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Author
Herodotus

Translated into English by G. C. MACAULAY, M.A. Credits
Gutenberg Project

VOLUME ONE

Book I
Page 01
   Page 02   Page 03   Page 04   Page 05   Page 06   Page 07   Page 08   Page 09

Book II
Page 10
   Page 11   Page 12   Page 13   Page 14   Page 15

Book III
Book 16
   Page 17   Page 18   Page 19   Page 20

Book IV
Page 21
   Page 22   Page 23   Page 24   Page 25   Page 26


VOLUME TWO

Book V
Page 27
   Page 28   Page 29   Page 30

Book VI
Page 31
   Page 32   Page 33   Page 34

Book VII
Page 35
   Page 36   Page 37   Page 38   Page 39   Page 40   Page 41

Book VIII
Page 42
   Page 43   Page 44   Page 45

Book IX
Page 46
   Page 47   Page 48   Page 49
 

 

The History of Herodotus: Page 44

Volume Two - Book VIII

90. It happened also in the course of this confusion that some of the Phenicians, whose ships had been destroyed, came to the king and accused the Ionians, saying that by means of them their ships had been lost, and that they had been traitors to the cause. Now it so came about that not only the commanders of the Ionians did not lose their lives, but the Phenicians who accused them received a reward such as I shall tell. While these men were yet speaking thus, a Samothrakian ship charged against an Athenian ship: and as the Athenian ship was being sunk by it, an Eginetan ship came up against the Samothrakian vessel and ran it down. Then the Samothrakians, being skilful javelin- throwers, by hurling cleared off the fighting-men from the ship which had wrecked theirs and then embarked upon it and took possession of it. This event saved the Ionians from punishment; for when Xerxes saw that they had performed a great exploit, he turned to the Phenicians (for he was exceedingly vexed and disposed to find fault with all) and bade cut off their heads, in order that they might not, after having been cowards themselves, accuse others who were better men than they. For whensoever Xerxes (sitting just under the mountain opposite Salamis, which is called Aigaleos) saw any one of his own side display a deed of valour in the sea-fight, he inquired about him who had done it, and the scribes recorded the name of the ship's captain with that of his father and the city from whence he came. Moreover also Ariaramnes, a Persian who was present, shared[54] the fate of the Phenicians, being their friend. They[55] then proceeded to deal with the Phenicians.

91. In the meantime, as the Barbarians turned to flight and were sailing out towards Phaleron, the Eginetans waited for them in the passage and displayed memorable actions: for while the Athenians in the confused tumult were disabling both those ships which resisted and those which were fleeing, the Eginetans were destroying those which attempted to sail away; and whenever any escaped the Athenians, they went in full course and fell among the Eginetans.

92. Then there met one another the ship of Themistocles, which was pursuing a ship of the enemy, and that of Polycritos the son of Crios the Eginetan. This last had charged against a ship of Sidon, the same that had taken the Eginetan vessel which was keeping watch in advance at Skiathos,[56] and in which sailed Pytheas the son of Ischeno÷s, whom the Persians kept in their ship, all cut to pieces as he was, making a marvel of his valour. The Sidonian ship then was captured bearing with it this man as well as the Persians of whom I spoke, so that Pytheas thus came safe to Egina. Now when Polycritos looked at the Athenian vessel he recognised when he saw it the sign of the admiral's ship, and shouting out he addressed Themistocles with mockery about the accusation brought against the Eginetans of taking the side of the Medes,[57] and reproached him. This taunt Polycritos threw out against Themistocles after he had charged against the ship of Sidon. And meanwhile those Barbarians whose ships had escaped destruction fled and came to Phaleron to be under cover of the land-army.

