The Athenian general Themistocles commanded the major Athenian component of the Greek fleet which engaged the Persian fleet in the Artemesion strait bedside the Thermopylai pass.

The object of holding the pass was to precipitate this sea battle to destroy the Persian amphibious threat to the southern Greek cities. The Greeks lost, and the pass was abandoned as having no further use.

The Greeks tried again in the strait at Salamis near Athens and defeated the Persian navy.

The blocking force at Thermopylai pass was commanded by the Spartan general King Leonides.

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