1. Now when the report came to Dareios the son of Hystaspes of the battle which was fought at Marathon, the king, who even before this had been greatly exasperated with the Athenians on account of the attack made upon Sardis, then far more than before displayed indignation, and was far more desirous of making a march against Hellas. Accordingly at once he sent messengers to the various cities and ordered that they should get ready a force, appointing to each people to supply much more than at the former time, and not only ships of war, but also horses and provisions and transport vessels;1 and when these commands were carried round, all Asia was moved for three years, for all the best men were being enlisted for the expedition against Hellas, and were making preparations. In the fourth year however the Egyptians, who had been reduced to subjection by Cambyses, revolted from the Persians; and then he was even more desirous of marching against both these nations.
2. While Dareios was thus preparing to set out against Egypt and against Athens, there arose a great strife among his sons about the supreme power; and they said that he must not make his expeditions until he had designated one of them to be king, according to the custom of the Persians. For to Dareios already before he became king three sons had been born of his former wife the daughter of Gobryas, and after he became king four other sons of Atossa the daughter of Cyrus: of the first the eldest was Artobazanes, and of those who had been born later, Xerxes. These being not of the same mother were at strife with one another, Artobazanes contending that he was the eldest of all the sons, and that it was a custom maintained by all men that the eldest should have the rule, and Xerxes arguing that he was the son of Atossa the daughter of Cyrus, and that Cyrus was he who had won for the Persians their freedom. 3. Now while Dareios did not as yet declare his judgment, it chanced that Demaratos also, the son of Ariston, had come up to Susa at this very same time, having been deprived of the kingdom in Sparta and having laid upon himself a sentence of exile from Lacedemon. This man, hearing of the difference between the sons of Dareios, came (as it is reported of him) and counselled Xerxes to say in addition to those things which he was wont to say, that he had been born to Dareios at the time when he was already reigning as king and was holding the supreme power over the Persians, while Artobazanes had been born while Dareios was still in a private station: it was not fitting therefore nor just that another should have the honour before him; for even in Sparta, suggested Demaratos, this was the custom, that is to say, if some of the sons had been born first, before their father began to reign, and another came after, born later while he was reigning, the succession of the kingdom belonged to him who had been born later. Xerxes accordingly made use of the suggestion of Demaratos; and Dareios perceiving that he spoke that which was just, designated him to be king. It is my opinion however that even without this suggestion Xerxes would have become king, for Atossa was all-powerful. 4. Then having designated Xerxes to the Persians as their king, Dareios wished to go on his expeditions. However in the next year after this and after the revolt of Egypt, it came to pass that Dareios himself died, having been king in all six-and-thirty years; and thus he did not succeed in taking vengeance either upon the revolted Egyptians or upon the Athenians.
5. Dareios being dead the kingdom passed to his son Xerxes. Now Xerxes at the first was by no means anxious to make a march against Hellas, but against Egypt he continued to gather a force. Mardonios however, the son of Gobryas, who was a cousin of Xerxes, being sister’s son to Dareios, was ever at his side, and having power with him more than any other of the Persians, he kept continually to such discourse as this which follows, saying: “Master, it is not fitting that the Athenians, after having done to the Persians very great evil, should not pay the penalty for that which they have done. What if thou shouldest2 at this present time do that which thou hast in thy hands to do; and when thou hast tamed the land of Egypt, which has broken out insolently against us, then do thou march an army against Athens, that a good report may be made of thee by men, and that in future every one may beware of making expeditions against thy land.” Thus far his speech had to do with vengeance,3 and to this he would make addition as follows, saying that Europe was a very fair land and bore all kinds of trees that are cultivated for fruit, and was of excellent fertility, and such that the king alone of all mortals was worthy to possess it. 6. These things he was wont to say, since he was one who had a desire for perilous enterprise and wished to be himself the governor of Hellas under the king. So in time he prevailed upon Xerxes and persuaded him to do this; for other things also assisted him and proved helpful to him in persuading Xerxes. In the first place there had come from Thessaly messengers sent by the Aleuadai, who were inviting the king to come against Hellas and were showing great zeal in his cause, (now these Aleuadai were kings of Thessaly): and then secondly those of the sons of Peisistratos who had come up to Susa were inviting him also, holding to the same arguments as the Aleuadai; and moreover they offered him yet more inducement in addition to these; for there was one Onomacritos an Athenian, who both uttered oracles and also had collected and arranged the oracles of Musaios;4 and with this man they had come up, after they had first reconciled the enmity between them. For Onomacritos had been driven forth from Athens by Hipparchos the son of Peisistratos, having been caught by Lasos of Hermion interpolating in the works of Musaios an oracle to the effect that the islands which lie off Lemnos should disappear5 under the sea. For this reason Hipparchos drove him forth, having before this time been very much wont to consult him. Now however he had gone up with them; and when he had come into the presence of the king, the sons of Peisistratos spoke of him in magnificent terms, and he repeated some of the oracles; and if there was in them anything which imported disaster to the Barbarians, of this he said nothing; but choosing out of them the most fortunate things he told how it was destined that the Hellespont should be yoked with a bridge by a Persian, and he set forth the manner of the march. He then thus urged Xerxes with oracles, while the sons of Peisistratos and the Aleuadai pressed him with their advice.
7. So when Xerxes had been persuaded to make an expedition against Hellas, then in the next year after the death of Dareios he made a march first against those who had revolted. Having subdued these and having reduced all Egypt to slavery much greater than it had suffered in the reign of Dareios, he entrusted the government of it to Achaimenes his own brother, a son of Dareios. Now this Achaimenes being a governor of Egypt was slain afterwards by Inaros the son of Psammetichos, a Libyan. 8. Xerxes then after the conquest of Egypt, being about to take in hand the expedition against Athens, summoned a chosen assembly of the best men among the Persians, that he might both learn their opinions and himself in the presence of all declare that which he intended to do; and when they were assembled, Xerxes spoke to them as follows: (a) “Persians, I shall not be the first to establish this custom in your nation, but having received it from others I shall follow it: for as I am informed by those who are older than myself, we never yet have kept quiet since we received this supremacy in succession to the Medes, when Cyrus overthrew Astyages; but God thus leads us, and for ourselves tends to good that we are busied about many things. Now about the nations which Cyrus and Cambyses and my father Dareios subdued and added to their possessions there is no need for me to speak, since ye know well: and as for me, from the day when I received by inheritance this throne upon which I sit6 I carefully considered always how in this honourable place I might not fall short of those who have been before me, nor add less power to the dominion of the Persians: and thus carefully considering I find a way by which not only glory may be won by us, together with a land not less in extent nor worse than that which we now possess, (and indeed more varied in its productions), but also vengeance and retribution may be brought about. Wherefore I have assembled you together now, in order that I may communicate to you that which I have it in my mind to do. (b) I design to yoke the Hellespont with a bridge, and to march an army through Europe against Hellas, in order that I may take vengeance on the Athenians for all the things which they have done both to the Persians and to my father. Ye saw how my father Dareios also was purposing to make an expedition against these men; but he has ended his life and did not succeed in taking vengeance upon them. I however, on behalf of him and also of the other Persians, will not cease until I have conquered Athens and burnt it with fire; seeing that they did wrong unprovoked to me and to my father. First they went to Sardis, having come with Aristagoras the Milesian our slave, and they set fire to the sacred groves and the temples; and then secondly, what things they did to us when we disembarked in their land, at the time when Datis and Artaphrenes were commanders of our army, ye all know well, as I think.7 (c) For these reasons8 I have resolved to make an expedition against them, and reckoning I find in the matter so many good things as ye shall hear:— if we shall subdue these and the neighbours of these, who dwell in the land of Pelops the Phrygian, we shall cause the Persian land to have the same boundaries as the heaven of Zeus; since in truth upon no land will the sun look down which borders ours, but I with your help shall make all the lands into one land, having passed through the whole extent of Europe. For I am informed that things are so, namely that there is no city of men nor any race of human beings remaining, which will be able to come to a contest with us, when those whom I just now mentioned have been removed out of the way. Thus both those who have committed wrong against us will have the yoke of slavery, and also those who have not committed wrong. (d) And ye will please me best if ye do this:— whensoever I shall signify to you the time at which ye ought to come, ye must appear every one of you with zeal for the service; and whosoever shall come with a force best equipped, to him I will give gifts such as are accounted in our land to be the most honourable. Thus must these things be done: but that I may not seem to you to be following my own counsel alone, I propose the matter for discussion, bidding any one of you who desires it, declare his opinion.”
Having thus spoken he ceased; 9, and after him Mardonios said: “Master, thou dost surpass not only all the Persians who were before thee, but also those who shall come after, since thou didst not only attain in thy words to that which is best and truest as regards other matters, but also thou wilt not permit the Ionians who dwell in Europe to make a mock of us, having no just right to do so: for a strange thing it would be if, when we have subdued and kept as our servants Sacans, Indians, Ethiopians, Assyrians, and other nations many in number and great, who have done no wrong to the Persians, because we desired to add to our dominions, we should not take vengeance on the Hellenes who committed wrong against us unprovoked. (a) Of what should we be afraid? — what gathering of numbers, or what resources of money? for their manner of fight we know, and as for their resources, we know that they are feeble; and we have moreover subdued already their sons, those I mean who are settled in our land and are called Ionians, Aiolians, and Dorians. Moreover I myself formerly made trial of marching against these men, being commanded thereto by thy father; and although I marched as far as Macedonia, and fell but little short of coming to Athens itself, no man came to oppose me in fight. (b) And yet it is true that the Hellenes make wars, but (as I am informed) very much without wise consideration, by reason of obstinacy and want of skill: for when they have proclaimed war upon one another, they find out first the fairest and smoothest place, and to this they come down and fight; so that even the victors depart from the fight with great loss, and as to the vanquished, of them I make no mention at all, for they are utterly destroyed. They ought however, being men who speak the same language, to make use of heralds and messengers and so to take up their differences and settle them in any way rather than by battles; but if they must absolutely war with one another, they ought to find out each of them that place in which they themselves are hardest to overcome, and here to make their trial. Therefore the Hellenes, since they use no good way, when I had marched as far as the land of Macedonia, did not come to the resolution of fighting with me. (c) Who then is likely to set himself against thee, O king, offering war, when thou art leading both all the multitudes of Asia and the whole number of the ships? I for my part am of opinion that the power of the Hellenes has not attained to such a pitch of boldness: but if after all I should prove to be deceived in my judgment, and they stirred up by inconsiderate folly should come to battle with us, they would learn that we are the best of all men in the matters of war. However that may be, let not anything be left untried; for nothing comes of itself, but from trial all things are wont to come to men.”
10. Mardonios having thus smoothed over the resolution expressed by Xerxes had ceased speaking: and when the other Persians were silent and did not venture to declare an opinion contrary to that which had been proposed, then Artabanos the son of Hystaspes, being father’s brother to Xerxes and having reliance upon that, spoke as follows: (a) “O king, if opinions opposed to one another be not spoken, it is not possible to select the better in making the choice, but one must accept that which has been spoken; if however opposite opinions be uttered, this is possible; just as we do not distinguish the gold which is free from alloy when it is alone by itself, but when we rub it on the touchstone in comparison with other gold, then we distinguish that which is the better. Now I gave advice to thy father Dareios also, who was my brother, not to march against the Scythians, men who occupied no abiding city in any part of the earth. He however, expecting that he would subdue the Scythians who were nomads, did not listen to me; but he made a march and came back from it with the loss of many good men of his army. But thou, O king, art intending to march against men who are much better than the Scythians, men who are reported to be excellent both by sea and on land: and the thing which is to be feared in this matter it is right that I should declare to thee. (b) Thou sayest that thou wilt yoke the Hellespont with a bridge and march an army through Europe to Hellas. Now supposing it chance that we are9 worsted either by land or by sea, or even both, for the men are reported to be valiant in fight, (and we may judge for ourselves that it is so, since the Athenians by themselves destroyed that great army which came with Datis and Artaphrenes to the Attic land) — suppose however that they do not succeed in both, yet if they shall attack with their ships and conquer in a sea-fight, and then sail to the Hellespont and break up the bridge, this of itself, O king, will prove to be a great peril. (c) Not however by any native wisdom of my own do I conjecture that this might happen: I am conjecturing only such a misfortune as all but came upon us at the former time, when thy father, having yoked the Bosphorus of Thracia and made a bridge over the river Ister, had crossed over to go against the Scythians. At that time the Scythians used every means of entreaty to persuade the Ionians to break up the passage, to whom it had been entrusted to guard the bridges of the Ister. At that time, if Histiaios the despot of Miletos had followed the opinion of the other despots and had not made opposition to them, the power of the Persians would have been brought to an end. Yet it is a fearful thing even to hear it reported that the whole power of the king had come to depend upon one human creature.10 (d) Do not thou therefore propose to go into any such danger when there is no need, but do as I say:— at the present time dissolve this assembly; and afterwards at whatever time it shall seem good to thee, when thou hast considered prudently with thyself, proclaim that which seems to thee best: for good counsel I hold to be a very great gain; since even if anything shall prove adverse, the counsel which has been taken is no less good, though it has been defeated by fortune; while he who took counsel badly at first, if good fortune should go with him has lighted on a prize by chance, but none the less for that his counsel was bad. (e) Thou seest how God strikes with thunderbolts the creatures which stand above the rest and suffers them not to make a proud show; while those which are small do not provoke him to jealousy: thou seest also how he hurls his darts ever at those buildings which are the highest and those trees likewise; for God is wont to cut short all those things which stand out above the rest. Thus also a numerous army is destroyed by one of few men in some such manner as this, namely when God having become jealous of them casts upon them panic or thundering from heaven, then they are destroyed utterly and not as their worth deserves; for God suffers not any other to have high thoughts save only himself. (f) Moreover the hastening of any matter breeds disasters, whence great losses are wont to be produced; but in waiting there are many good things contained, as to which, if they do not appear to be good at first, yet one will find them to be so in course of time. (g) To thee, O king, I give this counsel: but thou son of Gobryas, Mardonios, cease speaking foolish words about the Hellenes, since they in no way deserve to be spoken of with slight; for by uttering slander against the Hellenes thou art stirring the king himself to make an expedition, and it is to this very end that I think thou art straining all thy endeavour. Let not this be so; for slander is a most grievous thing: in it the wrongdoers are two, and the person who suffers wrong is one. The slanderer does a wrong in that he speaks against one who is not present, the other in that he is persuaded of the thing before he gets certain knowledge of it, and he who is not present when the words are spoken suffers wrong in the matter thus — both because he has been slandered by the one and because he has been believed to be bad by the other. (h) However, if it be absolutely needful to make an expedition against these men, come, let the king himself remain behind in the abodes of the Persians, and let us both set to the wager our sons; and then do thou lead an army by thyself, choosing for thyself the men whom thou desirest, and taking an army as large as thou thinkest good: and if matters turn out for the king as thou sayest, let my sons be slain and let me also be slain in addition to them; but if in the way which I predict, let thy sons suffer this, and with them thyself also, if thou shalt return back. But if thou art not willing to undergo this proof, but wilt by all means lead an army against Hellas, then I say that those who are left behind in this land will hear11 that Mardonios, after having done a great mischief to the Persians, is torn by dogs and birds, either in the land of the Athenians, or else perchance thou wilt be in the land of the Lacedemonians (unless indeed this should have come to pass even before that upon the way), and that thou hast at length been made aware against what kind of men thou art persuading the king to march.”
11. Artabanos thus spoke; and Xerxes enraged by it made answer as follows: “Artabanos, thou art my father’s brother, and this shall save thee from receiving any recompense such as thy foolish words deserve. Yet I attach to thee this dishonour, seeing that thou art a coward and spiritless, namely that thou do not march with me against Hellas, but remain here together with the women; and I, even without thy help, will accomplish all the things which I said: for I would I might not be descended from Dareios, the son of Hystaspes, the son of Arsames, the son of Ariaramnes, the son of Teïspes, or from Cyrus,12 the son of Cambyses, the son of Teïspes, the son of Achaimenes, if I take not vengeance on the Athenians; since I know well that if we shall keep quiet, yet they will not do so, but will again13 march against our land, if we may judge by the deeds which have been done by them to begin with, since they both set fire to Sardis and marched upon Asia. It is not possible therefore that either side should retire from the quarrel, but the question before us is whether we shall do or whether we shall suffer; whether all these regions shall come to be under the Hellenes or all those under the Persians: for in our hostility there is no middle course. It follows then now that it is well for us, having suffered wrong first, to take revenge, that I may find out also what is this terrible thing which I shall suffer if I lead an army against these men — men whom Pelops the Phrygian, who was the slave of my forefathers, so subdued that even to the present day both the men themselves and their land are called after the name of him who subdued them.”
12. Thus far was it spoken then; but afterwards when darkness came on, the opinion of Artabanos tormented Xerxes continually; and making night his counsellor he found that it was by no means to his advantage to make the march against Hellas. So when he had thus made a new resolve, he fell asleep, and in the night he saw, as is reported by the Persians, a vision as follows:— Xerxes thought that a man tall and comely of shape came and stood by him and said: “Art thou indeed changing thy counsel, O Persian, of leading an expedition against Hellas, now that thou hast made proclamation that the Persians shall collect an army? Thou dost not well in changing thy counsel, nor will he who is here present with thee excuse thee from it;14 but as thou didst take counsel in the day to do, by that way go.” 13. After he had said this, Xerxes thought that he who had spoken flew away; and when day had dawned he made no account of this dream, but gathered together the Persians whom he had assembled also the former time and said to them these words: “Persians, pardon me that I make quick changes in my counsel; for in judgment not yet am I come to my prime, and they who advise me to do the things which I said, do not for any long time leave me to myself. However, although at first when I heard the opinion of Artabanos my youthful impulses burst out,15 so that I cast out unseemly words16 against a man older than myself; yet now I acknowledge that he is right, and I shall follow his opinion. Consider then I have changed my resolve to march against Hellas, and do ye remain still.” 14. The Persians accordingly when they heard this were rejoiced and made obeisance: but when night had come on, the same dream again came and stood by Xerxes as he lay asleep and said: “Son of Dareios, it is manifest then that thou hast resigned this expedition before the assembly of the Persians, and that thou hast made no account of my words, as if thou hadst heard them from no one at all. Now therefore be well assured of this:— if thou do not make thy march forthwith, there shall thence spring up for thee this result, namely that, as thou didst in short time become great and mighty, so also thou shalt speedily be again brought low.” 15. Xerxes then, being very greatly disturbed by fear of the vision, started up from his bed and sent a messenger to summon Artabanos; to whom when he came Xerxes spoke thus: “Artabanos, at the first I was not discreet, when I spoke to thee foolish words on account of thy good counsel; but after no long time I changed my mind and perceived that I ought to do these things which thou didst suggest to me. I am not able however to do them, although I desire it; for indeed, now that I have turned about and changed my mind, a dream appears haunting me and by no means approving that I should do so; and just now it has left me even with a threat. If therefore it is God who sends it to me, and it is his absolute will and pleasure that an army should go against Hellas, this same dream will fly to thee also, laying upon thee a charge such as it has laid upon me; and it occurs to my mind that this might happen thus, namely if thou shouldst take all my attire and put it on, and then seat thyself on my throne, and after that lie down to sleep in my bed.” 16. Xerxes spoke to him thus; and Artabanos was not willing to obey the command at first, since he did not think himself worthy to sit upon the royal throne; but at last being urged further he did that which was commanded, first having spoken these words: (a) “It is equally good in my judgment, O king, whether a man has wisdom himself or is willing to follow the counsel of him who speaks well: and thou, who hast attained to both these good things, art caused to err by the communications of evil men; just as they say that the Sea, which is of all things the most useful to men, is by blasts of winds falling upon it prevented from doing according to its own nature. I however, when I was evil spoken of by thee, was not so much stung with pain for this, as because, when two opinions were laid before the Persians, the one tending to increase wanton insolence and the other tending to check it and saying that it was a bad thing to teach the soul to endeavour always to have something more than the present possession — because, I say, when such opinions as these were laid before us, thou didst choose that one which was the more dangerous both for thyself and for the Persians. (b) And now that thou hast turned to the better counsel, thou sayest that when thou art disposed to let go the expedition against the Hellenes, a dream haunts thee sent by some god, which forbids thee to abandon thy enterprise. Nay, but here too thou dost err, my son, since this is not of the Deity;17 for the dreams of sleep which come roaming about to men, are of such nature as I shall inform thee, being by many years older than thou. The visions of dreams are wont to hover above us18 in such form1002 for the most part as the things of which we were thinking during the day; and we in the days preceding were very much occupied with this campaign. (c) If however after all this is not such a thing as I interpret it to be, but is something which is concerned with God, thou hast summed the matter up in that which thou hast said: let it appear, as thou sayest, to me also, as to thee, and give commands. But supposing that it desires to appear to me at all, it is not bound to appear to me any the more if I have thy garments on me than if I have my own, nor any more if I take my rest in thy bed than if I am in thy own; for assuredly this thing, whatever it may be, which appears to thee in thy sleep, is not so foolish as to suppose, when it sees me, that it is thou, judging so because the garments are thine. That however which we must find out now is this, namely if it will hold me in no account, and not think fit to appear to me, whether I have my own garments or whether I have thine, but continue still to haunt thee;19 for if it shall indeed haunt thee perpetually, I shall myself also be disposed to say that it is of the Deity. But if thou hast resolved that it shall be so, and it is not possible to turn aside this thy resolution, but I must go to sleep in thy bed, then let it appear to me also, when I perform these things: but until then I shall hold to the opinion which I now have.” 17. Having thus said Artabanos, expecting that he would prove that Xerxes was speaking folly, did that which was commanded him; and having put on the garments of Xerxes and seated himself in the royal throne, he afterwards went to bed: and when he had fallen asleep, the same dream came to him which used to come to Xerxes, and standing over Artabanos spoke these words: “Art thou indeed he who endeavours to dissuade Xerxes from making a march against Hellas, pretending to have a care of him? However, neither in the future nor now at the present shalt thou escape unpunished for trying to turn away that which is destined to come to pass: and as for Xerxes, that which he must suffer if he disobeys, hath been shown already to the man himself.” 18. Thus it seemed to Artabanos that the dream threatened him, and at the same time was just about to burn out his eyes with hot irons; and with a loud cry he started up from his bed, and sitting down beside Xerxes he related to him throughout the vision of the dream, and then said to him as follows: “I, O king, as one who has seen before now many great things brought to their fall by things less, urged thee not to yield in all things to the inclination of thy youth, since I knew that it was evil to have desire after many things; remembering on the one hand the march of Cyrus against the Massagetai, what fortune it had, and also that of Cambyses against the Ethiopians; and being myself one who took part with Dareios in the campaign against the Scythians. Knowing these things I had the opinion that thou wert to be envied of all men, so long as thou shouldest keep still. Since however there comes a divine impulse, and, as it seems, a destruction sent by heaven is taking hold of the Hellenes, I for my part am both changed in myself and also I reverse my opinions; and do thou signify to the Persians the message which is sent to thee from God, bidding them follow the commands which were given by thee at first with regard to the preparations to be made; and endeavour that on thy side nothing may be wanting, since God delivers the matter into thy hands.” These things having been said, both were excited to confidence by the vision, and so soon as it became day, Xerxes communicated the matter to the Persians, and Artabanos, who before was the only man who came forward to dissuade him, now came forward to urge on the design.
19. Xerxes being thus desirous to make the expedition, there came to him after this a third vision in his sleep, which the Magians, when they heard it, explained to have reference to the dominion of the whole Earth and to mean that all men should be subject to him; and the vision was this:— Xerxes thought that he had been crowned with a wreath of an olive-branch and that the shoots growing from the olive- tree covered the whole Earth; and after that, the wreath, placed as it was about his head, disappeared. When the Magians had thus interpreted the vision, forthwith every man of the Persians who had been assembled together departed to his own province and was zealous by all means to perform the commands, desiring each one to receive for himself the gifts which had been proposed: and thus Xerxes was gathering his army together, searching every region of the continent. 20. During four full years from the conquest of Egypt he was preparing the army and the things that were of service for the army, and in the course of the fifth year20 he began his campaign with a host of great multitude. For of all the armies of which we have knowledge this proved to be by far the greatest; so that neither that led by Dareios against the Scythians appears anything as compared with it, nor the Scythian host, when the Scythians pursuing the Kimmerians made invasion of the Median land and subdued and occupied nearly all the upper parts of Asia, for which invasion afterwards Dareios attempted to take vengeance, nor that led by the sons of Atreus to Ilion, to judge by that which is reported of their expedition, nor that of the Mysians and Teucrians, before the Trojan war, who passed over into Europe by the Bosphorus and not only subdued all the Thracians, but came down also as far as the Ionian Sea21 and marched southwards to the river Peneios. 21. All these expeditions put together, with others, if there be any, added to them,22 are not equal to this one alone. For what nation did Xerxes not lead out of Asia against Hellas? and what water was not exhausted, being drunk by his host, except only the great rivers? For some supplied ships, and others were appointed to serve in the land- army; to some it was appointed to furnish cavalry, and to others vessels to carry horses, while they served in the expedition themselves also;23 others were ordered to furnish ships of war for the bridges, and others again ships with provisions.
