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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 34

Volume Two - Book VI

117. In this fight at Marathon there were slain of the Barbarians about six thousand four hundred men, and of the Athenians a hundred and ninety and two. Such was the number which fell on both sides; and it happened also that a marvel occurred there of this kind:--an Athenian, Epizelos the son of Cuphagoras, while fighting in the close combat and proving himself a good man, was deprived of the sight of his eyes, neither having received a blow in any part of his body nor having been hit with a missile, and for the rest of his life from this time he continued to be blind: and I was informed that he used to tell about that which had happened to him a tale of this kind, namely that it seemed to him that a tall man in full armour stood against him, whose beard overshadowed his whole shield; and this apparition passed him by, but killed his comrade who stood next to him. Thus, as I was informed, Epizelos told the tale.

118. Datis, however, as he was going with his army to Asia, when he had come to Myconos saw a vision in his sleep; and of what nature the vision was it is not reported, but as soon as day dawned he caused a search to be made of the ships, and finding in a Phenician ship an image of Apollo overlaid with gold, he inquired from whence it had been carried off. Then having been informed from what temple it came, he sailed in his own ship to Delos: and finding that the Delians had returned then to the island, he deposited the image in the temple and charged the men of Delos to convey it back to Delion in the territory of the Thebans, which is situated by the sea-coast just opposite Chalkis. Datis having given this charge sailed away: the Delians however did not convey the statue back, but after an interval of twenty years the Thebans themselves brought it to Delion by reason of an oracle.

119. Now as to those Eretrians who had been reduced to slavery, Datis and Artaphrenes, when they reached Asia in their voyage, brought them up to Susa; and king Dareios, though he had great anger against the Eretrians before they were made captive, because the Eretrians had done wrong to him unprovoked, yet when he saw that they had been brought up to him and were in his power, he did them no more evil, but established them as settlers in the Kissian land upon one of his own domains, of which the name is Ardericca: and this is distant two hundred and ten furlongs from Susa and forty from the well which produces things of three different kinds; for they draw from it asphalt, salt and oil, in the manner which here follows:--the liquid is drawn with a swipe, to which there is fastened half a skin instead of a bucket, and a man strikes this down into it and draws up, and then pours it into a cistern, from which it runs through into another vessel, taking three separate ways. The asphalt and the salt become solid at once, and the oil[108] which is called by the Persians /rhadinake/, is black and gives out a disagreeable smell. Here king Dareios established the Eretrians as settlers; and even to my time they continued to occupy this land, keeping still their former language. Thus it happened with regard to the Eretrians.

120. Of the Lacedemonians there came to Athens two thousand after the full moon, making great haste to be in time, so that they arrived in Attica on the third day after leaving Sparta: and though they had come too late for the battle, yet they desired to behold the Medes; and accordingly they went out to Marathon and looked at the bodies of the slain: then afterwards they departed home, commending the Athenians and the work which they had done.

121. Now it is a cause of wonder to me, and I do not accept the report, that the Alcmaionidai could ever have displayed to the Persians a shield by a previous understanding, with the desire that the Athenians should be under the Barbarians and under Hippias; seeing that they are evidently proved to have been haters of despots as much or more than Callias the son of Phainippos and father of Hipponicos, while Callias for his part was the only man of all the Athenians who dared, when Peisistratos was driven out of Athens, to buy his goods offered for sale by the State, and in other ways also he contrived against him everything that was most hostile:

