|Civilization:||Greek — Athens|
|military — General|
Themistocles was born in relatively humble circumstances, and rose to influence entirely through personal qualities of intelligence and bravery. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Marathon, and in the years after the first Persian invasion, increased his influence until he was elected Archon in 483 B.C., the same year he arranged for his political rival, Aristides, to be ostracized. Themistocles saw clearly that Athens needed to be a first rate naval power in order to thrive economically and politically, and pushed Athens to take steps to build up its navy, and fortify its harbors. By the time the Persian invasion actually occurred, Athens had by far, the largest navy of the Greek allies, and many of the best pilots.
Although the Spartan Eurybiades was nominally in charge of the united fleet, Themistocles was at all times, the master-mind of the Greek navy, and the architect of its great victory of at Salamis. But the true historical interest in this great battle lies not only in the David vs. Goliath aspect, of a small determined navy overwhelming an far larger fleet, but in the human interest details of the war-room politics. Far from being a united group of like-minded patriots, the Greeks captains were at each others throats and hotly disputed strategy at every step, and Themistocles figured enormously in all aspects of the plots, persuasions and machinations that went on behind the scenes.
Key events during the life of Themistocles:
|Fought at the battle of Marathon.|
|Miltiades dies, leaving Aristides and Themistocles as rival political leaders.|
|Themistocles succeeds in having Aristides ostracized.|
|Themistocles elected Archon: convinces Athens to build a navy of 200 ships and fortify harbors.|
|Themistocles is an Admiral in Naval battles of Artemisium and Salamis.|
|Themistocles is reconciled with Aristides.|
|Persians are driven from Greece after the battle of Plataea.|
|Athenians start to rebuilt their city. They build a wall against the wishes of Sparta.|
|Foundation of Delian league.|
|Charges of bribery and corruption are levied against Themistocles.|
|Themistocles is ostracized and retired to Argos.|
|Spartans levy more charges against Themistocles. He flies to Corcyra, and then to Asia Minor|
|Themistocles arrives in Persia; meets with Artaxerxes.|
|Retires to Megnesia in Asia Minor.|
|Dies in exile.|Other Resources
Themistocles: From a bust in the Vatican.
in Greek Life and Story
in The Story of the Greeks
in Greatest Nations - Greece
in Statesmen and Sages
Themistocles and the Greek Captain
in Stories from Greek History
Ship dashed against ship, till the Persian dead strewed the deep like flowers.
in The Story of Greece
He stood silent before the king.
in The Story of Greece
Themistocles at the Persian Court
in Plutarch's Lives
|Head of Spartan Fleet during the Persian War.|
|Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.|
|Queen of Halicarnassas and Cos. One of Xerxes most trusted advisors and Generals.|
|Athenian General and Statesman. Fought at Marathon, Salamis; created Delian League.|
|Spartan General who led Greece against Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea.|
|Servant of Themistocles who delivered his messages to the Persian Admiral.|