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- 6. “Those Who Sail Are To Receive A Wage”: Naval Warfare And Finance In Archaic Eretria
With the twin victories of Plataea and Mycale, the second Persian invasion of Greece was over. Moreover, the threat of future invasion was abated; although the Greeks remained worried that Xerxes would try again, over time it became apparent that the Persian desire to conquer Greece was much diminished. In many ways Mycale represents the start of a new phase of the conflict, the Greek counterattack. In BC, according to Thucydides, the allies campaigned against the city of Eion , at the mouth of the Strymon river. Peace with Persia came in BC with the Peace of Callias , finally ending the half-century of warfare.
The Greek style of warfare had been honed over the preceding centuries. The phalanx was vulnerable to being outflanked by cavalry, if caught on the wrong terrain, however. Even if the shield did not stop a missile, there was a reasonable chance the armour would. The Persian infantry used in the invasion were a heterogeneous group drawn from across the empire. However, according to Herodotus, there was at least a general conformity in the type of armour and style of fighting.
The Persians had encountered hoplites in battle before at Ephesus , where their cavalry had easily routed the probably exhausted Greeks. However, if this is the case, then it must be questioned why there were Greek and Egyptian contingents in the navy. The Allies evidently tried to play on the Persian fears about the reliability of the Ionians in Persian service;   but, as far as we can tell, both the Ionians and Egyptians performed particularly well for the Persian navy.
In the two major land battles of the invasion, the Allies clearly adjusted their tactics to nullify the Persian advantage in numbers and cavalry, by occupying the pass at Thermopylae, and by staying on high ground at Plataea. At the beginning of the invasion, it is clear that the Persians held most advantages. The Persian strategy for BC was probably to simply progress through Greece in overwhelming force.
Initially they attempted to defend the Tempe pass to prevent the loss of Thessaly. The defence of the Isthmus of Corinth by the Allies changed the nature of the war. The Persians did not attempt to attack the isthmus by land, realising they probably could not breach it.
Mardonius sought to exploit dissensions between the Allies in order to fracture the alliance. Thus, the Persian failure may be seen partly as a result of two strategic mistakes that handed the Allies tactical advantages, and resulted in decisive defeats for the Persians. The second Persian invasion of Greece was an event of major significance in European history. A large number of historians hold that, had Greece been conquered, the Ancient Greek culture that lies at the basis of Western civilization would have never developed and by extension Western civilization itself.
Militarily, there was not much in the way of tactical or strategic innovation during the Persian invasion, one commentator suggesting it was something of "a soldier's war" i. The major lesson of the invasion, reaffirming the events at the Battle of Marathon, was the superiority of the hoplite in close-quarters fighting over the more-lightly armed Persian infantry. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Invasion during the Greco-Persian Wars. Greco-Persian Wars. Second Persian invasion of Greece.
Main article: Herodotus. It is now filled-up. Main articles: Battle of Thermopylae and Battle of Artemisium. Main articles: Destruction of Athens and Battle of Salamis. Main articles: Battle of Plataea and Battle of Mycale. Main articles: Hoplite and Phalanx. Archived from the original on December 27, Retrieved Thereupon the Spartans sent these men to Media for execution.
A history of Greece to the death of Alexander the Great 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford Uni. Hackett Publishing. University of Texas Press. Archived from the original on Ancient Greece. History Geography. City states Politics Military. Apella Ephor Gerousia. Synedrion Koinon. List of ancient Greeks. Philosophers Playwrights Poets Tyrants.
Society Culture. Greek colonisation.
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Part of the Greco-Persian Wars. Date BC— BC. Greek city states including Athens and Sparta. Approaching the Allied fleet in the crowded Straits, the Persians appear to have become disorganised and cramped in the narrow waters. The details of the rest of the battle are generally sketchy, and no one involved would have had a view of the entire battlefield. A king sate on the rocky brow Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis And ships, by thousands, lay below, And men in nations;—all were his!
He counted them at break of day— And when the sun set where were they? Across the battlefield, as the first line of Persian ships was pushed back by the Greeks, they became fouled in the advancing second and third lines of their own ships. When Ariabignes attempted to board on their ship, they hit him with their spears, and thrust him into the sea. Herodotus recounts that Artemisia , the Queen of Halicarnassus, and commander of the Carian contingent, found herself pursued by the ship of Ameinias of Pallene.
In her desire to escape, she attacked and rammed another Persian vessel, thereby convincing the Athenian captain that the ship was an ally; Ameinias accordingly abandoned the chase. The Persian fleet began to retreat towards Phalerum, but according to Herodotus, the Aeginetans ambushed them as they tried to leave the Straits;  the remaining Persian ships limped back to the harbour of Phalerum and the shelter of the Persian army. However, he writes that the next year, the Persian fleet numbered triremes;  the number of losses then depends on the number of ships the Persian had to begin with; something in the range of — seems likely, based on the above estimates for the size of the Persian fleet.
According to Herodotus, the Persians suffered many more casualties than the Greeks because most Persians did not know how to swim. In the immediate aftermath of Salamis, Xerxes attempted to build a pontoon bridge or causeway across the straits, in order to use his army to attack the Athenians; however, with the Greek fleet now confidently patrolling the straits, this proved futile.
