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c. 524 BCE - c. 460 BCE
Life of Athenian general and statesman Themistocles.
Themistocles is made archon in Athens.
11 Sep 490 BCE
A combined force of Greek hoplites defeat the Persians at Marathon.
c. 483 BCE
Themistocles persuades the Athenians to significantly expand their fleet, which saves them at Salamis and becomes their source of power.
The fortifications of Piraeus instigated by Themistocles are completed.
Aug 480 BCE
Battle of Thermopylae. 300 Spartans under King Leonidas and other Greek allies hold back the Persians led by Xerxes I for three days but are defeated.
Aug 480 BCE
The indecisive battle of Artemision between the Greek and Persian fleets of Xerxes I. The Greeks withdraw to Salamis.
Sep 480 BCE
Battle of Salamis where the Greek naval fleet led by Themistocles defeats the invading armada of Xerxes I of Persia.
Xerxes' Persian forces are defeated by Greek forces at Plataea effectively ending Persia's imperial ambitions in Greece.
c. 471 BCE
The general and statesman Themistocles is voted in an ostracism and exiled from Athens.
c. 460 BCE
Exiled Athenian statesman Themistocles dies in Magnesia of illness, poison or suicide.
The Athenian general Themistocles builds fortifications on Kos.
300: Rise of an Empire
300: Rise of an Empire is a 2014 American epic action film directed by Noam Murro and written and produced by Zack Snyder. It is a sequel to the 2007 film 300, taking place before, during, and after the main events of that film, and is loosely based on the Battle of Artemisium and the Battle of Salamis. 
The cast includes Lena Headey, Peter Mensah, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin, and Rodrigo Santoro reprising their roles from the first film, alongside Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Hans Matheson, and Callan Mulvey. It was released in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 7, 2014.   The film's score was composed by Junkie XL. 
The film was released to mixed reviews, with critics praising the action sequences, music, cinematography, visual effects and Green's performance but criticizing the story and overstylized gore. It grossed over $337 million worldwide from a $110 million budget. 
Lessons from the history of brucellosis
The disease we now know as brucellosis was first discovered in the 1850s in Malta. It came to the attention of British medical officers serving on the island after the Crimean War. It was easy to eliminate the disease in British servicemen, but very difficult to reach Maltese citizens. Over the decades, more and more Maltese were infected asthe control measures introduced were half-hearted and were often not even enforced. The work of Dr Themistocles Zammit showed that infected goats transmitted brucellosis and that banning use of their milk would be effective. Pasteurisation was not introduced onto the island until the 1930s, when the production of cheap, small sterile containers became possible. Transmission was also possible through sexual contact and by inhalation when people were crowded in hot airless conditions. Success in controlling the disease requires sensible, strict control of animals and the elimination of infected ones, but will fail without an educated public willing to help. In Malta, failure to control rogue flocks and small flocks kept for family use led to an epidemic caused by the sale of cheeselets (small cheeses). In 2005, nearly a century after Zammit's discovery, Malta was finally free of brucellosis.
Political and military career
Themistocles grew up in a period of upheaval in Athens. The tyrant Peisistratos had died in 527 BC, passing power to his sons, Hipparchus and Hippias.  Hipparchus was murdered in 514 BC, and in response to this, Hippias became paranoid and started to rely increasingly on foreign mercenaries to keep a hold on power.  The head of the powerful, but exiled (according to Herodotus only—the fragmentary Archon List for 525/4 shows a Cleisthenes, an Alcmaeonid, holding office in Athens during this period) Alcmaeonid family, Cleisthenes, began to scheme to overthrow Hippias and return to Athens.  In 510 BC, he persuaded the Spartan king Cleomenes I to launch an attack on Athens, which succeeded in overthrowing Hippias.  However, in the aftermath, the other noble ('eupatrid') families of Athens rejected Cleisthenes, electing Isagoras as archon, with the support of Cleomenes.  On a personal level, Cleisthenes wanted to return to Athens however, he also probably wanted to prevent Athens becoming a Spartan client state. Outmaneuvering the other nobles, he proposed to the Athenian people a radical program in which political power would be invested in the people—a "democracy".  The Athenian people thus overthrew Isagoras, repelled a Spartan attack under Cleomenes, and invited Cleisthenes to return to Athens, to put his plan into action.  The establishment of the democracy was to radically change Athens:
"And so it was that the Athenians found themselves suddenly a great power. they gave vivid proof of what equality and freedom of speech might achieve" 
Early years of the democracy
The new system of government in Athens opened up a wealth of opportunity for men like Themistocles, who previously would have had no access to power.  Moreover, the new institutions of the democracy required skills that had previously been unimportant in government. Themistocles was to prove himself a master of the new system "he could infight, he could network, he could spin. and crucially, he knew how to make himself visible."  Themistocles moved to the Ceramicus, a down-market part of Athens. This move marked him out as a 'man of the people', and allowed him to interact more easily with ordinary citizens. He began building up a support base among these newly empowered citizens:
"he wooed the poor and they, not used to being courted, duly loved him back. Touring the taverns, the markets, the docks, canvassing where no politician had thought to canvas before, making sure never to forget a single voter's name, Themistocles had set his eyes on a radical new constituency" 
However, he took care to ensure that he did not alienate the nobility of Athens.  He began to practice law, the first person in Athens to prepare for public life in this way.  His ability as attorney and arbitrator, used in the service of the common people, gained him further popularity. 
