Resources, Civilizations and Empires

The Persian Empire

The Persian Empire to 480 B.C.

By Jack Barkstrom

The Fall of Athens

The Persian army resumed its advance towards Athens several days after the battle. Thebes and most of the Boeotian cities submitted. The Persian army reached Attica about a week after the battle. (Thermopylae and Artemisium have been dated to either July 21st or August 19th in  480 BC, and the Persian army arrived in Attica at the end of July or beginning of August, or alternatively, at the end of August or the beginning of September.

Following the withdrawal from Artemisium, the Greek fleet had assembled in the sound of Salamis.  The Athenians initially believed that the Spartans would try to intercept the Persian advance in Boeotia.  However, having lost a king in, what seemed to them, a foreign venture, they were unwilling to risk another force against the advancing Persians. They felt their best hope lay in a determined defense of the Isthmus approaches to the Peloponnese.  Their forces were pulled back and fortifications were strengthened.  Leonidas' brother, Cleombrotus, was placed in command.  The Scironian road was destroyed and a great wall was constructed.  Panicked by the approach of the Persian army, the Athenians decided that their city could not be held and made plans to abandon it.  The ten generals issued a proclamation that the Athenians were to save their children and households in any way that they could.  Most were sent to Troezen, Aegina, or Salamis. 

According to Herodotus, when Xerxes arrived at Athens (about the beginning of September), the city was nearly empty.  The only resistance came from a small group of temple stewards and fanatical poor men, who barricaded themselves in the Acropolis. (The oracle of Delphi had prophesied that Athens' wooden wall would save her and this group of defenders now interpreted the wooden wall to be the wooden barricade they erected at the Acropolis.)  However, the determination and tactics of the defenders suggests that the defense was too well organized to be the work of Athenian rabble.  The Athenians likely left a small garrison behind. (The Persians captured 500 prisoners in the fighting, who were later released by the Samians.).[64]

The Persians used the Areopagus, the small hill opposite the Acropolis, to launch their attack.  Using flaming arrows they managed to set the barricade on fire.  Although the smoke and fire made conditions for the defenders intolerable, they refused to surrender.  When the Persians sent troops forward to probe the defenses the defenders managed to push great stones over the walls onto those approaching the gates.  The Persians brought the confrontation to an end when they discovered an unguarded route and managed to get a small force to the top.  Realizing that their defense was now hopeless, some of the Athenians threw themselves off the walls to their deaths, while others retreated to the inner chamber.  The attackers found a way to open the doors and butchered those they found there.  The Acropolis was then plundered and set on fire. The siege had lasted about three weeks, ending on September 21st.


The island of Salamis lies just off the coast of Attica, west of Athens. The channel of water separating Salamis from the mainland is known as the Channel or Straits of Salamis. A ship entering the Straits after leaving the Piraeus, Athens' harbor complex, in 480 B.C. would have encountered Psyttalea, an islet at the mouth of the channel, which splits the entrance into two smaller channels. From Psyttalea to the mainland is about three-quarters of a mile. The same distance separates the island from the Cynosura (Cape Barbara), a thin finger of land stretching out from Salamis toward Psyttalea.  Running parallel with the Attic coast, the Cynosura forms the southern side of the channel, which is a little over a mile wide at this point. Where the Cynosura merges with Salamis it rounds into a small bay, called the Bay of Ambelaki, housing the port city of Salamis. The Straits narrow and the channel turns north before widening into the Bay of Eleusis. Where the channel turns north, the island of Aghios Giorgios (Farmakoussai) and a small island near the mainland serve to further narrow the passageway to half a mile.  The main Greek fleet would be stationed just north of these narrows, waiting for the Persian fleet to attempt a passage.  The problem Themistocles faced was luring the Persian ships into the Straits.

The Battle of Salamis occurred in September 480 B.C., although the exact date is uncertain.  It was either September 20th or September 23rd, according to most authorities.  The combined Greek fleet numbered 380 vessels.  The Athenians, with their 200 galleys, provided the backbone of the force.  According to Greek tradition, they faced a Persian armada of 1,000 ships.[65]

With Athens in Persian hands, the Bay of Phalerum became the assembly area for the Persian fleet.  In planning the next move in his campaign, Xerxes decided to hold an expanded council of war. He came down to Phalerum to meet with the various rulers and commanders of the fleet.  Mardonius, serving as the king's representative, made his rounds among the military leadership. The question was whether there was any need to fight another sea battle. 