93. In this sea-fight the Eginetans were of all the Hellenes the best reported of, and next to them the Athenians; and of the individual men the Eginetan Polycritos and the Athenians Eumenes of Anagyrus and Ameinias of Pallene, the man who had pursued after Artemisia. Now if he had known that Artemisia was sailing in this ship, he would not have ceased until either he had taken her or had been taken himself; for orders had been given to the Athenian captains, and moreover a prize was offered of ten thousand drachmas for the man who should take her alive; since they thought it intolerable that a woman should make an expedition against Athens. She then, as has been said before, had made her escape; and the others also, whose ships had escaped destruction, were at Phaleron.

94. As regards Adeimantos the commander of the Corinthians, the Athenians say that forthwith at the beginning when the ships were engaging in the fight, being struck with panic and terror he put up his sails and fled away; and the Corinthians, when they saw the admiral's ship fleeing, departed likewise: and after this, as the story goes, when they came in their flight opposite to the temple of Athene Skiras in the land of Salamis, there fell in with them by divine guidance a light vessel,[58] which no one was ever found to have sent, and which approached the Corinthians at a time when they knew nothing of that which was happening with the fleet. And by this it is conjectured[59] that the matter was of the Deity; for when they came near to the ships, the men in the light vessel said these words: "Adeimantos, thou hast turned thy ships away and hast set forth to flee, deserting the cause of the Hellenes, while they are in truth gaining a victory and getting the better of their foes as much as they desired." When they said this, since Adeimantos doubted of it, they spoke a second time and said that they might be taken as hostages and slain, if the Hellenes should prove not to be gaining the victory. Then he turned his ship back, he and the others with him, and they reached the camp when the work was finished. Such is the report spread by the Athenians against these: the Corinthians however do not allow this to be so, but hold that they were among the first in the sea- fight; and the rest of Hellas also bears witness on their side.

95. Aristeides moreover the son of Lysimachos, the Athenian, of whom I made mention also shortly before this as a very good man, he in this tumult which had arisen about Salamis did as follows:--taking with him a number of the hoplites of Athenian race who had been ranged along the shore of the land of Salamis, with them he disembarked on the island of Psyttaleia; and these slew all the Persians who were in this islet.

96. When the sea-fight had been broken off, the Hellenes towed in to Salamis so many of the wrecks as chanced to be still about there, and held themselves ready for another sea-fight, expecting that the king would yet make use of the ships which remained unhurt; but many of the wrecks were taken by the West Wind and borne to that strand in Attica which is called Colias; so as to fulfil[60] not only all that other oracle which was spoken about this sea-fight by Bakis and Musaios, but also especially, with reference to the wrecks cast up here, that which had been spoken in an oracle many years before these events by Lysistratos, an Athenian who uttered oracles, and which had not been observed by any of the Hellenes: "Then shall the Colian women with firewood of oars roast barley."[61] This was destined to come to pass after the king had marched away.

97. When Xerxes perceived the disaster which had come upon him, he feared lest some one of the Ionians should suggest to the Hellenes, or they should themselves form the idea, to sail to the Hellespont and break up the bridges; and so he might be cut off in Europe and run the risk of perishing utterly: therefore he began to consider about taking flight. He desired however that his intention should not be perceived either by the Hellenes or by those of his own side; therefore he attempted to construct a mole going across to Salamis, and he bound together Phenician merchant vessels in order that they might serve him both for a bridge and a wall, and made preparations for fighting as if he were going to have another battle by sea. Seeing him do so, all the rest made sure that he had got himself ready in earnest and intended to stay and fight; but Mardonios did not fail to perceive the true meaning of all these things, being by experience very well versed in his way of thinking.

98. While Xerxes was doing thus, he sent a messenger to the Persians, to announce the calamity which had come upon them. Now there is nothing mortal which accomplishes a journey with more speed than these messengers, so skilfully has this been invented by the Persians: for they say that according to the number of days of which the entire journey consists, so many horses and men are set at intervals, each man and horse appointed for a day's journey. These neither snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness of night prevents from accomplishing each one the task proposed to him, with the very utmost speed. The first then rides and delivers the message with which he is charged to the second, and the second to the third; and after that it goes through them handed from one to the other,[62] as in the torch-race among the Hellenes, which they perform for Hephaistos. This kind of running of their horses the Persians call /angareion/.