Themistocles probably turned 30 in 494 BC, which qualified him to become an archon, the highest of the magistracies in Athens.  On the back of his popularity, he evidently decided to run for this office and was elected Archon Eponymous, the highest government office in the following year (493 BC).  Themistocles's archonship saw the beginnings of a major theme in his career the advancement of Athenian sea-power. Under his guidance, the Athenians began the building of a new port at Piraeus, to replace the existing facilities at Phalerum.  Although further away from Athens, Piraeus offered three natural harbours, and could be easily fortified.  Since Athens was to become an essentially maritime power during the 5th century BC, Themistocles's policies were to have huge significance for the future of Athens, and indeed Greece. In advancing naval power, Themistocles was probably advocating a course of action he thought essential for the long-term prospects of Athens.  However, as Plutarch implies, since naval power relied on the mass mobilisation of the common citizens (thetes) as rowers, such a policy put more power into the hands of average Athenians—and thus into Themistocles's own hands. 
Rivalry with Aristides
After Marathon, probably in 489, Miltiades, the hero of the battle, was seriously wounded in an abortive attempt to capture Paros. Taking advantage of his incapacitation, the powerful Alcmaeonid family arranged for him to be prosecuted.  The Athenian aristocracy, and indeed Greek aristocrats in general, were loath to see one person pre-eminent, and such maneuvers were commonplace.  Miltiades was given a massive fine for the crime of 'deceiving the Athenian people', but died weeks later as a result of his wound.  In the wake of this prosecution, the Athenian people chose to use a new institution of the democracy, which had been part of Cleisthenes's reforms, but remained so far unused.  This was 'ostracism'—each Athenian citizen was required to write on a shard of pottery (ostrakon) the name of a politician that they wished to see exiled for a period of ten years.  This may have been triggered by Miltiades's prosecution, and used by the Athenians to try and stop such power-games among the noble families.  Certainly, in the years (487 BC) following, the heads of the prominent families, including the Alcmaeonids, were exiled.  The career of a politician in Athens thus became fraught with more difficulty, since displeasing the population was likely to result in exile. 
Themistocles, with his power-base firmly established among the poor, moved naturally to fill the vacuum left by Miltiades's death, and in that decade became the most influential politician in Athens.  However, the support of the nobility began to coalesce around the man who would become Themistocles's great rival—Aristides.  Aristides cast himself as Themistocles's opposite—virtuous, honest and incorruptible—and his followers called him "the just".  Plutarch suggests that the rivalry between the two had begun when they competed over the love of a boy: ". they were rivals for the affection of the beautiful Stesilaus of Ceos, and were passionate beyond all moderation." 
During the decade, Themistocles continued to advocate the expansion of Athenian naval power.  The Athenians were certainly aware throughout this period that the Persian interest in Greece had not ended Darius's son and successor, Xerxes I, had continued the preparations for the invasion of Greece.  Themistocles seems to have realised that for the Greeks to survive the coming onslaught required a Greek navy that could hope to face up to the Persian navy, and he therefore attempted to persuade the Athenians to build such a fleet.   Aristides, as champion of the zeugites (the upper, 'hoplite-class') vigorously opposed such a policy. 
In 483 BC, a massive new seam of silver was found in the Athenian mines at Laurium.  Themistocles proposed that the silver should be used to build a new fleet of 200 triremes, while Aristides suggested it should instead be distributed among the Athenian citizens.  Themistocles avoided mentioning Persia, deeming that it was too distant a threat for the Athenians to act on, and instead focused their attention on Aegina.  At the time, Athens was embroiled in a long-running war with the Aeginetans, and building a fleet would allow the Athenians to finally defeat them at sea.  As a result, Themistocles's motion was carried easily, although only 100 warships of the trireme type were to be built.  Aristides refused to countenance this conversely Themistocles was not pleased that only 100 ships would be built.  Tension between the two camps built over the winter, so that the ostracism of 482 BC became a direct contest between Themistocles and Aristides.  In what has been characterized as the first referendum, Aristides was ostracised, and Themistocles's policies were endorsed.  Indeed, becoming aware of the Persian preparations for the coming invasion, the Athenians voted for the construction of more ships than Themistocles had initially asked for.  In the run up to the Persian invasion, Themistocles had thus become the foremost politician in Athens. 
Second Persian invasion of Greece
In 481 BC, a congress of Greek city-states was held, during which 30 or so [ citation needed ] states agreed to ally themselves against the forthcoming invasion.  The Spartans and Athenians were foremost in this alliance, being sworn enemies of the Persians.  The Spartans claimed the command of land forces, and since the Greek (hereafter referred to as "Allied") fleet would be dominated by Athens, Themistocles tried to claim command of the naval forces.  However, the other naval powers, including Corinth and Aegina refused to give command to the Athenians, and Themistocles pragmatically backed down.  Instead, as a compromise, the Spartans (an insignificant naval power), in the person of Eurybiades were to command the naval forces.  It is clear from Herodotus, however, that Themistocles would be the real leader of the fleet. 
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.  A force of 10,000 hoplites was dispatched under the command of the Spartan polemarch Euenetus and Themistocles to the Vale of Tempe, which they believed the Persian army would have to pass through. However, once there, Alexander I of Macedon warned them that the vale could be bypassed by several other passes, and that the army of Xerxes was overwhelmingly large, and the Greeks retreated.  Shortly afterwards, they received the news that Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont. 
