480 BCE, Thermopylae Salamis: The Persians launched their second invasion of Greece, led by Xerxes. They overrun Athens and most of Greece but at the Battle of Salamis, the Greek navy beat the Persians, forcing Xerxes to retreat to Asia. The Battle of Salamis was the turning point of the war that caused the Greeks to defeat the Persians. It was a naval battle in 480 BC that was fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. The Greeks (including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara) were outnumbered and to defeat the oncoming Persian navy they blocked the pass of Thermopylae, while they engaged with the fleet in the nearby straits of Artemisium. After the Greek navy was sadly pushed back they, in an act of extreme courage, attacked the Persian fleet to protect the Peloponnese. The Persians went into the straits of Salamis and were blocked in. The huge amount of Persian ships hindered them while the small number of Greek ships maneuvered through easily defeating enemy forces. This battle allowed the Greeks to go on the offensive.