With the defeat of the Persian army, Athens rose to fill a power vacuum left in the Aegean Sea. John Lewis reconstructs the internal struggles of the city and the different political viewpoints of figures such as Themistocles, Miltiades, and Cimon that would eventually lead the Athenians to assert their naval superiority and leadership. He goes on to explore the new-found relationships and increasing tensions with the other independent cities, particularly Sparta, which also competed for a hegemonic position over the Greeks.

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