Essay on Ancient History Hsc: the Greek World 500-440bc
1451 WordsJun 11, 20126 Pages
To what extent was Themistocles’ contribution the key factor in bringing about a Greek victory in the Persian Wars, 480-479 BC?
To a very large extent Themistocles did play the key role in bringing about a Greek victory against the Persians in 480-479BC. His efforts in the pre-war years, his leadership and tactical skills at Artemisium and Salamis, and his persuasive arguments all combined to offer the Greeks hope of victory. However, Themistocles, alone, could not determine the fate of the war. It would be a mistake to suggest that other people and events did not play important roles in the defeat against the Persians as well. To gain a complete understanding of why the Persians were defeated, one needs to look at the roles of the…show more content…
Promoting Greek unity gave the Greeks greater strength in numbers during the wars. Plutarch states “The greatest of all his achievements was to put an ending to all the fighting within Greece, to reconcile the various cities with one another and persuade them to lay aside their differences because of the war with Persia”. Themistocles’ relationship with naval commander Eurybiades also was very important. With Themistocles’ great foresight and decision making, the value of this working relationship with Eurybiades was the ability of Eurybiades to trust in Themistocles and his opinions. This proved very effective in the battles of Artemisium and Salamis. Thucydides praises this: “This man was supreme at doing precisely the right thing at precisely the right moment.” All of these pre-war efforts are contributions to which Themistocles played a great role in Greek victory.
At Artemisium and Salamis, Themistocles played a key role. The Battle of Artemisium was a battle which contained 271 Greek vessels controlled by Eurybiades and 1200 Persian vessels, according to Herodotus’ numbers. There was a 3 day storm which inflicted major damage to the Persian fleet, but the Greeks were able to ride out the storm safely. Xerxes then ordered his fleet to take on the Greeks at Cape Sepias in order to bring supplies, resulting in a closely fought battle. The Greeks then heard of the defeat at Thermopylae and departed,