The Carian queen Artemisia advised Mardonius not to fight. 'Spare your ships and do not fight this sea battle.'  The Greeks, as sailors, were superior at sea to the Persian naval forces, she argued, and sea battles, for the Persians, were therefore more risky.  Xerxes, in capturing Athens, already had achieved one of his main objectives.  If nothing else, the fleet could be used to intimidate the Greeks.  They were not prepared for a long confrontation and would soon run out of food.  The Persian military threat, directed at individual cities, would be enough to break up the alliance.  The Peloponnesians would be unwilling to fight for Athens if they found themselves threatened.[66]

Xerxes essentially thanked Artemisia for her advice, then went with the majority and ordered the fleet to prepare for battle.  Herodotus' account downplays the role of the Persian military staff and planners.  Xerxes, almost on a whim, could make snap decisions.  Whether Artemisia's speech actually took place, it probably was an accurate assessment of the military situation existing prior to the battle.  The superiority of the Greek navy was readily recognized even by the Persians.  It was not the only consideration in military planning, but it did need to be factored in.

It is likely that Xerxes' war council took place on the eve of the battle. Yet, the preliminaries  had begun long before the fleets actually met in the straits of  Salamis. Initially Persian strategy was to continue its campaign against Greece by invading the Peloponnese. If a confrontation with the Greek fleet, which had taken up a defensive position in the sound of Salamis, was to be avoided, then at least it needed to be neutralized.  If it would not come out of the sound, then the Persians would bottle it up.  They began blockading operations by construction of a causeway made of ships lashed together between Salamis and Attica, on the eastern side of the sound.  The Greeks countered with a regiment of archers which, if nothing else, harassed the crews trying to complete the mole.  In the end, there were not enough ships to both complete the span and support the Peloponnesian advance. Xerxes requested additional ships, including the Pontic fleet from the Hellespont.[67]

News that the Persian fleet was being reinforced alarmed the Greeks.  Food was running short and there was now the danger that the Persians would either finish the causeway or would use their ships to enforce the blockade. The question was whether to stay, and risk starvation, or to escape, in hopes of saving the fleet to continue the fight later.  Eurybiades, the fleet's Spartan commander, instinctively favored ordering the fleet to disperse and make a stand at the Isthmus.  Themistocles, commanding the Athenian fleet, came close to blackmailing him.  He would either order the ships to remain in the straits of Salamis, or the Athenians would refuse to follow his lead to the Peloponnese.  Without the Athenian navy, the other Greek ships would refuse to follow the Spartan lead and would sail home.  At one point, Themistocles threatened that the Athenians would move their entire population from Athens to Italy, if the fleet left Salamis. Eurybiades relented and the fleet was ordered to remain.

Themistocles, fearful that the Greek allies would decide to abandon Salamis, contrary to orders, sent a messenger named Sicinnus to the Persians.  Sicinnus was to tell them that Themistocles had switched sides and wanted to help defeat the Greeks.  The Greek fleet was on the verge of breaking up. While the dissolution of the fleet would serve to eliminate the threat posed at sea, Sicinnus tempted them with an alternative proposition. If morale among the Greeks was bad enough to cause them to think of abandoning Athens, it would be relatively easy to capture the entire fleet.  Let individual Greek ships slip the blockade and the fleet could be reassembled to fight the Persians again. Destroy or capture the ships before they escaped Salamis and there would be no Greek fleet to resurrect. After discussing this news, the Persians decided to block the exits from Salamis, trapping the Greeks and bringing the blockade to a successful conclusion.  They landed a force of 400 soldiers on the island of Psyttaleia. The Egyptian squadron of 200 vessels was ordered to sail around Salamis to block any Greek escape through the Megarian Channel. Opposing them was a squadron of 50 Corinthian warships, sent by the Greeks to guard the Megarian Channel and the approach to Salamis from the west.[68]

Eurybiades' order to stay had not stopped debate among the Greek commanders.  During the debate Aristides arrived to inform them that the Persian fleet had encircled their force. They must now prepare to fight.  A Tenian ship, deserting from the Persians, arrived to confirm the news. Before ordering the Greek crews to their ships, Themistocles set about making a sacrifice.  Three Persian captives, said to be the children of Artayctes and Sanduce, Xerxes' sister, were brought to him.  The prophet Euphrantides asked that they be consecrated for sacrifice, and offered to Bacchus the Devourer, with prayers for victory.  Themistocles was reluctant, but when a mob seized the three prisoners and led them to the altar, the three were sacrificed [69]