[122. Of this Callias it is fitting that every one should have remembrance for many reasons: first because of that which has been before said, namely that he was a man of excellence in freeing his country; and then also for that which he did at the Olympic games, wherein he gained a victory in the horse- race and was second in the chariot-race, and he had before this been a victor at the Pythian games, so that he was distinguished in the sight of all Hellenes by the sums which he expended; and finally because he showed himself a man of such liberality towards his daughters, who were three in number; for when they came to be of ripe age for marriage, he gave them a most magnificent dowry and also indulged their inclinations; for whomsoever of all the Athenians each one of them desired to choose as a husband for herself, to that man he gave her.][109] 123, and similarly,[110] the Alcmaionidai were haters of despots equally or more[111] than he. Therefore this is a cause of wonder to me, and I do not admit the accusation that these they were who displayed the shield; seeing that they were in exile from the despots during their whole time, and that by their contrivance the sons of Peisistratos gave up their rule. Thus it follows that they were the men who set Athens free much more than Harmodios and Aristogeiton, as I judge: for these my slaying Hipparchos exasperated the rest of the family of Peisistratos, and did not at all cause the others to cease from their despotism; but the Alcmaionidai did evidently set Athens free, at least if these were in truth the men who persuaded the Pythian prophetess to signify to the Lacedemonians that they should set Athens free, as I have set forth before.

124. It may be said however that they had some cause of complaint against the people of the Athenians, and therefore endeavoured to betray their native city. But on the contrary there were no men in greater repute than they, among the Athenians at least, nor who had been more highly honoured. Thus it is not reasonable to suppose that by them a shield should have been displayed for any such purpose. A shield was displayed, however; that cannot be denied, for it was done: but as to who it was who displayed it, I am not able to say more than this.

125. Now the family of Alcmaionidai was distinguished in Athens in the earliest times also, and from the time of Alcmaion and of Megacles after him they became very greatly distinguished. For first Alcmaion the son of Megacles showed himself a helper of the Lydians from Sardis who came from Crsus to the Oracle at Delphi, and assisted them with zeal; and Crsus having heard from the Lydians who went to the Oracle that this man did him service, sent for him to Sardis; and when he came, he offered to give him a gift of as much gold as he could carry away at once upon his own person. With a view to this gift, its nature being such, Alcmaion made preparations and used appliances as follows: --he put on a large tunic leaving a deep fold in the tunic to hang down in front, and he draw on his feet the widest boots which he could find, and so went to the treasury to which they conducted him. Then he fell upon a heap of gold-dust, and first he packed in by the side of his legs so much of the gold as his boots would contain, and then he filled the whole fold of the tunic with the gold and sprinkled some of the gold dust on the hair of his head and took some into his mouth, and having so done he came forth out of the treasury, with difficulty dragging along his boots and resembling anything in the world rather than a man; for his mouth was stuffed full, and every part of him was swelled out: and upon Crsus came laughter when he saw him, and he not only gave him all that, but also presented him in addition with more not inferior in value to that. Thus this house became exceedingly wealthy, and thus the Alcmaion of whom I speak became a breeder of chariot-horses and won a victory at Olympia.

126. Then in the next generation after this, Cleisthenes the despot of Sikyon exalted the family, so that it became of much more note among the Hellenes than it had been formerly. For Cleisthenes the son of Arisonymos, the son of Myron, the son of Andreas, had a daughter whose name was Agariste; and as to her he formed a desire to find out the best man of all the Hellenes and to assign her to him in marriage. So when the Olympic games were being held and Cleisthenes was victor in them with a four- horse chariot, he caused a proclamation to be made, that whosoever of the Hellenes thought himself worthy to be the son-in-law of Cleisthenes should come on the sixtieth day, or before that if he would, to Sikyon; for Cleisthenes intended to conclude the marriage within a year, reckoning from the sixtieth day. Then all those of the Hellenes who had pride either in themselves or in their high descent,[112] came as wooers, and for them Cleisthenes had a running- course and a wrestling-place made and kept them expressly for their use.

