The Persians and Asiatic Greeks had by this time begun to use a manoeuver known as diekplous. The Battle of Salamis was a great victory for the Greek navy and, in combination with a victory by the Greek army at the Battle of Plataeathe next year, led to the complete defeat of the Persians. When Ariabignes attempted to board on their ship, they hit him with their spears, and thrust him into the sea.  It was only when Aristides, the exiled Athenian general arrived that night, followed by some deserters from the Persians, with news of the deployment of the Persian fleet, that the Peloponnesians accepted that they could not escape, and so would fight. , The exact Persian casualties are not mentioned by Herodotus. Burn, A. R. (1985). , In 491 BC, Darius sent emissaries to all the Greek city-states, asking for a gift of 'earth and water' in token of their submission to him. Triremes also carried a small complement of soldiers, at least ten hoplites and four archers. Related Content The Battle of Salamis . The Battle of Salamis The battle of Salamis was a naval battle that happened in 480 B.C.E and was fought by the Greeks and Persians. , However, the Peloponnesians may have been party to Themistocles's stratagem, so serenely did they accept that they would now have to fight at Salamis.  The Ionian revolt threatened the integrity of his empire, and Darius thus vowed to punish those involved (especially those not already part of the empire).  According to Herodotus, Queen Artemisia of Caria pointed this out to Xerxes in the run-up to Salamis. Ancient Naval Battleby The Creative Assembly (Copyright). The Battle on the plain of Marathon in September 490 BCE between... A hoplite (from ta hopla meaning tool or equipment) was the most... Themistocles (c. 524 - c. 460 BCE) was an Athenian statesman and... Fast, manoeuvrable, and with a bronze-sheathed ram on the prow... Cycladic states contribute to the victorious.  It is therefore probable that the Allies had extra marines on board if their ships were less maneuverable, since boarding would then be the main tactic available to them (at the cost of making the ships even heavier).  The fleet was effectively under the command of Themistocles, but nominally led by the Spartan nobleman Eurybiades, as had been agreed at the congress in 481 BC. Where was it fought? It is not on things of wood that the issue hangs for us, but on men and horses...If then you so desire, let us straightway attack the Peloponnese, or if it pleases you to wait, that also we can do...It is best then that you should do as I have said, but if you have resolved to lead your army away, even then I have another plan. Where was the Battle of Salamis: Mediterranean. It is for me, however, to enslave and deliver Hellas to you with three hundred thousand of your host whom I will choose.  The simultaneous Battle of Artemisium was up to that point a stalemate; however, when news of Thermopylae reached them, the Allied fleet also retreated, since holding the straits of Artemisium was now a moot point. In 490 BCE Greek forces led by Athens met the Persians at the Battle of Marathon and defeated the invaders. The task force then moved on Eretria, which it besieged and destroyed.  However, rather than attacking immediately, the Allies initially appeared to back their ships away as if in fear.  Nevertheless, Xerxes and his chief advisor Mardonius pressed for an attack.  Salamis started a decisive swing in the balance of power toward the Greeks, which would culminate in an eventual Greek victory, severely reducing Persian power in the Aegean. , Regardless of what time they entered the straits, the Persians did not move to attack the Allies until daylight.  There, at the Battle of Plataea, the Greek army won a decisive victory, destroying much of the Persian army and ending the invasion of Greece; whilst at the near-simultaneous Battle of Mycale the Allied fleet destroyed much of the remaining Persian fleet. The Persians, meanwhile, were stationed at the Phaleron Bay, less than 10 km away across the Saronic Gulf and close to the captured Piraeus.  Xerxes evidently took the bait, and the Persian fleet was sent out that evening to effect this block. The straits of Salamis, between the island of Salamis and the Athenian port city of Piraeus.  Aeschylus, who fought at Salamis, also claims that he faced 1,207 warships there, of which 207 were "fast ships". It happened in September 480 BC in the straits between the mainland and Salamis Island.  The remaining Persian ships limped back to the harbour of Phalerum and the shelter of the Persian army. In addition, there was very little space on board for provisions and no room to sleep so the crews had no choice but to land each night. Although heavily outnumbered, the Greek Allies were persuaded by the Athenian general Themistocles to bring the Persian fleet to battle again, in the hope that a victory would prevent naval operations against the Peloponnese.  Thermopylae had shown that a frontal assault against a well defended Greek position was useless; with the Allies now dug in across the narrow Isthmus, there was little chance of conquering the rest of Greece by land. " However, he more plausibly suggests that whilst the Allies were backing water, a single ship shot forward to ram the nearest Persian vessel. 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. Mark is a history writer based in Italy.  On the Greek left, the Persian admiral Ariabignes (a brother of Xerxes) was killed early in the battle; left disorganised and leaderless, the Phoenician squadrons appear to have been pushed back against the coast, many vessels running aground. Xerxes, sitting on Mount Aigaleo on his throne, witnessed the carnage.  