Battle of Artemisium, 480 BC

Battle of Artemisium, 480 BC

The battle of Artemisium (August 480 BC) was an inconclusive naval battle that was fought on the same three days as the battle of Thermopylae, and that ended when the Greek fleet retreated after learning of the Persian victory at Thermopylae (Greco-Persian Wars).

In 490 the Emperor Darius had sent an army across the Aegean to punish Eretria and Athens for their support of the Ionian Revolt. The Persians had been defeated at the battle of Marathon (490 BC), and Darius had died before he could launch a fresh invasion. His successor Xerxes decided to lead a massive invasion of Greece in person. He also decided not to risk another expedition across the Aegean, but instead to carry out a massive joint operation, leading a vast army and fleet along the coasts of Thrace and Thessaly and south to Athens.

Many Greek communities decided to accommodate the Persians, but a powerful coalition, led by Sparta and Athens, decided to resist. The Greek allies met at the Isthmus of Corinth and decided to make a stand at Tempe in Thessaly. It soon became clear that this position could easily be outflanked, and so they decided to defend the narrow pass of Thermopylae, at the southern border of Thessaly. The fleet was to defend the straits between Magnesia and the island of Euboea, with their initial base at the beach of Artemisium, near a shrine to Artemis.

According to Herodotus the Persians had 1,207 triremes at the start of their expedition - 300 from Phoenicia and Palestine, 200 from Egypt, 150 from Cyprus, 100 from Cilicia, 30 from Pamphylia , 50 from Lycia, 30 from the Dorian cities of Asia, 70 from Caria, 100 from Ionia, 17 from the Aegean islands, 60 from Aeolia and 100 from the Hellespont. Each ship carried a mix of Persian, Median and Sacian marines. Herodotus's vast figure of two million fighting men in the land army is normally dismissed as entirely unrealistic, but the size of the Persian fleet is perhaps more realistic.

The Persians suffered heavy losses before they ever clashed with the Greeks. As they sailed down the coast of Magnesia, they anchored between Casthanaea and Cape Sepias. The size of the Persian fleet acted against them, making it difficult for them to find any suitable harbours. According to Herodotus on this occasion they were moored eight-deep all along the beach. Overnight a powerful north-easterly storm hit the dangerously exposed Persian fleet. 400 warships and an unknown number of supply ships were lost during the three day storm. Another fifteen ships were lost when they sailed too far and inadvertently ran into the Greek fleet. If Herodotus's initial figure is to be believed, these loses brought the Persian fleet down to just under 800 ships (if all the lost warships were triremes), assuming none had been lost on the long journey from Asia Minor and along the coasts of Thrace and Thessaly. However they also received 120 reinforcements from Thrace, so may have had 920 ships.

According to Herodotus the Greeks had 271 triremes at the start of the battle. Athens provided 127 ships in her own contingent, with crews from Athens and Plataea. Corinth provided 40 ships, the Megarians 20, Chalcis provided 20 crews but the ships came from Athens. The Aeginetans provided 18 ships, the Sicyonians 12, the Lacedaemonians 10, the Epidaurians 8, the Eretrians 7, the Troezenians 5, the Styrians 2 and the Ceans 2 triremes and 2 penteconters. The Opuntian Locrians provided 7 penteconters. The fleet was commanded by the Spartan Eurybiades son of Euryclidas, after the other allies refused to follow an Athenian leader. The Athenian leader Themistocles, who had played a key part in building up the Athenian fleet, commanded the Athenian contingent and played a major part in ensuring that the fleet stood and fought.

After the storm the Persians continued south to Aphetae, at the southern tip of Magnesia. The Greek reaction suggests that they still had an apparently overwhelming numerical advantage, as both Eurybiades and Adeimantus, commander of the large Corinthian contingent, decided to withdraw. The Euboeans asked for time to evacuate their families from the island, but Eurybiades turned them down. The Euboeans then turned to the Athenian naval leader Themistocles, in one of the most controversial incidents of the battle (at least to modern eyes). Themistocles was offered thirty talents of silver to convince the fleet to stay. He bribed Eurybiades with five talents and Adeimantus with three talents, keeping the remaining twenty two talents himself. To modern eyes this looks like corruption, but it was clearly unremarkable behaviour at the time, and Herodotus says that both of the bribed leaders assumed the money had been sent from Athens for that purpose.

