would be always inventing or arranging some oration or declamation to himself, the subject of which was generally the excusing or accusing his companions, so that his master would often say to him, "You, my boy, will be nothing small, but great one way or other, for good or else for bad.
And thus afterwards, when in company where people engaged themselves in what are commonly thought the liberal and elegant amusements, he was obliged to defend himself against the observations of those who considered themselves highly accomplished, by the somewhat arrogant retort, that he certainly could not make use of any stringed instrument, could only, were a small and obscure city put into his hands, make it great and glorious.
Notwithstanding this, Stesimbrotus says that Themistocles was a hearer of Anaxagoras, and that he studied natural philosophy under Melissus, contrary to chronology; Melissus commanded the Samians in the siege by Pericles, who was much Themistocles's junior; and with Pericles, also, Anaxagoras was intimate. They, therefore, might rather be credited who report, that Themistocles was an admirer of Mnesiphilus the Phrearrhian, who was neither rhetorican nor natural philosopher, but a professor of that which was then called wisdom, consisting in a sort of political shrewdness and practical sagacity, which had begun and continued, almost like a sect of philosophy, from Solon: Themistocles resorted to Mnesiphilus when he had already embarked in politics.
In the first essays of his youth he was not regular nor happily balanced; he allowed himself to follow mere natural character, which, without the control of reason and instruction, is apt to hurry, upon either side, into sudden and violent courses, and very often to break away and determine upon the worst; as he afterwards owned himself, saying, that the wildest colts make the best horses, if they only get properly trained and broken in.
But those who upon this fasten stories of their own invention, as of his being disowned by his father, and that his mother died for grief of her son's ill-fame, certainly calumniate him; and there are others who relate, on the contrary, how that to deter him from public business, and to let him see how the vulgar behave themselves towards their leaders when they have at last no farther use of them, his father showed him the old galleys as they lay forsaken and cast about upon the sea-shore.
Yet it is evident that his mind was early imbued with the keenest interest in public affairs, and the most passionate ambition for distinction. Eager from the first to obtain the highest place, he unhesitatingly accepted the hatred of the most powerful and influential leaders in the city, but more especially of Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, who always opposed him.
And yet all this great enmity between them arose, it appears, from a very boyish occasion, both being attached to the beautiful Stesilaus of Ceos, as Ariston the philosopher tells us; ever after which they took opposite sides, and were rivals in politics.
Not but that the incompatibility of their lives and manners may seem to have increased the difference, for Aristides was of a mild nature, and of a nobler sort of character, and, in public matters, acting always with a view, not to glory or popularity, but to the best interest of the state consistently with safety and honesty, he was often forced to oppose Themistocles, and interfere against the increase of his influence, seeing him stirring up the people to all kinds of enterprises, and introducing various innovations.
For it is said that Themistocles was so transported with the thoughts of glory and so inflamed with the passion for great actions, that, though he was still young when the battle of Marathon was fought against the Persians, upon the skilful conduct of the general, Miltiades, being everywhere talked about, he was observed to be thoughtful and reserved, alone by himself; he passed the nights without sleep, and avoided all his usual places of recreation, and to those who wondered at the change, and inquired the reason of it, he gave the answer, that "the trophy of Miltiades would not let him sleep.
And, first of all, the Athenians being accustomed to divide amongst themselves the revenue proceeding from the silver mines at Laurium, he was the only man that durst propose to the people that this distribution should cease, and that with the money ships should be built to make war against the Aeginetans, who were the most flourishing people in all Greece, and by the number of their ships held the sovereignty of the sea; and Themistocles thus was more easily able to persuade them, avoiding all mention of danger from Darius or the Persians, who were at a great distance, and their coming very uncertain, and at that time not much to be feared; but by a seasonable employment of the emulation and anger felt by the Athenians against the Aeginetans, he induced them to preparation.
So that with this money an hundred ships were built, with which they afterwards fought against Xerxes. And henceforward, little by little, turning and drawing the city down towards the sea, in the belief that, whereas by land they were not a fit match for their next neighbours, with their ships they might be able to repel the Persians and command Greece, thus, as Plato says, from steady soldiers he turned them into mariners and seamen tossed about the sea, and gave occasion for the reproach against him, that he took away from the Athenians the spear and the shield, and bound them to the bench and the oar.