Themistocles now developed a second strategy. 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.  This 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.  However, after the Tempe debacle, it was uncertain whether the Spartans would be willing to march out from the Peloponnesus again.  To persuade the Spartans to defend Attica, Themistocles had to show them that the Athenians were willing to do everything necessary for the success of the alliance. In short, the entire Athenian fleet must be dispatched to Artemisium.
To do this, every able-bodied Athenian male would be required to man the ships. This in turn meant that the Athenians must prepare to abandon Athens.  Persuading the Athenians to take this course was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Themistocles's career.  As Holland has it:
"What precise heights of oratory he attained, what stirring and memorable phrases he pronounced, we have no way of knowing. only by the effect it had on the assembly can we gauge what surely must have been its electric and vivifying quality—for Themistocles' audacious proposals, when put to the vote, were ratified. The Athenian people, facing the gravest moment of peril in their history, committed themselves once and for all to the alien element of the sea, and put their faith in a man whose ambitions many had long profoundly dreaded." 
His proposals accepted, Themistocles issued orders for the women and children of Athens to be sent to the city of Troezen, safely inside the Peloponnesus.  He was then able to travel to a meeting of the Allies, at which he proposed his strategy with the Athenian fleet fully committed to the defence of Greece, the other Allies accepted his proposals. 
Battle of Artemisium
Thus, in August 480 BC, when the Persian army was approaching Thessaly, the Allied fleet sailed to Artemisium, and the Allied army marched to Thermopylae.  Themistocles himself took command of the Athenian contingent of the fleet, and went to Artemisium. When the Persian fleet finally arrived at Artemisium after a significant delay, Eurybiades, who both Herodotus and Plutarch suggest was not the most inspiring commander, wished to sail away without fighting.   At this point Themistocles accepted a large bribe from the local people for the fleet to remain at Artemisium, and used some of it to bribe Eurybiades to remain, while pocketing the rest.  From this point on, Themistocles appears to have been more-or-less in charge of the Allied effort at Artemisium.  Over three days of battle, the Allies held their own against the much larger Persian fleet, but sustained significant losses.  However, the loss of the simultaneous Battle of Thermopylae to the Persians made their continued presence at Artemisium irrelevant, and the Allies thus evacuated.  According to Herodotus, Themistocles left messages at every place where the Persian fleet might stop for drinking water, asking the Ionians in the Persian fleet to defect, or at least fight badly.  Even if this did not work, Themistocles apparently intended that Xerxes would at least begin to suspect the Ionians, thereby sowing dissension in the Persian ranks. 
Battle of Salamis
In the aftermath of Thermopylae, Boeotia fell to the Persians, who then began to advance on Athens.  The Peloponnesian Allies prepared to now defend the Isthmus of Corinth, thus abandoning Athens to the Persians.  From Artemisium, the Allied fleet sailed to the island of Salamis, where the Athenian ships helped with the final evacuation of Athens. The Peloponnesian contingents wanted to sail to the coast of the Isthmus to concentrate forces with the army.  However, Themistocles tried to convince them to remain in the Straits of Salamis, invoking the lessons of Artemisium "battle in close conditions works to our advantage".  After threatening to sail with the whole Athenian people into exile in Sicily, he eventually persuaded the other Allies, whose security after all relied on the Athenian navy, to accept his plan.  Therefore, even after Athens had fallen to the Persians, and the Persian navy had arrived off the coast of Salamis, the Allied navy remained in the Straits. Themistocles appears to have been aiming to fight a battle that would cripple the Persian navy, and thus guarantee the security of the Peloponnesus. 
To bring about this battle, Themistocles used a cunning mix of subterfuge and misinformation, psychologically exploiting Xerxes's desire to finish the invasion.  Xerxes's actions indicate that he was keen to finish the conquest of Greece in 480 BC, and to do this, he needed a decisive victory over the Allied fleet.  Themistocles sent a servant, Sicinnus, to Xerxes, with a message proclaiming that Themistocles was "on king's side and prefers that your affairs prevail, not the Hellenes".  Themistocles claimed that the Allied commanders were infighting, that the Peloponnesians were planning to evacuate that very night, and that to gain victory all the Persians needed to do was to block the straits.  In performing this subterfuge, Themistocles seems to have been trying to lure the Persian fleet into the Straits.  The message also had a secondary purpose, namely that in the event of an Allied defeat, the Athenians would probably receive some degree of mercy from Xerxes (having indicated their readiness to submit).  At any rate, this was exactly the kind of news that Xerxes wanted to hear.  Xerxes evidently took the bait, and the Persian fleet was sent out to effect the block.  Perhaps overconfident and expecting no resistance, the Persian navy sailed into the Straits,  only to find that, far from disintegrating, the Allied navy was ready for battle. 
According to Herodotus, after the Persian navy began its maneuvers, Aristides arrived at the Allied camp from Aegina.  Aristides had been recalled from exile along with the other ostracised Athenians on the order of Themistocles, so that Athens might be united against the Persians.  Aristides told Themistocles that the Persian fleet had encircled the Allies, which greatly pleased Themistocles, as he now knew that the Persians had walked into his trap.  The Allied commanders seem to have taken this news rather uncomplainingly, and Holland therefore suggests that they were party to Themistocles's ruse all along.  Either way, the Allies prepared for battle, and Themistocles delivered a speech to the marines before they embarked on the ships.  In the ensuing battle, the cramped conditions in the Straits hindered the much larger Persian navy, which became disarrayed, and the Allies took advantage to win a famous victory. 