On the first day of the battle the Persians sent a detachment of 200 ships around Euboea to cut off the Greek line of retreat. The Greeks were informed of this move by a deserter, Scyllias of Scione, and attacked the temporarily weakened main Persian fleet (although if Herodotus's figures are right they were still outnumbered by two-to-one).

The Persians reacted to the Greek attack by forming into a ring and surrounding them. The Greeks responded by forming a circle and fighting with their sterns pointing towards the centre. The Greeks captured 30 ships during the first day of the battle. Their losses aren't recorded.

They intended to sail south that night to destroy the Persian detachment, but were kept in port by a massive storm that caught the Persians without shelter and destroyed most of the detachment.

On the second day 53 Athenian ships joined the fleet, bringing the total up to over 300. They also brought news of the Persian disaster, presumably having sailed through the same seas. The Persians were perhaps down to no more than 560-680 ships, but still outnumbered the Greeks.

There was some fighting on the second day, in which the Greeks defeated a Cilician contingent in the Persian fleet.

On the third day the Persians attacked at about noon. The Greeks fought in a half-moon formation. Both sides suffered heavy losses in this fighting. The Greeks just about held their own, but began to realise that they would probably have to retreat to avoid heavier losses. Meanwhile the Persians had outflanked the Greek position at Thermopylae, and during the day the last Greek rearguard was destroyed. The commanders of the fleet realised that they needed to retreat from Artemisium, and pulled back to the straits of Salamis, where they hoped the narrow waters would allow them to take advantage of their heavier ships. While they were moving south Themistocles stopped at every source of fresh water and had a message carved into the rocks asking the Ionian Greeks to desert the Persians.

A number of famous Greeks fought at Artemisium. Amongst them was the Aeschylus, the first great Athenian writer of tragic plays

Serpent Column

The Serpent Column (Ancient Greek: Τρικάρηνος Ὄφις Τrikarenos Οphis "Three-headed Serpent" [1] Turkish: Yılanlı Sütun "Serpentine Column"), also known as the Serpentine Column, Plataean Tripod or Delphi Tripod, is an ancient bronze column at the Hippodrome of Constantinople (known as Atmeydanı "Horse Square" in the Ottoman period) in what is now Istanbul, Turkey. It is part of an ancient Greek sacrificial tripod, originally in Delphi and relocated to Constantinople by Constantine the Great in 324. It was built to commemorate the Greeks who fought and defeated the Persian Empire at the Battle of Plataea (479 BC). The serpent heads of the 8-metre (26 ft) high column remained intact until the end of the 17th century (one is on display at the nearby Istanbul Archaeology Museums). [2]


The Persian fleet approached Artemisium towards the end of summer, and the fleet was caught in a gale off the coast of Magnesia, causing the Persians to lose around 400 of their ships. After arriving at Artemisium, the Persians sent 200 ships around the coast of Euboea to trap the Greeks, but they were caught in another storm and shipwrecked. The main action of the battle took place after two days of smaller engagements, during which the Athenian spy Scyllas obtained information on the Persians, and Artemisia I of Caria failed to seduce Themistocles into defecting to the Persians. The two fleets fought all day and, despite the heavier Persian losses, the Athenians were forced to retreat, as they lost half of their fleet in the battle. With news of the defeat at the Battle of Thermopylae, Themistocles decided to withdraw the fleet to Salamis, and Persian attempts to decisively destroy the Allied fleet led to their defeat at the Battle of Salamis.


The Greek city-states of Athens and Eretria had supported the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire of Darius I in 499-494 BC. The Persian Empire was still relatively young, and prone to revolts amongst its subject peoples. [13] [14] Moreover, Darius was an usurper, and had spent considerable time extinguishing revolts against his rule. [13] 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). [15] [16] Darius also saw the opportunity to expand his empire into the fractious world of Ancient Greece. [16] A preliminary expedition under Mardonius in 492 BC, to secure the land approaches to Greece, re-conquered Thrace, and forced Macedon to become a fully subordinate client kingdom part of Persia. [17] [18] [19] It had been made a vassal or ally as early as the late 6th century BC, but remained having autonomy. [19] Mardonius' campaign of 492 BC changed this. [19]