127. From Italy came Smindyrides the son of Hippocrates of Sybaris, who of all men on earth reached the highest point of luxury (now Sybaris at this time was in the height of its prosperity), and Damasos of Siris, the son of that Amyris who was called the Wise; these came from Italy: from the Ionian gulf came Amphimnestos the son of Epistrophos of Epidamnos, this man from the Ionian gulf: from Aitolia came Males, the brother of that Titormos who surpassed all the Hellenes in strength and who fled from the presence of men to the furthest extremities of the Aitolian land: from Peloponnesus, Leokedes the son of Pheidon the despot of the Argives, that Pheidon who established for the Peloponnesians the measures which they use, and who went beyond all other Hellenes in wanton insolence, since he removed from their place the presidents of the games appointed by the Eleians and himself presided over the games at Olympia,--his son, I say, and Amiantos the son of Lycurgos an Arcadian from Trapezus, and Laphanes an Azanian from the city of Paios, son of that Euphorion who (according to the story told in Arcadia) received the Dioscuroi as guests in his house and from thenceforth was wont to entertain all men who came, and Onomastos the son of Agaios of Elis; these, I say, came from Peloponnesus itself: from Athens came Megacles the son of that Alcmaion who went to Crsus, and besides him Hippocleides the son of Tisander, one who surpassed the other Athenians in wealth and in comeliness of form: from Eretria, which at that time was flourishing, came Lysanias, he alone from Euba: from Thessalia came Diactorides of Crannon, one of the family of the Scopadai: and from the Molossians, Alcon.

128. So many in number did the wooers prove to be: and when these had come by the appointed day, Cleisthenes first inquired of their native countries and of the descent of each one, and then keeping them for a year he made trial continually both of their manly virtue and of their disposition, training and temper, associating both with each one separately and with the whole number together: and he made trial of them both by bringing out to bodily exercises those of them who were younger, and also especially in the common feast: for during all the time that he kept them he did everything that could be done, and at the same time he entertained them magnificently. Now it chanced that those of the wooers pleased him most who had come from Athens, and of these Hippocleides the son of Tisander was rather preferred, both by reason of manly virtues and also because he was connected by descent with the family of Kypselos at Corinth.

129. Then when the appointed day came for the marriage banquet and for Cleisthenes himself to declare whom he selected from the whole number, Cleisthenes sacrificed a hundred oxen and feasted both the wooers themselves and all the people of Sikyon; and when the dinner was over, the wooers began to vie with one another both in music and in speeches for the entertainment of the company;[113] and as the drinking went forward and Hippocleides was very much holding the attention of the others,[114] he bade the flute-player play for him a dance-measure; and when the flute-player did so, he danced: and it so befell that he pleased himself in his dancing, but Cleisthenes looked on at the whole matter with suspicion. Then Hippocleides after a certain time bade one bring in a table; and when the table came in, first he danced upon it Laconian figures, and then also Attic, and thirdly he planted his head upon the table and gesticulated with his legs. Cleisthenes meanwhile, when he was dancing the first and the second time, though he abhorred the thought that Hippocleides should now become his son-in-law, because of his dancing and his shamelessness, yet restrained himself, not desiring to break out in anger against him; but when he saw that he thus gesticulated with his legs, he was no longer able to restrain himself, but said: "Thou hast danced away thy marriage however,[115] son of Tisander!" and Hippocleides answered and said: "Hippocleides cares not!" 130, and hence comes this saying. Then Cleisthenes caused silence to be made, and spoke to the company as follows: "Men who are wooers of my daughter, I commend you all, and if it were possible I would gratify you all, neither selecting one of you to be preferred, nor rejecting the remainder. Since however it is not possible, as I am deliberating about one maiden only, to act so as to please all, therefore to those of you who are rejected from this marriage I give as a gift a talent of silver to each one for the worthy estimation ye had of me, in that ye desired to marry from my house, and for the time of absence from your homes; and to the son of Alcmaion, Megacles, I offer my daughter Agariste in betrothal according to the customs of the Athenians." Thereupon Megacles said that he accepted the betrothal, and so the marriage was determined by Cleisthenes.

131. Thus it happened as regards the judgment of the wooers, and thus the Alcmaionidai got renown over all Hellas. And these having been married, there was born to them that Cleisthenes who established the tribes and the democracy for the Athenians, he being called after the Sikyonian Cleisthenes, his mother's father; this son, I say, was born to Megacles, and also Hippocrates: and of Hippocrates came another Megacles and another Agariste, called after Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes, who having been married to Xanthippos the son of Ariphron and being with child, saw a vision in her sleep, and it seemed to her that she had brought forth a lion: then after a few days she bore to Xanthippos Pericles.