It is not known how the Greeks lured the Persian fleet into the trap. One theory is that a decoy squadron was launched from the Bay of Ambelaki, screened by the promontory of the Cynosura.  Moving east in column along the promontory, the crews were unusually noisy, alerting the Persians to their presence even before they could be seen.  The crews of the Ionian and Phoenician warships watched the ships, one by one, as they emerged from behind the Cape.  The Greek ships, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the enemy vessels, continued moving forward, then began to slow. Turning their prows toward the Persians in a defensive posture, they slowly began to back up.  For a Persian fleet expecting the Greeks to surrender, the Greek hesitancy reinforced the image of a beaten force.  Was the Greek fleet which had fought so fiercely at Artemisium now afraid to engage them?  It was rumored that Xerxes was coming down to the water to accept the surrender of the Greek fleet.

The Phoenician and Ionian commanders let their enthusiasm get the better of their judgment, if only for a few minutes. It was all that was needed to turn their command into chaos.  The Greek line, resembling a crescent as it receded in the distance, looked less and less like a trap and more and more like an opportunity.  Their confidence grew. They would be soon be strengthened by the reinforcements from the Pontic fleet.  Xerxes, who would reward those who distinguished themselves, was watching from one of the hills above. Whether the commanding officers gave a general order to attack or whether a few ships took it on themselves to give chase, the Phoenicians and Ionians began to move into the Channel.  Other than advancing as rapidly as possible against the retreating Greek ships, the Persian command had given little thought to the organization of their attack and it was now virtually impossible to recall any of their ships.

The three contingents of the Persian fleet soon filled the main channel, advancing toward Aghios Giorgios.  The Phoenicians, with their high-decked ships, on the right, were in the lead.  The Cypriot and Levantine vessels were in the center, while the Ionian ships were on the left.  Many of the Greek crews, seeing the size of the approaching Persian force, lost confidence in Themistocles' gamble, and simply beached their ships.  Those who did not abandon the fight however, were beginning to wonder what their commanders were thinking.   Why were they not ordered to attack?  It was said later that a phantom appeared in the form of woman and taunted them: 'Madmen,' she said, 'how much further are you going to back up?'[70] 

The main Greek fleet was now fully deployed north of the narrows. Eurybiades, the Spartan commander-in-chief, with the Peloponnesian squadron, was stationed on the Greek right.  The Athenians, commanded by Themistocles, formed the center and left.  Geographical location would now provide the Greeks with a major advantage. The passage through the narrows between Aghios Giorgios and the mainland, about half a mile wide, left enough room for only twenty galleys rowing abreast.  If the Persians had a thousand ships in the straits, only twenty were in a position to close with the enemy.  The Phoenician warships were the first to move through the narrows, but they were unable to organize an effective formation for either attack or defense.  Themistocles either personally led the initial attack or signaled to the other Athenian ships to move in. Among the first to respond was the Athenian, Aminias of Pallene, who rammed the Phoenician flagship, commanded by Xerxes' brother Ariamenes (Ariabignes) head on.  The two ships became entangled.  When Ariamenes led a boarding party to capture the Greek ship, Aminias and Sosicles ran him through with a lance and threw his body overboard.  Other Greek ships moved in to help and, gaining confidence, began to press their attack.

Tactically, the Greeks did not need to sink or destroy all the Persian ships.  They merely needed to disable them. The floating wrecks of destroyed vessels served to clog the passage further, presenting obstacles which the Persian vessels needed to navigate through.  The Phoenician galleys, with their high decks and sterns, were faced with another problem.  A sea breeze, which created a strong swell in the waters of the channel, made them difficult to maneuver.  The swells caused them to roll and their high decks suffered damage when they collided.  Unable to turn quickly enough, they were vulnerable to broadside attacks from the Greek triremes.