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. [20] Having had a demonstration of his power the previous year, the majority of Greek cities duly obliged. In Athens, however, the ambassadors were put on trial and then executed by throwing them in a pit in Sparta, they were simply thrown down a well. [20] [21] This meant that Sparta was also effectively at war with Persia. [20]

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. The task force then moved on Eretria, which it besieged and destroyed. [22] Finally, it moved to attack Athens, landing at the bay of Marathon, where it was met by a heavily outnumbered Athenian army. At the ensuing Battle of Marathon, the Athenians won a remarkable victory, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Persian army to Asia. [23]

Darius therefore began raising a huge new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, indefinitely postponing any Greek expedition. [14] Darius then died whilst preparing to march on Egypt, and the throne of Persia passed to his son Xerxes I. [24] Xerxes crushed the Egyptian revolt, and very quickly restarted the preparations for the invasion of Greece. [25] Since this was to be a full-scale invasion, it required long-term planning, stock-piling and conscription. [25] Xerxes decided that the Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of Mount Athos (rounding which headland, a Persian fleet had been destroyed in 492 BC). [26] These were both feats of exceptional ambition, which would have been beyond any contemporary state. [26] By early 480 BC, the preparations were complete, and the army which Xerxes had mustered at Sardis marched towards Europe, crossing the Hellespont on two pontoon bridges. [27]

The Athenians had also been preparing for war with the Persians since the mid-480s BC, and in 482 BC the decision was taken, under the guidance of the Athenian politician Themistocles, to build a massive fleet of triremes that would be necessary for the Greeks to fight the Persians. [28] However, the Athenians did not have the manpower to fight on land and sea and therefore combating the Persians would require an alliance of Greek city states. In 481 BC, Xerxes sent ambassadors around Greece asking for earth and water, but making the very deliberate omission of Athens and Sparta. [29] Support thus began to coalesce around these two leading states. A congress of city states met at Corinth in late autumn of 481 BC, [30] and a confederate alliance of Greek city-states was formed. It had the power to send envoys asking for assistance and to dispatch troops from the member states to defensive points after joint consultation. This was remarkable for the disjointed Greek world, especially since many of the city-states in attendance were still technically at war with each other. [31]

The 'congress' met again in the spring of 480 BC. A Thessalian delegation suggested that the allies could muster in the narrow Vale of Tempe, on the borders of Thessaly, and thereby block Xerxes's advance. [32] A force of 10,000 hoplites was dispatched to the Vale of Tempe, through which they believed the Persian army would have to pass. However, once there, they were warned by Alexander I of Macedon that the vale could be bypassed through the Sarantoporo Pass, and that the army of Xerxes was overwhelming, the Greeks retreated. [33] Shortly afterwards, they received the news that Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont. [32]

Themistocles therefore suggested a second strategy to the allies. The route to southern Greece (Boeotia, Attica and the Peloponnesus) would require the army of Xerxes to travel through the very narrow pass of Thermopylae. The pass could easily be blocked by the Greek hoplites, despite the overwhelming numbers of Persians. Furthermore, to prevent the Persians bypassing Thermopylae by sea, the Athenian and allied navies could block the straits of Artemisium. This dual strategy was adopted by the congress. [34] However, the Peloponnesian cities made fall-back plans to defend the Isthmus of Corinth should all else fail, whilst the women and children of Athens were evacuated en masse to the Peloponnesian city of Troezen. [35]


The Allied fleet sailed north to Cape Artemisium once it became known that the Persian army was advancing along the coast past Mount Olympus, probably around late July or the beginning of August. [34] The Allies took up station at Artemisium, most likely beaching their ships at the headland, from which they could be quickly launched as needed. [35] The Allies sent three ships to Skiathos as scouts to provide warning of the approach of the Persian fleet. [36] Two weeks passed without sight of the Persian fleet. Finally, ten Sidonian triremes arrived off Skiathos, and the main Allied fleet was informed by a fire-beacon lit on the island. [36] [37] However, the Allied patrol ships themselves were caught unaware and two were captured, whilst one ran aground. [35] According to Herodotus, in the ensuing confusion, unsure whether or not the beacon heralded the arrival of the whole Persian fleet, as a precaution the whole Allied fleet launched into the straits of Artemisium. [35] [37] Once it became clear that the Persian fleet was not going to arrive that day, they decided to sail to Chalcis, halfway down on the western coast of Euboea, leaving men on the heights of Euboea to warn of the actual arrival of the Persian ships. [37]