22. Then in the first place, since the former fleet had suffered disaster in sailing round Athos, preparations had been going on for about three years past with regard to Athos: for triremes lay at anchor at Elaius in the Chersonese, and with this for their starting point men of all nations belonging to the army worked at digging, compelled by the lash; and the men went to the work regularly in succession: moreover those who dwelt round about Athos worked also at the digging: and Bubares the son of Megabazos and Artachaies the son of Artaios, Persians both, were set over the work. Now Athos is a mountain great and famous, running down to the sea and inhabited by men: and where the mountain ends on the side of the mainland the place is like a peninsula with an isthmus about twelve furlongs24 across. Here it is plain land or hills of no great size, extending from the sea of the Acanthians to that which lies off Torone; and on this isthmus, where Athos ends, is situated a Hellenic city called Sane: moreover there are others beyond Sane25 and within the peninsula of Athos, all which at this time the Persian had resolved to make into cities of an island and no longer of the mainland; these are, Dion, Olophyxos, Acrothoon, Thyssos, Cleonai. 23. These are the cities which occupy Athos: and they dug as follows, the country being divided among the Barbarians by nations for the work:— at the city of Sane they drew a straight line across the isthmus, and when the channel became deep, those who stood lowest dug, while others delivered the earth as it was dug out to other men who stood above, as upon steps, and they again to others when it was received, until they came to those that were highest; and these bore it away and cast it forth. Now the others except the Phenicians had double toil by the breaking down of the steep edges of their excavation; for since they endeavoured to make the opening at the top and that at the bottom both of the same measure, some such thing was likely to result, as they worked: but the Phenicians, who are apt to show ability in their works generally, did so in this work also; for when they had had assigned to them by lot so much as fell to their share, they proceeded to dig, making the opening of the excavation at the top twice as wide as the channel itself was to be; and as the work went forward, they kept contracting the width; so that, when they came to the bottom, their work was made of equal width with that of the others. Now there is a meadow there, in which there was made for them a market and a place for buying and selling; and great quantities of corn came for them regularly from Asia, ready ground. 24. It seems to me, making conjecture of this work, that Xerxes when he ordered this to be dug was moved by a love of magnificence and by a desire to make a display of his power and to leave a memorial behind him; for though they might have drawn the ships across the isthmus with no great labour, he bade them dig a channel for the sea of such breadth that two triremes might sail through, propelled side by side. To these same men to whom the digging had been appointed, it was appointed also to make a bridge over the river Strymon, yoking together the banks.
25. These things were being done by Xerxes thus; and meanwhile he caused ropes also to be prepared for the bridges, made of papyrus and of white flax,26 appointing this to the Phenicians and Egyptians; and also he was making preparations to store provisions for his army on the way, that neither the army itself nor the baggage animals might suffer from scarcity, as they made their march against Hellas. Accordingly, when he had learnt by inquiry of the various places, he bade them make stores where it was most convenient, carrying supplies to different parts by merchant ships and ferry-boats from all the countries of Asia. So they conveyed the greater part of the corn27 to the place which is called Leuke Acte in Thrace, while others conveyed stores to Tyrodiza of the Perinthians, others to Doriscos, others to Eïon on the Strymon, and others to Macedonia, the work being distributed between them.
26. During the time that these were working at the task which had been proposed to them, the whole land-army had been assembled together and was marching with Xerxes to Sardis, setting forth from Critalla in Cappadokia; for there it had been ordered that the whole army should assemble, which was to go with Xerxes himself by the land: but which of the governors of provinces brought the best equipped force and received from the king the gifts proposed, I am not able to say, for I do not know that they even came to a competition in this matter. Then after they had crossed the river Halys and had entered Phrygia, marching through this land they came to Kelainai, where the springs of the river Maiander come up, and also those of another river not less than the Maiander, whose name is Catarractes;28 this rises in the market-place itself of Kelainai and runs into the Maiander: and here also is hanging up in the city the skin of Marsyas the Silenos, which is said by the Phrygians to have been flayed off and hung up by Apollo. 27. In this city Pythios the son of Atys, a Lydian, was waiting for the king and entertained his whole army, as well as Xerxes himself, with the most magnificent hospitality: moreover he professed himself ready to supply money for the war. So when Pythios offered money, Xerxes asked those of the Persians who were present, who Pythios was and how much money he possessed, that he made this offer. They said: “O king, this is he who presented thy father Dareios with the golden plane-tree and the golden vine; and even now he is in wealth the first of all men of whom we know, excepting thee only.” 28. Marvelling at the conclusion of these words Xerxes himself asked of Pythios then, how much money he had; and he said: “O king, I will not conceal the truth from thee, nor will I allege as an excuse that I do not know my own substance, but I will enumerate it to thee exactly, since I know the truth: for as soon as I heard that thou wert coming down to the Sea of Hellas, desiring to give thee money for the war I ascertained the truth, and calculating I found that I had of silver two thousand talents, and of gold four hundred myriads29 of daric staters1014 all but seven thousand: and with this money I present thee. For myself I have sufficient livelihood from my slaves and from my estates of land.” 29. Thus he said; and Xerxes was pleased by the things which he had spoken, and replied: “Lydian host, ever since I went forth from the Persian land I have encountered no man up to this time who was desirous to entertain my army, or who came into my presence and made offer of his own free will to contribute money to me for the war, except only thee: and thou not only didst entertain my army magnificently, but also now dost make offer of great sums of money. To thee therefore in return I give these rewards — I make thee my guest-friend, and I will complete for thee the four hundred myriads of staters by giving from myself the seven thousand, in order that thy four hundred myriads may not fall short by seven thousand, but thou mayest have a full sum in thy reckoning, completed thus by me. Keep possession of that which thou hast got for thyself, and be sure to act always thus; for if thou doest so, thou wilt have no cause to repent either at the time or afterwards.”
30. Having thus said and having accomplished his promise, he continued his march onwards; and passing by a city of the Phrygians called Anaua and a lake whence salt is obtained, he came to Colossai, a great city of Phrygia, where the river Lycos falls into an opening of the earth and disappears from view, and then after an interval of about five furlongs it comes up to view again, and this river also flows into the Maiander. Setting forth from Colossai towards the boundaries of the Phrygians and Lydians, the army arrived at the city of Kydrara, where a pillar30 is fixed, set up by Crœsus, which declares by an inscription that the boundaries are there. 31. From Phrygia then he entered Lydia; and here the road parts into two, and that which goes to the left leads towards Caria, while that which goes to the right leads to Sardis; and travelling by this latter road one must needs cross the river Maiander and pass by the city of Callatebos, where men live whose trade it is to make honey of the tamarisk-tree and of wheat-flour. By this road went Xerxes and found a plane-tree, to which for its beauty he gave an adornment of gold, and appointed that some one should have charge of it always in undying succession;31 and on the next day he came to the city of the Lydians. 32. Having come to Sardis he proceeded first to send heralds to Hellas, to ask for earth and water, and also to give notice beforehand to prepare meals for the king; except that he sent neither to Athens nor Lacedemon to ask for earth, but to all the other States: and the reason why he sent the second time to ask for earth and water was this — as many as had not given at the former time to Dareios when he sent, these he thought would certainly give now by reason of their fear: this matter it was about which he desired to have certain knowledge, and he sent accordingly.
33. After this he made his preparations intending to march to Abydos: and meanwhile they were bridging over the Hellespont from Asia to Europe. Now there is in the Chersonese of the Hellespont between the city of Sestos and Madytos, a broad foreland32 running down into the sea right opposite Abydos; this is the place where no long time afterwards the Athenians under the command of Xanthippos the son of Ariphron, having taken Artaÿctes a Persian, who was the governor of Sestos, nailed him alive to a board with hands and feet extended (he was the man who was wont to take women with him to the temple of Protesilaos at Elaius and to do things there which are not lawful). 34. To this foreland they on whom this work was laid were making their bridges, starting from Abydos, the Phenicians constructing the one with ropes of white flax, and the Egyptians the other, which was made with papyrus rope. Now from Abydos to the opposite shore is a distance of seven furlongs. But when the strait had been bridged over, a great storm came on and dashed together all the work that had been made and broke it up. Then when Xerxes heard it he was exceedingly enraged, and bade them scourge the Hellespont with three hundred strokes of the lash and let down into the sea a pair of fetters. Nay, I have heard further that he sent branders also with them to brand the Hellespont. However this may be, he enjoined them, as they were beating, to say Barbarian and presumptuous words as follows: “Thou bitter water, thy master lays upon thee this penalty, because thou didst wrong him not having suffered any wrong from him: and Xerxes the king will pass over thee whether thou be willing or no; but with right, as it seems, no man doeth sacrifice to thee, seeing that thou art a treacherous33 and briny stream.” The sea he enjoined them to chastise thus, and also he bade them cut off the heads of those who were appointed to have charge over the bridging of the Hellespont. 36. Thus then the men did, to whom this ungracious office belonged; and meanwhile other chief- constructors proceeded to make the bridges; and thus they made them:— They put together fifty-oared galleys and triremes, three hundred and sixty to be under the bridge towards the Euxine Sea, and three hundred and fourteen to be under the other, the vessels lying in the direction of the stream of the Hellespont (though crosswise in respect to the Pontus), to support the tension of the ropes.34 They placed them together thus, and let down very large anchors, those on the one side35 towards the Pontus because of the winds which blow from within outwards, and on the other side, towards the West and the Egean, because of the South-East36 and South Winds. They left also an opening for a passage through, so that any who wished might be able to sail into the Pontus with small vessels, and also from the Pontus outwards. Having thus done, they proceeded to stretch tight the ropes, straining them with wooden windlasses, not now appointing the two kinds of rope to be used apart from one another, but assigning to each bridge two ropes of white flax and four of the papyrus ropes. The thickness and beauty of make was the same for both, but the flaxen ropes were heavier in proportion,37 and of this rope a cubit weighed one talent. When the passage was bridged over, they sawed up logs of wood, and making them equal in length to the breadth of the bridge they laid them above the stretched ropes, and having set them thus in order they again fastened them above.38 When this was done, they carried on brushwood, and having set the brushwood also in place, they carried on to it earth; and when they had stamped down the earth firmly, they built a barrier along on each side, so that the baggage- animals and horses might not be frightened by looking out over the sea.
37. When the construction of the bridges had been finished, and the works about Athos, both the embankments about the mouths of the channel, which were made because of the breaking of the sea upon the beach, that the mouths of it might not be filled up, and the channel itself, were reported to be fully completed, then, after they had passed the winter at Sardis, the army set forth from thence fully equipped, at the beginning of spring, to march to Abydos; and when it had just set forth, the Sun left his place in the heaven and was invisible, though there was no gathering of clouds and the sky was perfectly clear; and instead of day it became night. When Xerxes saw and perceived this, it became a matter of concern to him; and he asked the Magians what the appearance meant to portend. These declared that the god was foreshowing to the Hellenes a leaving39 of their cities, saying that the Sun was the foreshower of events for the Hellenes, but the Moon for the Persians. Having been thus informed, Xerxes proceeded on the march with very great joy. 38. Then as he was leading forth his army on its march, Pythios the Lydian, being alarmed by the appearance in the heavens and elated by the gifts which he had received, came to Xerxes, and said as follows: “Master, I would desire to receive from thee a certain thing at my request, which, as it chances, is for thee an easy thing to grant, but a great thing for me, if I obtain it.” Then Xerxes, thinking that his request would be for anything rather than that which he actually asked, said that he would grant it, and bade him speak and say what he desired. He then, when he heard this, was encouraged, and spoke these words: “Master, I have, as it chances, five sons, and it is their fortune to be all going together with thee on the march against Hellas. Do thou, therefore, O king, have compassion upon me, who have come to so great an age, and release from serving in the expedition one of my sons, the eldest, in order that he may be caretaker both of myself and of my wealth: but the other four take with thyself, and after thou hast accomplished that which thou hast in thy mind, mayest thou have a safe return home.” 38. Then Xerxes was exceedingly angry and made answer with these words: “Thou wretched man, dost thou dare, when I am going on a march myself against Hellas, and am taking my sons and my brothers and my relations and friends, dost thou dare to make any mention of a son of thine, seeing that thou art my slave, who ought to have been accompanying me thyself with thy whole household and thy wife as well? Now therefore be assured of this, that the passionate spirit of man dwells within the ears; and when it has heard good things, it fills the body with delight, but when it has heard the opposite things to this, it swells up with anger. As then thou canst not boast of having surpassed the king in conferring benefits formerly, when thou didst to us good deeds and madest offer to do more of the same kind, so now that thou hast turned to shamelessness, thou shalt receive not thy desert but less than thou deservest: for thy gifts of hospitality shall rescue from death thyself and the four others of thy sons, but thou shalt pay the penalty with the life of the one to whom thou dost cling most.” Having answered thus, he forthwith commanded those to whom it was appointed to do these things, to find out the eldest of the sons of Pythios and to cut him in two in the middle; and having cut him in two, to dispose the halves, one on the right hand of the road and the other on the left, and that the army should pass between them by this way.
40. When these had so done, the army proceeded to pass between; and first the baggage-bearers led the way together with their horses, and after these the host composed of all kinds of nations mingled together without distinction: and when more than the half had gone by, an interval was left and these were separated from the king. For before him went first a thousand horsemen, chosen out of all the Persians; and after them a thousand spearmen chosen also from all the Persians, having the points of their spears turned down to the ground; and then ten sacred horses, called “Nesaian,”40 with the fairest possible trappings. Now the horses are called Nesaian for this reason:— there is a wide plain in the land of Media which is called the Nesaian plain, and this plain produces the great horses of which I speak. Behind these ten horses the sacred chariot of Zeus was appointed to go, which was drawn by eight white horses; and behind the horses again followed on foot a charioteer holding the reins, for no human creature mounts upon the seat of that chariot. Then behind this came Xerxes himself in a chariot drawn by Nesaian horses, and by the side of him rode a charioteer, whose name was Patiramphes, son of Otanes a Persian. 41. Thus did Xerxes march forth out of Sardis; and he used to change, whenever he was so disposed, from the chariot to a carriage. And behind him went spearmen, the best and most noble of the Persians, a thousand in number, holding their spear-points in the customary way;41 and after them another thousand horsemen chosen out from the Persians; and after the horsemen ten thousand men chosen out from the remainder of the Persians. This body went on foot; and of these a thousand had upon their spears pomegranates of gold instead of the spikes at the butt-end, and these enclosed the others round, while the remaining nine thousand were within these and had silver pomegranates. And those also had golden pomegranates who had their spear-points turned towards the earth, while those who followed next after Xerxes had golden apples. Then to follow the ten thousand there was appointed a body of ten thousand Persian cavalry; and after the cavalry there was an interval of as much as two furlongs. Then the rest of the host came marching without distinction.
42. So the army proceeded on its march from Lydia to the river Caïcos and the land of Mysia; and then setting forth from the Caïcos and keeping the mountain of Cane on the left hand, it marched through the region of Atarneus to the city of Carene. From this it went through the plain of Thebe, passing by the cities of Adramytteion and Antandros of the Pelasgians; and taking mount Ida on the left hand, it came on to the land of Ilion. And first, when it had stopped for the night close under mount Ida, thunder and bolts of lightning fell upon it, and destroyed here in this place a very large number of men.42 43. Then when the army had come to the river Scamander — which of all rivers to which they had come, since they set forth from Sardis and undertook their march, was the first of which the stream failed and was not sufficient for the drinking of the army and of the animals with it — when, I say, Xerxes had come to this river, he went up to the Citadel of Priam,43 having a desire to see it; and having seen it and learnt by inquiry of all those matters severally, he sacrificed a thousand heifers to Athene of Ilion, and the Magians poured libations in honour of the heroes: and after they had done this, a fear fell upon the army in the night. Then at break of day he set forth from thence, keeping on his left hand the cities of Rhoition and Ophryneion and Dardanos, which last borders upon Abydos, and having on the right hand the Gergith Teucrians.
44. When Xerxes had come into the midst of Abydos,44 he had a desire to see all the army; and there had been made purposely for him beforehand upon a hill in this place a raised seat of white stone,45 which the people of Abydos had built at the command of the king given beforehand. There he took his seat, and looking down upon the shore he gazed both upon the land-army and the ships; and gazing upon them he had a longing to see a contest take place between the ships; and when it had taken place and the Phenicians of Sidon were victorious, he was delighted both with the contest and with the whole armament. 45. And seeing all the Hellespont covered over with the ships, and all the shores and the plains of Abydos full of men, then Xerxes pronounced himself a happy man, and after that he fell to weeping. 46. Artabanos his uncle therefore perceiving him — the same who at first boldly declared his opinion advising Xerxes not to march against Hellas — this man, I say, having observed that Xerxes wept, asked as follows: “O king, how far different from one another are the things which thou hast done now and a short while before now! for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou art now shedding tears.” He said: “Yea, for after I had reckoned up, it came into my mind to feel pity at the thought how brief was the whole life of man, seeing that of these multitudes not one will be alive when a hundred years have gone by.” He then made answer and said: “To another evil more pitiful than this we are made subject in the course of our life; for in the period of life, short as it is, no man, either of these here or of others, is made by nature so happy, that there will not come to him many times, and not once only, the desire to be dead rather than to live; for misfortunes falling upon us and diseases disturbing our happiness make the time of life, though short indeed, seem long: thus, since life is full of trouble, death has become the most acceptable refuge for man; and God, having given him to taste of the sweetness of life, is discovered in this matter to be full of jealousy.” 47. Xerxes made answer saying: “Artabanos, of human life, which is such as thou dost define it to be, let us cease to speak, and do not remember evils when we have good things in hand: but do thou declare to me this:— If the vision of the dream had not appeared with so much evidence, wouldest thou still be holding thy former opinion, endeavouring to prevent me from marching against Hellas, or wouldest thou have changed from it? Come, tell me this exactly.” He answered saying: “O king, may the vision of the dream which appeared have such fulfilment as we both desire! but I am even to this moment full of apprehension and cannot contain myself, taking into account many things besides, and also seeing that two things, which are the greatest things of all, are utterly hostile to thee.” 48. To this Xerxes made answer in these words: “Thou strangest of men,46 of what nature are these two things which thou sayest are utterly hostile to me? Is it that the land-army is to be found fault with in the matter of numbers, and that the army of the Hellenes appears to thee likely to be many times as large as ours? or dost thou think that our fleet will fall short of theirs? or even that both of these things together will prove true? For if thou thinkest that in these respects our power is deficient, one might make gathering at once of another force.” 49. Then he made answer and said: “O king, neither with this army would any one who has understanding find fault, nor with the number of the ships; and indeed if thou shalt assemble more, the two things of which I speak will be made thereby yet more hostile: and these two things are — the land and the sea. For neither in the sea is there, as I suppose, a harbour anywhere large enough to receive this fleet of thine, if a storm should arise, and to ensure the safety of the ships till it be over; and yet not one alone47 ought this harbour to be, but there should be such harbours along the whole coast of the continent by which thou sailest; and if there are not harbours to receive thy ships, know that accidents will rule men and not men the accidents. Now having told thee of one of the two things, I am about to tell thee of the other. The land, I say, becomes hostile to thee in this way:— if nothing shall come to oppose thee, the land is hostile to thee by so much the more in proportion as thou shalt advance more, ever stealing on further and further,48 for there is no satiety of good fortune felt by men: and this I say, that with no one to stand against thee the country traversed, growing more and more as time goes on, will produce for thee famine. Man, however, will be in the best condition, if when he is taking counsel he feels fear, reckoning to suffer everything that can possibly come, but in doing the deed he is bold.” 50. Xerxes made answer in these words: “Artabanos, reasonably dost thou set forth these matters; but do not thou fear everything nor reckon equally for everything: for if thou shouldest set thyself with regard to all matters which come on at any time, to reckon for everything equally, thou wouldest never perform any deed. It is better to have good courage about everything and to suffer half the evils which threaten, than to have fear beforehand about everything and not to suffer any evil at all: and if, while contending against everything which is said, thou omit to declare the course which is safe, thou dost incur in these matters the reproach of failure equally with him who says the opposite to this. This then, I say, is evenly balanced: but how should one who is but man know the course which is safe? I think, in no way. To those then who choose to act, for the most part gain is wont to come; but to those who reckon for everything and shrink back, it is not much wont to come. Thou seest the power of the Persians, to what great might it has advanced: if then those who came to be kings before me had had opinions like to thine, or, though not having such opinions, had had such counsellors as thou, thou wouldest never have seen it brought forward to this point. As it is however, by running risks they conducted it on to this: for great power is in general gained by running great risks. We therefore, following their example, are making our march now during the fairest season of the year; and after we have subdued all Europe we shall return back home, neither having met with famine anywhere nor having suffered any other thing which is unpleasant. For first we march bearing with us ourselves great store of food, and secondly we shall possess the corn-crops of all the peoples to whose land and nation we come; and we are making a march now against men who plough the soil, and not against nomad tribes.” 51. After this Artabanos said: “O king, since thou dost urge us not to have fear of anything, do thou I pray thee accept a counsel from me; for when speaking of many things it is necessary to extend speech to a greater length. Cyrus the son of Cambyses subdued all Ionia except the Athenians, so that it was tributary to the Persians. These men therefore I counsel thee by no means to lead against their parent stock, seeing that even without these we are able to get the advantage over our enemies. For supposing that they go with us, either they must prove themselves doers of great wrong, if they join in reducing their mother city to slavery, or doers of great right, if they join in freeing her: now if they show themselves doers of great wrong, they bring us no very large gain in addition; but if they show themselves doers of great right, they are able then to cause much damage to thy army. Therefore lay to heart also the ancient saying, how well it has been said that at the first beginning of things the end does not completely appear.” 52. To this Xerxes made answer: “Artabanos, of all the opinions which thou hast uttered, thou art mistaken most of all in this; seeing that thou fearest lest the Ionians should change side, about whom we have a most sure proof, of which thou art a witness thyself and also the rest are witnesses who went with Dareios on his march against the Scythians — namely this, that the whole Persian army then came to be dependent upon these men, whether they would destroy or whether they would save it, and they displayed righteous dealing and trustworthiness, and nought at all that was unfriendly. Besides this, seeing that they have left children and wives and wealth in our land, we must not even imagine that they will make any rebellion.49 Fear not then this thing either, but have a good heart and keep safe my house and my government; for to thee of all men I entrust my sceptre of rule.”
53. Having thus spoken and having sent Artabanos back to Susa, next Xerxes summoned to his presence the men of most repute among the Persians, and when they were come before him, he spoke to them as follows: “Persians, I assembled you together desiring this of you, that ye should show yourselves good men and should not disgrace the deeds done in former times by the Persians, which are great and glorious; but let us each one of us by himself, and all together also, be zealous in our enterprise; for this which we labour for is a common good for all. And I exhort you that ye preserve in the war without relaxing your efforts, because, as I am informed, we are marching against good men, and if we shall overcome them, there will not be any other army of men which will ever stand against us. Now therefore let us begin the crossing, after having made prayer to those gods who have the Persians50 for their allotted charge.”
54. During this day then they were making preparation to cross over; and on the next day they waited for the Sun, desiring to see him rise, and in the meantime they offered all kinds of incense upon the bridges and strewed the way with branches of myrtle. Then, as the Sun was rising, Xerxes made libation from a golden cup into the sea, and prayed to the Sun, that no accident might befall him such as should cause him to cease from subduing Europe, until he had come to its furthest limits. After having thus prayed he threw the cup into the Hellespont and with it a golden mixing-bowl and a Persian sword, which they call akinakes: but whether he cast them into the sea as an offering dedicated to the Sun, or whether he had repented of his scourging of the Hellespont and desired to present a gift to the sea as amends for this, I cannot for certain say. 55. When Xerxes had done this, they proceeded to cross over, the whole army both the footmen and the horsemen going by one bridge, namely that which was on the side of the Pontus, while the baggage-animals and the attendants went over the other, which was towards the Egean. First the ten thousand Persians led the way, all with wreaths, and after them came the mixed body of the army made up of all kinds of nations: these on that day; and on the next day, first the horsemen and those who had their spear- points turned downwards, these also wearing wreaths; and after them the sacred horses and the sacred chariot, and then Xerxes himself and the spear-bearers and the thousand horsemen; and after them the rest of the army. In the meantime the ships also put out from shore and went over to the opposite side. I have heard however another account which says that the king crossed over the very last of all.
56. When Xerxes had crossed over into Europe, he gazed upon the army crossing under the lash; and his army crossed over in seven days and seven nights, going on continuously without any pause. Then, it is said, after Xerxes had now crossed over the Hellespont, a man of that coast exclaimed: “Why, O Zeus, in the likeness of a Persian man and taking for thyself the name of Xerxes instead of Zeus, art thou proposing to lay waste Hellas, taking with thee all the nations of men? for it was possible for thee to do so even without the help of these.”
