On assuming the command, he straightway went to work to embark the citizens on their triremes, and tried to persuade them to leave their city behind them and go as far as possible away from Hellas to meet the Barbarians by sea. But many opposed this plan, and so he led forth a large army to the vale of Tempe, along with the Lacedaemonians, in order to make a stand there in defence of Thessaly, which was not yet at that time supposed to be medizing.
But soon the army came back from this position without accomplishing anything, the Thessalians went over to the side of the King, and everything was medizing as far as Boeotia, so that at last the Athenians were more kindly disposed to the naval policy of Themistocles, and he was sent with a fleet to Artemisium, to watch the narrows.
It was at this place that the Hellenes urged Eurybiades and the Lacedaemonians to take the lead, but the Athenians, since in the number of their ships they surpassed all the rest put together, disdained to follow others,
—a peril which Themistocles at once comprehended. He surrendered his own command to Eurybiades, and tried to mollify the Athenians with the promise that if they would show themselves brave men in the war, he would induce the Hellenes to yield a willing obedience to them thereafter. Therefore he is thought to have been the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Hellas, and foremost in leading the Athenians up to the high repute of surpassing their foes in valor and their allies in magnanimity.
Now Eurybiades, on the arrival of the Barbarian armament at Aphetae, was terrified at the number of ships that faced him, and, learning that two hundred ships more were sailing around above Sciathus to cut off his retreat, desired to proceed by the shortest route down into Hellas, to get into touch with Peloponnesus and encompass his fleet with his infantry forces there, because he thought the power of the King altogether invincible by sea. Therefore the Euboeans, fearing lest the Hellenes abandon them to their fate, held secret conference with Themistocles, and sent Pelagon to him with large sums of money.
This money he took, as Herodotus relates,1
and gave to Eurybiades.
Meeting with most opposition among his fellow-citizens from Architeles, who was captain on the sacred state galley, and who, because he had no money to pay the wages of his sailors, was eager to sail off home, Themistocles incited his crew all the more against him, so that they made a rush upon him and snatched away his dinner.
Then, while Architeles was feeling dejected and indignant over this, Themistocles sent him a dinner of bread and meat in a box at the bottom of which he had put a talent of silver, and bade him dine without delay, and on the morrow satisfy his crew; otherwise he said he would denounce him publicly as the receiver of money from the enemy. At any rate, such is the story of Phanias the Lesbian.