Historians suggest that the Allies may have misinterpreted the Persian movements and come to the mistaken conclusion that the Persians were sailing east around Skiathos, aiming to sail around the eastern side of Euboea. [38] The signals sent by fire beacons must have been very simplistic, and potentially interpreted wrongly alternatively, the signallers may have genuinely believed that the Persian fleet was sailing to the east of Skiathos. [38] If the Persians sailed around the outer, eastern side of Euboea, they could head straight to Attica, and thereby cut off the Allied fleet's line of retreat. [38] Furthermore, the Persians had enough ships to attempt to both attack the Straits of Artemisium, and sail around Euboea. [35] The withdrawal to Chalcis therefore gave the Allies the opportunity to escape from the Straits of Euboea if the Persians did travel around the outside of Euboea, but also allowed them to return to Artemisium if necessary. In this context, the watchers left on Euboea could inform the Allies if the Persian fleet did indeed sail east of Euboea. [38] The Allied fleet thus continued to wait at Chalcis. [35] Nevertheless, the Allies, undoubtedly anxious about facing a Persian fleet which outnumbered them so comprehensively, may have somewhat overreacted. [35]

Around ten days later, the Persian army arrived at Thermopylae, and the Allies at Chalcis were informed by a ship, captained by Abronichus, which had been appointed to liaise between the army and the fleet. [35] However, there was still no sign of the Persian fleet, and the first day the Persians spent at Thermopylae passed without them launching an attack. [39] The next day, the Persian fleet finally drew near to Artemisium, heading for the Gap of Skiathos (between the coast of Magnesia and Skiathos), when a summer gale (a 'Hellesponter' - probably a north-easterly storm [40] ) broke, driving the Persian fleet onto the mountainous coast. [39] [41] The storm lasted two days, wrecking approximately one third of the Persian ships. [39] [42] Meanwhile, at Thermopylae, the Persians had continued to wait for the Greeks to disperse, also choosing not to attack during the storm. [39]

The day after the storm finished, the Allied fleet returned to Artemisium to protect the flank of the army at Thermopylae. [39] The following day, (the fifth since the Persians had arrived at Thermopylae) the Persian army began their attacks on the Allied army at Thermopylae. The same day, the Persian fleet finally appeared through the Gap of Sciathos, and began mooring on the coast opposite Artemisium, at Aphetae. [42] According to Herodotus, 15 Persian ships blundered into the Allied lines, and were captured. [43] Although clearly storm damaged, the Persian fleet still probably outnumbered the Allies by nearly 3:1. [42] As a result, the Allies contemplated withdrawing completely. [44] The Euboeans, not wanting to be abandoned to the Persians, bribed Themistocles to try to ensure that the Allied fleet remained. [44] Since the joint operation at Thermopylae and Artemisium was his strategy in the first place, it is likely this is exactly what Themistocles wanted, and this bribe allowed him in turn to bribe the Spartan and Corinthian admirals, Eurybiades and Adeimantus to remain at Artemisium. [42]

Later on that day, a deserter from the Persian fleet, a Greek called Scyllias, swam into the Allied camp. He brought bad news for the Allies — whilst most of the Persian fleet was undergoing repairs, the Persians had detached 200 seaworthy ships to sail around the outer coast of Euboea, to block the escape route of the Allied fleet. [42] [45] The Persians did not want to attack the Allies yet, because they thought the Allies would simply flee, and so they sought to trap them. [46] The Allies resolved to go and meet this detachment, to prevent being trapped, though they planned to leave by nightfall to prevent the Persians becoming aware of their plans. [47]

