Ancient History Themistocles Sample Essay

History Assessment
By R.H

Question 1: Evaluate the extent to which Themistocles was responsible for the Greek victory in the Persian wars

Themistocles leadership was one of the main reasons for the Greek's victories against the Persians. Although Themistocles played a major role in the Persians defeat, there were several other contributing factors. The Greeks were trained warriors, loyal to their homeland and had a strong sense of unity to their comrade while a majority of the Persian army were conscripted people with little training who originated from lands which the Persians had conquered. It was Themistocles had strong political power and was able to persuade the Athenians to build up the Athenian naval army with a fleet of 200 triremes, which proved to be crucial in fighting the Persians. His Tactical skills in the decisive battles at Artemisium and Salamis were essential in ensuring Greek success. In 480 BC the Greeks suffered defeat at the battle of Thermopylae and were eager for a victory. The Greeks planned to defend the Isthmus but Themistocles proposed that they fight at salamis, making use of the narrow straits which would be difficult for the Persian ships to navigate. Fighting at Salamis was also advantageous because it prevented the Persians from reaching Isthmus in correlation with the army. The Persian navy attempted to block off the strait of salamis but due to cramped conditions, became disorganized, allowing for the Greeks to obliterate the Persian navy, just as Themistocles predicted. Herodotus states that Themistocles actually planed an ambush against the Persians, saying that Themistocles sent out a slave to the Persians telling them that the Greek navy would withdraw at nightfall which tricked the Persians into letting their guard down as they thought they had the upper hand. This story however is most probably untrue as Herodotus is a notoriously unreliable source. This Battle was important to the overall Greek victory because it...