The siege of Andros in c.480 is an incident
recorded by Herodotus as taking part in the period after the Greek naval
victory at Salamis. In the aftermath of the Persian victory at Thermopylae they
had moved south, eventually reaching Attica, where they looted Athens. As they
came south a number of previous uncommitted Greek communities joined the
Persian cause, including the island of Andros, off the south-eastern tip of
Euboea, and not too far to the east of the Greek fleet at Salamis. In the
aftermath of the Greek naval victory at Salamis the Persian fleet retreated
back towards the Hellespont. The land army remained in Attica for a little
longer, and it took the Greeks some time to realise that the fleet had gone.
When they did finally set out in pursuit it was too late.
The Greeks soon realised that the Persian fleet had escaped, and put in at
Andros, where they debated what to do next. According to Herodotus the
Athenians wanted to go to the Hellespont to cut the bridge of ships and thus
trap the Persian army, but the rest of the fleet wanted to let Xerxes escape.
When the Athenian Themistocles realised
that he couldn't win the debate he changed sides, and supported the idea of
giving the Persians a way out. The Greeks next turned their attention to the
town of Andros.
Again Herodotus gives us an entertaining anecdote. Themistocles demanded money
from the Aegean islands, starting with Andros. He argued that the Athenians
came armed with 'Persuasion' and 'Compulsion'. In effect the people of Andros
were being fined for their brief support of the Persians between Thermopylae
and Salamis. They responded that Andros had two cruel gods, 'Poverty' and
'Insufficiency', and claimed that these were stronger than the Athenian claims.
As a result Themistocles laid siege to Andros. He also sent out demands for
money to other nearby communities, including Carystus at the south-eastern end
of Euboea, and Paros, located a little to the south of Andros. Both of these
communities gave in and sent money rather than risk being put under siege
themselves. The siege would appear to have been a short affair. The Greeks gave
up quite quickly, proving that the local's defiance had been well founded.
The Greeks then crossed to Euboea where they sacked the territory of Carystus
(perhaps this triggered the payment), and then returned to Salamis to set up
the victory offerings for the battle (this alone would suggest that the siege
of Andros was fairly short-lived).