57. When all had crossed over, after they had set forth on their way a great portent appeared to them, of which Xerxes made no account, although it was easy to conjecture its meaning — a mare gave birth to a hare. Now the meaning of this was easy to conjecture in this way, namely that Xerxes was about to march an army against Hellas very proudly and magnificently, but would come back again to the place whence he came, running for his life. There happened also a portent of another kind while he was still at Sardis — a mule brought forth young and gave birth to a mule which had organs of generation of two kinds, both those of the male and those of the female, and those of the male were above. Xerxes however made no account of either of these portents, but proceeded on his way, and with him the land-army. 58. The fleet meanwhile was sailing out of the Hellespont and coasting along, going in the opposite direction to the land-army; for the fleet was sailing towards the West, making for the promontory of Sarpedon, to which it had been ordered beforehand to go, and there wait for the army; but the land-army meanwhile was making its march towards the East and the sunrising, through the Chersonese, keeping on its right the tomb of Helle the daughter of Athamas, and on its left the city of Cardia, and marching through the midst of a town the name of which is Agora.51 Thence bending round the gulf called Melas and having crossed over the river Melas, the stream of which did not suffice at this time for the army but failed — having crossed, I say, this river, from which the gulf also has its name, it went on Westwards, passing by Ainos a city of the Aiolians, and by the lake Stentoris, until at last it came to Doriscos. 52 Now Doriscos is a sea-beach and plain of great extent in Thrace, and through it flows the great river Hebros: here a royal fortress had been built, the same which is now called Doriscos, and a garrison of Persians had been established in it by Dareios, ever since the time when he went on his march against the Scythians. It seemed then to Xerxes that the place was convenient to order his army and to number it throughout, and so he proceeded to do. The commanders of the ships at the bidding of Xerxes had brought all their ships, when they arrived at Doriscos, up to the sea-beach which adjoins Doriscos, on which there is situated both Sale a city of the Samothrakians, and also Zone, and of which the extreme point is the promontory of Serreion, which is well known; and the region belonged in ancient time to the Kikonians. To this beach then they had brought in their ships, and having drawn them up on land they were letting them get dry: and during this time he proceeded to number the army at Doriscos.
60. Now of the number which each separate nation supplied I am not able to give certain information, for this is not reported by any persons; but of the whole land-army taken together the number proved to be one hundred and seventy myriads:53 and they numbered them throughout in the following manner:— they gathered together in one place a body of ten thousand men, and packing them together54 as closely as they could, they drew a circle round outside: and thus having drawn a circle round and having let the ten thousand men go from it, they built a wall of rough stones round the circumference of the circle, rising to the height of a man’s navel. Having made this, they caused others to go into the space which had been built round, until they had in this manner numbered them all throughout: and after they had numbered them, they ordered them separately by nations.
61. Now those who served were as follows:— The Persians with this equipment:— about their heads they had soft55 felt caps called tiaras, and about their body tunics of various colours with sleeves, presenting the appearance of iron scales like those of a fish,56 and about the legs trousers; and instead of the ordinary shields they had shields of wicker-work,57 under which hung quivers; and they had short spears and large bows and arrows of reed, and moreover daggers hanging by the right thigh from the girdle: and they acknowledged as their commander Otanes the father of Amestris the wife of Xerxes. Now these were called by the Hellenes in ancient time Kephenes; by themselves however and by their neighbours they were called Artaians: but when Perseus, the son of Danae and Zeus, came to Kepheus the son of Belos58 and took to wife his daughter Andromeda, there was born to them a son to whom he gave the name Perses, and this son he left behind there, for it chanced that Kepheus had no male offspring: after him therefore this race was named. 62. The Medes served in the expedition equipped in precisely the same manner; for this equipment is in fact Median and not Persian: and the Medes acknowledged as their commander Tigranes an Achaimenid. These in ancient time used to be generally called Arians; but when Medea the Colchian came from Athens to these Arians, they also changed their name. Thus the Medes themselves report about themselves. The Kissians served with equipment in other respects like that of the Persians, but instead of the felt caps they wore fillets:59 and of the Kissians Anaphes the son of Otanes was commander. The Hyrcanians were armed like the Persians, acknowledging as their leader Megapanos, the same who after these events became governor of Babylon. 63. The Assyrians served with helmets about their heads made of bronze or plaited in a Barbarian style which it is not easy to describe; and they had shields and spears, and daggers like the Egyptian knives,60 and moreover they had wooden clubs with knobs of iron, and corslets of linen. These are by the Hellenes called Syrians, but by the Barbarians they have been called always61 Assyrians: [among these were the Chaldeans]:62 and the commander of them was Otaspes the son of Artachaies. 64. The Bactrians served wearing about their heads nearly the same covering as the Medes, and having native bows of reed and short spears. The Scaran Scythians had about their heads caps63 which were carried up to a point and set upright and stiff; and they wore trousers, and carried native bows and daggers, and besides this axes of the kind called sagaris. These were called Amyrgian Sacans, being in fact Scythians; for the Persians call all the Scythians Sacans: and of the Bactrians and Sacans the commander was Hystaspes, the son of Dareios and of Atossa the daughter of Cyrus. 65. The Indians wore garments made of tree-wool, and they had bows of reed and arrows of reed with iron points. Thus were the Indians equipped; and serving with the rest they had been assigned to Pharnazathres the son of Artabates. 66. The Arians64 were equipped with Median bows, and in other respects like the Bactrians: and of the Arians Sisamnes the son of Hydarnes was in command. The Parthians and Chorasmians and Sogdians and Gandarians and Dadicans served with the same equipment as the Bactrians. Of these the commanders were, Artabazos the son of Pharnakes of the Parthians and Chorasmians, Azanes the son of Artaios of the Sogdians, and Artyphios the son of Artabanos of the Gandarians and Dadicans. 65 The Caspians served wearing coats of skin66 and having native bows of reed and short swords:1052 thus were these equipped; and they acknowledged as their leader Ariomardos the brother of Artyphios. The Sarangians were conspicuous among the rest by wearing dyed garments; and they had boots reaching up to the knee, and Median bows and spears: of these the commander was Pherendates the son of Megabazos. The Pactyans were wearers of skin coats67 and had native bows and daggers: these acknowledged as their commander Artaÿntes the son of Ithamitres. 68. The Utians and Mycans and Paricanians were equipped like the Pactyans: of these the commanders were, Arsamenes the son of Dareios of the Utians and Mycans, and of the Paricanians Siromitres the son of Oiobazos. 69. The Arabians wore loose mantles68 girt up, and they carried at their right side bows that bent backward69 of great length. The Ethiopians had skins of leopards and lions tied upon them, and bows made of a slip70 of palm-wood, which were of great length, not less than four cubits, and for them small arrows of reed with a sharpened stone at the head instead of iron, the same stone with which they engrave seals: in addition to this they had spears, and on them was the sharpened horn of a gazelle by way of a spear-head, and they had also clubs with knobs upon them. Of their body they used to smear over half with white,71 when they went into battle, and the other half with red.1058 Of the Arabians and the Ethiopians who dwelt above Egypt the commander was Arsames, the son of Dareios and of Artystone, the daughter of Cyrus, whom Dareios loved most of all his wives, and had an image made of her of beaten gold. 70. Of the Ethiopians above Egypt and of the Arabians the commander, I say, was Arsames; but the Ethiopians from the direction of the sunrising (for the Ethiopians were in two bodies) had been appointed to serve with the Indians, being in no way different from the other Ethiopians, but in their language and in the nature of their hair only; for the Ethiopians from the East are straight-haired, but those of Libya have hair more thick and woolly than that of any other men. These Ethiopians from Asia were armed for the most part like the Indians, but they had upon their heads the skin of a horse’s forehead flayed off with the ears and the mane, and the mane served instead of a crest, while they had the ears of the horse set up straight and stiff: and instead of shields they used to make defences to hold before themselves of the skins of cranes. 71. The Libyans went with equipments of leather, and they used javelins burnt at the point. These acknowledged as their commander Massages the son of Oarizos. 72. The Paphlagonians served with plaited helmets upon their heads, small shields, and spears of no great size, and also javelins and daggers; and about their feet native boots reaching up to the middle of the shin. The Ligyans and Matienians and Mariandynoi and Syrians served with the same equipment as the Paphlagonians: these Syrians are called by the Persians Cappadokians. Of the Paphlagonians and Matienians the commander was Dotos the son of Megasidros, and of the Mariandynoi and Lygians and Syrians, Gobryas, who was the son of Dareios and Artystone. 73. The Phrygians had an equipment very like that of the Paphlagonians with some slight difference. Now the Phrygians, as the Macedonians say, used to be called Brigians during the time that they were natives of Europe and dwelt with the Macedonians; but after they had changed into Asia, with their country they changed also their name and were called Phrygians. The Armenians were armed just like the Phrygians, being settlers from the Phrygians. Of these two together the commander was Artochmes, who was married to a daughter of Dareios. 74. The Lydians had arms very closely resembling those of the Hellenes. Now the Lydians were in old time called Medonians, and they were named again after Lydos the son of Atys, changing their former name. The Mysians had upon their heads native helmets, and they bore small shields and used javelins burnt at the point. These are settlers from the Lydians, and from mount Olympos they are called Olympienoi. Of the Lydians and Mysians the commander was Artaphrenes the son of Artaphrenes, he who invaded Marathon together with Datis. 75. The Thracians served having fox-skins upon their heads and tunics about their body, with loose mantles72 of various colours thrown round over them; and about their feet and lower part of the leg they wore boots of deer-skin; and besides this they had javelins and round bucklers and small daggers. These when they had crossed over into Asia came to be called Bithynians, but formerly they were called, as they themselves report, Strymonians, since they dwelt upon the river Strymon; and they say that they were driven out of their abode by the Teucrians and Mysians. Of the Thracians who lived in Asia the commander was Bassakes the son of Artabanos. 76. . . . 73 and they had small shields of raw ox-hide, and each man carried two hunting-spears of Lykian workmanship.74 On their heads they wore helmets of bronze, and to the helmets the ears and horns of an ox were attached, in bronze, and upon them also there were crests; and the lower part of their legs was wrapped round with red-coloured strips of cloth. Among these men there is an Oracle of Ares. 77. The Meonian Cabelians, who are called Lasonians, had the same equipment as the Kilikians, and what this was I shall explain when in the course of the catalogue I come to the array of the Kilikians. The Milyans had short spears, and their garments were fastened on with buckles; some of them had Lykian bows, and about their heads they had caps made of leather. Of all these Badres the son of Hystanes was in command. 78. The Moschoi had wooden caps upon their heads, and shields and small spears, on which long points were set. The Tibarenians and Macronians and Mossynoicoi served with equipment like that of the Moschoi, and these were arrayed together under the following commanders — the Moschoi and Tibarenians under Ariomardos, who was the son of Dareios and of Parmys, the daughter of Smerdis son of Cyrus; the Macronians and Mossynoicoi under Artaÿctes the son of Cherasmis, who was governor of Sestos on the Hellespont. 79. The Mares wore on their heads native helmets of plaited work, and had small shields of hide and javelins; and the Colchians wore wooden helmets about their heads, and had small shields of raw ox-hide and short spears, and also knives. Of the Mares and Colchians the commander was Pharandates the son of Teaspis. The Alarodians and Saspeirians served armed like the Colchians; and of these the commander was Masistios the son of Siromitres. 80. The island tribes which came with the army from the Erythraian Sea, belonging to the islands in which the king settles those who are called the “Removed,”75 had clothing and arms very like those of the Medes. Of these islanders the commander was Mardontes the son of Bagaios, who in the year after these events was a commander of the army at Mykale and lost his life in the battle.
81. These were the nations which served in the campaign by land and had been appointed to be among the foot-soldiers. Of this army those who have been mentioned were commanders; and they were the men who sit it in order by divisions and numbered it and appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of tens of thousands, but the commanders of hundreds and of tens were appointed by the commanders of ten thousands; and there were others who were leaders of divisions and nations. 82. These, I say, who have been mentioned were commanders of the army; and over these and over the whole army together that went on foot there were in command Mardonios the son of Gobryas, Tritantaichmes the son of that Artabanos who gave the opinion that they should not make the march against Hellas, Smerdomenes the son of Otanes (both these being sons of brothers of Dareios and so cousins of Xerxes),76 Masistes the son of Dareios and Atossa, Gergis the son of Ariazos, and Megabyzos the son of Zopyros. 83. These were generals of the whole together that went on foot, excepting the ten thousand; and of these ten thousand chosen Persians the general was Hydarnes the son of Hydarnes; and these Persians were called “Immortals,” because, if any one of them made the number incomplete, being overcome either by death or disease, another man was chosen to his place, and they were never either more or fewer than ten thousand. Now of all the nations, the Persians showed the greatest splendour of ornament and were themselves the best men. They had equipment such as has been mentioned, and besides this they were conspicuous among the rest for great quantity of gold freely used; and they took with them carriages, and in them concubines and a multitude of attendants well furnished; and provisions for them apart from the soldiers were borne by camels and beasts of burden.
84. The nations who serve as cavalry are these; not all however supplied cavalry, but only as many as here follow:— the Persians equipped in the same manner as their foot-soldiers, except that upon their heads some of them had beaten-work of metal, either bronze or iron. 85. There are also certain nomads called Sagartians, Persian in race and in language and having a dress which is midway between that of the Persians and that of the Pactyans. These furnished eight thousand horse, and they are not accustomed to have any arms either of bronze or of iron excepting daggers, but they use ropes twisted of thongs, and trust to these when they go into war: and the manner of fighting of these men is as follows:— when they come to conflict with the enemy, they throw the ropes with nooses at the end of them, and whatsoever the man catches by the throw,77 whether horse or man, he draws to himself, and they being entangled in toils are thus destroyed. 86. This is the manner of fighting of these men, and they were arrayed next to the Persians. The Medes had the same equipment as their men on foot, and the Kissians likewise. The Indians were armed in the same manner as those of them who served on foot, and they both rode horses78 and drove chariots, in which were harnessed horses or wild asses. The Bactrians were equipped in the same way as those who served on foot, and the Caspians likewise. The Libyans too were equipped like those who served on foot, and these also all drove chariots. So too the Caspians79 and Paricanians were equipped like those who served on foot, and they all rode on camels, which in swiftness were not inferior to horses. 87. These nations alone served80 as cavalry, and the number of the cavalry proved to be eight myriads,81 apart from the camels and the chariots. Now the rest of the cavalry was arrayed in squadrons, but the Arabians were placed after them and last of all, for the horses could not endure the camels, and therefore they were placed last, in order that the horses might not be frightened. 88. The commanders of the cavalry were Harmamithras and Tithaios sons of Datis, but the third, Pharnuches, who was in command of the horse with them, had been left behind at Sardis sick: for as they were setting forth from Sardis, an accident befell him of an unwished-for kind — as he was riding, a dog ran up under his horse’s feet, and the horse not having seen it beforehand was frightened, and rearing up he threw Pharnuches off his back, who falling vomited blood, and his sickness turned to a consumption. To the horse however they forthwith at the first did as he commanded, that is to say, the servants led him away to the place where he had thrown his master and cut off his legs at the knees. Thus was Pharnuches removed from his command.
89. Of the triremes the number proved to be one thousand two hundred and seven, and these were they who furnished them:— the Phenicians, together with the Syrians82 who dwell in Palestine furnished three hundred; and they were equipped thus, that is to say, they had about their heads leathern caps made very nearly in the Hellenic fashion, and they wore corslets of linen, and had shields without rims and javelins. These Phenicians dwelt in ancient time, as they themselves report, upon the Erythraian Sea, and thence they passed over and dwell in the country along the sea coast of Syria; and this part of Syria and all as far as Egypt is called Palestine. The Egyptians furnished two hundred ships: these men had about their heads helmets of plaited work, and they had hollow shields with the rims large, and spears for sea-fighting, and large axes:83 the greater number of them wore corslets, and they had large knives. 90. These men were thus equipped; and the Cyprians furnished a hundred and fifty ships, being themselves equipped as follows — their kings had their heads wound round with fillets,84 and the rest had tunics,85 but in other respects they were like the Hellenes. Among these there are various races as follows — some of them are from Salamis and Athens, others from Arcadia, others from Kythnos, others again from Phenicia and others from Ethiopia, as the Cyprians themselves report. 91. The Kilikians furnished a hundred ships; and these again had about their heads native helmets, and for shields they carried targets made of raw ox- hide: they wore tunics86 of wool and each man had two javelins and a sword, this last being made very like the Egyptian knives. These in old time were called Hypachaians, and they got their later name from Kilix the son of Agenor, a Phenician. The Pamphylians furnished thirty ships and were equipped in Hellenic arms. These Pamphylians are of those who were dispersed from Troy together with Amphilochos and Calchas. 92. The Lykians furnished fifty ships; and they were wearers of corslets and greaves, and had bows of cornel-wood and arrows of reeds without feathers and javelins and a goat-skin hanging over their shoulders, and about their heads felt caps wreathed round with feathers; also they had daggers and falchions.87 The Lykians were formerly called Termilai, being originally of Crete, and they got their later name from Lycos the son of Pandion, an Athenian. 93. The Dorians of Asia furnished thirty ships; and these had Hellenic arms and were originally from the Peloponnese. The Carians supplied seventy ships; and they were equipped in other respects like Hellenes but they had also falchions and daggers. What was the former name of these has been told in the first part of the history.88 94. The Ionians furnished a hundred ships, and were equipped like Hellenes. Now the Ionians, so long time as they dwelt in the Peloponnese, in the land which is now called Achaia, and before the time when Danaos and Xuthos came to the Peloponnese, were called, as the Hellenes report, Pelasgians of the Coast-land,89 and then Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthos. 95. The islanders furnished seventeen ships, and were armed like Hellenes, this also being a Pelasgian race, though afterwards it came to be called Ionian by the same rule as the Ionians of the twelve cities, who came from Athens. The Aiolians supplied sixty ships; and these were equipped like Hellenes and used to be called Pelasgians in the old time, as the Hellenes report. The Hellespontians, excepting those of Abydos (for the men of Abydos had been appointed by the king to stay in their place and be guards of the bridges), the rest, I say, of those who served in the expedition from the Pontus furnished a hundred ships, and were equipped like Hellenes: these are colonists of the Ionians and Dorians.
96. In all the ships there served as fighting-men Persians, Medes, or Sacans;: and of the ships, those which sailed best were furnished by the Phenicians, and of the Phenicians the best by the men of Sidon. Over all these men and also over those of them who were appointed to serve in the land-army, there were for each tribe native chieftains, of whom, since I am not compelled by the course of the inquiry,90 I make no mention by the way; for in the first place the chieftains of each separate nation were not persons worthy of mention, and then moreover within each nation there were as many chieftains as there were cities. These went with the expedition too not as commanders, but like the others serving as slaves; for the generals who had the absolute power and commanded the various nations, that is to say those who were Persians, having already been mentioned by me. 97. Of the naval force the following were commanders — Ariabignes the son of Dareios, Prexaspes the son of Aspathines, Megabazos the son of Megabates, and Achaimenes the son of Dareios; that is to say, of the Ionian and Carian force Ariabignes, who was the son of Dareios and of the daughter of Gobryas; of the Egyptians Achaimenes was commander, being brother of Xerxes by both parents; and of the rest of the armament the other two were in command: and galleys of thirty oars and of fifty oars, and light vessels,91 and long92 ships to carry horses had been assembled together, as it proved, to the number of three thousand. 98. Of those who sailed in the ships the men of most note after the commanders were these — of Sidon, Tetramnestos son of Anysos; of Tyre, Matten93 son of Siromos; or Arados, Merbalos son of Agbalos; of Kilikia, Syennesis son of Oromedon; of Lykia, Kyberniscos son of Sicas; of Cyprus, Gorgos son of Chersis and Timonax son of Timagoras; of Caria, Histiaios son of Tymnes, Pigres son of Hysseldomos,94 and Damasithymos son of Candaules. 99. Of the rest of the officers I make no mention by the way (since I am not bound to do so), but only of Artemisia, at whom I marvel most that she joined the expedition against Hellas, being a woman; for after her husband died, she holding the power herself, although she had a son who was a young man, went on the expedition impelled by high spirit and manly courage, no necessity being laid upon her. Now her name, as I said, was Artemisia and she was the daughter of Lygdamis, and by descent she was of Halicarnassos on the side of her father, but of Crete by her mother. She was ruler of the men of Halicarnassos and Cos and Nisyros and Calydna, furnishing five ships; and she furnished ships which were of all the fleet reputed the best after those of the Sidonians, and of all his allies she set forth the best counsels to the king. Of the States of which I said that she was leader I declare the people to be all of Dorian race, those of Halicarnassos being Troizenians, and the rest Epidaurians. So far then I have spoken of the naval force.
100. Then when Xerxes had numbered the army, and it had been arranged in divisions, he had a mind to drive through it himself and inspect it: and afterwards he proceeded so to do; and driving through in a chariot by each nation, he inquired about them and his scribes wrote down the names, until he had gone from end to end both of the horse and of the foot. When he had done this, the ships were drawn down into the sea, and Xerxes changing from his chariot to a ship of Sidon sat down under a golden canopy and sailed along by the prows of the ships, asking of all just as he had done with the land-army, and having the answers written down. And the captains had taken their ships out to a distance of about four hundred feet from the beach and were staying them there, all having turned the prows of the ships towards the shore in an even line95 and having armed all the fighting-men as for war; and he inspected them sailing within, between the prows of the ships and the beach.
101. Now when he had sailed through these and had disembarked from his ship, he sent for Demaratos the son of Ariston, who was marching with him against Hellas; and having called him he asked as follows: “Demaratos, now it is my pleasure to ask thee somewhat which I desire to know. Thou art not only a Hellene, but also, as I am informed both by thee and by the other Hellenes who come to speech with me, of a city which is neither the least nor the feeblest of Hellas. Now therefore declare to me this, namely whether the Hellenes will endure to raise hands against me: for, as I suppose, even if all the Hellenes and the remaining nations who dwell towards the West should be gathered together, they are not strong enough in fight to endure my attack, supposing them to be my enemies.96 I desire however to be informed also of thy opinion, what thou sayest about these matters.” He inquired thus, and the other made answer and said: “O king, shall I utter the truth in speaking to thee, or that which will give pleasure?” and he bade him utter the truth, saying that he should suffer nothing unpleasant in consequence of this, any more than he suffered before. 102. When Demaratos heard this, he spoke as follows: “O king, since thou biddest me by all means utter the truth, and so speak as one who shall not be afterwards convicted by thee of having spoken falsely, I say this:— with Hellas poverty is ever an inbred growth, while valour is one that has been brought in, being acquired by intelligence and the force of law; and of it Hellas makes use ever to avert from herself not only poverty but also servitude to a master. Now I commend all the Hellenes who are settled in those Dorian lands, but this which I am about to say has regard not to tall, but to the Lacedemonians alone: of these I say, first that it is not possible that they will ever accept thy terms, which carry with them servitude for Hellas; and next I say that they will stand against thee in fight, even if all the other Hellenes shall be of thy party: and as for numbers, ask now how many they are, that they are able to do this; for whether it chances that a thousand of them have come out into the field, these will fight with thee, or if there be less than this, or again if there be more.” 103. Xerxes hearing this laughed, and said: “Demaratos, what a speech is this which thou hast uttered, saying that a thousand men will fight with this vast army! Come tell me this:— thou sayest that thou wert thyself king of these men; wilt thou therefore consent forthwith to fight with ten men? and yet if your State is such throughout as thou dost describe it, thou their king ought by your laws to stand in array against double as many as another man; that is to say, if each of them is a match for ten men of my army, I expect of thee that thou shouldest be a match for twenty. Thus would be confirmed the report which is made by thee: but if ye, who boast thus greatly are such men and in size so great only as the Hellenes who come commonly to speech with me, thyself included, then beware lest this which has been spoken prove but an empty vaunt. For come, let me examine it by all that is probable: how could a thousand or ten thousand or even fifty thousand, at least if they were all equally free and were not ruled by one man, stand against so great an army? since, as thou knowest, we shall be more than a thousand coming about each one of them, supposing them to be in number five thousand. If indeed they were ruled by one man after our fashion, they might perhaps from fear of him become braver than it was their nature to be, or they might go compelled by the lash to fight with greater numbers, being themselves fewer in number; but if left at liberty, they would do neither of these things: and I for my part suppose that, even if equally matched in numbers, the Hellenes would hardly dare to fight with the Persians taken alone. With us however this of which thou speakest is found in single men,97 not indeed often, but rarely; for there are Persians of my spearmen who will consent to fight with three men of the Hellenes at once: but thou hast had no experience of these things and therefore thou speakest very much at random.” 104. To this Demaratos replied: “O king, from the first I was sure that if I uttered the truth I should not speak that which was pleasing to thee; since however thou didst compel me to speak the very truth, I told thee of the matters which concern the Spartans. And yet how I am at this present time attached to them by affection thou knowest better than any; seeing that first they took away from me the rank and privileges which came to me from my fathers, and then also they have caused me to be without native land and an exile; but thy father took me up and gave me livelihood and a house to dwell in. Surely it is not to be supposed likely that the prudent man will thrust aside friendliness which is offered to him, but rather that he will accept it with full contentment.98 And I do not profess that I am able to fight either with ten men or with two, nay, if I had my will, I would not even fight with one; but if there were necessity or if the cause which urged me to the combat were a great one, I would fight most willingly with one of these men who says that he is a match for three of the Hellenes. So also the Lacedemonians are not inferior to any men when fighting one by one, and they are the best of all men when fighting in a body: for though free, yet they are not free in all things, for over them is set Law as a master, whom they fear much more even than thy people fear thee. It is certain at least that they do whatsoever that master commands; and he commands ever the same thing, that is to say, he bids them not flee out of battle from any multitude of men, but stay in their post and win the victory or lose their life. But if when I say these things I seem to thee to be speaking at random, of other things for the future I prefer to be silent; and at this time I spake only because I was compelled. May it come to pass however according to thy mind, O king.”
