Lenormant Trireme Relief, c. 410 B.C., Marble
40 x 54 cm
The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
What's most evocative about this relief is that it provides very rare evidence of perhaps one of the most central objects to Athens' global success as an empire in the 5th century BCE. It was Athenian triremes which, ten years after the decisive Athenian victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon (led by the general Miltiades), won the Battle of Salamis, the most important naval battle of the second Persian War in 480 BCE when Darius I's son, Xerxes, again attempted to invade Greece. And it was Athenian triremes, too, that were central in enabling Athens both to gain and to maintain their maritime empire across the Aegean.