The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of Greece, Volume 05 (of 12)

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Title: History of Greece, Volume 05 (of 12)

Author: George Grote

Release date: May 11, 2020 [eBook #62098]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Henry Flower, Ramon Pajares Box and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)


Transcriber's note

Table of Contents

Book cover

[p. i]






[p. iii]




B. C. 490-421.

I had reckoned upon carrying my readers in these two volumes down to the commencement of the great Athenian expedition against Syracuse.

But the narration of events, now that we are under the positive guidance of Thucydidês,—coupled with the exposition of some points on which I differ from the views generally taken by my predecessors,— have occupied greater space than I had foreseen: and I have been obliged to enlarge my Sixth Volume beyond the usual size, in order to arrive even at the Peace of Nikias.

The interval of disturbance and partial hostility, which ensued between that peace and the Athenian expedition, will therefore be reserved for the beginning of my Seventh Volume, the publication of which will not be long delayed.

G. G.

Dec. 1848.

[p. v]






Resolutions of Darius to invade Greece a second time. His death. — Succeeded by his son Xerxes. — Revolt and reconquest of Egypt by the Persians. — Indifference of Xerxes to the invasion of Greece — persons who advised and instigated him — persuasions which they employed — prophecies produced by Onomakritus. — Xerxes resolves to invade Greece. — Historical manner and conception of Herodotus. — Xerxes announces his project to an assembly of Persian counsellors — Mardonius and Artabanus, the evil and good genius. — Xerxes is induced by Artabanus to renounce his project — his repeated dreams — divine command to invade Greece. — Religious conception of the sequences of history — common both to Persians and Greeks. — Vast preparations of Xerxes — March of Xerxes from the interior of Asia — collection of the invading army at Sardis — his numerous fleet and large magazines of provision beforehand. — He throws a bridge of boats across the Hellespont. — The bridge is destroyed by a storm — Wrath of Xerxes — he puts to death the engineers and punishes the Hellespont. — Remarks on this story of the punishment inflicted on the Hellespont: there is no sufficient reason for disbelieving its reality. — Reconstruction of the bridge — description of it in detail. — Xerxes cuts a ship-canal across the isthmus of Mount Athos. — Superior intelligence of the Phenicians. — Employment of the lash over the workmen engaged on the canal — impression made thereby on the Greeks. — Bridge of boats thrown across the Strymon. — March of Xerxes from Sardis — disposition of his army. — Story of the rich Kappadokian Pythius — his son put to death by order of Xerxes. — March to Abydos — respect shown to Ilium by Xerxes. — Xerxes and his army cross over the Hellespontine bridges. — March to Doriskus in Thrace, near the mouth of the Hebrus — his fleet joins him here. — Review and muster on the plain of Doriskus — immense variety of the nations brought together. — Numbering of the army — method employed. — Immense and incredible totals brought out by Herodotus. — Comments[p. vi] upon the evidence of Herodotus and upon himself as witness and judge. — Other testimonies about the number of the Persians. — Xerxes passes in review the land-force and the fleet at Doriskus — his conversation with the Spartan king Demaratus. — March of Xerxes from Doriskus westward along Thrace. — Contributions levied on the Grecian towns on the coast of Thrace — particularly Thasus and Abdêra. — Xerxes crosses the Strymon — marches to Akanthus — zeal of the Akanthians in regard to the canal of Athos. — March of Xerxes to Therma — his fleet join him in the Thermaic Gulf. — Favorable prospects of the invasion — zeal of the Macedonian prince to assist Xerxes.




Violent proceedings and death of Kleomenês king of Sparta. — Complaint of the Æginetans at Sparta against Kleomenês and Leotychidês, on the subject of the hostages which those two kings had taken from Ægina. — The Spartans deliver Leotychidês to the Æginetans, who require him to go with them to Athens, to get back the hostages. — Refusal of the Athenians to give up the hostages — reprisals of the Æginetans. — The Æginetan Nikodromus lays a scheme for a democratical revolution in Ægina, in concert with Athens — the movement fails. — Treatment of the defeated conspirators — sacrilege. — The Athenians land a force in Ægina — war which ensues. — Effect of this war in inducing the Athenians to enlarge their military force. — Themistoklês and Aristeidês, the chief men at Athens — intense rivalry between them. — Banishment of the latter by ostracism. — Conversion of Athens from a land power into a naval power proposed and urged by Themistoklês. — Views and long-sighted calculations of Themistoklês — he was at this time more essential to his country than Aristeidês. — Fleet of Athens — the salvation of Greece as well as of herself. — Valuable fund new first available to Athens from the silver mines of Laurium in Attica. — Themistoklês prevails upon the Athenian people to forego the distribution of this fund, and employ it in building an increased number of ships. — Preparations of Xerxes — known beforehand in Greece. — Heralds from Persia to demand earth and water from the Grecian cities — many of them comply and submit. — Pan-Hellenic congress convened jointly by Athens and Sparta at the Isthmus of Corinth. — Important effect on Grecian mind. — Effects of the congress in healing feuds among the different Greeks — especially between Athens and Ægina. — Alarm and mistrust prevalent throughout Greece. — Terror conveyed in the reply of the Delphian oracle to the Athenian envoys. — Sentence of the oracle frightful, yet obscure: efforts of the Athenians to interpret it: ingenuity and success of Themistoklês. — Great and genuine Pan-Hellenic patriotism of the Athenians — strongly attested by Herodotus, as his own judgment. — Unwillingness, or inability, on the part of a large proportion of Greeks, to resist the Persians. — Ambiguous neutrality of Argos. — Different stories current in Greece about Argos — opinion of Herodotus. — Refusal or equivocation of the Kretans and Korkyræans. — Mission to Gelon at Syracuse — his reply. — Grecian army sent into Thessaly, to defend[p. vii] the defile of Tempê against Xerxes. — On arriving, they find that it cannot be successfully held against him, and retire. — Consequences of this retreat — the Thessalians, and nearly all Hellas north of Kithæron, either submit to Xerxes or waver.




Engagement taken by the Confederate Greeks against such Greeks as joined the Persians. — Resolution taken to defend Thermopylæ as well as the adjoining strait of Eubœa. — Pass of Thermopylæ and its neighborhood. — The Greeks take post at Thermopylæ — Leonidas, king of Sparta, conducts the force thither — the combined fleet under Eurybiadês occupy the Eubœan strait. — Numbers and composition of the force of Leonidas. — Phocians and Lokrians. — Olympian and Karneian festivals — the Greeks could not bring themselves to postpone these, even under such imminent danger. — Path over Mount Œta by which Thermopylæ might be evaded — Leonidas first informed of it on reaching the spot — the Phocians engage to defend it. — Numbers and composition of the Greek fleet at Artemisium. — Three triremes of the Grecian fleet sent forward as scouts — their first encounter with the Persian fleet. — Capture of these three triremes — panic of the general Grecian fleet, who abandon Artemisium, and retire to Chalkis. — Imminent danger of the Greek scheme of defence — they are rescued by a terrific storm. — Movements of Xerxes from Therma. — He arrives with his army in the Malian territory, close upon the pass of Thermopylæ. — Advance of the Persian fleet — it is overtaken by a destructive storm and hurricane on the coast of Magnesia. — Immense damage inflicted upon it by the storm. — Encouragement occasioned to the Greek fleet — they return from Chalkis to Artemisium. — Delay of Xerxes with his land-force near Trachis. — Impressions of Xerxes about the defenders at Thermopylæ — conversation with Demaratus, whom he will not believe. — Doubts about the motives ascribed by Herodotus to Xerxes. — First attack upon Thermopylæ — made by the Median troops — repulsed. — Repeated attacks, by the best troops in the Persian army, all repulsed with slaughter. — Embarrassment of Xerxes — he is relieved from it by hearing of the path over the mountain. — A Persian detachment under Hydarnês march over the mountain-path, driving away the Phocian guard. — They arrive in the rear of Leonidas. — Debate among the defenders of Thermopylæ, when it became known that the Persians were approaching their rear. — Resolution of Leonidas to stay and die in the pass. — The three hundred Spartans, together with the Thespians, remain with Leonidas: the rest of the detachment retire. — Doubts about the Theban contingent. — Last exploits and death of Leonidas and his band. — Individuals among them distinguished — scorn exhibited towards Aristodêmus who did not fight. — Fate of the Theban contingent. — Impressions of Xerxes after the combat — advice given to him by Demaratus — he rejects it. — Proceedings of the two fleets, at Artemisium and Aphetæ — alarm among the Grecian fleet — Themistoklês determines them to stay and fight, at the urgent instance of the Eubœans. — Important service thus rendered by Themistoklês. — Confident hopes of the Persian fleet — they detach a squadron to sail round Eubœa, and[p. viii] take the Greeks in the rear. — Sea-fight of Artemisium — advantage gained by the Greeks. — Second storm — increased damage to the Persian fleet, and ruin to the detachment sent round Eubœa. — Renewed sea-fight off Artemisium — indecisive — but the Greek fleet resolves to retreat. — They retreat immediately on hearing of the disaster at Thermopylæ — they go to Salamis. — Advance of the Persian fleet to Eubœa — manœuvres ascribed to Xerxes in respect of the dead bodies at Thermopylæ — Numbers of dead on both sides. — Subsequent commemorating inscriptions. — Impressive epigram of Simonides.




Surprise and terror of the Greeks immediately after the battle of Thermopylæ. — No ulterior plan of defence formed — no new position to be found, capable of defending Attica — the Peloponnesians crowd to fortify the Isthmus of Corinth. — Hopeless situation of the Athenians — no measures yet taken to remove their families from Attica. — The Athenians abandon Attica, removing their families and property to Salamis, Ægina, Trœzen, etc. — Unavoidable hurry and sufferings of the emigrants. — Energy of the Athenians, and unanimity of the leaders — Themistoklês proposes the restoration of Aristeidês from exile. — Numbers and composition of the combined Greek fleet at Salamis. — Xerxes occupies Athens and Attica — the Persian fleet enters the road of Phalêrum. — The Persian army ravage the Phocian townships in their march from Thermopylæ to Attica — pillage of the temple at Abæ. — Persian division detached against the temple of Delphi. — Failure, flight, and ruin of the detachment. — Xerxes with the Peisistratids in Athens — the acropolis holds out — is taken and sacked. — Atoning visit of the Peisistratids to the ruined acropolis. — Xerxes reviews his fleet at Phalêrum — debate about the policy of fighting a naval battle at Salamis — prudent counsel of Queen Artemisia. — Resolution taken by Xerxes to fight at Salamis. — Dissensions among the Greeks in the fleet at Salamis. Resolution taken to remove the fleet to the Isthmus. — Ruinous consequences, if that resolution had been executed. — Themistoklês opposes the resolution, persuades Eurybiadês, and prevails upon him to reopen the debate. — Synod of Grecian chiefs again convened — Themistoklês tries to get the former resolution rescinded — the Peloponnesians adhere to it — angry words. — Menace of Themistoklês to retire with the Athenian squadron, unless a battle were to be fought at Salamis — Eurybiadês takes upon him to adopt this measure. — The Peloponnesian chiefs, silenced for the moment, afterwards refuse obedience. Third synod convened — renewed disputes; the majority opposed to Themistoklês and determined on retreating to the Isthmus. — Desperate stratagem of Themistoklês — he sends a private message across to Xerxes, persuading him to surround the Greek fleet in the night, and thus render retirement impossible. — Impatient haste of Xerxes to prevent any of the Greeks from escaping — his fleet incloses the Greeks during the night. — Aristeidês comes in the night to the Greek fleet from Ægina — informs the chiefs that they are inclosed by the Persians, and that escape has become impossible. — Position of Xerxes — order of the fleets, and plan of at[p. ix]tack. — Battle of Salamis — confusion and complete defeat of the Persians. — Distinguished gallantry of Queen Artemisia. — Expectations of the Greeks that the conflict would be renewed — fears of Xerxes for his own personal safety — he sends his fleet away to Asia. — Xerxes resolves to go back himself to Asia — advice and recommendation of Mardonius, who is left behind, as general, to finish the conquest of Greece. — The Greeks pursue the Persian fleet as far as Andros — second stratagem of Themistoklês by secret message to Xerxes. — Themistoklês with the fleet — levying money in the Cyclades. — Xerxes evacuates Attica and returns home by land, with the larger portion of his army. — Retreating march of Xerxes to the Hellespont — sufferings of his troops. He finds the bridge broken, and crosses the strait on shipboard into Asia. — Joy of the Greeks — distribution of honors and prizes. — Honors rendered to Themistoklês.




The Persian fleet, after retiring from Greece, winters at Kymê, and collects in the spring at Samos. — The Greek fleet assembles in the spring at Ægina. — General adherence of the medizing Greeks to Mardonius — revolt of Potidæa — which is besieged in vain by Artabazus. — Mardonius, after wintering in Thessaly, resumes operations in the spring in Bœotia. He consults the Bœotian oracles. — Mardonius sends Alexander of Macedon to Athens, to offer the most honorable terms of peace. — Temptation to Athens to accept this offer — fear of the Lacedæmonians that she would accept it — Lacedæmonian envoys sent to Athens to prevent it. — Resolute reply of the Athenians, and determination to carry on the war, in spite of great present suffering. — Selfish indifference displayed by Sparta and the Peloponnesians towards Athens. — The Spartans, having fortified the Isthmus, leave Attica undefended: Mardonius occupies Athens a second time. — Second migration of the Athenians to Salamis — their bitter disappointment and anger against Sparta for deserting them. — Second offer of Mardonius to the Athenians — again refused — intense resolution which they display. — Remonstrance sent by the Athenians to Sparta — ungenerous slackness of the Spartans. — Large Spartan force collected under Pausanias at the Isthmus. — Mardonius, after ravaging Attica, retires into Bœotia. — Discouragement in the army of Mardonius generally: Thersander of Orchomenus at the banquet: jealousies between Mardonius and Artabazus, the second in command — zeal and eagerness of the Thebans. — Numbers of the Greeks collected under Pausanias. — March of Pausanias over Kithæron into Bœotia. — He is attacked by the Persian cavalry under Masistius, and much harassed — superior efficiency of the Athenians against cavalry — Masistius is slain. — The Greeks quit the protection of the mountain-grounds and take up a position nearer to Platæa, along the Asôpus. — Mardonius alters his position, and posts himself nearly opposite to the Greeks on the other side of the Asôpus. — Unwillingness of both armies to begin the attack — the prophets on both sides discourage first aggression. — Mardonius annoys the Greeks with his cavalry, and cuts off their supplies in the rear. — Impatience of Mardonius — in spite of the reluctance of Artabazus and other[p. x] officers he determines on a general attack: he tries to show that the prophecies are favorable to him. — His intention communicated to the Athenians in the night by Alexander of Macedon. — Pausanias changes places in the line between the Spartans and Athenians. — Mardonius again attacks them with his cavalry. — In consequence of the annoyance of the Persian cavalry, Pausanias determines to move in the night into the Island. — Confusion of the Grecian army in executing this night-movement. — Refusal of the Spartan lochage Amompharetus to obey the order for the night-march. — Mistrust of Pausanias and the Spartans, exhibited by the Athenians. — Pausanias moves without Amompharetus, who speedily follows him. — Astonishment of Mardonius on discovering that the Greeks had retreated during the night — he pursues and attacks them with disorderly impatience. — Battle of Platæa. — Great personal bravery of the Persians — they are totally defeated, and Mardonius slain. — The Athenians on the left wing defeat the Thebans. — Artabazus, with a large Persian corps, abandons the contest and retires out of Greece — the rest of the Persian army take up their position in the fortified camp. — Small proportion of the armies on each side which really fought. — The Greeks attack and carry the fortified camp. — Loss on both sides. — Funeral obsequies by the Greeks — monuments — dead body of Mardonius — distribution of booty. — Pausanias summons Thebes, requiring the surrender of the leaders — these men give themselves up, and are put to death. — Honors and distinctions among the Greek warriors. — Reverential tribute to Platæa, as the scene of the victory, and to the Platæans: solemnities decreed to be periodically celebrated by the latter, in honor of the slain. — Permanent Grecian confederacy decreed by the victors, to hold meetings at Platæa. — Proceedings of the Grecian fleet: it moves to the rescue of Samos from the Persians. — The Persian fleet abandons Samos and retires to Mykalê in Ionia. — Mistrust of the fidelity of the Ionians entertained by the Persian generals. — The Greeks land to attack the Persians ashore — revelation of the victory of Platæa, gained by their countrymen on the same morning, springs up in their minds before the battle. — Battle of Mykalê — revolt of the Ionians in the Persian camp — complete defeat of the Persians. — Retirement of the defeated Persian army to Sardis. — Reluctance of the Spartans to adopt the continental Ionians into their alliance — proposition to transport them across the Ægean into Western Greece — rejected by the Athenians. — The Grecian fleet sails to the Hellespont: the Spartans return home, but the Athenians remain to attack the Chersonese. — Siege of Sestos — antipathy of the Chersonesites against Artayktês. — Capture of Sestos — crucifixion of Artayktês. — Return of the fleet to Athens.




Agrigentum and Gela superior to Syracuse before 500 B. C. — Phalaris despot of Agrigentum. — Syracuse in 500 B. C. — oligarchical government under the Gamori, or privileged descendants of the original proprietary colonists — the Demos — the Kyllyrii, or Serfs. — Early governments of[p. xi] the Greek cities in Sicily — original oligarchies subverted in many places by despots — attempted colony of the Spartan prince Dorieus. — Kleander despot of Gela, B. C. about 500. — First rise of Gelo and Ænesidêmus in his service. Têlinês, the first marked ancestor of Gelo. — Gelo — in high command among the mercenaries of Hippokratês despot of Gela. — Fate of the Ionic town of Zanklê, afterwards Messina — it is seized by the Samians — conduct of Hippokratês. — Hippokratês is victorious over the Syracusans — takes Kamarina — dies. — Gelo becomes in his place despot of Gela. — Greatness of Gelo — he gets possession of Syracuse, and transfers the seat of his power from Gela to Syracuse. — Conquest of various Sicilian towns by Gelo — he transports the oligarchy to Syracuse and sells the Demos for slaves. — Increased power and population of Syracuse under Gelo — it becomes the first city in Sicily. — Power of Gelo when the envoys from Sparta and Athens came to entreat his aid, B. C. 481. — Plans of Gelo for strengthening Sicilian Hellenism against the barbaric interests in the islands. — Spartan and Athenian envoys apply to Gelo — his answer. — Carthaginian invasion of Sicily, simultaneous with the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. — The Carthaginian army under Hamilkar besiege Himera — battle of Himera — complete victory gained over them by Gelo. — Supremacy of Gelo in Sicily — he grants peace to the Carthaginians. — Conduct of Gelo towards the confederate Greeks who were contending against Xerxes. — Number of prisoners taken at the battle of Himera and distributed among the Carthaginian cities — their prosperity, especially that of Agrigentum. — Death and obsequies of Gelo. — Number of new citizens whom Gelo had introduced at Syracuse. — Hiero, brother and successor of Gelo at Syracuse — jealous of his brother Polyzêlus — harsh as a ruler — quarrel between Hiero of Syracuse and Thêro of Agrigentum — appeased by the poet Simonides. — Severe treatment of the inhabitants of Himera by Thêro. — Power and exploits of Hiero — against the Carthaginians and Tyrrhenians — against Anaxilaus — he founds the city of Ætna — new wholesale transplantation of inhabitants — compliments of Pindar. — Death of Anaxilaus of Rhegium, and of Thêro of Agrigentum. Thrasydæus, son of Thêro, rules Agrigentum and Himera. His cruel government — he is defeated by Hiero and expelled. — Great power of Hiero, after the defeat of Thrasydæus — his death. — Thrasybulus, brother and successor of Hiero — disputes among the members of the Gelonian family. — Cruelties and unpopularity of Thrasybulus — mutiny against him at Syracuse. — Expulsion of Thrasybulus, and extinction of the Gelonian dynasty. — Popular governments established in all the Sicilian cities — confusion and disputes arising out of the number of new citizens and mercenaries domiciliated by the Gelonian princes. — Internal dissensions and combat in Syracuse. — Defeat of the Gelonians — Syracuse made into one popular government, one city, one fortification. — Disorders in other Sicilian cities, arising from the return of exiles who had been dispossessed under the Gelonian dynasty. Katana and Ætna. — General congress and compromise — the exiles are provided for — Kamarina again restored as a separate autonomous city. — Reactionary feelings against the previous despotism, and in favor of popular government, at Syracuse and in the other cities. — Italiot Greeks — destructive defeat of the inhabitants of Tarentum and of Rhegium.




Causes of the disgraceful repulse of Xerxes from Greece — his own defects — inferior quality and slackness of most of his army. — Tendency to exaggerate the heroism of the Greeks. — Comparison of the invasion of Greece by Xerxes with the invasion of Persia afterwards by Alexander the Great. — No improvement in warfare among the Persians during that interval of one hundred and fifty years — great improvement among the Greeks. — Progressive spirit in Greece — operating through Athenian initiative. — Conduct of Athens in the repulse of the Persians — her position, temper, and influence, after that event. — Proceedings of the Athenians to restore their city — jealous obstructions caused by the Peloponnesians. — Stratagem of Themistoklês to procure for the Athenians the opportunity of fortifying their city. — Athens fortified — confusion of the Spartans — disappointment of the allies. — Effect of this intended, but baffled, intervention upon Athenian feelings. — Enlargement of the walls of Athens. — Large plans of Themistoklês for the naval aggrandizement of the city — fortified town and harbor provided at Peiræus — vast height and thickness projected for the walls. — Advantages of the enlarged and fortified harbor — increase of metics and of commerce at Athens. — Resolution to build twenty new triremes annually. — Expedition of the united Greek fleet against Asia, under the Spartan Pausanias — capture of Byzantium. — Misconduct of Pausanias — refusal of the allies to obey him — his treasonable correspondence with Xerxes. — Pausanias, having assurances of aid from Xerxes, becomes more intolerable in his behavior. He is recalled to Sparta. — The allies transfer the headship from Sparta to Athens. — Importance of this change in the relations of the Grecian states. — Tendency of the Spartan kings to become corrupted on foreign service — Leotychidês. — Momentary Pan-Hellenic union under Sparta, immediately after the repulse of Xerxes — now broken up and passing into a schism, with two distinct parties and chiefs, Sparta and Athens. — Proceedings of Athens in her capacity of leader — good conduct of Aristeidês. — Formation of the confederacy of Delos, under Athens as president — general meetings of allies held in that island. — Assessment of the confederacy and all its members, made by Aristeidês — definite obligation in ships and money — money total — Hellênotamiæ. — Rapid growth, early magnitude, of the confederacy of Delos: willing adhesion of the members. — State and power of Persia at the time when the confederacy of Delos was first formed. — Conduct of Pausanias after being removed from the command — he prosecutes his treasonable designs in conjunction with Persia. — He is recalled to Sparta — imprisoned — put on his trial — tries to provoke the Helots to revolt. — He is detected by the revelation of a slave — incredulity or fear of the Ephors. — His arrest and death — atonement made for offended sanctuary. — Themistoklês is compromised in the detected treason of Pausanias. — Position of Themistoklês at Athens — tendency of Athenian parties and politics. — Effect of the events of the Persian war upon Athenian political sentiment — stimulus to democracy. — Alteration of the Kleisthenean constitution — all citizens without exception are rendered politically admissible to office: first, universal eligibility and election of magistrates — next, sortition, or drawing by lot. — Increase of the power of the Stratêgi[p. xiii] — alteration in the functions and diminution of the importance of the archons. — Administration of Athens enlarged — new functionaries appointed — distribution between Athens and Peiræus. — Political career and precarious tenor of Themistoklês — bitter rivals against him — Kimon, Alkmæon, etc. — His liability to charges of corruption. — Themistoklês is charged with accepting bribes from Persia — acquitted at Athens. — Increased bitterness of feud between him and his political rivals, after this acquittal. He is ostracized. — While in banishment under ostracism, the Lacedæmonians prefer a charge of treason against him. — Flight and adventures of Themistoklês. — Themistoklês gets over to Asia, and seeks refuge with the Persian king. — Stories about the relations between the Persian king and Themistoklês. — Real treatment of Themistoklês in Persia. — Influence which he acquires with the Persian king. — Large reward which he receives — His death at Magnesia. — Death of Aristeidês — his poverty.




Consequence of the formation of the confederacy of Delos. — Bifurcation of Grecian politics between Sparta and Athens. — Distinction between the confederacy of Delos, with Athens as president — and the Athenian empire which grew out of it. — Tendency to confuse these two, and to impute to Athens long-sighted plans of ambition. — The early years, after the formation of the confederacy of Delos, were years of active exertion on the part of Athens. — Our imperfect knowledge of them. — Necessity of continued action against the Persians, even after the battles of Platæa and Mykalê. This necessity was the cause, both of the willing organization of the confederacy of Delos and of the maritime improvement of Athens. — Confederacy of Delos — sworn to by all the members — perpetual and peremptory — not allowing retirement nor evasion. — Enforcing sanction of Athens, strictly exercised, in harmony with the general synod. — Gradual alteration in the relations of the allies — substitution of money-payment for personal service, demanded by the allies themselves, suitable to the interests and feelings of Athens. — Change in the position as well as in the feelings of Athens. — Growing unpopularity of Athens throughout Greece — causes of it. — Synod of Delos — gradually declines in importance and vanishes. — Superior qualities and merit of the Athenians as compared with the confederates of Delos generally. — Tribute first raised by the synod of Delos — assessment of Aristeidês. — Events between B. C. 476-466. — Eion — Skyros — Karystus. — Athens as guardian of the Ægean sea against piracy. — The Hero Theseus. — First revolt among the members of the confederacy of Delos — Naxos revolts and is reconquered. — Operations of Athens and the confederacy against Persia. — Defeat of the Persians by Kimon at the river Eurymedon. — Revolt of Thasos from the confederacy of Delos. — Siege of Thasos by the Athenians under Kimon. — Mines in Thrace. — First attempt of Athens to found a city at Ennea Hodoi on the Strymon above Eion. The attempt fails and the settlers are slain. — Reduction of Thasos after a blockade of two years — it is disarmed and dismantled. — Ap[p. xiv]plication of the Thasians to Sparta for aid — granted, but not carried into effect — glimpse of hostilities between Sparta and Athens. — Trial and acquittal of Kimon at Athens. — Great increase of the Athenian power. — Proceedings in Central Greece between 470-464 B. C. Thebes and the Bœotian towns. Discredit of Thebes. — Sparta restores and upholds the supremacy of Thebes over the lesser Bœotian towns. — Events in Peloponnesus — Arcadia — Elis, etc. — Terrible earthquake at Sparta, 464 B. C. — Revolt of the Helots. — The Lacedæmonians invoke the aid of their allies against the revolted Helots. — March of the Athenians under Kimon into Laconia, to aid them. — Mistrust conceived by the Lacedæmonians of their Athenian auxiliaries, who are dismissed from Laconia. Displeasure and change of policy at Athens. — The Athenians renounce the alliance of Sparta, and contract alliance with Argos. Position of Argos — her conquest of Mykênæ and other towns. — Megara becomes allied with Athens. Growing hatred of Corinth and the neighboring Peloponnesian states towards Athens. — Energetic simultaneous action of the Athenians — in Cyprus, Phenicia, Egypt, and Greece — they build the first “Long Wall” from Megara to Nisæa. — War of Athens against Corinth, Ægina, etc. Total defeat of the Æginetans at sea. — The Athenians besiege Ægina — the Corinthians, Epidaurians, etc. are defeated by the Athenians under Myrônidês. — The Long Walls between Athens and Peiræus are projected — espoused by Periklês, opposed by Kimon — political contentions at Athens — importance of the Long Wall. — Expedition of the Lacedæmonians into Bœotia — they restore the ascendancy of Thebes. — Intention of the Spartan army in Bœotia to threaten Athens and sustain the Athenian oligarchical party opposed to the Long Walls. — Battle of Tanagra — defeat of the Athenians. — Effects of the battle — generous behavior of Kimon — he is recalled from ostracism. — Compromise and reconciliation between the rival leaders and parties at Athens. — Victory of Œnophyta gained by the Athenians — they acquire ascendency over all Bœotia, Phocis, and Lokris. — Completion of the Long Walls. — Conquest of Ægina, which is disarmed, dismantled, and rendered tributary. — The Athenians first sail round Peloponnesus — their operations in the gulf of Corinth. — Defeat and losses of the Athenians in Egypt. — The revolted Helots in Laconia capitulate and leave the country. — Truce for five years concluded between Athens and Lacedæmonians, through the influence of Kimon. — Fresh expeditions of Kimon against Persia. — Death of Kimon at Cyprus — victories of the Athenian fleet — it returns home. — No farther expeditions of the Athenians against Persia — convention concluded between them. — Mistakes and exaggerations respecting this convention — doubts raised as to its historical reality. Discussion of those doubts — confirmatory hints of Thucydidês. — Thucydidês, son of Melêsias, succeeds Kimon as leading opponent of Periklês. — Transfer of the common fund of the confederacy from Delos to Athens. — Gradual passage of the confederacy into an Athenian empire. — Transfer of the fund was proposed by the Samians. — Position of Athens with a numerous alliance both of inland and maritime states. — Commencement of reverses and decline of power to Athens. — Revolt of Bœotia from Athens — defeat of the Athenians at Korôneia — they evacuate Bœotia. — Revolt of Phocis, Lokris, Eubœa, and Megara: invasion of Attica by the Peloponnesians under the Lacedæmonian king Pleistoanax. — Eubœa reconquered by Periklês. — Humiliation and despondency of Athens. — Conclusion of the Thirty years’ truce. — Diminution of Athenian power. — Feud between Athens and Megara.




First establishment of the democratical judicial system at Athens. — Union, in the same hands, of functions both administrative and judicial in early Athens — great powers of the magistrates, as well as of the senate of Areopagus. — Magistrates generally wealthy men — oligarchical tendencies of the senate of Areopagus — increase of democratical sentiment among the bulk of the citizens. — Political parties in Athens. — Periklês and Ephialtês democratical: Kimon, oligarchical or conservative. — Democratical Dikasteries, or Jury-courts, constituted by Periklês and Ephialtês. — How these dikasteries were arranged. — Pay to the dikasts introduced and made regular. — The magistrates are deprived of their judicial and confined to administrative functions. — Senate of Areopagus — its antiquity — semi-religious character — large and undefined controlling power. — Large powers of the senate of Areopagus, in part abused, became inconsistent with the feelings of the people after the Persian invasion. — New interests and tendencies then growing up at Athens. — Senate of Areopagus — a centre of action for the conservative party and Kimon. — Opposition between Kimon and Periklês — inherited from their fathers. — Character and working of Periklês. — Reserved, philosophical, and business-like habits of Periklês — his little pains to court popularity — less of the demagogue than Kimon. — Ephialtês belonging to the democratical party, and originally equal to Periklês in influence. — Efforts of Ephialtês against magisterial abuse. — Kimon and his party, more powerful than Ephialtês and Periklês, until the time when the Athenian troops were dismissed from Laconia. — Ostracism of Kimon. — Measures carried by Ephialtês and Periklês to abridge the power of the senate of Areopagus as well as of individual magistrates. — Institution of the paid dikasteries. — Separation of judicial from administrative functions. — Assassination of Ephialtês by the conservative party. — Commencement of the great ascendency of Periklês, after the death of Ephialtês. Compromise between him and Kimon. — Brilliant success of Athens, and era of the maximum of her power. — Other constitutional changes. — The Nomophylakes. — The Nomothetæ — distinction between laws and psephisms, or special decrees — process by which laws were enacted and repealed. — Procedure in making or repealing of laws assimilated to the procedure in judicial trials. — Graphê Paranomôn — indictment against the mover of illegal or unconstitutional propositions. — Working of the Graphê Paranomôn. — Conservative spirit in which it is framed. — Restraint upon new propositions, and upon the unlimited initiative belonging to every citizen. — Abusive extension of the Graphê Paranomôn afterwards. — It was often used as a simple way of procuring the repeal of an existing law — without personal aim against the author of the law. — Numbers and pay of the dikasts, as provided by Periklês. — The Athenian democracy, as constituted by Periklês, remained substantially unaltered afterwards down to the loss of Athenian independence — excepting the temporary interruptions of the Four Hundred and the Thirty. — Working of the numerous dikasteries — their large numbers essential to exclude corruption or intimidation — liability of individual magistrates to corruption. — The Athenian dikasteries are jury-trial applied on the broadest scale — exhibiting both its excellences and its[p. xvi] defects in an exaggerated form. — The encomiums usually pronounced upon the theory of jury-trial would apply yet more strongly to the Athenian dikasteries. — Imperfections of jury-trial — exaggerated in the procedure of the dikasteries. — Powerful effects of the dikasteries in exercising and stimulating the intellect and feelings of individual citizens. — Necessity of learning to speak — growth of professional teachers of rhetoric — professional composers of speeches for others. — Rhetors and Sophists. — Polemics of Sokratês, himself a sophist, against the sophists generally. — Sophists and rhetors were the natural product of the age and of the democracy. — The dikasteries were composed, not exclusively of poor men, but of middling and poorer citizens indiscriminately.


[p. 1]




In the last chapter but one of the preceding volume, I described the Athenian victory at Marathon, the repulse of the Persian general Datis, and the return of his armament across the Ægean to the Asiatic coast. He had been directed to conquer both Eretria and Athens: an order which he had indeed executed in part with success, as the string of Eretrian prisoners brought to Susa attested,—but which remained still unfulfilled in regard to the city principally obnoxious to Darius. Far from satiating his revenge upon Athens, the Persian monarch was compelled to listen to the tale of an ignominious defeat. His wrath against the Athenians rose to a higher pitch than ever, and he commenced vigorous preparations for a renewed attack upon them, as well as upon Greece generally. Resolved upon assembling the entire force of his empire, he directed the various satraps and sub-governors throughout all Asia to provide troops, horses, and ships, both of war and burden. For no less than three years the empire was agitated by this immense levy, which Darius determined to conduct in person against Greece.[1] Nor was[p. 2] his determination abated by a revolt of the Egyptians, which broke out about the time when his preparations were completed. He was on the point of undertaking simultaneously the two enterprises,—the conquest of Greece and the reconquest of Egypt,—when he was surprised by death, after a reign of thirty-six years. As a precaution previous to this intended march, he had nominated as successor Xerxes, his son by Atossa; for the ascendency of that queen insured to Xerxes the preference over his elder brother Artabazanes, son of Darius by a former wife, and born before the latter became king. The choice of the reigning monarch passed unquestioned, and Xerxes succeeded without opposition.[2] It deserves to be remarked, that though we shall meet with several acts of cruelty and atrocity perpetrated in the Persian regal family, there is nothing like that systematic fratricide which has been considered necessary to guarantee succession in Turkey and other Oriental empires.

The intense wrath against Athens, which had become the predominant sentiment in the mind of Darius, was yet unappeased at the time of his death, and it was fortunate for the Athenians that his crown now passed to a prince less obstinately hostile as well as in every respect inferior. Xerxes, personally the hand[p. 3]somest[3] and most stately man amid the immense crowd which he led against Greece, was in character timid and faint-hearted, over and above those defects of vanity, childish self-conceit, and blindness of appreciation, which he shared more or less with all the Persian kings. Yet we shall see that, even under his conduct, the invasion of Greece was very near proving successful: and it well might have succeeded altogether, had he been either endued with the courageous temperament, or inflamed with the fierce animosity, of his father.

On succeeding to the throne, Xerxes found the forces of the empire in active preparation, pursuant to the orders of Darius; except Egypt, which was in a state of revolt. His first necessity was to reconquer this country; a purpose for which the great military power now in readiness was found amply sufficient. Egypt was subdued and reduced to a state of much harder dependence than before: we may presume that the tribute was increased, as well as the numbers of the Persian occupying force maintained, by contributions levied on the natives. Achæmenes, brother of Xerxes, was installed there as satrap.