105. He thus made answer, and Xerxes turned the matter to laughter and felt no anger, but dismissed him with kindness. Then after he had conversed with him, and had appointed Mascames son of Megadostes to be governor at this place Doriscos, removing the governor who had been appointed by Dareios, Xerxes marched forth his army through Thrace to invade Hellas. 106. And Mascames, whom he left behind here, proved to be a man of such qualities that to him alone Xerxes used to send gifts, considering him the best of all the men whom either he himself or Dareios had appointed to be governors — he used to send him gifts, I say, every year, and so also did Artaxerxes the son of Xerxes to the descendants of Mascames. For even before this march governors had been appointed in Thrace and everywhere about the Hellespont; and these all, both those in Thrace and in the Hellespont, were conquered by the Hellenes after this expedition, except only the one who was at Doriscos; but Mascames at Doriscos none were ever99 able to conquer, though many tried. For this reason the gifts are sent continually for him from the king who reigns over the Persians. 107. Of those however who were conquered by the Hellenes Xerxes did not consider any to be a good man except only Boges, who was at Eïon: him he never ceased commending, and he honoured very highly his children who survived him in the land of Persia. For in truth Boges proved himself worthy of great commendation, seeing that when he was besieged by the Athenians under Kimon the son of Miltiades, though he might have gone forth under a truce and so returned home to Asia, he preferred not to do this, for fear that the king should that it was by cowardice that he survived; and he continued to hold out till the last. Then when there was no longer any supply of provisions within the wall, he heaped together a great pyre, and he cut the throats of his children, his wife, his concubines and his servants, and threw them into the fire; and after this he scattered all the gold and silver in the city from the wall into the river Strymon, and having so done he threw himself into the fire. Thus he is justly commended even to this present time by the Persians.
108. Xerxes from Doriscos was proceeding onwards to invade Hellas; and as he went he compelled those who successively came in his way, to join his march: for the whole country as far as Thessaly had been reduced to subjection, as has been set forth by me before, and was tributary under the king, having been subdued by Megabazos and afterwards by Mardonios. And he passed in his march from Doriscos first by the Samothrakian strongholds, of which that which is situated furthest towards the West is a city called Mesambria. Next to this follows Stryme, a city of the Thasians, and midway between them flows the river Lisos, which at this time did not suffice when supplying its water to the army of Xerxes, but the stream failed. This country was in old time called Gallaïke, but now Briantike; however by strict justice this also belongs to the Kikonians. 109. Having crossed over the bed of the river Lisos after it had been dried up, he passed by these Hellenic cities, namely Maroneia, Dicaia and Abdera. These I say he passed by, and also the following lakes of note lying near them — the Ismarian lake, lying between Maroneia and Stryme; the Bistonian lake near Dicaia, into which two rivers pour their waters, the Trauos100 and the Compsantos;1088 and at Abdera no lake indeed of any note was passed by Xerxes, but the river Nestos, which flows there into the sea. Then after passing these places he went by the cities of the mainland,101 near one of which there is, as it chances, a lake of somewhere about thirty furlongs in circumference, abounding in fish and very brackish; this the baggage-animals alone dried up, being watered at it: and the name of this city is Pistyros.102 110. These cities, I say, lying by the sea coast and belonging to Hellenes, he passed by, leaving them on the left hand; and the tribes of Thracians through whose country he marched were as follows, namely the Paitians, Kikonians, Bistonians, Sapaians, Dersaians, Edonians, Satrians. Of these they who were settled along the sea coast accompanied him with their ships, and those of them who dwelt inland and have been enumerated by me, were compelled to accompany him on land, except the Satrians: 111, the Satrians however never yet became obedient to any man, so far as we know, but they remain up to my time still free, alone of all the Thracians; for they dwell in lofty mountains, which are covered with forest of all kinds and with snow, and also they are very skilful in war. These are they who possess the Oracle of Dionysos; which Oracle is on their most lofty mountains. Of the Satrians those who act as prophets103 of the temple are the Bessians; it is a prophetess104 who utters the oracles, as at Delphi; and beyond this there is nothing further of a remarkable character.105
112. Xerxes having passed over the land which has been spoken of, next after this passed the strongholds of the Pierians, of which the name of the one is Phagres and of the other Pergamos. By this way, I say, he made his march, going close by the walls of these, and keeping Mount Pangaion on the right hand, which is both great and lofty and in which are mines both of gold and of silver possessed by the Pierians and Odomantians, and especially by the Satrians. 113. Thus passing by the Paionians, Doberians and Paioplians, who dwell beyond Pangaion towards the North Wind, he went on Westwards, until at last he came to the river Strymon and the city of Eïon, of which, so long as he lived, Boges was commander, the same about whom I was speaking a short time back. This country about Mount Pangaion is called Phyllis, and it extends Westwards to the river Angites, which flows into the Strymon, and Southwards it stretches to the Strymon itself; and at this river the Magians sacrificed for good omens, slaying white horses. 114. Having done this and many other things in addition to this, as charms for the river, at the Nine Ways106 in the land of the Edonians, they proceeded by the bridges, for they had found the Strymon already yoked with bridges; and being informed that this place was called the Nine Ways, they buried alive in it that number of boys and maidens, children of the natives of the place. Now burying alive is a Persian custom; for I am informed that Amestris also, the wife of Xerxes, when she had grown old, made return for her own life to the god who is said to be beneath the earth by burying twice seven children of Persians who were men of renown.
115. As the army proceeded on its march from the Strymon, it found after this a sea-beach stretching towards the setting of the sun, and passed by the Hellenic city, Argilos, which was there placed. This region and that which lies above it is called Bisaltia. Thence, keeping on the left hand the gulf which lies of Posideion, he went through the plain which is called the plain of Syleus, passing by Stageiros a Hellenic city, and so came to Acanthos, taking with him as he went each one of these tribes and also of those who dwell about Mount Pangaion, just as he did those whom I enumerated before, having the men who dwelt along the sea coast to serve in the ships and those who dwelt inland to accompany him on foot. This road by which Xerxes the king marched his army, the Thracians do not disturb nor sow crops over, but pay very great reverence to it down to my own time. 116. Then when he had come to Acanthos, Xerxes proclaimed a guest- friendship with the people of Acanthos and also presented them with the Median dress107 and commended them, perceiving that they were zealous to serve him in the war and hearing of that which had been dug. 117. And while Xerxes was in Acanthos, it happened that he who had been set over the making of the channel, Artachaies by name, died of sickness, a man who was highly esteemed by Xerxes and belonged to the Achaimenid family; also he was in stature the tallest of all the Persians, falling short by only four fingers of being five royal cubits108 in height, and he had a voice the loudest of all men; so that Xerxes was greatly grieved at the loss of him, and carried him forth and buried him with great honour, and the whole army joined in throwing up a mound for him. To this Artachaies the Acanthians by the bidding of an oracle do sacrifice as a hero, calling upon his name in worship.
118. King Xerxes, I say, was greatly grieved at the loss of Artachaies: and meanwhile the Hellenes who were entertaining his army and providing Xerxes with dinners had been brought to utter ruin, so that they were being driven from house and home; seeing that when the Thasians, for example, entertained the army of Xerxes and provided him with a dinner on behalf of their towns upon the mainland, Antipater the son of Orgeus, who had been appointed for this purpose, a man of repute among the citizens equal to the best, reported that four hundred talents of silver had been spent upon the dinner. 119. Just so or nearly so in the other cities also those who were set over the business reported the reckoning to be: for the dinner was given as follows, having been ordered a long time beforehand, and being counted by them a matter of great importance:— In the first place, so soon as they heard of it from the heralds who carried round the proclamation, the citizens in the various cities distributed corn among their several households, and all continued to make wheat and barley meal for many months; then they fed cattle, finding out and obtaining the finest animals for a high price; and they kept birds both of the land and of the water, in cages or in pools, all for the entertainment of the army. Then again they had drinking-cups and mixing-bowls made of gold and of silver, and all the other things which are placed upon the table: these were made for the king himself and for those who ate at his table; but for the rest of the army only the things appointed for food were provided. Then whenever the army came to any place, there was a tent pitched ready wherein Xerxes himself made his stay, while the rest of the army remained out in the open air; and when it came to be time for dinner, then the entertainers had labour; but the others, after they had been satiated with food and had spent the night there, on the next day tore up the tent and taking with them all the movable furniture proceeded on their march, leaving nothing, but carrying all away with them. 120. Then was uttered a word well spoken by Megacreon, a man of Abdera, who advised those of Abdera to go in a body, both themselves and their wives, to their temples, and to sit down as suppliants of the gods, entreating them that for the future also they would ward off from them the half of the evils which threatened; and he bade them feel great thankfulness to the gods for the past events, because king Xerxes had not thought good to take food twice in each day; for if it had been ordered to them beforehand to prepare breakfast also in like manner as the dinner, it would have remained for the men of Abdera either not to await the coming of Xerxes, or if they stayed, to be crushed by misfortune more than any other men upon the Earth.
121. They then, I say, though hard put to it, yet were performing that which was appointed to them; and from Acanthos Xerxes, after having commanded the generals to wait for the fleet at Therma, let the ships take their course apart from himself, (now this Therma is that which is situated on the Thermaic gulf, from which also this gulf has its name); and thus he did because he was informed that this was the shortest way: for from Doriscos as far as Acanthos the army had been making its march thus:— Xerxes had divided the whole land-army into three divisions, and one of them he had set to go along the sea accompanying the fleet, of which division Mardonios and Masistes were commanders; another third of the army had been appointed to go by the inland way, and of this the generals in command were Tritantaichmes and Gergis; and meanwhile the third of the subdivisions, with which Xerxes himself went, marched in the middle between them, and acknowledged as its commanders Smerdomenes and Megabyzos.
122. The fleet, when it was let go by Xerxes and had sailed right through the channel made in Athos (which went across to the gulf on which are situated the cities of Assa, Piloros, Singos and Sarte), having taken up a contingent from these cities also, sailed thence with a free course to the Thermaïc gulf, and turning round Ampelos the headland of Torone, it left on one side the following Hellenic cities, from which it took up contingents of ships and men, namely Torone, Galepsos, Sermyle, Mekyberna, Olynthos: this region is called Sithonia. 123. And the fleet of Xerxes, cutting across from the headland of Ampelos to that of Canastron,109 which runs out furthest to sea of all Pallene, took up there contingents of ships and men from Potidaia, Aphytis, Neapolis, Aige, Therambo, Skione, Mende and Sane, for these are the cities which occupy the region which now is called Pallene, but was formerly called Phlegra. Then sailing along the coast of this country also the fleet continued its course towards the place which has been mentioned before, taking up contingents also from the cities which come next after Pallene and border upon the Thermaïc gulf; and the names of them are these — Lipaxos, Combreia, Lisai, Gigonos, Campsa, Smila, Aineia; and the region in which these cities are is called even to the present day Crossaia. Then sailing from Aineia, with which name I brought to an end the list of the cities, at once the fleet came into the Thermaïc gulf and to the region of Mygdonia, and so it arrived at the aforesaid Therma and at the cities of Sindos and Chalestra upon the river Axios. This river is the boundary between the land of Mygdonia and Bottiaia, of which district the narrow region which lies on the sea coast is occupied by the cities of Ichnai and Pella.
124. Now while his naval force was encamped about the river Axios an the city of Therma and the cities which lie between these two, waiting for the coming of the king, Xerxes and the land-army were proceeding from Acanthos, cutting through the middle by the shortest way110 with a view to reaching Therma: and he was proceeding through Paionia and Crestonia to the river Cheidoros,111 which beginning from the land of the Crestonians, runs through the region of Mygdonia and comes out alongside of the marsh which is by the river Axios. 125. As he was proceeding by this way, lions attacked the camels which carried his provisions; for the lions used to come down regularly by night, leaving their own haunts, but they touched nothing else, neither beast of burden nor man, but killed the camels only: and I marvel what was the cause, and what was it that impelled the lions to abstain from all else and to attack the camels only, creatures which they had never seen before, and of which they had had no experience. 126. Now there are in these parts both many lions and also wild oxen, those that have the very large horns which are often brought into Hellas: and the limit within which these lions are found is on the one side the river Nestos, which flows through Abdera, and on the other the Achelos, which flows through Acarnania; for neither do the East of the Nestos, in any part of Europe before you come to this, would you see a lion, nor again in the remaining part of the continent to the West of the Acheloos, but they are produced in the middle space between these rivers.
127. When Xerxes had reached Therma he established the army there; and his army encamping there occupied of the land along by the sea no less than this — beginning from the city of Therma and from Mygdonia it extended as far as the river Lydias and the Haliacmon, which form the boundary between the lands of Bottiaia and Macedonia, mingling their waters together in one and the same stream. The Barbarians, I say, were encamped in these regions; and of the rivers which have been enumerated, only the river Cheidoros flowing from the Crestonian land was insufficient for the drinking of the army and failed in its stream.
128. Then Xerxes seeing from Therma the mountains of Thessaly, Olympos and Ossa, that they were of very great height, and being informed that in the midst between them there was a narrow channel, through which flows the Peneios, and hearing also that by this way there was a good road leading to Thessaly, formed a desire to sail thither and look at the outlet of the Peneios, because he was meaning to march by the upper road, through the land of the Macedonians who dwell inland, until he came to the Perraibians, passing by the city of Gonnos; for by this way he was informed that it was safest to go. And having formed this desire, so also he proceeded to do; that is, he embarked in a Sidonian ship, the same in which he used always to embark when he wished to do anything of this kind, and he displayed a signal for the others to put out to sea also, leaving there the land-army. Then when Xerxes had looked at the outlet of the Peneios, he was possessed by great wonder, and summoning his guides he asked them whether it was possible to turn the river aside and bring it out to the sea by another way. 129. Now it is said that Thessaly was in old time a lake, being enclosed on all sides by very lofty mountains: for the parts of it which lie towards the East are shut in by the ranges of Pelion and Ossa, which join one another in their lower slopes, the parts towards the North Wind by Olympos, those towards the West by Pindos and those towards the mid-day and the South Wind by Othrys; and the region in the midst, between these mountains which have been named, is Thessaly, forming as it were a hollow. Whereas then many rivers flow into it and among them these five of most note, namely Peneios, Apidanos, Onochonos, Enipeus and Pamisos, these, which collect their waters from the mountains that enclose Thessaly round, and flow into this plain, with names separate each one, having their outflow into the sea by one channel and that a narrow one, first mingling their waters all together in one and the same stream; and so soon as they are mingled together, from that point onwards the Peneios prevails with its name over the rest and causes the others to lose their separate names. And it is said that in ancient time, there not being yet this channel and outflow between the mountains, these rivers, and besides these rivers the lake Boibeïs also, had no names as they have now, but by their waters they made Thessaly to be all sea. The Thessalians themselves say that Poseidon made the channel through which the Peneios flows; and reasonably they report it thus, because whosoever believes that it is Poseidon who shakes the Earth and that the partings asunder produced by earthquake are the work of this god, would say, if he saw this, that it was made by Poseidon; for the parting asunder of the mountains is the work of an earthquake, as is evident to me. 130. So the guides, when Xerxes asked whether there was any other possible outlet to the sea for the Peneios, said with exact knowledge of the truth: “O king, for this river there is no other outgoing which extends to the sea, but this alone; for all Thessaly is circled about with mountains as with a crown.” To this Xerxes is said to have replied: “The Thessalians then are prudent men. This it appears was that which they desired to guard against in good time112 when they changed their counsel,113 reflecting on this especially besides other things, namely that they had a country which, it appears, is easy to conquer and may quickly be taken: for it would have been necessary only to let the river flow over their land by making an embankment to keep it from going through the narrow channel and so diverting the course by which now it flows, in order to put all Thessaly under water except the mountains.” This he said in reference to the sons of Aleuas, because they, being Thessalians, were the first of the Hellenes who gave themselves over to the king; for Xerxes thought that they offered him friendship on behalf of their whole nation. Having said thus and having looked at the place, he sailed back to Therma.
131. He then was staying in the region of Pieria many days, for the road over the mountains of Macedonia was being cut meanwhile by a third part of his army, that all the host might pass over by this way into the land of the Perraibians: and now the heralds returned who had been sent to Hellas to demand the gift of earth, some empty-handed and others bearing earth and water. 132. And among those who gave that which was demanded were the following, namely the Thessalians, Dolopians, Enianians,114 Perraibians, Locrians, Megnesians, Malians, Achaians of Phthiotis, and Thebans, with the rest of the Bœotians also excepting the Thespians and Plataians. Against these the Hellenes who took up war with the Barbarian made an oath; and the oath was this — that whosoever being Hellenes had given themselves over to the Persian, not being compelled, these, if their own affairs should come to a good conclusion, they would dedicate as an offering115 to the god at Delphi. 133. Thus ran the oath which was taken by the Hellenes: Xerxes however had not sent to Athens or to Sparta heralds to demand the gift of earth, and for this reason, namely because at the former time when Dareios had sent for this very purpose, the one people threw the men who made the demand into the pit116 and the others into a well, and bade them take from thence earth and water and bear them to the king. For this reason Xerxes did not send men to make this demand. And what evil thing117 came upon the Athenians for having done this to the heralds, I am not able to say, except indeed that their land and city were laid waste; but I do not think that this happened for that cause: 134, on the Lacedemonians however the wrath fell of Talthybios, the herald of Agamemnon; for in Sparta there is a temple of Talthybios, and there are also descendants of Talthybios called Talthybiads, to whom have been given as a right all the missions of heralds which go from Sparta; and after this event it was not possible for the Spartans when they sacrificed to obtain favourable omens. This was the case with them for a long time; and as the Lacedemonians were grieved and regarded it as a great misfortune, and general assemblies were repeatedly gathered together and proclamation made, asking if any one of the Lacedemonians was willing to die for Sparta, at length Sperthias the son of Aneristos and Bulis the son of Nicolaos, Spartans of noble birth and in wealth attaining to the first rank, voluntarily submitted to pay the penalty to Xerxes for the heralds of Dareios which had perished at Sparta. Thus the Spartans sent these to the Medes to be put to death. 135. And not only the courage then shown by these men is worthy of admiration, but also the following sayings in addition: for as they were on their way to Susa they came to Hydarnes (now Hydarnes was a Persian by race and commander of those who dwelt on the sea coasts of Asia), and he offered them hospitality and entertained them; and while they were his guests he asked them as follows: “Lacedemonians, why is it that ye flee from becoming friends to the king? for ye may see that the king knows how to honour good men, when ye look at me and at my fortunes. So also ye, Lacedemonians, if ye gave yourselves to the king, since ye have the reputation with him already of being good men, would have rule each one of you over Hellenic land by the gift of the king.” To this they made answer thus: “Hydarnes, thy counsel with regard to us is not equally balanced,118 for thou givest counsel having made trial indeed of the one thing, but being without experience of the other: thou knowest well what it is to be a slave, but thou hast never yet made trial of freedom, whether it is pleasant to the taste or no; for if thou shouldest make trial of it, thou wouldest then counsel us to fight for it not with spears only but also with axes.” 136. Thus they answered Hydarnes; and then, after they had gone up to Susa and had come into the presence of the king, first when the spearmen of the guard commanded them and endeavoured to compel them by force to do obeisance to the king by falling down before him, they said that they would not do any such deed, though they should be pushed down by them head foremost; for it was not their custom to do obeisance to a man, and it was not for this that they had come. Then when they had resisted this, next they spoke these words or words to this effect: “O king of the Medes, the Lacedemonians sent us in place of the heralds who were slain in Sparta, to pay the penalty for their lives.” When they said this, Xerxes moved by a spirit of magnanimity replied that he would not be like the Lacedemonians; for they had violated the rules which prevailed among all men by slaying heralds, but he would not do that himself which he blamed them for having done, nor would he free the Lacedemonians from their guilt by slaying these in return. 137. Thus the wrath of Talthybios ceased for the time being, even though the Spartans had done no more than this and although Sperthias and Bulis returned back to Sparta; but a long time after this it was roused again during the war between the Peloponnesians and Athenians, as the Lacedemonians report. This I perceive to have been most evidently the act of the Deity: for in that the wrath of Talthybios fell upon messengers and did not cease until it had been fully satisfied, so much was but in accordance with justice; but that it happened to come upon the sons of these men who went up to the king on account of the wrath, namely upon Nicolaos the son of Bulis and Aneristos the son of Sperthias (the same who conquered the men of Halieis, who came from Tiryns, by sailing into their harbour with a merchant ship filled with fighting men) — by this it is evident to me that the matter came to pass by the act of the Deity caused by this wrath. For these men, sent by the Lacedemonians as envoys to Asia, having been betrayed by Sitalkes the son of Teres king of the Thracians and by Nymphodoros the son of Pythes a man of Abdera, were captured at Bisanthe on the Hellespont; and then having been carried away to Attica they were put to death by the Athenians, and with them also Aristeas the son of Adeimantos the Corinthian. These things happened many years after the expedition of the king; and I return now to the former narrative.
138. Now the march of the king’s army was in name against Athens, but in fact it was going against all Hellas: and the Hellenes being informed of this long before were not all equally affected by it; for some of them having given earth and water to the Persian had confidence, supposing that they would suffer no hurt from the Barbarian; while others not having given were in great terror, seeing that there were not ships existing in Hellas which were capable as regards number of receiving the invader in fight, and seeing that the greater part of the States were not willing to take up the war, but adopted readily the side of the Medes. 139. And here I am compelled by necessity to declare an opinion which in the eyes of most men would seem to be invidious, but nevertheless I will not abstain from saying that which I see evidently to be the truth. If the Athenians had been seized with fear of the danger which threatened them and had left their land,119 or again, without leaving their land, had stayed and given themselves up to Xerxes, none would have made any attempt by sea to oppose the king. If then none had opposed Xerxes by sea, it would have happened on the land somewhat thus:— even if many tunics of walls120 had been thrown across the Isthmus by the Peloponnesians, the Lacedemonians would have been deserted by their allies, not voluntarily but of necessity, since these would have been conquered city after city by the naval force of the Barbarian, and so they would have been left alone: and having been left alone and having displayed great deeds of valour, they would have met their death nobly. Either they would have suffered this fate, or before this, seeing the other Hellenes also taking the side of the Medes, they would have made an agreement with Xerxes; and thus in either case Hellas would have come to be under the rule of the Persians: for as to the good to be got from the walls thrown across the Isthmus, I am unable to discover what it would have been, when the king had command of the sea. As it is however, if a man should say that the Athenians proved to be the saviours of Hellas, he would not fail to hit the truth; for to whichever side these turned, to that the balance was likely to incline: and these were they who, preferring that Hellas should continue to exist in freedom, roused up all of Hellas which remained, so much, that is, as had not gone over to the Medes, and (after the gods at least) these were they who repelled the king. Nor did fearful oracles, which came from Delphi and cast them into dread, induce them to leave Hellas, but they stayed behind and endured to receive the invader of their land. 140. For the Athenians had sent men to Delphi to inquire and were preparing to consult the Oracle; and after these had performed the usual rites in the sacred precincts, when they had entered the sanctuary121 and were sitting down there, the Pythian prophetess, whose name was Aristonike, uttered to them this oracle:
“Why do ye sit, O ye wretched? Flee thou122 to the uttermost limits, Leaving thy home and the heights of the wheel-round city behind thee! Lo, there remaineth now nor the head nor the body in safety — Neither the feet below nor the hands nor the middle are left thee — All are destroyed123 together; for fire and the passionate War-god,124 Urging the Syrian1113 car to speed, doth hurl them125 to ruin. Not thine alone, he shall cause many more great strongholds to perish, Yes, many temples of gods to the ravening fire shall deliver — Temples which stand now surely with sweat of their terror down-streaming, Quaking with dread; and lo! from the topmost roof to the pavement Dark blood trickles, forecasting the dire unavoidable evil. Forth with you, forth from the shrine, and steep your soul in the sorrow!126
141. Hearing this the men who had been sent by the Athenians to consult the Oracle were very greatly distressed; and as they were despairing by reason of the evil which had been prophesied to them, Timon the son of Androbulos, a man of the Delphians in reputation equal to the first, counselled them to take a suppliant’s bough and to approach the second time and consult the Oracle as suppliants. The Athenians did as he advised and said: “Lord,127 we pray thee utter to us some better oracle about our native land, having respect to these suppliant boughs which we have come to thee bearing; otherwise surely we will not depart away from the sanctuary, but will remain here where we are now, even until we bring our lives to an end.” When they spoke these words, the prophetess gave them a second oracle as follows:
“Pallas cannot prevail to appease great Zeus in Olympos, Though she with words very many and wiles close-woven entreat him. But I will tell thee this more, and will clench it with steel adamantine: Then when all else shall be taken, whatever the boundary128 of Kecrops Holdeth within, and the dark ravines of divinest Kithairon, A bulwark of wood at the last Zeus grants to the Trito-born goddess Sole to remain unwasted, which thee and thy children shall profit. Stay thou not there for the horsemen to come and the footmen unnumbered; Stay thou not still for the host from the mainland to come, but retire thee, Turning thy back to the foe, for yet thou shalt face him hereafter. Salamis, thou the divine, thou shalt cause sons of women to perish, Or when the grain129 is scattered or when it is gathered together.”
