The Battle of Salamis

Fiction By Elizabeth // 2/3/2010


      The waves were rolling, and the ship was swaying; waves were brushing wet paint-strokes against the prow. White mist was hurling over edge of the ship and dampening the surface of the deck. I stood on my high and strong prow looking over the immense fleet that I commanded. With my words, I ordered the men to row, release, draw, halt, board, sheath, ram, and cast. Thermistocles’ strategies could not be carried out if it were not for my voice, my ability to command, my steadfast courage, and my relentless strength. A Spartan commander and a Spartan citizen, I carried the orders of Thermistocles to the Greek fleet.
     We were lying at anchor in the shadow of Salamis with a large fleet of three- hundred- seventy- eight ships from Lacedaemon, Athens, Corinth, Artemisium, Sicyon, Epidaurus, Troezen, Hermione,  Megara, Ambracacia, Leucas, Aegina, Eretira, Ceos, Naxos, Styra, Croton, and Melians.
       I had stated the day before that I wished not to lie at Salamis and would leave the fleet with my Spartan ships, but Thermistocles had convinced me to stay, saying that if we were to leave, Greece would be lost to the Persians.
       So, with the wind of the sea still tossing my hair around my face, I brooded over the Persians ships that greatly outnumbered us. My anger against Thermistocles had not abated, and I was greatly worried for the outcome of battle. These thoughts were circling round in my mind making my mood darker as the sun rose higher. An arrival of a Spartan soldier dragged me out of thought.
     “Sir,” he stated with respect. “Your men are ready.”
     Ah! I thought. They are ready.  I was not. Nevertheless, I would give my speech of war to my Spartan brothers.
      I walked down the steps that led me to a lower part of the prow. Looking up at me were a hundred Spartans. Their faces showed no thoughts. They were cold as ice, and as alive as the sapling. As I spoke to them, their expressions changed not. Yes, they heard my words, they comprehended them, but they were soldiers of Sparta. They were but to hear my words and to act upon them.
      All at once everything was in motion again. The men were flooding back to their stations and taking up arms of guard or work of the sails. I walked to my cabin to rest until need called.
      I was summoned to a meeting of commanders, in the darkness of night. There was no light; all the lanterns were ordered not to be lit. Rowing in a small boat, the men were silent as the sky above bedecked with stars. In less than five minutes, the boat had rowed itself up to the ship of Thermistocles. I mounted the ship. I was saluted by Athenian soldiers and they led me into Thermistocles’ cabin.
     The cabin was brightly lit. Its windows were heavily draped and the floors were richly adorned with rugs and furs. Sitting around the edges of the room were the grim and silent commanders.
    The commanders all rose when I came to the center of the room. I took my seat next to Thermistocles. Then the meeting of commanders began.
     The meeting was full of arguments, strife, and anger. I hardly spoke. I had decided to stay; I would not argue further. Halfway through the meeting, Thermistocles received a message that someone wished to speak with him. He immediately rose and left the cabin. I sat during his absence with grim thoughts. Thermistocles did not take long. When he re-entered the cabin, the discourse ceased. Walking slowly to his chair, Thermistocles sat down.
      “Eurybiades,” he whispered to me. “I have just received a message that the Persians have surrounded us and cut us off from all chance of escape. This was only contrived by my sending of a false messenger to Xerxes. The messenger stated that there was great strife between the commanders and that they would soon be to blows. He also said that some Greeks in our fleet were secretly with the Persian cause. I sent the messenger the day before this, and he has contrived what I wished. The commanders will be forced to fight, and we will win this battle.”
      I looked at him and his smile that was spread across his face. I nodded. I need not say anything. I simply bowed to him and walked out of the room, knowing that my place was with my soldiers and that he would speak of the situation to the other commanders.
     When I was standing again on the prow of my ship, I was looking upon the great number of Persian ships. It was dawn, and the fingers of the sun were drawing back the curtains of night. The Persians were approaching swiftly, and I was ready to meet them. The Spartan was the greatest solider of Greece, and as a Spartan commander, I was going to conquer the Persians and win the battle of Salamis.
Herodotus, The Histories
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books LTD, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
Copyright 2003
Translation Copyright 1954


This was really interesting,

This was really interesting, Elizabeth! Everything was very vividly described, well researched and well thought out. Excellent job :-)

E | Wed, 02/03/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


A wonderfully deep, historical, and intriguing writing. I love it, Elizabeth. :)

Mairead | Wed, 02/03/2010


"Sweet is the love that never knew a wound, but deeper that which died and rose again." - Mother Mary Francis

Great job!!

This is really good! MODG assignment? I did Marathon. I like yours better's more descriptive and contemplative. :)

KatieSara | Wed, 02/03/2010


"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"


Ah, so this is your Spartan assignment... ;D I loved it! The language you used was great, it seemed old-style, which was fitting. Great job!

Hannah W. | Thu, 02/04/2010


tottaly awesome!

Bernadette | Thu, 02/04/2010


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