Sire, be not grieved nor greatly distressed because of what has befallen us, it is not on things of wood that the issue hangs for us, but on men and horses If then you so desire, let us straightway attack the Peloponnese, or if it pleases you to wait, that also we can do It is best then that you should do as I have said, but if you have resolved to lead your army away, even then I have another plan. Do not, O king, make the Persians the laughing-stock of the Greeks, for if you have suffered harm, it is by no fault of the Persians.
Nor can you say that we have anywhere done less than brave men should, and if Phoenicians and Egyptians and Cyprians and Cilicians have so done, it is not the Persians who have any part in this disaster. Therefore, since the Persians are in no way to blame, be guided by me; if you are resolved not to remain, march homewards with the greater part of your army, it is for me, however, to enslave and deliver Hellas to you with three hundred thousand of your host whom I will choose.
Fearing that the Greeks might attack the bridges across the Hellespont and trap his army in Europe, Xerxes resolved to do this, taking the greater part of the army with him. The following year, BC, Mardonius recaptured Athens and led the second Achaemenid destruction of Athens the Allied army still preferring to guard the Isthmus. However, the Allies, under Spartan leadership, eventually agreed to try to force Mardonius to battle, and marched on Attica.
The Battle of Salamis marked the turning point in the Greco-Persian wars. Like the Battles of Marathon and Thermopylae, Salamis has gained something of a 'legendary' status unlike, for instance, the more decisive Battle of Plataea , perhaps because of the desperate circumstances and the unlikely odds. Militarily, it is difficult to draw many lessons from Salamis, because of the uncertainty about what actually happened. Once again the Allies chose their ground well in order to negate Persian numbers, but this time unlike Thermopylae had to rely on the Persians launching an unnecessary attack for their position to count.
Since it brought about that attack, perhaps the most important military lesson is to be found in the use of deception by Themistocles to bring about the desired response from the enemy. According to Plutarch , the previously undistinguished Cimon "obtained great repute among the Athenians" due to his courage in battle; this reputation later enabled him to launch his political career. Some subsequent ancient historians, despite following in his footsteps, criticised Herodotus, starting with Thucydides.
The Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus , writing in the 1st century BC in his Bibliotheca Historica , also provides an account of the Greco-Persian wars, partially derived from the earlier Greek historian Ephorus ; this account is fairly consistent with Herodotus's. Archaeological evidence, such as the Serpent Column , also supports some of Herodotus's specific claims. On March 17, , archaeologists announced that they had uncovered the partially submerged remains of the anchorage used by the Greek warships prior to the Battle of Salamis; the site of the ancient mooring site is on the island of Salamis, at the coastal Ambelaki-Kynosaurus site.
Artemisium Artemisium or Artemision is a cape in northern Euboea , Greece. The legendary hollow cast bronze statue of Zeus , or Poseidon , known as the Artemision Bronze was found off this cape in a sunken ship, as was the Jockey of Artemision , a bronze statue of a racehorse and its jockey; the Battle of Artemisium, a series of naval engagements over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece in BC with the more famous land battle at Battle of Thermopylae , took place here. Temple of Artemis Artemisio.
Athens Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities , with its recorded history spanning over 3, years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus , a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens.
A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece.
In , Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
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It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of , within its administrative limits, a land area of The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,, over an area of km2. According to Eurostat in , the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union , with a population of 3.
Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon , considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in , include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece , the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum , featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum , the Museum of Cycladic Art , the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.
Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in , years it welcomed home the Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names.
According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon , the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus , Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up. In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics , Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies , now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century.
In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p. Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence.
Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, theatre and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art and culture of Ancient Greece , the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC; the Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.
This century is studied from the Athenian outlook because Athens has left us more narratives and other written works than the other ancient Greek states. From the perspective of Athenian culture in Classical Greece, the period referred to as the 5th century BC extends into the 4th century BC. In this context, one might consider that the first significant event of this century occurs in BC, with the fall of the last Athenian tyrant and Cleisthenes ' reforms.
However, a broader view of the whole Greek world might place its beginning at the Ionian Revolt of BC, the event that provoked the Persian invasion of BC. The Persians were defeated in BC. A second Persian attempt, in — BC, failed as well, despite having overrun much of modern-day Greece at a crucial point during the war following the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Artemisium ; the Delian League formed, under Athenian hegemony and as Athens' instrument.
Athens' excesses caused several revolts among the allied cities, all of which were put down by force, but Athenian dynamism awoke Sparta and brought about the Peloponnesian War in BC. After both forces were spent, a brief peace came about. Athens was definitively defeated in BC, internal Athenian agitations mark the end of the 5th century BC in Greece. Since its beginning, Sparta had been ruled by a diarchy ; this meant. The two kingships were both hereditary, vested in the Eurypontid dynasty.
According to legend, the respective hereditary lines of these two dynasties sprang from Eurysthenes and Procles , twin descendants of Hercules. They were said to have conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War. Cleomenes I , king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras , but his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over.
Cleomenes intervened in and BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes, now supported by the Athenians. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people endowed their city with isonomic institutions — equal rights for all citizens —and established ostracism ; the isonomic and isegoric democracy was first organized into about demes, which became the basic civic element.