If the Greeks, and particularly the Athenians, relied heavily on their ability to ram and sink enemy vessels, the fighting did not end with a wood-shattering collision.  The Athenian triremes carried a complement of eighteen marines, made up of fourteen men-at-arms and four archers.  Their orders were to board and capture enemy ships, once they had been rammed.  Their armor, made of bronze, gave them a distinct advantage over the Persian marines, whose protection consisted primarily of cloth helmets, leather corselets, and woven-wicker shields.  As they swarmed unto the decks of the crippled ships, they overwhelmed the defenders.  Persian archers tried to bring them down, but arrows were not enough to stop them.  

Despite the difficulties of the narrows passage, the Ionians had managed to bring enough vessels through to mount a strong challenge to the Peloponnesian squadron.  Yet they were unable to continue the fighting when the Phoenician right collapsed.  The Phoenician commanders decided that they could no longer sustain their attack.  Their front-line ships turned around in an attempt to withdraw.  In doing so, they collided with fresher ships, coming up to join the attack.  The loss of momentum was observed by the Ionians in the center and left, causing them to disengage and flee.

As the Persians began to disengage they found themselves under attack from an unexpected direction.  Aeginetan and Megaran vessels, sailing out of the Bay of Ambelaki, fell on the Persian ships still in the Salamis Channel. The ships which managed to escape returned to their anchorage in the Bay of Phalerum and the protection of the Persian army.  The Persian force which had been left on Psyttaleia was forgotten.  Aristides collected a force of soldiers, sailed over to the island and massacred the Persians left there.  According to Herodotus, Persian losses among sailors and marines were made higher by the fact that few knew how to swim.   The Greeks showed those who did survive little mercy.  As they moved through the floating wreckage, any Persian sailors or marines found clinging to the debris were clubbed to death, either with improvised clubs or with oars.[71]

The fighting had lasted for seven or eight hours and the Persians lost (or saved) about half their fleet. By one estimate, the Greeks lost forty ships, the Persians over 200. This number was the number sunk and probably did not include those captured.  While the Greeks had won a decisive victory, they had not managed to destroy the Persian fleet.  When the Persian vessels retreated to Phalerum, the Greeks, rather than pressing their attack, were content to return to their base on Salamis.[72]

Whatever plans Xerxes may have had to renew the fight were quickly abandoned, once a military council assessed the results of the battle. He had been placed on the defensive.  While he still hoped to conquer Greece, he was fearful that he would himself be trapped in Europe. The Greeks might sail to the Hellespont and destroy the bridge there, cutting off his line of retreat, or, just as terrifying, stir up a revolt among the Ionians  With his fleet still outnumbering that of the Greeks, was he abandoning his goal prematurely?  Athens had been captured and victory seemed in sight. Was the real problem a "loss of nerve" or was the extent of the Greek victory not entirely apparent from the battle statistics?

In one sense the loss of 200 ships, out of an estimated force of 1,000, while a severe blow, still left a sizeable navy.  But it also assumes that the Greeks had made an accurate count and/or had not exaggerated the number of ships they were facing at the beginning of the fight.  If the actual size of the fleet was substantially smaller, the greater the proportionate loss suffered.  If, for example, the Persian fleet had been around 400, the loss of 200 ships would have meant a casualty/loss rate of fifty percent.  Another problem was the distribution of losses among the various squadrons.  It appears that some forces suffered greater losses than others.  The Phoenician fleet, considered one of the most powerful wings of the Persian navy going into Salamis, had been virtually annihilated.  Coming out of the battle, it may have been reduced to a single squadron.  That may be the reason Xerxes ordered the execution of the Phoenician command (not, as reported, for slandering the Ionians).

According to the story, some Phoenician survivors came to Xerxes toward the end of the battle, and blamed the outcome on the traitorous actions of the Ionian commanders.  As they were talking, Xerxes happened to see an encounter between a Samothracian and an Aeginetan ship. The Samothracian ship had just rammed an Attic ship, causing it to sink. Before the Samothracians could back their ship away from the entanglement, an Aeginetan ship attacked them, and their ship began to sink.  From the deck of their sinking ship they mounted a javelin attack on the Aeginetans, killing those who showed themselves.  They then boarded the Aeginetan ship and captured her. Angered, Xerxes ordered his servants to behead the Phoenicians.  Having shown themselves to be cowards, he would not allow them to slander those who were better than they.[73]  

Despite the outward show of support for the Ionians, Xerxes may have been entertaining doubts about their continued loyalty.  He was only too aware that, while political expediency might make them temporary allies of Persia, their cultural ties to mainland Greece would, ultimately, pull them away.  Persian military prestige had been damaged by Salamis, but of greater significance, for the Ionian cities, was the fact that the defeat had taken place at sea.  It was the Persian navy which had suffered the loss.  The key to intimidation and control of a kingdom of island states was a powerful navy.  The Phoenician fleet, which had been a major Persian tool in the subjugation of the Ionian cities, had been demolished by a smaller Athenian fleet, and the Ionians had been present to see it dismantled.