99. The first message then which came to Susa, announcing that Xerxes had Athens in his possession, so greatly rejoiced the Persians who had been left behind, that they strewed all the ways with myrtle boughs and offered incense perpetually, and themselves continued in sacrifices and feasting. The second message however, which came to them after this, so greatly disturbed them that they all tore their garments and gave themselves up to crying and lamentation without stint, laying the blame upon Mardonios: and this the Persians did not so much because they were grieved about the ships, as because they feared for Xerxes himself.

100. As regards the Persians this went on for all the time which intervened, until the coming of Xerxes himself caused them to cease: and Mardonios seeing that Xerxes was greatly troubled by reason of the sea-fight, and suspecting that he was meaning to take flight from Athens, considered with regard to himself that he would have to suffer punishment for having persuaded the king to make an expedition against Hellas, and that it was better for him to run the risk of either subduing Hellas or ending his own life honourably, placing his safety in suspense for a great end,[63] though his opinion was rather that he would subdue Hellas;--he reckoned up these things, I say, and addressed his speech to the king as follows: "Master, be not thou grieved, nor feel great trouble on account of this thing which has come to pass; for it is not upon a contest of timbers that all our fortunes depend, but of men and of horses: and none of these who suppose now that all has been achieved by them will attempt to disembark from the ships and stand against thee, nor will any in this mainland do so; but those who did stand against us paid the penalty. If therefore thou thinkest this good to do, let us forthwith attempt the Peloponnese, or if thou thinkest good to hold back, we may do that. Do not despond however, for there is no way of escape for the Hellenes to avoid being thy slaves, after they have first given an account of that which they did to thee both now and at former times. Thus it were best to do; but if thou hast indeed resolved to retire thyself and to withdraw thy army, I have another counsel to offer for that case too. Do not thou, O king, let the Persians be an object of laughter to the Hellenes; for none of thy affairs have suffered by means of the Persians, nor wilt thou be able to mention any place where we proved ourselves cowards: but if Phenicians or Egyptians or Cyprians or Kilikians proved themselves cowards, the calamity which followed does not belong to the Persians in any way. Now therefore, since it is not the Persians who are guilty towards thee, follow my counsel. If thou hast determined not to remain here, retire thou to thine own abode, taking with thee the main body of the army, and it must then be for me to deliver over to thee Hellas reduced to subjection, choosing for this purpose thirty myriads[64] from the army."

101. Hearing this Xerxes was rejoiced and delighted so far as he might be after his misfortunes,[65] and to Mardonios he said that when he had taken counsel he would reply and say which of these two things he would do. So when he was taking counsel with those of the Persians who were called to be his advisers,[66] it seemed good to him to send for Artemisia also to give him counsel, because at the former time she alone had showed herself to have perception of that which ought to be done. So when Artemisia had come, Xerxes removed from him all the rest, both the Persian councillors and also the spearmen of the guard and spoke to her thus: "Mardonios bids me stay here and make an attempt on the Peloponnese, saying that the Persians and the land- army are not guilty of any share in my calamity, and that they would gladly give me proof of this. He bids me therefore either do this or, if not, he desires himself to choose thirty myriads from the army and to deliver over to me Hellas reduced to subjection; and he bids me withdraw with the rest of the army to my own abode. Do thou therefore, as thou didst well advise about the sea-fight which was fought, urging that we should not bring it on, so also now advise me which of these things I shall do, that I may succeed in determining well."