Salamis was the turning point in the second Persian invasion, and indeed the Greco-Persian Wars in general.  While the battle did not end the Persian invasion, it effectively ensured that all Greece would not be conquered, and allowed the Allies to go on the offensive in 479 BC. A number of historians believe that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.    Since Themistocles' long-standing advocacy of Athenian naval power enabled the Allied fleet to fight, and his stratagem brought about the Battle of Salamis, it is probably not an exaggeration to say, as Plutarch does, that Themistocles, ". is thought to have been the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Hellas."  
Autumn/Winter 480/479 BC
The Allied victory at Salamis ended the immediate threat to Greece, and Xerxes now returned to Asia with part of the army, leaving his general Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest.  Mardonius wintered in Boeotia and Thessaly, and the Athenians were thus able to return to their city, which had been burnt and razed by the Persians, for the winter.  For the Athenians, and Themistocles personally, the winter would be a testing one. The Peloponnesians refused to countenance marching north of the Isthmus to fight the Persian army the Athenians tried to shame them into doing so, with no success. 
During the winter, the Allies held a meeting at Corinth to celebrate their success, and award prizes for achievement.  However, perhaps tired of the Athenians pointing out their role at Salamis, and of their demands for the Allies to march north, the Allies awarded the prize for civic achievement to Aegina.   Furthermore, although the admirals all voted for Themistocles in second place, they all voted for themselves in first place, so that no-one won the prize for individual achievement. In response, realising the importance of the Athenian fleet to their security, and probably seeking to massage Themistocles's ego, the Spartans brought Themistocles to Sparta.   There, he was awarded a special prize "for his wisdom and cleverness", and won high praise from all.   Furthermore, Plutarch reports that at the next Olympic Games:
"[when] Themistocles entered the stadium, the audience neglected the contestants all day long to gaze on him, and pointed him out with admiring applause to visiting strangers, so that he too was delighted, and confessed to his friends that he was now reaping in full measure the harvest of his toils in behalf of Hellas." 
After returning to Athens in the winter, Plutarch reports that Themistocles made a proposal to the city while the Greek fleet was wintering at Pagasae:
"Themistocles once declared to the people [of Athens] that he had devised a certain measure which could not be revealed to them, though it would be helpful and salutary for the city, and they ordered that Aristides alone should hear what it was and pass judgment on it. So Themistocles told Aristides that his purpose was to burn the naval station of the confederate Hellenes, for that in this way the Athenians would be greatest, and lords of all. Then Aristides came before the people and said of the deed which Themistocles purposed to do, that none other could be more advantageous, and none more unjust. On hearing this, the Athenians ordained that Themistocles cease from his purpose."  
Spring/Summer 479 BC
However, as happened to many prominent individuals in the Athenian democracy, Themistocles's fellow citizens grew jealous of his success, and possibly tired of his boasting.   It is probable that in early 479 BC, Themistocles was stripped of his command instead, Xanthippus was to command the Athenian fleet, and Aristides the land forces.   Though Themistocles was no doubt politically and militarily active for the rest of the campaign, no mention of his activities in 479 BC is made in the ancient sources.  In the summer of that year, after receiving an Athenian ultimatum, the Peloponnesians finally agreed to assemble an army and march to confront Mardonius, who had reoccupied Athens in June.  At the decisive Battle of Plataea, the Allies destroyed the Persian army, while apparently on the same day, the Allied navy destroyed the remnants of the Persian fleet at the Battle of Mycale.  These twin victories completed the Allied triumph, and ended the Persian threat to Greece. 
Aftermath of the Persian invasion
Whatever the cause of Themistocles's unpopularity in 479 BC, it obviously did not last long. Both Diodorus and Plutarch suggest he was quickly restored to the favour of the Athenians.   Indeed, after 479 BC, he seems to have enjoyed a relatively long period of popularity. 
In the aftermath of the invasion, the Athenians began rebuilding their city under the guidance of Themistocles.  They wished to restore the fortifications of Athens, but the Spartans objected on the grounds that no place north of the Isthmus should be left that the Persians could use as a fortress.  Themistocles urged the citizens to build the fortifications as quickly as possible, then went to Sparta as an ambassador to answer the charges levelled by the Spartans. There, he assured them that no building work was on-going, and urged them to send emissaries to Athens to see for themselves.  By the time the ambassadors arrived, the Athenians had finished building, and then detained the Spartan ambassadors when they complained about the presence of the fortifications.  By delaying in this manner, Themistocles gave the Athenians enough time to fortify the city, and thus ward off any Spartan attack aimed at preventing the re-fortification of Athens.  Furthermore, the Spartans were obliged to repatriate Themistocles in order to free their own ambassadors.   However, this episode may be seen as the beginning of the Spartan mistrust of Themistocles, which would return to haunt him. 