132. After the defeat at Marathon, Miltiades, who even before was well reputed with the Athenians, came then to be in much higher estimation: and when he asked the Athenians for seventy ships and an army with supplies of money, not declaring to them against what land he was intending to make an expedition, but saying that he would enrich them greatly if they would go with him, for he would lead them to a land of such a kind that they would easily get from it gold in abundance,-- thus saying he asked for the ships; and the Athenians, elated by these words, delivered them over to him.

133. Then Miltiades, when he had received the army, proceeded to sail to Paris with the pretence that the Parians had first attacked Athens by making expedition with triremes to Marathon in company with the Persian: this was the pretext which he put forward, but he had also a grudge against the Parians on account of Lysagoras the son of Tisias, who was by race of Paros, for having accused him to Hydarnes the Persian. So when Miltiades had arrived at the place to which he was sailing, he began to besiege the Parians with his army, first having shut them up within their wall; and sending in to them a herald he asked for a hundred talents, saying that if they refused to give them, his army should not return back[116] until it had conquered them completely. The Parians however had no design of giving any money to Miltiades, but contrived only how they might defend their city, devising various things besides and also this,--wherever at any time the wall proved to be open to attack, that point was raised when night came on to double its former height.

134. So much of the story is reported by all the Hellenes, but as to what followed the Parians alone report, and they say that it happened thus: --When Miltiades was at a loss, it is said, there came a woman to speech with him, who had been taken prisoner, a Parian by race whose name was Timo, an under-priestess[117] of the Earth goddesses;[118] she, they say, came into the presence of Miltiades and counselled him that if he considered it a matter of much moment to conquer Paros, he could do that which she should suggest to him; and upon that she told him her meaning. He accordingly passed through to the hill which is before the city and leapt over the fence of the temple of Demeter Giver of Laws,[119] not being able to open the door; and then having leapt over he went on towards the sanctuary[120] with the design of doing something within, whether it were that he meant to lay hands on some of the things which should not be touched, or whatever else he intended to do; and when he had reached the door, forthwith a shuddering fear came over him and he set off to go back the same way as he came, and as he leapt down from the wall of rough stones his thigh was dislocated, or, as others say, he struck his knee against the wall.

135. Miltiades accordingly, being in a wretched case, set forth to sail homewards, neither bringing wealth to the Athenians nor having added to them the possession of Paros, but having besieged the city for six-and-twenty days and laid waste the island: and the Parians being informed that Timo the under-priestess of the goddesses had acted as a guide to Miltiades, desired to take vengeance upon her for this, and they sent messengers to Delphi to consult the god, so soon as they had leisure from the siege; and these messengers they sent to ask whether they should put to death the under-priestess of the goddesses, who had been a guide to their enemies for the capture of her native city and had revealed to Miltiades the mysteries which might not be uttered to a male person. The Pythian prophetess however forbade them, saying that Timo was not the true author of these things, but since it was destined that Miltiades should end his life not well, she had appeared to guide him to his evil fate.

136. Thus the Pythian prophetess replied to the Parians: and the Athenians, when Miltiades had returned back from Paros, began to talk of him, and among the rest especially Xanthippos the son of Ariphron, who brought Miltiades up before the people claiming the penalty of death and prosecuted him for his deception of the Athenians: and Miltiades did not himself make his own defence, although he was present, for he was unable to do so because his thigh was mortifying; but he lay in public view upon a bed, while his friends made a defence for him, making mention much both of the battle which had been fought at Marathon and of the conquest of Lemnos, namely how he had conquered Lemnos and taken vengeance on the Pelasgians, and had delivered it over to the Athenians: and the people came over to his part as regards the acquittal from the penalty of death, but they imposed a fine of fifty talents for the wrong committed: and after this Miltiades died, his thigh having gangrened and mortified, and the fifty talents were paid by his son Kimon.

