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In 480 B.C., Themisocles fails to persuade the Greeks to fight at Salamis. Instead, using the approximately 350 ships that in OTL would be used at Salamis, he organies a mass exodus from Greece. He launches the ships from Delphi , Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. Delphi's, Athens's, and Corinth's ships set sail and land at Sicily. Sparta's ships set off on their own and after a freak storm, sail into the OTL Niger River. Using their superior tactics, armor, and weapons, they subjugate and enslave the native tribes and create a Spartan Empire on the banks of the Niger.
Meanwhile, the other Greeks have landed in Sicily. They settle in easily and form a new Acropolis near OTL Mt. Etna. Themistocles sends exploration force north, where they find the Etruscans and the Romans. The Greeks stay on good terms with the Romans.
In Old Greece, the Persians have set up shop and also conquered Macedonia. The Persian's continue to tolerate Greek god's while indroducing Zoroastrianism. Another faith, brought by some of the Xerxes's subjects is Judaism, which becomes popular among the lower classes in Greece and also becomes very popular in Macedonia.
Meanwhile, the Spatans continue expanding, and discover elephants. They learn from a tribe how to train elephants and create massive armies of War Elephants.
The New Greeks have discovered Illyrians have settled near them. In 475 B.C., Greece amassed an army and with the help of the Romans, they irradicate the Illyrians' colonies. Rome conquers the Etruscans surrounding them, and Greece attempts to form a pact with Rome. They form the Greco-Roman Republic. By 430 B.C., they have captured the Celts of the North and the Celtiberians in Iberia. Border wars begin with Persia in Illyria.
In the Spartan Empire, unrest is rising from a lack of space. King Leonidas IV sends an expedition through Megaliamos (OTL the Sahara) and find the Berbers, who the Spartans befriend. They are told about the Carthaginian Empire, and persuade the Berbers to attack Carthage with them with promises of great wealth. With the Spartan's and Berber's complete land forces, they attack the Carthaginians, whose power lied in its navy and the army was amassing on ships to attack the Greco-Romans. The troops raze the ships and destroy most of Carthage's army. After the capture of Carthage, the nation surrenders, and Sparta learns what had become of their old comrades. They then send a specially equipped trireme with King Leonidas IV in it to Sicily and met with Themistocles II. Due to the city-states' former closeness, Sparta joins Greco-Rome. King Leonidas IV and Consul Lucas Julius send most of their armed forces to Rome to amass for an invasion of the Greek homeland. In 420 B.C., 20 diplomats sail deep into Illyrian territory in an unmarked boat. They negotiate the return of Illyria's original colonies if they ally with Greco-Rome in battle against the Persians. Illyria agrees. In the middle of the night, Illyrians attack the main base in Macedonia, and raze it. the fires marked the beginning of the Katakto Pali. Spartan ships were sailing to blockade the two thin straits separating Anatolia from Thrace so the Persians couldn't land any other troops. The Greco-Roman-Illyrian troops march towards Thessalonica, encountering very little resistance.