The Allies most likely realised that this situation presented them with an opportunity to destroy an isolated part of the Persian fleet. [40] [42] Herodotus is not clear on where the Allies planned to meet this detachment, only that they resolved to do so. One possibility is that they planned to sail down the Straits of Euboea, and hope that the other Allied ships, patrolling the coast of Attica, [Note 1] followed the Persians as they entered the Straits of Euboea from the south then the Persians might themselves be caught in a trap. [42] Alternatively, the Allies may have planned to ambush the detachment as it passed by Artemisium, on its journey from Aphetae. [40] Either way, they decided to make a demonstration towards the Persian lines during what remained of the day, to convince the Persians that they were planning to stay at Artemisium. [40] [42] Herodotus also suggests that this was an opportunity for them to assess Persian seamanship and tactics. [47] The Allies probably waited until late afternoon so that there was little chance of being drawn into a full scale engagement they did not want to suffer casualties before sailing to meet to the Persian detachment. [40] These decisions finally led to the beginning of the battle. [42]


The exact chronology of the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, and their relation to each other is somewhat unclear. The chronology below represents an estimated reconstruction of the time-line, following Lazenby and Holland. [48] [49]

Day Events
-15 Persian army leaves Therma
c. -13 Persian reconnaissance fleet arrives at Skiathos. Allies retreat to Chalcis.
-4 Persian army arrives at Thermopylae. Persian fleet leaves Therma.
-3 First day of the storm.
-2 Second day of the storm.
-1 Storm ends. Allied fleet returns to Artemisium.
1 First day of Persian attacks at Thermopylae. Persian fleet arrives at Artemisium. Persian detachment sent around Euboea. First engagement of the Battle of Artemisium.
2 Second day of both battles.
3 Third day of both battles. Rearguard at Thermopylae outflanked and destroyed.

Battle of Salamis

September 29, 480 BC

This was the first great naval battle in recorded history! On the morning of this day, each side knew this was it. Speeches were given to the troops and they set out. Contrary to popular belief, the Persian navy attacked first. The Greeks had just got off the beach when the Persians charged. The greeks seemed to be frightened but then a greek ship, probably an Athenian, charged out alone towards the enemy. The rest seemed to renew their courage. All 378 or 380 Greek ships charged forward. The Persians are in at least 3 lines perpendicular in formation to a single Greek line. In the narrow bay of Salamis, called the Saronic gulf, the Persians can't maneuver hardly at all. The battle is a slaughter for the Persians. The Greeks lose around 40 ships but few men. The Greeks can swim so I think they may have lost only 100 men or so. The Persians lost huge amounts of men to drowning. One of the casualties is Xerxes own brother Ariabignes, one of the chief commanders of the fleet, who was a son of Darius as well. The greeks sink ship after ship. Most can't retreat due to the congestion. Basically, each Greek ship was smaller and more agile than the enemy's. So each Greek ship likely sank 1 Persian ship each. At least 1/3 of Xerxes' fleet is destroyed and now lying in wrecks on the Attican coastal shore of Colias. The Persian fleet was between 800 and 1000, now numbered at most 600. All of the Persian navy certainly wasn't involved. There wouldn't be enough room to maneuver. 200 warships had been lost earlier. The fleet tries to retreat to Phalerum but the Eginetan contingent of the Greek navy, sinks even more. But eventually, much of Xerxes fleet makes it back to Phalerum. The battle probably lasted 6 hours and was over before mid-afternoon. Xerxes was not impressed at all. He called his sailors women, due to a woman showing great courage in the battle. Her name was Artemisia. "My men have behaved like women, my women like men", were his words. Xerxes watches the whole battle from the hill called Aegaleos. That hill overlooks the entire battle area. After the fight is over, he decides to chain the Phoenician merchant ships together, to serve at once for a bridge and a wall. The idea is to keep the greek ships from sailing to the Hellespont and destroying the bridges there, also to keep his idea of flight from his men, but they are not fooled. The Greeks meanwhile are cleaning up the gulf and are ready for another fight but it never happened. The Athenian Aristides takes some heavy combat troops to the islet of Psyttaleia, and slew all the Persians occupying it. The Persian navy, beaten and demoralized, limped back to Phalerum.

This battle was the first truly great naval battle of all history. It was the true turning point in the Persian war. It forced the huge Persian army to begin to leave. The date of this battle is very agreed upon. The Eleusinian Mysteries would have ended on the day of this battle so it is almost certainly this day. I'm convinced. If you want to check out Jona's site, click here!