These measures he carried in the assembly, against the opposition, as Stesimbrotus relates, of Miltiades; and whether or no be hereby injured the purity and true balance of government may be a question for philosophers, but that the deliverance of Greece came at that time from the sea, and that these galleys restored Athens again after it was destroyed, were others wanting, Xerxes himself would be sufficient evidence, who, though his land-forces were still entire, after his defeat at sea, fled away, and thought himself no longer able to encounter the Greeks; and, as it seems to me, left Mardonius behind him, not out of any hopes he could have to bring them into subjection, but to hinder them from pursuing him.
Themistocles is said to have been eager in the acquisition of riches, according to some, that he might be the more liberal; for loving to sacrifice often, and to be splendid in his entertainment of strangers, he required a plentiful revenue; yet he is accused by others of having been parsimonious and sordid to that degree that he would sell provisions which were sent to him as a present.
He desired Diphilides, who was a breeder of horses, to give him a colt, and when he refused it, threatened that in a short time he would turn his house into a wooden horse, intimating that he would stir up dispute and litigation between him and some of his relations. He went beyond all men in the passion for distinction.
When he was still young and unknown in the world, he entreated Episcles of Hermione, who had a good hand at the lute and was much sought after by the Athenians, to come and practise at home with him, being ambitious of having people inquire after his house and frequent his company.
When he came to the Olympic games, and was so splendid in his equipage and entertainments, in his rich tents and furniture, that he strove to outdo Cimon, he displeased the Greeks, who thought that such magnificence might be allowed in one who was a young man and of a great family, but was a great piece of insolence in one as yet undistinguished, and without title or means for making any such display.
Artemisia I of Caria - Wikipedia
In a dramatic contest, the play he paid for won the price, which was then a matter that excited much emulation; he put up a tablet in record of it, with the inscription: Gradually growing to be great, and winning the favour of the people, he at last gained the day with his faction over that of Aristides, and procured his banishment by ostracism.
When the king of Persia was now advancing against Greece, and the Athenians were in consultation who should be general, and many withdrew themselves of their own accord, being terrified with the greatness of the danger, there was one Epicydes, a popular speaker, son to Euphemides a man of an elegant tongue, but of a faint heart, and a slave to riches who was desirous of the command, and was looked upon to be in a fair way to carry it by the number of votes; but Themistocles, fearing that, if the command should fall into such hands, all would be lost, bought off Epicydes and his pretensions, it is said, for a sum of money.
When the king of Persia sent messengers into Greece, with an interpreter, to demand earth and water, as an acknowledgment of subjection, Themistocles, by the consent of the people, seized upon the interpreter, and put him to death, for presuming to publish the barbarian orders and decrees in the Greek language; this is one of the actions he is commended for, as also for what he did to Arthmius of Zelea, who brought gold from the king of Persia to corrupt the Greeks, and was, by an order from Themistocles, degraded and disfranchised, he and his children and his posterity; but that which most of all redounded to his credit was, that he put an end to all the civil wars of Greece, composed their differences, and persuaded them to lay aside all enmity during the war with the Persians; and in this great work, Chileus the Arcadian was, it is said, of great assistance to him.
Having taken upon himself the command of the Athenian forces, he immediately endeavoured to persuade the citizens to leave the city, and to embark upon their galleys, and meet with the Persians at a great distance from Greece; but many being against this, he led a large force, together with the Lacedaemonians, into Tempe, that in this pass they might maintain the safety of Thessaly, which had not as yet declared for the king; but when they returned without performing anything, and it was known that not only the Thessalians, but all as far as Boeotia, was going over to Xerxes, then the Athenians more willingly hearkened to the advice of Themistocles to fight by sea, and sent him with a fleet to guard the straits of Artemisium.
When the contingents met here, the Greeks would have the Lacedaemonians to command, and Eurybiades to be their admiral; but the Athenians, who surpassed all the rest together in number of vessels, would not submit to come after any other, till Themistocles, perceiving the danger of the contest, yielded his own command to Eurybiades, and got the Athenians to submit, extenuating the loss by persuading them, that if in this war they behaved themselves like men, he would answer for it after that, that the Greeks, of their own will, would submit to their command.
And by this moderation of his, it is evident that he was the chief means of the deliverance of Greece, and gained the Athenians the glory of alike surpassing their enemies in valour, and their confederates in wisdom.