The 10, citizens exercised their power as members of the assembly, headed by a council of citizens chosen at random; the city's administrative geography was reworked, in order to create mixed political groups: not federated by local interests linked to the sea, to the city, or to farming, whose decisions would depend on their geographical position.
A tribe consisted of three trittyes, selected at one from each of the three groups; each tribe therefore always acted in the interest of all three sectors. It was this corpus of reforms that allowed the emergence of a wider democracy in the s and s BC. In Ionia , the Greek cities, which included great centres such as Miletus and Halicarnassus , were unable to maintain their independence and came under the rule of the Persian Empire in the mid-6th century BC.
Asia Minor returned to Persian control. In BC, the Persian general Mardonius led a campaign through Macedonia , he was victorious and again subjugated the former and conquered the latter, but he was wounded and forced to retreat back into Asia Minor. In addition, a fleet of around 1, ships that accompanied Mardonius on the expedition was wrecked by a storm off the coast of Mount Athos.
The generals Artaphernes and Datis led a successful naval expedition against the Aegean islands. In BC, Darius the Great , having suppressed the Ionian cities, sent a Persian fleet to punish the Greeks, they landed in Attica intending to take Athens , but were defeated at the Battle of Marathon by a Greek army of 9, Athenian hoplites and 1, Plataeans led by the Athenian general Miltiades.
The Persian fleet continued to Athens but, seeing it garrisoned, decided not to attempt an assault. In BC, Darius' successor Xerxes I sent a much more powerful force of , by land, with 1, ships in supp. Euboea Euboea or Evia. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a narrow island, its geographic orientation is from northwest to southeast, it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros and Mykonos.
It forms most of the regional unit of Euboea, which includes Skyros and a small area of the Greek mainland. This name was most relevant.
6. “Those Who Sail Are To Receive A Wage”: Naval Warfare And Finance In Archaic Eretria
That name entered common use in the West in the 13th century, with other variants being Egripons and Negropont. Euboea was believed to have formed part of the mainland, to have been separated from it by an earthquake; this is probable, because it lies in the neighbourhood of a fault line, both Thucydides and Strabo write that the northern part of the island had been shaken at different periods.
In the neighbourhood of Chalcis, both to the north and the south, the bays are so confined as to make plausible the story of Agamemnon's fleet having been detained there by contrary winds. At Chalcis itself, where the strait is narrowest at only 40 m, it is called the Euripus Strait; the extraordinary changes of tide that take place in this passage have been a subject of note since classical times. At one moment the current runs like a river in one direction, shortly afterwards with equal velocity in the other. A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War.
Geography and nature divide the island itself into three distinct parts: the fertile and forested north, the mountainous centre, with agriculture limited to the coastal valleys, the barren south; the main mountains include Pyxaria in the northeast and Ochi.
At the census the island had a population of ,, a total land area of 3, square kilometres; the history of the island of Euboea is that of its two principal cities and Eretria , both mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica , would settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily , such as Cumae and Rhegium , on the coast of Macedonia ; this opened new trade routes to the Greeks , extended the reach of Western Civilization.
The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon. The classicist Barry B. Powell has proposed that Euboea may have been where the Greek alphabet was first employed, c. Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, appear to have been powerful for a while. One of the earliest major military conflicts in Greek history took place between them, known as the Lelantine War , in which many other Greek city-states took part.
Following the infamous battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium , Persian forces captured and sacked Athens, took Euboea and Attica, allowing them to overrun all of Greece. In BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon , the city never regained its former eminence. Both cities lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.
Athens settled 4, Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was reduced to an Athenian dependency. Another struggle between Euboea and Athens broke out in Led by Pericles , the Athenians subdued the revolt, captured Histiaea in the north of the island for their own settlement. By BC, the island succeeded in regaining its independence.
Aristotle died on the island in BC. Strait A strait is a formed, narrow navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most it is a channel of water that lies between two land masses; some straits are not navigable, for example because they are too shallow, or because of an unnavigable reef or archipelago. The terms channel, pass or passage, can be synonymous and used interchangeably with strait, although each is sometimes differentiated with varying senses.
In Scotland firth or kyle are sometimes used as synonyms for strait. Many straits are economically important. Straits can be important shipping wars have been fought for control of them. Numerous artificial channels, called canals, have been constructed to connect two bodies of water over land, such as the Suez Canal.
Although rivers and canals provide passage between two large lakes or a lake and a sea, these seem to suit the formal definition of strait, they are not referred to as such; the term strait is reserved for much larger, wider features of the marine environment. There are exceptions, with straits being called Pearse Canal , for example. Straits are the converse of isthmuses; that is, while a strait lies between two land masses and connects two larger bodies of water, an isthmus lies between two bodies of water and connects two larger land masses.
Some straits have the potential to generate significant tidal power using tidal stream turbines. Tides are more predictable than wind power; the Pentland Firth may be capable of generating 10 GW.
Cook Strait in New Zealand may be capable of generating 5. Straits used for international navigation through the territorial sea between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone are subject to the legal regime of transit passage; the regime of innocent passage applies in straits used for international navigation that connect a part of high seas or an exclusive economic zone with the territorial sea of coastal nation and in straits formed by an island of a state bordering the strait and its mainland if there exists seaward of the island a route through the high seas or through an exclusive economic zone of similar convenience with respect to navigational and hydrographical characteristics.