Themistocles also now returned to his naval policy,  and more ambitious undertakings that would increase the dominant position of his native state.  He further extended and fortified the port complex at Piraeus, and "fastened the city [Athens] to the Piraeus, and the land to the sea".  Themistocles probably aimed to make Athens the dominant naval power in the Aegean.  Indeed, Athens would create the Delian League in 478 BC, uniting the naval power of the Aegean Islands and Ionia under Athenian leadership.  Themistocles introduced tax breaks for merchants and artisans, to attract both people and trade to the city to make Athens a great mercantile centre.  He also instructed the Athenians to build 20 triremes per year, to ensure that their dominance in naval matters continued.  Plutarch reports that Themistocles also secretly proposed to destroy the beached ships of the other Allied navies to ensure complete naval dominance—but was overruled by Aristides and the council of Athens. 
Fall and exile
It seems clear that, towards the end of the decade, Themistocles had begun to accrue enemies, and had become arrogant moreover his fellow citizens had become jealous of his prestige and power.   The Rhodian poet Timocreon was among his most eloquent enemies, composing slanderous drinking songs.  Meanwhile, the Spartans actively worked against him, trying to promote Cimon (son of Miltiades) as a rival to Themistocles. Furthermore, after the treason and disgrace of the Spartan general Pausanias, the Spartans tried to implicate Themistocles in the plot he was, however, acquitted of these charges.  In Athens itself, he lost favour by building a sanctuary of Artemis, with the epithet Aristoboulë ("of good counsel") near his home, a blatant reference to his own role in delivering Greece from the Persian invasion.  Eventually, in either 472 or 471 BC, he was ostracised.   In itself, this did not mean that Themistocles had done anything wrong ostracism, in the words of Plutarch,
"was not a penalty, but a way of pacifying and alleviating that jealousy which delights to humble the eminent, breathing out its malice into this disfranchisement."
Themistocles first went to live in exile in Argos.   However, perceiving that they now had a prime opportunity to bring Themistocles down for good, the Spartans again levelled accusations of Themistocles's complicity in Pausanias's treason.  They demanded that he be tried by the 'Congress of Greeks', rather than in Athens, although it seems that in the end he was actually summoned to Athens to stand trial.   Perhaps realising he had little hope of surviving this trial, Themistocles fled, first to Kerkyra, and thence to Admetus, king of Molossia.   Themistocles's flight probably only served to convince his accusers of his guilt, and he was declared a traitor in Athens, his property to be confiscated.  It should be noted that both Diodorus and Plutarch considered that the charges were false, and made solely for the purposes of destroying Themistocles.   The Spartans sent ambassadors to Admetus, threatening that the whole of Greece would go to war with the Molossians unless they surrendered Themistocles.  Admetus, however, allowed Themistocles to escape, giving him a large sum of gold to aid him on his way.  Themistocles then fled from Greece, apparently never to return, thus effectively bringing his political career to an end.  
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Themistocles (c.524-460 BC)
Themistocles (c.524-460 BC) was a great Athenian naval leader who played a vital role in the defeat of Xerxes I's invasion of Greece in 480, but who like so many Athenian leaders ended his life in exile (Greco-Persian Wars). Themistocles was the son of Neocles, a member of the aristocratic Lycomid family, and a non-Athenian concubine. Before 508 he wouldn't have qualified as an Athenian citizen, but in that year Cleisthenes passed a law making all free men in Athens into citizens.
He entered the historical record in 493 when he was elected as Archon, the chief judicial and civilian position in Athens. During his time as Archon he began to move Athen's harbour from the indefensible beaches at Phaleron to the more easily defended Piraeus. This would later prove to be of great value to Athens, especially after the city was linked to the port by the Long Walls.
In 490 the Athenian army defeated the Persians at Marathon. This greatly increased the prestige of the army, but Themistocles believed that Athens needed a powerful fleet if she was to be truly safe from attack. His first attempts to get the size of the fleet increased from 70 triremes failed, but he did at least manage to survive the period of political turmoil after Marathon that saw Miltiades, the commanding general in the battle, die in disgrace in 489 and the period of ostracisms of 487-483.
In 483 he had another chance to increase the fleet, when a rich seam of silver was found at Laurium near Sunium. He was able to convince the Athenian Assembly not to divide the profits between the citizens, but instead to increase the size of the fleet up to 200 triremes.
In 480 the Persian king Xerxes I began his massive invasion of Greece. Fortunately the Persians moved very slowly, allowing the Greeks to organise their resistance. Themistocles was able to win the Spartans over to a policy of forward defence, partly by agreeing to put the Athenian ships under Spartan command. The Greek forces then moved north, looking for a suitable defensive position. They eventually settled on Thermopylae for the army, while the fleet took up a position nearby at Artemisium off the north coast of the island of Euboea. The resulting battle of Artemisium saw the Greeks defeat a Persian attempt to outflank them. On the following night the Persian outflanking force was destroyed in a storm. When battle was renewed both sides suffered losses, but the key fighting came at Thermopylae, where after three days the Persians were eventually able to get past the Greek blockade.
The Greek fleet had to withdraw before it was cut off, and pulled back around Attica to the island of Salamis, west of Athens. As the Persians marched on Athens, the Athenians evacuated the city, and so when it fell to the Persians it was unoccupied. The Persians sacked the city, but this didn&rsquot get them any nearer to victory.
