It was September—almost precisely 2500 years ago—and worlds hung in the balance. Despite the heroism of Leonidas of Sparta and his tiny holding force, the Persians triumphed at Thermopylae and were closing in. Athens herself already lay abandoned and smoldering, the Acropolis sacked. But that September, in the narrow waters between Salamis and the mainland, the combined Greek fleet won a stunning victory, which preserved the independence of Greece and Greek culture. And in century and a half which followed, those same Greeks laid the central foundation for Western Culture as we know it – Philosophy, theater, art and architecture—systematic rationality in all guises—in a profound sense the Odyssey of the West begins here.