The importance of the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC

After a morning conference on radio at which I spoke on digital radio switchover [see my posting here], I wanted to unwind. so I went to see a movie: “300: Rise Of An Empire”. I’ll review the film later but, at that this stage, I just wanted to comment on the centrepiece of the movie which is the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC.

This was a sea battle between the Greeks and the Persians which has been described asĀ one of the most significant battles in human history. If the Greeks commanded by the admiral Themistocles had not defeated the Persians led by their emperor Xerxes in that critical naval encounter, then western civilisation would never have benefited from the enduring values of the Hellenic cultural tradition.

A few years ago, I read a book of counterfactual history called “What If?” [my review here]. That book states:

“For the last 2,500 years, Western civilisation has celebrated the miracle of Salamis as both the very salvation of its culture and the catalyst for a subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical explosion under the aegis of a triumphant and confident Athenian democracy.”


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