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Translated into English by G. C. MACAULAY, M.A. Credits
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Book I
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Book II
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Book III
Book 16
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Book IV
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Book V
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Book VI
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Book VII
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Book IX
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The History of Herodotus: Page 30

Volume Two - Book V

99. Aristagoras meanwhile, when the Athenians had arrived with twenty ships, bringing with them also five triremes of the Eretrians, he joined the expedition not for the sake of the Athenians but of the Milesians themselves, to repay them a debt which they owed (for the Milesians in former times had borne with the Eretrians the burden of all that war which they had with the Chalkidians at the time when the Chalkidians on their side were helped by the Samians against the Eretrians and Milesians),--when these, I say, had arrived and the other allies were on the spot, Aristagoras proceeded to make a march upon Sardis. On this march he did not go himself, but remained at Miletos and appointed others to be in command of the Milesians, namely his brother Charopinos and of the other citizens one Hermophantos.[87a]

100. With this force then the Ionians came to Ephesos, and leaving their ships at Coresos in the land of Ephesos, went up themselves in a large body, taking Ephesians to guide them in their march. So they marched along by the river Ca˙ster, and then when they arrived after crossing the range of Tmolos, they took Sardis without any resistance, all except the citadel, but the citadel Artaphrenes himself saved from capture, having with him a considerable force of men.

101. From plundering this city after they had taken it they were prevented by this:--the houses in Sardis were mostly built of reeds, and even those of them which were of brick had their roofs thatched with reeds: of these houses one was set on fire by a soldier, and forthwith the fire going on from house to house began to spread over the whole town. So then as the town was on fire, the Lydians and all the Persians who were in the city being cut off from escape, since the fire was prevailing in the extremities round about them, and not having any way out of the town, flowed together to the market-place and to the river Pactolos, which brings down gold-dust for them from Tmolos, flowing through the middle of their market-place, and then runs out into the river Hermos, and this into the sea;--to this Pactolos, I say, and to the market-place the Lydians and Persians gathered themselves together, and were compelled to defend themselves.

The Ionians then, seeing some of the enemy standing on their defence and others in great numbers coming on to the attack, were struck with fear and retired to the mountain called Tmolos, and after that at nightfall departed to go to their ships.

102. Sardis was then destroyed by fire, and in it also the temple of the native goddess Hybebe; which the Persians alleged afterwards as a reason for setting on fire in return the temples in the land of the Hellenes. However at the time of which I speak the Persians who occupied districts within the river Halys, informed beforehand of this movement, were gathering together and coming to the help of the Lydians; and, as it chanced, they found when they came that the Ionians no longer were in Sardis; but they followed closely in their track and came up with them at Ephesos: and the Ionians stood indeed against them in array, but when they joined battle they had very much the worse; and besides other persons of note whom the Persians slaughtered, there fell also Eualkides commander of the Eretrians, a man who had won wreaths in contests of the games and who was much celebrated by Simonides of Keos: and those of them who survived the battle dispersed to their various cities.

103. Thus then they fought at that time; and after the battle the Athenians left the Ionians together, and when Aristagoras was urgent in calling upon them by messengers for assistance, they said that they would not help them: the Ionians, however, though deprived of the alliance of the Athenians, none the less continued to prepare for the war with the king, so great had been the offences already committed by them against Dareios. They sailed moreover to the Hellespont and brought under their power Byzantion and all the other cities which are in those parts; and then having sailed forth out of the Hellespont, they gained in addition the most part of Caria to be in alliance with them: for even Caunos, which before was not willing to be their ally, then, after they had burnt Sardis, was added to them also.

104. The Cyprians too, excepting those of Amathus, were added voluntarily to their alliance; for these also had revolted from the Medes in the following manner:--there was one Onesilos, younger brother of Gorgos king of Salamis, and son of Chersis, the son of Siromos, the son of Euelthon. This man in former times too had been wont often to advise Gorgos to make revolt from the king, and at this time, when he heard that the Ionians had revolted, he pressed him very hard and endeavoured to urge him to it. Since however he could not persuade Gorgos, Onesilos watched for a time when he had gone forth out of the city of Salamis, and then together with the men of his own faction he shut him out of the gates. Gorgos accordingly being robbed of the city went for refuge to the Medes, and Onesilos was ruler of Salamis and endeavoured to persuade all the men of Cyprus to join him in revolt. The others then he persuaded; but since those of Amathus were not willing to do as he desired, he sat down before their city and besieged it.

