Themostocles' Naval Bill

Shuvalov V. V.

Beginning his political carrier, Themistocles had already conceived his programme aimed to make Athens the most powerful state of the region. This programme can justly be called naval, since its main instrument was the strongest navy in the Mediterranean (which was yet to be built). Themistocles was far from being a convinced democrat, but his programme turned out to be deeply democratic. This was the main reason why it was opposed by the Alcmaeonids, Miltia-des and Aristides. Their opposition, together with the expensiveness of triremes, was the main reason why Themistocles' struggle for his ideas took so much time. The circumstances that helped him to win were (1) the necessity to build a strong navy for the war against Aegina, which became especially sharp in the 480s, and (2) the opening of new mines in 483, which provided the necessary money. Themistocles' naval programme was the most important step in Athenian sea policy. Its author realized the possibility (raised by Solon already) of transforming Athens into a sea power. This programme adopted, Athens immediately became the strongest sea power of Hellas, and thanks to this its might continued to grow in the following years.