There may be no suspension of innocent passage through such straits. Peloponnese The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea , a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form; the peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions.
In , Lonely Planet voted the Peloponnese the top spot of their Best in Europe list; the Peloponnese is a peninsula that covers an area of some 21, The second Punic war B. Page 60 Carthage, driven from Sicily, turned to Spain and made the southern part of the peninsula her province.
Using this as his base, Hannibal marched overland, crossed the Alps, and invaded Italy from the north. Had he followed up his unbroken series of victories by marching on the capital instead of going into winter quarters at Capua, it is possible that Rome might have been destroyed and all subsequent history radically changed. In the end, Scipio, after having driven the Carthaginians out of Spain, dislodged Hannibal from Italy by carrying an invasion into Africa. At the battle of Zama the Romans defeated Hannibal and won the war. It is difficult to see any significant use of sea power in this second Punic war.
Neither side seemed to realize what might be done in cutting the communications of the other, and both sides seemed to be able to use the sea at will. Of course due allowance must be made for the limitations of naval activity. The quinquereme was too frail to attempt a blockade or to patrol the sea lanes in all seasons. Nevertheless both sides used the sea for the transport of troops and the conveying of intelligence, and neither side made any determined effort to establish a real control of the sea.
Mahan, Influence of Sea Power upon History , 14 ff.
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In this view, however, Mahan is not supported by Mommsen vol. II, p. See also Jane, Heresies of Sea Power , 60 ff. The third Punic war has no naval interest. Rome, not satisfied with defeating her rival in the two previous wars, took a convenient pretext to invade Carthage and destroy every vestige of the city. With this the great maritime empire came to an end, and Rome became supreme in the Mediterranean. Page 61 2. After the fall of Carthage no rival appeared to contest the sovereignty of Rome upon the sea.
The next great naval battle was waged between two rival factions of Rome herself at the time when the republic had fallen and the empire was about to be reared on its ruins.
This was the battle of Actium, one of the most decisive in the world's history. The rivalry between Antony and Octavius as to who should control the destinies of Rome was the immediate cause of the conflict. Octavius soon ousted Lepidus and then turned to settle the issue of mastery with Antony. In this he had motives of revenge as well as ambition. In this quarrel the people of Rome were inclined to support Octavius, because of their indignation over a reported declaration made by Antony to the effect that he intended to make Alexandria rather than Rome the capital of the empire and rule East and West from the Nile rather than the Tiber.
Both sides began preparations for the conflict. Antony possessed the bulk of the Roman navy and the Roman legions of the eastern provinces. In addition he spent great sums of money by means of his agents in Rome to arouse disaffection against Octavius. At the outset he acted with energy and caused his antagonist the gravest anxiety. It was clear also that Antony intended to take the offensive.
He established winter quarters at Patras, on the Gulf of Corinth, during the winter of B. His fleet he anchored in the Ambracian Gulf, a Page 62 landlocked bay, thirty miles wide, lying north of the Gulf of Corinth; it is known to-day as the Gulf of Arta. Octavius, however, was equally determined not to yield the offensive to his adversary, and boldly collected ships and troops for a movement in force against Antony's position. His troops were also Roman legionaries, experienced in war, but his fleet was considerably less in numbers and the individual ships much smaller than the quinqueremes and octiremes of Antony.
The ships of Octavius were mostly biremes and triremes. These were called Liburni, and the type of ship they used was known as the Liburna. This was a two-banked galley, but the term was already becoming current for any light man of war, irrespective of the number of banks of oars.
In contrast with these Liburni, who divided their days between fishing and piracy and knew all the tricks of fighting at sea, the crews of Antony's great fleet were in many cases landsmen who had been suddenly impressed into service. As soon as Antony had moved his force to western Greece he seemed paralyzed by indecision and made no move to avail himself of his advantageous position to strike.
He had plenty of money, while his adversary was at his wit's end to find even credit. He had the admiration of his soldiers, who had followed him through many a campaign to victory, while Octavius had no popularity with his troops, most of whom were reluctant to fight against their old comrades in arms. And finally, Antony had a preponderating fleet with which he could command the sea and compel his opponent to fight on the defensive in Italian territory. All these advantages he allowed to slip away.
During the winter of one-third of Antony's crews perished from lack of proper supplies and the gaps were filled by slaves, mule-drivers, and plowmen—any one whom his captains could seize and impress from the surrounding country. Page 63 The following spring Agrippa made a feint to the south by capturing Methone at the southern tip of the Peloponnesus, thus threatening the wheat squadrons from Egypt on which Antony depended.
Next came the news that Octavius had landed an army in Epirus and was marching south. Then Antony realized that his adversary was aiming to destroy the fleet in the Ambracian Gulf and hastened thither. He arrived with a squadron ahead of his troops, at almost the same instant as Octavius, and if Octavius had had the courage to attack the tired and disorganized crews of Antony's squadron, Antony would have been lost. But by dressing his crews in the armor of legionaries and drawing up his ships in a position for fighting, with oars suspended, he "bluffed" his enemy into thinking that he had the support of his troops.