Concluding that the Persian fleet was now too weak to take the initiative at sea, Xerxes made plans to return home.  Responsibility for the conquest of Greece would be returned to the army - and left for the following year's campaigning season.  Victory, if it came, would be the result of a deliberately-planned campaign, not a spectacular shortcut.  Xerxes could blame the failure of the campaign on his commanders and point to the blunders committed at Salamis, but the underlying cause may have been a sudden shift in goals and unrealistically high expectations.  The Persian strategy of steadily advancing a massive army had, by-and-large, been successful. The capture of Athens was proof of that.  Yet, in his eagerness to bring the campaign to a swift conclusion, Xerxes temporarily deviated from that plan.

Xerxes did not flee Athens immediately after Salamis, although Herodotus claims he made plans to run away.  A decision was made, not to end the campaign, but to renew it the following spring, with Mardonius in command.  However, it was decided to evacuate Attica.  The main body of Persian troops would winter in Thessaly.  Artabazus and 60,000 troops were detached from the main force to accompany Xerxes back to the Hellespont.

The Greek response to the withdrawal was somewhat timid.  Indications that the Persian army was withdrawing were not believed. Even the normally aggressive Spartans were reluctant to leave their defensive positions on the Isthmus.  Cleombrotus claimed that a solar eclipse on October 2nd prevented him from attacking the Persian rear-guard as they withdrew to the north. The victorious Greek fleet, on the day following Salamis, seeing that the Persian army was still in camp, assumed that the Persian fleet was still there and preparing to renew the fight.  The Greeks  made plans to fight a defensive battle.  Like their Spartan counterparts, they seemed less than eager to take the offensive. Once it was confirmed that the Persian fleet had left, they are said to have immediately begun a pursuit.  Yet, they never caught sight of the fleeing ships, even though they pursued them as far as Andros (an island off the southern end of Euboea).

At a war council held on Andros, Themistocles is said to have proposed sailing to the Hellespont to destroy the bridges there, trapping Xerxes in Europe.  Eurybiades, still commander-in-chief, argued that Xerxes should be allowed to escape, He posed a greater threat to Greece if he felt trapped.  His argument carried the day.  The Peloponnesians, still holding the majority, voted to call off the pursuit.  More than likely the Spartans were unwilling to commit to an expanded war or, were more skeptical of a strategy relying so heavily on naval power.  The Persians were no longer an immediate threat.

Themistocles' plan to trap Xerxes by destroying the bridge was unnecessary.  When Xerxes arrived at the Hellespont the bridge was no longer there, probably destroyed by a storm.  He took a ship across to Abydos and continued on from there to Sardis.

The Greeks attributed their deliverance from the Persians, at least in part, to divine intervention.  Even Themistocles, not known for his humility, was willing to acknowledge the role of the gods. "It is not we who have won this victory, but the gods."  Athena, the Mistress of Athens, worked unceasingly on her behalf.  She not only pleaded on their behalf with her father, Zeus, but, according to some sailors, appeared over the fleet at Salamis, shouting encouragement.  Zeus finally gave in and helped, but only after the Greeks took to their ships.  Poseidon, god of the sea, sent the storms which destroyed part of the Persian fleet before it reached Salamis.

Just before Salamis, Dicaeus, an Athenian exile accompanying the Persians, was walking with Demaratus, a Lacedaemonian, on the Thriasian plain east of Eleusis.  They saw a cloud of dust rising from Eleusis, as if thousands of men were marching through.  Suddenly they heard a loud cry coming from the cloud.  Thinking it was associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries, Demaratus asked the Athenian what it meant.  Dicaeus said that it was the Iacchus-cry (the mystic name for Dionysus), the celebratory shouts of the annual festival.  Since the city of Athens was now empty of people, the sound was certainly divine in origin.  The Athenian added that it had to be a bad omen for the Persian force.  If it came down on the Peloponnese, the king and his army were in danger.  If it moved toward the Salamis, the Persian fleet was at risk.  As they watched the dust rise, it turned to mist and formed a cloud, which drifted toward Salamis and the ships waiting there.