105. Onesilos then was besieging Amathus; and meanwhile, when it was reported to king Dareios that Sardis had been captured and burnt by the Athenians and the Ionians together, and that the leader of the league for being about these things[88] was the Milesian Aristagoras, it is said that at first being informed of this he made no account of the Ionians, because he knew that they at all events would not escape unpunished for their revolt, but he inquired into who the Athenians were; and when he had been informed, he asked for his bow, and having received it and placed an arrow upon the string, he discharged it upwards towards heaven, and as he shot into the air he said: "Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!" Having so said he charged one of his attendants, that when dinner was set before the king he should say always three times: "Master, remember the Athenians."

106. When he had given this charge, he called into his presence Histiaios the Milesian, whom Dareios had now been keeping with him for a long time, and said: "I am informed, Histiaios, that thy deputy, to whom thou didst depute the government of Miletos, has made rebellion against me; for he brought in men against me from the other continent and persuaded the Ionians also,--who shall pay the penalty to me for that which they did,--these, I say, he persuaded to go together with them, and thus he robbed me of Sardis. Now therefore how thinkest thou that this is well? and how without thy counsels was anything of this kind done? Take heed lest thou afterwards find reason to blame thyself for this." Histiaios replied: "O king, what manner of speech is this that thou hast uttered, saying that I counselled a matter from which it was likely that any vexation would grow for thee, either great or small? What have I to seek for in addition to that which I have, that I should do these things; and of what am I in want? for I have everything that thou hast, and I am thought worthy by thee to hear all thy counsels. Nay, but if my deputy is indeed acting in any such manner as thou hast said, be assured that he has done it merely on his own account. I however, for my part, do not even admit the report to be true, that the Milesians and my deputy are acting in any rebellious fashion against thy power: but if it prove that they are indeed doing anything of that kind, and if that which thou hast heard, O king, be the truth, learn then what a thing thou didst in removing me away from the sea-coast; for it seems that the Ionians, when I had gone out of the sight of their eyes, did that which they had long had a desire to do; whereas if I had been in Ionia, not a city would have made the least movement. Now therefore as quickly as possible let me set forth to go to Ionia, that I may order all these matters for thee as they were before, and deliver into thy hands this deputy of Miletos who contrived these things: and when I have done this after thy mind, I swear by the gods of the royal house that I will not put off from me the tunic which I wear when I go down to Ionia, until I have made Sardinia tributary to thee, which is the largest of all islands."

107. Thus saying Histiaios endeavoured to deceive the king, and Dareios was persuaded and let him go, charging him, when he should have accomplished that which he had promised, to return to him again at Susa.

108. In the meantime, while the news about Sardis was going up to the king, and while Dareios, after doing that which he did with the bow, came to speech with Histiaios, and Histiaios having been let go by Dareios was making his journey to the sea-coast,--during all that time the events were happening which here follow.--As Onesilos of Salamis was besieging those of Amathus, it was reported to him that Artybios a Persian, bringing with him in ships a large Persian army, was to be expected shortly to arrive in Cyprus. Being informed of this, Onesilos sent heralds to different places in Ionia to summon the Ionians to his assistance; and they took counsel together and came without delay with a large force. Now the Ionians arrived in Cyprus just at the time when the Persians having crossed over in ships from Kilikia were proceeding by land to attack Salamis, while the Phenicians with the ships were sailing round the headland which is called the "Keys of Cyprus."

109. This being the case, the despots of Cyprus called together the commanders of the Ionians and said: "Ionians, we of Cyprus give you a choice which enemy ye will rather fight with, the Persians or the Phenicians: for if ye will rather array yourselves on land and make trial of the Persians in fight, it is time now for you to disembark from your ships and array yourselves on the land, and for us to embark in your ships to contend against the Phenicians; but if on the other hand ye will rather make trial of the Phenicians,--whichever of these two ye shall choose, ye must endeavour that, so far as it rests with you, both Ionia and Cyprus shall be free." To this the Ionians replied: "We were sent out by the common authority of the Ionians to guard the sea, and not to deliver our ships to the Cyprians and ourselves fight with the Persians on land. We therefore will endeavour to do good service in that place to which we were appointed; and ye must call to mind all the evils which ye suffered from the Medes, when ye were in slavery to them, and prove yourselves good men."