After Salamis

After the naval defeat of Xerxes on September 29, he knew he had to leave. He fears the Ionian Greeks defecting. He couldn't take the risk of engaging the Greek navy again. If he beat them he would have lost so many ships, he could not supply the army and would be too isolated. If he lost again, the Hellespont bridges would be in grave danger, and his whole army would be quickly starved to death. So on September 30 he has completed his ship bridge (but is building a causway to give the impression of continueing the fight) to Salamis and then decides to evacuate his ships from Phalerum on that night. He also decides to take Mardonius' advice and gives him command of 300,000 men to winter in Greece to fight the next year. Xerxes will take the rest back to Asia. The navy is sent to guard the Hellespont bridges, but they have to act as the bridges themselves since a storm has destroyed the old bridges yet again. Meanwhile the Greeks are waiting anxiously for another attack. Oddly the Persian navy left before their army did, (Herodotus 8.107-108). The Greeks are still working on the wall. On October 1, the Persian army is still camped on the Attican side of the Corinthian Isthmus. They have been plundering the area. Themestocles wants to attack the Hellespont but the Spartan Commander Eurybiades overrules him since it is better to let the big enemy escape unharmed so he doesn't have to fight you in a desperate battle. The Persians were starting to run out of food. On October 2 (or 3), Xerxes and his army begin the long march to the Hellespont. The travel the same way back that which they came. In Thessaly, They stop and Mardonius chooses the best men in the army to stay in Greece. Notably the "Immortals" and Persians with body armor and the finest horsemen. The leader of the Immortals, Hydarnes, refuses to leave Xerxes side and continues to Asia. He takes 45 days to reach the Hellespont. Along the way thousands die due to plague, dysentery, but most of all, starvation. His men have to eat grass, tree bark and leaves. Many men don't make it to Thrace. They stay in Macedonia. There Xerxes learns that his sacred chariot and horses of Jove have been stolen by the Thracians of the upper Strymon river. On about November 15, he reaches the bridges and crosses. By now he probably had less than 80,000 men. More die when they cross over to Abydos when the men stuff themselves and seem to have drank contaminated water. Eventually Xerxes and the survivors of his army make it to Sardis. The navy winters in Cyme. Meanwhile the Greeks are attacking various island cities to secure the mainland. Among them is Delos. So ended the year 480 BC. The Greeks had saved themselves for now, but would be tested on land the next year. It would be the only time in Greek history that all the major cities would join forces to destroy the Persian invaders.

Artemisium (480 BCE)

Artemisium (Greek Ἀρτεμίσιον): northern cape of the isle of Euboea, well known for a the naval battle in which the navy of the united Greeks was unable to black the advance of the Persian naval forces (480 BCE).

In Antiquity, the name "Artemisium" was given to the coast of Euboea opposite Magnesia. Cape Artemisium is more or less the northernmost part of the island.

It is the place where the united Greek navy in the summer of 480 tried to block the advance of the fleet of the Persian king Xerxes, who was invading Greece. The story is told by Herodotus. note [Herodotus, Histories 7.176, 179-183, 188-196, 8.1-23 discussed here.]

After careful preparations, the Persians had decided to attack the Yaunâ (Greeks) in the summer of 480 with a very large army. The Greeks, officially commanded by the Spartan Eurybiades, but in fact by the Athenian Themistocles, understood that they had to annihilate the Persian transport fleet without its support, the army would be forced to return. Of course, the Persians protected their transport ships with a navy of triereis.

The Greeks now attempted to stop the Persian fleet at Cape Artemisium with a navy that consisted of 271 triereis at the same time, they blocked the advance of the Persian army at Thermopylae. The two sites were connected: if Thermopylae fell, the Persian cavalry could proceed to Chalcis, cross to Euboea, and attack the Greek navy at Artemisium in the rear at the same time, the Persian navy could sail around Euboea and attack the defenders of Thermopylae. However, a flotilla that attempted this maneuver, was lost in a storm at a place called the "Hollows of Euboea".

