Laurion mine - 483 B.C.

In 483-482 BC a new silver deposit was found in Laureium near Athens, and the Athenian leader Themistocles persuaded the citizens to forgo their usual dividend from the mine ( about 10 drachmas each ) so that the city could use the money to build a large fleet to help them in their war against the Aeginetans.

Lisa Kallet-Marx has argued that the deliberate construction of a navy was a fundamentally new concept in classical warfare. At the time, armies consisted of farmers and citizens who could be called upon when needed, and disbanded after short campaigns. The maintenance costs in that instance was very low: Sparta, for example, had the premier land army in classical Greece, with little or no sound financial base. Ships, on the other hand, cost money to build, needing constant maintenance even in harbor, and had to be manned by large crews of professional sailors. Strategically effective as it could be, a navy demanded a rich resource base. Athens, perhaps unknowingly, set out on a pathway that would demand that large amounts of money be available at all times, whether by mining, looting, or exacting tribute from allies and possessions. Athens already had 70 fighting ships, but used the Laurion money to build another 130, essentially tripling its sea-power. (example of Athens coinage)

A sample of galena from the Laurion mine. Galena is a form of iron ore which is a signal that silver is nearby. From the 'Numismatic Museum of Athens'



Though the ex-Spartan King, Demaratus was now part of the Persian kings council he felt for his former homeland and sent a secret message to Sparta [1]. Once deciphered the ephors sent the message around to all the Greeks states, including Athens. A vast Persian army was being raised and it was heading toward Greece.



NEXT PAGE>>>The Thessalian invade the Phocians

*01 This argument is from 'Lisa Kallet-Marx' paper.

'Histories' by Herodotus published by Wordsworth 1996



Note#1: The Spartan Queen Gorgo was the one who was able to realise how the message was decifered.

Copyright 2011 | All Rights Reserved