But Xerxes was not at first equally willing to prosecute the schemes of his deceased father against Greece. At least such is the statement of Herodotus; who represents Mardonius as the grand instigator of the invasion, partly through thirst for warlike enterprise, partly from a desire to obtain the intended conquest as a satrapy for himself. Nor were there wanting Grecian counsellors to enforce his recommendation, both by the promise of help and by the color of religion. The great family of the Aleuadæ, belonging to Larissa, and perhaps to other towns in Thessaly, were so eager in the cause, that their principal members came to Susa to offer an easy occupation of that frontier territory of Hellas: while the exiled Peisistratids from Athens still persevered in striving to procure their own restoration at the tail of a Persian army. On the present occasion, they brought with them to Susa a new instrument, the holy mystic Onomakritus,—a man who had acquired much reputation, not by prophesying himself, but by collecting, arranging, interpret[p. 4]ing, and delivering out, prophetic verses passing under the name of the ancient seer or poet Musæus. Thirty years before, in the flourishing days of the Peisistratids, he had lived at Athens, enjoying the confidence of Hipparchus, and consulted by him as the expositor of these venerated documents. But having been detected by the poet Lasus of Hermione, in the very act of interpolating them with new matter of his own, Hipparchus banished him with indignation. The Peisistratids, however, now in banishment themselves, forgot or forgave this offence, and carried Onomakritus with his prophecies to Susa, announcing him as a person of oracular authority, to assist in working on the mind of Xerxes. To this purpose his interpolations, or his omissions, were now directed: for when introduced to the Persian monarch, he recited emphatically various encouraging predictions wherein the bridging of the Hellespont and the triumphant march of a barbaric host into Greece, appeared as predestined; while he carefully kept back all those of a contrary tenor, which portended calamity and disgrace. So at least Herodotus,[4] strenuous in upholding the credit of Bakis, Musæus, and other Grecian prophets whose verses were in circulation, expressly assures us. The religious encouragements of Onomakritus, and the political cooperation proffered by the Aleuadæ, enabled Mardonius effectually to overcome the reluctance of his master. Nor indeed was it difficult to show, according to the feelings then prevalent, that a new king of Persia was in honor obliged to enlarge the boundaries of the empire.[5] The conquering impulse springing from the first founder was as yet unexhausted; the insults offered by the Athenians remained still unavenged: and in addition to this double stimulus to action, Mardonius drew a captivating picture of Europe as an acquisition;—“it was the finest land in the world, produced every variety of fruit-bearing trees, and was[p. 5] too good a possession for any mortal man except the Persian kings.”[6] Fifteen years before, the Milesian Aristagoras,[7] when entreating the Spartans to assist the Ionic revolt, had exaggerated the wealth and productiveness of Asia in contrast with the poverty of Greece,—a contrast less widely removed from the truth, at that time, than the picture presented by Mardonius.

Having thus been persuaded to alter his original views, Xerxes convoked a meeting of the principal Persian counsellors, and announced to them his resolution to invade Greece, setting forth the mingled motives of revenge and aggrandizement which impelled him, and representing the conquest of Greece as carrying with it that of all Europe, so that the Persian empire would become coextensive with the æther of Zeus and the limits of the sun’s course. On the occasion of this invasion, now announced and about to take place, we must notice especially the historical manner and conception of our capital informant,—Herodotus. The invasion of Greece by Xerxes, and the final repulse of his forces, constitute the entire theme of his three last books, and the principal object of his whole history, towards which the previous matter is intended to conduct. Amidst those prior circumstances, there are doubtless many which have a substantive importance and interest of their own, recounted at so much length that they appear coördinate and principal, so that the thread of the history is for a time put out of sight. Yet we shall find, if we bring together the larger divisions of his history, omitting the occasional prolixities of detail, that such thread is never lost in the historian’s own mind: it may be traced by an attentive reader, from his preface and the statement immediately following it—of Crœsus, as the first barbaric conqueror of the Ionian Greeks—down to the full expansion of his theme, “Græcia Barbariæ lento collisa duello,” in the expedition of Xerxes. That expedition, as forming the consummation of his historical scheme, is not only related more copiously and continuously than any events preceding it, but is also ushered in with an unusual solemnity of religious and poetical accompaniment, so that the[p. 6] seventh book of Herodotus reminds us in many points of the second book of the Iliad: probably too, if the lost Grecian epics had reached us, we should trace many other cases in which the imagination of the historian has unconsciously assimilated itself to them. The dream sent by the gods to frighten Xerxes, when about to recede from his project,—as well as the ample catalogue of nations and eminent individuals embodied in the Persian host,—have both of them marked parallels in the Iliad: and Herodotus seems to delight in representing to himself the enterprise against Greece as an antithesis to that of the Atreidæ against Troy. He enters into the internal feelings of Xerxes with as much familiarity as Homer into those of Agamemnon, and introduces “the counsel of Zeus” as not less direct, special, and overruling, than it appears in the Iliad and Odyssey:[8] though the godhead in Herodotus, compared with Homer, tends to become neuter instead of masculine or feminine, and retains only the jealous instincts of a ruler, apart from the appetites, lusts, and caprices of a man: acting, moreover, chiefly as a centralized, or at least as a homogeneous, force, in place of the discordant severalty of agents conspicuous in the Homeric theology. The religious idea, so often presented elsewhere in Herodotus,—that the godhead was jealous and hostile to excessive good fortune or immoderate desires in man,—is worked into his history of Xerxes as the ever-present moral and as the main cause of its disgraceful termination: for we shall discover as we proceed, that the historian, with that honorable frankness which Plutarch calls his “malignity,” neither ascribes to his countrymen credit greater than they deserve for personal valor, nor seeks to veil the many chances of defeat which their mismanagement laid open.[9]

[p. 7]I have already mentioned that Xerxes is described as having originally been averse to the enterprise, and only stimulated thereto by the persuasions of Mardonius: this was probably the genuine Persian belief, for the blame of so great a disaster would naturally be transferred from the monarch to some evil counsellor.[10] As soon as Xerxes, yielding to persuasion, has announced to the Persian chief men whom he had convoked his resolution to bridge over the Hellespont and march to the conquest of Greece and Europe, Mardonius is represented as expressing his warm concurrence in the project, extolling the immense force[11] of Persia and depreciating the Ionians in Europe—so he denominated them—as so poor and disunited that success was not only certain but easy. Against the rashness of this general—the evil genius of Xerxes—we find opposed the prudence and long experience of Artabanus, brother of the deceased Darius, and therefore uncle to the monarch. The age and relationship of this Persian Nestor emboldens him to undertake the dangerous task of questioning the determination which Xerxes, though professing to invite the opinions of others, had proclaimed as already[p. 8] settled in his own mind. The speech which Herodotus puts into the mouth of Artabanus is that of a thoughtful and religious Greek: it opens with the Grecian conception of the necessity of hearing and comparing opposite views, prior to any final decision,—reproves Mardonius for falsely depreciating the Greeks and seducing his master into personal danger,—sets forth the probability that the Greeks, if victorious at sea, would come and destroy the bridge by which Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont,—reminds the latter of the imminent hazard which Darius and his army had undergone in Scythia, from the destruction—averted only by Histiæus and his influence—of the bridge over the Danube: such prudential suggestions being further strengthened by adverting to the jealous aversion of the godhead towards overgrown human power.[12]

The impatient monarch silences his uncle in a tone of insult and menace: nevertheless, in spite of himself, the dissuasions work upon him so powerfully, that before night they gradually alter his resolution, and decide him to renounce the scheme. In this latter disposition he falls asleep, when a dream appears: a tall, stately man stands over him, denounces his change of opinion, and peremptorily commands him to persist in the enterprise as announced. In spite of this dream, Xerxes still adheres to his altered purpose, assembles his council the next morning, and after apologizing for his angry language towards Artabanus, acquaints them to their great joy that he adopts the recommendations of the latter, and abandons his project against Greece. But in the following night, no sooner has Xerxes fallen asleep, than the same dream and the same figure again appear to him, repeating the previous command in language of terrific menace. The monarch, in a state of great alarm, springs from his bed and sends for Artabanus, whom he informs of the twice-repeated vision and divine mandate interdicting his change of resolution. “If (says he) it be the absolute will of God that this expedition against Greece should be executed, the same vision will appear to thee also, provided thou puttest on my attire, sittest in my throne, and sleepest in my bed.”[13] Not without reluctance,[p. 9] Artabanus obeys this order (for it was high treason in any Persian to sit upon the regal throne[14]), but he at length complies, expecting to be able to prove to Xerxes that the dream deserved no attention. “Many dreams (he says) are not of divine origin, nor anything better than mere wandering objects such as we have been thinking upon during the day: this dream, of whatever nature it may be, will not be foolish enough to mistake me for the king, even if I be in the royal attire and bed; but if it shall still continue to appear to thee, I shall myself confess it to be divine.”[15] Accordingly, Artabanus is placed in the regal throne and bed, and, as soon as he falls asleep, the very same figure shows itself to him also, saying, “Art thou he who dissuadest Xerxes, on the plea of solicitude for his safety, from marching against Greece? Xerxes has already been forewarned of that which he will suffer if he disobeys, and thou too shalt not escape, either now or in future, for seeking to avert that which must and shall be.” With these words the vision assumes a threatening attitude, as though preparing to burn out the eyes of Artabanus with hot irons, when the sleeper awakes in terror, and runs to communicate with Xerxes. “I have hitherto, O king, recommended to thee to rest contented with that vast actual empire on account of which all mankind think thee happy; but since the divine impulsion is now apparent, and since destruction from on high is prepared for the Greeks, I too alter my opinion, and advise thee to command the Persians as God directs; so that nothing may be found wanting on thy part for that which God puts into thy hands.”[16]

[p. 10]It is thus that Herodotus represents the great expedition of Xerxes to have originated: partly in the rashness of Mardonius, who reaps his bitter reward on the field of battle at Platæa,—but still more in the influence of “mischievous Oneiros,” who is sent by the gods—as in the second book of the Iliad—to put a cheat upon Xerxes, and even to overrule by terror both his scruples and those of Artabanus. The gods having determined—as in the instances of Astyagês, Polykratês, and others—that the Persian empire shall undergo signal humiliation and repulse at the hands of the Greeks, constrain the Persian monarch into a ruinous enterprise against his own better judgment. Such religious imagination is not to be regarded as peculiar to Herodotus, but as common to him with his contemporaries generally, Greeks as well as Persians, though peculiarly stimulated among the Greeks by the abundance of their epic or quasi-historical poetry: modified more or less in each individual narrator, it is made to supply connecting links as well as initiating causes for the great events of history. As a cause for this expedition, incomparably the greatest fact and the most fertile in consequences, throughout the political career both of Greeks and Persians, nothing less than a special interposition of the gods would have satisfied the feelings either of one nation or the other. The story of the dream has its rise, as Herodotus tells us,[17] in Persian fancy, and is in some sort a consolation for the national vanity; but it is turned and colored by the Grecian historian, who mentions[p. 11] also a third dream, which appeared to Xerxes after his resolution to march was finally taken, and which the mistake of the Magian interpreters falsely construed[18] into an encouragement, though it really threatened ruin. How much this religious conception of the sequence of events belongs to the age, appears by the fact, that it not only appears in Pindar and the Attic tragedians generally, but pervades especially the Persæ of Æschylus, exhibited seven years after the battle of Salamis,—in which we find the premonitory dreams as well as the jealous enmity of the gods towards vast power and overweening aspirations in man,[19] though without any of that inclination, which Herodotus seems to have derived from Persian informants, to exculpate Xerxes by representing him as disposed himself to sober counsels, but driven in a contrary direction by the irresistible fiat of the gods.[20]

[p. 12]While we take due notice of those religious conceptions with which both the poet and the historian surround this vast conflict[p. 13] of Greeks and barbarians, we need look no farther than ambition and revenge for the real motives of the invasion: considering that it had been a proclaimed project in the mind of Darius for three years previous to his death, there was no probability that his son and successor would gratuitously renounce it. Shortly after the reconquest of Egypt, he began to make his preparations, the magnitude of which attested the strength of his resolve as well as the extent of his designs. The satraps and subordinate officers, throughout the whole range of his empire, received orders to furnish the amplest quota of troops and munitions of war,—horse and foot, ships of war, horse-transports, provisions, or supplies of various kinds, according to the circumstances of the territory; while rewards were held out to those who should execute the orders most efficiently. For four entire years these preparations were carried on, and as we are told that similar preparations had been going forward during the three years preceding the death of Darius, though not brought to any ultimate result, we cannot doubt that the maximum of force, which the empire could possibly be made to furnish,[21] was now brought to execute the schemes of Xerxes. The Persian empire was at this moment more extensive than ever it will appear at any subsequent period; for it comprised maritime Thrace and Macedonia as far as the borders of Thessaly, and nearly all the islands of the Ægean north of Krete and east of Eubœa, including even[p. 14] the Cyclades. There existed Persian forts and garrisons at Doriskus, Eion, and other places on the coast of Thrace, while Abdêra, with the other Grecian settlements on that coast were numbered among the tributaries of Susa.[22] It is necessary to bear in mind these boundaries of the empire, at the time when Xerxes mounted the throne, as compared with its reduced limits at the later time of the Peloponnesian war,—partly that we may understand the apparent chances of success to his expedition, as they presented themselves both to the Persians and to the medizing Greeks,—partly that we may appreciate the after-circumstances connected with the formation of the Athenian maritime empire.

In the autumn of the year 481 B. C., the vast army thus raised by Xerxes arrived, from all quarters of the empire, at or near to Sardis; a large portion of it having been directed to assemble at Kritala in Kappadokia, on the eastern side of the Halys, where it was joined by Xerxes himself on the road from Susa.[23] From thence he crossed the Halys, and marched through Phrygia and Lydia, passing through the Phrygian towns of Kelænæ, Anaua, and Kolossæ, and the Lydian town of Kallatêbus, until he reached Sardis, where winter-quarters were prepared for him. But this land force, vast as it was (respecting its numbers, I shall speak farther presently), was not all that the empire had been required to furnish. Xerxes had determined to attack Greece, not by traversing the Ægean, as Datis had passed to Eretria and Marathon, but by a land force and fleet at once: the former crossing the Hellespont, and marching through Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly; while the latter was intended to accompany and coöperate. A fleet of one thousand two hundred and seven ships of war, besides numerous vessels of service and burden, had been assembled on the Hellespont and on the coasts of Thrace[p. 15] and Ionia; moreover, Xerxes, with a degree of forethought much exceeding that which his father Darius had displayed in the Scythian expedition, had directed the formation of large magazines of provisions at suitable maritime stations along the line of march, from the Hellespont to the Strymonic gulf. During the four years of military preparation, there had been time to bring together great quantities of flour and other essential articles from Asia and Egypt.[24]

If the whole contemporary world were overawed by the vast assemblage of men and muniments of war which Xerxes thus brought together, so much transcending all past, we might even say all subsequent, experience,—they were no less astounded by two enterprises which entered into his scheme,—the bridging of the Hellespont, and the cutting of a ship-canal through the isthmus of Mount Athos. For the first of the two there had indeed been a precedent, since Darius about thirty-five years before had caused a bridge to be thrown over the Thracian Bosphorus, and crossed it in his march to Scythia; but this bridge, though constructed by the Ionians and by a Samian Greek, having had reference only to distant regions, seems to have been little known or little thought of among the Greeks generally, as we may infer from the fact, that the poet Æschylus[25] speaks as if he had never heard of it, while the bridge of Xerxes was ever remembered, both by Persians and by Greeks, as a most imposing display of Asiatic omnipotence. The bridge of boats—or rather, the two separate bridges not far removed from each other—which Xerxes caused to be thrown across the Hellespont, stretched from the neighborhood of Abydos, on the Asiatic side to the coast between Sestos and Madytus on the European, where the strait is about an English mile in breadth. The execution of the work was at first intrusted, not to Greeks, but to Phenicians and Egyptians, who had received orders long beforehand to prepare cables of extraordinary strength and size expressly for the purpose; the material used by the Phenicians was flax, that employed by the Egyptians was the fibre of the papyrus. Already had the work been completed and announced to Xerxes as available for transit, when a storm arose, so violent as alto[p. 16]gether to ruin it. The wrath of the monarch, when apprized of this catastrophe, burst all bounds; it was directed partly against the chief-engineers, whose heads he caused to be struck off,[26] but partly also against the Hellespont itself. He commanded that the strait should be scourged with three hundred lashes, and that a set of fetters should be let down into it as a farther punishment: moreover Herodotus had heard, but does not believe, that he even sent irons for the purpose of branding it. “Thou bitter water (exclaimed the scourgers while inflicting this punishment), this is the penalty which our master inflicts upon thee, because thou hast wronged him though he hath never wronged thee. King Xerxes will cross thee, whether thou wilt or not; but thou deservest not sacrifice from any man, because thou art a treacherous river of (useless) salt water.”[27]

Such were the insulting terms heaped by order of Xerxes on the rebellious Hellespont,—Herodotus calls them “non-Hellenic and blasphemous terms,” which, together with their brevity, leads us to believe that he gives them as he heard them, and that they are not of his own invention, like so many other speeches in his work, where he dramatizes, as it were, a given position. It has been common, however, to set aside in this case not merely the words, but even the main incident of punishment inflicted on the Hellespont,[28] as a mere Greek fable rather than a real fact: the extreme childishness and absurdity of the proceeding giving to it the air of an enemy’s calumny. But this reason will not[p. 17] appear sufficient, if we transport ourselves back to the time and to the party concerned. To transfer to inanimate objects the sensitive as well as the willing and designing attributes of human beings, is among the early and wide-spread instincts of mankind, and one of the primitive forms of religion: and although the enlargement of reason and experience gradually displaces this elementary Fetichism, and banishes it from the regions of reality into those of conventional fictions, yet the force of momentary passion will often suffice to supersede the acquired habit, and even an intelligent man[29] may be impelled in a moment of agonizing pain to kick or beat the lifeless object from which he has suffered. By the old procedure, never formally abolished, though gradually disused, at Athens,—an inanimate object which had caused the death of a man was solemnly tried and cast out of the border: and the Arcadian youths, when they returned hungry from an unsuccessful day’s hunting,[30] scourged and pricked the[p. 18] god Pan or his statue by way of revenge. Much more may we suppose a young Persian monarch, corrupted by universal subservience around him, to be capable of thus venting an insane wrath: and the vengeance ascribed by Herodotus to Cyrus towards the river Gyndês (which he caused to be divided into three hundred and sixty streamlets, because one of his sacred horses had been drowned in it), affords a fair parallel to the scourging of the Hellespont by Xerxes. To offer sacrifice to rivers, and to testify in this manner gratitude for service rendered by rivers, was a familiar rite in the ancient religion. While the grounds for distrusting the narrative are thus materially weakened, the positive evidence will be found very forcible. The expedition of Xerxes took place when Herodotus was about four years old, so that he afterwards enjoyed ample opportunity of conversing with persons who had witnessed and taken part in it: and the whole of his narrative shows that he availed himself largely of such access to information. Besides, the building of the bridge across the Hellespont, and all the incidents connected with it, were acts essentially public in their nature,—known to many witnesses, and therefore the more easily verified,—the decapitation of the unfortunate engineers was an act fearfully impressive, and even the scourging of the Hellespont, while essentially public, appears to Herodotus[31] (as well as to Arrian, afterwards), not childish but impious. The more attentively we balance, in the case before us, the positive testimony against the intrinsic negative probabilities, the more shall we be disposed to admit without diffidence the statement of our original historian.

New engineers—perhaps Greek along with, or in place of, Phenicians and Egyptians—were immediately directed to recommence the work, which Herodotus now describes in detail, and which was doubtless executed with increased care and solidity. To form the two bridges, two lines of ships—triremes and pentekonters blended together—were moored across the strait breastwise, with their sterns towards the Euxine, and their heads towards the Ægean, the stream flowing always rapidly[p. 19] towards the latter.[32] They were moored by anchors head and stern, and by very long cables. The number of ships placed to[p. 20] carry the bridge nearest to the Euxine was three hundred and sixty: the number in the other, three hundred and fourteen.[p. 21] Over or through each of the two lines of ships, across from shore to shore, were stretched six vast cables, which discharged the double function of holding the ships together, and of supporting the bridge-way to be laid upon them. They were tightened by means of capstans on each shore: in three different places along that line, a gap was left between the ships for the purpose of enabling trading vessels, in voyage to or from the Euxine, to pass and repass beneath the cables.

Out of the six cables assigned to each bridge, two were of flax and four of papyrus, combined for the sake of increased strength; for it seems that in the bridges first made, which proved too weak to resist the winds, the Phenicians had employed cables of flax for one bridge, the Egyptians those of papyrus for the other.[33] Over these again were laid planks of wood, sawn to the appropriate width, secured by ropes to keep them in their places: and lastly, upon this foundation the causeway itself was formed, out of earth and wood, with a palisade on each side high enough to prevent the cattle which passed over from seeing the water.

The other great work which Xerxes caused to be performed, for facilitating his march, was, the cutting through of the isthmus which connects the stormy promontory of Mount Athos[p. 22] with the main land.[34] That isthmus, near the point where it joins the main land, was about twelve stadia or furlongs across, from the Strymonic to the Toronaic gulf: and the canal dug by order of Xerxes was broad and deep enough for two triremes to sail abreast. In this work too, as well as in the bridge across the Hellespont, the Phenicians were found the ablest and most efficient among all the subjects of the Persian monarch; but the other tributaries, especially the Greeks from the neighboring town of Akanthus, and indeed the entire maritime forces of the empire,[35] were brought together to assist. The head-quarters of the fleet were first at Kymê and Phokæa, next at Elæus in the southern extremity of the Thracian Chersonese, from which point it could protect and second at once the two enterprises going forward at the Hellespont and at Mount Athos. The canal-cutting at the latter was placed under the general directions of two noble Persians,—Bubarês and Artachæus, and distributed under their measurement as task-work among the contingents of the various nations; an ample supply of flour and other provisions being brought for sale in the neighboring plain from various parts of Asia and Egypt.

Three circumstances in the narrative of Herodotus, respecting this work, deserve special notice. First, the superior intelligence of the Phenicians, who, within sight of that lofty island of Thasos which had been occupied three centuries before by their free ancestors, were now laboring as instruments to the ambition of a foreign conqueror. Amidst all the people engaged, they alone took the precaution of beginning the excavation at a breadth far greater than the canal was finally destined to occupy, so as gradually to narrow it, and leave a convenient slope for the sides: the others dug straight down, so that the time as well as the toil of their work was doubled by the continual falling in of the sides,—a remarkable illustration of the degree of practical intelligence then prevalent, since the nations assembled were many and diverse. Secondly, Herodotus remarks that Xerxes must have performed this laborious work[p. 23] from motives of mere ostentation: “for it would have cost no trouble at all,” he observes,[36] “to drag all the ships in the fleet[p. 24] across the isthmus; so that the canal was nowise needed.” So familiar a process was it, in the mind of a Greek of the fifth century B. C., to transport ships by mechanical force across an isthmus; a special groove, or slip, being seemingly prepared for them: such was the case at the Diolkus across the isthmus of Corinth. Thirdly, it is to be noted, that the men who excavated the canal at Mount Athos worked under the lash; and these, be it borne in mind, were not bought slaves, but freemen, except in so far as they were tributaries of the Persian monarch; and that the father of Herodotus, a native of Halikarnassus, and a subject of the brave queen Artemisia, may perhaps have been among them. We shall find other examples as we proceed, of this indiscriminate use of the whip, and full conviction of its indispensable necessity, on the part of the Persians,[37]—even to drive the troops of their subject-contingents on to the charge in battle. To employ the scourge in this way towards freemen, and especially towards freemen engaged in military service, was altogether repugnant both to Hellenic practice and to Hellenic feeling: the Asiatic and insular Greeks were relieved from it, as from various other hardships, when they passed out of Persian dominion to become, first allies, afterwards subjects, of Athens: and we shall be called upon hereafter to take note of this fact, when we appreciate the complaints preferred against the hegemony of Athens.

At the same time that the subject-contingents of Xerxes ex[p. 25]cavated this canal, which was fortified against the sea at its two extremities by compact earthen walls, or embankments, they also threw bridges of boats over the river Strymon: and these two works, together with the renovated double bridge across the Hellespont, were both announced to Xerxes as completed and ready for passage, on his arrival at Sardis at the beginning of winter, 481-480 B. C. Whether the whole of his vast army arrived at Sardis at the same time as himself, and wintered there, may reasonably be doubted; but the whole was united at Sardis and ready to march against Greece, at the beginning of spring, 480 B. C.

While wintering at Sardis, the Persian monarch despatched heralds to all the cities of Greece, except Sparta and Athens, to demand the received tokens of submission, earth and water: for news of his prodigious armament was well calculated to spread terror even among the most resolute of them. And he at the same time sent orders to the maritime cities in Thrace and Macedonia to prepare “dinner” for himself and his vast suite as he passed on his march. That march was commenced at the first beginning of spring, and continued in spite of several threatening portents during the course of it,—one of which Xerxes was blind enough not to comprehend, though, according to Herodotus, nothing could be more obvious than its signification,[38]—while[p. 26] another was misinterpreted into a favorable omen by the compliant answer of the Magian priests. On quitting Sardis, the vast host was divided into two nearly equal columns: a spacious interval being left between the two for the king himself, with his guards and select Persians. First of all[39] came the baggage, carried by beasts of burden, immediately followed by one half of the entire body of infantry, without any distinction of nations: next, the select troops, one thousand Persian cavalry, with one thousand Persian spearmen, the latter being distinguished by carrying their spears with the point downwards, as well as by the spear itself, which had a golden pomegranate at its other extremity, in place of the ordinary spike or point whereby the weapon was planted in the ground when the soldier was not on duty. Behind these troops walked ten sacred horses, of vast power and splendidly caparisoned, bred on the Nisæan plains in Media: next, the sacred chariot of Zeus, drawn by eight white horses,—wherein no man was ever allowed to mount, not even the charioteer, who walked on foot behind with the reins in his hand. Next after the sacred chariot came that of Xerxes himself, drawn by Nisæan horses; the charioteer, a noble Persian, named Patiramphês, being seated in it by the side of the monarch,—who was often accustomed to alight from the chariot and to enter a litter. Immediately about his person were a chosen body of one thousand horse-guards, the best troops and of the highest breed among the Persians, having golden apples at the reverse extremity of their spears, and followed by other detachments of one thousand horse, ten thousand foot, and ten thousand horse, all native Persians. Of these ten thousand Persian infantry, called the Immortals, because their number was always exactly maintained, nine thousand carried spears with pomegranates of silver at the reverse extremity, while the remaining one thousand distributed in front, rear, and on each side of this detachment, were marked by pomegranates of gold on their spears. With them ended what we may call the household[p. 27] troops: after whom, with an interval of two furlongs, the remaining host followed pell-mell.[40] Respecting its numbers and constituent portions I shall speak presently, on occasion of the great review at Doriskus.

On each side of the army, as it marched out of Sardis, was seen suspended one half of the body of a slaughtered man, placed there expressly for the purpose of impressing a lesson on the subjects of Persia. It was the body of the eldest son of the wealthy Pythius, a Phrygian old man resident at Kelænæ, who had entertained Xerxes in the course of his march from Kappadokia to Sardis, and who had previously recommended himself by rich gifts to the preceding king Darius. So abundant was his hospitality to Xerxes, and so pressing his offers of pecuniary contribution for the Grecian expedition, that the monarch asked him what was the amount of his wealth. “I possess (replied Pythius) besides lands and slaves, two thousand talents of silver, and three million nine hundred and ninety-three thousand of golden darics, wanting only seven thousand of being four million. All this gold and silver do I present to thee, retaining only my lands and slaves, which will be quite enough.” Xerxes replied by the strongest expressions of praise and gratitude for his liberality; at the same time refusing his offer, and even giving to Pythius out of his own treasure the sum of seven thousand darics, which was wanting to make up the exact sum of four million. The latter was so elated with this mark of favor, that when the army was about to depart from Sardis, he ventured, under the influence of terror from the various menacing portents, to prefer a prayer to the Persian monarch. His five sons were all about to serve in the invading army against Greece: his prayer to Xerxes was, that the eldest of them might be left behind, as a stay to his own declining years, and that the service of the remaining four with the army might be considered as sufficient. But the unhappy father knew not what he asked. “Wretch! (replied Xerxes) dost thou dare to talk to me about thy son, when I am myself on the march against Greece, with my sons, brothers, relatives, and friends? thou who art my slave, and whose duty it[p. 28] is to follow me, with thy wife and thy entire family? Know that the sensitive soul of man dwells in his ears: on hearing good things, it fills the body with delight, but boils with wrath when it hears the contrary. As, when thou didst good deeds and madest good offers to me, thou canst not boast of having surpassed the king in generosity,—so now, when thou hast turned round and become impudent, the punishment inflicted on thee shall not be the full measure of thy deserts, but something less. For thyself and for thy four sons, the hospitality which I received from thee shall serve as protection; but for that one son whom thou especially wishest to keep in safety, the forfeit of his life shall be thy penalty.” He forthwith directed that the son of Pythius should be put to death, and his body severed in twain: of which one half was to be fixed on the right-hand, the other on the left-hand, of the road along which the army was to pass.[41]

A tale essentially similar, yet rather less revolting, has been already recounted respecting Darius, when undertaking his expedition against Scythia. Both tales illustrate the intense force of sentiment with which the Persian kings regarded the obligation of universal personal service, when they were themselves in the field. They seem to have measured their strength by the number of men whom they collected around them, with little or no reference to quality: and the very mention of exemption—the idea that a subject and a slave should seek to withdraw himself from a risk which the monarch was about to encounter—was an offence not to be pardoned. In this as in the other acts of Oriental kings, whether grateful, munificent, or ferocious, we trace nothing but the despotic force of personal will, translating itself into act without any thought of consequences, and treating subjects with less consideration than an ordinary Greek master would have shown towards his slaves.

From Sardis, the host of Xerxes directed its march to Abydos, first across Mysia and the river Kaïkus,—then through Atarneus, Karinê, and the plain of Thêbê: they passed Adra[p. 29]myttium and Antandrus, and crossed the range of Ida, most part of which was on their left hand, not without some loss from stormy weather and thunder.[42] From hence they reached Ilium and the river Skamander, the stream of which was drunk up, or probably in part trampled and rendered undrinkable, by the vast host of men and animals: in spite of the immortal interest which the Skamander derives from the Homeric poems, its magnitude is not such as to make this fact surprising. To the poems themselves, even Xerxes did not disdain to pay tribute: he ascended the holy hill of Ilium,—reviewed the Pergamus where Priam was said to have lived and reigned,—sacrificed one thousand oxen to the patron goddess Athênê,—and caused the Magian priests to make libations in honor of the heroes who had fallen on that venerated spot. He even condescended to inquire into the local details,[43] abundantly supplied to visitors by the inhabitants of Ilium, of that great real or mythical war to which Grecian chronologers had hardly yet learned to assign a precise date: and doubtless when he contemplated the narrow area of that Troy which all the Greeks confederated under Agamemnon had been unable for ten years to overcome, he could not but fancy that these same Greeks would fall an easy prey before his innumerable host. Another day’s march between Rhœteium, Ophryneium, and Dardanus on the left-hand, and the Teukrians of Gergis on the right-hand, brought him to Abydos, where his two newly-constructed bridges over the Hellespont awaited him.

On this transit from Asia into Europe Herodotus dwells with peculiar emphasis,—and well he might do so, since when we consider the bridges, the invading number, the unmeasured hopes succeeded by no less unmeasured calamity,—it will appear not only to have been the most imposing event of his century, but to rank among the most imposing events of all history. He surrounds it with much dramatic circumstance, not only mentioning the marble throne erected for Xerxes on a hill near Abydos, from whence he surveyed both his masses of land-force covering the shore, and his ships sailing and racing in the strait (a race in[p. 30] which the Phenicians of Sidon surpassed the Greeks and all the other contingents), but also superadding to this real fact a dialogue with Artabanus, intended to set forth the internal mind of Xerxes. He farther quotes certain supposed exclamations of the Abydenes at the sight of his superhuman power. “Why (said one of these terror-stricken spectators[44]), why dost thou, O Zeus, under the shape of a Persian man and the name of Xerxes, thus bring together the whole human race for the ruin of Greece? It would have been easy for thee to accomplish that without so much ado.” Such emphatic ejaculations exhibit the strong feeling which Herodotus or his informants throw into the scene, though we cannot venture to apply to them the scrutiny of historical criticism.

At the first moment of sunrise, so sacred in the mind of Orientals,[45] the passage was ordered to begin: the bridges being perfumed with frankincense and strewed with myrtle boughs, while Xerxes himself made libations into the sea with a golden censer, and offered up prayers to Helios, that he might effect without hindrance his design of conquering Europe even to its farthest extremity. Along with his libation he cast into the Hellespont the censer itself, with a golden bowl and a Persian scimitar;—“I do not exactly know[46] (adds the historian) whether he threw them in as a gift to Helios, or as a mark of repentance and atonement to the Hellespont for the stripes which he had inflicted upon it.” Of the two bridges, that nearest to the Euxine was devoted to the military force,—the other, to the attendants, the baggage, and the beasts of burden. The ten thousand Persians, called Immortals, all wearing garlands on their heads, were[p. 31] the first to pass over, and Xerxes himself, with the remaining army, followed next, though in an order somewhat different from that which had been observed in quitting Sardis: the monarch having reached the European shore, saw his troops crossing the bridges after him “under the lash.” But in spite of the use of this sharp stimulus to accelerate progress, so vast were the numbers of his host, that they occupied no less than seven days and seven nights, without a moment of intermission, in the business of crossing over,—a fact to be borne in mind presently, when we come to discuss the totals computed by Herodotus.[47]

Having thus cleared the strait, Xerxes directed his march along the Thracian Chersonese, to the isthmus whereby it is joined with Thrace, between the town of Kardia on his left hand and the tomb of Hellê on his right,—the eponymous heroine of the strait. After passing this isthmus, he turned westward along the coast of the gulf of Melas and the Ægean sea,—crossing the river from which that gulf derived its name, and even drinking its waters up—according to Herodotus—with the men and animals of his army. Having passed by the Æolic city of Ænus and the harbor called Stentoris, he reached the sea-coast and plain called Doriskus, covering the rich delta near the mouth of the Hebrus: a fort had been built there and garrisoned by Darius. The spacious plain called by this same name reached far along the shore to Cape Serreium, and comprised in it the towns of Salê and Zonê, possessions of the Samothracian Greeks planted on the territory once possessed by the Thracian Kikones on the mainland. Having been here joined by his fleet, which had doubled[48] the southernmost promontory of the Thracian Chersonese, he thought the situation convenient for a general review and enumeration both of his land and his naval force.

Never probably in the history of mankind has there been[p. 32] brought together a body of men from regions so remote and so widely diverse, for one purpose and under one command, as those which were now assembled in Thrace near the mouth of the Hebrus. About the numerical total we cannot pretend to form any definite idea; about the variety of contingents there is no room for doubt. “What Asiatic nation was there (asks Herodotus,[49] whose conceptions of this expedition seem to outstrip his powers of language) that Xerxes did not bring against Greece?” Nor was it Asiatic nations alone, comprised within the Oxus, the Indus, the Persian gulf, the Red Sea, the Levant, the Ægean and the Euxine: we must add to these also the Egyptians, the Ethiopians on the Nile south of Egypt, and the Libyans from the desert near Kyrênê. Not all the expeditions, fabulous or historical, of which Herodotus had ever heard, appeared to him comparable to this of Xerxes, even for total number; much more in respect of variety of component elements. Forty-six different nations,[50] each with its distinct national costume, mode of arming, and local leaders, formed the vast land-force; eight other nations furnished the fleet, on board of which Persians, Medes, and Sakæ served as armed soldiers or marines; and the real leaders, both of the entire army and of all its various divisions, were[p. 33] native Persians of noble blood, who distributed the various native contingents into companies of thousands, hundreds, and tens. The forty-six nations composing the land-force were as follows: Persians, Medes, Kissians, Hyrkanians, Assyrians, Baktrians, Sakæ, Indians, Arians, Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, Gandarians, Dadikæ, Kaspians, Sarangæ, Paktyes, Utii, Myki, Parikanii, Arabians, Ethiopians in Asia and Ethiopians south of Egypt, Libyans, Paphlagonians, Ligyes, Matieni, Mariandyni, Syrians, Phrygians, Armenians, Lydians, Mysians, Thracians, Kabêlians, Mares, Kolchians, Alarodians, Saspeires, Sagartii. The eight nations who furnished the fleet were: Phenicians, three hundred ships of war; Egyptians, two hundred; Cypriots, one hundred and fifty; Kilikians, one hundred; Pamphylians, thirty; Lykians, fifty; Karians, seventy; Ionic Greeks, one hundred; Doric Greeks, thirty; Æolic Greeks, sixty; Hellespontic Greeks, one hundred; Greeks from the islands in the Ægean, seventeen; in all one thousand two hundred and seven triremes, or ships of war, with three banks of oars. The descriptions of costume and arms which we find in Herodotus are curious and varied; but it is important to mention that no nation except the Lydians, Pamphylians, Cypriots and Karians (partially also the Egyptian marines on shipboard) bore arms analogous to those of the Greeks (i. e. arms fit for steady conflict and sustained charge,[51]—for hand combat in line as well as for defence of the person,—but inconveniently heavy either in pursuit or in flight); while the other nations were armed with missile weapons,—light shields of wicker or leather, or no shields at all,—turbans or leather caps instead of helmets,—swords, and scythes. They were not properly equipped either for fighting in regular order or for resisting the line of spears and shields which the Grecian hoplites brought to bear upon them; their persons too were much less protected against wounds than those of the latter; some of them indeed, as the Mysians and Libyans, did not even carry spears, but only staves with the end hardened in the fire.[52] A nomadic tribe of Persians, called Sagartii, to the number of eight thousand horsemen, came armed only with a dagger and with the rope known in South America as the lasso, which they cast in[p. 34] the fight to entangle an antagonist. The Æthiopians from the Upper Nile had their bodies painted half red and half white, wore the skins of lions and panthers, and carried, besides the javelin, a long bow with arrows of reed, tipped with a point of sharp stone.

