Battle of Salamis background, war and outcome –

Surely the history of the western world would have changed a lot, if the result of the Battle of Salamis had had another result. A battle fought by sea and by land and high point of the Second Medical War. The Persian Empire’s second attempt to invade and crush Greece. Xerxes’ armies defeated thanks to 300 Spartans. Let’s learn more about the history of the Battle of Salamis, background, war and outcome this.

Background to the Battle of Salamis

During the 5th century BC, the Persian Empire (today Iran), was at its peak. Your King Darius I, he had managed to expand his empire from the Caucasus to the Indian Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus River. Like any empire, this one had been established based on the subjugation of a great diversity of peoples.

Among the peoples invaded were the Ionian Greeks, who had settled on the western coast of Asia Minor. In the fifth century, the Ionian Greeks they rose up against King Darius Inevertheless They were defeated after six years of bitter fighting.

the athenians before the defeat of the Ionian Greeks and taking into account the ties that had united them in the past, burned the Persian city of Sardis. After this offense against the Persian people, in the year 491 BC, Darius wanted to teach the Athenians a lesson for his meddling.

Darius assembled an army with the idea of invade Athens in 490 BCbut after disembarking in the marathon beaches and after five days of fierce fighting, the Persian army was defeatedending the First Medical War. Darius died in 486 BC. C, without getting the revenge he so longed for. After Darío’s death, his son Xerxes I took over from his father.

You may also like: Xerxes, the Persian King: Biography and the Battle of Thermopylae

The Arrival of Xerxes I

Beginning in 490 BC, the Spartan military strategist Thermistocles Eurybiadeshad begun to build a strong wall surrounding the city of Athens and the port of Piraeus. Also strengthened the ancient Greek naval fleetsince throughout history, the Persian kings had a clear objective, to occupy the European continent.

His first attempt we have just reported, the battle of marathon, but everything indicated that they would not settle. If King Darius had longed for revenge, for his successor Xerxes, it was already a matter of honor and ambition.

Xerxes intended to take Athens, burn it down and raze it to the ground.. We must mention that in 482 BCnear Athens in the laurium mines one had been discovered great silver vein. Faced with the possibility of a Persian invasion, Themistocles proposed expand the navy to be able to face a Persian invasion.

The Persians would need a large number of ships to transport everything necessary to face the war. Greece also had the terrible infantry of the spartan hoplites.

The persian army was made up of 500,000 men and 1,207 trirens, ships propelled by three rows of oarsmen. The Persians they had built two bridges over the Hellespont (Dardanelles), with a length of 1,300 m in length. In addition, I had gotten excavate a 2.4 km canal wide than them would allow them to cross the isthmus that separated them from Greece.

As Xerxes occupied Greek cities or polis, they submitted, swearing allegiance to the Persian king. Nevertheless Athens and Sparta remained defiant despite having less means.

The Battle of Thermopylae

The advance of the Persians seemed unstoppable, so reached the pass of Thermopylae, an obligatory step to get to Athens. The Persian ships lined up in front of the 15 m wide pass, however the pass was going to be defended by 6,000 Spartan hoplites under Leonidas.

Despite the charges of the Persians against the hoplites, these brave soldiers repelled each one of the attacks, provoking heavy losses in the Persian army.

Nevertheless, Leonidas decided to withdraw most of his armystaying alone with 300 Spartans. Ephialtesa Greek shepherd, chose to help Xerxes showing him how to finish off the Spartans.

They would use a alternative route through the mountainssurprising Leonidas’s army from the rear. The 300 Spartans fought bravely even going so far as to kill two of Xerxes’ brothers.

Thanks to the heroism of the Spartan hoplites and with the help of violent storms that sank 200 Persian ships, managed to delay the Persians. these events they bought Themistocles timewho led the Greek fleet to the Gulf of Pagas and Artemisio, thus achieving victory.

With the news that the Persians had taken the pass of ThermopylaeThemistocles retired the fleetprotecting it in the Salamina Island port.

When the Persians came to Athensthe city was deserted the citizens had left. Athens was looted and burned, now it remained only to defeat the Greek army on land. In order to achieve this victory, his fleet would have to be able to maneuver safely and the only way was defeat the greek fleet.

While Xerxe approached the canal that would allow cross the isthmus that separated Greece from the Peloponnese. The Spartans and Peloponnesians built a great wall to serve as a defense.

Themistocles took advantage of this moment to send the slave Sicinius to Xergeshis mission was fool the persian king. Sicinius reported that the Greek army had very low morale, and even that Themistocles himself was in favor of Persian victory.

Sicinius convinced Xerxes to prevent the Greeks from fleeing. and thus he would win the battle. Xerxes believed it and sent a large squad to cover the Greek escape routeswithout realizing that what he was doing was weaken their forces.

You may also like: The Battle of Thermopylae

How the Battle of Salamis happened

Xerxes thought it would not be difficult beat all 300 greek triremessince the Persians had 400 ships in the waters of Salamis. The deception had taken effect, Thermistocles then deployed his fleetless heavy, distributing it as follows:

  • Athenians and Corinthians to the left
  • Ephinets and Spartans to the right

The idea of ​​Thermistocles was to make the Persians run aground in the waters shallow that surrounded the Bay of Eleusis. The Persians could not see most of the Greek triremes, as they were hidden behind a nearby island.

Thermistocles ordered the 50 triremes that made up the Corinthian fleet that hoist the sails and did escape maneuversa. The Greek strategist knew that Persian ships were built to fight in deep waters, in the open sea. In such a narrow bay it would be almost impossible for them to maneuver, their excessive weight, their height and the 30 archers made it impossible.

End of the Battle of Salamis and consequences

September 20, 480 BC, was the victory day. Greek oarsmen singing hymns to the god Apollo, attacked the first Persian triremes. These were scattered in their pursuit of the supposedly escaped Corinthians.

It was at that time that the captains of the Persian ships they realized the deceptionhis orders were clear, turn the great triremes around to turn back. Nevertheless, the 400 triremos of large dimensions they had no room to turn.

Meanwhile, Xerxes on a golden throne in the highlands of Salamis contemplated defeat. What was originally an advantage, his numerical superiority, had become a hindrance.

Faced with bewilderment, a line of Greek triremescarried out the appropriate maneuvers to surround enemy ships. Helped by the bronze spurs carried by the Greek ships, gave the coup de grâce to the Persian ships, which ended up sunk.

The result was 200 Persian triremos sunk, half of his fleet against the 40 Greeks. Fearing that the Greeks would destroy the bridges created over the Hellespont, leaving them isolated, Xerxes ordered the withdrawal. ending the Second Medical War.

Other defeats such as that of the 300,000 soldiers of Mardonius, at Plataea wave defeat of the Persians in Micaleput an end to the Persian intentions of re-invading Greece.

Athens continued to have most powerful fleet in the ancient world Y Sparta the most powerful army on earth. However mistrust and rivalry arose between the two, leading to both cities to face each other.

The unity that the Greeks had maintained and the Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis victories, were decisive. Without these victories, Perhaps the history of humanity would have been different..

You may also like: