According to legend, Queen Artemesia of Halicarnassus took the side of Persia during an Ionian revolt that took place around 500 BC. As her husband was dead, she ruled in her own right and commanded her own navy. Finding herself pinned down during the battle of Salamis with Greek ships attacking on one side and Persian ships blocking her way on the other, she made a name for herself by ramming a friendly ship to make her escape, thus confusing the Greeks into thinking she was an ally and confusing the Persian King Xerxes (already frustrated that his navy was floating around in confused circles) into thinking she'd sunk an enemy ship so that he famously declared "My men have become women, and women men". From the Greeks she earned a very high bounty on her head.

The historian Herodotus famously commented that Artemesia was the only woman in history who possessed the virtue andreia, literally, "manliness", akin to courage.