It was at Doriskus that the fighting men of the entire land-army were first numbered; for Herodotus expressly informs us that the various contingents had never been numbered separately, and avows his own ignorance of the amount of each. The means employed for numeration were remarkable. Ten thousand men were counted,[53] and packed together as closely as possible: a line was drawn, and a wall of inclosure built around the space which they had occupied, into which all the army was directed to enter successively, so that the aggregate number of divisions, comprising ten thousand each, was thus ascertained. One hundred and seventy of these divisions were affirmed by the informants of Herodotus to have been thus numbered, constituting a total of one million seven hundred thousand foot, besides eighty thousand horse, many war-chariots from Libya and camels from Arabia, with a presumed total of twenty thousand additional men.[54] Such was the vast land-force of the Persian monarch: his naval equipments were of corresponding magnitude, comprising not only the twelve hundred and seven triremes,[55] or war-ships, of three banks of oars, but also three thousand smaller vessels of war and transports. The crew of each trireme comprised two hundred rowers, and thirty fighting-men, Persians or Sakæ; that of each of the accompanying vessels included eighty men, according to an average which Herodotus supposes not far from the truth. If we sum up these items, the total numbers brought by Xerxes from Asia to the plain and to the coast of Doriskus would reach the astounding figure of[p. 35] two million three hundred and seventeen thousand men. Nor is this all. In the farther march from Doriskus to Thermopylæ, Xerxes pressed into his service men and ships from all the people whose territory he traversed: deriving from hence a reinforcement of one hundred and twenty triremes with aggregate crews of twenty-four thousand men, and of three hundred thousand new land troops, so that the aggregate of his force when he appeared at Thermopylæ was two million six hundred and forty thousand men. To this we are to add, according to the conjecture of Herodotus, a number not at all inferior, as attendants, slaves, sutlers, crews of the provision-craft and ships of burden, etc., so that the male persons accompanying the Persian king when he reached his first point of Grecian resistance amounted to five million two hundred and eighty-three thousand two hundred and twenty! So stands the prodigious estimate of this army, the whole strength of the Eastern world, in clear and express figures of Herodotus,[56] who himself evidently supposes the number to have been even greater; for he conceives the number of “camp followers” as not only equal to, but considerably larger than, that of fighting-men. We are to reckon, besides, the eunuchs, concubines, and female cooks, at whose number Herodotus does not pretend to guess: together with cattle, beasts of burden, and Indian dogs, in indefinite multitude, increasing the consumption of the regular army.

To admit this overwhelming total, or anything near to it, is obviously impossible: yet the disparaging remarks which it has drawn down upon Herodotus are noway merited.[57] He takes pains to distinguish that which informants told him, from that which he merely guessed. His description of the review at Doriskus is so detailed, that he had evidently conversed with persons who were present at it, and had learned the separate totals promulgated by the enumerators,—infantry, cavalry, and ships of war, great and small. As to the number of triremes,[p. 36] his statement seems beneath the truth, as we may judge from the contemporary authority of Æschylus, who in the “Persæ” gives the exact number of twelve hundred and seven Persian ships as having fought at Salamis: but between Doriskus and Salamis, Herodotus[58] has himself enumerated six hundred and forty-seven ships as lost or destroyed, and only one hundred and twenty as added. No exaggeration, therefore, can well be suspected in this statement, which would imply about two hundred and seventy-six thousand as the number of the crews, though there is here a confusion or omission in the narrative which we cannot clear up. But the aggregate of three thousand smaller ships, and still more, that of one million seven hundred thousand infantry, are far less trustworthy. There would be little or no motive for the enumerators to be exact, and every motive for them to exaggerate,—an immense nominal total would be no less pleasing to the army than to the monarch himself,—so that the military total of land-force and ships’ crews, which Herodotus gives as two million six hundred and forty-one thousand on the arrival at Thermopylæ, may be dismissed as unwarranted and incredible. And the computation whereby he determines the amount of non-military persons present, as equal or more than equal to the military, is founded upon suppositions noway admissible; for though in a Grecian well-appointed army it was customary to reckon one light-armed soldier, or attendant, for every hoplite, no such estimate can be applied to the Persian host. A few grandees and leaders might be richly provided with attendants of various kinds, but the great mass of the army[p. 37] would have none at all. Indeed, it appears that the only way in which we can render the military total, which must at all events have been very great, consistent with the conditions of possible subsistence, is by supposing a comparative absence of attendants, and by adverting to the fact of the small consumption, and habitual patience as to hardship of Orientals in all ages. An Asiatic soldier will at this day make his campaign upon scanty fare, and under privations which would be intolerable to an European.[59] And while we thus diminish the probable consumption, we have to consider that never in any case of ancient history had so much previous pains been taken to accumulate supplies on the line of march: in addition to which the cities in Thrace were required to furnish such an amount of provisions, when the army passed by, as almost brought them to ruin. Herodotus himself expresses his surprise how provisions could have been provided for so vast a multitude; and were we to admit his estimate literally, the difficulty would be magnified into an impossibility. Weighing the circumstances of the case well, and considering that this army was the result of a maximum of effort throughout the vast empire, that a great numerical total was the thing chiefly demanded, and that prayers for exemption were regarded by the Great King as a capital offence, and that provisions had been collected for three years before along the line of march,—we may[p. 38] well believe that the numbers of Xerxes were greater than were ever assembled in ancient times, or perhaps at any known epoch of history. But it would be rash to pretend to guess at any positive number, in the entire absence of ascertained data: and when we learn from Thucydides that he found it impossible to find out the exact numbers of the small armies of Greeks who fought at Mantineia,[60] we shall not be ashamed to avow our inability to count the Asiatic multitudes at Doriskus. We may remark, however, that, in spite of the reinforcements received afterwards in Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly, it may be doubted whether the aggregate total ever afterwards increased; for Herodotus takes no account of desertions, which yet must have been very numerous, in a host disorderly, heterogeneous, without any interest in the enterprise, and wherein the numbers of each separate contingent were unknown.

Ktesias gives the total of the host at eight hundred thousand men, and one thousand triremes, independent of the war-chariots: if he counts the crews of the triremes apart from the eight hundred thousand men, as seems probable, the total will then be considerably above a million. Ælian assigns an aggregate[p. 39] of seven hundred thousand men: Diodorus[61] appears to follow partly Herodotus, partly other authorities. None of these witnesses enable us to correct Herodotus, in a case where we are obliged to disbelieve him. He is, in some sort, an original witness, having evidently conversed with persons actually present at the muster of Doriskus, giving us both their belief as to the numbers, together with the computation, true or false, circulated among them by authority. Moreover, the contemporary Æschylus, while agreeing with him exactly as to the number of triremes, gives no specific figure as to the land-force, but conveys to us, in his Persæ, a general sentiment of vast number, which may seem in keeping with the largest statement of Herodotus: the Persian empire is drained of men,—the women of Susa are left without husbands and brothers,—the Baktrian territory has not been allowed to retain even its old men.[62] The terror-striking effect[p. 40] of this crowd was probably quite as great as if its numbers had really corresponded to the ideas of Herodotus.

After the numeration had taken place, Xerxes passed in his chariot by each of the several contingents, observed their equipment, and put questions to which the royal scribes noted down the answers: he then embarked on board a Sidonian trireme, which had been already fitted up with a gilt tent, and sailed along the prows of his immense fleet, moored in line about four hundred feet from the shore, and every vessel completely manned for action. Such a spectacle was well calculated to rouse emotions of arrogant confidence, and it was in this spirit that he sent forthwith for Demaratus, the exiled king of Sparta, who was among his auxiliaries,—to ask whether resistance on the part of the Greeks to such a force was even conceivable. The conversation between them, dramatically given by Herodotus, is one of the most impressive manifestations of sentiment in the Greek language.[63] Demaratus assures him that the Spartans most[p. 41] certainly, and the Dorians of Peloponnesus probably, will resist him to the death, be the difference of numbers what it may. Xerxes receives the statement with derision, but exhibits no feeling of displeasure: an honorable contrast to the treatment of Charidemus a century and a half afterwards, by the last monarch of Persia.[64]

After the completion of the review, Xerxes with the army pursued his march westward, in three divisions and along three different lines of road, through the territories of seven distinct tribes of Thracians, interspersed with Grecian maritime colonies: all was still within his own empire, and he took reinforcements from each as he passed: the Thracian Satræ were preserved from this levy by their unassailable seats amidst the woods and snows of Rhodopê. The islands of Samothrace and Thasus, with their subject towns on the mainland, and the Grecian colo[p. 42]nies Dikæa,[65] Maroneia, and Abdêra, were successively laid under contribution for contingents of ships or men; and, what was still more ruinous, they were further constrained to provide a day’s meal for the immense host as it passed: for the day of his passage the Great King was their guest. Orders had been transmitted for this purpose long beforehand, and for many months the citizens had been assiduously employed in collecting food for the army, as well as delicacies for the monarch,—grinding flour of wheat and barley, fattening cattle, keeping up birds and fowls; together with a decent display of gold and silver plate for the regal dinner. A superb tent was erected for Xerxes and his immediate companions, while the army received their rations in the open region around: on commencing the march next morning, the tent with all its rich contents was plundered, and nothing restored to those who had furnished it. Of course, so prodigious a host, which had occupied seven days and seven nights in crossing the double Hellespontine bridge, must also have been for many days on its march through the territory, and therefore at the charge, of each one among the cities, so that the cost brought them to the brink of ruin, and even in some cases drove them to abandon house and home. The cost incurred by the city of Thasus, on account of their possessions of the mainland, for this purpose, was no less than four hundred talents[66] (equal to ninety-two thousand eight hundred pounds): while at Abdêra, the witty Megakreon recommended to his countrymen to go in a body to the temples and thank the gods, because Xerxes was pleased to be satisfied with one meal in the day. Had the monarch required breakfast as well as dinner, the Abderites must have been reduced to the alternative either of exile or of utter destitution.[67] A stream called Lissus, which seems to have been[p. 43] of no great importance, is said to have been drunk up by the army, together with a lake of some magnitude near Pistyrus.[68]

Through the territory of the Edonian Thracians and the Pierians, between Pangæus and the sea, Xerxes and his army reached the river Strymon at the important station called Ennea Hodoi, or Nine-Roads, afterwards memorable by the foundation of Amphipolis. Bridges had been already thrown over the river, to which the Magian priests rendered solemn honors by sacrificing white horses and throwing them into the stream. Nor were his religious feelings satisfied without the more precious sacrifices often resorted to by the Persians: he here buried alive nine native youths and nine maidens, in compliment to Nine-Roads, the name of the Spot:[69] moreover, he also left, under the care of the Pæonians of Siris, the sacred chariot of Zeus, which had been brought from the seat of empire, but which doubtless was found inconvenient on the line of march. From the Strymon he marched forward along the Strymonic gulf, passing through the territory of the Bisaltæ, near the Greek colonies of Argilus and Stageirus, until he came to the Greek town of Akanthus, hard by the isthmus of Athos, which had been recently cut through. The fierce king of the Bisaltæ[70] refused submission to Xerxes, fled to Rhodopê for safety, and forbade his six sons to join the Persian host. Unhappily for themselves, they nevertheless did so, and when they came back he caused all of them to be blinded.

All the Greek cities, which Xerxes had passed by, obeyed his orders with sufficient readiness, and probably few doubted the ultimate success of so prodigious an armament. But the inhabitants of Akanthus had been eminent for their zeal and exertions in the cutting of the canal, and had probably made considerable profits during the operation; Xerxes now repaid their zeal by[p. 44] contracting with them the tie of hospitality, accompanied with praise and presents; though he does not seem to have exempted them from the charge of maintaining the army while in their territory. He here separated himself from his fleet, which was directed to sail through the canal of Athos, to double the two southwestern capes of the Chalkidic peninsula, to enter the Thermaic gulf, and to await his arrival at Therma. The fleet in its course gathered additional troops from the Greek towns in the two peninsulas of Sithonia and Pallênê, as well as on the eastern side of the Thermaic gulf, in the region called Krusis, or Krossæa, on the continental side of the isthmus of Pallênê. These Greek towns were numerous, but of little individual importance. Near Therma (Salonichi) in Mygdonia, in the interior of the gulf and eastward of the mouth of the Axius, the fleet awaited the arrival of Xerxes by land from Akanthus. He seems to have had a difficult march, and to have taken a route considerably inland, through Pæonia and Krestônia,—a wild, woody, and untrodden country, where his baggage-camels were set upon by lions, and where there were also wild bulls, of prodigious size and fierceness: at length he rejoined his fleet at Therma, and stretched his army throughout Mygdonia, the ancient Pieria, and Bottiæis, as far as the mouth of the Haliakmôn.[71]

Xerxes had now arrived within sight of Mount Olympus, the northern boundary of what was properly called Hellas; after a march through nothing but subject territory, with magazines laid up beforehand for the subsistence of his army, with additional contingents levied in his course, and probably with Thracian volunteers joining him in the hopes of plunder. The road along which he had marched was still shown with solemn reverence by the Thracians, and protected both from intruders and from tillage, even in the days of Herodotus.[72] The Macedonian princes, the last of his western tributaries, in whose territory he now found himself,—together with the Thessalian Aleuadæ,—undertook to conduct him farther. Nor did the task as yet appear difficult: what steps the Greeks were taking to oppose him, shall be related in the coming chapter.

[p. 45]


Our information respecting the affairs of Greece immediately after the repulse of the Persians from Marathon, is very scanty.

Kleomenês and Leotychidês, the two kings of Sparta (the former belonging to the elder, or Eurystheneïd, the latter to the younger, or the Prokleïd, race), had conspired for the purpose of dethroning the former Prokleïd king Demaratus: and Kleomenês had even gone so far as to tamper with the Delphian priestess for this purpose. His manœuvre being betrayed shortly afterwards, he was so alarmed at the displeasure of the Spartans, that he retired into Thessaly, and from thence into Arcadia, where he employed the powerful influence of his regal character and heroic lineage to arm the Arcadian people against his country. The Spartans, alarmed in their turn, voluntarily invited him back with a promise of amnesty. But his renewed lease did not last long: his habitual violence of character became aggravated into decided insanity, insomuch that he struck with his stick whomsoever he met; and his relatives were forced to confine him in chains under a Helot sentinel. By severe menaces, he one day constrained this man to give him his sword, with which he mangled himself dreadfully and perished. So shocking a death was certain to receive a religious interpretation, but which among the misdeeds of his life had drawn down upon him the divine wrath, was a point difficult to determine. Most of the Greeks imputed it to the sin of his having corrupted the Pythian priestess:[73] but the Athenians and Argeians were each disposed to an hypothesis of their own,—the former believed that the gods had thus punished the Spartan king for having cut timber in the sacred grove of Eleusis,—the latter recognized the avenging hand of the hero Argus, whose grove Kleomenês had burnt,[p. 46] along with so many suppliant warriors who had taken sanctuary in it. Without pronouncing between these different suppositions, Herodotus contents himself with expressing his opinion that the miserable death of Kleomenês was an atonement for his conduct to Demaratus. But what surprises us most is, to hear that the Spartans, usually more disposed than other Greeks to refer every striking phenomenon to divine agency, recognized on this occasion nothing but a vulgar physical cause: Kleomenês had gone mad, they affirmed, through habits of intoxication, learned from some Scythian envoys who had come to Sparta.[74]

The death of Kleomenês, and the discredit thrown on his character, emboldened the Æginetans to prefer a complaint at Sparta respecting their ten hostages whom Kleomenês and Leotychidês had taken away from the island, a little before the invasion of Attica by the Persians under Datis, and deposited at Athens as guarantee to the Athenians against aggression from Ægina at that critical moment. Leotychidês was the surviving auxiliary of Kleomenês in the requisition of these hostages, and against him the Æginetans complained. Though the proceeding was one unquestionably beneficial to the general cause of Greece,[75] yet such was the actual displeasure of the Lacedæmonians against the deceased king and his acts, that the survivor Leotychidês was brought to a public trial, and condemned to be delivered up as prisoner in atonement to the Æginetans. The latter were about to carry away their prisoner, when a dignified Spartan named Theasidês, pointed out to them the danger which they were incurring by such an indignity against the regal person,—the Spartans, he observed, had passed sentence under feelings of temporary wrath, which would probably be exchanged for sympathy if they saw the sentence realized.

Accordingly the Æginetans, instead of executing the sentence, contented themselves with stipulating that Leotychidês should accompany them to Athens and redemand their hostages detained there. The Athenians refused to give up the hostages, in spite of the emphatic terms in which the Spartan king set forth the[p. 47] sacred obligation of restoring a deposit:[76] they justified the refusal in part by saying that the deposit had been lodged by the two kings jointly, and could not be surrendered to one of them alone: but they probably recollected that the hostages were placed less as a deposit than as a security against Æginetan hostility,—which security they were not disposed to forego.

Leotychidês having been obliged to retire without success, the Æginetans resolved to adopt measures of retaliation for themselves: they waited for the period of a solemn festival celebrated every fifth year at Sunium, on which occasion a ship peculiarly equipped and carrying some of the leading Athenians as Theôrs, or sacred envoys, sailed thither from Athens. This ship they found means to capture, and carried all on board prisoners to Ægina. Whether an exchange took place, or whether the prisoners and hostages on both sides were put to death, we do not know; but the consequence of their proceeding was an active and decided war between Athens and Ægina,[77] beginning seemingly about 488 or 487 B. C., and lasting until 481 B. C., the year preceding the invasion of Xerxes.

An Æginetan citizen named Nikodromus took advantage of this war to further a plot against the government of the island: having been before, as he thought, unjustly banished, he now organized a revolt of the people against the ruling oligarchy, concerting with the Athenians a simultaneous invasion in support of his plan. Accordingly, on the appointed day he rose with his[p. 48] partisans in arms and took possession of the Old Town,—a strong post which had been superseded in course of time by the more modern city on the sea-shore, less protected though more convenient.[78] But no Athenians appeared, and without them he was unable to maintain his footing: he was obliged to make his escape from the island after witnessing the complete defeat of his partisans,—a large body of whom, seven hundred in number, fell into the hands of the government, and were led out for execution. One man alone among these prisoners burst his chains, fled to the sanctuary of Dêmêtêr Thesmophorus, and was fortunate enough to seize the handle of the door before he was overtaken. In spite of every effort to drag him away by force, he clung to it with convulsive grasp: his pursuers did not venture to put him to death in such a position, but they severed the hands from the body and then executed him, leaving the hands still hanging to and grasping[79] the door-handle, where they seem to have long remained without being taken off. Destruction of the seven hundred prisoners does not seem to have drawn down upon the Æginetan oligarchy either vengeance from the gods or censure from their contemporaries; but the violation of sanctuary, in the case of that one unfortunate man whose hands were cut off, was a crime which the goddess Dêmêtêr never forgave. More than fifty years afterwards, in the first year of the Peloponnesian war, the Æginetans, having been previously conquered by Athens, were finally expelled from their island: such expulsion was the divine judgment upon them for this ancient impiety, which half a[p. 49] century of continued expiatory sacrifice had not been sufficient to wipe out.[80]

The Athenians who were to have assisted Nikodromus arrived at Ægina one day too late. Their proceedings had been delayed by the necessity of borrowing twenty triremes from the Corinthians, in addition to fifty of their own: with these seventy sail they defeated the Æginetans, who met them with a fleet of equal number, and then landed on the island. The Æginetans solicited aid from Argos, but that city was either too much displeased with them, or too much exhausted by the defeat sustained from the Spartan Kleomenês, to grant it. Nevertheless, one thousand Argeian volunteers, under a distinguished champion of the pentathlon named Eurybatês, came to their assistance, and a vigorous war was carried on, with varying success, against the Athenian armament.

At sea, the Athenians sustained a defeat, being attacked at a moment when their fleet was in disorder, so that they lost four ships with their crews: on land they were more successful, and few of the Argeian volunteers survived to return home. The general of the latter, Eurybatês, confiding in his great personal strength and skill, challenged the best of the Athenian warriors to single combat: he slew three of them in succession, but the arm of the fourth, Sôphanês of Dekeleia, was victorious, and proved fatal to him.[81] At length the invaders were obliged to leave the island without any decisive result, and the war seems[p. 50] to have been prosecuted by frequent descents and privateering on both sides,—in which Nikodromus and the Æginetan exiles, planted by Athens on the coast of Attica near Sunium, took an active part;[82] the advantage on the whole being on the side of Athens.

The general course of this war, and especially the failure of the enterprise concerned with Nikodromus in consequence of delay in borrowing ships from Corinth, were well calculated to impress upon the Athenians the necessity of enlarging their naval force. And it is from the present time that we trace among them the first growth of that decided tendency towards maritime activity, which coincided so happily with the expansion of their democracy, and opened a new phase in Grecian history, as well as a new career for themselves.

The exciting effect produced upon them by the repulse of the Persians at Marathon has been dwelt upon in my preceding volume. Miltiades, the victor in that field, having been removed from the scene under circumstances already described, Aristeidês and Themistoklês became the chief men at Athens: and the former was chosen archon during the succeeding year. His exemplary uprightness in magisterial functions insured to him lofty esteem from the general public, not without a certain proportion of active enemies, some of them sufferers by his justice. These enemies naturally became partisans of his rival, Themistoklês, who had all the talents necessary for bringing them into coöperation: and the rivalry between the two chiefs became so bitter and menacing, that even Aristeidês himself is reported to have said, “If the Athenians were wise, they would cast both of us into the barathrum.” Under such circumstances, it is not too much to say that the peace of the country was preserved mainly by the institution called Ostracism, of which so much has been said in the preceding volume. After three or four years of continued political rivalry, the two chiefs appealed to a vote of ostracism, and Aristeidês was banished.

[p. 51]Of the particular points on which their rivalry turned, we are unfortunately little informed. But it is highly probable that one of them was, the important change of policy above alluded to,—the conversion of Athens from a land-power into a sea-power,—the development of this new and stirring element in the minds of the people. By all authorities, this change of policy is ascribed principally and specially to Themistoklês:[83] on that account, if for no other reason, Aristeidês would probably be found opposed to it,—but it was, moreover, a change not in harmony with that old-fashioned Hellenism, undisturbed uniformity of life and narrow range of active duty and experience, which Aristeidês seems to have approved in common with the subsequent philosophers. The seaman was naturally more of a wanderer and cosmopolite than the heavy-armed soldier: the modern Greek seaman even at this moment is so to a remarkable degree, distinguished for the variety of his ideas and the quickness of his intelligence:[84] the land-service was a type of steadiness and in[p. 52]flexible ranks, the sea-service that of mutability and adventure. Such was the idea strongly entertained by Plato and other philosophers:[85] though we may remark that they do not render justice to the Athenian seaman, whose training was far more perfect and laborious, and his habits of obedience far more complete,[86] than that of the Athenian hoplite, or horseman: a training beginning with Themistoklês, and reaching its full perfection about the commencement of the Peloponnesian war.

In recommending extraordinary efforts to create a navy as well as to acquire nautical practice, Themistoklês displayed all that sagacious appreciation of the circumstances and dangers of the time for which Thucydides gives him credit: and there can be no doubt that Aristeidês, though the honester politician of the two, was at this particular crisis the less essential to his country. Not only was there the struggle with Ægina, a maritime power equal or more than equal, and within sight of the Athenian harbor,—but there was also in the distance a still more formidable contingency to guard against. The Persian armament had been driven with disgrace from Attica back to Asia; but the Persian monarch still remained with undiminished means of aggression and increased thirst for revenge; and Themistoklês knew well that the danger from that quarter would recur greater than ever. He believed that it would recur again in the same way, by an expedition across the Ægean like that of Datis to Marathon;[87] against[p. 53] which the best defence would be found in a numerous and well-trained fleet. Nor could the large preparations of Darius for renewing the attack remain unknown to a vigilant observer, extending as they did over so many Greeks subject to the Persian empire. Such positive warning was more than enough to stimulate the active genius of Themistoklês, who now prevailed upon his countrymen to begin with energy the work of maritime preparation, as well against Ægina as against Persia.[88] Not only were two hundred new ships built, and citizens trained as seamen,—but the important work was commenced, during the year when Themistoklês was either archon or general, of forming and fortifying a new harbor for Athens at Peiræus, instead of the ancient open bay of Phalêrum. The latter was indeed somewhat nearer to the city, but Peiræus, with its three separate natural ports,[89] admitting of being closed and fortified, was incomparably superior in safety as well as in convenience. It is not too much to say, with Herodotus,—that the Æginetan “war was the salvation of Greece, by constraining the Athenians to make themselves a maritime power.”[90] The whole efficiency of the resistance subsequently made to Xerxes turned upon this new movement in the organization of Athens, allowed as it was to attain tolerable completeness through a fortunate concurrence of accidents; for the important delay of ten years, between the defeat of Marathon and the fresh invasion by which it was to be avenged, was in truth the result of accident. First, the revolt of Egypt; next, the death of Darius; thirdly, the indifference of Xerxes, at his first accession, towards Hellenic matters,—postponed until 480 B. C., an invasion which would naturally have been undertaken in 487 or 486 B. C., and which would have found Athens at that time without her wooden walls,—the great engine of her subsequent salvation.

Another accidental help, without which the new fleet could not have been built,—a considerable amount of public money,—was also by good fortune now available to the Athenians. It is[p. 54] first in an emphatic passage of the poet Æschylus, and next from Herodotus on the present occasion, that we hear of the silver mines of Laurium[91] in Attica, and the valuable produce which they rendered to the state. They were situated in the southern portion of the territory, not very far from the promontory of Sunium,[92] amidst a district of low hills which extended across much of the space between the eastern sea at Thorikus, and the western at Anaphlystus. At what time they first began to be worked, we have no information; but it seems hardly possible that they could have been worked with any spirit or profitable result until after the expulsion of Hippias and the establishment of the democratical constitution of Kleisthenês. Neither the strong local factions, by which different portions of Attica were set against each other before the time of Peisistratus, nor the rule of that despot succeeded by his two sons, were likely to afford confidence and encouragement. But when the democracy of Kleisthenês first brought Attica into one systematic and comprehensive whole, with equal rights to all the parts, and a common centre at Athens,—the power of that central government over the mineral wealth of the country, and its means of binding the whole people to respect agreements concluded with individual undertakers, would give a new stimulus to private speculation in the district of Laurium. It was the practice of the Athenian government either to sell, or to let for a long term of years, particular districts of this productive region to individuals or companies,—on consideration partly of a sum or fine paid down, partly of a reserved rent equal to one-twenty-fourth part of the gross produce.

We are told by Herodotus that there was in the Athenian[p. 55] treasury, at the time when Themistoklês made his proposition to enlarge the naval force, a great sum[93] arising from the Laurian mines, out of which a distribution was on the point of being made among the citizens,—ten drachms to each man. This great amount in hand must probably have been the produce of the purchase-money or fines received from recent sales, since the small annual reserved rent can hardly have been accumulated during many successive years: new and enlarged enterprises in mines must be supposed to have been recently begun by individuals under contract with the government, in order to produce at the moment so overflowing an exchequer and to furnish means for the special distribution contemplated. Themistoklês availed himself of this precious opportunity,—set forth the necessities of the war with Ægina and the still more formidable menace from the great enemy in Asia,—and prevailed upon the people to forego the promised distribution for the purpose of obtaining an efficient navy.[94] One cannot doubt that there must have been[p. 56] many speakers who would try to make themselves popular by opposing this proposition and supporting the distribution, insomuch that the power of the people generally to feel the force of a distant motive as predominant over a present gain deserves notice as an earnest of their approaching greatness.

Immense, indeed, was the recompense reaped for this self-denial, not merely by Athens but by Greece generally, when the preparations of Xerxes came to be matured, and his armament was understood to be approaching. The orders for equipment of ships and laying in of provisions, issued by the Great King to his subject Greeks in Asia, the Ægean, and Thrace, would of course become known throughout Greece Proper,—especially the vast labor bestowed on the canal of Mount Athos, which would be the theme of wondering talk with every Thasian or Akanthian citizen who visited the festival games in Peloponnesus. All these premonitory evidences were public enough, without any need of that elaborate stratagem whereby the exiled Demaratus[p. 57] is alleged to have secretly transmitted, from Susa to Sparta, intelligence of the approaching expedition.[95] The formal announcements of Xerxes all designated Athens as the special object of his wrath and vengeance;[96] and other Grecian cities might thus hope to escape without mischief: so that the prospect of the great invasion did not at first provoke among them any unanimous dispositions to resist. Accordingly, when the first heralds despatched by Xerxes from Sardis in the autumn of 481 B. C., a little before his march to the Hellespont, addressed themselves to the different cities with demand of earth and water, many were disposed to comply. Neither to Athens, nor to Sparta, were any heralds sent; and these two cities were thus from the beginning identified in interest and in the necessity of defence. Both of them sent, in this trying moment, to consult the Delphian oracle: while both at the same time joined to convene a Pan-Hellenic congress at the Isthmus of Corinth, for the purpose of organizing resistance against the expected invader.

I have in the preceding volume pointed out the various steps whereby the separate states of Greece were gradually brought, even against their own natural instincts, into something approaching more nearly to political union. The present congress, assembled under the influence of common fear from Persia, has more of a Pan-Hellenic character than any political event which has yet occurred in Grecian history. It extends far beyond the range of those Peloponnesian states who constitute the immediate allies of Sparta: it comprehends Athens, and is even summoned in part by her strenuous instigation: it seeks to combine, moreover, every city of Hellenic race and language, however distant, which can be induced to take part in it,—even the Kretans, Korkyræans, and Sicilians. It is true that all these states do not actually come, but earnest efforts are made to induce them to come: the dispersed brethren of the Hellenic family are intreated to marshal themselves in the same ranks for a joint political purpose,[97]—the defence of the common[p. 58] hearth and metropolis of the race. This is a new fact in Grecian history, opening scenes and ideas unlike to anything which has gone before,—enlarging, prodigiously, the functions and duties connected with that headship of Greece which had hitherto been in the hands of Sparta, but which is about to become too comprehensive for her to manage,—and thus introducing increased habits of coöperation among the subordinate states, as well as rival hopes of aggrandizement among the leaders. The congress at the isthmus of Corinth marks such further advance in the centralizing tendencies of Greece, and seems at first to promise an onward march in the same direction: but the promise will not be found realized.

Its first step was, indeed, one of inestimable value. While most of the deputies present came prepared, in the name of their respective cities, to swear reciprocal fidelity and brotherhood, they also addressed all their efforts to appease the feuds and dissensions which reigned among the particular members of their own meeting. Of these the most prominent, as well as the most dangerous, was the war still subsisting between Athens and Ægina. The latter was not exempt, even now, from suspicions of medizing,[98] i. e., embracing the cause of the Persians, which had been raised by her giving earth and water ten years before to Darius: but her present conduct gave no countenance to such suspicions: she took earnest part in the congress as well as in the joint measures of defence, and willingly consented to accommodate her difference with Athens.[99] In this work of reconciling feuds, so essential to the safety of Greece, the Athenian Themistoklês took a prominent part, as well as Cheileos of Tegea in Arcadia.[100] The congress proceeded to send envoys and solicit coöperation from such cities as were yet either equivocal or indifferent, especially Argos, Korkyra, and the Kretan and Sicilian Greeks,—and at the same time to despatch spies across to Sardis, for the purpose of learning the state and prospects of the assembled army.

These spies presently returned, having been detected and condemned to death by the Persian generals, but released by[p. 59] express order of Xerxes, who directed that the full strength of his assembled armament should be shown to them, in order that the terror of the Greeks might be thus magnified. The step was well calculated for such a purpose: but the discouragement throughout Greece was already extreme, at this critical period when the storm was about to burst upon them. Even to intelligent and well-meaning Greeks, much more to the careless, the timid, or the treacherous,—Xerxes with his countless host appeared irresistible, and indeed something more than human:[101] of course, such an impression would be encouraged by the large number of Greeks already his tributaries: and we may even trace a manifestation of a wish to get rid of the Athenians altogether, as the chief objects of Persian vengeance and chief hindrance to tranquil submission. This despair of the very continuance of Hellenic life and autonomy breaks forth even from the sanctuary of Hellenic religion, the Delphian temple; when the Athenians, in their distress and uncertainty, sent to consult the oracle. Hardly had their two envoys performed the customary sacrifices, and sat down in the inner chamber near the priestess Aristonikê, when she at once exclaimed: “Wretched men, why sit ye there? Quit your land and city, and flee afar! Head, body, feet, and hands are alike rotten: fire and sword, in the train of the Syrian chariot, shall overwhelm you: nor only your city, but other cities also, as well as many even of the temples of the gods,—which are now sweating and trembling with fear, and foreshadow, by drops of blood on their roofs, the hard calamities impending. Get ye away from the sanctuary, with your souls steeped in sorrow.”[102]

[p. 60]So terrific a reply had rarely escaped from the lips of the priestess. The envoys were struck to the earth by it, and durst not carry it back to Athens. In their sorrow they were encouraged yet to hope by an influential Delphian citizen named Timon (we trace here, as elsewhere, the underhand working of these leading Delphians on the priestess), who advised them to provide themselves with the characteristic marks of supplication, and to approach the oracle a second time in that imploring guise: “O lord, we pray thee (they said), have compassion on these boughs of supplication, and deliver to us something more comfortable concerning our country; else we quit not thy sanctuary, but remain here until death.” Upon which the priestess replied: “Athênê with all her prayers and all her sagacity cannot propitiate Olympian Zeus.[103] But this assurance I will give you, firm as adamant: when everything else in the land of Kekrops shall be taken, Zeus grants to Athênê that the wooden wall alone shall remain unconquered, to defend you and your children. Stand not to await the assailing horse and foot from the continent, but turn your backs and retire: you shall yet live to fight another day. O divine Salamis, thou too shalt destroy the children of women, either at the seed-time or at the harvest.”[104]

This second answer was a sensible mitigation of the first: it left open some hope of escape, though faint, dark, and unintelligible,—and the envoys wrote it down to carry back to Athens, not concealing, probably, the terrific sentence which had preceded it. When read to the people, the obscurity of the meaning provoked many different interpretations. What was meant by “the wooden wall?” Some supposed that the acropolis itself, which[p. 61] had originally been surrounded with a wooden palisade, was the refuge pointed out: but the greater number, and among them most of those who were by profession expositors of prophecy, maintained that the wooden wall indicated the fleet. But these professional expositors, while declaring that the god bade them go on shipboard, deprecated all idea of a naval battle, and insisted on the necessity of abandoning Attica forever: the last lines of the oracle, wherein it was said that Salamis would destroy the children of women, appeared to them to portend nothing but disaster in the event of a naval combat. Such was the opinion of those who passed for the best expositors of the divine will: it harmonized completely with the despairing temper then prevalent, heightened by the terrible sentence pronounced in the first oracle; and emigration to some foreign land presented itself as the only hope of safety even for their persons. The fate of Athens,—and of Greece generally, which would have been helpless without Athens,—now hung upon a thread, when Themistoklês, the great originator of the fleet, interposed with equal steadfastness of heart and ingenuity, to insure the proper use of it. He contended that if the god had intended to designate Salamis as the scene of a naval disaster to the Greeks, that island would have been called in the oracle by some such epithet as “wretched Salamis:” but the fact that it was termed “divine Salamis,” indicated that the parties, destined to perish there, were the enemies of Greece, not the Greeks themselves. He encouraged his countrymen, therefore, to abandon their city and country, and to trust themselves to the fleet as the wooden wall recommended by the god, but with full determination to fight and conquer on board.[105] Great, indeed, were the consequences[p. 62] which turned upon this bold stretch of exegetical conjecture. Unless the Athenians had been persuaded, by some plausible show of interpretation, that the sense of the oracle encouraged instead of forbidding a naval combat, they would in their existing depression have abandoned all thought of resistance.