Themistocles was aware that the Persian ships were lighter and more manoeuvrable than the triremes, and also more numerous. He realised that the best hope of victory was to fight the Persians in the narrow straits between Salamis and the mainland, where the heavier Greek ships and armoured soldiers would have the advantage. His biggest problem was that many of his fellow Greeks wanted to pull back further, perhaps to Argos. In order to trigger a battle before this could happen Themistocles sent a message to Xerxes suggesting that he was interested in changing sides and that the Greek fleet might be about to retreat. Xerxes was tricked into ordered a full-scale attack on the Greek position, and in the resulting battle of Salamis lost a key part of his fleet. With control of the sea lost, Xerxes realised that his army was now dangerously exposed and decided to retreat north. He left a force in Thessaly under his brother-in-law Mardonius, and then returned to his court.
Although Themistocles had played a crucial part in the victory at Salamis, he still wasn't in favour with the Areopagus, the council of nobles that controlled the war effort, and he wasn't given a command in 479. He did manage to get the demolished walls of Athens rebuilt, despite Spartan opposition, but his other political efforts all failed.
Soon afterwards he was ostracized and forced into exile in Argos. He was then forced to flee from there after the Spartans accused him of being involved with Pausanias in a plot with the Persians. With Athens and the Peloponnese now closed to him, Themistocles fled to Persia, where he was welcomed by Xerxes's son and heir Artaxerxes I and appointed as governor of some of the Greek cities still ruled by the Persians.
Themistocles's reputation suffered after the war, probably because he was a prominent support of the democracy while the historian Herodotus and the philosopher Plato, both of whom wrote on him, were aristocrats and supporters of a more aristocratic form of government. Away from Athens his role in the Greek victory was more fully appreciated, and he was given a formal ovation in Sparta.
Battle of Marathon.
The Persians were threatening Athens, which had supported the Ionian revolt with a punitive expedition, and Miltiades, who had first-hand experience of the Persians, was chosen, from 493 onward, as one of the 10 generals of the Athenian land forces. (Unlike Themistocles, he was still thinking in terms of land warfare and of an agreement with Sparta, which was favoured by the Athenian landowners, the peasantry, and the rural middle class.) In the summer of 490 bc the Persians landed at Marathon. The Athenians were faced with the choice of marching out and confronting them there or waiting for them at Athens the decision was to be made by the Assembly. Miltiades was well aware of the power of the Persian cavalry, which, once out on the open plain, would wreak havoc. He was also anxious for a quick decision, because there were factions within Athens which would have welcomed a Persian victory in order to advance their own political ambitions. His arguments persuaded the Assembly, and the Athenian forces set out. A runner was sent to Sparta, to seek the support of the Spartan army, but the Spartans replied that they would participate only at the conclusion of a religious festival six days later. A conflict then arose among the 10 Athenian generals over whether to wait or to attack the Persians immediately. The deciding vote was cast by the polemarchos (supreme military commander) Callimachus, whom Miltiades was able to persuade to immediate action. The operational command of the army was to be held for one day in turn by each of the 10, but the four who had supported Miltiades surrendered their right to command to him.
Occupying the foothills surrounding the bay, Miltiades waited for a favourable moment to attack. He chose a time when the Persian cavalry was nonoperational, either because it reembarked for a possible direct attack on Athens or because of some other circumstance the reason for its absence is uncertain. Charging a mile across the Marathon plain, Miltiades’ forces engaged the Persian infantry, killing some 6,400 men (and capturing 7 ships) at a cost of 192 Athenian dead. The rest of the Persian force quickly embarked and put out to sea.
Following the defeat of the Persians at Marathon, Miltiades set out in the spring of 489 bc with a fleet of 70 ships on an expedition to conquer those islands that had supposedly sided with Persia. His mission was not a success, and on his return to Athens there was an outcry of indignation, ably exploited by his rivals, the Alcmaeonids. Miltiades, dying of gangrene from a leg wound suffered in a mishap, was fined 50 talents, although the death penalty had been demanded. He probably died soon after in prison.
The tragic outcome of his life, however, did not cloud the judgment of Miltiades’ historical role. His fellow citizens never forgot that it was to his initiative and leadership that they owed their victory over the Persians.
At first, Hippias attempted to work with his opponents, the Alcmaeonidae, but his Ancient Greek Rulers became harsher with the advancement of the Persians. In 510 B.C. he was overthrown by the Alcmaeonidae and the Spartans and went into exile. He lived at the court of Darius and was with the Persian forces at Marathon.
Hipparchus (c.555514 B.C) was an Athenian political figure and the younger son of Pisistratus. After the death of his father, he was closely associated with his brother Hippias, autocrat of Athens, in ruling the Athenian city-state. Under Hippias, he was a patron of the arts and sponsored poets like Anacreon and Simonides. He was assassinated by Harmodius and Aristogiton because of his personal vices.
Themistocles (c.525462 B.C) was an Athenian statesman and also a naval commander. He was elected one of the three archons in 493 B.C. In succeeding years, many of his rivals were eliminated by ostracism and he became the chief figure of Athenian politics. He persuaded the Athenians to build up their navy.
Although the Greek fleet was entrusted to a Spartan, Themistocles determined its strategy, thus bringing about the decisive victory of Salamis and the retreat of Xerxes to Persia.
A purported copy of Themistocles’ decree to evacuate Athens, discovered at Troezen in 1959, indicates that the evacuation, as well as the battle of Salamis, was not hastily planned but was a measure carefully conceived months before to trap the Persians at Salamis.
