Persian Wars‎ > ‎


Who is Artemisia?

Queen of Halicarnassus. The only female commander on Persian side at Salamis. Her grandson exiles Herodotus.

What examples are there of her exemplary behaviour?

Experienced commander.
Advises Xerxes not to fight at Salamis in narrow waters.
Sent for again, for her opinion whether Mardonius should remain behind. Trusted – Xerxes accepts her view. If Mardonius fails, the failure belongs to him, if Mardonius wins, Xerxes can take credit.

What examples are there of her ruthless/bold behaviour?

Sinks an allied ship to escape an Athenian one – Xerxes misunderstands and gives credit/praise.
“My men have become women, and my women, men.”

What function does Artemisia serve in The Histories?

·        Entertainment – the exotic other. Atypical of a Greek subservient woman.

·        Herodotus includes her to glorify his home town (despite being exiled by her grandson).

·        Persian sympathy – positive portrayal, similar to Artabanus.