Even with the help of an encouraging interpretation, however, nothing less than the most unconquerable resolution and patriotism could have enabled the Athenians to bear up against such terrific denunciations from the Delphian god, and persist in resistance in place of seeking safety by emigration. Herodotus emphatically impresses this truth upon his readers:[106] nay, he even steps out of his way to do so, proclaiming Athens as the real saviour of Greece. Writing as he did about the beginning of the Peloponnesian war,—at a time when Athens, having attained the maximum of her empire, was alike feared, hated, and admired, by most of the Grecian states,—he knows that the opinion which he is giving will be unpopular with his hearers generally, and he apologizes for it as something wrung from him against his will by the force of the evidence.[107] Nor was it only[p. 63] that the Athenians dared to stay and fight against immense odds: they, and they alone, threw into the cause that energy and forwardness whereby it was enabled to succeed,[108] as will appear farther in the sequel. But there was also a third way, not less deserving of notice, in which they contributed to the result. As soon as the congress of deputies met at the isthmus of Corinth, it became essential to recognize some one commanding state, and with regard to the land-force no one dreamed of contesting the preëminence of Sparta. But in respect to the fleet, her pretensions were more disputable, since she furnished at most only sixteen ships, and little or no nautical skill; while Athens brought two-thirds of the entire naval force, with the best ships and seamen. Upon these grounds the idea was at first started, that Athens should command at sea. and Sparta on land: but the majority of the allies manifested a decided repugnance, announcing that they would follow no one but a Spartan. To the honor of the Athenians, they at once waived their pretensions, as soon as they saw that the unity of the confederate force, at this moment of peril, would be compromised.[109] To appreciate this generous abnegation of a claim in itself so reasonable, we must recollect that the love of preëminence was among the most prominent attributes of the Hellenic character: a prolific source of their greatness and excellence, but producing also no small amount both of their follies and their crimes. To renounce at the call of public obligation a claim to personal honor and glory, is perhaps the rarest of all virtues in a son of Hellen.

We find thus the Athenians nerved up to the pitch of resistance,—prepared to see their country wasted, and to live as well as to fight on shipboard, when the necessity should arrive,—fur[p. 64]nishing two thirds of the whole fleet, and yet prosecuting the building of fresh ships until the last moment,[110]—sending forth the ablest and most forward leader in the common cause, while content themselves to serve like other states under the leadership of Sparta. During the winter preceding the march of Xerxes from Sardis, the congress at the Isthmus was trying, with little success, to bring the Grecian cities into united action. Among the cities north of Attica and Peloponnesus, the greater number were either inclined to submit, like Thebes and the greater part of Bœotia, or at least lukewarm in the cause of independence,—so rare at this trying moment (to use the language of the unfortunate Platæans fifty-three years afterwards), was the exertion of resolute Hellenic patriotism against the invader.[111] Even in the interior of Peloponnesus, the powerful Argos maintained an ambiguous neutrality. It was one of the first steps of the congress to send special envoys to Argos, to set forth the common danger and solicit coöperation; the result is certain, that no coöperation was obtained,—the Argeians did nothing throughout the struggle; but as to their real position, or the grounds of their refusal, contradictory statements had reached the ears of Herodotus. They themselves affirmed that they were ready to have joined the Hellenic cause, in spite of dissuasion from the Delphian oracle,—exacting only as conditions, that the Spartans should conclude a truce with them for thirty years, and should equally divide the honors of headship with Argos. To the proposed truce there would probably have been no objection, nor was there any as to the principle of dividing the headship: but the Spartans added, that they had two kings, while the Argeians had only one; and inasmuch as neither of the two Spartan kings could be deprived of his vote, the Argeian king could only be admitted to a third vote conjointly with them. This proposition appeared to the Argeians, who considered that even the undivided headship was no more than their ancient right, as nothing[p. 65] better than insolent encroachment. and incensed them so much that they desired the envoys to quit their territory before sunset,—preferring even a tributary existence under Persia to a formal degradation as compared with Sparta.[112]

Such was the story told by the Argeians themselves, but seemingly not credited either by any other Greeks or by Herodotus himself. The prevalent opinion was, that the Argeians had a secret understanding with Xerxes, and some even affirmed that they had been the parties who invited him into Greece, as a means both of protection and of vengeance to themselves against Sparta after their defeat by Kleomenês. And Herodotus himself evidently believed that they medized, though he is half afraid to say so, and disguises his opinion in a cloud of words which betray the angry polemics going on about the matter, even fifty years afterwards.[113] It is certain that in act the Argeians were[p. 66] neutral, and one of their reasons for neutrality was, that they did not choose to join any Pan-Hellenic levy except in the capacity of chiefs; but probably the more powerful reason was, that they shared the impression then so widely diffused throughout Greece as to the irresistible force of the approaching host, and chose to hold themselves prepared for the event. They kept up secret negotiations even with Persian agents, yet not compromising themselves while matters were still pending; nor is it improbable, in their vexation against Sparta, that they would have been better pleased if the Persians had succeeded,—all which may reasonably be termed, medizing.

The absence of Hellenic fidelity in Argos was borne out by the parallel examples of Krete and Korkyra, to which places envoys from the Isthmus proceeded at the same time. The Kretans declined to take any part, on the ground of prohibitory injunctions from the oracle;[114] the Korkyræans promised without performing, and even without any intention to perform. Their neutrality was a serious loss to the Greeks, since they could fit out a naval force of sixty triremes, second only to that of Athens. With this important contingent they engaged to join the Grecian fleet, and actually set sail from Korkyra; but they took care not to sail round cape Malea, or to reach the scene of action. Their fleet remained on the southern or western coast of Peloponnesus, under pretence of being weatherbound, until the decisive result of the battle of Salamis was known. Their impression was that the Persian monarch would be victorious, in which case they would have made a merit of not having arrived in time; but they were also prepared with the plausible excuse of detention from foul winds, when the result turned out otherwise, and when they were reproached by the Greeks for their absence.[115] Such duplicity is not very astonishing, when we recollect that it was the habitual policy of Korkyra to isolate herself from Hellenic confederacies.[116]

[p. 67]The envoys who visited Korkyra proceeded onward on their mission to Gelon, the despot of Syracuse. Of that potentate, regarded by Herodotus as more powerful than any state in Greece, I shall speak more fully in a subsequent chapter: it is sufficient to mention now, that he rendered no aid against Xerxes. Nor was it in his power to do so, whatever might have been his inclinations; for the same year which brought the Persian monarch against Greece, was also selected by the Carthaginians for a formidable invasion of Sicily, which kept the Sicilian Greeks to the defence of their own island. It seems even probable that this simultaneous invasion had been concerted between the Persians and Carthaginians.[117]

The endeavors of the deputies of Greeks at the Isthmus had thus produced no other reinforcement to their cause except some fair words from the Korkyræans. It was near the time when Xerxes was about to pass the Hellespont, in the beginning of 480 B. C., that the first actual step for resistance was taken, at the instigation of the Thessalians. Though the great Thessalian family of the Aleuadæ were among the companions of Xerxes, and the most forward in inviting him into Greece, with every promise of ready submission from their countrymen, it seems that these promises were in reality unwarranted: the Aleuadæ were at the head only of a minority, and perhaps were even in exile, like the Peisistratidæ:[118] while most of the Thessalians were disposed to resist Xerxes, for which purpose they now sent envoys to the Isthmus,[119] intimating the necessity of guarding the passes of Olympus, the northernmost entrance of Greece. They offered their own cordial aid in this defence, adding that they should be under the necessity of making their own separate submission, if this demand were not complied with. Accordingly, a body of ten thousand Grecian heavy-armed infantry, under the[p. 68] command of the Spartan Euænetus and the Athenian Themistoklês, were despatched by sea to Halus in Achæa Phthiôtis, where they disembarked and marched by land across Achæa and Thessaly.[120] Being joined by the Thessalian horse, they occupied the defile of Tempê, through which the river Peneius makes its way to the sea, by a cleft between the mountains Olympus and Ossa.

The long, narrow, and winding defile of Tempê, formed then, and forms still, the single entrance, open throughout winter as well as summer, from lower or maritime Macedonia into Thessaly: the lofty mountain precipices approach so closely as to leave hardly room enough in some places for a road: it is thus eminently defensible, and a few resolute men would be sufficient to arrest in it the progress of the most numerous host.[121] But the Greeks soon discovered that the position was such as they could not hold,—first, because the powerful fleet of Xerxes would be able to land troops in their rear; secondly, because there was also a second entrance passable in summer, from upper Macedonia into Thessaly, by the mountain-passes over the range of Olympus; an entrance which traversed the country of the Perrhæbians and came into Thessaly near Gonnus, about the spot where the defile of Tempê begins to narrow. It was in fact by this second pass, evading the insurmountable difficulties of Tempê,[p. 69] that the advancing march of the Persians was destined to be made, under the auspices of Alexander, king of Macedon, tributary to them, and active in their service; who sent a communication of this fact to the Greeks at Tempê, admonishing them that they would be trodden under foot by the countless host approaching, and urging them to renounce their hopeless position.[122] This Macedonian prince passed for a friend, and probably believed himself to be acting as such in dissuading the Greeks from unavailing resistance to Persia: but he was in reality a very dangerous mediator; and as such the Spartans had good reason to dread him, in a second intervention of which we shall hear more hereafter.[123] On the present occasion, the Grecian commanders were quite ignorant of the existence of any other entrance into Thessaly, besides Tempê, until their arrival in that region. Perhaps it might have been possible to defend both entrances at once, and considering the immense importance of arresting the march of the Persians at the frontiers of Hellas, the attempt would have been worth some risk. So great was the alarm, however, produced by the unexpected discovery, justifying, or seeming to justify, the friendly advice of Alexander, that they remained only a few days at Tempê, then at once retired back to their ships, and returned by sea to the isthmus of Corinth,—about the time when Xerxes was crossing the Hellespont.[124]

This precipitate retreat produced consequences highly disastrous and discouraging. It appeared to leave all Hellas north of mount Kithæron and of the Megarid territory without defence, and it served either as reason or pretext for the majority of the Grecian states north of that boundary to make their submission to Xerxes, which some of them had already begun to do before.[125] When Xerxes in the course of his march reached the Thermaic gulf, within sight of Olympus and Ossa, the heralds whom he had sent from Sardis brought him tokens of submission from a third portion of the Hellenic name,—the Thessalians, Dolopes, Ænianes, Perrhæbians, Magnêtes, Lokrians, Dorians, Melians, Phthiôtid Achæans, and Bœotians,—among the latter[p. 70] is included Thebes, but not Thespiæ or Platæa. The Thessalians, especially, not only submitted, but manifested active zeal and rendered much service in the cause of Xerxes, under the stimulus of the Aleuadæ, whose party now became predominant: they were probably indignant at the hasty retreat of those who had come to defend them.[126]

Had the Greeks been able to maintain the passes of Olympus and Ossa, all this northern fraction might probably have been induced to partake in the resistance instead of becoming auxiliaries to the invader. During the six weeks or two months which elapsed between the retreat of the Greeks from Tempê and the arrival of Xerxes at Therma, no new plan of defence appears to have been formed; for it was not until that arrival became known at the Isthmus that the Greek army and fleet made its forward movement to occupy Thermopylæ and Artemisium.[127]


It was while the northerly states of Greece were thus successively falling off from the common cause, that the deputies assembled at the Isthmus took among themselves the solemn engagement, in the event of success, to inflict upon these recusant brethren condign punishment,—to tithe them in property, and perhaps to consecrate a tenth of their persons, for the profit of the Delphian god. Exception was to be made in favor of those states which had been driven to yield by irresistible necessity.[128] Such a vow seemed at that moment little likely to be executed it was the manifestation of a determined feeling binding together[p. 71] the states which took the pledge, but it cannot have contributed much to intimidate the rest.

To display their own force, was the only effective way of keeping together doubtful allies; and the pass of Thermopylæ was now fixed upon as the most convenient point of defence, next to that of Tempê,—leaving out indeed, and abandoning to the enemy, Thessalians, Perrhæbians, Magnêtes, Phthiôtid Achæans, Dolopes, Ænianes, Malians, etc., who would all have been included if the latter line had been adhered to; but comprising the largest range consistent with safety. The position of Thermopylæ presented another advantage which was not to be found at Tempê; the mainland was here separated from the island of Eubœa only by a narrow strait, about two English miles and a half in its smallest breadth, between mount Knêmis and cape Kênæum. On the northern portion of Eubœa, immediately facing Magnesia and Achæa Phthiôtis, was situated the line of coast called Artemisium: a name derived from the temple of Artemis, which was its most conspicuous feature, belonging to the town of Histiæa. It was arranged that the Grecian fleet should be mustered there, in order to coöperate with the land-force, and to oppose the progress of the Persians on both elements at once. To fight in a narrow space[129] was supposed favorable to the Greeks on sea not less than on land, inasmuch as their ships were both fewer in number and heavier in sailing than those in the Persian service. From the position of Artemisium, it was calculated that they might be able to prevent the Persian fleet from advancing into the narrow strait which severs Eubœa, to the north and west, from the mainland, and which, between Chalkis and Bœotia, becomes not too wide for a bridge. It was at this latter point that the Greek seamen would have preferred to place their defence: but the occupation of the northern part of the Eubœan strait was indispensable to prevent the Persian fleet from landing troops in the rear of the defenders of Thermopylæ.

Of this Eubœan strait, the western limit is formed by what[p. 72] was then called the Maliac gulf, into which the river Spercheius poured itself,—after a course from west to east between the line of Mount Othrys to the north, and Mount Œta to the south,—near the town of Antikyra. The lower portion of this spacious and fertile valley of the Spercheius was occupied by the various tribes of the Malians, bordering to the north and east on Achæa Phthiôtis: the southernmost Malians, with their town of Trachis, occupied a plain—in some places considerable, in others very narrow—inclosed between mount Œta and the sea. From Trachis the range of Œta stretched eastward, bordering close on the southern shore of the Maliac gulf: between the two lay the memorable pass of Thermopylæ.[130] On the road from Trachis to Thermopylæ, immediately outside of the latter and at the mouth of the little streams called the Phenix and the Asôpus, was placed the town of Anthêla, celebrated for its temples of Amphiktyon and of the Amphiktyonic Dêmêtêr, as well as for the autumnal assemblies of the Amphiktyonic council, for whom seats were provided in the temple.

Immediately near to Anthêla, the northern slope of the mighty and prolonged ridge of Œta approached so close to the gulf, or at least to an inaccessible morass which formed the edge of the gulf, as to leave no more than one single wheel track between. This narrow entrance formed the western gate of Thermopylæ. At some little distance, seemingly about a mile, to the eastward, the same close conjunction between the mountain and the sea was repeated,—thus forming the eastern gate of Thermopylæ, not far from the first town of the Lokrians, called Alpêni. The space between these two gates was wider and more open, but it was distinguished, and is still distinguished, by its abundant flow of thermal springs, salt and sulphureous. Some cells were here prepared for bathers, which procured for the place the appellation of Chytri, or the Pans: but the copious supply of mineral water spread its mud and deposited its crust over all the adjacent ground; and the Phocians, some time before, had designedly endeavored so to conduct the water as to render the pass utterly[p. 73] impracticable, at the same time building a wall across it near to the western gate. They had done this in order to keep off the attacks of the Thessalians, who had been trying to extend their conquests southward and eastward. The warm springs, here as in other parts of Greece, were consecrated to Hêraklês,[131] whose legendary exploits and sufferings ennobled all the surrounding region,—mount Œta, Trachis, cape Kenæum, Lichades islands, the river Dyras: some fragments of these legends have been transmitted and adorned by the genius of Sophoklês, in his drama of the Trachinian maidens.

Such was the general scene—two narrow openings with an intermediate mile of enlarged road and hot springs between them—which passed in ancient times by the significant name of Thermopylæ, the Hot Gates; or sometimes, more briefly, Pylæ—The Gates. At a point also near Trachis, between the mountains and the sea, about two miles outside or westward of Thermopylæ, the road was hardly less narrow, but it might be turned by marching to the westward, since the adjacent mountains were lower, and presented less difficulty of transit; while at Thermopylæ itself, the overhanging projection of mount Œta was steep, woody, and impracticable, leaving access, from Thessaly into Lokris and the territories southeast of Œta, only through the strait gate;[132] save and except an unfrequented as well as cir[p. 74]cuitous mountain-path, which will be presently spoken of. The wall originally built across the pass by the Phocians was now half-ruined by age and neglect: but the Greeks easily reëstablished it, determined to await in this narrow pass, in that age narrower even than the defile of Tempê, the approach of the invading host. The edge of the sea line appears to have been for the most part marsh, fit neither for walking nor for sailing: but there were points at which boats could land, so that constant communication could be maintained with the fleet at Artemisium, while Alpêni was immediately in their rear to supply provisions.

Though the resolution of the Greek deputies assembled at the Isthmus, to defend conjointly Thermopylæ and the Eubœan[p. 75] strait, had been taken, seemingly, not long after the retreat from Tempê, their troops and their fleet did not actually occupy these positions until Xerxes was known to have reached the Thermaic gulf. Both were then put in motion; the land-force under the Spartan king Leonidas, the naval force under the Spartan commander Eurybiadês, apparently about the latter part of the month of June. Leonidas was the younger brother, the successor, and the son-in-law, of the former Eurystheneid king Kleomenês, whose only daughter Gorgo he had married. Another brother of the same family—Dorieus, older than Leonidas—had perished, even before the death of Kleomenês, in an unsuccessful attempt to plant a colony in Sicily; and room had been thus made for the unexpected succession of the youngest brother. Leonidas now conducted from the Isthmus to Thermopylæ a select band of three hundred Spartans,—all being citizens of mature age, and persons who left at home sons to supply their places.[133] Along with them were five hundred hoplites from Tegea, five hundred from Mantineia, one hundred and twenty from the Arcadian Orchomenus, one thousand from the rest of Arcadia, four hundred from Corinth, two hundred from Phlius, and eighty from Mykenæ. There were also, doubtless, Helots and other light troops, in undefined number, and probably a certain number of Lacedæmonian hoplites, not Spartans. In their march through Bœotia they were joined by seven hundred hoplites of Thespiæ, hearty in the cause, and by four hundred Thebans, of more equivocal fidelity, under Leontiadês. It appears, indeed, that the leading men of Thebes, at that time under a very narrow oligarchy, decidedly medized, or espoused the Persian interest, as much as they dared before the Persians were actually in the country: and Leonidas, when he made the requi[p. 76]sition for a certain number of their troops to assist in the defence of Thermopylæ, was doubtful whether they would not refuse compliance, and openly declare against the Greek cause. The Theban chiefs thought it prudent to comply, though against their real inclinations, and furnished a contingent of four hundred men,[134] chosen from citizens of a sentiment opposed to their own. Indeed the Theban people, and the Bœotians generally, with the exception of Thespiæ and Platæa, seem to have had little sentiment on either side, and to have followed passively the inspirations of their leaders.

With these troops Leonidas reached Thermopylæ, whence he sent envoys to invite the junction of the Phocians and the Lokrians of Opus. The latter had been among those who had sent earth and water to Xerxes, of which they are said to have repented: the step was taken, probably, only from fear, which at this particular moment prescribed acquiescence in the summons of Leonidas, justified by the plea of necessity in case the Persians should prove ultimately victorious:[135] while the Phocians, if originally disposed to medize, were now precluded from doing so by the fact that their bitter enemies, the Thessalians, were active in the cause of Xerxes, and influential in guiding his movements.[136] The Greek envoys added strength to their summons by all the encouragement in their power. “The troops now at Thermopylæ, they said, were a mere advanced body, preceding the main strength of Greece, which was expected to arrive every day: on the side of the sea, a sufficient fleet was already on guard: nor was there any cause for fear, since the[p. 77] invader was, after all, not a god, but a man, exposed to those reverses of fortune which came inevitably on all men, and most of all, upon those in preëminent condition.”[137] Such arguments prove but too evidently the melancholy state of terror which then pervaded the Greek mind: whether reassured by them or not, the great body of the Opuntian Lokrians, and one thousand Phocians, joined Leonidas at Thermopylæ.

That this terror was both genuine and serious, there cannot be any doubt: and the question naturally suggests itself, why the Greeks did not at once send their full force instead of a mere advanced guard? The answer is to be found in another attribute of the Greek character,—it was the time of celebrating both the Olympic festival-games on the banks of the Alpheius, and the Karneian festival at Sparta and most of the other Dorian states.[138] Even at a moment when their whole freedom and existence were at stake, the Greeks could not bring themselves to postpone these venerated solemnities: especially the Peloponnesian Greeks, among whom this force of religious routine appears to have been the strongest. At a period more than a century later, in the time of Demosthenes, when the energy of the Athenians had materially declined, we shall find them, too, postponing the military necessities of the state to the complete and splendid fulfilment of their religious festival obligations,—starving all their measures of foreign policy in order that the Theôric exhibitions might be imposing to the people and satisfactory to the gods. At present, we find little disposition in the Athenians to make this sacrifice,—certainly much less than in the Peloponnesians. The latter, remaining at home to celebrate[p. 78] their festivals while an invader of superhuman might was at their gates, remind us of the Jews in the latter days of their independence, who suffered the operations of the besieging Roman army round their city to be carried on without interruption during the Sabbath.[139] The Spartans and their confederates reckoned that Leonidas with his detachment would be strong enough to hold the pass of Thermopylæ until the Olympic and Karneian festivals should be past, after which period they were prepared to march to his aid with their whole military force:[140] and they engaged to assemble in Bœotia for the purpose of defending Attica against attack on the land-side, while the great mass of the Athenian force was serving on shipboard.

At the time when this plan was laid, they believed that the narrow pass of Thermopylæ was the only means of possible access for an invading army. But Leonidas, on reaching the spot, discovered for the first time that there was also a mountain-path starting from the neighborhood of Trachis, ascending the gorge of the river Asôpus and the hill called Anopæa, then crossing the crest of Œta and descending in the rear of Thermopylæ near the Lokrian town of Alpêni. This path-–then hardly used, though its ascending half now serves as the regular track from Zeitun, the ancient Lamia, to Salona on the Corinthian gulf, the ancient Amphissa–-was revealed to him by its first discoverers, the inhabitants of Trachis, who in former days had conducted the Thessalians over it to attack Phocis, after the Phocians had blocked up the pass of Thermopylæ. It was therefore not unknown to the Phocians: it conducted from Trachis into their country, and they volunteered to Leonidas that they would occupy and defend it.[141] But the Greeks thus found themselves at Thermopylæ under the same necessity of providing a double line of defence, for the mountain-path as well as for the defile, as that which had induced their former army to abandon Tempê: and so insufficient did their numbers seem, when[p. 79] the vast host of Xerxes was at length understood to be approaching, that a panic terror seized them; and the Peloponnesian troops especially, anxious only for their own separate line of defence at the isthmus of Corinth, wished to retreat thither forthwith. The indignant remonstrances of the Phocians and Lokrians, who would thus have been left to the mercy of the invader, induced Leonidas to forbid this retrograde movement: but he thought it necessary to send envoys to the various cities, insisting on the insufficiency of his numbers, and requesting immediate reinforcements.[142] So painfully were the consequences now felt, of having kept back the main force until after the religious festivals in Peloponnesus.

Nor was the feeling of confidence stronger at this moment in their naval armament, though it had mustered in far superior numbers at Artemisium on the northern coast of Eubœa, under the Spartan Eurybiadês. It was composed as follows: one hundred Athenian triremes, manned in part by the citizens of Platæa, in spite of their total want of practice on shipboard; forty Corinthian, twenty Megarian, twenty Athenian, manned by the inhabitants of Chalkis, and lent to them by Athens; eighteen Æginetan, twelve Sikyonian, ten Lacedæmonian, eight Epidaurian, seven Eretrian, five Trœzenian, two from Styrus in Eubœa, and two from the island of Keos. There were thus in all two hundred and seventy-one triremes; together with nine pentekonters, furnished partly by Keos and partly by the Lokrians of Opus. Themistoklês was at the head of the Athenian contingent, and Adeimantus of the Corinthian; of other officers we hear nothing.[143] Three cruising vessels, an Athenian, an Æginetan, and a Trœzenian, were pushed forward along the coast of Thessaly, beyond the island of Skiathos, to watch the advancing movements of the Persian fleet from Therma.

It was here that the first blood was shed in this memorable contest. Ten of the best ships in the Persian fleet, sent forward in the direction of Skiathos, fell in with these three Grecian triremes, who probably supposing them to be the precursors of the[p. 80] entire fleet sought safety in flight. The Athenian trireme escaped to the mouth of the Peneius, where the crew abandoned her, and repaired by land to Athens, leaving the vessel to the enemy: the other two ships were overtaken and captured afloat,—not without a vigorous resistance on the part of the Æginetan, one of whose hoplites, Pythês, fought with desperate bravery, and fell covered with wounds. So much did the Persian warriors admire him, that they took infinite pains to preserve his life, and treated him with the most signal manifestations both of kindness and respect, while they dealt with his comrades as slaves.

On board the Trœzenian vessel, which was the first to be captured, they found a soldier named Leon, of imposing stature: this man was immediately taken to the ship’s head and slain, as a presaging omen in the approaching contest: perhaps, observes the historian, his name may have contributed to determine his fate.[144] The ten Persian ships advanced no farther than the dangerous rock Myrmêx, between Skiathos and the mainland, which had been made known to them by a Greek navigator of Skyros, and on which they erected a pillar to serve as warning for the coming fleet. Still, so intense was the alarm which their presence—communicated by fire-signals[145] from Skiathos, and strengthened by the capture of the three look-out ships—inspired to the fleet at Artemisium, that they actually abandoned their station, believing that the entire fleet of the enemy was at hand.[146] They sailed up the Eubœan strait to Chalkis, as the narrowest and most defensible passage; leaving scouts on the high lands to watch the enemy’s advance.

Probably this sudden retreat was forced upon the generals by the panic of their troops, similar to that which king Leonidas, more powerful than Eurybiadês and Themistoklês, had found means to arrest at Thermopylæ. It ruined for the time the[p. 81] whole scheme of defence, by laying open the rear of the army at Thermopylæ to the operations of the Persian fleet. But that which the Greeks did not do for themselves was more than compensated by the beneficent intervention of their gods, who opposed to the invader the more terrible arms of storm and hurricane. He was allowed to bring his overwhelming host, land-force as well as naval, to the brink of Thermopylæ and to the coast of Thessaly, without hindrance or damage; but the time had now arrived when the gods appeared determined to humble him, and especially to strike a series of blows at his fleet which should reduce it to a number not beyond what the Greeks could contend with.[147] Amidst the general terror which pervaded Greece, the Delphians were the first to earn the gratitude of their countrymen by announcing that divine succor was at hand.[148] On entreating advice from their own oracle, they were directed to pray to the Winds, who would render powerful aid to Greece. Moreover, the Athenian seamen, in their retreat at Chalkis, recollecting that Boreas was the husband of the Attic princess or heroine Oreithyia, daughter of their ancient king Erechtheus, addressed fervent prayers to their son-in-law for his help in need. Never was help more effective, or more opportune, than the destructive storm, presently to be recounted, on the coast of Magnesia, for which grateful thanks and annual solemnities were still rendered even in the time of Herodotus, at Athens as well as at Delphi.[149]

[p. 82]Xerxes had halted on the Thermaic gulf for several days, employing a large portion of his numerous army in cutting down the woods and clearing the roads, on the pass over Olympus from upper Macedonia into Perrhæbia, which was recommended by his Macedonian allies as preferable to the defile of Tempê.[150] Not intending to march through the latter, he is said to have gone by sea to view it; and remarks are ascribed to him on the facility of blocking it up so as to convert all Thessaly into one vast lake.[151] His march from Therma through Macedonia, Perrhæbia, Thessaly, and Achæa Phthiôtis, into the territory of the Malians and the neighborhood of Thermopylæ, occupied eleven or twelve days:[152] the people through whose towns he passed had already made their submission, and the Thessalians especially were zealous in seconding his efforts. His numerous host was[p. 83] still farther swelled by the presence of these newly-submitted people, and by the Macedonian troops under Alexander; so that the river Onochônus in Thessaly, and even the Apidanus in Achæa Phthiôtis, would hardly suffice to supply it, but were drunk up, according to the information given to Herodotus. At Alus in Achæa, he condescended to listen to the gloomy legend connected with the temple of Zeus Laphysteus and the sacred grove of the Athamantid family: he respected and protected these sacred places,—an incident which shows that the sacrilege and destruction of temples imputed to him by the Greeks, though true in regard to Athens, Abæ, Milêtus, etc., was by no means universally exhibited, and is even found qualified by occasional instances of great respect for Grecian religious feeling.[153] Along the shore of the Malian gulf he at length came into the Trachinian territory near Thermopylæ, where he encamped, seemingly awaiting the arrival of the fleet, so as to combine his farther movements in advance,[154] now that the enemy were immediately in his front.

But his fleet was not destined to reach the point of communication with the same ease as he had arrived before Thermopylæ. After having ascertained by the ten ships already mentioned, which captured the three Grecian guardships, that the channel between Skiathos and the mainland was safe, the Persian admiral Megabates sailed with his whole fleet from Therma, or from Pydna,[155] his station in the Thermaic gulf, eleven days after the monarch had begun his land-march; and reached in one long day’s sail the eastern coast of Magnesia, not far from its southernmost promontory. The greater part of this line of coast, formed by the declivities of Ossa and Pelion, is thoroughly rocky and inhospitable: but south of the town called Kasthanæa there was a short extent of open beach, where the fleet rested for the night before coming to the line of coast called the Sêpias Aktê.[156][p. 84] The first line of ships were moored to the land, but the larger number of this immense fleet swung at anchor in a depth of eight lines. In this condition they were overtaken the next morning by a sudden and desperate hurricane,—a wind called by the people of the country Hellespontias, which blew right upon the shore. The most active among the mariners found means to forestall the danger by beaching and hauling their vessels ashore; but a large number, unable to take such a precaution, were carried before the wind and dashed to pieces near Melibœa, Kasthanæa, and other points of this unfriendly region. Four hundred ships of war, according to the lowest estimate, together with a countless heap of transports and provision craft, were destroyed: and the loss of life as well as property was immense. For three entire days did the terrors of the storm last, during which time the crews ashore, left almost without defence, and apprehensive that the inhabitants of the country might assail or plunder them, were forced to break up the ships driven ashore in order to make a palisade out of the timbers.[157] Though the Magian priests who accompanied the armament were fervent in prayer and sacrifice,—not merely to the Winds, but also to Thetis and the Nereids, the tutelary divinities of Sêpias Aktê,—they could obtain no mitigation until the fourth day:[158] thus long did the prayers of Delphi and Athens, and the jealousy of the gods against superhuman arrogance, protract the terrible visitation. At length, on the fourth day, calm weather returned, when all those ships which were in condition to proceed, put to sea and sailed along the land, round the southern promontory of Magnesia, to Aphetæ, at the entrance of the gulf of Pagasæ. Little, indeed, had Xerxes gained by the laborious cutting through mount Athos, in hopes to[p. 85] escape the unseen atmospheric enemies which howl around that formidable promontory: the work of destruction to his fleet was only transferred to the opposite side of the intervening Thracian sea.

Had the Persian fleet reached Aphetæ without misfortune, they would have found the Eubœan strait evacuated by the Greek fleet and undefended, so that they would have come immediately into communication with the land army, and would have acted upon the rear of Leonidas and his division. But the storm completely altered this prospect, and revived the spirits of the Greek fleet at Chalkis. It was communicated to them by their scouts on the high lands of Eubœa, who even sent them word that the entire Persian fleet was destroyed: upon which, having returned thanks and offered libations to Poseidon the Saviour, the Greeks returned back as speedily as they could to Artemisium. To their surprise, however, they saw the Persian fleet, though reduced in number, still exhibiting a formidable total and appearance at the opposite station of Aphetæ. The last fifteen ships of that fleet, having been so greatly crippled by the storm as to linger behind the rest, mistook the Greek ships for their own comrades, fell into the midst of them, and were all captured. Sandôkês, sub-satrap of the Æolic Kymê,—Aridôlis, despot of Alabanda in Karia,—and Penthylus, despot of Paphos in Cyprus,—the leaders of this squadron, were sent prisoners to the isthmus of Corinth, after having been questioned respecting the enemy: the latter of these three had brought to Xerxes a contingent of twelve ships, out of which eleven had foundered in the storm, while the last was now taken with himself aboard.[159]

Meanwhile Xerxes, encamped within sight of Thermopylæ, suffered four days to pass without making any attack: a probable reason may be found in the extreme peril of his fleet, reported to have been utterly destroyed by the storm: but Herodotus assigns a different cause. Xerxes could not believe, according to him, that the Greeks at Thermopylæ, few as they were in number, had any serious intention to resist: he had heard in his march that a handful of Spartans and other Greeks, under an[p. 86] Herakleid leader, had taken post there, but he treated the news with scorn: and when a horseman,—whom he sent to reconnoitre them, and who approached near enough to survey their position, without exciting any attention among them by his presence,—brought back to him a description of the pass, the wall of defence, and the apparent number of the division, he was yet more astonished and puzzled. It happened too, that at the moment when this horseman rode up, the Spartans were in the advanced guard, outside of the wall: some were engaged in gymnastic exercises, others in combing their long hair, and none of them heeded the approach of the hostile spy. Xerxes next sent for the Spartan king, Demaratus, to ask what he was to think of such madness; upon which the latter reminded him of their former conversation at Doriskus, again assuring him that the Spartans in the pass would resist to the death, in spite of the smallness of their number; and adding, that it was their custom, in moments of special danger, to comb their hair with peculiar care. In spite of this assurance from Demaratus, and of the pass not only occupied, but in itself so narrow and impracticable, before his eyes, Xerxes still persisted in believing that the Greeks did not intend to resist, and that they would disperse of their own accord. He delayed the attack for four days: on the fifth he became wroth at the impudence and recklessness of the petty garrison before him, and sent against them the Median and Kissian divisions, with orders to seize them and bring them as prisoners into his presence.[160]

Though we read thus in Herodotus, it is hardly possible to believe that we are reading historical reality: we rather find laid out before us a picture of human self-conceit in its most exaggerated form, ripe for the stroke of the jealous gods, and destined, like the interview between Crœsus and Solon, to point and enforce that moral which was ever present to the mind of the historian; whose religious and poetical imagination, even unconsciously to himself, surrounds the naked facts of history with accompaniments of speech and motive which neither Homer nor Æschylus would have deemed unsuitable. The whole pro[p. 87]ceedings of Xerxes, and the immensity of host which he summoned, show that he calculated on an energetic resistance; and though the numbers of Leonidas, compared with the Persians, were insignificant, they could hardly have looked insignificant in the position which they then occupied,—an entrance little wider than a single carriage-road, with a cross wall, a prolonged space somewhat widened, and then another equally narrow exit, behind it. We are informed by Diodorus[161] that the Lokrians, when they first sent earth and water to the Persian monarch, engaged at the same time to seize the pass of Thermopylæ on his behalf, and were only prevented from doing so by the unexpected arrival of Leonidas; nor is it unlikely that the Thessalians, now the chief guides of Xerxes,[162] together with Alexander of Macedon, would try the same means of frightening away the garrison of Thermopylæ, as had already been so successful in causing the evacuation of Tempê. An interval of two or three days might be well bestowed for the purpose of leaving to such intrigues a fair chance of success: the fleet, meanwhile, would be arrived at Aphetæ after the dangers of the storm: we may thus venture to read the conduct of Xerxes in a manner somewhat less childish than it is depicted by Herodotus.

