The first Artemisia was the daughter of Lygdamis and was set up as the tyrant of Halicarnassus by the Persians, who were at the time the overlords of Ionia, after the death of her husband. She participated in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC as a Persian ally with five ships, but as she was about to be captured by the Greeks, she accidentally rammed and sunk a Persian ship, causing the Greeks to spare her life as they believed she had defected to the Greek side. She escaped back to the Persians, where the Persian king Xerxes I declared she had fought "like a man" while the rest of his fleet had fought "like women." Herodotus also had a favourable opinion of her, despite her support of Persia, probably because he was also from Halicarnassus. Artemisia convinced Xerxes to retreat back to Asia Minor after the defeat at Salamis, contrary to the advice of Mardonius, who wanted Xerxes to stay. Xerxes then sent her to Ephesus to take care of his sons. She was also said to have fallen in love with a man named Dardanus, and when he ignored her she jumped to her death into the Aegean Sea from Leucas.
The second Artemisia was the wife of king Mausolus of Halicarnassus in the 4th century BC. She had the Mausoleum built for him after his death, and the building was later considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Artemisia is a genus of herbs and sub-shrubs known for their volatile oils. They include Roman wormwood (A. ponticum), various garden plants, such as A. abrotanum and the artemisias that are lumped together as 'Dusty Miller,' and the wormwood (A. absinthium) used to flavor the liqueur Absinthe.