Themistocles, arguably one of the greatest Greek leaders in his time was responsible
to a great extent for the Greek victory in the Persian Wars. His role as both a political
leader and a military leader were crucial in the naval development of Athens and the
Greek states and its final dominance of the sea which allowed a security for the
Greeks, encouraging the final decisive victories to be achieved at Plataea and Mycale.
Themistocles played a vital role in both the battle of Artemisium and Salamis which
were significant to the overall Greek victory for different reasons. His political skills of
oration proved paramount in maintaining the tacit Greek unity at Salamis and
convincing support for his master plans which would seize victory. Judging from the
history it is fair and deserving to say “this man was supreme at doing the right thing
at the right moment.”- Thucydides.
If we look at Themistocles role at the battle of Artemisium we already develop the
sense that he played a significant role in overall Greek victory. At Artemisium
Themistocles was given the task of sending a naval fleet to attack the Persian navy,
now supposedly en route to threaten Athenian shores. There has been speculation
over whether this, in synchronization with Thermopylae was a delaying tactic
however what may be a drawn conclusion is that the attack was successful in the
long term course of the war as the delay of the Persian fleet and the flexing of Greek
naval strength meant that “the Persians would not be able to divide their fleet and
make raids against the Peloponnese for the purpose of creating divisions and
seizing strategic points.”- Pamela Bradley.