142. This seemed to them to be (as in truth it was) a milder utterance than the former one; therefore they had it written down and departed with it to Athens: and when the messengers after their return made report to the people, many various opinions were expressed by persons inquiring into the meaning of the oracle, and among them these, standing most in opposition to one another:— some of the elder men said they thought that the god had prophesied to them that the Acropolis should survive; for the Acropolis of the Athenians was in old time fenced with a thorn hedge; and they conjectured accordingly that this saying about the “bulwark of wood” referred to the fence: others on the contrary said that the god meant by this their ships, and they advised to leave all else and get ready these. Now they who said that the ships were the bulwark of wood were shaken in their interpretation by the two last verses which the prophetess uttered:
“Salamis, thou the divine, thou shalt cause sons of women to perish, Or when the grain is scattered or when it is gathered together.”
In reference to these verses the opinions of those who said that the ships were the bulwark of wood were disturbed; for the interpreters of oracles took these to mean that it was fated for them, having got ready for a sea-fight, to suffer defeat round about Salamis. 143. Now there was one man of the Athenians who had lately been coming forward to take a place among the first, whose name was Themistocles, called son of Neocles. This man said that the interpreters of oracles did not make right conjecture of the whole, and he spoke as follows, saying that if these words that had been uttered referred really to the Athenians, he did not think it would have been so mildly expressed in the oracle, but rather thus, “Salamis, thou the merciless,” instead of “Salamis, thou the divine,” at least if its settlers were destined to perish round about it: but in truth the oracle had been spoken by the god with reference to the enemy, if one understood it rightly, and not to the Athenians: therefore he counselled them to get ready to fight a battle by sea, for in this was their bulwark of wood. When Themistocles declared his opinion thus, the Athenians judged that this was to be preferred by them rather than the advice of the interpreters of oracles, who bade them not make ready for a sea-fight, nor in short raise their hands at all in opposition, but leave the land of Attica and settle in some other. 144. Another opinion too of Themistocles before this one proved the best at the right moment, when the Athenians, having got large sums of money in the public treasury, which had come in to them from the mines which are at Laureion, were intending to share it among themselves, taking each in turn the sum of ten drachmas. Then Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to give up this plan of division and to make for themselves with this money two hundred ships for the war, meaning by that the war with the Eginetans: for this war having arisen130 proved in fact the salvation of Hellas at that time, by compelling the Athenians to become a naval power. And the ships, not having been used for the purpose for which they had been made, thus proved of service at need to Hellas. These ships then, I say, the Athenians had already, having built them beforehand, and it was necessary in addition to these to construct others. They resolved then, when they took counsel after the oracle was given, to receive the Barbarian invading Hellas with their ships in full force, following the commands of the god, in combination with those of the Hellenes who were willing to join them.
145. These oracles had been given before to the Athenians: and when those Hellenes who had the better mind about Hellas131 came together to one place, and considered their affairs and interchanged assurances with one another, then deliberating together they thought it well first of all things to reconcile the enmities and bring to an end the wars which they had with one another. Now there were wars engaged132 between others also, and especially between the Athenians and the Eginetans. After this, being informed that Xerxes was with his army at Sardis, they determined to send spies to Asia to make observation of the power of the king; and moreover they resolved to send envoys to Argos to form an alliance against the Persian, and to send others to Sicily to Gelon the son of Deinomenes and also to Corcyra, to urge them to come to the assistance of Hellas, and others again to Crete; for they made it their aim that if possible the Hellenic race might unite in one, and that they might join all together and act towards the same end, since dangers were threatening all the Hellenes equally. Now the power of Gelon was said to be great, far greater than any other Hellenic power.
146. When they had thus resolved, they reconciled their enmities and then sent first three men as spies to Asia. These having come to Sardis and having got knowledge about the king’s army, were discovered, and after having been examined by the generals of the land-army were being led off to die. For these men, I say, death had been determined; but Xerxes, being informed of this, found fault with the decision of the generals and sent some of the spearmen of his guard, enjoining them, if they should find the spies yet alive, to bring them to his presence. So having found them yet surviving they brought them into the presence of the king; and upon that Xerxes, being informed for what purpose they had come, commanded the spearmen to lead them round and to show them the whole army both foot and horse, and when they should have had their fill of looking at these things, to let them go unhurt to whatsoever land they desired. 147. Such was the command which he gave, adding at the same time this saying, namely that if the spies had been put to death, the Hellenes would not have been informed beforehand of his power, how far beyond description it was; while on the other hand by putting to death three men they would not very greatly have damaged the enemy; but when these returned back to Hellas, he thought it likely that the Hellenes, hearing of his power, would deliver up their freedom to him themselves, before the expedition took place which was being set in motion; and thus there would be no need for them to have the labour of marching an army against them. This opinion of his is like his manner of thinking at other times;133 for when Xerxes was in Abydos, he saw vessels which carried corn from the Pontus sailing out through the Hellespont on their way to Egina and the Peloponnese. Those then who sat by his side, being informed that the ships belonged to the enemy, were prepared to capture them, and were looking to the king to see when he would give the word; but Xerxes asked about them whither the men were sailing, and they replied: “Master, to thy foes, conveying to them corn”: he then made answer and said: “Are we not also sailing to the same place as these men, furnished with corn as well as with other things necessary? How then do these wrong us, since they are conveying provisions for our use?”
148. The spies then, having thus looked at everything and after that having been dismissed, returned back to Europe: and meanwhile those of the Hellenes who had sworn alliance against the Persian, after the sending forth of the spies proceeded to send envoys next to Argos. Now the Argives report that the matters concerning themselves took place as follows:— They were informed, they say, at the very first of the movement which was being set on foot by the Barbarian against Hellas; and having been informed of this and perceiving that the Hellenes would endeavour to get their alliance against the Persians, they had sent messengers to inquire of the god at Delphi, and to ask how they should act in order that it might be best for themselves: because lately there had been slain of them six thousand men by the Lacedemonians and by Cleomenes the son of Anaxandrides,134 and this in fact was the reason that they were sending to inquire: and when they inquired, the Pythian prophetess made answer to them as follows:
“Thou to thy neighbours a foe, by the gods immortal beloved, Keep thou thy spear135 within bounds, and sit well-guarded behind it: Guard well the head, and the head shall preserve the limbs and the body.”
Thus, they say, the Pythian prophetess had replied to them before this; and afterwards when the messengers of the Hellenes came, as I said, to Argos, they entered the Council-chamber and spoke that which had been enjoined to them; and to that which was said the Council replied that the Argives were ready to do as they were requested, on condition that they got peace made with the Lacedemonians for thirty years and that they had half the leadership of the whole confederacy: and yet by strict right (they said) the whole leadership fell to their share, but nevertheless it was sufficient for them to have half. 149. Thus they report that the Council made answer, although the oracle forbade them to make the alliance with the Hellenes; and they were anxious, they say, that a truce from hostilities for thirty years should be made, although they feared the oracle, in order, as they allege, that their sons might grow to manhood in these years; whereas if a truce did not exist, they had fear that, supposing another disaster should come upon them in fighting against the Persian in addition to that which had befallen them already, they might be for all future time subject to the Lacedemonians. To that which was spoken by the Council those of the envoys who were of Sparta replied, that as to the truce they would refer the matter to their public assembly,136 but as to the leadership they had themselves been commissioned to make reply, and did in fact say this, namely that they had two kings, while the Argives had one; and it was not possible to remove either of the two who were of Sparta from the leadership, but there was nothing to prevent the Argive king from having an equal vote with each of their two. Then, say the Argives, they could not endure the grasping selfishness of the Spartans, but chose to be ruled by the Barbarians rather than to yield at all to the Lacedemonians; and they gave notice to the envoys to depart out of the territory of the Argives before sunset, or, if not, they would be dealt with as enemies.
150. The Argives themselves report so much about these matters: but there is another story reported in Hellas to the effect that Xerxes sent a herald to Argos before he set forth to make an expedition against Hellas, and this herald, they say, when he had come, spoke as follows: “Men of Argos, king Xerxes says to you these things:— We hold that Perses, from whom we are descended, was the son of Perseus, the son of Danae, and was born of the daughter of Kepheus, Andromeda; and according to this it would seem that we are descended from you. It is not fitting then that we should go forth on an expedition against those from whom we trace our descent, nor that ye should set yourselves in opposition to us by rendering assistance to others; but it is fitting that ye keep still and remain by yourselves: for if things happen according to my mind, I shall not esteem any people to be of greater consequence than you.” Having heard this the Argives, it is said, considered it a great matter; and therefore at first they made no offer of help nor did they ask for any share; but afterwards, when the Hellenes tried to get them on their side, then, since they knew well that the Lacedemonians would not give them a share in the command, they asked for this merely in order that they might have a pretext for remaining still. 151. Also some of the Hellenes report that the following event, in agreement with this account, came to pass many years after these things:— there happened, they say, to be in Susa the city of Memnon137 envoys of the Athenians come about some other matter, namely Callias the son of Hipponicos and the others who went up with him; and the Argives at that very time had also sent envoys to Susa, and these asked Artoxerxes the son of Xerxes, whether the friendship which they had formed with Xerxes still remained unbroken, if they themselves desired to maintain it,138 or whether they were esteemed by him to be enemies; and king Artoxerxes said that it most certainly remained unbroken, and that there was no city which he considered to be more his friend than Argos. 152. Now whether Xerxes did indeed send a herald to Argos saying that which has been reported, and whether envoys of the Argives who had gone up to Susa inquired of Artoxerxes concerning friendship, I am not able to say for certain; nor do I declare any opinion about the matters in question other than that which the Argives themselves report: but I know this much, that if all the nations of men should bring together into one place the evils which they have suffered themselves, desiring to make exchange with their neighbours, each people of them, when they had examined closely the evils suffered by their fellows, would gladly carry away back with them those which they had brought.139 Thus it is not the Argives who have acted most basely of all. I however am bound to report that which is reported, though I am not bound altogether to believe it; and let this saying be considered to hold good as regards every narrative in the history: for I must add that this also is reported, namely that the Argives were actually those who invited the Persian to invade Hellas, because their war with the Lacedemonians had had an evil issue, being willing to suffer anything whatever rather than the trouble which was then upon them.
153. That which concerns the Argives has now been said: and meanwhile envoys had come to Sicily from the allies, to confer with Gelon, among whom was also Syagros from the Lacedemonians. Now the ancestor of this Gelon, he who was at Gela as a settler,140 was a native of the island of Telos, which lies off Triopion; and when Gela was founded by the Lindians of Rhodes and by Antiphemos, he was not left behind. Then in course of time his descendants became and continued to be priests of the mysteries of the Earth goddesses,141 an office which was acquired by Telines one of their ancestors in the following manner:— certain of the men of Gela, being worsted in a party struggle, had fled to Mactorion, the city which stands above Gela: these men Telines brought back to Gela from exile with no force of men but only with the sacred rites of these goddesses; but from whom he received them, or whether he obtained them for himself,142 this I am not able to say; trusting in these however, he brought the men back from exile, on the condition that his descendants should be priests of the mysteries of the goddesses. To me it has caused wonder also that Telines should have been able to perform so great a deed, considering that which I am told; for such deeds, I think, are not apt to proceed from every man, but from one who has a brave spirit and manly vigour, whereas Telines is said by the dwellers in Sicily to have been on the contrary a man of effeminate character and rather poor spirit. 154. He then had thus obtained the privilege of which I speak: and when Cleander the son of Pantares brought his life to an end, having been despot of Gela for seven years and being killed at last by Sabyllos a man of Gela, then Hippocrates succeeded to the monarchy, who was brother of Cleander. And while Hippocrates was despot, Gelon, who was a descendant of Telines the priest of the mysteries, was spearman of the guard143 to Hippocrates with many others and among them Ainesidemos the son of Pataicos. Then after no long time he was appointed by reason of valour to be commander of the whole cavalry; for when Hippocrates besieged successively the cities of Callipolis, Naxos, Zancle, Leontini, and also Syracuse and many towns of the Barbarians, in these wars Gelon showed himself a most brilliant warrior; and of the cities which I just now mentioned, not one except Syracuse escaped being reduced to subjection by Hippocrates: the Syracusans however, after they had been defeated in battle at the river Eloros, were rescued by the Corinthians and Corcyreans; these rescued them and brought the quarrel to a settlement on this condition, namely that the Syracusans should deliver up Camarina to Hippocrates. Now Camarina used in ancient time to belong to the men of Syracuse. 155. Then when it was the fate of Hippocrates also, after having been despot for the same number of years as his brother Cleander, to be killed at the city of Hybla, whither he had gone on an expedition against the Sikelians, then Gelon made a pretence of helping the sons of Hippocrates, Eucleides and Cleander, when the citizens were no longer willing to submit; but actually, when he had been victorious in a battle over the men of Gela, he robbed the sons of Hippocrates of the power and was ruler himself. After this stroke of fortune Gelon restored those of the Syracusans who were called “land-holders,”144 after they had been driven into exile by the common people and by their own slaves, who were called Kyllyrians,145 these, I say, he restored from the city of Casmene to Syracuse, and so got possession of this last city also, for the common people of Syracuse, when Gelon came against them, delivered up to him their city and themselves. 156. So after he had received Syracuse into his power, he made less account of Gela, of which he was ruler also in addition, and he gave it in charge to Hieron his brother, while he proceeded to strengthen Syracuse. So forthwith that city rose and shot up to prosperity; for in the first place he brought all those of Camarina to Syracuse and made them citizens, and razed to the ground the city of Camarina; then secondly he did the same to more than half of the men of Gela, as he had done to those of Camarina: and as regards the Megarians of Sicily, when they were besieged and had surrendered by capitulation, the well-to-do men146 of them, though they had stirred up war with him and expected to be put to death for this reason, he brought to Syracuse and made them citizens, but the common people of the Megarians, who had no share in the guilt of this war and did not expect that they would suffer any evil, these also he brought to Syracuse and sold them as slaves to be carried away from Sicily: and the same thing he did moreover to the men of Euboia in Sicily, making a distinction between them: and he dealt thus with these two cities because he thought that a body of commons was a most unpleasant element in the State.
157. In the manner then which has been described Gelon had become a powerful despot; and at this time when the envoys of the Hellenes had arrived at Syracuse, they came to speech with him and said as follows: “The Lacedemonians and their allies sent us to get thee to be on our side against the Barbarian; for we suppose that thou art certainly informed of him who is about to invade Hellas, namely that a Persian is designing to bridge over the Hellespont, and to make an expedition against Hellas, leading against us out of Asia all the armies of the East, under colour of marching upon Athens, but in fact meaning to bring all Hellas to subjection under him. Do thou therefore, seeing that147 thou hast attained to a great power and hast no small portion of Hellas for thy share, being the ruler of Sicily, come to the assistance of those who are endeavouring to free Hellas, and join in making her free; for if all Hellas be gathered together in one, it forms a great body, and we are made a match in fight for those who are coming against us; but if some of us go over to the enemy and others are not willing to help, and the sound portion of Hellas is consequently small, there is at once in this a danger that all Hellas may fall to ruin. For do not thou hope that if the Persian shall overcome us in battle he will not come to thee, but guard thyself against this beforehand; for in coming to our assistance thou art helping thyself; and the matter which is wisely planned has for the most part a good issue afterwards.” 158. The envoys spoke thus; and Gelon was very vehement with them, speaking to them as follows: “Hellenes, a selfish speech is this, with which ye have ventured to come and invite me to be your ally against the Barbarian; whereas ye yourselves, when I in former time requested of you to join with me in fighting against an army of Barbarians, contention having arisen between me and the Carthaginians, and when I charged you to exact vengeance of the men of Egesta for the death of Dorieos the son of Anaxandrides,148 while at the same time I offered to help in setting free the trading-places, from which great advantages and gains have been reaped by you — ye, I say, then neither for my own sake came to my assistance, nor in order to exact vengeance for the death of Dorieos; and, so far as ye are concerned, all these parts are even now under the rule of Barbarians. But since it turned out well for us and came to a better issue, now that the war has come round and reached you, there has at last arisen in your minds a recollection of Gelon. However, though I have met with contempt at your hands, I will not act like you; but I am prepared to come to your assistance, supplying two hundred triremes and twenty thousand hoplites, with two thousand horsemen, two thousand bowmen, two thousand slingers and two thousand light-armed men to run beside the horsemen; and moreover I will undertake to supply corn for the whole army of the Hellenes, until we have finished the war. These things I engage to supply on this condition, namely that I shall be commander and leader of the Hellenes against the Barbarian; but on any other condition I will neither come myself nor will I send others.” 159. Hearing this Syagros could not contain himself but spoke these words: “Deeply, I trow, would Agamemnon son of Pelops lament,149 if he heard that the Spartans had had the leadership taken away from them by Gelon and by the Syracusans. Nay, but make thou no further mention of this condition, namely that we should deliver the leadership to thee; but if thou art desirous to come to the assistance of Hellas, know that thou wilt be under the command of the Lacedemonians; and if thou dost indeed claim not to be under command, come not thou to our help at all.”
160. To this Gelon, seeing that the speech of Syagros was adverse, set forth to them his last proposal thus: “Stranger from Sparta, reproaches sinking into the heart of a man are wont to rouse his spirit in anger against them; thou however, though thou hast uttered insults against me in thy speech, wilt not bring me to show myself unseemly in my reply. But whereas ye so strongly lay claim to the leadership, it were fitting that I should lay claim to it more than ye, seeing that I am the leader of an army many times as large and of ships many more. Since however this condition is so distasteful to you,150 we will recede somewhat from our former proposal. Suppose that ye should be leaders of the land-army and I of the fleet; or if it pleases you to lead the sea-forces, I am willing to be leader of those on land; and either ye must be contented with these terms or go away without the alliance which I have to give.” 161. Gelon, I say, made these offers, and the envoy of the Athenians, answering before that of the Lacedemonians, replied to him as follows: “O king of the Syracusans, it was not of a leader that Hellas was in want when it sent us to thee, but of an army. Thou however dost not set before us the hope that thou wilt send an army, except thou have the leadership of Hellas; and thou art striving how thou mayest become commander of the armies of Hellas. So long then as it was thy demand to be leader of the whole army of the Hellenes, it was sufficient for us Athenians to keep silence, knowing that the Lacedemonian would be able to make defence even for us both; but now, since being repulsed from the demand for the whole thou art requesting to be commander of the naval force, we tell that thus it is:— not even if the Lacedemonian shall permit thee to be commander of it, will we permit thee; for this at least is our own, if the Lacedemonians do not themselves desire to have it. With these, if they desire to be the leaders, we do not contend; but none others beside ourselves shall we permit to be in command of the ships: for then to no purpose should we be possessors of a sea-force larger than any other which belongs to the Hellenes, if, being Athenians, we should yield the leadership to Syracusans, we who boast of a race which is the most ancient of all and who are of all the Hellenes the only people who have not changed from one land to another; to whom also belonged a man whom Homer the Epic poet said was the best of all who came to Ilion in drawing up an army and setting it in array.151 Thus we are not justly to be reproached if we say these things.” 162. To this Gelon made answer thus: “Stranger of Athens, it would seem that ye have the commanders, but that ye will not have the men to be commanded. Since then ye will not at all give way, but desire to have the whole, it were well that ye should depart home as quickly as possible and report to the Hellenes that the spring has been taken out of their year.” Now this is the meaning of the saying:— evidently the spring is the noblest part of the year; and so he meant to say that his army was the noblest part of the army of the Hellenes: for Hellas therefore, deprived of his alliance, it was, he said, as if the spring had been taken out of the year.152
163. The envoys of the Hellenes, having thus had conference with Gelon, sailed away; and Gelon upon this, fearing on the one hand about the Hellenes, lest they should not be able to overcome the Barbarian, and on the other hand considering it monstrous and not to be endured that he should come to Peloponnesus and be under the command of the Lacedemonians, seeing that he was despot of Sicily, gave up the thought of this way and followed another: for so soon as he was informed that the Persian had crossed over the Hellespont, he sent Cadmos the son of Skythes, a man of Cos, with three fifty-oared galleys to Delphi, bearing large sums of money and friendly proposals, to wait there and see how the battle would fall out: and if the Barbarian should be victorious, he was to give him the money and also to offer him earth and water from those over whom Gelon had rule; but if the Hellenes should be victorious, he was bidden to bring it back. 164. Now this Cadmos before these events, having received from his father in a prosperous state the government153 of the people of Cos, had voluntarily and with no danger threatening, but moved merely by uprightness of nature, placed the government in the hands of the people of Cos154 and had departed to Sicily, where he took from155 the Samians and newly colonised the city of Zancle, which had changed its name to Messene. This same Cadmos, having come thither in such manner as I have said, Gelon was now sending, having selected him on account of the integrity which in other matters he had himself found to be in him; and this man, in addition to the other upright acts which had been done by him, left also this to be remembered, which was not the least of them: for having got into his hands that great sum of money which Gelon entrusted to his charge, though he might have taken possession of it himself he did not choose to do so; but when the Hellenes had got the better in the sea-fight and Xerxes had marched away and departed, he also returned to Sicily bringing back with him the whole sum of money.
165. The story which here follows is also reported by those who dwell in Sicily, namely that, even though he was to be under the command of the Lacedemonians, Gelon would have come to the assistance of the Hellenes, but that Terillos, the son of Crinippos and despot of Himera, having been driven out of Himera by Theron the son of Ainesidemos156 the ruler of the Agrigentines, was just at this very time bringing in an army of Phenicians, Libyans, Iberians, Ligurians, Elisycans, Sardinians and Corsicans, to the number of thirty myriads,157 with Amilcas the son of Annon king of the Carthaginians as their commander, whom Terillos had persuaded partly by reason of his own guest-friendship, and especially by the zealous assistance of Anaxilaos the son of Cretines, who was despot of Rhegion, and who to help his father-in-law endeavoured to bring in Amilcas to Sicily, and had given him his sons as hostages; for Anaxilaos was married to the daughter of Terillos, whose name was Kydippe. Thus it was, they say, that Gelon was not able to come to the assistance of the Hellenes, and sent therefore the money to Delphi. 166. In addition to this they report also that, as it happened, Gelon and Theron were victorious over Amilcas the Carthaginian on the very same day when the Hellenes were victorious at Salamis over the Persian. And this Amilcas, who was a Carthaginian on the father’s side but on the mother’s Syracusan, and who had become king of the Carthaginians by merit, when the engagement took place and he was being worsted in the battle, disappeared, as I am informed; for neither alive nor dead did he appear again anywhere upon the earth, though Gelon used all diligence in the search for him. 167. Moreover there is also this story reported by the Carthaginians themselves, who therein relate that which is probable in itself, namely that while the Barbarians fought with the Hellenes in Sicily from the early morning till late in the afternoon (for to such a length the combat is said to have been protracted), during this time Amilcas was remaining in the camp and was making sacrifices to get good omens of success, offering whole bodies of victims upon a great pyre: and when he saw that there was a rout of his own army, he being then, as it chanced, in the act of pouring a libation over the victims, threw himself into the fire, and thus he was burnt up and disappeared. Amilcas then having disappeared, whether it was in such a manner as this, as it is reported by the Phenicians, or in some other way,158 the Carthaginians both offer sacrifices to him now, and also they made memorials of him then in all the cities of their colonies, and the greatest in Carthage itself.