The Medes, whom Xerxes first ordered to the attack, animated as well by the recollection of their ancient Asiatic supremacy as by the desire of avenging the defeat of Marathon,[163] manifested great personal bravery. The position was one in which bows and arrows were of little avail: a close combat hand to hand was indispensable, and in this the Greeks had every advantage of organization as well as armor. Short spears, light wicker shields, and tunics, in the assailants, were an imperfect match for the long spears, heavy and spreading shields, steady ranks,[164] and practised fighting of the defenders. Yet the bravest men of the Persian army pressed on from behind, and having nothing but numbers in their favor, maintained long this unequal combat, with great slaughter to themselves and little loss to the Greeks. Though constantly repulsed, the attack was as constantly renewed,[p. 88] for two successive days: the Greek troops were sufficiently numerous to relieve each other when fatigued, since the space was so narrow that few could contend at once; and even the Immortals, or ten thousand choice Persian guards, and the other choice troops of the army, when sent to the attack on the second day, were driven back with the same disgrace and the same slaughter as the rest. Xerxes surveyed this humiliating repulse from a lofty throne expressly provided for him: “thrice (says the historian, with Homeric vivacity) did he spring from his throne, in agony for his army.”[165]

At the end of two days’ fighting no impression had been made, the pass appeared impracticable, and the defence not less triumphant than courageous,—when a Malian, named Ephialtês, revealed to Xerxes the existence of the unfrequented mountain-path. This at least was the man singled out by the general voice of Greece as the betrayer of the fatal secret: after the final repulse of the Persians, he fled his country for a time, and a reward was proclaimed by the Amphiktyonic assembly for his head; having returned to his country too soon, he was slain by a private enemy, whom the Lacedæmonians honored as a patriot.[166] There were, however, other Greeks who were also affirmed to have earned the favor of Xerxes by the same valuable information; and very probably there may have been more than one informant,—indeed, the Thessalians, at that time his guides, can hardly have been ignorant of it. So little had the path been thought of, however, that no one in the Persian army knew it to be already occupied by the Phocians. At nightfall, Hydarnês with a detachment of Persians was detached along the gorge of the river Asôpus, ascended the path of Anopæa, through the woody region between the mountains occupied by the Œtæans and those possessed by the Trachinians, and found himself at daybreak near the summit, within sight of the Phocian guard of one thousand men. In the stillness of daybreak, the noise of[p. 89] his army trampling through the wood[167] aroused the defenders; but the surprise was mutual, and Hydarnês in alarm asked his guide whether these men also were Lacedæmonians. Having ascertained the negative, he began the attack, and overwhelmed the Phocians with a shower of arrows, so as to force them to abandon the path and seek their own safety on a higher point of the mountain. Anxious only for their own safety, they became unmindful of the inestimable opening which they were placed to guard. Had the full numerical strength of the Greeks been at Thermopylæ, instead of staying behind for the festivals, they might have planted such a force on the mountain-path as would have rendered it not less impregnable than the pass beneath.

Hydarnês, not troubling himself to pursue the Phocians, followed the descending portion of the mountain-path, shorter than the ascending, and arrived in the rear of Thermopylæ not long after midday.[168] But before he had yet completed his descent, the fatal truth had already been made known to Leonidas, that the enemy were closing in upon him behind. Scouts on the hills, and deserters from the Persian camp, especially a Kymæan[169] named Tyrastiadas, had both come in with the news: and even if such informants had been wanting, the prophet Megistias, descended from the legendary seer Melampus, read the approach of death in the gloomy aspect of the morning sacrifices. It was evident that Thermopylæ could be no longer defended; but there was ample time for the defenders to retire, and the detachment of Leonidas were divided in opinion on the subject. The greater number of them were inclined to abandon a position now become untenable, and to reserve themselves for future occasions on which they might effectively contribute to repel the invader. Nor is it to be doubted that such was the natural impulse, both[p. 90] of brave soldiers and of prudent officers, under the circumstances. But to Leonidas the idea of retreat was intolerable. His own personal honor, together with that of his Spartan companions and of Sparta herself,[170] forbade him to think of yielding to the enemy the pass which he had been sent to defend. The laws of his country required him to conquer or die in the post assigned to him, whatever might be the superiority of number on the part of the enemy:[171] moreover, we are told that the Delphian oracle had declared that either Sparta itself, or a king of Sparta, must fall a victim to the Persian arms. Had he retired, he could hardly have escaped that voice of reproach which, in Greece especially, always burst upon the general who failed: while his voluntary devotion and death would not only silence every whisper of calumny, but exalt him to the pinnacle of glory both as a man and as a king, and set an example of chivalrous patriotism at the moment when the Greek world most needed the lesson.

The three hundred Spartans under Leonidas were found fully equal to this act of generous and devoted self-sacrifice. Perhaps he would have wished to inspire the same sentiment to the whole detachment: but when he found them indisposed, he at once ordered them to retire, thus avoiding all unseemly reluctance and dissension:[172] the same order was also given to the prophet Megistias, who however refused to obey it and stayed, though he sent away his only son.[173] None of the contingents remained with[p. 91] Leonidas except the Thespian and the Theban. The former, under their general Demophilus, volunteered to share the fate of the Spartans, and displayed even more than Spartan heroism, since they were not under that species of moral constraint which arises from the necessity of acting up to a preëstablished fame and superiority. But retreat with them presented no prospect better than the mere preservation of life, either in slavery or in exile and misery; since Thespiæ was in Bœotia, sure to be overrun by the invaders;[174] while the Peloponnesian contingents had behind them the isthmus of Corinth, which they doubtless hoped still to be able to defend. With respect to the Theban contingent, we are much perplexed; for Herodotus tells us that they were detained by Leonidas against their will as hostages, that they took as little part as possible in the subsequent battle, and surrendered themselves prisoners to Xerxes as soon as they could. Diodorus says that the Thespians alone remained with the Spartans; and Pausanias, though he mentions the eighty Mykenæans as having stayed along with the Thespians (which is probably incorrect), says nothing about the Thebans.[175] All things con[p. 92]sidered, it seems probable that the Thebans remained, but remained by their own offer,—being citizens of the anti-Persian party, as Diodorus represents them to have been, or perhaps because it may have been hardly less dangerous for them to retire with the Peloponnesians, than to remain, suspected as they were of medism: but when the moment of actual crisis arrived, their courage not standing so firm as that of the Spartans and Thespians, they endeavored to save their lives by taking credit for medism, and pretending to have been forcibly detained by Leonidas.

The devoted band thus left with Leonidas at Thermopylæ consisted of the three hundred Spartans, with a certain number of Helots attending them, together with seven hundred Thespians and apparently four hundred Thebans. If there had been before any Lacedæmonians, not Spartans, present, they must have retired with the other Peloponnesians. By previous concert with the guide, Ephialtês, Xerxes delayed his attack upon them until near noon, when the troops under Hydarnês might soon be expected in the rear. On this last day, however, Leonidas, knowing that all which remained was to sell the lives of his detachment dearly, did not confine himself to the defensive,[176] but advanced into the wider space outside of the pass; becoming the aggressor and driving before him the foremost of the Persian host, many of whom perished as well by the spears of the Greeks as in the neighboring sea and morass, and even trodden down by their[p. 93] own numbers. It required all the efforts of the Persian officers, assisted by threats and the plentiful use of the whip, to force their men on to the fight. The Greeks fought with reckless bravery and desperation against this superior host, until at length their spears were broken, and they had no weapon left except their swords. It was at this juncture that Leonidas himself was slain, and around his body the battle became fiercer than ever: the Persians exhausted all their efforts to possess themselves of it, but were repulsed by the Greeks four several times, with the loss of many of their chiefs, especially two brothers of Xerxes. Fatigued, exhausted, diminished in number, and deprived of their most effective weapons, the little band of defenders retired, with the body of their chief, into the narrow strait behind the cross wall, where they sat all together on a hillock, exposed to the attack of the main Persian army on one side, and of the detachment of Hydarnês, which had now completed its march, on the other. They were thus surrounded, overwhelmed with missiles, and slain to a man; not losing courage even to the last, but defending themselves with their remaining daggers, with their unarmed hands, and even with their mouths.[177]

Thus perished Leonidas with his heroic comrades,—three hundred Spartans and seven hundred Thespians. Amidst such equal heroism, it seemed difficult to single out any individual as distinguished: nevertheless, Herodotus mentions the Spartans Diênekês, Alpheus, and Maron,—and the Thespian Dithyrambus,—as standing preëminent. The reply ascribed to the first became renowned.[178] “The Persian host (he was informed) is so prodigious that their arrows conceal the sun.” “So much the better (he answered), we shall then fight them in the shade.” Herodotus had asked and learned the name of every individual among this memorable three hundred, and even six hundred years afterwards, Pausanias could still read the names engraved on a column at Sparta.[179] One alone among them—Aristodêmus[p. 94]—returned home, having taken no part in the combat. He, together with Eurytus, another soldier, had been absent from the detachment on leave, and both were lying at Alpêni, suffering from a severe complaint in the eyes. Eurytus, apprized that the fatal hour of the detachment was come, determined not to survive it, asked for his armor, and desired his attendant Helot to lead him to his place in the ranks; where he fell gallantly fighting, while the Helot departed and survived. Aristodêmus did not imitate this devotion of his sick comrade: overpowered with physical suffering, he was carried to Sparta—but he returned only to scorn and infamy among his fellow-citizens.[180] He was denounced as “the coward Aristodêmus;” no one would speak or communicate with him, or even grant him a light for his fire.[181][p. 95] After a year of such bitter disgrace, he was at length enabled to retrieve his honor at the battle of Platæa, where he was slain, after surpassing all his comrades in heroic and even reckless valor.

Amidst the last moments of this gallant band, we turn with repugnance to the desertion and surrender of the Thebans. They are said to have taken part in the final battle, though only to save appearances and under the pressure of necessity: but when the Spartans and Thespians, exhausted and disarmed, retreated to die upon the little hillock within the pass, the Thebans then separated themselves, approached the enemy with outstretched hands, and entreated quarter. They now loudly proclaimed that they were friends and subjects of the Great King, and had come to Thermopylæ against their own consent; all which was confirmed by the Thessalians in the Persian army. Though some few were slain before this proceeding was understood by the Persians, the rest were admitted to quarter; not without the signal disgrace, however, of being branded with the regal mark as untrustworthy slaves,—an indignity to which their commander, Leontiadês was compelled to submit along with the rest. Such is the narrative which Herodotus recounts, without any expression of mistrust or even of doubt: Plutarch emphatically contradicts it, and even cites a Bœotian author,[182] who affirms that Anaxarchus, not Leontiadês, was commander of the Thebans at Thermopylæ. Without calling in question the equivocal conduct and surrender of this Theban detachment, we may reasonably dismiss the story of this ignominious branding, as an invention of that strong anti-Theban feeling which prevailed in Greece after the repulse of Xerxes.

The wrath of that monarch, as he went over the field after the close of the action, vented itself upon the corpse of the gallant Leonidas, whose head he directed to be cut off and fixed on a cross. But it was not wrath alone which filled his mind: he was[p. 96] farther impressed with involuntary admiration of the little detachment which had here opposed to him a resistance so unexpected and so nearly invincible,—he now learned to be anxious respecting the resistance which remained behind. “Demaratus (said he to the exiled Spartan king at his side), thou art a good man: all thy predictions have turned out true: now tell me, how many Lacedæmonians are there remaining, and are they all such warriors as these fallen men?” “O king (replied Demaratus), the total of the Lacedæmonians and of their towns is great; in Sparta alone, there are eight thousand adult warriors, all equal to those who have here fought; and the other Lacedæmonians, though inferior to them, are yet excellent soldiers.” “Tell me (rejoined Xerxes), what will be the least difficult way of conquering such men?” Upon which Demaratus advised him to send a division of his fleet to occupy the island of Kythêra, and from thence to make war on the southern coast of Laconia, which would distract the attention of Sparta, and prevent her from coöperating in any combined scheme of defence against his land-force. Unless this were done, the entire force of Peloponnesus would be assembled to maintain the narrow isthmus of Corinth, where the Persian king would have far more terrible battles to fight than anything which he had yet witnessed.[183]

Happily for the safety of Greece, Achæmenes, the brother of Xerxes, interposed to dissuade the monarch from this prudent plan of action; not without aspersions on the temper and motives of Demaratus, who, he affirmed, like other Greeks, hated all power, and envied all good fortune, above his own. The fleet, added he, after the damage sustained by the recent storm, would bear no farther diminution of number: and it was essential to keep the entire Persian force, on land as well as on sea, in one undivided and coöperating mass.[184]

A few such remarks were sufficient to revive in the monarch his habitual sentiment of confidence in overpowering number: yet while rejecting the advice of Demaratus, he emphatically repelled the imputations against the good faith and sincere attachment of that exiled prince.[185]

[p. 97]Meanwhile the days of battle at Thermopylæ had been not less actively employed by the fleets at Aphetæ and Artemisium. It has already been mentioned that the Greek ships, having abandoned their station at the latter place and retired to Chalkis, were induced to return, by the news that the Persian fleet had been nearly ruined by the recent storm,—and that, on returning to Artemisium, the Grecian commanders felt renewed alarm on seeing the enemy’s fleet, in spite of the damage just sustained, still mustering in overwhelming number at the opposite station of Aphetæ. Such was the effect of this spectacle, and the impression of their own inferiority, that they again resolved to retire without fighting, leaving the strait open and undefended. Great consternation was caused by the news of their determination among the inhabitants of Eubœa, who entreated Eurybiadês to maintain his position for a few days, until they could have time to remove their families and their property. But even such postponement was thought unsafe, and refused: and he was on the point of giving orders for retreat, when the Eubœans sent their envoy, Pelagon, to Themistoklês, with the offer of thirty talents, on condition that the fleet should keep its station and hazard an engagement in defence of the island. Themistoklês employed the money adroitly and successfully, giving five talents to Eurybiadês, with large presents besides to the other leading chiefs: the most unmanageable among them was the Corinthian Adeimantus,—who at first threatened to depart with his own squadron alone, if the remaining Greeks were mad enough to remain. His alarm was silenced, if not tranquillized, by a present of three talents.[186]

However Plutarch may be scandalized at such inglorious revelations preserved to us by Herodotus respecting the underhand agencies of this memorable struggle, there is no reason to call in question the bribery here described. But Themistoklês doubtless was only tempted to do, and enabled to do, by means of the[p. 98] Eubœan money, that which he would have wished and had probably tried to accomplish without the money,—to bring on a naval engagement at Artemisium. It was absolutely essential to the maintenance of Thermopylæ, and to the general plan of defence, that the Eubœan strait should be defended against the Persian fleet, nor could the Greeks expect a more favorable position to fight in. We may reasonably presume that Themistoklês, distinguished not less by daring than by sagacity, and the great originator of maritime energies in his country, concurred unwillingly in the projected abandonment of Artemisium: but his high mental capacity did not exclude that pecuniary corruption which rendered the presents of the Eubœans both admissible and welcome,—yet still more welcome to him perhaps, as they supplied means of bringing over the other opposing chiefs and the Spartan admiral.[187] It was finally determined, therefore, to remain, and if necessary, to hazard an engagement in the Eubœan strait: but at any rate to procure for the inhabitants of the island a short interval to remove their families. Had these Eubœans heeded the oracles, says Herodotus,[188] they would have packed up and removed long before: for a text of Bakis gave them express warning: but, having neglected the sacred writings as unworthy of credit, they were now severely punished for such presumption.

Among the Persian fleet at Aphetæ, on the other hand, the feeling prevalent was one of sanguine hope and confidence in their superior numbers, forming a strong contrast with the discouragement of the Greeks at Artemisium. Had they attacked the latter immediately, when both fleets first saw each other from their opposite stations, they would have gained an easy victory,[p. 99] for the fleet would have fled, as the admiral was on the point of ordering, even without an attack. But this was not sufficient for the Persians, who wished to cut off every ship among their enemies even from flight and escape.[189] Accordingly, they detached two hundred ships to circumnavigate the island of Eubœa, and to sail up the Eubœan strait from the south, in the rear of the Greeks,—and postponing their own attack in front until this squadron should be in position to intercept the retreating Greeks. But though the manœuvre was concealed by sending the squadron round outside of the island of Skiathos, it became known immediately among the Greeks, through a deserter,—Skyllias of Skionê. This man, the best swimmer and diver of his time, and now engaged like other Thracian Greeks in the Persian service, passed over to Artemisium, and communicated to the Greek commanders both the particulars of the late destructive storm, and the despatch of the intercepting squadron.[190]

It appears that his communications, respecting the effects of the storm and the condition of the Persian fleet, somewhat reassured the Greeks, who resolved during the ensuing night to sail from their station at Artemisium for the purpose of surprising the detached squadron of two hundred ships, and who even became bold enough, under the inspirations of Themistoklês, to go out and offer battle to the main fleet near Aphetæ.[191] Wanting to acquire some practical experience, which neither leaders nor soldiers as yet possessed, of the manner in which Phœnicians and others in the Persian fleet handled and manœuvred their ships, they waited till a late hour of the afternoon, when little daylight remained.[192] Their boldness in thus advancing out, with inferior numbers and even inferior ships, astonished the Persian admirals, and distressed the Ionians and other subject Greeks[p. 100] who were serving them as unwilling auxiliaries: to both it seemed that the victory of the Persian fleet, which was speedily brought forth to battle, and was numerous enough to encompass the Greeks, would be certain as well as complete. The Greek ships were at first marshalled in a circle, with the sterns in the interior, and presenting their prows in front at all points of the circumference;[193] in this position, compressed into a narrow space, they seemed to be awaiting the attack of the enemy, who formed a larger circle around them: but on a second signal given, their ships assumed the aggressive, rowed out from the inner circle in direct impact against the hostile ships around, and took or disabled no less than thirty of them: in one of which Philaon, brother of Gorgus, despot of Salamis in Cyprus, was made prisoner. Such unexpected forwardness at first disconcerted the Persians, who however rallied and inflicted considerable damage and loss on the Greeks: but the near approach of night put an end to the combat, and each fleet retired to its former station,—the Persians to Aphetæ, the Greeks to Artemisium.[194]

The result of this first day’s combat, though indecisive in itself, surprised both parties and did much to exalt the confidence of the Greeks. But the events of the ensuing night did yet more. Another tremendous storm was sent by the gods to aid them. Though it was the middle of summer,—a season when rain rarely falls in the climate of Greece,—the most violent wind, rain, and thunder, prevailed during the whole night, blowing right on shore against the Persians at Aphetæ, and thus but little troublesome to the Greeks on the opposite side of the strait. The seamen of the Persian fleet, scarcely recovered from the former storm at Sêpias Aktê, were almost driven to despair by this repetition of the same peril: the more so when they found the prows of their ships surrounded, and the play of their oars impeded, by the dead bodies and the spars from the recent battle, which the current drove towards their shore. If this storm was[p. 101] injurious to the main fleet at Aphetæ, it proved the entire ruin of the squadron detached to circumnavigate Eubœa, who, overtaken by it near the dangerous eastern coast of that island, called the Hollows of Eubœa, were driven upon the rocks and wrecked. The news of this second conspiracy of the elements, or intervention of the gods, against the schemes of the invaders, was highly encouraging to the Greeks; and the seasonable arrival of fifty-three fresh Athenian ships, who reinforced them the next day, raised them to a still higher pitch of confidence. In the afternoon of the same day, they sailed out against the Persian fleet at Aphetæ, and attacked and destroyed some Kilikian ships even at their moorings; the fleet having been too much damaged by the storm of the preceding night to come out and fight.[195]

But the Persian admirals were not of a temper to endure such insults,—still less to let their master hear of them. About noon on the ensuing day, they sailed with their entire fleet near to the Greek station at Artemisium, and formed themselves into a half moon; while the Greeks kept near to the shore, so that they could not be surrounded, nor could the Persians bring their entire fleet into action; the ships running foul of each other, and not finding space to attack. The battle raged fiercely all day, and with great loss and damage on both sides: the Egyptians bore off the palm of valor among the Persians, the Athenians among the Greeks. Though the positive loss sustained by the Persians was by far the greater, and though the Greeks, being near their own shore, became masters of the dead bodies as well as of the disabled ships and floating fragments,—still, they were themselves hurt and crippled in greater proportion with reference to their inferior total: and the Athenian vessels especially, foremost in the preceding combat, found one half of their number out of condition to renew it.[196] The Egyptians alone had captured five Grecian ships with their entire crews.

Under these circumstances, the Greek leaders,—and Themistoklês, as it seems, among them,—determined that they could no longer venture to hold the position of Artemisium, but must[p. 102] withdraw the naval force farther into Greece:[197] though this was in fact a surrender of the pass of Thermopylæ, and though the removal which the Eubœans were hastening was still unfinished. These unfortunate men were forced to be satisfied with the promise of Themistoklês to give them convoy for their boats and their persons; abandoning their sheep and cattle for the consumption of the fleet, as better than leaving them to become booty for the enemy. While the Greeks were thus employed in organizing their retreat, they received news which rendered retreat doubly necessary. The Athenian Abrônychus, stationed with his ship near Thermopylæ, in order to keep up communication between the army and fleet, brought the disastrous intelligence that Xerxes was already master of the pass, and that the division of Leonidas was either destroyed or in flight. Upon this the fleet abandoned Artemisium forthwith, and sailed up the Eubœan strait; the Corinthian ships in the van, the Athenians bringing up the rear. Themistoklês, conducting the latter, stayed long enough at the various watering-stations and landing-places to inscribe on some neighboring stones invitations to the Ionian contingents serving under Xerxes: whereby the latter were conjured not to serve against their fathers, but to desert, if possible,—or at least, to fight as little and as backwardly as they could. Themistoklês hoped by this stratagem perhaps to detach some of the Ionians from the Persian side, or, at any rate, to render them objects of mistrust, and thus to diminish their efficiency.[198] With no longer delay than was requisite for such inscriptions, he followed the remaining fleet, which sailed round the coast of Attica, not stopping until it reached the island of Salamis.

The news of the retreat of the Greek fleet was speedily conveyed by a citizen of Histiæa to the Persians at Aphetæ, who at first disbelieved it, and detained the messenger until they had sent to ascertain the fact. On the next day, their fleet passed across to the north of Eubœa, and became master of Histiæa and the neighboring territory: from whence many of them, by permission and even invitation of Xerxes, crossed over to Ther[p. 103]mopylæ to survey the field of battle and the dead. Respecting the number of the dead, Xerxes is asserted to have deliberately imposed upon the spectators: he buried all his own dead, except one thousand, whose bodies were left out,—while the total number of Greeks who had perished at Thermopylæ, four thousand in number, were all left exposed, and in one heap, so as to create an impression that their loss had been much more severe than their own. Moreover, the bodies of the slain Helots were included in the heap, all of them passing for Spartans or Thespians in the estimation of the spectators. We are not surprised to hear, however, that this trick, gross and public as it must have been, really deceived very few.[199] According to the statement of Herodotus, twenty thousand men were slain on the side of the Persians,—no unreasonable estimate, if we consider that they wore little defensive armor, and that they were three days fighting. The number of Grecian dead bodies is stated by the same historian as four thousand: if this be correct, it must include a considerable proportion of Helots, since there were no hoplites present on the last day except the three hundred Spartans, the seven hundred Thespians, and the four hundred Thebans. Some hoplites were of course slain in the first two days’ battles, though apparently not many. The number who originally came to the defence of the pass seems to have been about seven thousand:[200] but the epigram, composed shortly afterwards, and inscribed on the spot by order of the Amphiktyonic assembly, transmitted to posterity the formal boast that four thousand warriors “from Peloponnesus had here fought with three hundred myriads or three million of enemies.”[201] Respecting this alleged Persian total, some remarks have already been made: the statement of four thousand warriors from Peloponnesus, must indicate all[p. 104] those who originally marched out of that peninsula under Leonidas. Yet the Amphiktyonic assembly, when they furnished words to record this memorable exploit, ought not to have immortalized the Peloponnesians apart from their extra-Peloponnesian comrades, of merit fully equal,—especially the Thespians, who exhibited the same heroic self-devotion as Leonidas and his Spartans, without having been prepared for it by the same elaborate and iron discipline. While this inscription was intended as a general commemoration of the exploit, there was another near it, alike simple and impressive, destined for the Spartan dead separately: “Stranger, tell the Lacedæmonians, that we lie here, in obedience to their orders.” On the hillock within the pass, where this devoted band received their death-wounds, a monument was erected, with a marble lion in honor of Leonidas; decorated, apparently, with an epigram by the poet Simonides. That distinguished genius composed at least one ode, of which nothing but a splendid fragment now remains, to celebrate the glories of Thermopylæ; besides several epigrams, one of which was consecrated to the prophet Megistias, “who, though well aware of the fate coming upon him, would not desert the Spartan chiefs.”


The sentiment, alike durable and unanimous, with which the Greeks of after-times looked back on the battle of Thermopylæ, and which they have communicated to all subsequent readers, was that of just admiration for the courage and patriotism of Leonidas and his band. But among the contemporary Greeks that sentiment, though doubtless sincerely felt, was by no means predominant: it was overpowered by the more pressing emotions of disappointment and terror. So confident were the Spartans[p. 105] and Peloponnesians in the defensibility of Thermopylæ and Artemisium, that when the news of the disaster reached them, not a single soldier had yet been put in motion: the season of the festival games had passed, but no active step had yet been taken.[202] Meanwhile the invading force, army and fleet, was in its progress towards Attica and Peloponnesus, without the least preparations,—and, what was still worse, without any combined and concerted plan,—for defending the heart of Greece. The loss sustained by Xerxes at Thermopylæ, insignificant in proportion to his vast total, was more than compensated by the fresh Grecian auxiliaries which he now acquired. Not merely the Malians, Lokrians, and Dorians, but also the great mass of the Bœotians, with their chief town Thebes, all except Thespiæ and Platæa, now joined him.[203] Demaratus, his Spartan companion, moved forward to Thebes to renew an ancient tie of hospitality with the Theban oligarchical leader, Attagînus, while small garrisons were sent by Alexander of Macedon to most of the Bœotian towns,[204] as well to protect them from plunder as to insure their fidelity. The Thespians, on the other hand, abandoned their city, and fled into Peloponnesus; while the Platæans, who had been serving aboard the Athenian ships at Artemisium,[205] were disembarked at Chalkis as the fleet retreated, for the purpose of marching by land to their city, and removing their families. Nor was it only the land-force of Xerxes which had been thus strengthened; his fleet also had received some accessions from Karystus in Eubœa, and from several of the Cyclades,—so that the losses sustained by the storm at Sêpias and the fights at Artemisium, if not wholly made up, were at least in part repaired, while the fleet remained still prodigiously superior in number to that of the Greeks.[206]

[p. 106]At the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, near fifty years after these events, the Corinthian envoys reminded Sparta that she had allowed Xerxes time to arrive from the extremity of the earth at the threshold of Peloponnesus, before she took any adequate precautions against him: a reproach true almost to the letter.[207] It was only when roused and terrified by the news of the death of Leonidas, that the Lacedæmonians and the other Peloponnesians began to put forth their full strength. But it was then too late to perform the promise made to Athens, of taking up a position in Bœotia so as to protect Attica. To defend the isthmus of Corinth was all that they now thought of, and seemingly all that was now open to them: thither they rushed with all their available population under the conduct of Kleombrotus, king of Sparta (brother of Leonidas), and began to draw fortifications across it, as well as to break up the Skironian road from Megara to Corinth, with every mark of anxious energy. The Lacedæmonians, Arcadians, Eleians, Corinthians, Sikyonians, Epidaurians, Phliasians, Trœzenians, and Hermionians, were all present here in full numbers; many myriads of men (bodies of ten thousand each) working and bringing materials night and day.[208] As a defence to themselves against attack by land, this was an excellent position: they considered it as their last chance,[209] abandoning all hope of successful resistance at sea. But they forgot that a fortified isthmus was no protection even to themselves against the navy of Xerxes,[210] while it professedly threw out not only Attica, but also Megara and Ægina. And thus rose a new peril to Greece from the loss of Thermopylæ: no other position could be found which, like that memorable strait, comprehended and protected at once all the separate cities. The disunion thus produced brought them within a hair’s breadth of ruin.

If the causes of alarm were great for the Peloponnesians, yet more desperate did the position of the Athenians appear. Expecting, according to agreement, to find a Peloponnesian army in[p. 107] Bœotia ready to sustain Leonidas, or at any rate to coöperate in the defence of Attica, they had taken no measures to remove their families or property: but they saw with indignant disappointment as well as dismay, on retreating from Artemisium, that the conqueror was in full march from Thermopylæ, that the road to Attica was open to him, and that the Peloponnesians were absorbed exclusively in the defence of their own isthmus and their own separate existence.[211] The fleet from Artemisium had been directed to muster at the harbor of Trœzen, there to await such reinforcements as could be got together: but the Athenians entreated Eurybiadês to halt at Salamis, so as to allow them a short time for consultation in the critical state of their affairs, and to aid them in the transport of their families. While Eurybiadês was thus staying at Salamis, several new ships which had reached Trœzen came over to join him; and in this way Salamis became for a time the naval station of the Greeks, without any deliberate intention beforehand.[212]

Meanwhile Themistoklês and the Athenian seamen landed at Phalêrum, and made their mournful entry into Athens. Gloomy as the prospect appeared, there was little room for difference of opinion,[213] and still less room for delay. The authorities and the public assembly at once issued a proclamation, enjoining every Athenian to remove his family out of the country in the best[p. 108] way he could. We may conceive the state of tumult and terror which followed on this unexpected proclamation, when we reflect that it had to be circulated and acted upon throughout all Attica, from Sunium to Orôpus, within the narrow space of less than six days; for no longer interval elapsed before Xerxes actually arrived at Athens, where indeed he might have arrived even sooner.[214] The whole Grecian fleet was doubtless employed in carrying out the helpless exiles; mostly to Trœzen, where a kind reception and generous support were provided for them (the Trœzenian population being seemingly semi-Ionic, and having ancient relations of religion as well as of traffic with Athens),—but in part also to Ægina: there were, however, many who could not, or would not, go father than Salamis. Themistoklês impressed upon the sufferers that they were only obeying the oracle, which had directed them to abandon the city and to take refuge behind the wooden walls; and either his policy, or the mental depression of the time, gave circulation to other stories, intimating that even the divine inmates of the acropolis were for a while deserting it. In the ancient temple of Athênê Polias on that rock, there dwelt, or was believed to dwell, as guardian to the sanctuary and familiar attendant of the goddess, a sacred serpent, for whose nourishment a honey-cake was placed once in the month. The honey-cake had been hitherto regularly consumed; but at this fatal moment the priestess announced that it remained untouched: the sacred guardian had thus set the example of quitting the acropolis, and it behooved the citizens to follow the example, confiding in the goddess herself for future return and restitution. The migration of so many ancient men, women, and children, was a scene of tears and misery inferior only to that which would have ensued on the actual capture of the city.[215] Some few individuals, too poor to hope for mainte[p. 109]nance, or too old to care for life, elsewhere,—confiding, moreover, in their own interpretation[216] of the wooden wall which the Pythian priestess had pronounced to be inexpugnable,—shut themselves up in the acropolis along with the administrators of the temple, obstructing the entrance or western front with wooden doors and palisades.[217] When we read how great were the sufferings of the population of Attica near half a century afterwards, compressed for refuge within the spacious fortifications of Athens at the first outbreak of the Peloponnesian war,[218] we may form some faint idea of the incalculably greater misery which overwhelmed an emigrant population, hurrying, they knew not whither, to escape the long arm of Xerxes. Little chance did[p. 110] there seem that they would ever revisit their homes except as his slaves.

In the midst of circumstances thus calamitous and threatening, neither the warriors nor the leaders of Athens lost their energy,—arm as well as mind was strung to the loftiest pitch of human resolution. Political dissensions were suspended: Themistoklês proposed to the people a decree, and obtained their sanction, inviting home all who were under sentence of temporary banishment: moreover, he not only included but even specially designated among them his own great opponent Aristeidês, now in the third year of ostracism. Xanthippus the accuser, and Kimon the son, of Miltiadês, were partners in the same emigration: the latter, enrolled by his scale of fortune among the horsemen of the state, was seen with his companions cheerfully marching through the Kerameikus to dedicate their bridles in the acropolis, and to bring away in exchange some of the sacred arms there suspended, thus setting an example of ready service on shipboard, instead of on horseback.[219] It was absolutely essential to obtain supplies of money, partly for the aid of the poorer exiles, but still more for the equipment of the fleet; there were no funds in the public treasury,—but the Senate of Areopagus, then composed in large proportion of men from the wealthier classes, put forth all its public authority as well as its private contributions and example to others,[220] and thus succeeded in raising the sum of eight drachms for every soldier serving.

This timely help was indeed partly obtained by the inexhaustible resource of Themistoklês, who, in the hurry of embarkation, either discovered or pretended that the Gorgon’s head from the statue of Athênê was lost, and directing upon this ground every man’s baggage to be searched, rendered any treasures, which private citizens might be carrying out, available to the public service.[221] By the most strenuous efforts, these few important days were made to suffice for removing the whole population of Attica,—those of military competence to the fleet at Salamis,[p. 111]—the rest to some place of refuge,—together with as much property as the case admitted. So complete was the desertion of the country, that the host of Xerxes, when it became master, could not seize and carry off more than five hundred prisoners.[222] Moreover, the fleet itself, which had been brought home from Artemisium partially disabled, was quickly repaired, so that, by the time the Persian fleet arrived, it was again in something like fighting condition.

The combined fleet which had now got together at Salamis consisted of three hundred and sixty-six ships,—a force far greater than at Artemisium. Of these, no less than two hundred were Athenian; twenty among which, however, were lent to the Chalkidians, and manned by them. Forty Corinthian ships, thirty Æginetan, twenty Megarian, sixteen Lacedæmonian, fifteen Sikyonian, ten Epidaurian, seven from Ambrakia, and as many from Eretria, five from Trœzen, three from Hermionê, and the same number from Leukas; two from Keos, two from Styra, and one from Kythnos; four from Naxos, despatched as a contingent to the Persian fleet, but brought by the choice of their captains and seamen to Salamis;—all these triremes, together with a small squadron of the inferior vessels called pentekonters, made up the total. From the great Grecian cities in Italy there appeared only one trireme, a volunteer, equipped and commanded by an eminent citizen named Phayllus, thrice victor at the Pythian games.[223] The entire fleet was thus a trifle larger than the combined force, three hundred and fifty-eight ships, collected by the Asiatic Greeks at Ladê, fifteen years earlier, during the Ionic revolt. We may doubt, however, whether this total, borrowed from Herodotus, be not larger than that which actually fought a little afterwards at the battle of Salamis, and which Æschylus gives decidedly as consisting of three hundred sail, in addition to ten prime and chosen ships. That great poet, himself one of the combatants, and speaking in a drama represented only seven years after the battle, is better authority on the point even than Herodotus.[224]

[p. 112]Hardly was the fleet mustered at Salamis, and the Athenian population removed, when Xerxes and his host overran the de[p. 113]serted country, his fleet occupying the roadstead of Phalêrum with the coast adjoining. His land-force had been put in motion under the guidance of the Thessalians, two or three days after the battle of Thermopylæ, and he was assured by some Arcadians who came to seek service, that the Peloponnesians were, even at that moment, occupied with the celebration of the Olympic games. “What prize does the victor receive?” he asked. Upon the reply made, that the prize was a wreath of the wild olive, Tritantæchmês, son of the monarch’s uncle Artabanus, is said to have burst forth, notwithstanding the displeasure both of the monarch himself and of the bystanders: “Heavens, Mardonius, what manner of men are these against whom thou hast brought us to fight! men who contend not for money, but for honor!”[225] Whether this be a remark really delivered, or a dramatic illustration imagined by some contemporary of Herodotus, it is not the less interesting as bringing to view a characteristic of Hellenic life, which contrasts not merely with the manners of contemporary Orientals, but even with those of the earlier Greeks themselves during the Homeric times.

