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(Greek Soldier)


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Themistocles was an Athenian soldier and statesman. As archon in 493 BC, he convinced the Athenians that a powerful fleet was needed to protect them against the Persians. During the second Persian invasion under Xerxes I, he commanded the Athenian squadron and through his strategy the Greeks won the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. After the war, he persuaded the Athenians to rebuild the walls of the city on a vastly larger scale than had existed before. This aroused uneasiness in Sparta. So the Spartan faction in Athens tried to undermine him and in 470 BC he was ostracised. He moved to Argos, but the Spartans forced his expulsion from there in 467 BC. He eventually travelled to Persia where the king Artaxerxes I made him governor of Magnesia where he spent the rest of his life. He was a man of grand plans whose patriotism later became confused with his own advancement. He was convinced that only he could realise the dream of a great Athenian empire.

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