168. So far of the affairs of Sicily: and as for the Corcyreans, they made answer to the envoys as follows, afterwards acting as I shall tell: for the same men who had gone to Sicily endeavoured also to obtain the help of these, saying the same things which they said to Gelon; and the Corcyreans at the time engaged to send a force and to help in the defence, declaring that they must not permit Hellas to be ruined without an effort on their part, for if it should suffer disaster, they would be reduced to subjection from the very first day; but they must give assistance so far as lay in their power. Thus speciously they made reply; but when the time came to send help, they manned sixty ships, having other intentions in their minds, and after making much difficulty they put out to sea and reached Peloponnese; and then near Pylos and Tainaron in the land of the Lacedemonians they kept their ships at anchor, waiting, as Gelon did, to see how the war would turn out: for they did not expect that the Hellenes would overcome, but thought that the Persian would gain the victory over them with ease and be ruler of all Hellas. Accordingly they were acting of set purpose, in order that they might be able to say to the Persian some such words as these: “O king, when the Hellenes endeavoured to obtain our help for this war, we, who have a power which is not the smallest of all, and could have supplied a contingent of ships in number not the smallest, but after the Athenians the largest, did not choose to oppose thee or to do anything which was not to thy mind.” By speaking thus they hoped that they would obtain some advantage over the rest, and so it would have happened, as I am of opinion: while they had for the Hellenes an excuse ready made, that namely of which they actually made use: for when the Hellenes reproached them because they did not come to help, they said that they had manned sixty triremes, but had not been able to get past Malea owing to the Etesian Winds; therefore it was that they had not come to Salamis, nor was it by any want of courage on their part that they had been left of the sea-fight.
169. These then evaded the request of the Hellenes thus: but the Cretans, when those of the Hellenes who had been appointed to deal with these endeavoured to obtain their help, did thus, that is to say, they joined together and sent men to inquire of the god at Delphi whether it would be better for them if they gave assistance to Hellas: and the Pythian prophetess answered: “Ye fools, do ye think those woes too few,159 which Minos sent upon you in his wrath,160 because of the assistance that ye gave to Menelaos? seeing that, whereas they did not join with you in taking vengeance for his death in Camicos, ye nevertheless joined with them in taking vengeance for the woman who by a Barbarian was carried off from Sparta.” When the Cretans heard this answer reported, they abstained from the giving of assistance. 170. For the story goes that Minos, having come to Sicania, which is now called Sicily, in search of Daidalos, died there by a violent death; and after a time the Cretans, urged thereto by a god, all except the men of Polichne and Praisos, came with a great armament to Sicania and besieged for seven years the city of Camicos, which in my time was occupied by the Agrigentines; and at last not being able either to capture it or to remain before it, because they were hard pressed by famine, they departed and went away. And when, as they sailed, they came to be off the coast of Iapygia, a great storm seized them and cast them away upon the coast; and their vessels being dashed to pieces, they, since they saw no longer any way of coming to Crete, founded there the city of Hyria; and there they stayed and were changed so that they became instead of Cretans, Messapians of Iapygia, and instead of islanders, dwellers on the mainland: then from the city of Hyria they founded those other settlements which the Tarentines long afterwards endeavoured to destroy and suffer great disaster in that enterprise, so that this in fact proved to be the greatest slaughter of Hellenes that is known to us, and not only of the Tarentines themselves but of those citizens of Rhegion who were compelled by Mikythos the son of Choiros to go to the assistance of the Tarentines, and of whom there were slain in this manner three thousand men: of the Tarentines themselves however, who were slain there, there was no numbering made. This Mikythos, who was a servant of Anaxilaos, had been left by him in charge of Rhegion; and he it was who after being driven out of Rhegion took up his abode at Tegea of the Arcadians and dedicated those many statues at Olympia. 171. This of the men of Rhegion and of the Tarentines has been an episode161 in my narrative: in Crete however, as the men of Praisos report, after it had been thus stripped of inhabitants, settlements were made by various nations, but especially by Hellenes; and in the next generation but one after the death of Minos came the Trojan war, in which the Cretans proved not the most contemptible of those who came to assist Menelaos. Then after this, when they had returned home from Troy, famine and pestilence came upon both the men and their cattle, until at last Crete was stripped of its inhabitants for the second time, and a third population of Cretans now occupy it together with those which were left of the former inhabitants. The Pythian prophetess, I say, by calling these things to their minds stopped them from giving assistance to the Hellenes, though they desired to do so.
172. As for the Thessalians, they at first had taken the side of the Persians against their will, and they gave proof that they were not pleased by that which the Aleuadai were designing; for so soon as they heard that the Persian was about to cross over into Europe, they sent envoys to the Isthmus: now at the Isthmus were assembled representatives of Hellas chosen by the cities which had the better mind about Hellas: having come then to these, the envoys of the Thessalians said: “Hellenes, ye must guard the pass by Olympos, in order that both Thessaly and the whole of Hellas may be sheltered from the war. We are prepared to join with you in guarding it, but ye must send a large force as well as we; for if ye shall not send, be assured that we shall make agreement with the Persian; since it is not right that we, standing as outposts so far in advance of the rest of Hellas, should perish alone in your defence: and not being willing162 to come to our help, ye cannot apply to us any force to compel inability;163 but we shall endeavour to devise some means of safety for ourselves.” 173. Thus spoke the Thessalians; and the Hellenes upon this resolved to send to Thessaly by sea an army of men on foot to guard the pass: and when the army was assembled it set sail through Euripos, and having come to Alos in the Achaian land, it disembarked there and marched into Thessaly leaving the ships behind at Alos, and arrived at Tempe, the pass which leads from lower Macedonia into Thessaly by the river Peneios, going between the mountains of Olympos and Ossa. There the Hellenes encamped, being assembled to the number of about ten thousand hoplites, and to them was added the cavalry of the Thessalians; and the commander of the Lacedemonians was Euainetos the son of Carenos, who had been chosen from the polemarchs,164 not being of the royal house, and of the Athenians Themistocles the son of Neocles. They remained however but few days here, for envoys came from Alexander the son of Amyntas the Macedonian, who advised them to depart thence and not to remain in the pass and be trodden under foot by the invading host, signifying to them at the same time both the great numbers of the army and the ships which they had. When these gave them this counsel, they followed the advice, for they thought that the counsel was good, and the Macedonian was evidently well- disposed towards them. Also, as I think, it was fear that persuaded them to it, when they were informed that there was another pass besides this to the Thessalian land by upper Macedonia through the Perraibians and by the city of Gonnos, the way by which the army of Xerxes did in fact make its entrance. So the Hellenes went down to their ships again and made their way back to the Isthmus.
174. Such was the expedition to Thessaly, which took place when the king was about to cross over from Asia to Europe and was already at Abydos. So the Thessalians, being stripped of allies, upon this took the side of the Medes with a good will and no longer half-heartedly, so that in the course of events they proved very serviceable to the king.
175. When the Hellenes had returned to the Isthmus, they deliberated, having regard to that which had been said by Alexander, where and in what regions they should set the war on foot: and the opinion which prevailed was to guard the pass at Thermopylai; for it was seen to be narrower than that leading into Thessaly, and at the same time it was single,165 and nearer also to their own land; and as for the path by means of which were taken those of the Hellenes who were taken by the enemy at Thermopylai, they did not even know of its existence until they were informed by the people of Trachis after they had come to Thermopylai. This pass then they resolved to guard, and not permit the Barbarian to go by into Hellas; and they resolved that the fleet should sail to Artemision in the territory of Histiaia: for these points are near to one another, so that each division of their forces could have information of what was happening to the other. And the places are so situated as I shall describe. 176. As to Artemision first, coming out of the Thracian Sea the space is contracted from great width to that narrow channel which lies between the island of Skiathos and the mainland of Magnesia; and after the strait there follows at once in Eubœa the sea-beach called Artemision, upon which there is a temple of Artemis. Then secondly the passage into Hellas by Trechis is, where it is narrowest, but fifty feet wide: it is not here however that the narrowest part of this whole region lies, but in front of Thermopylai and also behind it, consisting of a single wheel- track only166 both by Alpenoi, which lies behind Thermopylai and again by the river Phoinix near the town of Anthela there is no space but a single wheel-track only: and on the West of Thermopylai there is a mountain which is impassable and precipitous, rising up to a great height and extending towards the range of Oite, while on the East of the road the sea with swampy pools succeeds at once. In this passage there are hot springs, which the natives of the place call the “Pots,”167 and an altar of Heracles is set up near them. Moreover a wall had once been built at this pass, and in old times there was a gate set in it; which wall was built by the Phokians, who were struck with fear because the Thessalians had come from the land of the Thesprotians to settle in the Aiolian land, the same which they now possess. Since then the Thessalians, as they supposed, were attempting to subdue them, the Phokians guarded themselves against this beforehand; and at that time they let the water of the hot springs run over the passage, that the place might be converted into a ravine, and devised every means that the Thessalians might not make invasion of their land. Now the ancient wall had been built long before, and the greater part of it was by that time in ruins from lapse of time; the Hellenes however resolved to set it up again, and at this spot to repel the Barbarian from Hellas: and very near the road there is a village called Alpenoi, from which the Hellenes counted on getting supplies.
177. These places then the Hellenes perceived to be such as their purpose required; for they considered everything beforehand and calculated that the Barbarians would not be able to take advantage either of superior numbers or of cavalry, and therefore they resolved here to receive the invader of Hellas: and when they were informed that the Persian was in Pieria, they broke up from the Isthmus and set forth for the campaign, some going to Thermopylai by land, and others making for Artemision by sea.
178. The Hellenes, I say, were coming to the rescue with speed, having been appointed to their several places: and meanwhile the men of Delphi consulted the Oracle of the god on behalf of themselves and on behalf of Hellas, being struck with dread; and a reply was given them that they should pray to the Winds, for these would be powerful helpers of Hellas in fight. So the Delphians, having accepted the oracle, first reported the answer which had been given them to those of the Hellenes who desired to be free; and having reported this to them at a time when they were in great dread of the Barbarian, they laid up for themselves an immortal store of gratitude: then after this the men of Delphi established an altar for the Winds in Thuia, where is the sacred enclosure of Thuia the daughter of Kephisos, after whom moreover this place has its name; and also they approached them with sacrifices.
179. The Delphians then according to the oracle even to this day make propitiary offerings to the Winds: and meanwhile the fleet of Xerxes setting forth from the city of Therma had passed over with ten of its ships, which were those that sailed best, straight towards Skiathos, where three Hellenic ships, a Troizenian, an Eginetan and an Athenian, were keeping watch in advance. When the crews of these caught sight of the ships of the Barbarians, they set off to make their escape: 180, and the ship of Troizen, of which Prexinos was in command, was pursued and captured at once by the Barbarians; who upon that took the man who was most distinguished by beauty among the fighting-men on board of her,168 and cut his throat at the prow of the ship, making a good omen for themselves of the first of the Hellenes whom they had captured who was pre-eminent for beauty. The name of this man who was sacrificed was Leon, and perhaps he had also his name to thank in some degree for what befell him. 181. The ship of Egina however, of which Asonides was master, even gave them some trouble to capture it, seeing that Pytheas the son of Ischenoös served as a fighting-man on board of her, who proved himself a most valiant man on this day; for when the ship was being taken, he held out fighting until he was hacked all to pieces: and as when he had fallen he did not die, but had still breath in him, the Persians who served as fighting-men on board the ships, because of his valour used all diligence to save his life, both applying unguents of myrrh to heal his wounds and also wrapping him up in bands of the finest linen; and when they came back to their own main body, they showed him to all the army, making a marvel of him and giving him good treatment; but the rest whom they had taken in this ship they treated as slaves. 182. Two of the three ships, I say, were captured thus; but the third, of which Phormos an Athenian was master, ran ashore in its flight at the mouth of the river Peneios; and the Barbarians got possession of the vessel but not of the crew; for so soon as the Athenians had run the ship ashore, they leapt out of her, and passing through Thessaly made their way to Athens.
183. Of these things the Hellenes who were stationed at Artemision were informed by fire-signals from Skiathos; and being informed of them and being struck with fear, they removed their place of anchorage from Atermision to Chalkis, intending to guard the Euripos, but leaving at the same time watchers by day169 on the heights of Eubœa. Of the ten ships of the Barbarians three sailed up to the reef called Myrmex,170 which lies between Skiathos and Magnesia; and when the Barbarians had there erected a stone pillar, which for that purpose they brought to the reef, they set forth with their main body171 from Therma, the difficulties of the passage having now been cleared away, and sailed thither with all their ships, having let eleven days go by since the king set forth on his march from Therma. Now of this reef lying exactly in the middle of the fairway they were informed by Pammon of Skyros. Sailing then throughout the day the Barbarians accomplished the voyage to Sepias in Magnesia and to the sea-beach which is between the city of Casthanaia and the headland of Sepias.
184. So far as this place and so far as Thermopylai the army was exempt from calamity; and the number was then still, as I find by computation, this:— Of the ships which came from Asia, which were one thousand two hundred and seven, the original number of the crews supplied by the several nations I find to have been twenty-four myriads and also in addition to them one thousand four hundred,172 if one reckons at the rate of two hundred men to each ship: and on board of each of these ships there served as fighting-men,173 besides the fighting-men belonging to its own nation in each case, thirty men who were Persians, Medes, or Sacans; and this amounts to three myriads six thousand two hundred and ten174 in addition to the others. I will add also to this and to the former number the crews of the fifty-oared galleys, assuming that there were eighty men, more or less,175 in each one. Of these vessels there were gathered together, as was before said, three thousand: it would follow therefore that there were in them four-and-twenty myriads176 of men. This was the naval force which came from Asia, amounting in all to fifty-one myriads and also seven thousand six hundred and ten in addition.177 Then of the footmen there had been found to be a hundred and seventy myriads,178 and of the horsemen eight myriads:1168 and I will add also to these the Arabian camel-drivers and the Libyan drivers of chariots, assuming them to amount to twenty thousand men. The result is then that the number of the ships’ crews combined with that of the land-army amounts to two hundred and thirty-one myriads and also in addition seven thousand six hundred and ten.179 This is the statement of the Army which was brought up out of Asia itself, without counting the attendants which accompanied it or the corn-transports and the men who sailed in these. 185. There is still to be reckoned, in addition to all this which has been summed up, the force which was being led from Europe; and of this we must give a probable estimate.180 The Hellenes of Thrace and of the islands which lie off the coast of Thrace supplied a hundred and twenty ships; from which ships there results a sum of twenty-four thousand men: and as regards the land-force which was supplied by the Thracians, Paionians, Eordians, Bottiaians, the race which inhabits Chalkidike, the Brygians, Pierians, Macedonians, Perraibians, Enianians,181 Dolopians, Magnesians, Achaians, and all those who dwell in the coast- region of Thrace, of these various nations I estimate that there were thirty myriads.182 These myriads then added to those from Asia make a total sum of two hundred and sixty-four myriads of fighting men and in addition to these sixteen hundred and ten.183 186. Such being the number of this body of fighting-men,184 the attendants who went with these and the men who were in the small vessels185 which carried corn, and again in the other vessels which sailed with the army, these I suppose were not less in number but more than the fighting men. I assume them to be equal in number with these, and neither at all more nor less; and so, being supposed equal in number with the fighting body, they make up the same number of myriads as they. Thus five hundred and twenty-eight myriads three thousand two hundred and twenty186 was the number of men whom Xerxes son of Dareios led as far as Sepias and Thermopylai. 187. This is the number of the whole army of Xerxes; but of the women who made bread for it, and of the concubines and eunuchs no man can state any exact number, nor again of the draught-animals and other beasts of burden or of the Indian hounds, which accompanied it, could any one state the number by reason of their multitude: so that it does not occur to me to wonder that the streams of some rivers should have failed them, but I wonder rather how the provisions were sufficient to feed so many myriads; for I find on computation that if each man received a quart187 of wheat every day and nothing more, there would be expended every day eleven myriads of medimnoi188 and three hundred and forty medimnoi besides: and here I am not reckoning anything for the women, eunuchs, baggage- animals, or dogs. Of all these men, amounting to so many myriads, not one was for beauty and stature more worthy than Xerxes himself to possess this power.
188. The fleet, I say, set forth and sailed: and when it had put in to land in the region of Magnesia at the beach which is between the city of Casthanaia and the headland of Sepias, the first of the ships which came lay moored by the land and the others rode at anchor behind them; for, as the beach was not large in extent, they lay at anchor with prows projecting189 towards the sea in an order which was eight ships deep. For that night they lay thus; but at early dawn, after clear sky and windless calm, the sea began to be violently agitated and a great storm fell upon them with a strong East190 Wind, that wind which they who dwell about those parts call Hellespontias. Now as many of them as perceived that the wind was rising and who were so moored that it was possible for them to do so, drew up their ships on land before the storm came, and both they and their ships escaped; but as for those of the ships which it caught out at sea, some it cast away at the place called Ipnoi191 in Pelion and others on the beach, while some were wrecked on the headland of Sepias itself, others at the city of Meliboia, and others were thrown up on shore192 at Casthanaia: and the violence of the storm could not be resisted. 189. There is a story reported that the Athenians had called upon Boreas to aid them, by suggestion of an oracle, because there had come to them another utterance of the god bidding them call upon their brother by marriage to be their helper. Now according to the story of the Hellenes Boreas has a wife who is of Attica, Oreithuia the daughter of Erechththeus. By reason of this affinity, I say, the Athenians, according to the tale which has gone abroad, conjectured that their “brother by marriage” was Boreas, and when they perceived the wind rising, as they lay with their ships at Chalkis in Eubœa, or even before that, they offered sacrifices and called upon Boreas and Oreithuia to assist them and to destroy the ships of the Barbarians, as they had done before round about mount Athos. Whether it was for this reason that the wind Boreas fell upon the Barbarians while they lay at anchor, I am not able to say; but however that may be, the Athenians report that Boreas had come to their help in former times, and that at this time he accomplished those things for them of which I speak; and when they had returned home they set up a temple dedicated to Boreas by the river Ilissos.
190. In this disaster the number of the ships which were lost was not less than four hundred, according to the report of those who state the number which is lowest, with men innumerable and an immense quantity of valuable things; insomuch that to Ameinocles the son of Cretines, a Magnesian who held lands about Sepias, this shipwreck proved very gainful; for he picked up many cups of gold which were thrown up afterwards on the shore, and many also of silver, and found treasure- chests193 which had belonged to the Persians, and made acquisition of other things of gold194 more than can be described. This man however, though he became very wealthy by the things which he found, yet in other respects was not fortunate; for he too suffered misfortune, being troubled by the slaying of a child.195 191. Of the corn-transplants and other vessels which perished there was no numbering made; and so great was the loss that the commanders of the fleet, being struck with fear lest the Thessalians should attack them now that they had been brought into an evil plight, threw round their camp a lofty palisade built of the fragments of wreck. For the storm continued during three days; but at last the Magians, making sacrifice of victims and singing incantations to appease the Wind by enchantments,196 and in addition to this, offering to Thetis and the Nereïds, caused it to cease on the fourth day, or else for some other reason it abated of its own will. Now they offered sacrifice to Thetis, being informed by the Ionians of the story that she was carried off from the place by Peleus, and that the whole headland of Sepias belonged to her and to the other Nereïds. 192. The storm then had ceased on the fourth day; and meanwhile the day-watchers had run down from the heights of Eubœa on the day after the first storm began, and were keeping the Hellenes informed of all that had happened as regards the shipwreck. They then, being informed of it, prayed first to Poseidon the Saviour and poured libations, and then they hastened to go back to Artemision, expecting that there would be but a very few ships of the enemy left to come against them. 193. They, I say, came for the second time and lay with their ships about Artemision: and from that time even to this they preserve the use of the surname “Saviour” for Poseidon. Meanwhile the Barbarians, when the wind had ceased and the swell of the sea had calmed down, drew their ships into the sea and sailed on along the shore of the mainland, and having rounded the extremity of Magnesia they sailed straight into the gulf which leads towards Pagasai. In this gulf of Magnesia there is a place where it is said that Heracles was left behind by Jason and his comrades, having been sent from the Argo to fetch water, at the time when they were sailing for the fleece to Aia in the land of Colchis: for from that place they designed, when they had taken in water, to loose197 their ship into the open sea; and from this the place has come to have the name Aphetai. Here then the fleet of Xerxes took up its moorings.
194. Now it chanced that fifteen of these ships put out to sea a good deal later than the rest, and they happened to catch sight of the ships of the Hellenes at Artemision. These ships the Barbarians supposed to be their own, and they sailed thither accordingly and fell among the enemy. Of these the commander was Sandokes the son of Thamasios, the governor of Kyme in Aiolia, whom before this time king Dareios had taken and crucified (he being one of the Royal Judges) for this reason,198 namely that Sandokes had pronounced judgment unjustly for money. So then after he was hung up, Dareios reckoned and found that more good services had been done by him to the royal house than were equal to his offences; and having found this, and perceived that he had himself acted with more haste than wisdom, he let him go. Thus he escaped from king Dareios, and did not perish but survived; now, however, when he sailed in toward the Hellenes, he was destined not to escape the second time; for when the Hellenes saw them sailing up, perceiving the mistake which was being made they put out against them and captured them without difficulty. 195. Sailing in one of these ships Aridolis was captured, the despot of Alabanda in Caria, and in another the Paphian commander Penthylos son of Demonoös, who brought twelve ships from Paphos, but had lost eleven of them in the storm which had come on by Sepias, and now was captured sailing in towards Artemision with the one which had escaped. These men the Hellenes sent away in bonds to the Isthmus of the Corinthians, after having inquired of them that which they desired to learn of the army of Xerxes.
196. The fleet of the Barbarians then, except the fifteen ships of which I said that Sandokes was in command, had arrived at Aphetai; and Xerxes meanwhile with the land-army, having marched through Thessalia and Achaia, had already entered the land of the Malians two days before,199 after having held in Thessaly a contest for his own horses, making trial also of the Thessalian cavalry, because he was informed that it was the best of all among the Hellenes; and in this trial the horses of Hellas were far surpassed by the others. Now of the rivers in Thessalia the Onochonos alone failed to suffice by its stream for the drinking of the army; but of the rivers which flow in Achaia even that which is the largest of them, namely Epidanos, even this, I say, held out but barely.
197. When Xerxes had reached Alos of Achaia, the guides who gave him information of the way, wishing to inform him fully of everything, reported to him a legend of the place, the things, namely, which have to do with the temple of Zeus Laphystios;200 how Athamas the son of Aiolos contrived death for Phrixos, having taken counsel with Ino, and after this how by command of an oracle the Achaians propose to his descendants the following tasks to be performed:— whosoever is the eldest of this race, on him they lay an injunction that he is forbidden to enter the City Hall,201 and they themselves keep watch; now the City Hall is called by the Achaians the “Hall of the People”;202 and if he enter it, it may not be that he shall come forth until he is about to be sacrificed. They related moreover in addition to this, that many of these who were about to be sacrificed had before now run away and departed to another land, because they were afraid; and if afterwards in course of time they returned to their own land and were caught, they were placed203 in the City Hall: and they told how the man is sacrificed all thickly covered with wreaths, and with what form of procession he is brought forth to the sacrifice. This is done to the descendants of Kytissoros the son of Phrixos, because, when the Achaians were making of Athamas the son of Aiolos a victim to purge the sins of the land according to the command of an oracle, and were just about to sacrifice him, this Kytissoros coming from Aia of the Colchians rescued him; and having done so he brought the wrath of the gods upon his own descendants. Having heard these things, Xerxes, when he came to the sacred grove, both abstained from entering it himself, and gave the command to his whole army to so likewise; and he paid reverence both to the house and to the sacred enclosure of the descendants of Athamas.
198. These then are the things which happened in Thessalia and in Achaia; and from these regions he proceeded to the Malian land, going along by a gulf of the sea, in which there is an ebb and flow of the tide every day. Round about this gulf there is a level space, which in parts is broad but in other parts very narrow; and mountains lofty and inaccessible surrounding this place enclose the whole land of Malis and are called the rocks of Trachis. The first city upon this gulf as one goes from Achaia is Antikyra, by which the river Spercheios flowing from the land of the Enianians204 runs out into the sea. At a distance of twenty furlongs1195 or thereabouts from this river there is another, of which the name is Dyras; this is said to have appeared that it might bring assistance to Heracles when he was burning: then again at a distance of twenty furlongs from this there is another river called Melas. 199. From this river Melas the city of Trachis is distant five furlongs; and here, in the parts where Trachis is situated, is even the widest portion of all this district, as regards the space from the mountains to the sea; for the plain has an extent of twenty-two thousand plethra.205 In the mountain-range which encloses the land of Trachis there is a cleft to the South of Trachis itself; and through this cleft the river Asopos flows, and runs along by the foot of the mountain. 200. There is also another river called Phoinix, to the South of the Asopos, of no great size, which flowing from these mountains runs out into the Asopos; and at the river Phoinix is the narrowest place, for here has been constructed a road with a single wheel-track only. Then from the river Phoinix it is a distance of fifteen furlongs to Thermopylai; and in the space between the river Phoinix and Thermopylai there is a village called Anthela, by which the river Asopos flows, and so runs out into the sea; and about this village there is a wide space in which is set up a temple dedicated to Demeter of the Amphictyons, and there are seats for the Amphictyonic councillors and a temple dedicated to Amphictyon himself.