102. He thus consulted her, and she spoke these words: "O king, it is hard for me to succeed in saying the best things when one asks me for counsel; yet it seems good to me at the present that thou shouldest retire back and leave Mardonios here, if he desires it and undertakes to do this, together with those whom he desires to have: for on the one hand if he subdue those whom he says that he desires to subdue, and if those matters succeed well which he has in mind when he thus speaks, the deed will after all be thine, master, seeing that thy slaves achieved it: and on the other hand if the opposite shall come to pass of that which Mardonios intends, it will be no great misfortune, seeing that thou wilt thyself remain safe, and also the power in those parts[67] which concerns thy house:[68] for if thou shalt remain safe with thy house, many contests many times over repeated will the Hellenes have to pass through for their own existence.[69] Of Mardonios however, if he suffer any disaster, no account will be made; and if the Hellenes conquer they gain a victory which is no victory, having destroyed one who is but thy slave. Thou however wilt retire having done that for which thou didst make thy march, that is to say, having delivered Athens to the fire."

103. With this advice Xerxes was greatly delighted, since she succeeded in saying that very thing which he himself was meaning to do: for not even if all the men and all the women in the world had been counselling him to remain, would he have done so, as I think, so much had he been struck with terror. He commended Artemisia therefore and sent her away to conduct his sons to Ephesos, for there were certain bastard sons of his which accompanied him.

104. With these sons he sent Hermotimos to have charge of them, who was by race of Pedasa and was in the estimation of the king second to none of the eunuchs. [Now the Pedasians dwell above Halicarnassos, and at this Pedasa a thing happens as follows:--whenever to the whole number of those who dwell about this city some trouble is about to come within a certain time, then the priestess of Athene in that place gets a long beard; and this has happened to them twice before now.

105. Of these Pedasians was Hermotimos.][70] And this man of all persons whom we know up to this time obtained the greatest revenge for a wrong done to him. For he had been captured by enemies and was being sold, and Panionios a man of Chios bought him, one who had set himself to gain his livelihood by the most impious practices; for whenever he obtained boys who possessed some beauty, he would make eunuchs of them, and then taking them to Sardis or Ephesos sold them for large sums of money, since with the Barbarians eunuchs are held to be of more value for all matters of trust than those who are not eunuchs. Panionios then, I say, made eunuchs of many others, since by this he got his livelihood, and also of this man about whom I speak: and Hermotimos, being not in everything unfortunate, was sent from Sardis to the king with other gifts, and as time went on he came to be honoured more than all the other eunuchs in the sight of Xerxes.

106. And when the king, being at that time in Sardis, was setting the Persian army in motion to march against Athens, then Hermotimos, having gone down for some business to that part of Mysia which the Chians occupy and which is called Atarneus, found there Panionios: and having recognised him he spoke to him many friendly words, first recounting to him all the good things which he had by his means, and next making promises in return for this, and saying how many good things he would do for him, if he would bring his household and dwell in that land; so that Panionios gladly accepting his proposals brought his children and his wife. Then, when he had caught him together with his whole house, Hermotimos spoke as follows: "O thou, who of all men that ever lived up to this time didst gain thy substance by the most impious deeds, what evil did either I myself or any of my forefathers do either to thee or to any of thine, that thou didst make me to be that which is nought instead of a man? Didst thou suppose that thou wouldest escape the notice of the gods for such things as then thou didst devise? They however following the rule of justice delivered[71] thee into my hands, since thou hadst done impious deeds; so that thou shalt not have reason to find fault with the penalty which shall be inflicted upon thee by me." When he had thus reproached him, the man's sons were brought into his presence and Panionios was compelled to make eunuchs of his own sons, who were four in number, and being compelled he did so; and then when he had so done, the sons were compelled to do the same thing to him. Thus vengeance by the hands of Hermotimos[72] overtook Panionios.