When the latter arrived Antony established a great camp on Cape Actium, which closes the southern side of the Gulf, and fortified the entrance on that side. Thereafter for months the two forces faced each other on opposite sides of the Gulf, neither side risking more than insignificant skirmishes. During this time Octavius had free use of the sea for his supplies, while the heavier fleet of Antony lay idle in harbor.
Nevertheless, Octavius did not dare to risk all on a land battle, and conducted his campaign in a characteristically timid and vacillating manner which should have made it easy for Antony to take the aggressive and win. He was broken by debauchery and torn this way and that by two violently hostile parties in his own camp. One party, called the Roman, wanted him to come to an understanding with Octavius, or beat him in battle, and go to Rome as the restorer of the republic.
The other party, the Egyptian, was Cleopatra and her following. Cleopatra was interested in holding Antony to Egypt, to consolidate through him a strong Egyptian empire, and she was not at all interested in the restoration of Roman liberties. In Antony's desire to please Cleopatra and his attempt to deceive his Roman friends into thinking that he was working for their Page 64 aims, may be seen the explanation of the utter lack of strategy or consistent plan in his entire campaign against Octavius.
At the beginning of July Antony apparently proposed a naval battle. Instantly the suspicions of the Roman party were awakened. They cried out that Antony was evidently going back to Egypt without having won the decisive battle against Octavius on land, which would really break the enemy's power, and without paying any heed to the political problems at Rome. Such a furor was raised between the two parties that Antony abandoned his plan and made a feint toward the land battle in Epirus that the Romans wanted.
Meanwhile two of his adherents, one a Roman, the other a king from Asia Minor, exasperated by the insolence of Cleopatra, deserted to Octavius. August came and went without action or change in the situation. Meanwhile as Antony's camp had been placed in a pestilential spot for midsummer heat, he suffered great losses from disease. By this time Cleopatra was interested in nothing but a return to Egypt.
Accordingly she persuaded Antony to order a naval battle without asking anybody's advice, and he set the date August 29 for the sally of his fleet. The Romans were amazed and protested, but in vain. Preparations went on in such a way as to make it clear to the observing that what Antony was planning was not so much a battle as a return to Egypt.
Vessels which he did not need outside for battle he ordered burned, although such ships would usually be kept as reserves to make up losses in fighting. Moreover, he astonished the captains by ordering them to take out into action the big sails which were always left ashore before a battle. Nor did his explanation that they would be needed in pursuit satisfy them. It appeared also that he was employing trusted slaves at night to load the Egyptian galleys with all of Cleopatra's treasure.
Two more Roman leaders, satisfied as to Antony's real intention, deserted to Octavius and informed him of Antony's plans. Meanwhile a heavy storm had made it impossible to attempt the action on August 29 or several days after. On the 2d of September 31 B. Octavius Page 65 and Agrippa drew out their fleet into open water, about three-quarters of a mile from the mouth of the gulf, forming line in three divisions. They waited till nearly noon before Antony's fleet began to make its expected appearance to offer battle.
This also was formed in three divisions corresponding to those of their enemy. The Egyptian division of sixty ships under Cleopatra took up a safe position in the rear of the center. There was a striking contrast in the types of ships in the opposing ranks. The galleys of Octavius were low in the water, and nimble in their handling; those of Antony were bulky and high, with five to ten banks of oars, and their natural unhandiness was made worse by a device intended to protect them against ramming.
This consisted of a kind of boom of heavy timbers rigged out on all sides of the hull.
In addition to the higher sides these ships supported towers and citadels Page 66 built upon their decks, equipped with every form of the artillery of that day, especially catapults capable of hurling heavy stones upon the enemy's deck. Against such formidable floating castles, the light ships of Agrippa and Octavius could adopt only skirmishing tactics. They rushed in where they could shear away the oar blades of an enemy without getting caught by the great grappling irons swung out from his decks.
They kept clear of the heavy stones from the catapults through superior speed and ability to maneuver quickly, but they were unable to strike their ponderous adversaries any vital blow. On the other hand the great hulks of Antony were unable to close with them, and though the air was filled with a storm of arrows, stones and javelins, neither side was able to strike decisively at the other. As at Salamis the opposite shores were lined with the opposing armies, and every small success was hailed by shouts from a hundred thousand throats on the one side and long drawn murmurs of dismay from an equal host on the other.
In these waters a north wind springs up every afternoon—a fact that Antony and Cleopatra had counted on—and as soon as the breeze shifted the royal galley of Cleopatra spread its crimson sail and, followed by the entire Egyptian division, sailed through the lines and headed south. Antony immediately left his flagship, boarded a quinquereme and followed. This contemptible desertion of the commander in chief was not generally known in his fleet; as for the disappearance of the Egyptian squadron, it was doubtless regarded as a good riddance.
The battle, therefore, went on as stubbornly as ever. Late in the afternoon Agrippa, despairing of harming his enemy by ordinary tactics, achieved considerable success by the use of javelins wrapped in burning tow, and fire rafts that were set drifting upon the clumsy hulks which could not get out of their way.
By this means a number of Antony's ships were destroyed, but the contest remained indecisive. At sunset Antony's fleet retired in some disorder to their anchorage Page 67 in the gulf. Octavius attempted no pursuit but kept the sea all night, fearing a surprise attack or an attempted flight from the gulf. Meanwhile a flying wing of Octavius's fleet had been sent in pursuit of Antony and Cleopatra, who escaped only after a rear guard action had been fought in which two of Cleopatra's ships were captured.
