The Library of History

Page 225

Page 225 Grecians for Security, if they were put to the worst. The middle Battel was supplied by the rest of the Grecians.

Things being thus order'd and prepar'd, they forthwith set sail and possess'd themselves of the Straits and Passages between Salamis and Heraclea.

As for the King, he commanded the Admiral of his Fleet, that without any stop or delay, he should set upon the Enemy: And he plac'd himself upon an Eminence over against the Island of Salamis, from whence he might see all the Passages of the Battel.

The Persians, indeed at the First, while they could sail in the open Seas, every one kept his station: But when they began to enter the Straits, many of the Ships were Forc'd out of their Order, which occasion'd a great Tumult, and Confusion amongst the rest. Then the Admiral, who led the Van, fell in First with great Valour upon the Enemy, and was sunk at the First Charge, upon which, a great Terror seized the whole Fleet; for upon the Death of the Admiral many took upon e'm to command, and gave out several and different Orders; so that they durst not proceed further but tackt about and made to Sea.

The Athenians perceiving the Terror and Confusion of the Barbarians, fiercely pursu'd them; some of their Ships they struck through with the Beaks of their Vessels, and brusht off the Oars of others: And many of the Barbarians Gallies in the Flight, lying open with their Broad-sides to the Beaks of the Grecian Ships, by multitude of strokes were pierc'd through and through; So that now, not having time to turn the Heads of their Gallies, they fled as well as they could with their Oars revers'd.

The Phenicians, and Cyprian Ships being now dispersed by the Athenians, and forc'd to Fly, the Cilicians, Pamphylians, and Lycians, who were next to them, fought indeed at the First very obstinately; but when they saw the best and stoutest of the Ships routed, and making away, they hasted also out of the Danger.

In the other Wing, the Fight was for some small time doubtful, the Contest being vigorous on both sides; but the Phenicians and Cyprians being driven a-shoar, and the Athenians making Head upon the other, the Barbarians not able to bear the Shock, fled, and lost many of their Ships in the Flight. And thus the noble Grecians got a glorious Victory at Sea over the Barbarians.

In this Battel, Forty Ships of the Grecian Fleet were lost; but above Two Hundred Gallies of the other were sunk, besides those that were taken with their Ships and Men.

The King being thus unexpectedly overcome, in a Rage slew the Phenicians, as the first that fled; threatning the rest, that in due time he would measure out Punishments for them proportionable to their Demerits; who terrify'd with the King's Threats, forthwith made for Attica, but the Night following they sailed into Asia.

And now Themistocles, justly esteem'd the Author of this Victory at Sea, contrives another Stratagem not inferior to the former; for the Grecians being terrified, and not daring to fight at Land against so many Thousands of Men, he thus diminishes the Forces of the Enemy.

He sends his Childrens School-master to the King, with Instructions to acquaint him, that the Grecians were hasting with their Fleet to the Bridge, in order to pull it down.

This Message thè King believ'd, as very probable, and thereupon was in a terrible Fright, lest the Grecians, who had then the whole Command of the Seas, should block up his Passage into Asia, so that he could not return; he resolv'd therefore to be gone with all speed, and to leave Mardonius behind him, with an Army both of Horse and Foot, consisting of no less than Four Hundred Thousand Men. These Two pieces of Military Policy contriv'd by Themistocles, crown'd the Grecians with the renown of Two glorious Victories: And thus stood the Affairs of Greece. But now having declared sufficient for the present, the things that were transacted in Europe, we shall go on to those done elsewhere in Foreign Parts.