107. When Xerxes had entrusted his sons to Artemisia to carry them back to Ephesos, he called Mardonios and bade him choose of the army whom he would, and make his deeds, if possible, correspond to his words. During this day then things went so far; and in the night on the command of the king the leaders of the fleet began to withdraw their ships from Phaleron to the Hellespont, as quickly as they might each one, to guard the bridges for the king to pass over. And when the Barbarians were near Zoster as they sailed, then seeing the small points of rock which stretch out to sea from this part of the mainland, they thought that these were ships and fled for a good distance. In time however, perceiving that they were not ships but points of rock, they assembled together again and continued on their voyage.

108. When day dawned, the Hellenes, seeing that the land-army was staying still in its place, supposed that the ships also were about Phaleron; and thinking that they would fight another sea-battle, they made preparations to repel them. When however they were informed that the ships had departed, forthwith upon this they thought it good to pursue after them. They pursued therefore as far as Andros, but did not get a sight of the fleet of Xerxes; and when they had come to Andros, they deliberated what they should do. Themistocles then declared as his opinion that they should take their course through the islands and pursue after the ships, and afterwards sail straight to the Hellespont to break up the bridges; but Eurybiades expressed the opposite opinion to this, saying that if they should break up the floating-bridges, they would therein do[73] the greatest possible evil to Hellas: for if the Persian should be cut off and compelled to remain in Europe, he would endeavour not to remain still, since if he remained still, neither could any of his affairs go forward, nor would any way of returning home appear; but his army would perish of hunger: whereas if he made the attempt and persevered in it, all Europe might be brought over to him, city by city and nation by nation, the inhabitants being either conquered[74] or surrendering on terms before they were conquered: moreover they would have for food the crops of the Hellenes which grew year by year. He thought however that conquered in the sea-fight the Persian would not stay in Europe, and therefore he might be allowed to flee until in his flight he came to his own land. Then after that they might begin the contest for the land which belonged to the Persian. To this opinion the commanders of the other Peloponnesians adhered also.

109. When Themistocles perceived that he would not be able to persuade them, or at least the greater number of them, to sail to the Hellespont, he changed his counsel[75] and turning to the Athenians (for these were grieved most at the escape of the enemy and were anxious to sail to the Hellespont even by themselves alone,[76] if the others were not willing) to them he spoke as follows: "I myself also have been present before now on many occasions, and have heard of many more, on which something of this kind came to pass, namely that men who were forced into great straits, after they had been defeated fought again and repaired their former disaster: and as for us, since we have won as a prize from fortune the existence of ourselves and of Hellas by repelling from our land so great a cloud of men, let us not pursue enemies who flee from us: for of these things not we were the doors, but the gods and heroes, who grudged that one man should become king of both Asia and of Europe, and he a man unholy and presumptuous, one who made no difference between things sacred and things profane,[77] burning and casting down the images of the gods, and who also scourged the Sea and let down into it fetters. But as things are at present, it is well that we should now remain in Hellas and look after ourselves and our households; and let each man repair his house, and have a care for sowing his land, after he has completely driven away the Barbarian: and then at the beginning of the spring let us sail down towards the Hellespont and Ionia." Thus he spoke, intending to lay up for himself a store of gratitude with the Persian, in order that if after all any evil should come upon him at the hands of the Athenians, he might have a place of refuge: and this was in fact that which came to pass.

110. Themistocles then speaking thus endeavoured to deceive them, and the Athenians followed his advice: for he had had the reputation even in former times of being a man of ability[78] and he had now proved himself to be in truth both able and of good judgment; therefore they were ready in every way to follow his advice when he spoke. So when these had been persuaded by him, forthwith after this Themistocles sent men with a vessel, whom he trusted to keep silence, to whatever test they might be brought, of that which he himself charged them to tell the king; and of them Sikinnos his servant again was one. When these came to Attica, the rest stayed behind in the ship, while Sikinnos went up to Xerxes and spoke these words: "Themistocles the son of Neocles sent me, who is commander of the Athenians, and of all the allies the best and ablest man, to tell thee that Themistocles the Athenian, desiring to be of service to thee, held back the Hellenes when they were desirous to pursue after thy ships and to destroy the bridges on the Hellespont. Now therefore thou mayest make thy way home quite undisturbed." They having signified this sailed away again.