Then the flight was resumed to Alexandria. On the morning of the 3d Octavius sent a message to the enemy's camp announcing the fact of Antony's desertion and calling on the fleet and army to surrender. The Roman soldiers were unwilling to believe that their commander had been guilty of desertion, and were confident that he had been summoned away on important business connected with the campaign.
Their general, however, did not dare convey to them Antony's orders because they would betray the truth and provoke mutiny. Consequently he did nothing. Certain Roman senators and eastern princes saw the light and quietly went over to the camp of Octavius. Several days of inaction followed, during which the desertions continued and the rumor of Antony's flight found increasing belief. On the seventh day, Canidius, who found himself in a hopeless dilemma, also went over to Octavius.
This desertion by the commander settled the rest of the force. A few scattered into Macedonia, but the great bulk of the army and all that was left of the fleet surrendered. Nineteen legions and more than ten thousand cavalry thus came over to Octavius and took service under him. This was the real victory of Actium. In the words of the Italian historian Ferrero, "it was a victory gained without fighting, and Antony was defeated in this supreme struggle, not by the valor of his adversary or by his own defective strategy or tactics, but by the hopeless inconsistency of his double-faced policy, which, while professing to be republican and Roman, was actually Egyptian and monarchical.
Page 68 The story of the naval battle of Actium is a baffling problem to reconstruct on account of the wide divergence in the accounts. For instance, the actual number of ships engaged is a matter of choice between the extremes of to on a side. And the consequences were so important to Octavius and to Rome that the accounts were naturally adorned afterwards with the most glowing colors.
Every poet who lived by the bounty of Augustus in later years naturally felt inspired to pay tribute to it in verse. But the actual naval battle seems to have been of an indecisive character. For that matter, even after the wholesale surrender of Antony's Roman army and fleet, neither Anthony nor Octavius realized the importance of what had happened. Antony had recovered from worse disasters before, and felt secure in Alexandria.
Octavius at first followed up his advantage with timid and uncertain steps. Only after the way was made easy by the hasty submission of the Asiatic princes and the wave of popularity and enthusiasm that was raised in Rome by the news of the victory, did Octavius press the issue to Egypt itself. There the war came to an end with the suicide of both Antony and Cleopatra.
As in the case of the indecisive naval battle off the capes of the Chesapeake, which led directly to the surrender of Cornwallis, an action indecisive in character may be most decisive in results. Actium may not have been a pronounced naval victory but it had tremendous consequences. As at Salamis, East and West met for the supremacy of the western world, and the East was beaten back.
It is not likely that the Egyptian or the Syrian would have dominated the genius of the western world for any length of time, but the defeat of Octavius would have meant a hybrid empire which would have fallen to pieces like the empire of Alexander, leaving western Europe split into a number of petty states. On the other hand, Octavius was enabled to build on the consequences of Actium the great outlines of the Roman empire, the influence of which on the civilized world to-day is still incalculable.
When he left Rome to fight Antony, the government was bankrupt and the people torn with faction. When he returned Page 69 he brought the vast treasure of Egypt and found a people united to support him. Actium, therefore, is properly taken as the significant date for the beginning of the Roman empire. The relation of the battle of Actium to this portentous change in the fortunes of Octavius was formally recognized by him on the scene where it took place. Nicopolis, the City of Victory, was founded upon the site of his camp, with the beaks of the captured ships as trophies adorning its forum.
The little temple of Apollo on the point of Actium he rebuilt on an imposing scale and instituted there in honor of his victory the "Actian games," which were held thereafter for two hundred years.
After the battle of Actium and the establishment of a powerful Roman empire without a rival in the world, there follows a long period in which the Mediterranean, and indeed all the waterways known to the civilized nations, belonged without challenge to the galleys of Rome. Naval stations were established to assist in the one activity left to ships of war, the pursuit of pirates, but otherwise there was little or nothing to do. And during this long period, indeed, down to the Middle Ages, practically nothing is known of the development in naval types until the emergence of the low, one- or two-banked galley of the wars between the Christian and the Mohammedan.
The first definite description we have of warships after the period of Actium comes at the end of the ninth century. There was some futile naval fighting against the Vandals in the days when Rome was crumbling. Finally, by a curious freak of history, Genseric the Vandal took a fleet out from Carthage against Rome, and swept the Mediterranean.
In the year , some six centuries after Rome had wreaked her vengeance on Carthage, this Vandal fleet anchored unopposed in the Tiber and landed an army that sacked the imperial Page 70 city, which had been for so long a period mistress of the world, and had given her name to a great civilization. During the four centuries in which the Pax Romana rested upon the world, it is easy to conceive of the enormous importance to history and civilization of having sea and river, the known world over, an undisputed highway for the fleets of Rome. Along these routes, even more than along the military roads, traveled the institutions, the arts, the language, the literature, the laws, of one of the greatest civilizations in history.
And ruthless as was the destruction of Vandal and Goth in the city itself and in the peninsula, they could not destroy the heritage that had been spread from Britain to the Black Sea and from the Elbe to the upper waters of the Nile. History of Rome , Theodor Mommsen, tr. Dickson, History of the Romans Under the Empire , Chas.
