The Athenian walls - 478 B.C.

Back over on the Italian side with the end of the Battle of Himera and the complete destruction of the Carthaginian invasion force. Gelo found himself lord of Sicily, which he continued to help to prosper until his death in 478 B.C. His brother Hiero I then became tyrannt of Syracuse.

The Etruscan civilization which was a indigenous people of mainland Italy were trying to expand and they went to war against the Greek colony in Campania. The Greeks went to Hiero I for help, which he offered. This lead to the naval Battle of Cumae. To which the Etruscan were defeated, ensuring Greek influence in Italy for some time to come.


A year after the Persian invasion failed, the Athenians began to rebuild their walls and to make Piraeus a major harbor, pushed onwards by that 'champion of sailors' Themistocles. A Spartan embassy, alarmed by Athenian power, suggested that they cooperate in tearing down the fortifications in Greece [1]. Instead, Themistocles was sent to Sparta as a delaying tactic until the Athenians had built their walls. Denying the rumours about the wall in Athens, he proposed to the Spartans that they send some officials to inspect the walls themselves, to which they did. Secretly, he got the Athenians to hold the ambassadors up, long enough for the walls to be completed. Once word reached Themistocles that the walls were ready, he openly told the Spartans what he had done. Irate at being tricked, he was dismissed from Sparta. [1].

On his arrival back to Athens, Themistocles had a new plan but couldn't let it be well known. The assembly said that if Aristeides approved the plan, they would allow it. Stangley, he wanted to set fire to the Greek arsenal so that Athens would become master of Greece at sea; but Aristeides told the assembly that although nothing could be more advantageous to Athens, nothing would be more unjust; so Athenians, trusting Aristeides, refused to follow Themistocles' plan.




  • *1 'Histories' by Herodotus (1.90)


cont:.. Seige of Byzantium


Note#1. The reason for this was that it would limit Persia from enterting Hellas again and fortifying itself into a city. This strategy though plays into Spartan hands as they were masters of land battles at this stage. And no city walls would mean they could enter any city they wished to.



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