Artemisia I of Caria

Artemisia I of Caria

Artemisia I of Caria (in Greek, "Αρτεμισία") (fl. 480 BC) became the ruler, after the death of her husband, as a client of the Persians – who in the 5th century BC ruled as the overlords of Ionia.

Artemisia is best remembered for her participation in the Battle of Salamis.


According to Herodotus ("Histories", Books 7 and 8), Artemisia was Halicarnassian on her father Lygdamis' side and Cretan on her mother's. [Artemisia in Herodotus [] ]

Battle of Salamis

Alone of her commanders, Artemisia counselled the Persian king Xerxes not to meet the Greeks at sea to do battle. Nevertheless, she participated in the Battle of Salamis in September, 480 BC as a Persian ally commanding five ships. At one point in the battle, with the Greeks on the point of capturing her trireme, Artemisia managed to escape in an unusual way. By design or accident, she turned and bore down on a ship from her own side, a Calyndian vessel, and ramming it amidships sank it with all hands. The Athenian ship then left her alone, presuming she must be fighting on the Greek side.

Xerxes watching from a distant hill-side assumed the Calyndian ship to be one of the enemy and was full of praise for Artemisia's bravery. Apparently none of the Calyndians survived to tell the real story. She escaped back to the Persians, where, according to Herodotus, Xerxes declared "My men have turned into women and my women into men!"

Artemisia convinced Xerxes to retreat back to Asia Minor after the defeat at Salamis, contrary to the advice of Mardonius, who wanted Xerxes to stay. Xerxes then sent her to Ephesus to take care of his sons. In return, Artemisia's lands did well by their alliance with the Persians.

Death and legacy

A legend, quoted by Photius, [Photius, " [ Myrobiblion, Codex 190] ", referring to a work called "New History" (now lost) by Ptolemaeus Chennus: "And many others, men and women, suffering from the evil of love, were delivered from their passion in jumping from the top of the rock, such as Artemesa, daughter of Lygdamis, who made war with Persia; enamoured of Dardarnus of Abydos and scorned, she scratched out his eyes while he slept but as her love increased under the inflence of divine anger, she came to Leucade at the instruction of an oracle, threw herself from the top of the rock, killed herself and was buried."] claims that Artemisia fell in love with a man named Dardanus, and when he ignored her, an oracle told her to jump to her death into the Aegean Sea from the rock of Leucas. In contrast, Herodotus had a favourable opinion of Artemisia, despite her support of Persia, possibly because he too came from Halicarnassus.

In popular culture

*In the movie "The 300 Spartans" (1962), Artemisia is portrayed by Anne Wakefield.

*In the Playstation 2 video game RPG "Persona 3" Artimisia is the ultimate Persona of Mitsuru Kirijo. This makes sense as Mitsuru's Tarot affinity is the "Empress" arcana.

Notes and references

Primary sources

* Vitruvius, "De architectura ii,8.10-11, 14-15"
* Pliny the Elder, "Naturalis historia" xxxvi.4.30-31
* Orosius, ""Historiae adversus paganos ii.10.1-3"
* Valerius Maximus, "Factorum et dictorum memorabilium" iv.6, ext. I
* Justinus, "Epitome Historiarum philippicarum Pompei Trogi ii.12.23-24"

econdary sources

* Herodotus, "The Histories", trans. Aubrey de Sélincourt, Penguin Books, 1954.
* Nancy Demand, "A History of Ancient Greece". Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1996. ISBN 0070162077

External links

* [ Artemisia of Halicarnassus]

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