According to Hyperides, the Greek fleet numbered only 220. Salamis was a victory for the Athenian system of government. He does not explicitly say that all 378 fought at Salamis ("All of these came to the war providing triremes...The total number of ships...was three hundred and seventy-eight"), and he also says that the Aeginetans "had other manned ships, but they guarded their own land with these and fought at Salamis with the thirty most seaworthy". Salamis 480 BC: The naval campaign that saved Greece. And when the sun set where were they? He counted them at break of day— Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. The actual battle of Salamis is not well described by the ancient sources, and it is unlikely that anyone (other than perhaps Xerxes) involved in the battle had a clear idea what was happening across the width of the straits. , Plain numbers represent triremes; those indicated in parentheses are penteconters (fifty-oared galleys), According to Herodotus, the Persian fleet initially numbered 1,207 triremes.  It is also worth mentioning that the celebrated blossoming of hugely influential Athenian culture occurred only after the Persian wars were won.  The "better sailing" that Herodotus mentions was probably due to the superior seamanship of the crews; most of the Athenian ships (and therefore the majority of the fleet) were newly built as according to Themistocles' request to the Athenians to build a fleet of 200 triremes in 483 BC, and had inexperienced crews.  Xerxes ordered a throne to be set up on the slopes of Mount Aigaleo (overlooking the straits), in order to watch the battle from a clear vantage point, and so as to record the names of commanders who performed particularly well.  This was exactly the kind of news that Xerxes wanted to hear; that the Athenians might be willing to submit to him, and that he would be able to destroy the rest of the Allied fleet. Much of this centres on the suggestion, from Herodotus, that the Allied ships were heavier, and by implication less maneuverable. Cite This Work Also, they had to stay close to shore as each night they needed to be beached if the light wood was not to become water-logged, significantly reducing the speed performance of the vessel. It followed the Battles of Thermopylae (the Battle of 300 Spartans) and the Battle of Artemisium, where … Last modified May 05, 2013. Some 30 Greek poleis, however, were preparing to fight back and the Battle of Salamis would show Xerxes that Greece, or at least a large chunk of it, was far from being conquered. The exact number of ships in the Persian fleet is not known. Naval Battle of Salamis (29 September 480): important battle during the Persian War, in which the Greek allies defeated the Persian navy. As at Artemision, the wooden ships of the combined Greek fleet had, for a second time, rebuffed the Persian advance. At the indecisive naval battle of Artemision (also in August 480 BCE), the Greeks held off the superior numbers of the Persian fleet but were obliged to regroup at Salamis.  However, modern historians have greatly debated this point, with some pointing out the difficulties of maneuvering in this confined space by night, and others accepting Herodotus's version. The Battle of Salamis is regarded by many historians as one of the most important battles in world history. The site of the ancient mooring site is on the island of Salamis, at the coastal Ambelaki-Kynosaurus site. Herodotus VIII, 84; Macaulay translation cf. The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. What was the Battle of Salamis death toll: Probably at least 50,000. Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory. However, once the battle got fully underway, naval conflicts became a case of a single ship against a single opponent rather than precisely coordinated manoeuvres.  After Salamis, the Peloponnese, and by extension Greece as an entity, was safe from conquest; and the Persians suffered a major blow to their prestige and morale (as well as severe material losses). Commanders led from the front and each would have been on his own ship at the heart of the battle. The Persians advanced, becoming more closely packed as they aligned themselves with the enemy’s narrower front. Battle of Salamis. Overlooking from his command post in the early morning, Xerxes would have seen not a fleet about to retreat but the Greeks positioned two-ships deep along a 3 km long curve, perhaps presenting a line of 130 ships against the Persian main front of 150 ships, three ships deep.  Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt, and very quickly restarted the preparations for the invasion of Greece. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. e.g., Macaulay, in a note accompanying his translation of Herodotus VIII, 85. Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους (History of the Greek nation) vol Β, Εκδοτική Αθηνών (Editorial Athens) 1971. Many of the Persian forces had been recruited from landlocked regions and couldn’t swim: vast numbers died … Modern view of the strait of Salamis, where the battle took place. , It is difficult to explain exactly what eventually brought about the battle, assuming that neither side simply attacked without forethought. Prior to full engagement between the opposing fleets, there were two principal strategies employed by the more able commanders.  However, the Athenians did not have the manpower to fight on land and sea; and therefore combatting the Persians would require an alliance of Greek city states.  Clearly though, at some point after capturing Athens, Xerxes held a council of war with the Persian fleet; Herodotus says this occurred at Phalerum.  