Among all the various Greeks between Thermopylæ and the borders of Attica, there were none except the Phocians disposed to refuse submission: and they refused only because the paramount influence of their bitter enemies the Thessalians made them despair of obtaining favorable terms.[226] Nor would they even listen to a proposition of the Thessalians, who, boasting that it was in their power to guide as they pleased the terrors of the Persian host, offered to insure lenient treatment to the territory of Phocis, provided a sum of fifty talents were paid to them.[227] The proposition being indignantly refused, they conducted Xerxes through the little territory of Doris, which medized and escaped plunder, into the upper valley of the Kephisus,[p. 114] among the towns of the inflexible Phocians. All of them were found deserted; the inhabitants having previously escaped either to the wide-spreading summit of Parnassus, called Tithorea, or even still farther, across that mountain into the territory of the Ozolian Lokrians. Ten or a dozen small Phocian towns, the most considerable of which were Elateia and Hyampolis, were sacked and destroyed by the invaders, nor was the holy temple and oracle of Apollo at Abæ better treated than the rest: all its treasures were pillaged, and it was then burnt. From Panopeus Xerxes detached a body of men to plunder Delphi, marching with his main army through Bœotia, in which country he found all the towns submissive and willing, except Thespiæ and Platæa: both were deserted by their citizens, and both were now burnt. From hence he conducted his army into the abandoned territory of Attica, reaching without resistance the foot of the acropolis at Athens.[228]

Very different was the fate of that division which he had detached from Panopeus against Delphi: Apollo defended his temple here more vigorously than at Abæ. The cupidity of the Persian king was stimulated by accounts of the boundless wealth accumulated at Delphi, especially the profuse donations of Crœsus. The Delphians, in the extreme of alarm, while they sought safety for themselves on the heights of Parnassus, and for their families by transport across the gulf into Achaia, consulted the oracle whether they should carry away or bury the sacred treasures. Apollo directed them to leave the treasures untouched, saying that he was competent himself to take care of his own property. Sixty Delphians alone ventured to remain, together with Akêratus, the religious superior: but evidences of superhuman aid soon appeared to encourage them. The sacred arms suspended in the interior cell, which no mortal hand was ever permitted to touch, were seen lying before the door of the temple; and when the Persians, marching along the road called Schistê, up that rugged path under the steep cliffs of Parnassus which conducts to Delphi, had reached the temple of Athênê Pronœa,—on a sudden, dreadful thunder was heard,—two vast mountain crags detached themselves and rushed down with deafening noise[p. 115] among them, crushing many to death,—the war-shout was also heard from the interior of the temple of Athênê. Seized with a panic terror, the invaders turned round and fled; pursued not only by the Delphians, but also, as they themselves affirmed, by two armed warriors of superhuman stature and destructive arm. The triumphant Delphians confirmed this report, adding that the two auxiliaries were the heroes Phylakus and Autonoüs, whose sacred precincts were close adjoining: and Herodotus himself when he visited Delphi, saw in the sacred ground of Athênê the identical masses of rock which had overwhelmed the Persians.[229] Thus did the god repel these invaders from his Delphian sanctuary and treasures, which remained inviolate until one hundred and thirty years afterwards, when they were rifled by the sacrilegious hands of the Phocian Philomêlus. On this occasion, as will be seen presently, the real protectors of the treasures were the conquerors at Salamis and Platæa.

Four months had elapsed since the departure from Asia when Xerxes reached Athens, the last term of his advance. He brought with him the members of the Peisistratid family, who doubtless thought their restoration already certain,—and a few Athenian exiles attached to their interest. Though the country was altogether deserted, the handful of men collected in the acropolis ventured to defy him: nor could all the persuasions of[p. 116] the Peisistratids, eager to preserve the holy place from pillage, induce them to surrender.[230] The Athenian acropolis,—a craggy rock rising abruptly about one hundred and fifty feet, with a flat summit of about one thousand feet long from east to west, by five hundred feet broad from north to south,—had no practicable access except on the western side:[231] moreover, in all parts where there seemed any possibility of climbing up, it was defended by the ancient fortification called the Pelasgic wall. Obliged to take the place by force, the Persian army was posted around the northern and western sides, and commenced their operations from the eminence immediately adjoining on the northwest, called Areopagus:[232] from whence they bombarded, if we may venture upon the expression, with hot missiles, the woodwork before the gates; that is, they poured upon it multitudes of arrows with burning tow attached to them. The wooden palisades and boarding presently took fire and were consumed: but when the Persians tried to mount to the assault by the western road leading up to the gate, the undaunted little garrison still kept them at bay, having provided vast stones, which they rolled down upon them in the ascent. For a time the Great King seemed likely to be driven to the slow process of blockade; but at length some adventurous men among the besiegers tried to scale the precipitous rock before them on its northern side, hard by the temple or chapel of Aglaurus, which lay nearly in front of the Persian position, but behind the gates and the western ascent. Here the rock was naturally so inaccessible, that it was[p. 117] altogether unguarded, and seemingly even unfortified:[233] moreover, the attention of the little garrison was all concentrated on the host which fronted the gates. Hence the separate escalading party was enabled to accomplish their object unobserved, and to reach the summit in the rear of the garrison; who, deprived of their last hope, either cast themselves headlong from the walls, or fled for safety to the inner temple. The successful escaladers opened the gates to the entire Persian host, and the whole acropolis was presently in their hands. Its defenders were slain, its temples pillaged, and all its dwellings and buildings, sacred as well as profane, consigned to the flames.[234] The citadel of Athens fell into the hands of Xerxes by a surprise, very much the same as that which had placed Sardis in those of Cyrus.[235]

Thus was divine prophecy fulfilled: Attica passed entirely into the hands of the Persians, and the conflagration of Sardis was retaliated upon the home and citadel of its captors, as it also was upon their sacred temple of Eleusis. Xerxes immediately despatched to Susa intelligence of the fact, which is said to have excited unmeasured demonstrations of joy, confuting, seem[p. 118]ingly, the gloomy predictions of his uncle Artabanus.[236] On the next day but one, the Athenian exiles in his suite received his orders, or perhaps obtained his permission, to go and offer sacrifice amidst the ruins of the acropolis, and atone, if possible, for the desecration of the ground: they discovered that the sacred olive-tree near the chapel of Erechtheus, the special gift of the goddess Athênê, though burnt to the ground by the recent flames, had already thrown out a fresh shoot of one cubit long,—at least the piety of restored Athens afterwards believed this encouraging portent,[237] as well as that which was said to have been seen by Dikæus, an Athenian companion of the Peisistratids, in the Thriasian plain. It was now the day set apart for the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries; and though in this sorrowful year there was no celebration, nor any Athenians in the territory, Dikæus still fancied that he beheld the dust and heard the loud multitudinous chant, which was wont to accompany in ordinary times the processional march from Athens to Eleusis. He would even have revealed the fact to Xerxes himself, had not Demaratus deterred him from doing so: but he as well as Herodotus construed it as an evidence that the goddesses themselves were passing over from Eleusis to help the Athenians at Salamis. But whatever may have been received in after times, on that day certainly no man could believe in the speedy resurrection of conquered Athens as a free city: not even if he had witnessed the portent of the burnt olive-tree suddenly sprouting afresh with preternatural vigor. So hopeless did the circumstances of the Athenians then appear, not less to their confederates assembled at Salamis than to the victorious Persians.

About the time of the capture of the acropolis, the Persian fleet also arrived safely in the bay of Phalêrum, reinforced by ships from Karystus as well as from various islands of the Cyclades, so that Herodotus reckons it to have been as strong as before the terrible storm at Sêpias Aktê,—an estimate certainly not admissible.[238]

[p. 119]Soon after their arrival, Xerxes himself descended to the shore to inspect the fleet, as well as to take counsel with the various naval leaders about the expediency of attacking the hostile fleet, now so near him in the narrow strait between Salamis and the coasts of Attica. He invited them all to take their seats in an assembly, wherein the king of Sidon occupied the first place and the king of Tyre the second. The question was put to each of them separately by Mardonius, and when we learn that all pronounced in favor of immediate fighting, we may be satisfied that the decided opinion of Xerxes himself must have been well known to them beforehand. One exception alone was found to this unanimity,—Artemisia, queen of Halikarnassus in Karia; into whose mouth Herodotus puts a speech of some length, deprecating all idea of fighting in the narrow strait of Salamis,—predicting that if the land-force were moved forward to attack Peloponnesus, the Peloponnesians in the fleet at Salamis would return for the protection of their own homes, and thus the fleet would disperse, the rather as there was little or no food in the island,—and intimating, besides, unmeasured contempt for the efficacy of the Persian fleet and seamen as compared with the Greek, as well as for the subject contingents of Xerxes generally. That queen Artemisia gave this prudent counsel, there is no reason to question; and the historian of Halikarnassus may have had means of hearing the grounds on which her opinion rested: but I find a difficulty in believing that she can have publicly delivered any such estimate of the maritime subjects of Persia,—an estimate not merely insulting to all who heard it, but at the time not just, though it had come to be nearer the truth at the time when Herodotus wrote,[239] and though Artemisia[p. 120] herself may have lived to entertain the conviction afterwards. Whatever may have been her reasons, the historian tells us that friends as well as rivals were astonished at her rashness in dissuading the monarch from a naval battle, and expected that she would be put to death. But Xerxes heard the advice with perfect good temper, and even esteemed the Karian queen the more highly: though he resolved that the opinion of the majority, or his own opinion, should be acted upon: and orders were accordingly issued for attacking the next day,[240] while the land-force should move forward towards Peloponnesus.

Whilst on the shore of Phalêrum, an omnipotent will compelled seeming unanimity and precluded all real deliberation,—great, indeed, was the contrast presented by the neighboring Greek armament at Salamis, among the members of which unmeasured dissension had been reigning. It has already been stated that the Greek fleet had originally got together at that island, not with any view of making it a naval station, but simply in order to cover and assist the emigration of the Athenians. This object being accomplished, and Xerxes being already in Attica, Eurybiadês convoked the chiefs to consider what position was the fittest for a naval engagement. Most of them, especially those from Peloponnesus, were averse to remaining at Salamis, and proposed that the fleet should be transferred to the isthmus of Corinth, where it would be in immediate communication with the Peloponnesian land-force, so that in case of defeat at sea, the ships would find protection on shore, and the men would join in the land service,—while if worsted in a naval action near Salamis, they would be inclosed in an island from whence there were no hopes of escape.[241] In the midst of the debate, a messenger arrived with news of the capture and conflagration of Athens and her acropolis by the Persians: and such was the terror produced by this intelligence, that some of the chiefs, without even awaiting the conclusion of the debate and the final vote, quitted the council forthwith, and began to hoist sail, or prepare their rowers, for departure. The majority came to a[p. 121] vote for removing to the Isthmus, but as night was approaching, actual removal was deferred until the next morning.[242]

Now was felt the want of a position like that of Thermopylæ, which had served as a protection to all the Greeks at once, so as to check the growth of separate fears and interests. We can hardly wonder that the Peloponnesian chiefs,—the Corinthian in particular, who furnished so large a naval contingent, and within whose territory the land-battle at the Isthmus seemed about to take place,—should manifest such an obstinate reluctance to fight at Salamis, and should insist on removing to a position where, in case of naval defeat, they could assist, and be assisted by, their own soldiers on land. On the other hand, Salamis was not only the most favorable position, in consequence of its narrow strait, for the inferior numbers of the Greeks, but could not be abandoned without breaking up the unity of the allied fleet; since Megara and Ægina would thus be left uncovered, and the contingents of each would immediately retire for the defence of their own homes,—while the Athenians also, a large portion of whose expatriated families were in Salamis and Ægina, would be in like manner distracted from combined maritime efforts at the Isthmus. If transferred to the latter place, probably not even the Peloponnesians themselves would have remained in one body; for the squadrons of Epidaurus, Trœzen, Hermionê, etc., each fearing that the Persian fleet might make a descent on one or other of these separate ports, would go home to repel such a contingency, in spite of the efforts of Eurybiadês to keep them together. Hence the order for quitting Salamis and repairing to the Isthmus was nothing less than a sentence of extinction for all combined maritime defence; and it thus became doubly abhorrent to all those who, like the Athenians, Æginetans, and Megarians, were also led by their own separate safety to cling to the defence of Salamis. In spite of all such opposition, however, and in spite of the protest of Themistoklês, the obstinate determination of the Peloponnesian leaders carried the vote for retreat, and each of them went to his ship to prepare for it on the following morning.

When Themistoklês returned to his ship, with the gloom of[p. 122] this melancholy resolution full upon his mind, and with the necessity of providing for removal of the expatriated Athenian families in the island as well as for that of the squadron,—he found an Athenian friend named Mnêsiphilus, who asked him what the synod of chiefs had determined. Concerning this Mnêsiphilus, who is mentioned generally as a sagacious practical politician, we unfortunately have no particulars: but it must have been no common man whom fame selected, truly or falsely, as the inspiring genius of Themistoklês. On learning what had been resolved, Mnêsiphilus burst out into remonstrance on the utter ruin which its execution would entail: there would presently be neither any united fleet to fight, nor any aggregate cause and country to fight for.[243] He vehemently urged Themistoklês again to open the question, and to press by every means in his power for a recall of the vote for retreat, as well as for a resolution to stay and fight at Salamis. Themistoklês had already in vain tried to enforce the same view: but disheartened as he was by ill-success, the remonstrances of a respected friend struck him so forcibly as to induce him to renew his efforts. He went instantly to the ship of Eurybiadês, asked permission to speak with him, and being invited aboard, reopened with him alone the whole subject of the past discussion, enforcing his own views as emphatically as he could. In this private communication, all the arguments bearing upon the case were more unsparingly laid open than it had been possible to do in an assembly of the chiefs, who would have been insulted if openly told that they were likely to desert the fleet when once removed from Salamis. Speaking thus freely and confidentially, and speaking to Eurybiadês alone, Themistoklês was enabled to bring him partially round, and even prevailed upon him to convene a fresh synod. So soon as this synod had assembled, even before Eurybiadês had explained the object and formally opened the discussion, Themistoklês addressed himself to each of the chief’s separately, pouring forth at large his fears and anxiety as to the abandonment of Salamis: insomuch that the Corinthian Adeimantus rebuked him by saying:[p. 123] “Themistoklês, those who in the public festival-matches rise up before the proper signal, are scourged.” “True, (rejoined the Athenian), but those who lag behind the signal win no crowns.”[244]

[p. 124]Eurybiadês then explained to the synod that doubts had arisen in his mind, and that he called them together to reconsider the previous resolve: upon which Themistoklês began the debate, and vehemently enforced the necessity of fighting in the narrow sea of Salamis and not in the open waters at the Isthmus,—as well as of preserving Megara and Ægina: contending that a naval victory at Salamis would be not less effective for the defence of Peloponnesus than if it took place at the Isthmus, whereas, if the fleet were withdrawn to the latter point, they would only draw the Persians after them. Nor did he omit to add, that the Athenians had a prophecy assuring to them victory in this, their own island. But his speech made little impression on the Peloponnesian chiefs, who were even exasperated at being again summoned to reopen a debate already concluded,—and concluded in a way which they deemed essential to their safety. In the bosom of the Corinthian Adeimantus, especially, this feeling of anger burst all bounds. He sharply denounced the presumption of Themistoklês, and bade him be silent as a man who had now no free Grecian city to represent,—Athens being in the power of the enemy: nay, he went so far as to contend that Eurybiadês had no right to count the vote of Themistoklês, until the latter could produce some free city as accrediting him to the synod. Such an attack, alike ungenerous and insane, upon the leader of more than half of the whole fleet, demonstrates the ungovernable impatience of the Corinthians to carry away the fleet to their Isthmus: it provoked a bitter retort against them from Themistoklês, who reminded them that while he had around him two hundred well-manned ships, he could procure for himself anywhere both city and territory as good or better than Corinth. But he now saw clearly that it was hopeless to think of enforcing his policy by argument, and that nothing would succeed except the direct language of intimidation. Turning to Eurybiadês, and addressing him personally, he said: “If thou wilt stay here, and fight bravely here, all will turn out well: but[p. 125] if thou wilt not stay, thou wilt bring Hellas to ruin.[245] For with us, all our means of war are contained in our ships. Be thou yet persuaded by me. If not, we Athenians shall migrate with our families on board, just as we are, to Siris in Italy, which is ours from of old, and which the prophecies announce that we are one day to colonize. You chiefs then, when bereft of allies like us, will hereafter recollect what I am now saying.”

Eurybiadês had before been nearly convinced by the impressive pleading of Themistoklês. But this last downright menace clenched his determination, and probably struck dumb even the Corinthian and Peloponnesian opponents: for it was but too plain, that without the Athenians the fleet was powerless. He did not however put the question again to vote, but took upon himself to rescind the previous resolution and to issue orders for staying at Salamis to fight. In this order all acquiesced, willing or unwilling;[246] the succeeding dawn saw them preparing for fight instead of for retreat, and invoking the protection and companionship of the Æakid heroes of Salamis,—Telamon and Ajax: they even sent a trireme to Ægina to implore Æakus himself and the remaining Æakids. It seems to have been on this same day, also, that the resolution of fighting at Salamis was taken by Xerxes, whose fleet was seen in motion, towards the close of the day, preparing for attack the next morning.

But the Peloponnesians, though not venturing to disobey the orders of the Spartan admiral, still retained unabated their former fears and reluctance, which began again after a short interval to prevail over the formidable menace of Themistoklês, and were further strengthened by the advices from the Isthmus. The messengers from that quarter depicted the trepidation and affright of their absent brethren while constructing their cross wall at that point, to resist the impending land invasion. Why were[p. 126] they not there also, to join hands and to help in the defence,—even if worsted at sea,—at least on land, instead of wasting their efforts in defence of Attica, already in the hands of the enemy? Such were the complaints which passed from man to man, with many a bitter exclamation against the insanity of Eurybiadês: at length the common feeling broke out in public and mutinous manifestation, and a fresh synod of the chiefs was demanded and convoked.[247] Here the same angry debate, and the same irreconcilable difference, was again renewed; the Peloponnesian chiefs clamoring for immediate departure, while the Athenians, Æginetans,[248] and Megarians, were equally urgent in favor of staying to fight. It was evident to Themistoklês that the majority of votes among the chiefs would be against him, in spite of the orders of Eurybiadês; and the disastrous crisis, destined to deprive Greece of all united maritime defence, appeared imminent,—when he resorted to one last stratagem to meet the desperate emergency, by rendering flight impossible. Contriving a pretext for stealing away from the synod, he despatched a trusty messenger across the strait with a secret communication to the Persian generals. Sikinnus his slave,—seemingly an Asiatic Greek,[249] who understood Persian, and had perhaps been sold during the late Ionic revolt, but whose superior qualities are marked by the fact that he had the care and teaching of the children of his master,—was instructed to acquaint them privately, in the name of Themistoklês, who was represented as wishing success at heart to the Persians, that the Greek fleet[p. 127] was not only in the utmost alarm, meditating immediate flight, but that the various portions of it were in such violent dissension, that they were more likely to fight against each other than against any common enemy. A splendid opportunity, it was added, was thus opened to the Persians, if they chose to avail themselves of it without delay, first, to inclose and prevent their flight, and then to attack a disunited body, many of whom would, when the combat began, openly espouse the Persian cause.[250]

Such was the important communication despatched by Themistoklês across the narrow strait, only a quarter of a mile in breadth at the narrowest part, which divides Salamis from the neighboring continent on which the enemy were posted. It was delivered with so much address as to produce the exact impression which he intended, and the glorious success which followed caused it to pass for a splendid stratagem: had defeat ensued, his name would have been covered with infamy. What surprises us the most is, that after having reaped signal honor from it in the eyes of the Greeks, as a stratagem, he lived to take credit for it, during the exile of his latter days,[251] as a capital service rendered to the Persian monarch: nor is it improbable, when we reflect upon the desperate condition of Grecian affairs at the moment, that such facility of double interpretation was in part his inducement for sending the message.

It appears to have been delivered to Xerxes shortly after he had issued his orders for fighting on the next morning: and he entered so greedily into the scheme, as to direct his generals to close up the strait of Salamis on both sides during the night,[252] to[p. 128] the north as well as to the south of the town of Salamis, at the risk of their heads if any opening were left for the Greeks to escape. The station of the numerous Persian fleet was along the coast of Attica,—its head-quarters were in the bay of Phalêrum, but doubtless parts of it would occupy those three natural harbors, as yet unimproved by art, which belonged to the deme of Peiræus,—and would perhaps extend besides to other portions of the western coast southward of Phalêrum: while the Greek fleet was in the harbor of the town called Salamis, in the portion of the island facing mount Ægaleos, in Attica. During the night,[253] a portion of the Persian fleet, sailing from Peiræus northward along the western coast of Attica, closed round to the north of the town and harbor of Salamis, so as to shut up the northern issue from the strait on the side of Eleusis: while another portion blocked up the other issue between Peiræus and the southeastern corner of the island, landing a detachment of troops on the desert island of Psyttaleia, near to that corner.[254][p. 129] These measures were all taken during the night, to prevent the anticipated flight of the Greeks, and then to attack them in the narrow strait close on their own harbor the next morning.

[p. 130]Meanwhile, that angry controversy among the Grecian chiefs, in the midst of which Themistoklês had sent over his secret envoy, continued without abatement and without decision. It was the interest of the Athenian general to prolong the debate, and to prevent any concluding vote until the effect of his stratagem should have rendered retreat impossible: nor was prolongation difficult in a case so critical, where the majority of chiefs was on one side and that of naval force on the other,—especially as Eurybiadês himself was favorable to the view of Themistoklês. Accordingly, the debate was still unfinished at nightfall, and either continued all night, or was adjourned to an hour before daybreak on the following morning, when an incident, interesting as well as important, gave to it a new turn. The ostracized Aristeidês arrived at Salamis from Ægina. Since the revocation of his sentence, proposed by Themistoklês himself, he had had no opportunity of revisiting Athens, and he now for the first time rejoined his countrymen in their exile at Salamis; not uninformed of the dissensions raging, and of the impatience of the Peloponnesians to retire to the Isthmus. He was the first to bring the news that such retirement had become impracticable from the position of the Persian fleet, which his own vessel, in coming from Ægina, had only eluded under favor of night. He caused Themistoklês to be invited out from the assembled synod of chiefs, and after a generous exordium, wherein he expressed his hope that their rivalry would for the future be only a competition in doing good to their common country, apprized him that the new movement of the Persians excluded all hope of now reaching the Isthmus and rendered farther debate useless. Themistoklês expressed his joy at the intelligence, and communicated his own secret message whereby he had himself brought the movement about, in order that the Peloponnesian chiefs might be forced to fight at Salamis, even against their own consent. He moreover desired Aristeidês to go himself into the synod, and communicate the news: for if it came from the lips of Themistoklês, the Peloponnesians would treat it as a fabrication. So obstinate indeed was their incredulity, that they refused to accept it as truth even on the assertion of Aristeidês: nor was it until the arrival of a Tenian vessel, deserting from the Persian fleet, that they at last brought themselves to credit the actual posture of[p. 131] affairs and the entire impossibility of retreat. Once satisfied of this fact, they prepared themselves at dawn for the impending battle.[255]

Having caused his land-force to be drawn up along the shore opposite to Salamis, Xerxes had erected for himself a lofty seat, or throne, upon one of the projecting declivities of mount Ægaleos, near the Herakleion and immediately overhanging the sea,[256]—from whence he could plainly review all the phases of the combat and the conduct of his subject troops. He was persuaded himself that they had not done their best at Artemisium, in consequence of his absence, and that his presence would inspire them with fresh valor: moreover, his royal scribes stood ready by his side to take the names both of the brave and of the backward combatants. On the right wing of his fleet, which approached Salamis on the side of Eleusis, and was opposed to the Athenians on the Grecian left,—were placed the Phenicians and Egyptians; on his left wing the Ionians,[257]—approaching from the side of Peiræus, and opposed to the Lacedæmonians, Æginetans, and Megarians. The seamen of the Persian[p. 132] fleet, however, had been on shipboard all night, in making that movement which had brought them into their actual position: while the Greek seamen now began without previous fatigue, fresh from the animated harangues of Themistoklês and the other leaders: moreover, just as they were getting on board, they were joined by the triremes which had been sent to Ægina to bring to their aid Æakus, with the other Æakid heroes. Honored with this precious heroic aid, which tended so much to raise the spirits of the Greeks, the Æginetan trireme now arrived just in time to take her post in the line, having eluded pursuit from the intervening enemy.[258]

The Greeks rowed forward from the shore to attack with the usual pæan, or war-shout, which was confidently returned by the Persians; and the latter were the most forward of the two to begin the fight: for the Greek seamen, on gradually nearing the enemy, became at first disposed to hesitate,—and even backed water for a space, so that some of them touched ground on their own shore: until the retrograde movement was arrested by a supernatural feminine figure hovering over them, who exclaimed with a voice that rang through the whole fleet,—“Ye worthies, how much farther are ye going to back water?” The very circulation of this fable attests the dubious courage of the Greeks at the commencement of the battle.[259] The brave Athenian cap[p. 133]tains Ameinias and Lykomêdês (the former, brother of the poet Æschylus) were the first to obey either the feminine voice or the inspirations of their own ardor: though according to the version current at Ægina, it was the Æginetan ship, the carrier of the Æakid heroes, which first set this honorable example.[260] The Naxian Demokritus was celebrated by Simonides as the third ship in action. Ameinias, darting forth from the line, charged with the beak of his ship full against a Phenician, and the two became entangled so that he could not again get clear: other ships came in aid on both sides, and the action thus became general. Herodotus, with his usual candor, tells us that he could procure few details about the action, except as to what concerned Artemisia, the queen of his own city: so that we know hardly anything beyond the general facts. But it appears that, with the exception of the Ionic Greeks, many of whom—apparently a greater number than Herodotus likes to acknowledge—were lukewarm, and some even averse;[261] the subjects of Xerxes conducted themselves generally with great bravery: Phenicians, Cyprians, Kilikians, Egyptians, vied with the Persians and[p. 134] Medes serving as soldiers on shipboard, in trying to satisfy the exigent monarch who sat on shore watching their behavior. Their signal defeat was not owing to any want of courage,—but, first, to the narrow space which rendered their superior number a hindrance rather than a benefit: next, to their want of orderly line and discipline as compared with the Greeks: thirdly, to the fact that, when once fortune seemed to turn against them, they had no fidelity or reciprocal attachment, and each ally was willing to sacrifice or even to run down others, in order to effect his own escape. Their numbers and absence of concert threw them into confusion, and caused them to run foul of each other: those in the front could not recede, nor could those in the rear advance:[262] the oar-blades were broken by collision,—the steersmen lost control of their ships, and could no longer adjust the ship’s course so as to strike that direct blow with the beak which was essential in ancient warfare. After some time of combat, the whole Persian fleet was driven back and became thoroughly unmanageable, so that the issue was no longer doubtful, and nothing remained except the efforts of individual bravery to protract the struggle. While the Athenian squadron on the left, which had the greatest resistance to surmount, broke up and drove before them the Persian right, the Æginetans on the right intercepted the flight of the fugitives to Phalêrum:[263] Demokritus, the Naxian captain, was said to have captured five ships of the Persians with his own single trireme. The chief admiral, Ariabignês, brother of Xerxes, attacked at once by two Athenian triremes, fell, gallantly trying to board one of them, and the number of distinguished Persians and Medes who shared his fate was great:[264] the more so, as few of them knew how to swim, while among the Greek seamen who were cast into the sea, the greater number were swimmers, and had the friendly shore of[p. 135] Salamis near at hand. It appears that the Phenician seamen of the fleet threw the blame of defeat upon the Ionic Greeks; and some of them, driven ashore during the heat of the battle under the immediate throne of Xerxes, excused themselves by denouncing the others as traitors. The heads of the Ionic leaders might have been endangered if the monarch had not seen with his own eyes an act of surprising gallantry by one of their number. An Ionic trireme from Samothrace charged and disabled an Attic trireme, but was herself almost immediately run down by an Æginetan. The Samothracian crew, as their vessel lay disabled on the water, made such excellent use of their missile weapons, that they cleared the decks of the Æginetan, sprung on board, and became masters of her. This exploit, passing under the eyes of Xerxes himself, induced him to treat the Phenicians as dastardly calumniators, and to direct their heads to be cut off: his wrath and vexation, Herodotus tells us, were boundless, and he scarcely knew on whom to vent it.[265]

In this disastrous battle itself, as in the debate before the battle, the conduct of Artemisia of Halikarnassus was such as to give him full satisfaction. It appears that this queen maintained her full part in the battle until the disorder had become irretrievable; she then sought to escape, pursued by the Athenian trierarch, Ameinias, but found her progress obstructed by the number of fugitive or embarrassed comrades before her. In this dilemma, she preserved herself from pursuit by attacking one of her own comrades; she charged the trireme of the Karian prince, Damasithymus, of Kalyndus, ran it down and sunk it, so that the prince with all his crew perished. Had Ameinias been aware that the vessel which he was following was that of Artemisia, nothing would have induced him to relax in the pursuit,—for the Athenian captains were all indignant at the idea of a female invader assailing their city;[266] but knowing her ship only as one among the enemy, and seeing her thus charge and destroy another enemy’s ship, he concluded her to be a deserter, turned[p. 136] his pursuit elsewhere, and suffered her to escape. At the same time, it so happened that the destruction of the ship of Damasithymus happened under the eyes of Xerxes and of the persons around him on shore, who recognized the ship of Artemisia, but supposed the ship destroyed to be a Greek. Accordingly they remarked to him, “Master, seest thou not how well Artemisia fights, and how she has just sunk an enemy’s ship?” Assured that it was really her deed, Xerxes is said to have replied, “My men have become women; my women, men.” Thus was Artemisia not only preserved, but exalted to a higher place in the esteem of Xerxes by the destruction of one of his own ships,—among the crew of which not a man survived to tell the true story.[267]

Of the total loss of either fleet, Herodotus gives us no estimate; but Diodorus states the number of ships destroyed on the Grecian side as forty, on the Persian side as two hundred; independent of those which were made prisoners with all their crews. To the Persian loss is to be added, the destruction of all those troops whom they had landed before the battle in the island of Psyttaleia: as soon as the Persian fleet was put to flight, Aristeidês carried over some Grecian hoplites to that island, overpowered the enemy, and put them to death to a man. This[p. 137] loss appears to have been much deplored, as they were choice troops; in great proportion, the native Persian guards.[268]

Great and capital as the victory was, there yet remained after it a sufficient portion of the Persian fleet to maintain even maritime war vigorously, not to mention the powerful land-force, as yet unshaken. And the Greeks themselves, immediately after they had collected in their island, as well as could be done, the fragments of shipping and the dead bodies, made themselves ready for a second engagement.[269] But they were relieved from this necessity by the pusillanimity[270] of the invading monarch, in whom the defeat had occasioned a sudden revulsion from contemptuous confidence, not only to rage and disappointment, but to the extreme of alarm for his own personal safety. He was possessed with a feeling of mingled wrath and mistrust against his naval force, which consisted entirely of subject nations,—Phenicians, Egyptians, Kilikians, Cyprians, Pamphylians, Ionic Greeks, etc., with a few Persians and Medes serving on board, in a capacity probably not well suited to them. None of these subjects had any interest in the success of the invasion, or any other motive for service except fear, while the sympathies of the Ionic Greeks were even decidedly against it. Xerxes now came to suspect the fidelity, or undervalue the courage, of all these naval subjects;[271] he fancied that they could make no resistance to the Greek fleet, and dreaded lest the latter should sail forthwith to the Hellespont, so as to break down the bridge and intercept his personal retreat; for, upon the maintenance of that bridge he conceived his own safety to turn, not less than that of his father Darius, when retreating from Scythia, upon the preservation of the bridge over the Danube.[272] Against the Phenicians, from[p. 138] whom he had expected most, his rage broke out in such fierce threats, that they stole away from the fleet in the night, and departed homeward.[273] Such a capital desertion made future naval struggle still more hopeless, and Xerxes, though at first breathing revenge, and talking about a vast mole or bridge to be thrown across the strait to Salamis, speedily ended by giving orders to the whole fleet to leave Phalêrum in the night,—not without disembarking, however, the best soldiers who served on board.[274] They were to make straight for the Hellespont, and there to guard the bridge against his arrival.[275]

This resolution was prompted by Mardonius, who saw the real terror which beset his master, and read therein sufficient evidence of danger to himself. When Xerxes despatched to Susa intelligence of his disastrous overthrow, the feeling at home was not simply that of violent grief for the calamity, and fear for the personal safety of the monarch,—it was farther imbittered by[p. 139] anger against Mardonius, as the instigator of this ruinous enterprise. That general knew full well that there was no safety for him[276] in returning to Persia with the shame of failure on his head: it was better for him to take upon himself the chance of subduing Greece, which he had good hopes of being yet able to do,—and to advise the return of Xerxes himself to a safe and easy residence in Asia. Such counsel was eminently palatable to the present alarm of the monarch, while it opened to Mardonius himself a fresh chance not only of safety, but of increased power and glory. Accordingly, he began to reassure his master, by representing that the recent blow was after all not serious,—that it had only fallen upon the inferior part of his force, and upon worthless foreign slaves, like Phenicians, Egyptians, etc., while the native Persian troops yet remained unconquered and unconquerable, fully adequate to execute the monarch’s revenge upon Hellas;—that Xerxes might now very well retire with the bulk of his army if he were disposed, and that he, Mardonius, would pledge himself to complete the conquest, at the head of three hundred thousand chosen troops. This proposition afforded at the same time consolation for the monarch’s wounded vanity, and safety for his person: his confidential Persians, and Artemisia herself, on being consulted, approved of the step. The latter had acquired his confidence by the dissuasive advice which she had given before the recent deplorable engagement, and she had every motive now to encourage a proposition indicating solicitude for his person, as well as relieving herself from the obligation of farther service. “If Mardonius desires to remain (she remarked, contemptuously[277]), by all means let him have the troops: should he succeed, thou wilt be the gainer: should he even perish, the loss of some of thy slaves is trifling, so long as thou remainest safe, and thy house in power. Thou hast already accomplished the purpose of thy expedition, in burning Athens.” Xerxes, while adopting this counsel, and directing the return of his fleet, showed his satisfaction with the Halikarnassian queen, by intrusting her with some of his children, directing her to transport them to Ephesus.

The Greeks at Salamis learned with surprise and joy the de[p. 140]parture of the hostile fleet from the bay of Phalêrum, and immediately put themselves in pursuit; following as far as the island of Andros without success. Themistoklês and the Athenians are even said to have been anxious to push on forthwith to the Hellespont, and there break down the bridge of boats, in order to prevent the escape of Xerxes,—had they not been restrained by the caution of Eurybiadês and the Peloponnesians, who represented that it was dangerous to detain the Persian monarch in the heart of Greece. Themistoklês readily suffered himself to be persuaded, and contributed much to divert his countrymen from the idea; while he at the same time sent the faithful Sikinnus a second time to Xerxes, with the intimation that he, Themistoklês, had restrained the impatience of the Greeks to proceed without delay and burn the Hellespontine bridge,—and that he had thus, from personal friendship to the monarch, secured for him a safe retreat.[278] Though this is the story related by Herodotus, we can hardly believe that, with the great Persian land-force in the heart of Attica, there could have been any serious idea of so distant an operation as that of attacking the bridge at the Hellespont. It seems more probable that Themistoklês fabricated the intention, with a view of frightening Xerxes away, as well as of establishing a personal claim upon his gratitude in reserve for future contingences.

Such crafty manœuvres and long-sighted calculations of possibility, seem extraordinary: but the facts are sufficiently attested,—since Themistoklês lived to claim as well as to receive fulfilment of the obligation thus conferred,—and though extraordinary, they will not appear inexplicable, if we reflect, first, that the Persian game, even now, after the defeat of Salamis, was not only not desperate, but might perfectly well have succeeded, if it had been played with reasonable prudence: next, that there existed in the mind of this eminent man an almost unparalleled[p. 141] combination of splendid patriotism, long-sighted cunning, and selfish rapacity. Themistoklês knew better than any one else that the cause of Greece had appeared utterly desperate, only a few hours before the late battle: moreover, a clever man, tainted with such constant guilt, might naturally calculate on being one day detected and punished, even if the Greeks proved successful.

