Themistocles was an Athenian statesman and general of the Athenian state whose emphasis on naval power and different military skills were central during the Persian wars , a victory in which he ensured that Greece survived its greatest threat. He was a man who exhibited the brightest signs of genius when going into battle. It is for this reason that he is considered a brilliant strategist and an extremely astute politician, who was probably too thirsty for glory and power.. He was undoubtedly one of the most important and colorful figures that existed at the time of classical Athens .


Personal information

  • When was he born:  524 BC
  • Where he was born:  Anavyssos, Ancient Greece
  • When he died:  459 BC
  • Where he died:  Meander Magnesia, Ancient Greece

Who was Themistocles?

Themistocles was a military leader and an important politician of Athens who lived in the time of the Medical Wars against the Persian Empire saving the Greek world and thus avoiding that the sacrifice of Leonidas was in vain.

  • Biography of Themistocles
  • Death
  • What did
  • Battles and wars
  • Themistocles and Artemis
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Phrases of Themistocles

Biography of Themistocles

Themistocles was born in 524 BC in the city of Athens . He was a son of immigrants but despite that he got an important political and military career in the city. In Athenian Democracy, which was a basically new democracy, he found a way to improve the populist camp , which supported the people before the powerful and from where he ended up being their leader, keeping the nobility on their side. When he turned 30, he was elected eponymous Archon , a position that meant being the highest magistrate of Athens.. While he exercised his mandate, he began to build the port of Piraeus and the creation of a fleet , as he thought that this was the way that Athens would have to achieve the conquest of maritime dominance .


According to historians, Themistocles fled to Pidna , where he embarked for Asia Minor but the ship in which he was traveling changed course due to a storm reaching Naxos , where he was besieged by an Athenian fleet . Trying not to be identified, Themistocles convinced the captain of the ship to continue his journey. At that time there was a reward for the head of Themistocles and for this they designed a plan to be able to pass it before the king to whom he made promises in order to live in the place. Many historians comment that not being able to fulfill these promises he committed suicidewith a fast and effective poison . He died in Magnesia , when he was sixty-seven years old . His bones were taken to Attica as he had requested before he died and were secretly buried in his hometown .

What did

When he realized that Leonidas had tied up at Thermopylae, he left his position as Artemisio to begin his mission which was to slow down the Persian advance and went to Athens to give the order to evacuate the city. What he did was surprise Xerxes and his army when they entered the Strait of Salamis . In this way he became the hero of Athens by defeating the Persians.

Battles and wars

Themistocles was part of important battles. He was first part of the battle of Marathon , in 490 BC, against Persia , a battle in which he became an important promoter of the naval power of Athens and was very close to the different merchants of the city. At the end of the First Medical War he also participated in different naval operations, although it was during the subsequent Persian invasion, in the Second Medical War , that his political and military skills came to the fore.

The Athenian general managed to defeat the Persians in the Battle of Salamis , probably the most important of his battles, which took place in 480 BC.In this battle, he made Athens the hegemonic power of Greece by building an immense fleet . However, despite his excellent role, he was accused of treason and ended up in the service of Persia. The great naval battle of Salamis had an important significance, the decisive defeat of the immense Persian army with which Xerxes had invaded Greece . This battle marked the beginning of the hegemony that the democraticAthens practiced in the Aegean during the following decades.

Themistocles and Artemis

Artemis was the tyrant of Halicarnassus , she was a queen who led the troops of King Xerxes during the Second Medical War and also participated in the battle of Salamis . She was the most important advisor to Xerxes, but despite this, she did not listen to his advice and decided to attack the Greeks. Themistocles had deceived Xerxes with a false message and Artemis failed to convince the king otherwise so the battle took place, Themistocles triumphing.

Physical characteristics

At present there is no exact description regarding the physical characteristics of Themistocles, although it is known that he was a strong and handsome man .


Regarding his personality, it is known that he was an extremely ambitious and greedy man . His ambition was greater than any other man in the place could have, he was also very vain and full of pride , so much so that he recognized himself for his different achievements. According to historians, they also comment that he had a marked personal nature that focused on seeking the best for Athens , although he was interested and to some extent corrupt . However, he was a man full of talents , intelligent , cunning and verybrilliant , one of the best leaders in years.

Phrases of Themistocles

Among his most recognized phrases we mention the following:

  • Whoever dominates the sea dominates everything.
  • Hit , but listen .
  • I choose the probable man instead of the rich man ; I want a man without money instead of money without a man.
  • For the Athenians they rule the rest of Greece , I command the Athenians; Your mother orders me, and you order your mother.
  • I never learned to tune a harp or play a lute; But I know how to build a small and insignificant city for glory and greatness .

Leave a Comment