He eventually won through, and the Allied navy remained off the coast of Salamis. , Initially the 'congress' agreed to defend the narrow Vale of Tempe, on the borders of Thessaly, and thereby block Xerxes's advance. It was the culmination of Themistocles’ strategic vision and resulted in the exact situation he had intended. Greek tactics & strategy were decided by a council of 17 commanders from each of the contributing contingents. After a series of political negotiations, it became clear that the Persians would not gain victory on land through diplomacy and the two opposing armies met at the Battle of Plataea in August 479 BCE. As Demetrius approached Salamis, the Ptolemaic forces stationed there – some 12,000 infantry and 800 cavalry, under the command of Ptolemy’s brother, Menelaus – were awaiting his arrival on a nearby plain. This is a pretty significant find, one that came out of an archaeological investigation into Salamis Bay that launched in November of last year, headed by a number of Greek universities and funded by the British Horon Frost Foundation. Greece then, lay open to the invaders and Persian forces rampaged through the Greek poleis or city-states, sacking even Athens itself. It had the power to send envoys asking for assistance and to dispatch troops from the member states to defensive points after joint consultation. "Persia and the Greeks" in The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 2: The Median and Achaemenid Periods, Ilya Gershevitch, ed. by Dept. The Achaemenid fleet (in red) entered from the east (right) and confronted the Greek fleet (in blue) within the confines of the strait. Because of the consistency in the ancient sources, some modern historians are inclined to accept 1,207 as the size of the initial Persian fleet; others reject this number, with 1,207 being seen as more of a reference to the combined Greek fleet in the Iliad, and generally claim that the Persians could have launched no more than around 600 warships into the Aegean. Professor David M. Pritchard believes that the battle between the Athenians and the Persians is, probably, the turning point in the history of Classical Greece. The Siege of Salamis: 306 BC.  The Athenians would claim that this was the ship of the Athenian Ameinias of Pallene; the Aeginetans would claim it as one of their ships. This battle was the Battle of Salamis, a battle that took politics to conjure up support for and was pivotal in the changes of fortunes for one side engaged in the battle. Herodotus & John M. Marincola & Aubrey de SÃ©lincourt. , Across the battlefield, as the first line of Persian ships was pushed back by the Greeks, they became fouled in the advancing second and third lines of their own ships. To block the Persian advance, a small force of Greeks blocked the pass of Thermopylae, while an Athenian-dominated Allied navy engaged the Persian fleet in the nearby straits of Artemisium. At the ensuing Battle of Marathon, the Athenians won a remarkable victory, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Persian army to Asia.  According to Plutarch, this was to gain better position, and also in order to gain time until the early morning wind. Then the armed soldiers on board would have come into their own with hoplites and archers fighting on the decks much as in a land battle. Since it brought about that attack, perhaps the most important military lesson is to be found in the use of deception by Themistocles to bring about the desired response from the enemy. If Thermopylae/Artemisium occurred in September, then this may be the case, but it is probably more likely that the Persians spent two or three weeks capturing Athens, refitting the fleet, and resupplying. This dual strategy was adopted by the congress. The Allies prepared to defend the Isthmus of Corinth while the fleet was withdrawn to nearby Salamis Island. The Battle of Salamis (/ ˈ s æ l ə m ɪ s / SAL-ə-miss; Ancient Greek: Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, romanized: Naumachía tês Salamînos) was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC. The 2500th anniversary of this event is commemorated this month. When was ths Battle of Salamis? Nor can you say that we have anywhere done less than brave men should, and if Phoenicians and Egyptians and Cyprians and Cilicians have so done, it is not the Persians who have any part in this disaster. In effect, tactics and strategy were decided by a council of 17 commanders from each of the contributing contingents.  The Greek victory allowed Macedon to revolt against Persian rule; and over the next 30 years, Thrace, the Aegean Islands and finally Ionia would be removed from Persian control by the Allies, or by the Athenian-dominated successor, the Delian League. However, he writes that the next year, the Persian fleet numbered 300 triremes. 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.  This alleged rift amongst the Allies may have simply been a ruse, in order to lure the Persians to battle. θήκας τε προγόνων: νῦν ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀγών. Ueber den Schiffen der siegreichen Griechen, gegen welche Artemisia, des Xerxes Bundesgenossin, fliehend Pfeile sendet, sieht man in Wolken die beiden Ajaxe" in, Discussed by Green (The Year of Salamis), p xxiii and Holland, pp.xvi–xxii, A Layered Look Reveals Ancient Greek Texts, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0011%3Acard%3D395, Altpreussische Monatsschrift Nene Folge p.300, "Diodorus Siculus, Library, Book XI, Chapter 19, section 4", "The Fabulous Fifth Century: Athens During the Age of Pericles - II. Artemisia, the tyrant of Halicarnassus, led the Dorian fleet of 30 ships and other known commanders included Prexaspes, Megabazus, and Achaimenes.  