Plutarch • Life of Themistocles
As soon as the Persian armada arrived at Aphetae, Eurybiades was astonished to see such a vast number of vessels before him, and being informed that two hundred more were sailing around behind the island of Sciathus, he immediately determined to retire farther into Greece, and to sail back into some part of Peloponnesus, where their land army and their fleet might join, for he looked upon the Persian forces to be altogether unassailable by sea.
But the Euboeans, fearing that the Greeks would forsake them, and leave them to the mercy of the enemy, sent Pelagon to confer privately with Themistocles, taking with him a good sum of money, which, as Herodotus reports, he accepted and gave to Eurybiades.
In this affair none of his own countrymen opposed him so much as Architeles, captain of the sacred galley, who, having no money to supply his seamen, was eager to go home; but Themistocles so incensed the Athenians against them, that they set upon him and left him not so much as his supper, at which Architeles was much surprised, and took it very ill; but Themistocles immediately sent him in a chest a service of provisions, and at the bottom of it a talent of silver, desiring him to sup tonight, and to-morrow provide for his seamen; if not, he would report it among the Athenians that he had received money from the enemy.
So Phanias the Lesbian tells the story. Though the fights between the Greeks and Persians in the straits of Euboea were not so important as to make any final decision of the war, yet the experience which the Greeks obtained in them was of great advantage; for thus, by actual trial and in real danger, they found out that neither number of ships, nor riches and ornaments, nor boasting shouts, nor barbarous songs of victory, were any way terrible to men that knew how to fight, and were resolved to come hand to hand with their enemies; these things they were to despise, and to come up close and grapple with their foes.
This Pindar appears to have seen, and says justly enough of the fight at Artemisium, that- "There the sons of Athens set The stone that freedom stands on yet.
On one of these pillars these verses are engraved: But when news came from Thermopylae to Artemisium informing them that king Leonidas was slain, and that Xerxes had made himself master of all the passages by land, they returned back to the interior of Greece, the Athenians having the command of the rear, the place of honour and danger, and much elated by what had been done. As Themistocles sailed along the coasts, he took notice of the harbours and fit places for the enemy's ships to come to land at, and engraved large letters in such stones as he found there by chance, as also in others which he set up on purpose near to the landing-places, or where they were to water; in which inscriptions he called upon the Ionians to forsake the Medes, if it were possible, and to come over to the Greeks, who were their proper founders and fathers, and were now hazarding all for their liberties; but, if this could not be done, at any rate to impede and disturb the Persians in all engagements.
He hoped that these writings would prevail with the Ionians to revolt, or raise some trouble by making their fidelity doubtful to the Persians. Now, though Xerxes has already passed through Doris and invaded the country of Phocis, and was burning and destroying the cities of the Phocians, yet the Greeks sent them no relief; and, though the Athenians earnestly desired them to meet the Persians in Boeotia, before they could come into Attica, as they themselves had come forward by sea at Artemisium, they gave no ear to their requests, being wholly intent upon Peloponnesus, and resolved to gather all their forces together within the Isthmus, and to build a wall from sea to sea in that narrow neck of land; so that the Athenians were enraged to see themselves betrayed, and at the same time afflicted and dejected at their own destitution.
For to fight alone against such a numerous army was to no purpose, and the only expedient now left them was to leave their city and cling to their ships; which the people were very unwilling to submit to, imagining that it would signify little now to gain a victory, and not understanding how there could be deliverance any longer after they had once forsaken the temples of their gods and exposed the tombs and monuments of their ancestors to the fury of their enemies.
Themistocles, being at a loss, and not able to draw the people over to his opinion by any human reason, set his machines to work, as in a theatre, and employed prodigies and oracles. The serpent of Minerva, kept in the inner part of her temple, disappeared; the priest gave it out to the people that the offerings which were set for it were found untouched, and declared, by the suggestion of Themistocles, that the goddess had left the city, and taken her flight before them towards the sea.
And he often urged them with the oracle which bade them trust to walls of wood, showing them that walls of wood could signify nothing else but ships- and that the island of Salamis was termed in it, not miserable or unhappy, but had the epithet of divine, for that it should one day be associated with a great good fortune of the Greeks.
At length his opinion prevailed, and he obtained a decree that the city should be committed to the protection of Minerva, "Queen of Athens;" that they who were of age to bear arms should embark, and that each should see to sending away his children, women, and slaves where he could.