Themistocles dedicated his reign to strengthen the navy and the fortifications. Around 471, after his opponents came to power, he was exiled. In his last few years, he lived in Persia, where King Artaxerxes made generous provision for him.
Cimon was an Athenian general, statesman and the son of Miltiades. He fought at Salamis Between 478 to 477 he helped Aristides from the Delian League. He conquered Skiros, pacified Asia Minor, and in 468 defeated the Persian sea and land forces on the Eurymedon River.
On the death of Aristides, he led the Athenian aristocratic and pro-Spartan party and was its chief statesman in succession to Themistocles. He was later sent into exile, from which he was recalled in 451 to conclude a peace with Sparta.
Cleisthenes was an Athenian statesman. He was the head of his family, the Alcmaeonidae, after the exile of Hippias, and with Spartan, help had made himself undisputed ruler of Athens by 506 B.C.
He established a more democratic constitution by weakening the clan system and the local parties and by organizing the districts into political rather than social divisions. The Alcmaeonidae thus became leaders of a democratic party.An attempt of his rival, Isagoras, to overturn the reforms of Cleisthenes after Cleisthenes had been sent into exile failed, and Cleisthenes was recalled.
Pericles was a member of the Alcmaeonidae family through his mother who was Cleisthenes, a niece. He first came to prominence as an opponent of the Areopagus (462) and as one of the prosecutors of Cimon, whom he replaced in influence. From then on he was the popular leader in Athens.
When he was in Athens between campaigns, Pericles carried through a number of reforms which advanced democracy. As a result, all officials in Athens were paid salaries by the state and every office was opened to most citizens.
He was a great patron of the arts and encouraged drama and music. Under his direction monuments like the Parthenon and the Propylaea on the Acropolis were constructed. Pericles established colonies at Thurii in Italy and at Amphipolis. He was one of the participants in the events that led to the Peloponnesian War.
Themistocles ( / θ ə ˈ m ɪ s t ə k l iː z / Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς [tʰemistoklɛ̂ːs] "Glory of the Law"  c. 524–459 BC)   was an Athenian politician and general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy. As a politician, Themistocles was a populist, having the support of lower-class Athenians, and generally being at odds with the Athenian nobility. Elected archon in 493 BC, he convinced the polis to increase the naval power of Athens, a recurring theme in his political career. During the first Persian invasion of Greece he fought at the Battle of Marathon  (490 BC) and was possibly one of the ten Athenian strategoi (generals) in that battle. [ citation needed ]
In the years after Marathon, and in the run-up to the second Persian invasion of 480–479 BC, Themistocles became the most prominent politician in Athens. He continued to advocate for a strong Athenian Navy, and in 483 BC he persuaded the Athenians to build a fleet of 200 triremes these proved crucial in the forthcoming conflict with Persia. During the second invasion, he effectively commanded the Greek allied navy at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis in 480 BC. Due to his subterfuge, the Allies successfully lured the Persian fleet into the Straits of Salamis, and the decisive Greek victory there was the turning point of the war. The invasion was conclusively repulsed the following year after the Persian defeat at the land Battle of Plataea.
After the conflict ended, Themistocles continued his pre-eminence among Athenian politicians. However, he aroused the hostility of Sparta by ordering the re-fortification of Athens, and his perceived arrogance began to alienate him from the Athenians. In 472 or 471 BC, he was ostracised, and went into exile in Argos. The Spartans now saw an opportunity to destroy Themistocles, and implicated him in the alleged treasonous plot of 478 BC of their own general Pausanias. Themistocles thus fled from Greece. Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498–454 BC) temporarily gave him sanctuary at Pydna before he traveled to Asia Minor, where he entered the service of the Persian king Artaxerxes I (reigned 465–424 BC). He was made governor of Magnesia, and lived there for the rest of his life.
Themistocles died in 459 BC, probably of natural causes.   His reputation was posthumously rehabilitated, and he was re-established as a hero of the Athenian (and indeed Greek) cause. Themistocles can still reasonably be thought of as "the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Greece" from the Persian threat, as Plutarch describes him. His naval policies would have a lasting impact on Athens as well, since maritime power became the cornerstone of the Athenian Empire and golden age. Thucydides assessed Themistocles as "a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of genius indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite extraordinary and unparalleled". 
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
Eleftherius and Helen Adamopoulo were the parents of a Greek family who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Eleftherius was an author, successful banker and had a double qualification in Chemistry and Helen was a headmistress of a school. In 1945, Themistocles was born. Seeing developments that would have dire consequences for foreigners in Egypt, in 1956, Eleftherius and Helen immigrated with their family - including their son, Themistocles - to Melbourne, Australia. Themistocles, because of the social stigma of Greeks at the time, grew up wishing to fit into wider Australian society.
Due to the Adamopoulo's being Greeks from a non-Greek country, they were considered to be Greeks by Anglo-Celtic Australian society, and outsiders within the Greek community. As such, Eleftherius became a labourer, and Helen worked in factories. However, in a few years, Helen was recognised by Melbourne University, becoming a teacher at Presbyterian Ladies College, and Eleftherius was recognised by local industries, becoming an industrial chemist.