110. The Ionians made answer in these words; and afterwards, when the Persians had come to the plain of Salamis, the kings of the Cyprians set in order their array, choosing the best part of the troops of Salamis and of Soloi to be arrayed against the Persians and setting the other Cyprians against the rest of the enemy's troops; and against Artybios, the commander of the Persians, Onesilos took up his place in the array by his own free choice.

111. Now Artybios was riding a horse which had been trained to rear up against a hoplite. Onesilos accordingly being informed of this, and having a shield-bearer, by race of Caria, who was of very good repute as a soldier and full of courage besides,[89] said to this man: "I am informed that the horse of Artybios rears upright and works both with his feet and his mouth against any whom he is brought to attack. Do thou therefore consider the matter, and tell me forthwith which of the two thou wilt rather watch for and strike, the horse or Artybios himself." To this his attendant replied: "O king, I am ready to do both or either of these two things, and in every case to do that which thou shalt appoint for me; but I will declare to thee the way in which I think it will be most suitable[90] for thy condition. I say that it is right for one who is king and commander to fight with a king and commander; for if thou shalt slay the commander of the enemy, it turns to great glory for thee; and again, if he shall slay thee, which heaven forbid, even death when it is at the hands of a worthy foe is but half to be lamented: but for us who are under thy command it is suitable to fight with the others who are under his command and with his horse: and of the tricks of the horse have thou no fear at all, for I engage to thee that after this at least he shall never stand against any man more." Thus he spoke; and shortly afterwards the opposed forces joined battle both on land and with their ships.

112. On that day the Ionians for their part greatly distinguished themselves and overcame the Phenicians, and of them the Samians were best: and meanwhile on land, when the armies met, they came to close quarters and fought; and as regards the two commanders, what happened was this:--when Artybios came to fight with Onesilos sitting upon his horse, Onesilos, as he had concerted with his shield-bearer, struck at Artybios himself, when he came to fight with him; and when the horse put its hoofs against the shield of Onesilos, then the Carian struck with a falchion[91] and smote off the horse's feet.

113. So Artybios the commander of the Persians fell there on the spot together with his horse: and while the others also were fighting, Stesenor the despot of Curion deserted them, having with him a large force of men,--now these Curians are said to be settlers from Argos,--and when the Curians had deserted, forthwith also the war-chariots of the men of Salamis proceeded to do the same as the Curians. When these things took place, the Persians had the advantage over the Cyprians; and after their army had been put to rout, many others fell and among them Onesilos the son of Chersis, he who brought about the revolt of the Cyprians, and also the king of the Solians, Aristokypros the son of Philokypros,--that Philokypros whom Solon the Athenian, when he came to Cyprus, commended in verse above all other despots.

114. So the men of Amathus cut off the head of Onesilos, because he had besieged them; and having brought it to Amathus they hung it over the gate of the city: and as the head hung there, when it had now become a hollow, a swarm of bees entered into it and filled it with honeycomb. This having so come to pass, the Amathusians consulted an Oracle about the head, and they received an answer bidding them take it down and bury it and sacrifice to Onesilos every year as a hero; and if they did this, it would go better with them.

115. The Amathusians accordingly continued to do so even to my time. But the Ionians who had fought the sea-fight in Cyprus, when they perceived that the fortunes of Onesilos were ruined and that the cities of the Cyprians were besieged, except Salamis, and that this city had been delivered over by the Salaminians to Gorgos the former king,--as soon as they perceived this, the Ionians sailed away back to Ionia. Now of the cities in Cyprus Soloi held out for the longest time under the siege; and the Persians took it in the fifth month by undermining the wall round.

116. The Cyprians then, after they had made themselves free for one year, had again been reduced to slavery afresh: and meanwhile Daurises, who was married to a daughter of Dareios, and Hymaies and Otanes, who were also Persian commanders and were married also to daughters of Dareios, after they had pursued those Ionians who had made the expedition to Sardis and defeating them in battle had driven them by force to their ships,--after this distributed the cities amongst themselves and proceeded to sack them.

117. Daurises directed his march to the cities on the Hellespont, and he took Dardanos and Abydos and Percote and Lampsacos and Paisos, of these he took on each day one; and as he was marching from Paisos against the city of Parion, the report came that the Carians had made common cause with the Ionians and were in revolt from the Persians. He turned back therefore from the Hellespont and marched his army upon Caria.