This decree being confirmed, most of the Athenians removed their parents, wives, and children to Troezen, where they were received with eager good-will by the Troezenians, who passed a vote that they should be maintained at the public charge, by a daily payment of two obols to every one, and leave be given to the children to gather fruit where they pleased, and schoolmasters paid to instruct them.
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This vote was proposed by Nicagoras. There was no public treasure at that time in Athens; but the council of Areopagus, as Aristotle says, distributed to every one that served eight drachmas, which was a great help to the manning of the fleet; but Clidemus ascribes this also to the art of Themistocles.
When the Athenians were on their way down to the haven of Piraeus, the shield with the head of Medusa was missing; and be, under the pretext of searching for it, ransacked all places, and found among their goods considerable sums of money concealed, which he applied to the public use; and with this the soldiers and seamen were well provided for their voyage.
When the whole city of Athens were going on board, it afforded a spectacle worthy alike of pity and admiration, to see them thus send away their fathers and children before them, and, unmoved with their cries and tears, passed over into the island. But that which stirred compassion most of all was, that many old men, by reason of their great age, were left behind; and even the tame domestic animals could not be seen without some pity, running about the town and howling, as desirous to be carried along with their masters that had kept them; among which it is reported that Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, had a dog that would not endure to stay behind, but leaped into the sea, and swam along by the galley's side till he came to the island of Salamis, where he fainted away and died, and that spot in the island, which is still called the Dog's Grave, is said to be his.
Among the great actions of Themistocles at this crisis, the recall of Aristides was not the least, for, before the war, he had been ostracized by the party which Themistocles headed, and was in banishment; but now, perceiving that the people regretted his absence, and were fearful that he might go over to the Persians to revenge himself, and thereby ruin the affairs of Greece, Themistocles proposed a decree that those who were banished for a time might return again, to give assistance by word and deed to the cause of Greece with the rest of their fellow-citizens.
Eurybiades, by reason of the greatness of Sparta, was admiral of the Greek fleet, but yet was faint-hearted in time of danger, and willing to weigh anchor and set sail for the isthmus of Corinth, near which the land army lay encamped; which Themistocles resisted; and this was the occasion of the well-known words, when Eurybiades, to check his impatience, told him that at the Olympic games they that start up before the rest are lashed; "And they," replied Themistocles, "that are left behind are not crowned.
And when one who stood by him told him that it did not become those who had neither city nor house to lose, to persuade others to relinquish their habitations and forsake their countries, Themistocles gave this reply: When one of Eretria began to oppose him, he said, "Have you anything to say of war, that are like an inkfish?
Yet, when the enemy's fleet was arrived at the haven of Phalerum, upon the coast of Attica, and with the number of their ships concealed all the shore, and when they saw the king himself in person come down with his land army to the seaside, with all his forces united, then the good counsel of Themistocles was soon forgotten, and the Peloponnesians cast their eyes again towards the isthmus, and took it very ill if any one spoke against their returning home; and, resolving to depart that night, the pilots had orders what course to steer.
Themistocles, in great distress that the Greeks should retire, and lose the advantage of the narrow seas and strait passage, and slip home every one to his own city, considered with himself, and contrived that stratagem that was carried out by Sicinnus. This Sicinnus was a Persian captive, but a great lover of Themistocles, and the attendant of his children. Upon this occasion, he sent him privately to Xerxes, commanding him to tell the king that Themistocles, the admiral of the Athenians, having espoused his interest, wished to be the first to inform him that the Greeks were ready to make their escape, and that he counselled him to hinder their flight, to set upon them while they were in this confusion and at a distance from their land army, and hereby destroy all their forces by sea.
Xerxes was very joyful at this message, and received it as from one who wished him all that was good, and immediately issued instructions to the commanders of his ships, that they should instantly set out with two hundred galleys to encompass all the islands, and enclose all the straits and passages, that none of the Greeks might escape, and that they should afterwards follow with the rest of their fleet at leisure.
This being done, Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, was the first man that perceived it, and went to the tent of Themistocles, not out of any friendship, for he had been formerly banished by his means, as has been related, but to inform him how they were encompassed by their enemies.
Themistocles, knowing the generosity of Aristides, and much struck by his visit at that time, imparted to him all that he had transacted by Sicinnus, and entreated him that, as he would be more readily believed among the Greeks, he would make use of his credit to help to induce them to stay and fight their enemies in the narrow seas.
