He thus owed his citizenship to the legislation of Cleistheneswhich in had made citizens of all free men of Athens.
Some authors report that he was unruly as a child and was consequently disowned by his father. Plato the philosopher mentions Cleophantus as a most excellent horseman, but otherwise insignificant person.
And Themistocles had two sons older than these three, Neocles and Diocles. Neocles died when he was young by the bite of a horse, and Diocles was adopted by his grandfather, Lysander. Themistocles had many daughters, of whom Mnesiptolema, whom he had by a second marriage, was wife to Archeptolis, her brother by another mother, and became priestess of Cybele ; Italia was married to Panthoides, of the island of Chios ; Sybaris to Nicomedes the Athenian.
After the death of Themistocles, his nephew, Phrasicles, went to Magnesiaand married, with her brothers' consent, another daughter, Nicomache, and took charge of her sister Asia, the youngest of all ten children.
Political and military career[ edit ] Background[ edit ] Themistocles grew up in a period of upheaval in Athens.
Outmaneuvering the other nobles, he proposed to the Athenian people a radical program in which political power would be invested in the people—a "democracy". Themistocles was to prove himself a master of the new system; "he could infight, he could network, he could spin This move marked him out as a 'man of the people', and allowed him to interact more easily with ordinary citizens.
He began building up a support base among these newly empowered citizens: Touring the taverns, the markets, the docks, canvassing where no politician had thought to canvas before, making sure never to forget a single voter's name, Themistocles had set his eyes on a radical new constituency"  However, he took care to ensure that he did not alienate the nobility of Athens.
Under his guidance, the Athenians began the building of a new port at Piraeusto replace the existing facilities at Phalerum. In advancing naval power, Themistocles was probably advocating a course of action he thought essential for the long-term prospects of Athens. Taking advantage of his incapacitation, the powerful Alcmaeonid family arranged for him to be prosecuted.
A Thessalian delegation suggested that the allies could muster in the narrow Vale of Tempeon the borders of Thessaly, and thereby block Xerxes's advance. However, once there, Alexander I of Macedon warned them that the vale could be bypassed by several other passes, and that the army of Xerxes was overwhelmingly large, and the Greeks retreated.
The route to southern Greece Boeotia, Attica and the Peloponnesus would require the army of Xerxes to travel through the very narrow pass of Thermopylae.
In short, the entire Athenian fleet must be dispatched to Artemisium.
To do this, every able-bodied Athenian male would be required to man the ships. This in turn meant that the Athenians must prepare to abandon Athens. The Athenian people, facing the gravest moment of peril in their history, committed themselves once and for all to the alien element of the sea, and put their faith in a man whose ambitions many had long profoundly dreaded.
When the Persian fleet finally arrived at Artemisium after a significant delay, Eurybiades, who both Herodotus and Plutarch suggest was not the most inspiring commander, wished to sail away without fighting.
The Peloponnesian contingents wanted to sail to the coast of the Isthmus to concentrate forces with the army. Themistocles appears to have been aiming to fight a battle that would cripple the Persian navy, and thus guarantee the security of the Peloponnesus. A number of historians believe that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.
The Peloponnesians refused to countenance marching north of the Isthmus to fight the Persian army; the Athenians tried to shame them into doing so, with no success. In response, realising the importance of the Athenian fleet to their security, and probably seeking to massage Themistocles's ego, the Spartans brought Themistocles to Sparta.Themistocles seems to have deliberately set Athens up as a rival to Sparta in the aftermath of Xerxes's invasion, basing this strategy on Athenian naval power (contrasted with the power of the Spartan army).
Themistocles’ Exhortation before Salamis: On Herodotus Vasiliki Zali I N THE COURSE of Book 8 of Herodotus’ Histories and after the battle at Artemisium, the Greek fleet puts in at Salamis at the Athenians’ request.
The historical novel A victor of Salamis; a tale of the days of Xerxes, Leonidas and Themistocles by William Stearns Davis follows the life, until death, of Themistocles. Temistocle (), opera by Johann Christian Bach; Themistocles serves as the protagonist of the film Rise of an Empire, played by Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton.
Themistocles' deceptive message to Xerxes on the eve of the battle of Salamis was the most famous of all the stratagems attributed in anti quity to that wily operator. In addition to this, Themistocles sends Xerxes a deceitful message announcing that he himself stopped the Greeks from pursuing the Persian fleet (–3).
Herodotus goes on to relate that, later, Themistocles tried to extort money from Andros and other islands by threatening to lead the Greek fleet against them (–).
Themistocles (c. - c. BCE) was an Athenian statesman and general (strategos) whose emphasis on naval power and military skills were instrumental during the Persian wars, victory in which ensured that Greece survived its greatest ever threat.
As the historian Thucydides stated in his History of the Peloponnesian War, ‘Themistocles .