The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece -- and Western Civilization

By Barry Strauss

On a overdue September day in 480 B.C., Greek warships confronted an invading Persian armada within the slender Salamis Straits within the most vital naval conflict of the traditional global. Overwhelmingly outnumbered through the enemy, the Greeks triumphed via a mixture of technique and deception. greater than millennia after it happened, the conflict among the Greeks and Persians at Salamis is still essentially the most tactically really good battles ever fought. The Greek victory replaced the process western historical past -- halting the development of the Persian Empire and environment the level for the Golden Age of Athens.
during this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark conflict to lifestyles. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose judgements altered background: Themistocles, Athens' nice chief (and admiral of its fleet), who devised the creative process that successfully destroyed the Persian military in a single day; Xerxes, the Persian king who fought bravely yet who finally didn't comprehend the ocean; Aeschylus, the playwright who served within the conflict and later wrote approximately it; and Artemisia, the single lady commander identified from antiquity, who grew to become defeat into own triumph. packed with the attractions, sounds, and smell of conflict, The conflict of Salamis is a stirring paintings of historical past.

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At sunrise on September 25, the Persians have been stunned to find that the Greeks have been able to struggle. The Persians weren't ready for this mentally or bodily. they'd anticipated a simple pursuit of a damaged enemy, no longer a tricky struggle. Even first and foremost mild, the Greeks almost certainly stored the enemy off defend through sending the Corinthians northward on a phony flight. At Salamis the Greeks have been in most sensible shape psychologically and had spent the evening napping on dry land instead of in conscious and onerous rowing. surprise made it more uncomplicated for the Greeks to damage up the great order of the Persian fleet. Many Persian commanders have been killed in conflict, together with the highest-ranking admiral, Xerxes’ part brother Ariabignes. Persian navies (and armies) have been extra liable to decapitation than Greeks simply because Persia used to be extra centralized. Nor did Persia motivate person initiative the best way the Greeks did, specifically a democracy like Athens. in contrast to the Greeks, Persian commanders had little loyalty to a reason; in its place, they fought mostly to provoke Xerxes. they'd no incentive to struggle to the demise. The Persian method of command contributed to a breakdown of excellent order at Salamis. eventually, the Greeks took each good thing about the bizarre geography of the Salamis straits. The slim area made it most unlikely for the Persians to take advantage of their superiority in velocity. through a similar token, the channel became the heaviness of the Greeks’ triremes from a legal responsibility into a bonus. And it became the prevalence of the Persians in numbers right into a drawback, simply because their boats collided with one another. If, on a possible reconstruction, the commonplace morning sea breeze started to blow, the outcome could have unsteadied the Persian ships greater than it did the Greeks’. So the straits’ geography contributed to the sickness of the Persian fleet. surprise, command, and geography: 3 uncomplicated development blocks, deployed in a dangerous manner, grew to become the conflict of Salamis from a hammer blow by means of Persia right into a capture laid via Greeks. Persia was hoping to overwhelm the Greeks with its superiority in numbers yet blundered into an ambush during which its very mass labored opposed to it. hardly ever have such a lot of been harm lots by means of so few. among the 2 of them, Athens and Aegina accounted for many of the Persian warships that have been disabled through the conflict. either achievements have been striking, yet Aegina’s was once outsize, seeing that its 30 triremes represented merely one-sixth as many ships as Athens’s a hundred and eighty. doubtless Aegina disabled different enemy vessels within the morning along with the single rammed by means of the send bearing the statues of the sons of Aeacus, yet what rather uncommon Aegina at Salamis was once the ambush it performed within the afternoon. The Aeginetans “exhibited achievements invaluable of mention,” says Herodotus: excessive compliment certainly, contemplating his promise within the starting sentence that his ebook will be “an exhibition of . . . nice and mind-blowing achievements” so they now not be forgotten. THE RETREAT bankruptcy TWELVE PHALERON because the west wind choices up within the night of September 25, it bends the gang of warships like a box of grain within the afternoon breeze.

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