To What Extent Was Themistocles Responsible for Greek Victory in the Persian Wars?

4242 words 17 pages
To what extent was Themistocles responsible for the Greek victory in the Persian Wars?
Daniel Ashby

Themistocles was responsible for the Greek victory in the Persian wars to a considerable extent. The key to Athens' strength in the 5th Century BC was in this general and statesman and therefore, as Greek victory relied so heavily on Athens, Themistocles vitally contributed to the outcome of the Persian king’s invasion of 480-479 BC. His early life reflects the character and skills developed that were responsible for these contributions. Five pivotal roles he undertook were of varying degrees responsible for Greece’s success against Xerxes. Themistocles possessed an incredible foresight
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It is clear that from the beginnings Themistocles was exhibiting characteristics, skills, and determination leading to the enormous extent of responsibility he held in Greek victory during the Persian Wars.

Through incredible foresight into the events that would unfold during the Persian wars, Themistocles is able to prepare Greece as a nation to defend their freedom against Xerxes and Persian imperialism. The prediction of Persian invasion and consequential fortifications of Athens as well as the conception of a defensive and offensive Greek response, the Athenian statesman and general played a significant role in the victory over the Persians.
It is evident that Themistocles had anticipated Darius’ first invasion of 490 BC because of the early preparations he made in defence of Athens. This foresight was the first step Greece made to defend herself against the ‘barbarians’ and hence holds a degree of responsibility for Greek victory in the Persian wars.
Thucydides says that Themistocles had a great gift for analysing complex situations and taking action, and that is just what he did. As early as 492 BC, soon after his election as Archon Eponymous in 493 BC, he had begun preparations to fortify the Piraeus Peninsula. This may have been in reaction to Mardonius’ subjugation of the Ionian revolt and subsequent wreckage of his fleet as he sailed around the tip of Cape Athos in the same year. This could have been