137. Now Miltiades son of Kimon had thus taken possession of the Lemnos:--After the Pelasgians had been cast out of Attica by the Athenians, whether justly or unjustly,--for about this I cannot tell except the things reported, which are these:--Hecataois on the one hand, the son of Hegesander, said in his history that it was done unjustly; for he said that when the Athenians saw the land which extends below Hymettos, which they had themselves given them[121] to dwell in, as payment for the wall built round the Acropolis in former times, when the Athenians, I say, saw that this land was made good by cultivation, which before was bad and worthless, they were seized with jealousy and with longing to possess the land, and so drove them out, not alleging any other pretext: but according to the report of the Athenians themselves they drove them out justly; for the Pelasgians being settled under Hymettos made this a starting-point and committed wrong against them as follows:--the daughters and sons of the Athenians were wont ever to go for water to the spring of Enneacrunos; for at that time neither they nor the other Hellenes as yet had household servants; and when these girls came, the Pelasgians in wantonness and contempt of the Athenians would offer them violence; and it was not enough for them even to do this, but at last they were found in the act of plotting an attack upon the city: and the narrators say that they herein proved themselves better men than the Pelasgians, inasmuch as when they might have slain the Pelasgians, who had been caught plotting against them, they did not choose to do so, but ordered them merely to depart out of the land: and thus having departed out of the land, the Pelasgians took possession of several older places and especially of Lemnos. The former story is that which was reported by Hecataios, while the latter is that which is told by the Athenians.

138. These Pelasgians then, dwelling after that in Lemnos, desired to take vengeance on the Athenians; and having full knowledge also of the festivals of the Athenians, they got[122] fifty- oared galleys and laid wait for the women of the Athenians when they were keeping festival to Artemis in Brauron; and having carried off a number of them from thence, they departed and sailed away home, and taking the women to Lemnos they kept them as concubines. Now when these women had children gradually more and more, they made it their practice to teach their sons both the Attic tongue and the manners of the Athenians. And these were not willing to associate with the sons of the Pelasgian women, and moreover if any of them were struck by any one of those, they all in a body came to the rescue and helped one another. Moreover the boys claimed to have authority over the other boys and got the better of them easily. Perceiving these things the Pelasgians considered the matter; and when they took counsel together, a fear came over them and they thought, if the boys were indeed resolved now to help one another against the sons of the legitimate wives, and were endeavouring already from the first to have authority over them, what would they do when they were grown up to be men? Then they determined to put to death the sons of the Athenian women, and this they actually did; and in addition to them they slew their mothers also. From this deed and from that which was done before this, which the women did when they killed Thoas and the rest, who were their own husbands, it has become a custom in Hellas that all deeds of great cruelty should be called "Lemnian deeds."

139. After the Pelasgians had killed their own sons and wives, the earth did not bear fruit for them, nor did their women or their cattle bring forth young as they did before; and being hard pressed by famine and by childlessness, they sent to Delphi to ask for a release from the evils which were upon them; and the Pythian prophetess bade them pay such penalty to the Athenians as the Athenians themselves should appoint. The Pelasgians came accordingly to Athens and professed that they were willing to pay the penalty for all the wrong which they had done: and the Athenians laid a couch in the fairest possible manner in the City Hall, and having set by it a table covered with all good things, they bade the Pelasgians deliver up to them their land in that condition. Then the Pelasgians answered and said: "When with a North Wind in one single day a ship shall accomplish the voyage from your land to ours, then we will deliver it up," feeling assured that it was impossible for this to happen, since Attica lies far away to the South of Lemnos.

140. Such were the events which happened then: and very many years later, after the Chersonese which is by the Hellespont had come to be under the Athenians, Miltiades the son of Kimon, when the Etesian Winds blew steadily, accomplished the voyage in a ship from Elaius in the Chersonese to Lemnos, and proclaimed to the Pelasgians that they should depart out of the island, reminding them of the oracle, which the Pelasgians had never expected would be accomplished for them. The men of Hephaistia accordingly obeyed; but those of Myrina, not admitting that the Chersonese was Attica, suffered a siege, until at last these also submitted. Thus it was that the Athenians and Miltiades took possession of Lemnos.






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