Adeimantus of Corinth & the Battles of Artemisium & Salamis

Instructor: Flint Johnson

Flint has tutored mathematics through precalculus, science, and English and has taught college history. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow

Learn about Adeimantus of Corinth, the leader of his city-state, at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis. When you are done, take the quiz and see what you've learned.

What was Happening?

In 490 B.C.E., the Persian emperor, Darius the Great, put down a revolt in Asia Minor. But in the process, he found out that the rebels had been helped by the Athenians. Darius called up an army and sailed to Greece to punish Athens and maybe conquer Greece. When he landed, the Athenians defeated him at the Battle of Marathon.

Ten years later his son Xerxes mounted his own invasion. Legend has it that he brought 2.5 or 4 million people and 1207 fighting ships with him, but modern estimates are more like 300,000 to 500,000. Considering Athens had only come up with 10,000 soldiers at Marathon, Xerxes' forces were overwhelming.

Adeimantus was a leading citizen of Corinth at the time. He commanded her navy during the entire campaign. He had 40 ships, second only to Athens.


The Battle of Artemisium set against the Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Artemisium

When Xerxes' forces came into Greece, Eurybiades, the official Greek commander, had no idea what to do. He was from Sparta after all, and Spartans had no experience with sailing. So the Athenian Themistocles came up with a plan to block the land forces at the Thermopylae pass, while the Greek navy stopped his ships at the Straits of Artemisium. Both strategies were going to make use of a narrow area to neutralize the overwhelming number of Persians. The Greeks, with their smaller, more maneuverable ships and their rams, were able to destroy the larger Persian ships at Artemisium. However, the army at Thermopylae was eventually surrounded and overwhelmed.

So the Greeks retreated and the Persians followed, taking Athens along the way. The Athenians had already retreated by then, but Xerxes had their homes.


Battle of Salamis, where the Greeks defeated the Persian navy and Andeimantus tried to retreat with his Corinthian ships
Battle of Salamis

Salamis was another strait that Themistocles hoped to lure the Persians into for a battle that would again favor the smaller, more maneuverable Greek ships. This was where Adeimantus of Corinth came in. He had done his part leading the Corinthians in the Battle of Artemisium, but when Themistocles made his suggestion, he took offense. The historian, Herodotus, says the two men debated at the war council:

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