Themistocles (c. 524 - c. 460 BCE) was an Athenian statesman and general (strategos) whose emphasis on naval power and military skills were instrumental during the Persian wars, victory in which ensured that Greece survived its greatest ever threat. As the historian Thucydides stated in his History of the Peloponnesian War, 'Themistocles was a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite extraordinary and unparalleled.' (1.138.3). A brilliant strategist and canny politician he was perhaps a little too thirsty for glory and power for his own good but Themistocles was, without doubt, one of the most important and colourful figures of Classical Athens.

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