Themistocles - Howling Pixel
Merivale vol. The Greatness and Decline of Rome , G. Ferrero, tr. Zemmern, Fleets of the First Punic War , W. Tarn, in Journal of Hellenic Studies , Influence of Sea Power on History pp. Mahan, For a complete bibliography of Roman sea power, v. Clark, The thousand years following the collapse of the Roman empire, a period generally referred to as the Middle Ages, are characterized by a series of barbarian invasions. Angles, Saxons, Goths, Visigoths, Huns, Vandals, Vikings, Slavs, Arabs, and Turks poured over the broken barriers of the empire and threatened to extinguish the last spark of western and Christian civilization.
Out of this welter of invasions and the anarchy of petty kingdoms arose finally the powerful nations that perpetuated the inheritance from Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem, and developed on this foundation the newer institutions of political and intellectual freedom that have made western civilization mistress of the world. For this triumph of West over East, of Christianity over barbarism, we have to thank partly the courage and genius of great warriors and statesmen who arose here and there, like Alfred of England and Martel of France, but chiefly the Eastern Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, which stood through this entire epoch as the one great bulwark against which the invasions dashed in vain.
In this story of defense, the Christian fleets won more than one Salamis, as we shall see in the course of this chapter. In the year A. It may seem strange that after so many glorious centuries Rome should have been deprived of the honor of being the center of the great empire which bore its own name, but in the fourth Page 72 century the city itself had no real significance.
All power rested in the person of the Emperor himself, and wherever he went became for the time being the capital for all practical purposes. At this time the empire was already on the defensive and the danger lay in the east. Constantine needed a capital nearer the scene of future campaigns, nearer his weakest frontier, the Danube, and nearer the center of the empire. Byzantium not only served these purposes but also possessed natural advantages of a very high order.
It was situated where Europe and Asia meet, it commanded the waterway between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and it was a natural citadel. Whoever captured the city must needs be powerful by land and sea. Under the emperor's direction the new capital was greatly enlarged and protected by a system of massive walls.
Behind these walls the city stood fast for over a thousand years against wave after wave of barbarian invasion. Of the wars with the Persians, the Vandals, and the Huns nothing need be said here, for they do not involve the operations of fleets. The city was safe so long as no enemy appeared with the power to hold the sea. That power appeared in the seventh century when the Arabs, or "Saracens," as they were called in Europe, swept westward and northward in the first great Mohammedan invasion. Most migrations are to be explained by the pressure of enemies, or the lack of food and pasturage in the countries left behind, or the discovery of better living conditions in the neighboring countries.
But the impulse behind the two tremendous assaults of Islam upon Europe seems to have been religious fanaticism of a character and extent unmatched in history. The founder of the Faith, Mohammed, taught from to He succeeded in imbuing his followers with the passion of winning the world to the knowledge of Allah and Mohammed his prophet.
The unbeliever was to be offered the alternatives of conversion or death, and the believer who fell in the holy wars would be instantly transported to Paradise. Men who actually believe that they will be sent to a blissful immortality after death are the most terrible soldiers Page 73 to face, for they would as readily die as live. In fact Cromwell's "Ironsides" of a later day owed their invincibility to very much the same spirit. At all events, by the time of Mohammed's death all Arabia had been converted to his faith and, fired with zeal, turned to conquer the world.
Hitherto the tribes of Arabia were scattered and disorganized, and Arabia as a country meant nothing to the outside world. Now under the leadership of the Prophet it had become a driving force of tremendous power. Mohammedan armies swept over Syria into Persia. In , only five years after Mohammed's death, Jerusalem surrendered, and shortly afterwards Egypt was conquered.
Early in the eighth century the Arabs ruled from the Indus on the east, and the Caucasus on the north, to the shores of the Atlantic on the west. Their empire curved westward along the coast of northern Africa, through Spain, like one of their own scimitars, threatening all Christendom. Indeed, the Arab invasion stands unparalleled in history for its rapidity and extent. The one great obstacle in the way was the Christian, or Roman, empire with its center at Constantinople.
Muaviah, the Emir of Syria, was the first to perceive that nothing could be done against the empire until the Arabs had wrested from it the command of the sea. Accordingly he set about building Page 74 a great naval armament. In this fleet made an attack on Cyprus but was defeated. An expedition sent from Constantinople to recover Alexandria was met by this fleet and routed. This first naval victory over the Christians gave the Saracens unbounded confidence in their ability to fight on the sea.
Muaviah, elated with these successes, planned a great combined land and water expedition against the Christian capital. At this point it is worth pausing to consider what the fighting ship of this period was like. As we have seen in the preceding chapter the Roman navy sank into complete decay. At the end of the fourth century there was practically no imperial navy in existence. The conquest of the Vandals by Belisarius in the sixth century involved the creation of a fleet, but when that task was over the navy again disappeared until the appearance of the Arabs compelled the building of a new imperial fleet.
