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14.

As regards the number of the Barbarian ships, Aeschylus the poet, in his tragedy of ‘The Persians,’ as though from personal and positive knowledge, says this:—

But Xerxes, and I surely know, had a thousand ships
In number under him; those of surpassing speed
Were twice five score beside and seven; so stands the count.
1 The Attic ships were one hundred and eighty in number, and each had eighteen men to fight upon the decks, of whom four were archers and the rest men-at-arms. [2]

Themistocles is thought to have divined the best time for fighting with no less success than the best place, inasmuch as he took care not to send his triremes bow on against the Barbarian vessels until the hour of the day had come which always brought the breeze fresh from the sea and a swell rolling through the strait. This breeze wrought no harm to the Hellenic ships, since they lay low in the water and were rather small; but for the Barbarian ships, with their towering sterns and lofty decks and sluggish movements in getting under way, it was fatal, since it smote them and slewed them round broadside to the Hellenes, who set upon them sharply, keeping their eyes on Themistocles, because they thought he saw best what was to be done, [3] and because confronting him was the admiral of Xerxes, Ariamenes, who being on a great ship, kept shooting arrows and javelins as though from a city wall,—brave man that he was, by far the strongest and most just of the King's brothers. It was upon him that Ameinias the Deceleian and Socles the Paeanian bore down,—they being together on one ship,—and as the two ships struck each other bow on, crashed together, and hung fast by their bronze beaks, he tried to board their trireme; but they faced him, smote him with their spears, and hurled him into the sea. His body, as it drifted about with other wreckage, was recognized by Artemisia, who had it carried to Xerxes.

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