111. The Hellenes meanwhile, having resolved not to pursue after the ships of the Barbarians further, nor to sail to the Hellespont to break up the passage, were investing Andros intending to take it: for the Andrians were the first of the islanders who, being asked by Themistocles for money, refused to give it: and when Themistocles made proposals to them and said that the Athenians had come having on their side two great deities, Persuasion and Compulsion, and therefore they must by all means give them money, they replied to this that not without reason, as it now appeared, was Athens great and prosperous, since the Athenians were well supplied with serviceable deities; but as for the Andrians, they were poor,[79] having in this respect attained to the greatest eminence, and there were two unprofitable deities which never left their island but always remained attached to the place, Poverty, namely, and Helplessness: and the Andrians being possessed of these deities would not give money; for never could the power of the Athenians get the better of their inability.[80]

112. These, I say, having thus made answer and having refused to give the money, were being besieged: and Themistocles not ceasing in his desire for gain sent threatening messages to the other islands and asked them for money by the same envoys, employing those whom he had before sent to the king;[81] and he said that if they did not give that which was demanded of them, he would bring the fleet of the Hellenes against them to besiege and take them. Thus saying he collected great sums of money from the Carystians and the Parians, who being informed how Andros was being besieged, because it had taken the side of the Medes, and how Themistocles was held in more regard than any of the other commanders, sent money for fear of this. Whether any others of the islanders also gave money I am not able to say, but I think that some others gave and not these alone. Yet to the Carystians at least there was no respite from the evil on this account, but the Parians escaped the attack, because they propitiated Themistocles with money. Thus Themistocles with Andros as his starting-point was acquiring sums of money for himself from the men of the islands without the knowledge of the other commanders.

113. Xerxes meanwhile with his army stayed for a few days after the sea-fight, and then they all began to march forth towards Bťotia by the same way by which they had come: for Mardonios thought both that it was well for him to escort the king on his way, and also that it was now too late in the year to carry on the war; it was better, he thought, to winter in Thessaly and then at the beginning of spring to attempt the Peloponnese. When he came to Thessaly, then Mardonios chose out for himself first all those Persians who are called "Immortals," except only their commander Hydarnes (for Hydarnes said that he would not be left behind by the king), and after them of the other Persians those who wore cuirasses, and the body of a thousand horse: also the Medes, Sacans, Bactrians and Indians, foot and horsemen both.[82] These nations he chose in the mass,[83] but from the other allies he selected by few at a time, choosing whose who had fine appearance of those of whom he knew that they had done good service. From the Persians he chose more than from any other single nation, and these wore collars of twisted metal and bracelets; and after them came the Medes, who in fact were not inferior in number to the Persians, but only in bodily strength. The result was that there were thirty myriads in all, including cavalry.

114. During this time, while Mardonios was selecting his army and Xerxes was in Thessaly, there had come an oracle from Delphi to the Lacedemonians, bidding them ask satisfaction from Xerxes for the murder of Leonidas and accept that which should be given by him. The Spartans therefore sent a herald as quickly as possible, who having found the whole army still in Thessaly came into the presence of Xerxes and spoke these words: "O king of the Medes, the Lacedemonians and the sons of Heracles of Sparta demand of thee satisfaction for murder, because thou didst kill their king, fighting in defence of Hellas." He laughed and then kept silence some time, and after that pointing to Mardonios, who happened to be standing by him, he said: "Then Mardonios here shall give them satisfaction, such as is fitting for them to have."

