The Fierce and Bloody Artemisia
Artemisia I of Caria (flourished in the 400s BC) was ruler of Halicarnassus in Caria – a satrapy, or province, of the Persian Empire in southwestern Anatolia. A warrior queen and naval commander, she fought for Persia’s King Xerxes in his invasion of Greece. She was most famous for her role in the bloody naval Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, which her side lost, but in which she distinguished herself. She was the daughter of the king of Halicarnasus, who named her after the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis.
When she grew up, Artemisia married the satrap of Caria, and after his death, assumed the throne of Caria as regent for her underage son. Ancient reports depict her as a courageous and clever commander of men and ships. She distinguished herself in the naval Battle of Artemisium, which was fought simultaneously with the more famous Battle of Thermopylae. She so discomfited the Greeks in that engagement that they put a bounty on her head, and offered 10,000 drachmas to whoever killed or captured her. The reward went unclaimed.