The Persians, who had suffered some losses in a storm during their advance from Therma (now Thessaloniki) to the south, occupied Aphetae on Cape Magnesia (where the legendary Argo had once departed from Greece), but their fleet was very large, which made it hard to keep them together. Fifteen ships lost contact with the main force, and were captured by the Greeks. Still, the greater part landed at Aphetae, although the units were situated at some distance of each other - there were simply too many Persian ships at Magnesia.

/> Euboea's northern shore, the "Hollows"

During the first two days of the encounter, the Greeks could attack units separately, and had some success: on the first day, they captured 30 enemy ships, and on the second day, the destroyed the flotilla of the Cilicians, who served the Persian king.

However, on the third day, the Persians came out at full strength and beat the Greeks, who now had to leave Artemisium. (Herodotus presents it as a Greek victory, but cannot hide that the Greeks suffered heavily.)

At the same time, king Xerxes had defeated the Greek land army, commanded by the Spartan king Leonidas, at Thermopylae. It seemed as if Greece had fallen. However, during the naval battle of Artemisium, many Persian ships had sunk in a violent storm. This picture shows the 'hollows' of Euboea, where they met the disaster. In September, the Persian navy had become too small and the Greeks could overcome their enemies during the naval battle of Salamis.

Battle of Artemisium

The naval Battle of Artemesium took place at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BC.

Approaching Artemisium towards the end of summer, the Persian navy was caught in a gale off the coast of Magnesia and lost around a third of their

After arriving at Artemisium, the Persians sent a detachment of 200 ships around the coast of Euboea in an attempt to trap the Greeks, but these were caught in another storm and shipwrecked.

The main action of the battle took place after two days of smaller engagements. The two sides fought all day, with roughly equal losses however the smaller Allied fleet could not afford the losses.

After the engagement, the Allies received news of the defeat of the Allied army at Thermopylae. Their strategy was to hold both Thermopylae and Artemisium. So, given their losses, the Allies decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians overran Boeotia and captured the now-evacuated Athens. However, seeking a decisive victory over the Allied fleet, the Persians were later defeated at the Battle of Salamis in late 480

Military conflicts similar to or like Battle of Artemisium

The second Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC) occurred during the Greco-Persian Wars, as King Xerxes I of Persia sought to conquer all of Greece. Direct, if delayed, response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece at the Battle of Marathon, which ended Darius I's attempts to subjugate Greece. Wikipedia

Naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC. It resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. Fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, and marked the high point of the second Persian invasion of Greece. Wikipedia

The final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states , and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I (allied with Boeotians, Thessalians, and Macedonians). Wikipedia

The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire and Greek city-states that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek-inhabited region of Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to control the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of much trouble for the Greeks and Persians alike. Wikipedia

The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. Fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. Wikipedia

The Battle of Artemisium The Ancients

Around this time 2,499 years ago the famous Battle of Thermopylae was raging. But it is important to remember that this clash was not happening on its own. At the same time, to the east of Leonidas' defence, another battle was underway at sea between Xerxes' great armada and a much smaller Hellenic fleet plagued with internal problems. This was the Battle of Artemisium, an often-overlooked and overshadowed military encounter of the Persian Wars. Its importance, however, was sizeable. I was delighted to have Dr Owen Rees back on the show to talk through this clash, explaining its significance and how it paved the way for one of the most famous naval battles in history: Salamis. Owen is the author of 'Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World.'

This episode is the second in a small series covering 4 key clashes of 480 BC, the 2,499th anniversaries of which we are celebrating this year. Some mildly-strong language.

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Around this time 2,499 years ago the famous Battle of Thermopylae was raging. But it is important to remember that this clash was not happening on its own. At the same time, to the east of Leonidas' defence, another battle was underway at sea between Xerxes' great armada and a much smaller Hellenic fleet plagued with internal problems. This was the Battle of Artemisium, an often-overlooked and overshadowed military encounter of the Persian Wars. Its importance, however, was sizeable. I was delighted to have Dr Owen Rees back on the show to talk through this clash, explaining its significance and how it paved the way for one of the most famous naval battles in history: Salamis. Owen is the author of 'Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World.'

This episode is the second in a small series covering 4 key clashes of 480 BC, the 2,499th anniversaries of which we are celebrating this year. Some mildly-strong language.

Watch the video: World History Project - Battles of Thermopylae u0026 Artemisium 480- (January 2022).