Evaluate Greek Unity as the main reason for Greek Victory against the Persians in the years 490BC-479BC.
There is much discussion over whether it was Greek unity that caused the victory against the Persians in the years 490BC-479BC. The three main points of view on the matter is that they were not united at all, which can be seen from the accounts of Herodotus, that they were united, which can be seen in the Themistocles Decree and that it was Themistocles himself that made them unified. It is on the research of Herodotus that we rely most heavily on for our information of the Persian War period. He is often criticised for his inaccuracy, bias and failure to evaluate events properly. Unfortunately there is no other major ancient
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While the events at Thermopylae were unfolding, a limited and indecisive naval engagement took place at Artemisium. If either side gained an advantage in this battle, modern historians would say that it was probably the Persians. Nevertheless, a storm blew up and inflicted damage on both fleets. In this instance, the Persians became the losers. This battle lessened the Persian fleet which later proved as an advantage to the Greeks in the battle of Salamis. During this battle the Athenians gave up their leadership position as they knew that they would have better chances if someone else was to lead. This strategy used also shows unity between the Greeks. Herodotus states that “The Athenians waived their claim in the interest of national survival, knowing that a quarrel about the command would certainly mean the destruction of Greece.” The Themistocles Decree shows a planned outline of the Athenian evacuation suggesting that it was the plan the whole time and that the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium were to hold the Persians back. This also suggests unity between the Greeks as they follow the plan Troezen inscriptions say before Thermopylae. The decree states that “Who live in Athens shall place [their children and women] on Troezen – the Founder of the land. [The elderly and (movable)] property shall (for safety) be deposited at Salamis. [the Treasurers and] the Priestesses are [to remain] on the Acropolis [and guard the possessions of