(64) Herodotus VII, p. 141.
(65) Herodotus VIII, p. 82; Charles W. Eliot, LL.D., ed., "Plutarch's Lives" P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, (New York 1937), p. 18.
(66) Herodotus VIII, p. 68.
(67) Jim Hicks, "The Persians," p. 58; "Cambridge Ancient History," p. 305.
(68) Colin Thubron, "The Seafarers: The Ancient Mariners," Time-Life Books, (Alexandria, VA 1981), p. 62.
(69) Plutarch, "Lives," "Themistocles," p. 18.
(70) Herodotus VIII, p. 84.
(71) Colin Thubron, "The Ancient Mariners," p. 67; Herodotus VIII, p. 95.
(72) "Cambridge Ancient History," p. 312-313; Colin Thubron, "The Ancient Mariners," p. 67.
(73) Herodotus VIII, p. 90.
(74) Colin Thubron, "The Ancient Mariners," p. 64; Herodotus VIII, p. 65.

Suggestions for further reading.

Enzo Angelucci and Attilio Cucari, "Ships," McGraw-Hill Book Company, (New York 1975)

Clifford N. Anderson, "The Fertile Crescent: Travels in the Footsteps of Ancient Science," Sylvester Press, (Fort Lauderdale, FL 1972).

Robert B. Asprey, "War in the Shadows: The Guerrilla in History," William Morrow and Company, Inc., (New York, NY 1994).

James Barter, "Lost Civilizations: The Ancient Persians," Lucent Books, (Farmington Hills, MI 2006).

S. G. F. Brandon, "Milestones of History: Ancient Empires," Newsweek Books, (New York 1973).

Tim Burford, Norm Longley, and Thomas Brown, "The Rough Guide to Romania," Rough Guides, (New York 2004).

J. B. Bury, S. A. Cook, F. E. Adcock, eds., "The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume IV: The Persian Empire and the West," Cambridge at the University Press, (London, New York 1964).

J. B. Bury and Russell Meiggs, "A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great," Macmillan, (London 1989).

Roberta Conlan, Managing ed., "Lost Civilizations: Anatolia: Cauldron of Culture," Time-Life Books, (Alexandria, VA 1995)

Paul K. Davis, "100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present" Oxford University Press, (Oxford 1999)

Charles W. Eliot, LL.D., ed., "Plutarch's Lives" P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, (New York 1937)

Richard N. Frye, "The Heritage of Persia" The New American Library, (New York 1963)

Janet Serlin Garber, ed., "The Concise Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations," Franklin Watts, (New York, NY 1978).

Roman Ghirshman, Vladimir Minorsky, Ramesh Sanghvi, "Persia the Immortal Kingdom," Orient Commerce Establishment, (New York, NY 1971).

Nicolas Grimal, translated by Ian Shaw, "A History of Ancient Egypt" Blackwell, (Oxford 1992).

Felix Guirand, ed., translated by Richard Aldington and Delano Ames, "New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology," Prometheus Press, (New York 1959).

Herodotus, translated by David Grene, "The History," The University of Chicago Press, (Chicago, 1987)

Jim Hicks, "The Persians," Time-Life Books, (New York, NY 1975).

John Keegan, "A History of Warfare," Alfred A. Knopf, (New York 1993).

Veres Laszlo and Richard Woodman, "The Story of Sail," Naval Institute Press, (Annapolis, MD 1999).

Richard Russell Lawrence, ed. "The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Naval Battles," Carroll & Graf Publishers, (New York, NY 2003).

Professor John M. Mackenzie, Gen. ed., "Peoples, Nations and Cultures: An A-Z of the Peoples of the World, Past and Present," Weidenfeld & Nicolson, (London 2005).

Sandra Mackey, "The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation," Dutton, (New York, NY 1996).

Jane R. McIntosh, "Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspectives," ABC CLIO, (Santa Barbara 2005).

J.M. Roberts, "History of the World," Oxford University Press, (New York 1993).

Colin Thubron, "The Seafarers: The Ancient Mariners," Time-Life Books, (Alexandria, VA 1981).

Frederick G. Vosburgh, Editor, "Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World," National Geographic Society, (Washington, D.C. 1968)