118. And, as it chanced, a report of this was brought to the Carians before Daurises arrived; and the Carians being informed of it gathered together at the place which is called the "White Pillars" and at the river Marsyas, which flows from the region of Idrias and runs out into the Maiander. When the Carians had been gathered together there, among many other counsels which were given, the best, as it seems to me, was that of Pixodaros the son of Mausolos, a man of Kindye, who was married to the daughter of the king of the Kilikians, Syennesis. The opinion of this man was to the effect that the Carians should cross over the Maiander and engage battle with the Persians having the river at their backs, in order that the Carians, not being able to fly backwards and being compelled to remain where they were, might prove themselves even better men in fight than they naturally would. This opinion did not prevail; but they resolved that the Persians rather than themselves should have the Maiander at their backs, evidently[92] in order that if there should be a flight of the Persians and they should be worsted in the battle, they might never return home, but might fall into the river.

119. After this, when the Persians had come and had crossed the Maiander, the Carians engaged with the Persians on the river Marsyas and fought a battle which was obstinately contested and lasted long; but at length they were worsted by superior numbers: and of the Persians there fell as many as two thousand, but of the Carians ten thousand. Then those of them who escaped were shut up in Labraunda[93] within the sanctuary of Zeus Stratios, which is a large sacred grove of plane-trees; now the Carians are the only men we know who offer sacrifices to Zeus Stratios. These men then, being shut up there, were taking counsel together about their safety, whether they would fare better if they delivered themselves over to the Persians or if they left Asia altogether.

120. And while they were thus taking counsel, there came to their aid the Milesians and their allies. Then the Carians dismissed the plans which they were before considering and prepared to renew the war again from the beginning: and when the Persians came to attack them, they engaged with them and fought a battle, and they were worsted yet more completely than before; and while many were slain of all parties,[94] the Milesians suffered most.

121. Then afterwards the Carians repaired this loss and retrieved their defeat; for being informed that the Persians had set forth to march upon their cities, they laid an ambush on the road which is by Pedasos,[95] and the Persians falling into it by night were destroyed both they and their commanders, namely Daurises and Amorges and Sisimakes; and with them died also Myrsos the son of Gyges. Of this ambush the leader was Heracleides the son of Ibanollis, a man of Mylasa.

122. These then of the Persians were thus destroyed; and meanwhile Hymaies, who was another of those who pursued after the Ionians that had made the expedition to Sardis, directed his march to the Propontis and took Kios in Mysia; and having conquered this city, when he was informed that Daurises had left the Hellespont and was marching towards Caria, he left the Propontis and led his army to the Hellespont: and he conquered all the Aiolians who occupy the district of Ilion, and also the Gergithes, who were left behind as a remnant of the ancient Teucrians. While conquering these tribes Hymaies himself ended his life by sickness in the land of Troas.

123. He thus brought his life to an end; and Artaphrenes the governor of the province of Sardis was appointed with Otanes the third of the commanders to make the expedition against Ionia and that part of Aiolia which bordered upon it. Of Ionia these took the city of Clazomenai, and of the Aiolians Kyme.

124. While the cities were thus being taken, Aristagoras the Milesian, being, as he proved in this instance, not of very distinguished courage, since after having disturbed Ionia and made preparation of great matters[96] he counselled running away when he saw these things, (moreover it had become clear to him that it was impossible to overcome king Dareios),--he, I say, having regard to these things, called together those of his own party and took counsel with them, saying that it was better that there should be a refuge prepared for them, in case that they should after all be driven out from Miletos, and proposing the question whether he should lead them from thence to Sardinia, to form a colony there, or to Myrkinos in the land of the Edonians, which Histiaios had been fortifying, having received it as a gift from Dareios. This was the question proposed by Aristagoras.

125. Now the opinion of Hecataios the son of Hegesander the historian[97] was that he should not take a colony to either of these places, but build a wall of defence for himself in the island of Leros and keep still, if he should be forced to leave Miletos; and afterwards with this for his starting point he would be able to return to Miletos.

126. This was the counsel of Hecataios; but Aristagoras was most inclined to go forth to Myrkinos. He therefore entrusted the government of Miletos to Pythagoras, a man of repute among the citizens, and he himself sailed away to Thrace, taking with him every one who desired to go; and he took possession of the region for which he had set out. But starting from this to make war, he perished by the hands of the Thracians, that is both Aristagoras himself and his army, when he was encamped about a certain city and the Thracians desired to go out from it under a truce.







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