He now employed the fleet among the islands of the Cyclades, for the purpose of levying fines upon them as a punishment for adherence to the Persian. He first laid siege to Andros, telling the inhabitants that he came to demand their money, bringing with him two great gods,—Persuasion and Necessity. To which the Andrians replied, that “Athens was a great city, and blest with excellent gods: but that they were miserably poor, and that there were two unkind gods who always stayed with them and would never quit the island,—Poverty and Helplessness.[279] In these gods the Andrians put their trust, refusing to deliver the money required; for the power of Athens could never overcome their inability.” While the fleet was engaged in contending against the Andrians with their sad protecting deities, Themistoklês sent round to various other cities, demanding from them private sums of money on condition of securing them from attack. From Karystus, Paros, and other places, he thus extorted bribes for himself apart from the other generals,[280] but it appears that Andros was found unproductive, and after no very long absence, the fleet was brought back to Salamis.[281]

The intimation sent by Themistoklês perhaps had the effect of hastening the departure of Xerxes, who remained in Attica only a few days after the battle of Salamis, and then withdrew his army through Bœotia into Thessaly, where Mardonius made choice of the troops to be retained for his future operations. He retained all the Persians, Medes, Sakæ, Baktrians, and Indians,[p. 142] horse as well as foot, together with select detachments of the remaining contingents: making in all, according to Herodotus, three hundred thousand men. But as it was now the beginning of September, and as sixty thousand out of his forces, under Artabazus, were destined to escort Xerxes himself to the Hellespont, Mardonius proposed to Winter in Thessaly, and to postpone farther military operations until the ensuing spring.[282]

Having left most of these troops under the orders of Mardonius in Thessaly, Xerxes marched away with the rest to the Hellespont, by the same road as he had taken in his advance a few months before. Respecting his retreat, a plentiful stock of stories were circulated,[283]—inconsistent with each other, fanciful and[p. 143] even incredible: Grecian imagination, in the contemporary poet Æschylus, as well as in the Latin moralizers Seneca or Juvenal,[284] delighted in handling this invasion with the maximum of light and shadow,—magnifying the destructive misery and humiliation of the retreat so as to form an impressive contrast with the superhuman pride of the advance, and illustrating the antithesis with unbounded license of detail. The sufferings from want of provision were doubtless severe, and are described as frightful and death-dealing: the magazines stored up for the advancing march had been exhausted, so that the retiring army were now forced to seize upon the corn of the country through which they passed,—an insufficient maintenance, eked out by leaves, grass, the bark of trees, and other wretched substitutes for food. Plague and dysentery aggravated their misery, and occasioned many to[p. 144] be left behind among the cities through whose territory the retreat was carried; strict orders being left by Xerxes that these cities should maintain and tend them. After forty-five days’ march from Attica, he at length found himself at the Hellespont, whither his fleet, retreating from Salamis, had arrived long before him.[285] But the short-lived bridge had already been knocked to pieces by a storm, so that the army was transported on shipboard across to Asia, where it first obtained comfort and abundance, and where the change from privation to excess engendered new maladies. In the time of Herodotus, the citizens of Abdêra still showed the gilt cimeter and tiara, which Xerxes had presented to them when he halted there in his retreat, in token of hospitality and satisfaction: and they even went the length of affirming that never, since his departure from Attica, had he loosened his girdle until he reached their city. So fertile was Grecian fancy in magnifying the terror of the repulsed invader! who reëntered Sardis, with a broken army and humbled spirit, only eight months after he had left it, as the presumed conqueror of the western world.[286]

Meanwhile the Athenians and Peloponnesians, liberated from the immediate presence of the enemy either on land or sea, and passing from the extreme of terror to sudden ease and security, indulged in the full delight and self-congratulation of unexpected victory. On the day before the battle, Greece had seemed irretrievably lost: she was now saved even against all reasonable hope, and the terrific cloud impending over her was dispersed.[287][p. 145] In the division of the booty, the Æginetans were adjudged to have distinguished themselves most in the action, and to be entitled to the choice lot; while various tributes of gratitude were also set apart for the gods. Among them were three Phenician triremes, which were offered in dedication to Ajax at Salamis, to Athênê at Sunium, and to Poseidon at the isthmus of Corinth; farther presents were sent to Apollo at Delphi, who, on being asked whether he was satisfied, replied, that all had done their duty to him except the Æginetans: from them he required additional munificence on account of the prize awarded to them, and they were constrained to dedicate in the temple four golden stars upon a staff of brass, which Herodotus himself saw there. Next to the Æginetans, the second place of honor was awarded to the Athenians; the Æginetan Polykritus, and the Athenians Eumenês and Ameinias, being ranked first among the individual combatants.[288] Respecting the behavior of Adeimantus and the Corinthians in the battle, the Athenians of the time of Herodotus drew the most unfavorable picture, representing them to have fled at the commencement, and to have been only brought back by the information that the Greeks were gaining the victory. Considering the character of the debates which had preceded, and the impatient eagerness manifested by the Corinthians to fight at the Isthmus instead of at Salamis, some such backwardness on their part, when forced into a battle at the latter place, would not be in itself improbable: yet in this case it seems that not only the Corinthians themselves, but also the general voice of Greece, contradicted the Athenian story, and defended them as having behaved with bravery and forwardness. We must recollect that, at the time when Herodotus probably collected his information, a bitter feeling of hatred prevailed between Athens and Corinth, and Aristeus, son of Adeimantus, was among the most efficient enemies of the former.[289]

[p. 146]Besides the first and second prizes of valor, the chiefs at the Isthmus tried to adjudicate among themselves the first and second prizes of skill and wisdom. Each of them deposited two names on the altar of Poseidon: and when these votes came to be looked at, it was found that each man had voted for himself as deserving the first prize, but that Themistoklês had a large majority of votes for the second.[290] The result of such voting allowed no man to claim the first prize, nor could the chiefs give a second prize without it; so that Themistoklês was disappointed of his reward, though exalted so much the higher, perhaps, through that very disappointment, in general renown. He went shortly afterwards to Sparta, where he received from the Lacedæmonians honors such as were never paid, before nor afterwards, to any foreigner. A crown of olive was indeed given to Eurybiadês as the first prize, but a like crown was at the same time conferred on Themistoklês as a special reward for unparalleled sagacity; together with a chariot, the finest which the city afforded. Moreover, on his departure, the three hundred select youths called Hippeis, who formed the active guard and police of the country, all accompanied him in a body as escort of honor to the frontiers of Tegea.[291] Such demonstrations were so astonishing, from the haughty and immovable Spartans, that they were ascribed by some authors to their fear lest Themistoklês should be offended by being deprived of the general prize,[p. 147]—and they are even said to have excited the jealousy of the Athenians so much, that he was displaced from his post of general and Xanthippus nominated.[292] Neither of these last reports is likely to be true, nor is either of them confirmed by Herodotus: the fact that Xanthippus became general of the fleet during the ensuing year, is in the regular course of Athenian change of officers, and implies no peculiar jealousy of Themistoklês.


Though the defeat at Salamis deprived the Persians of all hope from farther maritime attack of Greece, they still anticipated success by land from the ensuing campaign of Mardonius. Their fleet, after having conveyed the monarch himself with his accompanying land-force across the Hellespont, retired to winter at Kymê and Samos: in the latter of which places large rewards were bestowed upon Theomêstor and Phylakus, two Samian captains who had distinguished themselves in the late engagement. Theomêstor was even nominated despot of Samos under Persian protection.[293] Early in the spring they were reassembled, to the number of four hundred sail, but without the Phenicians, at the naval station of Samos, intending, however, only to maintain a watchful guard over Ionia, and hardly supposing that the Greek fleet would venture to attack them.[294]

For a long time, the conduct of that fleet was such as to justify such a belief in its enemies. Assembled at Ægina in the spring, to the number of one hundred and ten ships, under the[p. 148] Spartan king Leotychidês, it advanced as far as Delos, but not farther eastward: nor could all the persuasions of Chian and other Ionian envoys, despatched both to the Spartan authorities and to the fleet, and promising to revolt from Persia as soon as the Grecian fleet should appear, prevail upon Leotychidês to hazard any aggressive enterprise. Ionia and the western waters of the Ægean had now been for fifteen years completely under the Persians, and so little visited by the Greeks, that a voyage thither appeared, especially to the maritime inexperience of a Spartan king, like going to the Pillars of Hêraklês,[295]—not less venturesome than the same voyage appeared fifty-two years afterwards to the Lacedæmonian admiral Alkidas, when he first hazarded his fleet amidst the preserved waters of the Athenian empire.

Meanwhile the hurried and disastrous retreat of Xerxes had produced less disaffection among his subjects and allies than might have been anticipated. Alexander, king of Macedon, the Thessalian Aleuadæ,[296] and the Bœotian leaders, still remained in hearty coöperation with Mardonius: nor were there any, except the Phocians, whose fidelity to him appeared questionable, among all the Greeks northwest of the boundaries of Attica and Megaris. It was only in the Chalkidic peninsula, that any actual revolt occurred. Potidæa, situated on the isthmus of Pallênê,[p. 149] together with the other towns in the long tongue of Pallênê, declared themselves independent: and the neighboring town of Olynthus, occupied by the semi-Grecian tribe of Bottiæans, was on the point of following their example. The Persian general, Artabazus, on his return from escorting Xerxes to the Hellespont, undertook the reduction of these towns, and succeeded perfectly with Olynthus. He took the town, slew all the inhabitants, and handed it over to a fresh population, consisting of Chalkidic Greeks, under Kritobulus of Torônê. It was in this manner that Olynthus, afterwards a city of so much consequence and interest, first became Grecian and Chalkidic. But Artabazus was not equally successful in the siege of Potidæa, the defence of which was aided by citizens from the other towns in Pallênê. A plot which he concerted with Timoxenus, commander of the Skiônæan auxiliaries in the town, became accidentally disclosed: a considerable body of his troops perished while attempting to pass at low tide under the walls of the city, which were built across the entire breadth of the narrow isthmus joining the Pallenæan peninsula to the mainland: and after three months of blockade, he was forced to renounce the enterprise, withdrawing his troops to rejoin Mardonius, in Thessaly.[297]

The latter, before he put himself in motion for the spring campaign, thought it advisable to consult the Grecian oracles, especially those within the limits of Bœotia and Phocis. He sent a Karian, named Mys, familiar with the Greek as well as the Karian language, to consult Trophônius at Lebadeia, Amphiaraus, and the Ismenian Apollo at Thebes, Apollo at mount Ptôon near Akræphiæ, and Apollo at the Phocian Abæ. This step was probably intended as a sort of ostentatious respect towards the religious feelings of allies upon whom he was now very much dependent: but neither the questions put, nor the answers given, were made public: and the only remarkable fact which Herodotus had heard was, that the priest of the Ptôian Apollo delivered his answer in Karian, or at least in a language intelligible to no person present except the Karian Mys himself.[298] It appears, however, that at this period, when Mardonius was[p. 150] seeking to strengthen himself by oracles, and laying his plans for establishing a separate peace and alliance with Athens against the Peloponnesians, some persons in his interest circulated predictions, that the day was approaching when the Persians and the Athenians jointly would expel the Dorians from Peloponnesus.[299] The way was thus paved for him to send an envoy to Athens,—Alexander, king of Macedon; who was instructed to make the most seductive offers, to promise reparation of all the damage done in Attica, as well as the active future friendship of the Great King, and to hold out to the Athenians a large acquisition of new territory as the price of their consent to form with him an equal and independent alliance.[300] The Macedonian prince added warm expressions of his own interest in the welfare of the Athenians, recommending them, as a sincere friend, to embrace propositions so advantageous as well as so honorable: especially as the Persian power must in the end prove too much for them, and Attica lay exposed to Mardonius and his Grecian allies, without being covered by any common defence as Peloponnesus was protected by its isthmus.[301]

This offer, despatched in the spring, found the Athenians reëstablished wholly or partially in their half-ruined city. A simple tender of mercy and tolerable treatment, if despatched[p. 151] by Xerxes from Thermopylæ the year before, might perhaps have been sufficient to detach them from the cause of Hellas: and even at the present moment, though the pressure of overwhelming terror had disappeared, there were many inducements for them to accede to the proposition of Mardonius. The alliance of Athens would insure to the Persian general unquestionable predominance in Greece, and to Athens herself protection from farther ravage as well as the advantage of playing the winning game: while his force, his position, and his alliances, even as they then stood, threatened a desolating and doubtful war, of which Attica would bear the chief brunt. Moreover, the Athenians were at this time suffering privations of the severest character; for not only did their ruined houses and temples require to be restored, but they had lost the harvest of the past summer, together with the seed of the past autumn.[302] The prudential view of the case being thus favorable to Mardonius rather than otherwise, and especially strengthened by the distress which reigned at Athens, the Lacedæmonians were so much afraid lest Alexander should carry his point, that they sent envoys to dissuade the Athenians from listening to him, as well as to tender succor during the existing poverty of the city. After having heard both parties, the Athenians delivered their reply in terms of solemn and dignified resolution, which their descendants delighted in repeating. To Alexander they said: “Cast not in our teeth that the power of the Persian is many times greater than ours: we too know that, as well as thou: but we, nevertheless, love freedom well enough to resist him in the best manner we can. Attempt not the vain task of talking us over into alliance with him. Tell Mardonius that as long as the sun shall continue in his present path, we will never contract alliance with Xerxes: we will encounter him in our own defence, putting our trust in the aid of those gods and heroes to whom he has shown[p. 152] no reverence, and whose houses and statues he has burned. Come thou not to us again with similar propositions, nor persuade us, even in the spirit of good-will, into unholy proceedings: thou art the guest and friend of Athens, and we would not that thou shouldst suffer injury at our hands.”[303]

To the Spartans, the reply of the Athenians was of a similar decisive tenor: protesting their unconquerable devotion to the common cause and liberties of Hellas, and promising that no conceivable temptations, either of money or territory, should induce them to desert the ties of brotherhood, common language, and religion. So long as a single Athenian survived, no alliance should ever be made with Xerxes. They then thanked the Spartans for offering them aid during the present privations: but while declining such offers, they reminded them that Mardonius, when apprized that his propositions were refused, would probably advance immediately, and they therefore earnestly desired the presence of a Peloponnesian army in Bœotia to assist in the defence of Attica.[304] The Spartan envoys, promising fulfilment of this request,[305] and satisfied to have ascertained the sentiments of Athens, departed.

Such unshaken fidelity on the part of the Athenians to the general cause of Greece, in spite of present suffering, combined with seductive offers for the future, was the just admiration of their descendants, and the frequent theme of applause by their orators.[306] But among the contemporary Greeks it was hailed[p. 153] only as a relief from danger, and repaid by a selfish and ungenerous neglect. The same feeling of indifference towards all Greeks outside of their own Isthmus, which had so deeply endangered the march of affairs before the battle of Salamis, now manifested itself a second time among the Spartans and Peloponnesians. The wall across the Isthmus, which they had been so busy in constructing, and on which they had relied for protection against the land-force of Xerxes, had been intermitted and left unfinished when he retired: but it was resumed as soon as the forward march of Mardonius was anticipated. It was, however, still unfinished at the time of the embassy of the Macedonian prince to Athens, and this incomplete condition of their special defence was one reason of their alarm lest the Athenians should accept the terms proposed. That danger being for the time averted, they redoubled their exertions at the Isthmus, so that the wall was speedily brought into an adequate state of defence, and the battlements along the summit were in course of being constructed. Thus safe behind their own bulwark, they thought nothing more of their promise to join the Athenians in Bœotia, and to assist in defending Attica against Mardonius: indeed, their king Kleombrotus, who commanded the force at the Isthmus, was so terrified by an obscuration of the sun at the moment when he was sacrificing to ascertain the inclinations of the gods in reference to the coming war, that he even thought it necessary to retreat with the main force to Sparta, where he soon after died.[307] Besides these two reasons,—indifference and unfavorable omens,—which restrained the Spartans from aiding Attica, there was also a third: they were engaged in celebrating the festival of the Hyakinthia, and it was their paramount object, says the historian,[308] to fulfil “the exigences of the god.” As the[p. 154] Olympia and the Karneia in the preceding year, so now did the Hyakinthia, prevail over the necessities of defence, putting out of sight both the duties of fidelity towards an exposed ally, and the bond of an express promise.

Meanwhile, Mardonius, informed of the unfavorable reception which his proposals had received at Athens, put his army in motion forthwith from Thessaly, joined by all his Grecian auxiliaries, and by fresh troops from Thrace and Macedonia. As he marched through Bœotia, the Thebans, who heartily espoused his cause, endeavored to dissuade him from farther military operations against the united force of his enemies,—urging him to try the efficacy of bribes, presented to the leading men in the different cities, for the purpose of disuniting them. But Mardonius, eager to repossess himself of Attica, heeded not their advice: about ten months after the retreat of Xerxes, he entered the country without resistance, and again established the Persian head-quarters in Athens, May or June, 479 B. C.[309]

Before he arrived, the Athenians had again removed to Salamis, under feelings of bitter disappointment and indignation. They had in vain awaited the fulfilment of the Spartan promise, that a Peloponnesian army should join them in Bœotia for the defence of their frontier; at length, being unable to make head against the enemy alone, they found themselves compelled to transport their families across to Salamis.[310] The migration was far less terrible than that of the preceding summer, since Mardonius had no fleet to harass them; but it was more gratuitous, and might have been obviated had the Spartans executed their covenant, which would have brought about the battle of Platæa two months earlier than it actually was fought.

Mardonius, though master of Athens, was so anxious to conciliate the Athenians, that he at first abstained from damaging either the city or the country, and despatched a second envoy to[p. 155] Salamis to repeat the offers made through Alexander of Macedon: he thought that they might now be listened to, since he could offer the exemption of Attica from ravage, as an additional temptation. Murychidês, a Hellespontine Greek, was sent to renew these propositions to the Athenian senate at Salamis; but he experienced a refusal not less resolute than that of Alexander of Macedon when sent to Athens, and all but unanimous. One unfortunate senator, Lykidas, made an exception to this unanimity, and ventured to recommend acceptance of the propositions of Murychidês. So furious was the wrath, or so strong the suspicion of corruption, which his single-voiced negative provoked, that senators and people both combined to stone him to death: while the Athenian women in Salamis, hearing what had passed, went of their own accord to the house of Lykidas, and stoned to death his wife and children. In the desperate pitch of resolution to which the Athenians were now wound up, an opponent passed for a traitor: unanimity, even though extorted by terror, was essential to their feelings.[311] Murychidês, though his propositions were refused, was dismissed without injury.

While the Athenians thus gave renewed proofs of their steadfast attachment to the cause of Hellas, they at the same time sent[p. 156] envoys, conjointly with Megara and Platæa, to remonstrate with the Spartans on their backwardness and breach of faith, and to invoke them even thus late to come forth at once and meet Mardonius in Attica: not omitting to intimate, that if they were thus deserted, it would become imperatively necessary for them, against their will, to make terms with the enemy. So careless, however, were the Spartan ephors respecting Attica and the Megarid, that they postponed giving an answer to these envoys for ten successive days, while in the mean time they pressed with all their efforts the completion of the isthmic fortifications. And after having thus amused the envoys as long as they could, they would have dismissed them at last with a negative answer,—such was their fear of adventuring beyond the Isthmus,—had not a Tegean, named Chileos, whom they much esteemed, and to whom they communicated the application, reminded them that no fortifications at the Isthmus would suffice for the defence of Peloponnesus, if the Athenians became allied with Mardonius, and thus laid the peninsula open by sea. The strong opinion of this respected Tegean, proved to the ephors that their selfish policy would not be seconded by their chief Peloponnesian allies, and brought to their attention, probably for the first time, that danger by sea might again be renewed, though the Persian fleet had been beaten in the preceding year, and was now at a distance from Greece. It changed their resolution, not less completely than suddenly; and they despatched forthwith in the night five thousand Spartan citizens to the Isthmus,—each man with seven Helots attached to him. And when the Athenian envoys, ignorant of this sudden change of policy, came on the next day to give peremptory notice that Athens would no longer endure such treacherous betrayal, but would forthwith take measures for her own security and separate pacification,—the ephors affirmed on their oath that the troops were already on their march, and were probably by this time out of the Spartan territory.[312] Considering[p. 157] that this step was an expiation, imperfect, tardy, and reluctant, for foregoing desertion and breach of promise,—the ephors may probably have thought that the mystery of the night-march, and the sudden communication of it as an actual fact to the envoys, in the way of reply, would impress more emphatically the minds of the latter,—who returned with the welcome tidings to Salamis, and prepared their countrymen for speedy action. Five thousand Spartan citizens, each with seven light-armed Helots as attendants, were thus on their march to the theatre of war. Throughout the whole course of Grecian history, we never hear of any number of Spartan citizens at all approaching to five thousand being put on foreign service at the same time. But this was not all: five thousand Lacedæmonian Periœki, each with one light-armed Helot to attend him, were also despatched to the Isthmus, to take part in the same struggle. Such unparalleled efforts afford sufficient measure of the alarm which, though late yet real, now reigned at Sparta. Other Peloponnesian cities followed the example, and a large army was now collected under the Spartan Pausanias.

It appears that Mardonius was at this moment in secret correspondence with the Argeians, who, though professing neutrality, are said to have promised him that they would arrest the march of the Spartans beyond their own borders.[313] We may reasonably doubt whether they ever made such a promise: but at any rate, the suddenness of the march as well as the greatness of the force prevented them from fulfilling it; and they were forced to content themselves with apprizing Mardonius instantly of the fact, through their swiftest courier. It determined that general[p. 158] to evacuate Attica, and to carry on the war in Bœotia,—a country in every way more favorable to him. He had for some time refrained from committing devastations in or round Athens, hoping that the Athenians might be induced to listen to his propositions; but the last days of his stay were employed in burning and destroying whatever had been spared by the host of Xerxes during the preceding summer. After a fruitless attempt to surprise a body of one thousand Lacedæmonians which had been detached for the protection of Megara,[314] he withdrew all his army into Bœotia, not taking either the straight road to Platæa through Eleutheræ, or to Thebes through Phylê, both which roads were mountainous and inconvenient for cavalry, but marching in the northeasterly direction to Dekeleia, where he was met by some guides from the adjoining regions near the river Asôpus, and conducted through the deme of Sphendaleis to Tanagra. He thus found himself, by a route longer but easier, in Bœotia, on the plain of the Asôpus: along which river he next day marched westward to Skôlus, a town in the territory of Thebes, seemingly near to that of Platæa.[315] He then took up a position not far off, in the plain on the left bank of the Asôpus: his left wing over against Erythræ, his centre over against Hysiæ, and[p. 159] his right in the territory of Platæa: and he employed his army in constructing forthwith a fortified camp[316] of ten furlongs square, defended by wooden walls and towers, cut from trees in the Theban territory.

Mardonius found himself thus with his numerous army, in a plain favorable for cavalry; with a camp more or less defensible,—the fortified city of Thebes[317] in his rear,—and a considerable stock of provisions as well as a friendly region behind him from whence to draw more. Few among his army, however, were either hearty in the cause or confident of success:[318] even the native Persians had been disheartened by the flight of the monarch the year before, and were full of melancholy auguries. A splendid banquet to which the Theban leader Attagînus invited Mardonius, along with fifty Persians and fifty Theban or Bœotian guests, exhibited proofs of this depressed feeling, which were afterwards recounted to Herodotus himself by one of the guests present,—an Orchomenian citizen of note named Thersander. The banquet being so arranged as that each couch was occupied by one Persian and one Theban, this man was accosted by his Persian neighbor in Greek, who inquired to what city he belonged, and, upon learning that he was an Orchomenian,[319] continued thus: “Since thou hast now partaken with me in the same table and cup, I desire to leave with thee some memorial of my convictions: the rather, in order that thou mayst be thyself forewarned so as to take the best counsel for thine own safety. Seest thou these Persians here feasting, and the army which we left yonder encamped near the river? Yet a little while, and out of all these thou shalt behold but few surviving.” Thersander listened to these words[p. 160] with astonishment, spoken as they were with strong emotion and a flood of tears, and replied: “Surely, thou art bound to reveal this to Mardonius, and to his confidential advisers:” but the Persian rejoined: “My friend, man cannot avert that which God hath decreed to come: no one will believe the revelation, sure though it be. Many of us Persians know this well, and are here serving only under the bond of necessity. And truly this is the most hateful of all human sufferings,—to be full of knowledge, and at the same time to have no power over any result.”[320] “This (observes Herodotus) I heard myself from the Orchomenian Thersander, who told me farther that he mentioned the fact to several persons about him, even before the battle of Platæa.” It is certainly one of the most curious revelations in the whole history; not merely as it brings forward the historian in his own personality, communicating with a personal friend of the Theban leaders, and thus provided with good means of information as to the general events of the campaign,—but also as it discloses to us, on testimony not to be suspected, the real temper of the native Persians, and even of the chief men among them. If so many of these chiefs were not merely apathetic, but despondent, in the cause, much more decided would be the same absence of will and hope in their followers and the subject allies. To follow the monarch in his overwhelming march of the preceding year, was gratifying in many ways to the native Persians: but every man was sick of the enterprise as now cut down under Mardonius: and Artabazus, the second in command, was not merely slack but jealous of his superior.[321] Under such circumstances we shall presently not be surprised to find the whole army disappearing forthwith, the moment Mardonius is slain.

Among the Grecian allies of Mardonius, the Thebans and[p. 161] Bœotians were active and zealous, most of the remainder lukewarm, and the Phocians even of doubtful fidelity. Their contingent of one thousand hoplites, under Harmokydês, had been tardy in joining him, having only come up since he retired from Attica into Bœotia: and some of the Phocians even remained behind in the neighborhood of Parnassus, prosecuting manifest hostilities against the Persians. Aware of the feeling among this contingent, which the Thessalians took care to place before him in an unfavorable point of view, Mardonius determined to impress upon them a lesson of intimidation. Causing them to form in a separate body on the plain, he then brought up his numerous cavalry all around them: while the phêmê, or sudden simultaneous impression, ran through the Greek allies as well as the Phocians themselves, that he was about to shoot them down.[322] The general Harmokydês, directing his men to form a square and close their ranks, addressed to them short exhortations to sell their lives dearly, and to behave like brave Greeks against barbarian assassins,—when the cavalry rode up, apparently to the charge, and advanced close to the square, with uplifted javelins and arrows on the string, some few of which were even actually discharged. The Phocians maintained, as enjoined, steady ranks with a firm countenance, and the cavalry wheeled about without any actual attack or damage. After this mysterious demonstration, Mardonius condescended to compliment the Phocians on their courage, and to assure them, by means of a herald, that he had been greatly misinformed respecting them: he at the same time exhorted them to be faithful and forward in service for the future, and promised that all good behavior should be amply recompensed. Herodotus seems uncertain,—difficult as the supposition is to entertain,—whether Mardonius did not really intend at first to massacre the Phocians in the field, and desisted from the intention only on seeing how much blood it would cost to accomplish. However this may be, the scene itself was a[p. 162] remarkable reality, and presented one among many other proofs of the lukewarmness and suspicious fidelity of the army.[323]

Conformably to the suggestion of the Thebans, the liberties of Greece were now to be disputed in Bœotia: and not only had the position of Mardonius already been taken, but his camp also fortified, before the united Grecian army approached Kithæron in its forward march from the Isthmus. After the full force of the Lacedæmonians had reached the Isthmus, they had to await the arrival of their Peloponnesian and other confederates. The hoplites who joined them were as follows: from Tegea, fifteen hundred; from Corinth, five thousand,—besides a small body of three hundred from the Corinthian colony of Potidæa; from the Arcadian Orchomenus, six hundred; from Sikyon, three thousand; from Epidaurus, eight hundred; from Trœzen, one thousand; from Lepreon, two hundred; from Mykênæ and Tiryns, four hundred; from Phlius, one thousand; from Hermionê, three hundred; from Eretria and Styra, six hundred; from Chalkis, four hundred; from Ambrakia, five hundred; from Leukas and Anaktorium, eight hundred; from Palê in Kephallenia, two hundred; from Ægina, five hundred. On marching from the Isthmus to Megara, they took up three thousand Megarian hoplites; and as soon as they reached Eleusis in their forward progress, the army was completed by the junction of eight thousand Athenian hoplites, and six hundred Platæan, under Aristeidês, who passed over from Salamis.[324] The total force of hoplites, or heavy-armed[p. 163] troops, was thus thirty-eight thousand seven hundred men: there were no cavalry, and but very few bowmen; but if we add those who are called light-armed, or unarmed generally,—some perhaps with javelins or swords, but none with any defensive armor,—the grand total was not less than one hundred and ten thousand men. Of these light-armed, or unarmed, there were, as computed by Herodotus; thirty-five thousand in attendance on the five thousand Spartan citizens, and thirty-four thousand five hundred in attendance on the other hoplites,—together with eighteen hundred Thespians, who were properly hoplites, yet so badly armed as not to be reckoned in the ranks.[325]

Such was the number of Greeks present or near at hand in the combat against the Persians at Platæa, which took place some little time afterwards: but it seems that the contingents were not at first completely full, and that new additions[326] continued to arrive until a few days before the battle, along with the convoys of cattle and provisions which came for the subsistence of the army. Pausanias marched first from the Isthmus to Eleusis, where he was joined by the Athenians from Salamis: at Eleusis, as well as at the Isthmus, the sacrifices were found encouraging, and the united army then advanced across the ridge of Kithæron, so as to come within sight of the Persians. When Pausanias saw them occupying the line of the Asôpus in the plain beneath, he kept his own army on the mountain declivity[p. 164] near Erythræ, without choosing to adventure himself in the level ground. Mardonius, finding them not disposed to seek battle in the plain, despatched his numerous and excellent cavalry under Masistius, the most distinguished officer in his army, to attack them. For the most part, the ground was so uneven as to check their approach,—but the Megarian contingent, which happened to be more exposed than the rest, were so hard pressed that they were forced to send to Pausanias for aid. They appear to have had not only no cavalry, but no bowmen or light-armed troops of any sort with missile weapons; while the Persians, excellent archers and darters, using very large bows, and trained in such accomplishments from their earliest childhood, charged in successive squadrons and overwhelmed the Greeks with darts and arrows,—not omitting contemptuous taunts on their cowardice for keeping back from the plain.[327] So general was then the fear of the Persian cavalry, that Pausanias could find none of the Greeks, except the Athenians, willing to volunteer and go to the rescue of the Megarians. A body of Athenians, however, especially three hundred chosen troops under Olympiodorus, strengthened with some bowmen, immediately marched to the spot and took up the combat with the Persian cavalry. For some time the struggle was sharp and doubtful: at length the general, Masistius,—a man renowned for bravery, lofty in stature, clad in conspicuous armor, and mounted on a Nisæan horse with golden trappings,—charging at the head of his troops, had his horse struck by an arrow in the side. The animal immediately reared and threw his master on the ground, close to the ranks of the Athenians, who, rushing forward, seized the horse, and overpowered Masistius before he could rise. So impenetrable were the defences of his helmet and breastplate,[328] however, that they had considerable difficulty in killing him, though he was in their power: at length a spearman pierced him in the eye. The death of the general passed unobserved by the Persian cavalry, but as soon as they missed him and became aware of the loss,[p. 165] they charged furiously and in one mass to recover the dead body. At first the Athenians, too few in number to resist the onset, were compelled for a time to give way, abandoning the body; but reinforcements presently arriving at their call, the Persians were driven back with loss, and it finally remained in their possession.[329]

The death of Masistius, coupled with that final repulse of the cavalry which left his body in possession of the Greeks, produced a strong effect on both armies, encouraging the one as much as it disheartened the other. Throughout the camp of Mardonius, the grief was violent and unbounded, manifested by wailings so loud as to echo over all Bœotia; while the hair of men, horses, and cattle, was abundantly cut in token of mourning. The Greeks, on the other hand, overjoyed at their success, placed the dead body in a cart, and paraded it around the army: even the hoplites ran out of their ranks to look at it; not only hailing it as a valuable trophy, but admiring its stature and proportions.[330] And so much was their confidence increased, that Pausanias now ventured to quit the protection of the mountain-ground, inconvenient from its scanty supply of water, and to take up his position in the plain beneath, interspersed only with low hillocks. Marching from Erythræ in a westerly direction along the declivities of Kithæron, and passing by Hysiæ, the Greeks occupied a line of camp in the Platæan territory along the Asôpus and on its right bank; with their right wing near to the fountain called Gargaphia,[331] and their left wing near to the chapel, surrounded[p. 166] by a shady grove, of the Platæan hero, Androkratês. In this position they were marshalled according to nations, or separate fractions of the Greek name,—the Lacedæmonians on the right wing, with the Tegeans and Corinthians immediately joining them,—and the Athenians on the left wing; a post which, as second in point of dignity, was at first claimed by the Tegeans, chiefly on grounds of mythical exploits, to the exclusion of the Athenians, but ultimately adjudged by the Spartans, after hearing both sides, to Athens.[332] In the field, even Lacedæmonians followed those democratical forms which pervaded so generally Grecian military operations: in this case, it was not the generals, but the Lacedæmonian troops in a body, who heard the argument, and delivered the verdict by unanimous acclamation.

[p. 167]Mardonius, apprized of this change of position, marched his army also a little farther to the westward, and posted himself opposite to the Greeks, divided from them by the river Asôpus. At the suggestion of the Thebans, he himself, with his Persians and Medes, the picked men of his army, took post on the left wing, immediately opposite to the Lacedæmonians on the Greek right, and even extending so far as to cover the Tegean ranks on the left of the Lacedæmonians: Baktrians, Indians, Sakæ, with other Asiatics and Egyptians, filled the centre: and the Greeks and Macedonians in the service of Persia, the right,—over against the hoplites of Athens. The numbers of these last-mentioned Greeks Herodotus could not learn, though he estimates them conjecturally at fifty thousand:[333] nor can we place any confidence in the total of three hundred thousand, which he gives as belonging to the other troops of Mardonius, though probably it cannot have been much less.

In this position lay the two armies, separated only by a narrow space including the river Asôpus, and each expecting a battle, whilst the sacrifices on behalf of each were offered up. Pausanias, Mardonius, and the Greeks in the Persian army, had each a separate prophet to offer sacrifice, and to ascertain the dispositions of the gods; the two first had men from the most distinguished prophetic breeds in Elis,—the latter invited one from Leukas.[334] All received large pay, and the prophet of Pausanias had indeed been honored with a recompense above all pay,—the gift of full Spartan citizenship for himself as well as for his brother. It happened that the prophets on both sides delivered the same report of their respective sacrifices,—favorable for resistance if attacked; unfavorable for beginning the battle. At a moment when doubt and indecision was the reigning feeling on both sides, this was the safest answer for the prophet to give, and the most satisfactory for the soldiers to hear. And though the answer from Delphi had been sufficiently encouraging, and the[p. 168] kindness of the patron-heroes of Platæa[335] had been solemnly invoked, yet Pausanias did not venture to cross the Asôpus and begin the attack, in the face of a pronounced declaration from his prophet. Nor did even Hegesistratus, the prophet employed by Mardonius, choose on his side to urge an aggressive movement, though he had a deadly personal hatred against the Lacedæmonians, and would have been delighted to see them worsted. There arose commencements of conspiracy, perhaps encouraged by promises or bribes from the enemy, among the wealthier Athenian hoplites, to establish an oligarchy at Athens under Persian supremacy, like that which now existed at Thebes,—a conspiracy full of danger at such a moment, though fortunately repressed[336] by Aristeidês, with a hand at once gentle and decisive. More over, the annoyance inflicted by the Persian cavalry, under the guidance of the Thebans, was incessant: their constant assaults, and missile weapons from the other side of the Asôpus, prevented the Greeks from using it for supplies of water, so that the whole army was forced to water at the fountain Gargaphia, at the extreme right of the position,[337] near the Lacedæmonian hoplites. Moreover, the Theban leader, Timegenidas, remarking the convoys which arrived over the passes of Kithæron, in the rear of the Grecian camp, and the constant reinforcements of hoplites which accompanied them, prevailed upon Mardonius to employ his cavalry in cutting off such communication. The first move[p. 169]ment of this sort, undertaken by night against the pass called the Oak Heads, was eminently successful: a train of five hundred beasts of burden with supplies, was attacked descending into the plain with its escort, all of whom were either slain or carried prisoners to the Persian camp: nor was it safe for any farther convoys to approach the Greeks.[338] Eight days had already been passed in inaction before Timegenidas suggested, or Mardonius executed, this manœuvre, which it is fortunate for the Greeks that he did not attempt earlier, and which afforded clear proof how much might be hoped from an efficient employment of his cavalry, without the ruinous risk of a general action. Nevertheless, after waiting two days longer, his impatience became uncontrollable, and he determined on a general battle forthwith.[339] In vain did Artabazus endeavor to dissuade him from the step,—taking the same view as the Thebans, that in a pitched battle the united Grecian army was invincible, and that the only successful policy was that of delay and corruption to disunite them: he recommended standing on the defensive, by means of Thebes, well fortified and amply provisioned,—which would allow time for distributing effective bribes among the leading men throughout the various Grecian cities. This suggestion, which Herodotus considers as wise and likely to succeed, was repudiated by Mardonius as cowardly and unworthy of the recognized superiority of the Persian arms.[340]

But while he overruled, by virtue of superior authority, the objections of all around him, Persian as well as Greek, he could not but feel daunted by their reluctant obedience, which he suspected might arise from their having heard oracles or prophecies of unfavorable augury. He therefore summoned the chief officers, Greek as well as Persian, and put the question to them, whether they knew any prophecy announcing that the Persians were doomed to destruction in Greece. All were silent: some did not know the prophecies, but others, Herodotus intimates, knew them full well, though they did not dare to speak. Receiving no answer, Mardonius said, “Since ye either do not know or[p. 170] will not tell, I, who know well, will myself speak out. There is an oracle to the effect, that Persian invaders of Greece shall plunder the temple of Delphi, and shall afterwards all be destroyed. Now we, being aware of this, shall neither go against that temple, nor try to plunder it: on that ground, therefore, we shall not be destroyed. Rejoice ye, therefore, ye who are well-affected to the Persians,—we shall get the better of the Greeks.” With that he gave orders to prepare everything for a general attack and battle on the morrow.[341]

It is not improbable that the Orchomenian Thersander was present at this interview, and may have reported it to Herodotus. But the reflection of the historian himself is not the least curious part of the whole, as illustrating the manner in which these prophecies sunk into men’s minds, and determined their judgments. Herodotus knew, though he does not cite it, the particular prophecy to which Mardonius made allusion; and he pronounces, in the most affirmative tone,[342] that it had no reference to the Persians: it referred to an ancient invasion of Greece by the Illyrians and the Encheleis. But both Bakis, from whom he quotes four lines, and Musæus had prophesied, in the plainest manner, the destruction of the Persian army on the banks of the Thermôdon and Asôpus. And these are the prophecies which we must suppose the officers convoked by Mardonius to have known also, though they did not dare to speak out: it was the fault of Mardonius himself that he did not take warning.

