The battles which were fought at that time with the ships of the Barbarians in the narrows were not decisive of the main issue, it is true, but they were of the greatest service to the Hellenes in giving them experience, since they were thus taught by actual achievements in the face of danger that neither multitudes of ships nor brilliantly decorated figure-heads nor boastful shouts or barbarous battle-hymns have any terror for men who know how to come to close quarters and dare to fight there; but that they must despise all such things, rush upon the very persons of their foes, grapple with them, and fight it out to the bitter end.
Of this Pindar seems to have been well aware when he said of the battle of Artemisium:—
Where Athenians' valiant sons set in radiance eternal
For verily the foundation of victory is courage.
Artemisium is a part of Euboea above Hestiaea,—a sea-beach stretching away to the north,—and just about opposite to it lies Olizon, in the territory once subject to Philoctetes. It has a small temple of Artemis surnamed Proseoea, which is surrounded by trees and enclosed by upright slabs of white marble. This stone, when you rub it with your hand, gives off the color and the odor of saffron.
On one of these slabs the following elegy was inscribed:—
Nations of all sorts of men from Asia's boundaries coming,
Sons of the Athenians once, here on this arm of the sea,
Whelmed in a battle of ships, and the host of the Medes was destroyed;
These are the tokens thereof, built for the Maid Artemis.
And a place is pointed out on the shore, with sea sand all about it, which supplies from its depths a dark ashen powder, apparently the product of fire, and here they are thought to have burned their wrecks and dead bodies.