115. The herald accordingly accepted the utterance and departed; and Xerxes leaving Mardonios in Thessaly went on himself in haste to the Hellespont and arrived at the passage where the crossing was in five-and-thirty days, bringing back next to nothing, as one may say,[84] of his army: and whithersoever they came on the march and to whatever nation, they seized the crops of that people and used them for provisions; and if they found no crops, then they took the grass which was growing up from the earth, and stripped off the bark from the trees and plucked down the leaves and devoured them, alike of the cultivated trees and of those growing wild; and they left nothing behind them: thus they did by reason of famine. Then plague too seized upon the army and dysentery, which destroyed them by the way, and some of them also who were sick the king left behind, laying charge upon the cities where at the time he chanced to be in his march, to take care of them and support them: of these he left some in Thessaly, and some at Siris in Paionia, and some in Macedonia. In these parts too he had left behind him the sacred chariot of Zeus, when he was marching against Hellas; but on his return he did not receive it back: for the Paionians had given it to the Thracians, and when Xerxes asked for it again, they said that the mares while at pasture had been carried off by the Thracians of the upper country, who dwelt about the source of the Strymon.

116. Here also a Thracian, the king of the Bisaltians and of the Crestonian land, did a deed of surpassing horror; for he had said that he would not himself be subject to Xerxes with his own will and had gone away up to Mount Rhodope, and also he had forbidden his sons to go on the march against Hellas. They however, either because they cared not for his command, or else because a desire came upon them to see the war, went on the march with the Persian: and when they returned all unhurt, being six in number, their father plucked out their eyes for this cause.

117. They then received this reward: and as to the Persians, when passing on from Thrace they came to the passage, they crossed over the Hellespont in haste to Abydos by means of the ships, for they did not find the floating-bridges still stretched across but broken up by a storm. While staying there for a time they had distributed to them an allowance of food more abundant than they had had by the way, and from satisfying their hunger without restraint and also from the changes of water there died many of those in the army who had remained safe till then. The rest arrived with Xerxes at Sardis.

118. There is also another story reported as follows, namely that when Xerxes on his march away from Athens came to E´on on the Strymon, from that point he did not continue further to make marches by road, but delivered his army to Hydarnes to lead back to the Hellespont, while he himself embarked in a Phenician ship and set forth for Asia; and as he sailed he was seized by a wind from the Strymon,[85] violent and raising great waves; and since he was tossed by the storm more and more, the ship being heavily laden (for there were upon the deck great numbers of Persians, those namely who went with Xerxes), the king upon that falling into fear shouted aloud and asked the pilot whether there were for them any means of safety. He said: "Master, there are none, unless some way be found of freeing ourselves of the excessive number of passengers." Then it is said that Xerxes, when he heard this, spoke thus: "Persians, now let each one of you show that he has care for the king; for my safety, as it seems, depends upon you." He, they say, thus spoke, and they made obeisance to him and leapt out into the sea; and so the ship being lightened came safe to Asia. As soon as they had landed Xerxes, they say, first presented the pilot with a wreath of gold, because he had saved the life of the king, and then cut off his head, because he had caused the death of many of the Persians.

119. This other story, I say, is reported about the return of Xerxes, but I for my part can by no means believe it, either in other respects or as regards this which is said to have happened to the Persians; for if this which I have related had in truth been said by the pilot to Xerxes, not one person's opinion in ten thousand will differ from mine that the king would have done some such thing as this, that is to say, he would have caused those who were upon the deck to go down below into the hold, seeing that they were Persians of the highest rank among the Persians; and of the rowers, who were Phenicians, he would have thrown out into the sea a number equal to the number of those. In fact however, as I have said before, he made his return to Asia together with the rest of the army by road.

120. And this also which follows is a strong witness that it was so; for Xerxes is known to have come to Abdera on his way back, and to have made with them a guest-friendship and presented them with a Persian sword of gold and a gold-spangled tiara: and as the men of Abdera themselves say (though I for my part can by no means believe it), he loosed his girdle for the first time during his flight back from Athens, considering himself to be in security. Now Abdera is situated further towards the Hellespont than the river Strymon and E´on, from which place the story says that he embarked in the ship.


 

 

 

 

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