peter greco

We see Artemisia of Halicarnassus, hotly pursued by a trireme from the Attica squadron, cram on all speed and ruthlessly run down one of her own side, a vessel commanded by some Carian princeling from nearby Calynda.

‘I cannot say’, Herodotus observes demurely, 'if she did this deliberately because of some quarrel she had with this man… or if it was just chance that that particular vessel was in the way.’

At all events, she did doubly well out of the error. Her assailant – that same Ameinias of Pallene who had attacked the Phoenician Admiral’s flagship at the onset of the engagement – observing what had happened, came to the conclusion that his quarry was either a Greek or a deserter fighting on the Greek side, and turned off in search for some other victim. Ameinias was out of his mind with rage and frustration when he learnt the truth, since the Athenians (who disliked the idea of a woman taking up arms against them) had put a 10,000-drachma price on Artemisia’s head, and given their captains special instructions to capture her at all costs.

—  An account of the end of the Battle of Salamis, fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BCE. The Greeks had decisively won and Xerxes’ ships and allies fled in confusion. Queen Artemisia downs an ally ship in her haste to retreat. But it worked well for her. It might have been the thing which allowed her to escape! From Peter Green, in The Greco-Persian Wars.