The small provincial squadrons then used to patrol the coasts were by no means adequate to meet the crisis. The warships of this period were called "dromons," a term that persists even in the time of the Turkish invasion eight centuries later. The word means "fast sailers" or "racers. Amidships was built a heavy castle or redoubt of timbers, pierced with loopholes for archery. On the forecastle rose a kind of turret, possibly revolving, from which, after Greek fire was invented, the tubes or primitive cannon projected the substance on the decks of the enemy.
The dromon had two masts, lateen rigged, and between thirty and forty oars to a side. There were two classes of dromons, graded according to size, and a third class of ship known as the "pamphylian," which was apparently of a cruiser type, less cumbered with Page 75 superstructure. In addition there were small scout and dispatch boats of various shapes and sizes. Both Christian and Saracen fought with these kinds of warships. Apparently the Arabs simply copied the vessels they found already in use by their enemies, and added no new device of their own.
In Muaviah started his great double invasion against Constantinople. Before the Arab fleet had gone far it met the Christian fleet, commanded by the Emperor himself, off the town of Phaselis on the southwestern coast of Asia Minor. A great battle followed. The Christian emperor, Constantine II, distinguished himself by personal courage throughout the action, but the day went sorely against the Christians.
At last the flagship was captured and he himself survived only by leaping into a vessel that came to his rescue while his men Page 76 fought to cover his escape. It was a terrible defeat, for 20, Christians had been killed and the remnants of their fleet were in full retreat. But the Saracens had bought their victory at such a price that they were themselves in no condition to profit by it, and the naval expedition went no further. Meanwhile Muaviah had not succeeded in forcing the Taurus with his army, so that the grand assault came to nothing after all.
The following year the murder of the Caliph brought on a civil war among the Saracens, in consequence of which Muaviah arranged a truce with Constantine.
The latter was thus enabled to turn his attention to the beating back of the Slavs in the east and the recovery of imperial possessions in the west, notably the city and province of Carthage. During the last of these campaigns he was killed by a slave. The death of this energetic and able ruler seemed to Muaviah the opportunity to begin fresh operations against the Christian empire.
Three great armies invaded the territory of the Cross. One plundered Syracuse, another seized and fortified a post that threatened the existence of Carthage, a third pushed to the shores of the Sea of Marmora. These were, however, only preliminary to the grand assault on the capital itself. In a great Arab armada forced the Hellespont and captured Cyzicus. With this as a base, the fleet landed an army on the northern shore of the Sea of Marmora. By these means Constantinople was invested by land and sea.
But the great walls proved impregnable against the attacks of the army, and the Christian fleet, sheltered in the Golden Horn, was able to sally out from time to time and make successful raids on detachments of the Saracen ships. This state of affairs continued for six months, after which Muaviah retired with his army to Cyzicus, leaving a strong naval guard to hold the straits. The next spring Muaviah again landed his army on the European side and besieged the city for several months. The second year's operations were no more successful than the Page 77 first, and again the Arab force retired to Cyzicus for the winter.
The Arab commander was determined to stick it out until he had forced the surrender of the city by sheer exhaustion, but his plan had a fatal error. During the winter months the land blockade was abandoned, with the result that supplies for the next year's siege were readily collected for the beleaguered city. Emperor and citizens alike rose to the emergency with a spirit of devotion that burned brighter with every year of the siege. Meanwhile the Christians of the outlying provinces of Syria and Africa were also fighting stubbornly and with considerable success against the enemy.
The year passed without any material change in the situation. During the siege a Syrian architect named Callinicus is said to have come to Constantinople with a preparation of his own invention, "Greek fire," which he offered the Emperor for use against the Saracen. This, according to one historian, "was a semi-liquid substance, composed of sulphur, pitch, dissolved niter, and petroleum boiled together and mixed with certain less important and more obscure substances When ejected it caught the woodwork which it fell and set it so thoroughly on fire that there was no possibility of extinguishing the conflagration.
6. “Those Who Sail Are To Receive A Wage”: Naval Warfare And Finance In Archaic Eretria
It could only be put out, it is said, by pouring vinegar, wine, or sand upon it. Constantine IV, the Emperor, was quick to see the possibilities of the innovation and equipped his dromons with projecting brass tubes for squirting the substance upon the enemy's ships. These are sometimes referred to as "siphons," but it is not clear just how they were operated. One writer is of Page 78 the opinion that something of the secret of gunpowder had been obtained from the East and that the substance was actually projected by a charge of gunpowder; in short, that these "siphons" were primitive cannon.
In addition to these tubes other means were prepared for throwing the fire. Earthenware jars containing it were to be flung by hand or arbalist, and darts and arrows were wrapped with tow soaked in the substance. The Christian fleet was no match for the Saracen in numbers, but Constantine pinned his faith on the new invention. Accordingly, during the fourth year of the siege, , he boldly led his fleet to the attack.
We have no details of this battle beyond the fact that the Greek fire struck such terror by its destructive effect that the Saracens were utterly defeated. This unexpected blow completed the growing demoralization of the besiegers. The army returned to the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, and the survivors of the fleet turned homewards. Constantine followed up his victory with splendid energy. He landed troops on the Asiatic shore, pursued the retreating Arabs and drove the shattered remnant of their army back into Syria.
Before the ships could reassemble, the Christians were upon them and almost nothing was left of the great Saracen armada. Thus the second great assault on Constantinople was shattered by the most staggering disaster that had ever befallen the cause of Islam.