Themistocles went to high school at Williamstown High School, being gifted in academic areas, and getting a result good enough to win a scholarship to Melbourne University. He began a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1964, and then formed a music group similar to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones known as The Flies. This caused a two-year deferment in his university studies while he pursued the music industry, including records, Top 10 songs, a fan club and supporting the Beatles on their Australian tour.
However, he decided that this was not to be a permanent occupation, and returned to university in a Bachelor of Arts course, studying philosophy, political science and history. His readings, and perspectives on human rights, social justice and minority groups, were formed during this period, and are acknowledged by himself to have affected the way he lives his religion today. At 22, he became a tutor at Melbourne University.
However, at the time, he held a strict athiestic view that he later recognised as contradictory. Themi attributes his conversion to anti-establishment ideas that happened in greater society, such as the opposition to the Vietnam War, and to Timothy Leary's influence in exploring counter-cultural concepts in spiritual terms. This anti-establishment focus was brought to bear on Nietzsche and Marx, and Themi was to look at various religions, looking for truths in them that could be useful in an ideal world. Undergoing a Christian mystical experience, Themi then accepted Christianity as the path to God.
He did not immediately go to the Greek Orthodox Church of his parents, but first held a belief in Christ while looking for the denomination that could best understand his experience. Through reading the Bible and the life of St Francis of Assisi, Themi began to sell his property, give to the poor, and resign from his tutorship in political science. Speaking to one or two Greek Orthodox priests in Melbourne, he asked about God and was told not to inquire into God. Finding this unsatisfactory, he then went to other churches, finding in the Presbyterian church interesting people willing to discuss God and accommodate his previous experiences, people who accepted and greatly respected him. However, he began to ask why he was born a Greek and baptised Orthodox, and looked again at Orthodoxy.
Pity for the state of the Orthodox Church in Melbourne in the early seventies led him to join the Church - there was no teaching of Christ, Sunday schools, youth groups or Bible study groups, but rather joining together as a common identity of Greeks. Themi felt sorry for these people, whom he had already learnt more about the Bible than. He was immediately accepted due to being Greek, and received permission to begin a Sunday school.
Return to the academic world
Themi, after beginning a Masters of Education, transferred to a Diploma of Education for teaching at technical schools to continue his new-found association and identification with the working class. He went on to teach at Richmond Technical School, Essendon Technical School and Preston Technical School, all in the heartlands of the working class. However, his unwavering and spoken commitment to Christ meant that he was transferred from school to school, finally resigning from Lalor High School due to frustration at the continued restriction of his freedom of speech.
After this, due to the lack of Orthodox seminaries at the time, he took up studies at a Catholic theological school. He was advised by Archbishop Stylianos, the then-new Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia, to study at Corpus Christi College, Melbourne. He then went on to study at Holy Cross, Massachusetts, beginning a Masters of Theological Studies and concurrently studying at Harvard Divinity School. After this, he undertook a Master of Theology at Princeton Divinity School, and completed a Ph.D. at Brown University with his thesis entitled Endurance, Greek and Early Christian: The Moral Transformation of the Greek Idea of Endurance, From the Homeric Battlefield to the Apostle Paul, explaining how endurance changed from the Greek philosophical concept of something that one could do on their own, to St Paul's transformation into endurance being something a gift of God in Christ.
Fr Themistocles, by this time a tonsured monk usually called 'Br Themi', returned to Australia and, in 1986, was one of the founding lecturers at St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College, Sydney, Australia he was also teaching at Macquarie University and University of Sydney.
After considerable time lecturing, Fr Themi began to wish to personally act out his theology, and due to his being born in Africa he decided to return there in 2000, utilising his academic ability at the Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School "Archbishop Macarius III" in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ordained and elevated in Kenya to the rank of Archimandrite, he conducted liturgies and preached in various parishes in Kenya, but his primary focus is on teaching people in Kenya to earn a living on their own. With the blessing of Archbishop Makarios, Fr Themistocles established the Saint Clement of Alexandria Philanthropic Education Centre. Through the centre, he set up a school for unemployed women to learn tailoring and dressmaking in November 2001, then a computer school for unemployed youth in 2002 in September of that year, he then set up a pre-school and primary school for children in slum areas, giving them free education, food and clothing.
In January 2003, the Teachers' College was established. This grew into the Saint Clement of Alexandria Orthodox College of Africa, currently consisting of an education department and a business/information technology department, teaching for minimal cost to break the cycle of depression. Future plans include a nursing and pharmacy school furthermore, serious negotiations are underway with the University of Thessalonica towards the creation of a Paediatric Medical School within the College. Fr Themistocles envisaged an Orthodox University of Africa.
In January 2008, with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and sponsored by the international charity 'Paradise Kids 4 Africa' (PK4A), Fr Themi moved from Kenya to Sierra Leone, where he involved himself in similar activities that he had initiated in Kenya. As of 2009, there are 9 building projects in progress, including a missionary residence and 3 places of worship (including the Cathedral of St Eleftherios), as well as providing many feeding programs for the hungry.
Negotiations with the government in March 2008 led to Fr Themi having responsibility for two schools, with a total of 3500 students and 90 staff and in May, grants were received from two Greek missionary societies, the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and the Missionary Alliance of St. Cosmas the Aetolian - one grant to build infrastructure for one of the schools, and the other to begin construction of a Teachers' College. Work began on the Teachers' College before the end of that month, and construction has begun on housing for the disabled and victims of the war.