Battle of Salamis (480 BC)

Battle of Salamis (480 BC)

The Greek fleet owed their success to their good tactics and their fast and easily manoeuvrable ships.



Battle of Salamis, naval tactics, Xerxes, strait, Greek, Persians, Persian Empire, Hellas, Athens, battle, war, warfare, fleet, watercraft, soldier, antiquity, island, marine, military campaign, history, camp

Related items


The Salamis region

  • Greek ships
  • Persian southern fleet
  • Persian fleet
  • Egyptian ships
  • Xerxes’s camp

Events of the battle

  • Persian southern fleet
  • Persian fleet
  • Egyptian ships
  • Xerxes’s camp
  • Corinthian ships
  • Aeginetan ships
  • Megarean ships
  • Athenian fleet
  • Peloponnesian ships


Stage 1 (September 22, 480 BC)

Foreseeing the vast superiority of the Persian ships and soldiers, Themistocles, the commander of the Greek fleet, developed stealthy tactics. After the evacuation of Athens, he divided the Greek ships located in the narrow straits around the Salamis Island into two groups and also mobilised a small army of hoplites on dry land. When the Persians arrived, the majority of the Greek ships simulated retreat, while the others were lying in ambush in a bay. Unaware of the fate that awaited them, the Persian ships fell into the trap.

Stage 2 (September 22, 480 BC)

The ‘fleeing’ Greek ships suddenly turned back and together with the hidden ships, kept the enemy fleet in the straits, blocking it there. In the narrow strait, it was easy for the Greeks to manoeuvre their quick and agile triremes between the larger and more sluggish Persian ships. As hundreds of ships rammed into each other, the Greek hoplites fought as on dry land on the decks of the ships. The Persians not only lost soldiers at a rapid pace, but also ships as the pointed bronze nose of the Greek ships rammed into them.

Stage 3 (September 22, 480 BC)

Within a short span of time, the Persians suffered huge losses. According to Herodotus, they lost 200 ships, while the Greeks only lost 40. The Persian fleet attempted to escape from the strait, but it was chased by the Greeks. Xerxes witnessed the sad scene from a hill opposite Salamis. The Egyptian ships, which were part of the Persian fleet, did not intervene.

Stage 4 (September 22, 480 BC)

In the meantime, Aristides’s hoplites attacked the garrison of the great king of Persia, which had occupied Psyttaleia and destroyed the Persian southern fleet almost completely. Hence, the Greeks won one of the largest naval battles in history while Xerxes suffered a disastrous defeat. He withdrew to Asia Minor with the remaining fleet, although he left a relatively large army led by Mardonius in Northern Greece.

Related items

Bireme (ancient oared warship)

A bireme is a type of ancient warship, with a characteristic pointed bow and two decks of oars, used by many armies.

Persian monarch (5th century BC)

Ancient Persian monarchs were famous for the size of their empire and their wealth.

Persian warrior (5th century BC)

The excellent archers were feared members of the Persian army

Battle of Marathon (490 BC)

The marathon running event was instituted in commemoration of the run of a Greek soldier after the Battle of Marathon, fought between the Athenian and the...

Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC)

The battle of the Greek-Persian War became famous for the heroic sacrifice of the Spartan soldiers.

Greek and Macedonian phalanx formation

The phalanx formation was a military formation of the Greek heavy infantry.

The battle of Actium (31 BC)

In the battle fought at the shores of Hellas, Octavian won a decisive victory over Marcus Antonius.

Historical topography (battles, universal history)

Place the sites of notable battles in history on a blank map.

Persian pontoon bridge (5th century BC)

King Darius as well as Xerxes built pontoon bridges across the Bosphorus for the Persian army.

Quinquereme (3rd century BC)

The warship having several rows of oars was the typical warship of the Hellenistic era.

Added to your cart.