Ctesias gives another number, 1,000 ships, while Plato, speaking in general terms refers to 1,000 ships and more. Books The route to southern Greece (Boeotia, Attica and the Peloponnese) would require the army of Xerxes to travel through the very narrow pass of Thermopylae.  This meant that Sparta was also now effectively at war with Persia.  This 'heaviness', whatever its cause, would further reduce the likelihood of them employing the diekplous.  Herodotus presents the battle as though it occurred directly after the capture of Athens, but nowhere explicitly states as much. There is also the possibility that Themistocles had sent messages to Xerxes intimating the fragile Greek alliance was breaking up and the fleet was about to retreat. Here too were much of the evacuated populace of Athens and Attica. The objective was to puncture a hole in the enemy vessel or break a sufficient number of their oars to disable the ship. Battle ensued, and Demetrius won the victory, killing 1,000 and capturing 3,000 of Menelaus’ forces. The first was sailing around the enemy line (periplous) and the second was smashing through gaps in the enemy line and attacking from their rear flank (diekplous). Probably, the two fleets aligned along an oblique east-west axis with the Persians close to the mainland shore with both fleets having a friendly shore behind them. , Either way, when Xerxes received this news, he ordered his fleet to go out on patrol off the coast of Salamis, blocking the southern exit. Prominent commanders l… Both were designed to get one’s ship in a position to ram the weakest point of the enemy - the side or stern quarter. Much of the Greek army retreated, before the Spartans and Thespians who had continued to block the pass were surrounded and killed.  The Persian fleet seems to have been formed into three ranks of ships (according to Aeschylus); with the powerful Phoenician fleet on the right flank next to Mount Aigaleo, the Ionian contingent on the left flank and the other contingents in the centre.  However, his numbers for the individual contingents only add up to 371. At the same time, the Peloponnesians were building a wall to prevent the advance of the Persian army. , Approaching the Allied fleet in the crowded Straits, the Persians appear to have become disorganised and cramped in the narrow waters. Cartwright, M. (2013, May 05). Able to rapidly accelerate, break, zigzag, and turn 360 degrees in just two ships’ lengths, good seamanship could place the vessel to best advantage and employ the principal strategy of naval warfare at that time which was to ram the enemy, making full use of the bronze ram fitted to the prow of the vessel. The Greek victory in the battle followed by their winning the war was the reason why this ancient civilization would not become part of the Persian Empire. https://www.ancient.eu/Battle_of_Salamis/.  Time was now of the essence for the Persians – the huge invasion force could not be reasonably supported indefinitely, nor probably did Xerxes wish to be at the fringe of his empire for so long.  This view is based on the premise that much of modern Western society, such as philosophy, science, personal freedom and democracy are rooted in the legacy of Ancient Greece. The strait of Salamis After the Persian victories at Artemisium and Thermopylae , king Xerxes proceeded to Athens , which he captured in the last days of September 480. C. in the Saronic Gulf , near the island of Salamina, present-day territory of the Hellenic Republic of Greece. In the immediate aftermath of Salamis, Xerxes attempted to build a pontoon bridge or causeway across the straits, in order to use his army to attack the Athenians; however, with the Greek fleet now confidently patrolling the straits, this proved futile.  Both sides had marines on their ships for this eventuality; the Greeks with fully armed hoplites; the Persians probably with more lightly armed infantry. As a defence against these two tactics, an able commander would ensure one of his flanks was closed off by shallows or coastline and ensure his crews were sufficiently drilled to maintain close order. Salamis is an island off the coast of mainland Greece. , Darius thus put together an amphibious task force under Datis and Artaphernes in 490 BC, which attacked Naxos, before receiving the submission of the other Cycladic Islands.  Another possibility (not exclusive of the former) is that the departure of the Corinthians triggered the final approach of the Persians, suggesting as it did that the Allied fleet was disintegrating.  In the centre, a wedge of Greek ships pushed through the Persians lines, splitting the fleet in two. This allowed the Persians to conquer Phocis, Boeotia, Attica, and Euboea.  Possibly, a Persian army had been sent to march against the Isthmus in order to test the nerve of the fleet. Interestingly, a second option for the time is specified but with a smaller probability (“ …  Following Thermopylae, the Persian army proceeded to burn and sack the Boeotian cities that had not surrendered, Plataea and Thespiae, before marching on the now evacuated city of Athens. Therefore adopted by the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory for the Greeks! Least 50,000 more of a discussion than a definitive account the Allied ships were beached several... ( Editorial Athens ) 1971 the Isthmus of Corinth while the fleet was withdrawn nearby! Were used to fighting on land extra troops came into their own when at close quarters the! Decided by a council of 17 commanders from each of the Persians bypassing Thermopylae by sea, where could. Perhaps sending messages to the Greeks that the Egyptian fleet was withdrawn to Salamis!, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece 42 ], According to Herodotus, that Oracle. 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