The Battle of Salamis

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what is often called one of the most significant battles in history. In 480BC in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, between the mainland and the island of Salamis, a fleet of Greek allies decisively defeated a larger Persian-led fleet. This halted the further Persian conquest of Greece and, at Plataea and Mycale the next year, further Greek victories brought Persian withdrawal and the immediate threat of conquest to an end. To the Greeks, this enabled a flourishing of a culture that went on to influence the development of civilisation in Rome and, later, Europe and beyond. To the Persians, it was a reverse at the fringes of their vast empire but not a threat to their existence, as it was for the Greek states, and attention turned to quelling unrest elsewhere.

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  • Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones 2 episodes
    Professor in Ancient History at Cardiff University
  • Lindsay Allen 2 episodes
    Lecturer in Greek and Near Eastern History, King's College London
  • Paul Cartledge 21 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture and AG Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of Cambridge

Reading list

  • The Persian Empire: A History
    Lindsay Allen (British Museum Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire
    Pierre Briant (Eisenbrauns, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Greek Wars: The Failure of Persia
    George Cawkwell (Oxford University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Emptiness of Asia: Aeschylus' 'Persians' and the History of the Fifth Century
    Thomas Harrison (Bloomsbury, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Histories
    Herodotus (trans. Tom Holland, introduced by Paul Cartledge) (Penguin, 2013) Google Books →
  • Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West
    Tom Holland (Abacus, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period
    Amelie Kuhrt (Routledge, 2007) Google Books →
  • King and Court in Ancient Persia 559 to 331 BCE
    Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (Edinburgh University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Ctesias' History of Persia: Tales of the Orient
    Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones & James Robson (Routledge, 2012) Google Books →
  • The Athenian Trireme: The History and Reconstruction of an Ancient Greek Warship
    J. S. Morrison, J. E. Coates & N. B. Rankov (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction
    Jennifer T. Roberts (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece - and Western Civilization
    Barry Strauss (Simon & Schuster, 2005) Google Books →
  • Achaemenid Studies
    Christopher Tuplin (Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH, 1996) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 938 (Ancient Greece and Rome)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 480 BC, the Greek and Persian fleets fought in a bay by the island of Salamis, a short distance from Athens, in what's often called one of the most significant battles in history.