201. King Xerxes, I say, was encamped within the region of Trachis in the land of the Malians, and the Hellenes within the pass. This place is called by the Hellenes in general Thermopylai, but by the natives of the place and those who dwell in the country round it is called Pylai. Both sides then were encamped hereabout, and the one had command of all that lies beyond Trachis206 in the direction of the North Wind, and the others of that which tends towards the South Wind and the mid-day on this side of the continent.207
202. These were the Hellenes who awaited the attack of the Persian in this place:— of the Spartans three hundred hoplites; of the men of Tegea and Mantineia a thousand, half from each place, from Orchomenos in Arcadia a hundred and twenty, and from the rest of Arcadia a thousand — of the Arcadians so many; from Corinth four hundred, from Phlius two hundred, and of the men of Mykene eighty: these were they who came from the Peloponnese; and from the Bœotians seven hundred of the Thespians, and of the Thebans four hundred. 203. In addition to these the Locrians of Opus had been summoned to come in their full force, and of the Phokians a thousand: for the Hellenes had of themselves sent a summons to them, saying by messengers that they had come as forerunners of the others, that the rest of the allies were to be expected every day, that their sea was safely guarded, being watched by the Athenians and the Eginetans and by those who had been appointed to serve in the fleet, and that they need fear nothing: for he was not a god, they said, who was coming to attack Hellas, but a man; and there was no mortal, nor would be any, with those fortunes evil had not been mingled at his very birth, and the greatest evils for the greatest men; therefore he also who was marching against them, being mortal, would be destined to fail of his expectation. They accordingly, hearing this, came to the assistance of the others at Trachis.
204. Of these troops, although there were other commanders also according to the State to which each belonged, yet he who was most held in regard and who was leader of the whole army was the Lacedemonian Leonidas son of Anaxandrides, son of Leon, son of Eurycratides, son of Anaxander, son of Eurycrates, son of Polydoros, son of Alcamenes, son of Teleclos, son of Archelaos, son of Hegesilaos, son of Doryssos, son of Leobotes, son of Echestratos, son of Agis, son of Eurysthenes, son of Aristodemos, son of Aristomachos, son of Cleodaios, son of Hyllos, son of Heracles; who had obtained the kingdom of Sparta contrary to expectation. 205. For as he had two brothers each older than himself, namely Cleomenes and Dorieos, he had been far removed from the thought of becoming king. Since however Cleomenes had died without male child, and Dorieos was then no longer alive, but he also had brought his life to an end in Sicily,208 thus the kingdom came to Leonidas, both because was of elder birth than Cleombrotos (for Cleombrotos was the youngest of the sons of Anaxandrides) and also because he had in marriage the daughter of Cleomenes. He then at this time went to Thermopylai, having chosen the three hundred who were appointed by law209 and men who chanced to have sons; and he took with him besides, before he arrived, those Thebans whom I mentioned when I reckoned them in the number of the troops, of whom the commander was Leontiades the son of Eurymachos: and for this reason Leonidas was anxious to take up these with him of all the Hellenes, namely because accusations had been strongly brought against them that they were taking the side of the Medes; therefore he summoned them to the war, desiring to know whether they would send troops with them or whether they would openly renounce the alliance of the Hellenes; and they sent men, having other thoughts in their mind the while.
206. These with Leonidas the Spartans had sent out first, in order that seeing them the other allies might join in the campaign, and for fear that they also might take the side of the Medes, if they heard that the Spartans were putting off their action. Afterwards, however, when they had kept the festival, (for the festival of the Carneia stood in their way), they intended then to leave a garrison in Sparta and to come to help in full force with speed: and just so also the rest of the allies had thought of doing themselves; for it chanced that the Olympic festival fell at the same time as these events. Accordingly, since they did not suppose that the fighting in Thermopylai would so soon be decided, they sent only the forerunners of their force. 207. These, I say, had intended to do thus: and meanwhile the Hellenes at Thermopylai, when the Persian had come near to the pass, were in dread, and deliberated about making retreat from their position. To the rest of the Peloponnesians then it seemed best that they should go to the Peloponnese and hold the Isthmus in guard; but Leonidas, when the Phokians and Locrians were indignant at this opinion, gave his vote for remaining there, and for sending at the same time messengers to the several States bidding them to come up to help them, since they were but few to repel the army of the Medes.
208. As they were thus deliberating, Xerxes sent a scout on horseback to see how many they were in number and what they were doing; for he had heard while he was yet in Thessaly that there had been assembled in this place a small force, and that the leaders of it were Lacedemonians together with Leonidas, who was of the race of Heracles. And when the horseman had ridden up towards their camp, he looked upon them and had a view not indeed of the whole of their army, for of those which were posted within the wall, which they had repaired and were keeping a guard, it was not possible to have a view, but he observed those who were outside, whose station was in front of the wall; and it chanced at that time that the Lacedemonians were they who were posted outside. So then he saw some of the men practising athletic exercises and some combing their long hair: and as he looked upon these things he marvelled, and at the same time he observed their number: and when he had observed all exactly, he rode back unmolested, for no one attempted to pursue him and he found himself treated with much indifference. And when he returned he reported to Xerxes all that which he had seen. 209. Hearing this Xerxes was not able to conjecture the truth about the matter, namely that they were preparing themselves to die and to deal death to the enemy so far as they might; but it seemed to him that they were acting in a manner merely ridiculous; and therefore he sent for Demaratos the son of Ariston, who was in his camp, and when he came, Xerxes asked him of these things severally, desiring to discover what this was which the Lacedemonians were doing: and he said: “Thou didst hear from my mouth at a former time, when we were setting forth to go against Hellas, the things concerning these men; and having heard them thou madest me an object of laughter, because I told thee of these things which I perceived would come to pass; for to me it is the greatest of all ends to speak the truth continually before thee, O king. Hear then now also: these men have come to fight with us for the passage, and this is it that they are preparing to do; for they have a custom which is as follows; — whenever they are about to put their lives in peril, then they attend to the arrangement of their hair. Be assured however, that if thou shalt subdue these and the rest of them which remain behind in Sparta, there is no other race of men which will await thy onset, O king, or will raise hands against thee: for now thou art about to fight against the noblest kingdom and city of those which are among the Hellenes, and the best men.” To Xerxes that which was said seemed to be utterly incredible, and he asked again a second time in what manner being so few they would fight with his host. He said; “O king, deal with me as with a liar, if thou find not that these things come to pass as I say.”
210. Thus saying he did not convince Xerxes, who let four days go by, expecting always that they would take to flight; but on the fifth day, when they did not depart but remained, being obstinate, as he thought, in impudence and folly, he was enraged and sent against them the Medes and the Kissians, charging them to take the men alive and bring them into his presence. Then when the Medes moved forward and attacked the Hellenes, there fell many of them, and others kept coming up continually, and they were not driven back, though suffering great loss: and they made it evident to every man, and to the king himself not least of all, that human beings are many but men are few. This combat went on throughout the day: 211, and when the Medes were being roughly handled, then these retired from the battle, and the Persians, those namely whom the king called “Immortals,” of whom Hydarnes was commander, took their place and came to the attack, supposing that they at least would easily overcome the enemy. When however these also engaged in combat with the Hellenes, they gained no more success than the Median troops but the same as they, seeing that they were fighting in a place with a narrow passage, using shorter spears than the Hellenes, and not being able to take advantage of their superior numbers. The Lacedemonians meanwhile were fighting in a memorable fashion, and besides other things of which they made display, being men perfectly skilled in fighting opposed to men who were unskilled, they would turn their backs to the enemy and make a pretence of taking to flight; and the Barbarians, seeing them thus taking a flight, would follow after them with shouting and clashing of arms: then the Lacedemonians, when they were being caught up, turned and faced the Barbarians; and thus turning round they would slay innumerable multitudes of the Persians; and there fell also at these times a few of the Spartans themselves. So, as the Persians were not able to obtain any success by making trial of the entrance and attacking it by divisions and every way, they retired back. 212. And during these onsets it is said that the king, looking on, three times leapt up from his seat, struck with fear for his army. Thus they contended then: and on the following day the Barbarians strove with no better success; for because the men opposed to them were few in number, they engaged in battle with the expectation that they would be found to be disabled and would not be capable any longer of raising their hands against them in fight. The Hellenes however were ordered by companies as well as by nations, and they fought successively each in turn, excepting the Phokians, for these were posted upon the mountain to guard the path. So the Persians, finding nothing different from that which they had seen on the former day, retired back from the fight.
213. Then when the king was in a strait as to what he should do in the matter before him, Epialtes the son of Eurydemos, a Malian, came to speech with him, supposing that he would win a very great reward from the king; and this man told him of the path which leads over the mountain to Thermopylai, and brought about the destruction of those Hellenes who remained in that place. Afterwards from fear of the Lacedemonians he fled to Thessaly, and when he had fled, a price was proclaimed for his life by the Deputies,210 when the Amphictyons met for their assembly at Pylai.211 Then some time afterwards having returned to Antikyra he was slain by Athenades a man of Trachis. Now this Athenades killed Epialtes for another cause, which I shall set forth in the following part of the history,212 but he was honoured for it none the less by the Lacedemonians. 214. Thus Epialtes after these events was slain: there is however another tale told, that Onetes the son of Phanagoras, a man of Carystos, and Corydallos of Antikyra were those who showed the Persians the way round the mountain; but this I can by no means accept: for first we must judge by this fact, namely that the Deputies of the Hellenes did not proclaim a price for the lives of Onetes and Corydallos, but for that of Epialtes the Trachinian, having surely obtained the most exact information of the matter; and secondly we know that Epialtes was an exile from his country to avoid this charge. True it is indeed that Onetes might know of this path, even though he were not a Malian, if he had had much intercourse with the country; but Epialtes it was who led them round the mountain by the path, and him therefore I write down as the guilty man.
215. Xerxes accordingly, being pleased by that which Epialtes engaged to accomplish, at once with great joy proceeded to send Hydarnes and the men of whom Hydarnes was commander;213 and they set forth from the camp about the time when the lamps are lit. This path of which we speak had been discovered by the Malians who dwell in that land, and having discovered it they led the Thessalians by it against the Phokians, at the time when the Phokians had fenced the pass with a wall and thus were sheltered from the attacks upon them: so long ago as this had the pass been proved by the Malians to be of no value.214 And this path lies as follows:— it begins from the river Asopos, which flows through the cleft, and the name of this mountain and of the path is the same, namely Anopaia; and this Anopaia stretches over the ridge of the mountain and ends by the town of Alpenos, which is the first town of the Locrians towards Malis, and by the stone called Black Buttocks215 and the seats of the Kercopes, where is the very narrowest part. 217. By this path thus situated the Persians after crossing over the Asopos proceeded all through the night, having on their right hand the mountains of the Oitaians and on the left those of the Trachinians: and when dawn appeared, they had reached the summit of the mountain. In this part of the mountain there were, as I have before shown, a thousand hoplites of the Phokians keeping guard, to protect their own country and to keep the path: for while the pass below was guarded by those whom I have mentioned, the path over the mountain was guarded by the Phokians, who had undertaken the business for Leonidas by their own offer. 218. While the Persians were ascending they were concealed from these, since all the mountain was covered with oak-trees; and the Phokians became aware of them after they had made the ascent as follows:— the day was calm, and not a little noise was made by the Persians, as was likely when leaves were lying spread upon the ground under their feet; upon which the Phokians started up and began to put on their arms, and by this time the Barbarians were close upon them. These, when they saw men arming themselves, fell into wonder, for they were expecting that no one would appear to oppose them, and instead of that they had met with an armed force. Then Hydarnes, seized with fear lest the Phokians should be Lacedemonians, asked Epialtes of what people the force was; and being accurately informed he set the Persians in order for battle. The Phokians however, when they were hit by the arrows of the enemy, which flew thickly, fled and got away at once to the topmost peak of the mountain, fully assured that it was against them that the enemy had designed to come,216 and here they were ready to meet death. These, I say, were in this mind; but the Persians meanwhile with Epialtes and Hydarnes made no account of the Phokians, but descended the mountain with all speed.
219. To the Hellenes who were in Thermopylai first the soothsayer Megistias, after looking into the victims which were sacrificed, declared the death which was to come to them at dawn of day; and afterwards deserters brought the report217 of the Persians having gone round. These signified it to them while it was yet night, and thirdly came the day-watchers, who had run down from the heights when day was already dawning. Then the Hellenes deliberated, and their opinions were divided; for some urged that they should not desert their post, while others opposed this counsel. After this they departed from their assembly,218 and some went away and dispersed each to their several cities, while others of them were ready to remain there together with Leonidas. 220. However it is reported also that Leonidas himself sent them away, having a care that they might not perish, but thinking that it was not seemly for himself and for the Spartans who were present to leave the post to which they had come at first to keep guard there. I am inclined rather to be of this latter opinion,219 namely that because Leonidas perceived that the allies were out of heart and did not desire to face the danger with him to the end, he ordered them to depart, but held that for himself to go away was not honourable, whereas if he remained, a great fame of him would be left behind, and the prosperity of Sparta would not be blotted out: for an oracle had been given by the Pythian prophetess to the Spartans, when they consulted about this war at the time when it was being first set on foot, to the effect that either Lacedemon must be destroyed by the Barbarians, or their king must lose his life. This reply the prophetess gave them in hexameter verses, and it ran thus:
“But as for you, ye men who in wide-spaced Sparta inhabit, Either your glorious city is sacked by the children of Perses, Or, if it be not so, then a king of the stock Heracleian Dead shall be mourned for by all in the boundaries of broad Lacedemon. Him220 nor the might of bulls nor the raging of lions shall hinder; For he hath might as of Zeus; and I say he shall not be restrained, Till one of the other of these he have utterly torn and divided.”221
I am of opinion that Leonidas considering these things and desiring to lay up for himself glory above all the other Spartans,222 dismissed the allies, rather than that those who departed did so in such disorderly fashion, because they were divided in opinion. 221. Of this the following has been to my mind a proof as convincing as any other, namely that Leonidas is known to have endeavoured to dismiss the soothsayer also who accompanied this army, Megistias the Acarnanian, who was said to be descended from Melampus, that he might not perish with them after he had declared from the victims that which was about to come to pass for them. He however when he was bidden to go would not himself depart, but sent away his son who was with him in the army, besides whom he had no other child.
222. The allies then who were dismissed departed and went away, obeying the word of Leonidas, and only the Thespians and the Thebans remained behind with the Lacedemonians. Of these the Thebans stayed against their will and not because they desired it, for Leonidas kept them, counting them as hostages; but the Thespians very willingly, for they said that they would not depart and leave Leonidas and those with him, but they stayed behind and died with them. The commander of these was Demophilos the son of Diadromes.
223. Xerxes meanwhile, having made libations at sunrise, stayed for some time, until about the hour when the market fills, and then made an advance upon them; for thus it had been enjoined by Epialtes, seeing that the descent of the mountain is shorter and the space to be passed over much less than the going round and the ascent. The Barbarians accordingly with Xerxes were advancing to the attack; and the Hellenes with Leonidas, feeling that they were going forth to death, now advanced out much further than at first into the broader part of the defile; for when the fence of the wall was being guarded,223 they on the former days fought retiring before the enemy into the narrow part of the pass; but now they engaged with them outside the narrows, and very many of the Barbarians fell: for behind them the leaders of the divisions with scourges in their hands were striking each man, ever urging them on to the front. Many of them then were driven into the sea and perished, and many more still were trodden down while yet alive by one another, and there was no reckoning of the number that perished: for knowing the death which was about to come upon them by reason of those who were going round the mountain, they224 displayed upon the Barbarians all the strength which they had, to its greatest extent, disregarding danger and acting as if possessed by a spirit of recklessness. 224. Now by this time the spears of the greater number of them were broken, so it chanced, in this combat, and they were slaying the Persians with their swords; and in this fighting fell Leonidas, having proved himself a very good man, and others also of the Spartans with him, men of note, of whose names I was informed as of men who had proved themselves worthy, and indeed I was told also the names of all the three hundred. Moreover of the Persians there fell here, besides many others of note, especially two sons of Dareios, Abrocomes and Hyperanthes, born to Dareios of Phratagune the daughter of Artanes: now Artanes was the brother of king Dareios and the son of Hystaspes, the son of Arsames; and he in giving his daughter in marriage to Dareios gave also with her all his substance, because she was his only child. 225. Two brothers of Xerxes, I say, fell here fighting; and meanwhile over the body of Leonidas there arose a great struggle between the Persians and the Lacedemonians, until the Hellenes by valour dragged this away from the enemy and turned their opponents to flight four times. This conflict continued until those who had gone with Epialtes came up; and when the Hellenes learnt that these had come, from that moment the nature of the combat was changed; for they retired backwards to the narrow part of the way, and having passed by the wall they went and placed themselves upon the hillock,225 all in a body together except only the Thebans: now this hillock is in the entrance, where now the stone lion is placed for Leonidas. On this spot while defending themselves with daggers, that is those who still had them left, and also with hands and with teeth, they were overwhelmed by the missiles of the Barbarians, some of these having followed directly after them and destroyed the fence of the wall, while others had come round and stood about them on all sides.
226. Such were the proofs of valour given by the Lacedemonians and Thespians; yet the Spartan Dienekes is said to have proved himself the best man of all, the same who, as they report, uttered this saying before they engaged battle with the Medes:— being informed by one of the men of Trachis that when the Barbarians discharged their arrows they obscured the light of the sun by the multitude of the arrows, so great was the number of their host, he was not dismayed by this, but making small account of the number of the Medes, he said that their guest from Trachis brought them very good news, for if the Medes obscured the light of the sun, the battle against them would be in the shade and not in the sun. 227. This and other sayings of this kind they report that Dienekes the Lacedemonian left as memorials of himself; and after him the bravest they say of the Lacedemonians were two brothers Alpheos and Maron, sons of Orsiphantos. Of the Thespians the man who gained most honour was named Dithyrambos son of Harmatides.
228. The men were buried were they fell; and for these, as well as for those who were slain before being sent away226 by Leonidas, there is an inscription which runs thus:
“Here once, facing in fight three hundred myriads of foemen, Thousands four did contend, men of the Peloponnese.”
This is the inscription for the whole body; and for the Spartans separately there is this:
“Stranger, report this word, we pray, to the Spartans, that lying Here in this spot we remain, faithfully keeping their laws.”227
This, I say, for the Lacedemonians; and for the soothsayer as follows:
“This is the tomb of Megistias renowned, whom the Median foemen, Where Sperchios doth flow, slew when they forded the stream; Soothsayer he, who then knowing clearly the fates that were coming, Did not endure in the fray Sparta’s good leaders to leave.”
The Amphictyons it was who honoured them with inscriptions and memorial pillars, excepting only in the case of the inscription to the soothsayer; but that of the soothsayer Megistias was inscribed by Simonides the son of Leoprepes on account of guest-friendship.
229. Two of these three hundred, it is said, namely Eurystos and Aristodemos, who, if they had made agreement with one another, might either have come safe home to Sparta together (seeing that they had been dismissed from the camp by Leonidas and were lying at Alpenoi with disease of the eyes, suffering extremely), or again, if they had not wished to return home, they might have been slain together with the rest — when they might, I say, have done either one of these two things, would not agree together; but the two being divided in opinion, Eurystos, it is said, when he was informed that the Persians had gone round, asked for his arms and having put them on ordered his Helot to lead him to those who were fighting; and after he had led him thither, the man who had led him ran away and departed, but Eurystos plunged into the thick of the fighting, and so lost his life: but Aristodemos was left behind fainting.228 Now if either Aristodemos had been ill229 alone, and so had returned home to Sparta, or the men had both of them come back together, I do not suppose that the Spartans would have displayed any anger against them; but in this case, as the one of them had lost his life and the other, clinging to an excuse which the first also might have used,230 had not been willing to die, it necessarily happened that the Spartans had great indignation against Aristodemos. 230. Some say that Aristodemos came safe to Sparta in this manner, and on a pretext such as I have said; but others, that he had been sent as a messenger from the camp, and when he might have come up in time to find the battle going on, was not willing to do so, but stayed upon the road and so saved his life, while his fellow-messenger reached the battle and was slain. 213. When Aristodemos, I say, had returned home to Lacedemon, he had reproach and dishonour;231 and that which he suffered by way of dishonour was this — no one of the Spartans would either give him light for a fire or speak with him, and he had reproach in that he was called Aristodemos the coward.232 232. He however in the battle at Plataia repaired all the guilt that was charged against him: but it is reported that another man also survived of these three hundred, whose name was Pantites, having been sent as a messenger to Thessaly, and this man, when he returned back to Sparta and found himself dishonoured, is said to have strangled himself.
233. The Thebans however, of whom the commander was Leontiades, being with the Hellenes had continued for some time to fight against the king’s army, constrained by necessity; but when they saw that the fortunes of the Persians were prevailing, then and not before, while the Hellenes with Leonidas were making their way with speed to the hillock, they separated from these and holding out their hands came near to the Barbarians, saying at the same time that which was most true, namely that they were on the side of the Medes and that they had been among the first to give earth and water to the king; and moreover that they had come to Thermopylai constrained by necessity, and were blameless for the loss which had been inflicted upon the king: so that thus saying they preserved their lives, for they had also the Thessalians to bear witness to these words. However, they did not altogether meet with good fortune, for some had even been slain as they had been approaching, and when they had come and the Barbarians had them in their power, the greater number of them were branded by command of Xerxes with the royal marks, beginning with their leader Leontiades, the same whose son Eurymachos was afterwards slain by the Plataians, when he had been made commander of four hundred Thebans and had seized the city of the Plataians.233
234. Thus did the Hellenes at Thermopylai contend in fight; and Xerxes summoned Demaratos and inquired of him, having first said this: “Demaratos, thou art a good man; and this I conclude by the truth of thy words, for all that thou saidest turned out so as thou didst say. Now, however, tell me how many in number are the remaining Lacedemonians, and of them how many are like these in matters of war; or are they so even all of them?” He said: “O king, the number of all the Lacedemonians is great and their cities are many, but that which thou desirest to learn, thou shalt know. There is in Lacedemon the city of Sparta, having about eight thousand men; and these are all equal to those who fought here: the other Lacedemonians are not equal to these, but they are good men too.” To this Xerxes said: “Demaratos, in what manner shall we with least labour get the better of these men? Come set forth to us this; for thou knowest the courses of their counsels,234 seeing that thou wert once their king.” 235. He made answer: “O king, if thou dost in very earnest take counsel with me, it is right that I declare to thee the best thing. What if thou shouldest send three hundred ships from thy fleet to attack the Laconian land? Now there is lying near it an island named Kythera, about which Chilon, who was a very wise man among us, said that it would be a greater gain for the Spartans that it should be sunk under the sea than that it should remain above it; for he always anticipated that something would happen from it of such a kind as I am now setting forth to thee: not that he knew of thy armament beforehand, but that he feared equally every armament of men. Let thy forces then set forth from this island and keep the Lacedemonians in fear; and while they have a war of their own close at their doors, there will be no fear for thee from them that when the remainder of Hellas is being conquered by the land-army, they will come to the rescue there. Then after the remainder of Hellas has been reduced to subjection, from that moment the Lacedemonian power will be left alone and therefore feeble. If however thou shalt not do this, I will tell thee what thou must look for. There is a narrow isthmus leading to the Peloponnese, and in this place thou must look that other battles will be fought more severe than those which have taken place, seeing that all the Peloponnesians have sworn to a league against thee: but if thou shalt do the other thing of which I spoke, this isthmus and the cities within it will come over to thy side without a battle.” 236. After him spoke Achaimenes, brother of Xerxes and also commander of the fleet, who chanced to have been present at this discourse and was afraid lest Xerxes should be persuaded to do this: “O king,” he said, “I see that thou art admitting the speech of a man who envies thy good fortune, or is even a traitor to thy cause: for in truth the Hellenes delight in such a temper as this; they envy a man for his good luck, and they hate that which is stronger than themselves. And if, besides other misfortunes which we have upon us, seeing that four hundred of our ships235 have suffered wreck, thou shalt send away another three hundred from the station of the fleet to sail round Peloponnese, then thy antagonists become a match for thee in fight; whereas while it is all assembled together our fleet is hard for them to deal with, and they will not be at all a match for thee: and moreover the whole sea- force will support the land-force and be supported by it, if they proceed onwards together; but if thou shalt divide them, neither wilt thou be of service to them nor they to thee. My determination is rather to set thy affairs in good order236 and not to consider the affairs of the enemy, either where they will set on foot the war or what they will do or how many in number they are; for it is sufficient that they should themselves take thought for themselves, and we for ourselves likewise: and if the Lacedemonians come to stand against the Persians in fight, they will assuredly not heal the wound from which they are now suffering.”237 237. To him Xerxes made answer as follows: “Achaimenes, I think that thou speakest well, and so will I do; but Demaratos speaks that which he believes to be best for me, though his opinion is defeated by thine: for I will not certainly admit that which thou saidest, namely that he is not well-disposed to my cause, judging both by what was said by him before this, and also by that which is the truth, namely that though one citizen envies another for his good fortune and shows enmity to him by his silence,238 nor would a citizen when a fellow-citizen consulted him suggest that which seemed to him the best, unless he had attained to a great height of virtue, and such men doubtless are few; yet guest- friend to guest-friend in prosperity is well-disposed as nothing else on earth, and if his friend should consult him, he would give him the best counsel. Thus then as regards the evil-speaking against Demaratos, that is to say about one who is my guest-friend, I bid every one abstain from it in the future.”