Aristides applauded Themistocles, and went to the other commanders and captains of the galleys, and encouraged them to engage; yet they did not perfectly assent to him, till a galley of Tenos, which deserted from the Persians, of which Panaetius was commander, came in, while they were still doubting, and confirmed the news that all the straits and passages were beset; and then their rage and fury, as well as their necessity, provoked them all to fight.
As soon as it was day, Xerxes placed himself high up, to view his fleet, and how it was set in order. Phanodemus says, he sat upon a promontory above the temple of Hercules, where the coast of Attica is separated from the island by a narrow channel; but Acestodorus writes, that it was in the confines of Megara, upon those hills which are called the Horns, where he sat in a chair of gold, with many secretaries about him to write down all that was done in the fight.
When Themistocles was about to sacrifice, close to the admiral's galley, there were three prisoners brought to him, fine looking men, and richly dressed in ornamented clothing and gold, said to be the children of Artayctes and Sandauce, sister to Xerxes.
As soon as the prophet Euphrantides saw them, and observed that at the same time the fire blazed out from the offerings with a more than ordinary flame, and a man sneezed on the right, which was an intimation of a fortunate event, he took Themistocles by the hand, and bade him consecrate the three young men for sacrifice, and offer them up with prayers for victory to Bacchus the Devourer; so should the Greeks not only save themselves, but also obtain victory. Themistocles was much disturbed at this strange and terrible prophecy, but the common people, who in any difficult crisis and great exigency ever look for relief rather to strange and extravagant than to reasonable means, calling upon Bacchus with one voice, led the captives to the altar, and compelled the execution of the sacrifice as the prophet had commanded.
This is reported by Phanias the Lesbian, a philosopher well read in history.
The number of the enemy's ships the poet Aeschylus gives in his tragedy called the Persians, as on his certain knowledge, in the following words: So it is agreed. As Themistocles had fixed upon the most advantageous place, so, with no less sagacity, he chose the best time of fighting; for he would not run the prows of his galleys against the Persians, nor begin the fight till the time of day was come, when there regularly blows in a fresh breeze from the open sea, and brings in with it a strong swell into the channel; which was no inconvenience to the Greek ships, which were low-built, and little above the water, but did much to hurt the Persians, which had high sterns and lofty decks, and were heavy and cumbrous in their movements as it presented them broadside to the quick charges of the Greeks, who kept their eyes upon the motions of Themistocles, as their best example, and more particularly because, opposed to his ship, Ariamenes, admiral to Xerxes, a brave man and by far the best and worthiest of the king's brothers, was seen throwing darts and shooting arrows from his huge galley, as from the walls of a castle.
Aminias the Decelean and Sosicles the Pedian, who sailed in the same vessel, upon the ships meeting stem to stem, and transfixing each the other with their brazen prows, so that they were fastened together, when Ariamenes attempted to board theirs, ran at him with their pikes, and thrust him into the sea; his body, as it floated amongst other shipwrecks, was known to Artemisia, and carried to Xerxes. It is reported that, in the middle of the fight, a great flame rose into the air above the city of Eleusis, and that sounds and voices were heard through all the Thriasian plain, as far as the sea, sounding like a number of men accompanying and escorting the mystic Iacchus, and that a mist seemed to form and rise from the place from whence the sounds came, and, passing forward, fell upon the galleys.
Others believed that they saw apparitions, in the shape of armed men, reaching out their hands from the island of Aegina before the Grecian galleys; and supposed they were the Aeacidae, whom they had invoked to their aid before the battle. The first man that took a ship was Lycomedes the Athenian, captain of the galley, who cut down its ensign, and dedicated it to Apollo the Laurel-crowned.
And as the Persians fought in a narrow arm of the sea, and could bring but part of their fleet to fight and fell foul of one another, the Greeks thus equalled them in strength, and fought with them till the evening forced them back, and obtained, as says Simonides, that noble and famous victory, than which neither amongst the Greeks nor barbarians was ever known more glorious exploit on the seas; by the joint valour, indeed, and zeal of all who fought, but by the wisdom and sagacity of Themistocles.
