Artemisia warns wisely against a decisive battle at Salamis (only to be overruled)
(68) “Tell the king, Mardonius, that I, who neither was most cowardly in the sea battles off Euboea nor performed the least feats of arms, say this: ‘Master, it is just for me to declare my real opinion, what I consider to be best for your cause. And I say to you this: spare your ships, and do not fight at sea. Their men are as much stronger than your men by sea as men are stronger than women.  Why is it so necessary for you to risk everything by fighting at sea? Do you not possess Athens, for which you set out on this march, and do you not have the rest of Hellas? No one stands in your way. Those who opposed you have received what they deserved. -- I will tell you how I think the affairs of your enemies will turn out: If you do not hurry to fight at sea, but keep your ships here and stay near land, or even advance into the Peloponnese, then, my lord, you will easily accomplish what you had in mind on coming here.  The Hellenes are not able to hold out against you for a long time, but you will scatter them, and they will each flee to their own cities. I have learned that they have no food on this island, and it is not likely, if you lead your army against the Peloponnese, that those of them who have come from there will sit still, nor will they care to fight at sea for Athens. But if you hurry to fight at sea immediately, I fear that your fleet if reduced to cowardice may also injure your army on land. In addition, my King, take this to heart: Good people's slaves tend to be base, and the slaves of the base tend to be good. You, who are best among men, have base slaves, who are accounted your allies, the Egyptians and Cyprians and Cilicians and Pamphylians, who are of no use at all.’”
69) When she said this to Mardonius, all who were well disposed towards Artemisia lamented her words, thinking she would suffer some ill from the king because she advised against fighting at sea. Those who were jealous and envied her, because she was given honor among the chief of all the allies, were glad at her answer, thinking she would be killed.  But when the counsels were reported to Xerxes, he was greatly pleased by Artemisia's opinion. Even before this he had considered her of excellent character, and now he praised her much more highly. Still he ordered that the majority be obeyed, for he believed that at Euboea they had purposely fought badly because he was not there.
Mardonius and Artemisia decide the exit strategy: (8.100-3)
Such was the plight of the Persians for all the time until the coming of Xerxes himself ended it. Mardonius, however, seeing that Xerxes was greatly distressed because of the sea-fight, and suspecting that he planned flight from Athens, thought that he would be punished for persuading the king to march against Hellas and that it was better for him to risk the chance of either subduing Hellas or dying honorably while engaged in a noble cause; yet his hope rather inclined to the subduing of Hellas. Taking all this into account, he made this proposal:  “Sire, be not grieved nor greatly distressed because of what has befallen us. It is not on things of wood that the issue hangs for us, but on men and horses; furthermore, there is no one among these men, who thinks that he has now won a crowning victory and will disembark from his ship in an attempt to withstand you, no, nor anyone from this mainland. Those who have withstood us have paid the penalty.  If then you so desire, let us straightway attack the Peloponnese, or if it pleases you to wait, that also we can do. Do not be downcast, for the Greeks have no way of escaping guilt for their former and their later deeds and from becoming your slaves. It is best then that you should do as I have said, but if you have resolved to lead your army away, even then I have another plan.  Do not, O king, make the Persians the laughing-stock of the Greeks, for if you have suffered harm, it is by no fault of the Persians. Nor can you say that we have anywhere done less than brave men should, and if Phoenicians and Egyptians and Cyprians ... have so done, it is not the Persians who have any part in this disaster.  Therefore, since the Persians are in no way to blame, be guided by me; if you are resolved not to remain, march homewards with the greater part of your army. It is for me, however, to enslave and deliver Hellas to you with three hundred thousand of your host whom I will choose.”
101). When Xerxes heard that, he was as glad and joyful as a man in his situation might be and said to Mardonius that he would answer him after deliberating which of the two plans he would follow. When he consulted with those Persians whom he summoned, he resolved to send for Artemisia as well, because he saw that she alone at the former sitting had discerned what was best to do.  When Artemisia came, Xerxes bade all others withdraw, both Persian councillors and guards, and said to her: “It is Mardonius' advice that I should follow here and attack the Peloponnese, for the Persians, he says, and the land army are not to blame for our disaster; of that they would willingly give proof.  Therefore he advises me to do this, or else he offers to choose three hundred thousand men of the army and deliver Hellas to me enslaved, while I myself by his counsel march homeward with the rest of the host.  Now I ask of you, seeing that you correctly advised me against the late sea-fight, counsel me as to which of these two things would be best for me to do.”
102). When she was asked for advice, she replied: “It is difficult, O king, to answer your plea for advice by saying that which is best, but in the present turn of affairs I think it best that you march back and that Mardonius, if he so wishes and promises to do as he says, be left here with those whom he desires.  For if he subdues all that he offers to subdue and prospers in his design, the achievement, Sire, is yours since it will be your servants who have accomplished it. If, on the other hand, the issue is contrary to Mardonius' expectation, it is no great misfortune so long as you and all that household of yours are safe;  for while you and the members of your household are safe, many a time will the Greeks have to fight for their lives. As for Mardonius, if any disaster befalls him, it is does not much matter, nor will any victory of the Greeks be a real victory when they have but slain your servant. As for you, you will be marching home after the burning of Athens, which thing was the whole purpose of your expedition.” (103). Artemisia's counsel pleased Xerxes, for it happened that she spoke what he himself had in mind. In truth, I think that he would not have remained even if all men and women had counselled him so to do--so panic-stricken was he. Having then thanked Artemisia, he sent her away to take his sons to Ephesus, for he had some bastard sons with him.