238. Having thus said Xerxes passed in review the bodies of the dead; and as for Leonidas, hearing that he had been the king and commander of the Lacedemonians he bade them cut off his head and crucify him. And it has been made plain to me by many proofs besides, but by none more strongly than by this, that king Xerxes was enraged with Leonidas while alive more than with any other man on earth; for otherwise he would never have done this outrage to his corpse; since of all the men whom I know, the Persians are accustomed most to honour those who are good men in war. They then to whom it was appointed to do these things, proceeded to do so.
239. I will return now to that point of my narrative where it remained unfinished.239 The Lacedemonians had been informed before all others that the king was preparing an expedition against Hellas; and thus it happened that they sent to the Oracle at Delphi, where that reply was given them which I reported shortly before this. And they got this information in a strange manner; for Demaratos the son of Ariston after he had fled for refuge to the Medes was not friendly to the Lacedemonians, as I am of opinion and as likelihood suggests supporting my opinion; but it is open to any man to make conjecture whether he did this thing which follows in a friendly spirit or in malicious triumph over them. When Xerxes had resolved to make a campaign against Hellas, Demaratos, being in Susa and having been informed of this, had a desire to report it to the Lacedemonians. Now in no other way was he able to signify it, for there was danger that he should be discovered, but he contrived thus, that is to say, he took a folding tablet and scraped off the wax which was upon it, and then he wrote the design of the king upon the wood of the tablet, and having done so he melted the wax and poured it over the writing, so that the tablet (being carried without writing upon it) might not cause any trouble to be given by the keepers of the road. Then when it had arrived at Lacedemon, the Lacedemonians were not able to make conjecture of the matter; until at last, as I am informed, Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes and wife of Leonidas, suggested a plan of which she had herself thought, bidding them scrape the wax and they would find writing upon the wood; and doing as she said they found the writing and read it, and after that they sent notice to the other Hellenes. These things are said to have come to pass in this manner.240
1 και πλοια, for transport of horses and also of provisions: however these words are omitted in some of the best MSS.
2 αλλ ει: this is the reading of the better class of MSS. The rest have αλλα, which with πρεσσοισ could only express a wish for success, and not an exhortation to action.
3 ουτοσ μεν οι ο λογοσ εν τιμοροσ: the words may mean “this manner of discourse was helpful for his purpose.”
4 κηρεσμολογον ε και διαθετεν κηρεσμον τον Μουσαιου.
5 αφανιζοιατο, representing the present tense αφανιζονται in the oracle.
6 τον θρονον τουτον: most MSS. have τον θρονον, τουτο.
7 επιστασθε κου παντεσ: the MSS. have τα επιστασθε κου παντεσ, which is given by most Editors. In that case οια ερξαν would be an exclamation, “What evils they did to us, . . . things which ye all know well, I think.”
8 τουτον μεντοι εινεκα: it is hardly possible here to give μεντοι its usual meaning: Stein in his latest edition reads τουτον μεν τοινυν.
9 συνενεικε: Stein reads συνενεικε σε, “supposing that thou art worsted.”
10 επ ανδρι γε ενι, as opposed to a god.
11 ακουσεσθαι τινα ψεμι τον κ.τ.λ., “each one of those who are left behind.”
12 και Κυρου, a conjectural emendation of του Κυρου. The text of the MSS. enumerates all these as one continuous line of ascent. It is clear however that the enumeration is in fact of two separate lines, which combine in Teïspes, the line of ascent through the father Dareios being, Dareios, Hystaspes, Arsames, Ariamnes, Teïspes, and through the mother, Atossa, Cyrus, Cambyses, Teïspes.
13 και μαλα: perhaps, “even.”
14 Lit. “nor is he present who will excuse thee.”
15 Lit. “my youth boiled over.”
16 Lit. “words more unseemly than was right.”
17 αλλ ουδε ταυτα εστι ο παι θεια.
19 αυται: a correction of αυται.
20 σε δε επιφοιτεσει: the better MSS. have ουδε επιφοιτεσει, which is adopted by Stein.
21 πεμπτο δε ετει ανομενο.
22 τον Ιονιον.
23 και ουδ ει επεραι προσ ταυτεσι προσγενομεναι: some MSS. read ουδ ετεραι προσ ταυτεσι γενομεναι, which is adopted (with variations) by some Editors. The meaning would be “not all these, nor others which happened in addition to these, were equal to this one.”
24 αμα στρατευομενοισι: αμα is omitted in some MSS.
25 σταδιον, and so throughout.
26 εντοσ Σανεσ: some MSS. read εκτοσ Σανεσ, which is adopted by Stein, who translates “beyond Sane, but on this side of Mount Athos”: this however will not suit the case of all the towns mentioned, e.g. Acrothoon, and τον Αθεν just below clearly means the whole peninsula.
28 τον δε ον πλειστον: if this reading is right, σιτον must be understood, and some MSS. read αλλον for αλλα in the sentence above. Stein in his latest edition reads σιτον instead of πλειστον.
29 Lit. “the name of which happens to be Catarractes.”
30 i.e. 4,000,000.
31 The στατερ δαρεικοσ was of nearly pure gold (cp. iv. 166), weighing about 124 grains.
32 στελε, i.e. a square block of stone.
33 αθανατο ανδρι, taken by some to mean one of the body of “Immortals.”
34 ακτε πακηεα: some inferior MSS. read ακτε τρακηεα, and hence some Editors have ακτε τρεκηεα, “a rugged foreland.”
35 δολερο: some Editors read θολερο, “turbid,” by conjecture.
36 The meaning is much disputed. I understand Herodotus to state that though the vessels lay of course in the direction of the stream from the Hellespont, that is presenting their prows (or sterns) to the stream, yet this did not mean that they pointed straight towards the Propontis and Euxine; for the stream after passing Sestos runs almost from North to South with even a slight tendency to the East (hence ευρου a few lines further on), so that ships lying in the stream would point in a line cutting at right angles that of the longer axis (from East to West) of the Pontus and Propontis. This is the meaning of επικαρσιοσ elsewhere in Herodotus (i. 180 and iv. 101), and it would be rash to assign to it any other meaning here. It is true however that the expression προσ εσπερεσ is used loosely below for the side toward the Egean. For ανακοκηευε a subject must probably be supplied from the clause πεντεκοντερουσ—συνθεντεσ, “that it (i.e. the combination of ships) might support etc.,” and τον τονον τον οπλον may either mean as below “the stretched ropes,” or “the tension of the ropes,” which would be relieved by the support: the latter meaning seems to me preferable.
Mr. Whitelaw suggests to me that επικαρσιοσ ( επι καρ) may mean rather “head-foremost,” which seems to be its meaning in Homer (Odyss. ix. 70), and from which might be obtained the idea of intersection, one line running straight up against another, which it has in other passages. In that case it would here mean “heading towards the Pontus.”
37 τασ μεν προσ του Ποντου τεσ ετερεσ. Most commentators would supply γεφυρεσ with τεσ ετερεσ, but evidently both bridges must have been anchored on both sides.
38 ευρου: Stein adopts the conjecture ζεφυρου.
39 τον πεντεκοντερον και τριερεον τρικηου: the MSS. give τον πεντεκοντερον και τρικηου, “between the fifty-oared galleys in as many as three places,” but it is strange that the fifty-oared galleys should be mentioned alone, and there seems no need of και with τρικηου. Stein reads τον πεντεκοντερον και τριερεον (omitting τρικηου altogether), and this may be right.
40 i.e. in proportion to the quantity: there was of course a greater weight altogether of the papyrus rope.
41 αυτισ επεζευγνυον.
42 εκλειψιν: cp. εκλιπον above.
43 Or, according to some MSS., “Nisaian.”
44 i.e. not downwards.
45 τινα αυτου συκηνον ομιλον.
46 το Πριαμου Περγαμον.
47 εν Αβυδο μεσε: some inferior authorities (followed by most Editors) omit μεσε: but the district seems to be spoken of, as just above.
48 προεξεδρε λοθου λευκου: some kind of portico or loggia seems to be meant.
49 δαιμονιε ανδοον.
50 ενα αυτον.
51 το προσο αιει κλεπτομενοσ: “stealing thy advance continually,” i.e. “advancing insensibly further.” Some take κλεπτομενοσ as passive, “insensibly lured on further.”
52 νεοτερον τι ποιεσειν.
53 Or, according to some MSS., “the Persian land.”
54 Lit. “the name of which happens to be Agora.”
55 i.e. 1,700,000.
56 συνναξαντεσ: a conjectural emendation very generally adopted of συναξαντεσ or συναψαντεσ.
57 απαγεασ, i.e. not stiffly standing up; the opposite to πεπεγυιασ (ch. 64).
58 λεπιδοσ σιδερεεσ οψιν ικηθυειδεοσ: many Editors suppose that some words have dropped out. The κιθον spoken of may have been a coat of armour, but elsewhere the body armour θορεξ is clearly distinguished from the κιθον, see ix. 22.
59 γερρα: cp. ix. 61 and 102.
60 Cp. i. 7.
61 μιτρεφοροι εσαν: the μιτρε was perhaps a kind of turban.
62 τεσι Αιγυπτιεσι, apparently μακηαιρεσι is meant to be supplied: cp. ch. 91.
63 εκλεθεσαν, “were called” from the first.
64 These words are by some Editors thought to be an interpolation. The Chaldeans in fact had become a caste of priests, cp. i. 181.
65 κυρβασιασ: supposed to be the same as the tiara (cp. v. 49), but in this case stiff and upright.
66 i.e. Areians, cp. iii. 93.
67 σισυρνασ: cp. iv. 109.
71 τοξα παλιντονα.
72 σπαθεσ, which perhaps means the stem of the leaf.
73 γυψο, “white chalk.”
74 μιλτο, “red ochre.”
75 Some words have apparently been lost containing the name of the nation to which the following description applies. It is suggested that this might be either the Chalybians or the Pisidians.
76 λυκιοεργεασ, an emendation from Athenæus of λυκοεργεασ (or λυκεργεασ), which might perhaps mean “for wolf-hunting.”
77 αναστπαστουσ: cp. iii. 93.
78 Some Editors place this clause before the words: “and Smerdomenes the son of Otanes,” for we do not hear of Otanes or Smerdomenes elsewhere as brother and nephew of Dareios. On the other hand Mardonios was son of the sister of Dareios.
79 τυκηε, “hits.”
80 κελετασ, “single horses.”
81 This name is apparently placed here wrongly. It has been proposed to read Κασπειροι or Πακτυεσ.
82 ιππευε: the greater number of MSS. have ιππευει here as at the beginning of ch. 84, to which this is a reference back, but with a difference of meaning. There the author seemed to begin with the intention of giving a full list of the cavalry force of the Persian Empire, and then confined his account to those actually present on this occasion, whereas here the word in combination with μουνα refers only to those just enumerated.
83 i.e. 80,000.
84 Συροισι, see note on ii. 104.
85 τυκουσ, which appears to mean ordinarily a tool for stone- cutting.
86 μιτρεσι, perhaps “turbans.”
87 κιθονασ: there is some probability in the suggestion of κιταριασ here, for we should expect mention of a head-covering, and the word κιταρισ (which is explained to mean the same as τιαρα), is quoted by Pollux as occurring in Herodotus.
89 δρεπανα, “reaping-hooks,” cp. v. 112.
90 See i. 171.
91 Πελασγοι Αιγιαλεεσ.
93 μακρα: some MSS. and editions have σμικρα, “small.”
94 Or “Mapen.”
95 Or “Seldomos.”
97 με οεντεσ αρθμιοι. This is generally taken to mean, “unless they were of one mind together”; but that would very much weaken the force of the remark, and αρθμιοσ elsewhere is the opposite of πολεμιοσ, cp. vi. 83 and ix. 9, 37. Xerxes professes enmity only against those who had refused to give the tokens of submission.
98 μεν μουνοισι: these words are omitted in some good MSS., and μουνοισι has perhaps been introduced from the preceding sentence. The thing referred to in τουτο is the power of fighting in single combat with many at once, which Demaratos is supposed to have claimed for the whole community of the Spartans.
99 στεργειν μαλιστα.
100 ουδαμοι κο.
101 Or, “Strauos.”
102 Or, “Compsatos.”
103 τασ επειροτιδασ πολισ: it is not clear why these are thus distinguished. Stein suggests Θασιον τασ επειροτιδασ πολισ, cp. ch. 118; and if that be the true reading ιον is probably a remnant of Θασιον after κηορασ.
104 Or, “Pistiros.”
105 οι προφετεουντεσ, i.e. those who interpret the utterances of the Oracle, cp. viii. 36.
107 και ουδεν ποικιλοτερον, an expression of which the meaning is not quite clear; perhaps “and the oracles are not at all more obscure,” cp. Eur. Phœn. 470 and Hel. 711 (quoted by Bähr).
108 “Ennea Hodoi.”
109 Cp. iii. 84.
110 The “royal cubit” is about 20 inches; the δακτυλοσ, “finger’s breadth,” is rather less than ¾ inch.
111 Or, “Cape Canastraion.”
112 Or “Echeidoros”: so it is usually called, but not by any MS. here, and by a few only in ch. 127.
113 προ μεσογαιαν ταμνον τεσ οδου: cp. iv. 12 and ix. 89.
114 Cp. ch. 6 and 174: but it does not appear that the Aleuadai, of whom Xerxes is here speaking, ever thought of resistance, and perhaps γνοσιμακηεοντεσ means, “when they submitted without resistance.”
115 Some MSS. have Αινιενεσ for Ενιενεσ.
116 δεκατευσαι: there is sufficient authority for this rendering of δεκατευειν, and it seems better here than to understand the word to refer only to a “tithing” of goods.
117 εσ το βαραθρον, the place of execution at Athens.
118 “undesirable thing.”
119 ουκ εξ ισου: i.e. it is one-sided, because the speaker has had experience of only one of the alternatives.
120 Cp. ch. 143 (end), and viii. 62.
121 τεικηεον κιθονεσ, a poetical expression, quoted perhaps from some oracle; and if so, κιθον may here have the Epic sense of a “coat of mail,” equivalent to θορεξ in i. 181: see ch. 61, note 56.
122 το μεγαρον.
123 The form of address changes abruptly to the singular number, referring to the Athenian people.
124 αζελα, probably for αιονλα, which has been proposed as a correction: or possibly “wretched.”
125 οξυσ Αρεσ.
126 i.e. Assyrian, cp. ch. 63.
127 μιν, i.e. the city, to which belong the head, feet, and body which have been mentioned.
128 κακοισ δ’ επικιδνατε θυμον: this might perhaps mean (as it is taken by several Editors), “show a courageous soul in your troubles,” but that would hardly suit with the discouraging tone of the context.
129 οναξ, cp. iv. 15.
130 ουροσ: the word might of course be for οροσ, “mountain,” and Κεκροποσ ουροσ would then mean the Acropolis (so it is understood by Stein and others), but the combination with Kithairon makes it probable that the reference is to the boundaries of Attica, and this seems more in accordance with the reference to it in viii. 53.
132 συστασ, “having been joined” cp. viii. 142.
133 τον περι τεν Ελλαδα Ελλενον τα αμεινο φρονεοντον: the MSS. have τον also after Ελλενον, which would mean “those of the Hellenes in Hellas itself, who were of the better mind;” but the expression τον τα αμεινο φρονεουσεον περι τεν Ελλαδα occurs in ch. 172. Some Editors omit Ελλενον as well as τον.
134 εγκεκρεμενοι (from εγκεραννυμι, cp. v. 124), a conjectural emendation (by Reiske) of εγκεκηρεμενοι. Others have conjectured εγκεκηειρεμενοι or εγεγερμενοι.
135 τε γε αλλε: many Editors adopt the conjecture τεδε αλλε “is like the following, which he expressed on another occasion.”
136 See vi. 77. This calamity had occurred about fourteen years before, and it was not in order to recover from this that the Argives wished now for a thirty years’ truce; but warned by this they desired (they said) to guard against the consequence of a similar disaster in fighting with the Persians, against whom, according to their own account, they were going to defend themselves independently. So great was their fear of this that, “though fearing the oracle,” they were willing to disobey it on certain conditions.
137 προβαλαιον, cp. προβολουσ, ch. 76.
138 εσ τουσ πλευνασ.
139 Cp. v. 53.
140 εθελουσι: this is omitted in most of the MSS., but contained in several of the best. Many Editors have omitted it.
141 τα οικεια κακα seems to mean the grievances which each has against his neighbours, “if all the nations of men should bring together into one place their own grievances against their neighbours, desiring to make a settlement with them, each people, when they had examined closely the grievances of others against themselves, would gladly carry away back with them those which they had brought,” judging that they had offended others more than they had suffered themselves.
142 οικετορ ο εν Γελε: some Editors read by conjecture οικετορ εον Γελεσ, others οικετορ εν Γελε.
143 ιροψανται τον κηθονιον θεον: cp. vi. 134.
144 i.e. by direct inspiration.
145 εν δορυψοροσ: the MSS. have οσ εν δορυψοροσ. Some Editors mark a lacuna.
146 γαμορουσ, the name given to the highest class of citizens.
147 Or, “Killyrians.” They were conquered Sicanians, in the position of the Spartan Helots.
148 πακηεασ: cp. v. 30.
149 γαρ: inserted conjecturally by many Editors.
150 See v. 46.
151 ε κε μεγ οιμεξειε, the beginning of a Homeric hexameter, cp. Il. vii. 125.
152 Or, “since your speech is so adverse.”
153 See Il. ii. 552.
154 Some Editors mark this explanation “Now this is the meaning — year,” as interpolated.
156 εσ μεσον Κοοισι καταθεισ τεν αρκηεν.
157 παρα Σαμιον: this is the reading of the best MSS.: others have μετα Σαμιον, “together with the Samians,” which is adopted by many Editors. There can be little doubt however that the Skythes mentioned in vi. 23 was the father of this Cadmos, and we know from Thuc. vi. 4 that the Samians were deprived of the town soon after they had taken it, by Anaxilaos, who gave it the name of Messene, and no doubt put Cadmos in possession of it, as the son of the former king.
158 Cp. ch. 154.
159 i.e. 300,000.
160 The MSS. add either οσ Καρκηεδονιοι, or οσ Καρκηεδονιοι και Συρεκοσιοι, but the testimony of the Carthaginians has just been given, οσ Φοινικεσ λεγουσι, and the Syracusans professed to be unable to discover anything of him at all. Most of the Editors omit or alter the words.
161 επιμεμφεσθε: some Editors have tried corrections, e.g. ου τι μεμνεσθε, “do ye not remember,” or επιμεμνεσθε, “remember”; but cp. viii. 106, οστε σε με μεμψασθαι τεν . . . δικεν.
162 οσα υμιν . . . Μινοσ επεμψε μενιον δακρυματα. The oracle would seem to have been in iambic verse.
164 ου βουλομενοι, apparently equivalent to με βουλεμενοι.
165 Cp. viii. 111.
166 i.e. the six commanders of divisions μοραι in the Spartan army.
167 μια: for this most MSS. have αμα. Perhaps the true reading is αμα μια.
168 αμαξιτοσ μουνε, cp. ch. 200.
170 τον επιβατεον αυτεσ.
171 εμεροσκοπουσ: perhaps simply “scouts,” cp. ch. 219, by which it would seem that they were at their posts by night also, though naturally they would not see much except by day.
172 i.e. “Ant.”
174 i.e. 241,400.
177 ο τι πλεον εν αυτον ε ελασσον. In ch. 97, which is referred to just above, these ships are stated to have been of many different kinds, and not only fifty-oared galleys.
180 1,700,000: see ch. 60.
183 δοκεσιν δε δει λεγειν.
184 Some MSS. have Αινιενεσ for Ενιενεσ.
187 του μακηιμου τουτου.
190 κηοινικα, the usual daily allowance.
191 The μεδιμνοσ is about a bushel and a half, and is equal to 48 κηοινικεσ. The reckoning here of 110,340 μεδιμνοι is wrong, owing apparently to the setting down of some numbers in the quotient which were in fact part of the dividend.
192 προκροσσαι ορμεοντο εσ ποντον: the meaning of προκροσσαι is doubtful, but the introduction of the word is probably due to a reminiscence of Homer, Il. xiv. 35, where the ships are described as drawn up in rows one behind the other on shore, and where προκροσσασ is often explained to mean κλιμακεδον, i.e. either in steps one behind the other owing to the rise of the beach, or in the arrangement of the quincunx. Probably in this passage the idea is rather of the prows projecting in rows like battlements κροσσαι, and this is the sense in which the word is used by Herodotus elsewhere (iv. 152). The word κροσσαι however is used for the successively rising stages of the pyramids (ii. 125), and προκροσσοσ may mean simply “in a row,” or “one behind the other,” which would suit all passages in which it occurs, and would explain the expression προκροσσοι φερομενοι επι τον κινδυνον, quoted by Athenæus.
193 απελιοτεσ. Evidently, from its name Ελλεσποντιασ and from its being afterwards called Βορεασ, it was actually a North-East Wind.
194 i.e. “Ovens.”
197 The word κηρυσεα, “of gold,” is omitted by some Editors.
198 “in his case also και τουτον there was an unpleasing misfortune of the slaying of a child παιδοφονοσ which troubled him,” i.e. he like others had misfortunes to temper his prosperity.
199 γοεσι, (from a supposed word γοε): a correction of γεοσι, “by enchanters,” which is retained by Stein. Some read κηοεσι, “with libations,” others βοεσι, “with cries.”
200 αφεσειν, whence the name Αφεται was supposed to be derived.
201 Or, “had crucified . . . having convicted him of the following charge, namely,” etc. Cp. iii. 35 (end).
202 τριταιοσ. According to the usual meaning of the word the sense should be “on the third day after” entering Thessaly, but the distance was much greater than a two-days’ march.
203 i.e. “the Devourer.”
204 Πρυτανειου, “Hall of the Magistrates.”
206 εστελλοντο: many Editors, following inferior MSS., read εσελθοντεσ and make changes in the rest of the sentence.
207 Some MSS. have Αινιενον for Ενιενον.
209 δισκηιλια τε γαρ και δισμυρια πλεθρα του πεδιου εστι. If the text is right, the πλεθρον must here be a measure of area. The amount will then be about 5000 acres.
210 μεκηρι Τρεκηινοσ, “up to Trachis,” which was the Southern limit.
211 το επι ταυτεσ τεσ επειρου. I take το επι ταυτεσ to be an adverbial expression like τεσ ετερεσ in ch. 36, for I cannot think that the rendering “towards this continent” is satisfactory.
212 See v. 45.
213 τουσ κατεστεοτασ. There is a reference to the body of 300 so called ιππεισ (cp. i. 67), who were appointed to accompany the king in war; but we must suppose that on special occasions the king made up this appointed number by selection, and that in this case those were preferred who had sons to keep up the family. Others (including Grote) understand τουσ κατεστεοτασ to mean “men of mature age.”
214 τον Πυλαγορον.
215 εσ τεν Πυλαιεν.
216 An indication that the historian intended to carry his work further than the year 479.
217 See ch. 83.
218 εκ τε τοσου δε κατεδεδεκτο εουσα ουδεν κηρεστε Μελιευσι, i.e. ε εσβολε.
220 Lit. “had set out to go at first.”
221 Lit. “and afterwards deserters were they who reported.”
223 ταυτε και μαλλον τε γνομε πλειστοσ ειμι.
224 i.e. the Persian.
225 πριν τονδ ετερον δια παντα δασεται: i.e. either the city or the king.
226 μουνον Σπαρτιετεον: some Editors (following Plutarch) read μουνον Σπαρτιετεον, “lay up for the Spartans glory above all other nations.”
227 το μεν γαρ ερυμα του τεικηεοσ εφυλασσετο, οι δε κ.τ.λ.
228 i.e. the Lacedemonians.
229 ιζοντο επι τον κολονον.
230 Some Editors insert τουσ after ε, “before those who were sent away by Leonidas had departed.”
232 λειποψυκηεοντα, a word which refers properly to bodily weakness. It has been proposed to read φιλοψυκηεοντα, “loving his life,” cp. vi. 29.
233 αλγεσαντα: some good MSS. have αλογεσαντα, which is adopted by Stein, “had in his ill-reckoning returned alone.”
234 τεσ αυτεσ εκηομενου προφασιοσ.
236 ο τρεσασ.
237 Thuc. ii. 2 ff.
238 τασ διεξοδουσ τον βουλευματον, cp. iii. 156.
239 τον ωεεσ κ.τ.λ.: some Editors insert εκ before τον, “by which four hundred ships have suffered shipwreck.”
240 τα σεουτου δε τιθεμενοσ ευ γνομεν εκηο: for εκηο some inferior MSS. have εκηε, which is adopted by several Editors, “Rather set thy affairs in good order and determine not to consider,” etc.
241 το παρεον τρομα, i.e. their defeat.
242 και εστι δυσμενεσ τε σιγε. Some commentators understand τε σιγε to mean “secretly,” like σιγε, viii. 74.
243 See ch. 220.
244 Many Editors pronounce the last chapter to be an interpolation, but perhaps with hardly sufficient reason.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09