After this sea-fight, Xerxes, enraged at his ill-fortune, attempted, by casting great heaps of earth and stones into the sea, to stop up the channel and make a dam, upon which he might lead his land-forces over into the island of Salamis. Themistocles, being desirous to try the opinion of Aristides, told him that he proposed to set sail for the Hellespont, to break the bridge of ships so as to shut up, he said, Asia a prisoner within Europe; but Aristides, disliking the design, said: Therefore, it is noways our interest, Themistocles," he said, "to take away the bridge that is already made, but rather to build another, if it were possible, that he might make his retreat with the more expedition.
Xerxes no sooner heard this, but, being very much terrified, he proceeded to retreat out of Greece with all speed. The prudence of Themistocles and Aristides in this was afterwards more fully understood at the battle of Plataea, where Mardonius, with a very small fraction of the forces of Xerxes, put the Greeks in danger of losing all. Herodotus writes, that of all the cities of Greece, Aegina was held to have performed the best service in the war; while all single men yielded to Themistocles, though, out of envy, unwillingly; and when they returned to the entrance of Peloponnesus, where the several commanders delivered their suffrages at the altar, to determine who was most worthy, every one gave the first vote for himself and the second for Themistocles.
The Lacedaemonians carried him with them to Sparta, where, giving the rewards of valour to Eurybiades, and of wisdom and conduct to Themistocles, they crowned him with olive, presented him with the best chariot in the city, and sent three hundred young men to accompany him to the confines of their country. Winged female figure running right, head left, holding kerykeion in her right hand, and a victory wreath in left. Baetyl in incuse square.
Before the battle of Salamis, Xerxes gathered all his naval commanders and sent Mardonios to ask whether or not he should fight a naval battle. Tell the King to spare his ships and not do a naval battle because our enemies are much stronger than us in the sea, as men are to women. And why does he need to risk a naval battle? Athens for which he did undertake this expedition is his and the rest of Greece too.
No man can stand against him and they who once resisted, were destroyed. The Greeks can't hold out against him for very long. They will leave for their cities, because they don't have food in store on this island, as I have learned, and when our army will march against the Peloponnese they who have come from there will become worried and they will not stay here to fight to defend Athens. In addition, he should also consider that he has certain untrustworthy allies, like the Egyptiansthe Cypriansthe Kilikians and the Pamphylianswho are completely useless.
Despite this, he gave orders to follow the advice of the rest of his commanders. Xerxes thought that at the naval battle of Artemisium his men acted like cowards because he was not there to watch them. But this time he would watch the battle himself to ensure they would act bravely. Artemisia appears highlighted center-left of the painting, above the victorious Greek fleet, below the throne of Xerxes, and shooting arrows at the Greeks. The ships she brought had the second best reputation in the whole fleet, next to the ones from Sidon.
Artemisia, who moves me to marvel greatly that a woman should have gone with the armament against Hellas; for her husband being dead, she herself had his sovereignty and a young son withal, and followed the host under no stress of necessity, but of mere high-hearted valour.
Artemisia was her name; she was daughter to Lygdamis, on her father's side of Halicarnassian lineage, and a Cretan on her mother's. She was the leader of the men of Halicarnassus and Cos and Nisyrus and Calydnos, furnishing five ships. Her ships were reputed the best in the whole fleet after the ships of Sidon; and of all his allies she gave the king the best counsels.
The cities, whereof I said she was the leader, are all of Dorian stock, as I can show, the Halicarnassians being of Troezen, and the rest of Epidaurus.
As Herodotus says, during the battle, and while the Persian fleet was facing defeat, an Athenian ship pursued Artemisia's ship and she was not able to escape, because in front of her were friendly ships.
The Calyndian ship sank. When she chased a Greek ship, she hoisted the Persian colours. But when she was chased by a Greek ship, she hoisted the Greek colours, so that the enemy might mistake her for a Greek and give up the pursuit. One of the men who was next to Xerxes said to him: None of the crew of the Calyndian ship survived to be able to accuse her otherwise. Either he would lead troops to the Peloponnese himself, or he would withdraw from Greece and leave his general Mardonius in charge.
Artemisia suggested to him that he should retreat back to Asia Minor and she advocated the plan suggested by Mardonius, who requestedPersian soldiers with which he would defeat the Greeks in Xerxes' absence. If he succeeds, the honour will be yours because your slaves performed it. If on the other hand, he fails, it would be no great matter as you would be safe and no danger threatens anything that concerns your house.
And while you will be safe the Greeks will have to pass through many difficulties for their own existence.