The attack of a multitude like that of Mardonius was not likely under any circumstances to be made so rapidly as to take the Greeks by surprise: but the latter were forewarned of it by a secret visit from Alexander, king of Macedon; who, riding up to the Athenian advanced posts in the middle of the night, desired to speak with Aristeidês and the other generals. Announcing to them alone his name, and proclaiming his earnest sympathy for the Grecian cause, as well as the hazard which he incurred by this nightly visit,—he apprized them that Mardonius, though[p. 171] eager for a battle long ago, could not by any effort obtain favorable sacrifices, but was, nevertheless, even in spite of this obstacle, determined on an attack the next morning. “Be ye prepared accordingly; and if ye succeed in this war (said he) remember to liberate me also from the Persian yoke: I too am a Greek by descent, and thus risk my head because I cannot endure to see Greece enslaved.”[343]

The communication of this important message, made by Aristeidês to Pausanias, elicited from him a proposal not a little surprising as coming from a Spartan general. He requested the Athenians to change places with the Lacedæmonians in the line. “We Lacedæmonians (said he) now stand opposed to the Persians and Medes, against whom we have never yet contended, while ye Athenians have fought and conquered them at Marathon. March ye then over to the right wing and take our places, while we will take yours in the left wing, against the Bœotians and Thessalians, with whose arms and attack we are familiar.” The Athenians readily acceded, and the reciprocal change of order was accordingly directed: nor was it yet quite completed when day broke, and the Theban allies of Mardonius immediately took notice of what had been done. That general commanded a corresponding change in his own line, so as to place the native Persians once more over against the Lacedæmonians: upon which Pausanias, seeing that his manœuvre had failed, led back his Lacedæmonians to the right wing, while a second movement on the part of Mardonius replaced both armies in the order originally observed.[344]

No incident similar to this will be found throughout the whole course of Lacedæmonian history. To evade encountering the best troops in the enemy’s line, and to depart for this purpose from their privileged post on the right wing, was a step well calculated to lower them in the eyes of Greece, and could hardly[p. 172] have failed to produce that effect, if the intention had been realized: it is at the same time the highest compliment to the formidable reputation of the native Persian troops,—a reputation recognized by Herodotus, and well sustained at least by their personal bravery.[345] Nor can we wonder that this publicly manifested reluctance on the part of the leading troops in the Grecian army contributed much to exalt the rash confidence of Mardonius: a feeling which Herodotus, in Homeric style,[346] casts into the speech of a Persian herald sent to upbraid the Lacedæmonians, and challenge them to a “single combat with champions of equal numbers, Lacedæmonians against Persians.” This herald, whom no one heard or cared for, and who serves but as a mouthpiece for bringing out the feelings belonging to the moment, was followed by something very real and terrible,—a vigorous attack on the Greek line by the Persian cavalry; whose rapid motions, and showers of arrows and javelins, annoyed the Greeks on this day more than ever. The latter, as has been before stated, had no cavalry whatever; nor do their light troops, though sufficiently numerous, appear to have rendered any service, with the exception of the Athenian bowmen. How great was the advantage gained by the Persian cavalry, is shown by the fact that they for a time drove away the Lacedæmonians from the fountain of Gargaphia, so as to choke it up and render it unfit for use. As the army had been prevented by the cavalry from resorting to the river Asôpus, this fountain had been of late the only watering-place: and without it the position which they then occupied became untenable,—while their provisions also were exhausted, inasmuch as the convoys, from fear of the Persian cavalry, could not descend from Kithæron to join them.[347]

In this dilemma, Pausanias summoned the Grecian chiefs to his tent, and after an anxious debate the resolution was taken, in case Mardonius should not bring on a general action in the course of the day, to change their position during the night, when there[p. 173] would be no interruption from the cavalry; and to occupy the ground called the island, distant about ten furlongs in a direction nearly west, and seemingly north of the town of Platæa, which was itself about twenty furlongs distant: this island, improperly so denominated, included the ground comprised between two branches of the river Oeroê,[348] both of which flow from Kithæron, and, after flowing for a certain time in channels about three furlongs apart, form a junction and run in a northwesterly direction towards one of the recesses of the gulf of Corinth,—quite distinct from the Asôpus, which, though also rising near at hand in the lowest declivities under Kithæron, takes an easterly direction and discharges itself into the sea opposite Eubœa. When in this so-called island, the army would be secure of water from the stream in their rear; nor would they, as now, expose an extended breadth of front to a numerous hostile cavalry separated from them only by the Asôpus.[349] It was farther resolved, that so soon as the army should once be in occupation of the island, half of the troops should forthwith march onward to disengage the convoys blocked up on Kithæron and conduct them to the camp. Such was the plan settled in council among the different Grecian chiefs; the march to be commenced at the beginning of the second night-watch, when the enemy’s cavalry would have completely withdrawn.

In spite of what Mardonius is said to have determined, he passed the whole day without any general attack: but his cavalry, probably elated by the recent demonstration of the Lacedæmonians, were on that day more daring and indefatigable than ever, and inflicted much loss as well as severe suffering;[350] insomuch that the centre of the Greek force (Corinthians, Megarians, etc., between the Lacedæmonians and Tegeans on the right, and the[p. 174] Athenians on the left), when the hour arrived for retiring to the island, commenced their march indeed, but forgot or disregarded the preconcerted plan and the orders of Pausanias, in their impatience to obtain a complete shelter against the attacks of the cavalry. Instead of proceeding to the island, they marched a distance of twenty furlongs directly to the town of Platæa, and took up a position in front of the Heræum, or temple of Hêrê, where they were protected partly by the buildings, partly by the comparatively high ground on which the town with its temple stood. Between the position which the Greeks were about to leave and that which they had resolved to occupy (i. e. between the course of the Asôpus and that of the Oeroê), there appear to have been a range of low hills: the Lacedæmonians, starting from the right wing, had to march directly over these hills, while the Athenians, from the left, were to turn them and get into the plain on the other side.[351] Pausanias, apprized that the divisions of the centre had commenced their night-march, and concluding of course that they would proceed to the island according to orders, allowed a certain interval of time in order to prevent confusion, and then directed that the Lacedæmonians and Tegeans should also begin their movement towards that same position. But here he found himself embarrassed by an unexpected obstacle. The movement was retrograde, receding from the enemy, and not consistent with the military honor of a Spartan; nevertheless, most of the taxiarchs, or leaders of companies, obeyed without murmuring; but Amompharetus, lochage or captain of that band which Herodotus calls the lochus of Pitana,[352] obstinately refused. Not having been present at the meeting in which the resolution had been taken, he now heard it for the first time[p. 175] with astonishment and disdain, declaring “that he for one would never so far disgrace Sparta as to run away from the foreigner.”[353] Pausanias, with the second in command, Euryanax, exhausted every effort to overcome his reluctance: but they could by no means induce him to retreat; nor did they dare to move without him, leaving his entire lochus exposed alone to the enemy.[354]

Amidst the darkness of night, and in this scene of indecision and dispute, an Athenian messenger on horseback reached Pausanias, instructed to ascertain what was passing, and to ask for the last directions: for in spite of the resolution taken after formal debate, the Athenian generals still mistrusted the Lacedæmonians, and doubted whether, after all, they would act as they had promised: the movement of the central division having become known to them, they sent at the last moment before they commenced their own march, to assure themselves that the Spartans were about to move also. A profound, and even an exaggerated mistrust, but too well justified by the previous behavior of the Spartans towards Athens, is visible in this proceeding:[355] yet it proved fortunate in its results,—for if the Athenians, satisfied with executing their part in the preconcerted plan, had marched at once to the island, the Grecian army would have been severed without the possibility of reuniting, and the issue of the battle might have proved altogether different. The Athenian herald found the Lacedæmonians still stationary in their position, and the generals in hot dispute with Amompharetus; who despised the threat of being left alone to make head against the Persians, and when reminded that the resolution had been taken by general vote of the officers, took up with both hands a vast rock, fit for the hands of Ajax or Hektor, and cast[p. 176] it at the feet of Pausanias, saying—“This is my pebble, wherewith I give my vote not to run away from the strangers.” Pausanias denounced him as a madman,—desiring the herald to report the scene of embarrassment which he had just come to witness, and to entreat the Athenian generals not to commence their retreat until the Lacedæmonians should also be in march. In the mean time the dispute continued, and was even prolonged by the perverseness of Amompharetus until the morning began to dawn; when Pausanias, afraid to remain longer, gave the signal for retreat,—calculating that the refractory captain, when he saw his lochus really left alone, would probably make up his mind to follow. Having marched about ten furlongs, across the hilly ground which divided him from the island, he commanded a halt,—either to await Amompharetus, if he chose to follow, or to be near enough to render aid and save him, if he were rash enough to stand his ground single-handed. Happily the latter, seeing that his general had really departed, overcame his scruples, and followed him; overtaking and joining the main body in its first halt near the river Moloeis and the temple of Eleusinian Dêmêtêr.[356] The Athenians, commencing their movement at the same time with Pausanias, got round the hills to the plain on the other side and proceeded on their march towards the island.

When the day broke, the Persian cavalry were astonished to find the Grecian position deserted. They immediately set themselves to the pursuit of the Spartans, whose march lay along the higher and more conspicuous ground, and whose progress had moreover been retarded by the long delay of Amompharetus: the Athenians on the contrary, marching without halt and being already behind the hills, were not open to view. To Mardonius, this retreat of his enemy inspired an extravagant and contemptuous confidence, which he vented in full measure to the Thessalian Aleuadæ: “These are your boasted Spartans, who changed their place just now in the line, rather than fight the Persians, and have here shown by a barefaced flight what they are really worth!” With that, he immediately directed his whole army to pursue and attack, with the utmost expedition. The Persians crossed the Asôpus, and ran after the Greeks at their best speed,[p. 177] pell-mell, without any thought of order or preparations for overcoming resistance: the army already rang with shouts of victory, in full confidence of swallowing up the fugitives as soon as they were overtaken.

The Asiatic allies all followed the example of this disorderly rush forward:[357] but the Thebans and the other Grecian allies on the right wing of Mardonius, appear to have maintained somewhat better order.

Pausanias had not been able to retreat farther than the neighborhood of the Demetrion, or temple of Eleusinian Dêmêtêr, where he had halted to take up Amompharetus. Overtaken first by the Persian horse, and next by Mardonius with the main body, he sent a horseman forthwith to apprize the Athenians, and to entreat their aid. Nor were the Athenians slack in complying with his request: but they speedily found themselves engaged in conflict against the Theban allies of the enemy, and therefore unable to reach him.[358] Accordingly, the Lacedæmonians and Tegeates had to encounter the Persians single-handed, without any assistance from the other Greeks. The Persians, on arriving within bowshot of their enemies, planted in the ground the spiked extremities of their gerrha, or long wicker shields, forming a continuous breastwork, from behind which they poured upon the Greeks a shower of arrows:[359] their bows were of the largest size, and drawn with no less power than skill. In spite of the wounds and distress thus inflicted, Pausanias persisted in the indispensable duty of offering the battle sacrifice, and the victims were for some time unfavorable, so that he did[p. 178] not venture to give orders for advance and close combat. Many were here wounded or slain in the ranks,[360] among them the brave Kallikratês, the handsomest and strongest man in the army: until Pausanias, wearied out with this compulsory and painful delay, at length raised his eyes to the conspicuous Heræum of the Platæans, and invoked the merciful intervention of Hêrê to remove that obstacle which confined him to the spot. Hardly had he pronounced the words, when the victims changed and became favorable:[361] but the Tegeans, while he was yet praying, anticipated the effect and hastened forward against the enemy, followed by the Lacedæmonians as soon as Pausanias gave the word. The wicker breastwork before the Persians was soon overthrown by the Grecian charge: nevertheless the Persians, though thus deprived of their tutelary hedge, and having no defensive armor, maintained the fight with individual courage, the more remarkable because it was totally unassisted by discipline or trained collective movement, against the drilled array, the regulated step, the well-defended persons, and the long spears, of the Greeks.[362] They threw themselves upon the[p. 179] Lacedæmonians, seizing hold of their spears, and breaking them: many of them devoted themselves in small parties of ten to force by their bodies a way into the lines, and to get to individual close combat with the short spear and the dagger.[363] Mardonius himself, conspicuous upon a white horse, was among the foremost warriors, and the thousand select troops who formed his body-guard distinguished themselves beyond all the rest. At length he was slain by the hand of a distinguished Spartan named Aeimnêstus; his thousand guards mostly perished around him, and the courage of the remaining Persians, already worn out by the superior troops against which they had been long contending, was at last thoroughly broken by the death of their general. They turned their backs and fled, not resting until they got into the wooden fortified camp constructed by Mardonius behind the Asôpus. The Asiatic allies also, as soon as they saw the Persians defeated, took to flight without striking a blow.[364]

The Athenians on the left, meanwhile, had been engaged in a serious conflict with the Bœotians; especially the Theban leaders with the hoplites immediately around them, who fought with great bravery, but were at length driven back, after the loss of three hundred of their best troops. The Theban cavalry, however, still maintained a good front, protecting the retreat of the infantry and checking the Athenian pursuit, so that the fugitives were enabled to reach Thebes in safety; a better refuge than[p. 180] the Persian fortified camp.[365] With the exception of the Thebans and Bœotians, none of the other medizing Greeks rendered any real service: instead of sustaining or reinforcing the Thebans, they never once advanced to the charge, but merely followed in the first movement of flight. So that, in point of fact, the only troops in this numerous Perso-Grecian army who really fought, were the native Persians and Sakæ on the left, and the Bœotians on the right: the former against the Lacedæmonians, the latter against the Athenians.[366]

Nor did even all the native Persians take part in the combat. A body of forty thousand men under Artabazus, of whom some must doubtless have been native Persians, left the field without fighting and without loss. That general, seemingly the ablest man in the Persian army, had been from the first disgusted with the nomination of Mardonius as commander-in-chief, and had farther incurred his displeasure by deprecating any general action. Apprized that Mardonius was hastening forward to attack the retreating Greeks, he marshalled his division and led them out towards the scene of action, though despairing of success, and perhaps not very anxious that his own prophecies should be contradicted. And such had been the headlong impetuosity of Mardonius in his first forward movement,—so complete his confidence of overwhelming the Greeks when he discovered their retreat,—that he took no pains to insure the concerted action of his whole army: accordingly, before Artabazus arrived at the scene of action, he saw the Persian troops, who had been engaged under the commander-in-chief, already defeated and in flight. Without making the least attempt either to save them or to retrieve the battle, he immediately gave orders to his own division to retreat: not repairing, however, either to the fortified camp, or to Thebes, but abandoning at once the whole campaign, and taking the direct road through Phocis to Thessaly, Macedonia, and the Hellespont.[367]

As the native Persians, the Sakæ, and the Bœotians, were the only real combatants on the one side, so also were the Lace[p. 181]dæmonians, Tegeans, and Athenians, on the other. It has already been mentioned that the central troops of the Grecian army, disobeying the general order of march, had gone during the night to the town of Platæa instead of to the island. They were thus completely severed from Pausanias, and the first thing which they heard about the battle, was, that the Lacedæmonians were gaining the victory. Elate with this news, and anxious to come in for some share of the honor, they rushed to the scene of action, without any heed of military order; the Corinthians taking the direct track across the hills, while the Megarians, Phliasians, and others, marched by the longer route along the plain, so as to turn the hills and arrive at the Athenian position. The Theban horse under Asôpodôrus, employed in checking the pursuit of the victorious Athenian hoplites, seeing these fresh troops coming up in thorough disorder, charged them vigorously, and drove them back to take refuge in the high ground, with the loss of six hundred men.[368] But this partial success had no effect in mitigating the ruin of the general defeat.

Following up their pursuit, the Lacedæmonians proceeded to attack the wooden redoubt wherein the Persians had taken refuge. But though they were here aided by all or most of the central Grecian divisions, who had taken no part in the battle, they were yet so ignorant of the mode of assailing walls, that they made no progress, and were completely baffled, until the Athenians arrived to their assistance. The redoubt was then stormed, not without a gallant and prolonged resistance on the part of its defenders. The Tegeans, being the first to penetrate into the interior, plundered the rich tent of Mardonius, whose manger for his horses, made of brass, remained long afterwards exhibited in their temple of Athênê Alea,—while his silver-footed throne, and cimeter[369] were preserved in the acropolis of Athens, along with the breastplate of Masistius. Once within the wall, effective resistance ceased, and the Greeks slaughtered without mercy as well as without limit; so that if we are to credit[p. 182] Herodotus, there survived only three thousand men out of the three hundred thousand which had composed the army of Mardonius,—save and except the forty thousand men who accompanied Artabazus in his retreat.[370] Respecting these numbers, the historian had probably little to give except some vague reports, without any pretence of computation: about the Grecian loss, his statement deserves more attention, when he tells us that there perished ninety-one Spartans, sixteen Tegeans, and fifty-two Athenians. Herein, however, is not included the loss of the Megarians when attacked by the Theban cavalry, nor is the number of slain Lacedæmonians, not Spartans, specified; while even the other numbers actually stated are decidedly smaller than the probable truth, considering the multitude of Persian arrows and the unshielded right side of the Grecian hoplite. On the whole, the affirmation of Plutarch, that not less than thirteen hundred and sixty Greeks were slain in the action, appears probable: all doubtless hoplites,—for little account was then made of the light-armed, nor indeed are we told that they took any active part in the battle.[371] Whatever may have been the numerical loss of the Persians, this defeat proved the total ruin of their army: but we may fairly presume that many were spared and sold into slavery,[372] while many of the fugitives probably found means to join the retreating division of Artabazus. That general made a rapid march across Thessaly and Macedo[p. 183]nia, keeping strict silence about the recent battle, and pretending to be sent on a special enterprise by Mardonius, whom he reported to be himself approaching. If Herodotus is correct (though it may well be doubted whether the change of sentiment in Thessaly and the other medizing Grecian states was so rapid as he implies), Artabazus succeeded in traversing these countries before the news of the battle became generally known, and then retreated by the straightest and shortest route through the interior of Thrace to Byzantium, from whence he passed into Asia: the interior tribes, unconquered and predatory, harassed his retreat considerably; but we shall find long afterwards Persian garrisons in possession of many principal places on the Thracian coast.[373] It will be seen that Artabazus afterwards rose higher than ever in the estimation of Xerxes.

Ten days did the Greeks employ after their victory, first in burying the slain, next in collecting and apportioning the booty. The Lacedæmonians, the Athenians, the Tegeans, the Megarians, and the Phliasians, each buried their dead apart, erecting a separate tomb in commemoration: the Lacedæmonians, indeed, distributed their dead into three fractions, in three several burial-places: one for those champions who enjoyed individual renown at Sparta, and among whom were included the most distinguished men slain in the recent battle, such as Poseidonius, Amompharetus, the refractory captain, Philokyon, and Kallikratês,—a second for the other Spartans and Lacedæmonians,[374]—and a[p. 184] third for the Helots. Besides these sepulchral monuments, erected in the neighborhood of Platæa by those cities whose citizens had really fought and fallen, there were several similar monuments to be seen in the days of Herodotus, raised by other cities which falsely pretended to the same honor, with the connivance and aid of the Platæans.[375] The body of Mardonius was discovered among the slain, and treated with respect by Pausanias, who is even said to have indignantly repudiated advice offered to him by an Æginetan, that he should retaliate upon it the ignominious treatment inflicted by Xerxes upon the dead Leonidas.[376] On the morrow, the body was stolen away and buried; by whom, was never certainly known, for there were many different pretenders who obtained reward on this plea from Artyntês, the son of Mardonius: the funereal monument was yet to be seen in the time of the traveller Pausanias.[377]

[p. 185]The spoil was rich and multifarious,—gold and silver in Darics as well as in implements and ornaments, carpets, splendid arms and clothing, horses, camels, etc., even the magnificent tent of Xerxes, left on his retreat with Mardonius, was included.[378] By order of the general Pausanias, the Helots collected all the valuable articles into one spot for division; not without stealing many of the golden ornaments, which, in ignorance of the value, they were persuaded by the Æginetans to sell as brass. After reserving a tithe for the Delphian Apollo, together with ample offerings for the Olympic Zeus and the Isthmian Poseidon, as well as for Pausanias as general,—the remaining booty was distributed among the different contingents of the army in proportion to their respective numbers.[379] The concubines of the Persian chiefs were among the prizes distributed: there were probably however among them many of Grecian birth, restored to their families; and one especially, overtaken in her chariot amidst the flying Persians, with rich jewels and a numerous suite, threw herself at the feet of Pausanias himself, imploring his protection. She proved to be the daughter of his personal friend Hegetoridês, of Kos, carried off by the Persian Pharandatês; and he had the satisfaction of restoring her to her father.[380] Large as the booty collected was, there yet remained many valuable treasures buried in the ground, which the Platæan inhabitants afterwards discovered and appropriated.

The real victors in the battle of Platæa were the Lacedæmonians, Athenians, and Tegeans: the Corinthians and others, forming part of the army opposed to Mardonius, did not reach the field until the battle was ended, though they doubtless aided both in the assault of the fortified camp and in the subsequent operations against Thebes, and were universally recognized, in inscriptions and panegyrics, among the champions who had con[p. 186]tributed to the liberation of Greece.[381] It was not till after the taking of the Persian camp that the contingents of Elis and Mantineia, who may perhaps have been among the convoys prevented by the Persian cavalry from descending the passes of Kithæron, first reached the scene of action. Mortified at having missed their share in the glorious exploit, the new-comers were at first eager to set off in pursuit of Artabazus: but the Lacedæmonian commander forbade them, and they returned home without any other consolation than that of banishing their generals for not having led them forth more promptly.[382]

There yet remained the most efficient ally of Mardonius,—the city of Thebes; which Pausanias summoned on the eleventh day after the battle, requiring that the medizing leaders should be delivered up, especially Timêgenidas and Attagînus. On receiving a refusal, he began to batter their walls, and to adopt the still more effective measure of laying waste their territory,—giving notice that the work of destruction would be continued[p. 187] until these chiefs were given up. After twenty days of endurance, the latter at length proposed, if it should prove that Pausanias peremptorily required their persons and refused to accept a sum of money in commutation, to surrender themselves voluntarily as the price of liberation for their country. A negotiation was accordingly entered into with Pausanias, and the persons demanded were surrendered to him, excepting Attagînus, who found means to escape at the last moment. His sons, whom he left behind, were delivered up as substitutes, but Pausanias refused to touch them, with the just remark, which in those times was even generous,[383] that they were nowise implicated in the medism of their father. Timêgenidas and the remaining prisoners were carried off to Corinth, and immediately put to death, without the smallest discussion or form of trial: Pausanias was apprehensive that if any delay or consultation were granted, their wealth and that of their friends would effectually purchase voices for their acquittal,—indeed, the prisoners themselves had been induced to give themselves up partly in that expectation.[384] It is remarkable that Pausanias himself, only a few years afterwards, when attainted of treason, returned and surrendered himself at Sparta, under similar hopes of being able to buy himself off by money.[385] In this hope, indeed, he found himself deceived, as Timêgenidas had been deceived before: but the fact is not the less to be noted, as indicating the general impression that the leading men in a Grecian city were usually open to bribes in judicial matters, and that individuals superior to this temptation were rare exceptions. I shall have occasion to dwell upon this recognized untrustworthiness of the leading Greeks when I come[p. 188] to explain the extremely popular cast of the Athenian judicature.

Whether there was any positive vote taken among the Greeks respecting the prize of valor at the battle of Platæa, may well be doubted: and the silence of Herodotus goes far to negative an important statement of Plutarch, that the Athenians and Lacedæmonians were on the point of coming to an open rupture, each thinking themselves entitled to the prize,—that Aristeidês appeased the Athenians, and prevailed upon them to submit to the general decision of the allies,—and that Megarian and Corinthian leaders contrived to elude the dangerous rock by bestowing the prize on the Platæans, to which proposition both Aristeidês and Pausanias acceded.[386] But it seems that the general opinion recognized the Lacedæmonians and Pausanias as bravest among the brave, seeing that they had overcome the best troops of the enemy and slain the general. In burying their dead warriors, the Lacedæmonians singled out for peculiar distinction Philokyon, Poseidonius, and Amompharetus the lochage, whose conduct in the fight atoned for his disobedience to orders. There was one Spartan, however, who had surpassed them all,—Aristodêmus, the single survivor of the troop of Leonidas at Thermopylæ. Having ever since experienced nothing but disgrace and insult from his fellow-citizens, this unfortunate man had become reckless of life, and at Platæa he stepped forth single-handed from his place in the ranks, performing deeds of the most heroic valor, and determined to regain by his death the esteem of his countrymen. But the Spartans refused to assign to him the same funereal honors as were paid to the other distinguished warriors, who had manifested exemplary forwardness and skill, yet without any desperate rashness, and without any previous taint such as to render life a burden to them. Subsequent valor might be held to efface this taint, but could not suffice to exalt Aristodêmus to a level with the most honored citizens.[387]

But though we cannot believe the statement of Plutarch, that the Platæans received by general vote the prize of valor, it is certain that they were largely honored and recompensed, as the[p. 189] proprietors of that ground on which the liberation of Greece had been achieved. The market-place and centre of their town was selected as the scene for the solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving, offered up by Pausanias, after the battle, to Zeus Eleutherius, in the name and presence of all the assembled allies. The local gods and heroes of the Platæan territory, who had been invoked in prayer before the battle, and who had granted their soil as a propitious field for the Greek arms, were made partakers of this ceremony, and witnesses as well as guarantees of the engagements with which it was accompanied.[388] The Platæans, now re-entering their city, which the Persian invasion had compelled them to desert, were invested with the honorable duty of celebrating the periodical sacrifice in commemoration of this great victory, as well as of rendering care and religious service at the tombs of the fallen warriors. As an aid to enable them to discharge this obligation, which probably might have pressed hard upon them at a time when their city was half-ruined and their fields unsown, they received out of the prize-money the large allotment of eighty talents, which was partly employed in building and adorning a handsome temple of Athênê,—the symbol probably of renewed connection with Athens. They undertook to render religious honors every year to the tombs of the warriors, and to celebrate in every fifth year the grand public solemnity of the Eleutheria with gymnastic matches analogous to the other great festival games of Greece.[389] In consideration of the discharge of these duties, together with the sanctity of the ground, Pausanias, and the whole body of allies, bound themselves by oath to guarantee the autonomy of Platæa, and the inviolability[p. 190] of her territory. This was an emancipation of the town from the bond of the Bœotian federation, and from the enforcing supremacy of Thebes as its chief.

But the engagement of the allies appears to have had other objects also, larger than that of protecting Platæa, or establishing commemorative ceremonies. The defensive league against the Persians was again sworn to by all of them, and rendered permanent: an aggregate force of ten thousand hoplites, one thousand cavalry, and one hundred triremes, for the purpose of carrying on the war, was agreed to and promised, the contingent of each ally being specified: moreover, the town of Platæa was fixed on as the annual place of meeting, where deputies from all of them were annually to assemble.[390] This resolution is said to have been adopted on the proposition of Aristeidês, whose motives it is not difficult to trace. Though the Persian army had sustained a signal defeat, no one knew how soon it might reassemble, or be reinforced; indeed, even later, after the battle of Mykalê had become known, a fresh invasion of the Persians was still regarded as not improbable,[391] nor did any one then anticipate that extraordinary fortune and activity whereby the Athenians afterwards organized an alliance such as to throw Persia on the defensive. Moreover, the northern half of Greece was still medizing, either in reality or in appearance, and new efforts on the part of Xerxes might probably keep up his ascendency in those parts. Now assuming the war to be renewed, Aristeidês and the Athenians had the strongest interest in providing a line of defence which should cover Attica as well as Peloponnesus, and in preventing the Peloponnesians from confining themselves to their isthmus, as they had done before. To take advantage for this purpose of the new-born reverence and gratitude which now bound the Lacedæmonians to Platæa, was an idea eminently suitable to the moment, though the unforeseen subsequent start of Athens, combined with other events, prevented both the extensive alliance and the inviolability of Platæa, projected by Aristeidês, from taking effect.[392]

[p. 191]On the same day that Pausanias and the Grecian land army conquered at Platæa, the naval armament under Leotychidês and Xanthippus was engaged in operations hardly less important, at Mykalê on the Asiatic coast. The Grecian commanders of the fleet, which numbered one hundred and ten triremes, having advanced as far as Delos, were afraid to proceed farther eastward, or to undertake any offensive operations against the Persians at Samos, for the rescue of Ionia,—although Ionian envoys, especially from Chios and Samos, had urgently solicited aid both at Sparta and at Delos. Three Samians, one of them named Hegesistratus, came to assure Leotychidês, that their countrymen were ready to revolt from the despot Theomêstor, whom the Persians had installed there, so soon as the Greek fleet should appear off the island. In spite of emphatic appeals to the community of religion and race, Leotychidês was long deaf to the entreaty; but his reluctance gradually gave way before the persevering earnestness of the orator. While yet not thoroughly determined, he happened to ask the Samian speaker what was his name. To which the latter replied, “Hegesistratus, i. e. army-leader.” “I accept Hegesistratus as an omen (replied[p. 192] Leotychidês, struck with the significance of this name), pledge thou thy faith to accompany us,—let thy companions prepare the Samians to receive us, and we will go forthwith.” Engagements were at once exchanged, and while the other two envoys were sent forward to prepare matters in the island, Hegesistratus remained to conduct the fleet, which was farther encouraged by favorable sacrifices, and by the assurances of the prophet Dêiphonus, hired from the Corinthian colony of Apollonia.[393]

When they reached the Heræum near Kalami in Samos,[394] and had prepared themselves for a naval engagement, they discovered that the enemy’s fleet had already been withdrawn from the island to the neighboring continent. For the Persian commanders had been so disheartened with the defeat of Salamis that they were not disposed to fight again at sea: we do not know the numbers of their fleet, but perhaps a considerable proportion of it may have consisted of Ionic Greeks, whose fidelity was now very doubtful. Having abandoned the idea of a sea-fight, they permitted their Phenician squadron to depart, and sailed with their remaining fleet to the promontory of Mykalê near Miletus.[395][p. 193] Here they were under the protection of a land-force of sixty thousand men, under the command of Tigranês,—the main reliance of Xerxes for the defence of Ionia: the ships were dragged ashore, and a rampart of stones and stakes was erected to protect them, while the defending army lined the shore, and seemed amply sufficient to repel attack from seaward.[396]

It was not long before the Greek fleet arrived. Disappointed of their intention of fighting, by the flight of the enemy from Samos, they had at first proposed either to return home, or to turn aside to the Hellespont: but they were at last persuaded by the Ionian envoys to pursue the enemy’s fleet and again offer battle at Mykalê. On reaching that point, they discovered that the Persians had abandoned the sea, intending to fight only on land. So much had the Greeks now become emboldened, that they ventured to disembark and attack the united land-force and sea-force before them: but since much of their chance of success depended on the desertion of the Ionians, the first proceeding of Leotychidês was, to copy the previous manœuvre of Themistoklês, when retreating from Artemisium, at the watering-places of Eubœa. Sailing along close to the coast, he addressed, through a herald of loud voice, earnest appeals to the Ionians among the enemy to revolt; calculating, even if they did not listen to him, that he should at least render them mistrusted by the Persians. He then disembarked his troops and marshalled them for the purpose of attacking the Persian camp on land; while the Persian generals, surprised by this daring manifestation, and suspecting, either from his manœuvre or from previous evidences, that the Ionians were in secret collusion with him, ordered the Samian contingent to be disarmed, and the Milesians to retire to the rear of the army, for the purpose of occupying the various mountain roads up to the summit of Mykalê,[p. 194]—with which the latter were familiar as a part of their own territory.[397]

Serving as these Greeks in the fleet were, at a distance from their own homes, and having left a powerful army of Persians and Greeks under Mardonius in Bœotia, they were of course full of anxiety lest his arms might prove victorious and extinguish the freedom of their country. It was under these feelings of solicitude for their absent brethren that they disembarked, and were made ready for attack by the afternoon. But it was the afternoon of an ever-memorable day,—the fourth of the month Boëdromion (about September) 479 B. C. By a remarkable coincidence, the victory of Platæa in Bœotia had been gained by Pausanias that very morning. At the moment when the Greeks were advancing to the charge, a divine phêmê, or message, flew into the camp,—whilst a herald’s staff was seen floated to the shore by the western wave, the symbol of electric transmission across the Ægean;—the revelation, sudden, simultaneous, irresistible, struck at once upon the minds of all, as if the multitude had one common soul and sense, acquainting them that on that very morning their countrymen in Bœotia had gained a complete victory over Mardonius. At once the previous anxiety was dissipated, and the whole army, full of joy and confidence, charged with redoubled energy. Such is the account given by Herodotus,[398] and doubtless universally accepted in his time, when the[p. 195] combatants of Mykalê were alive to tell their own story: he moreover mentions another of those coincidences which the[p. 196] Greek mind always seized upon with so much avidity, there was a chapel of Eleusinian Dêmêtêr close to the field of battle at[p. 197] Mykalê as well as at Platæa. Diodorus and other later writers,[399] who wrote when the impressions of the time had vanished, and when divine interventions were less easily and literally admitted, treat the whole proceeding as if it were a report designedly circulated by the generals, for the purpose of encouraging their army.

The Lacedæmonians on the right wing, and the portion of the army near them, had a difficult path before them, over hilly ground and ravine; while the Athenians, Corinthians, Sikyonians, and Trœzenians, and the left half of the army, marching only along the beach, came much sooner into conflict with the enemy. The Persians, as at Platæa, employed their gerrha, or wicker bucklers, planted by spikes in the ground, as a breastwork, from behind which they discharged their arrows, and they made a strenuous resistance to prevent this defence from being overthrown. Ultimately, the Greeks succeeded in demolishing it, and in driving the enemy into the interior of the fortification, where they in vain tried to maintain themselves against the ardor of the pursuers, who forced their way into it almost along with the defenders. Even when this last rampart was carried, and when the Persian allies had fled, the native Persians still continued to prolong the struggle with undiminished bravery. Unpractised in line and drill, and acting only in small knots,[400] with disadvantages of armor, such as had been felt severely at Platæa, they still maintained an unequal conflict with the Greek hoplites; nor was it until the Lacedæmonians with their half of the army arrived to join in the attack, that the defence was abandoned as hopeless. The revolt of the Ionians in the camp put the finishing stroke to this ruinous defeat: first, the disarmed[p. 198] Samians; next, other Ionians and Æolians; lastly, the Milesians who had been posted to guard the passes in the rear, not only deserted, but took an active part in the attack; and the Milesians especially, to whom the Persians had trusted for guidance up to the summits of Mykalê, led them by wrong roads, threw them into the hands of their pursuers, and at last set upon them with their own hands. A large number of the native Persians, together with both the generals of the land-force, Tigranês and Mardontês, perished in this disastrous battle: the two Persian admirals, Artayntês and Ithamithrês, escaped, but the army was irretrievably dispersed, while all the ships which had been dragged up on the shore fell into the hands of the assailants, and were burned. But the victory of the Greeks was by no means bloodless: among the left wing, upon which the brunt of the action had fallen, a considerable number of men were slain, especially Sikyonians, with their commander Perilaus.[401] The honors of the battle were awarded, first to the Athenians, next to the Corinthians, Sikyonians, and Trœzenians; the Lacedæmonians having done comparatively little. Hermolykus the Athenian, a celebrated pankratiast, was the warrior most distinguished for individual feats of arms.[402]

The dispersed Persian army, so much of it at least as had at first found protection on the heights of Mykalê, was withdrawn from the coast forthwith to Sardis under the command of Artayntês, whom Masistês, the brother of Xerxes, bitterly reproached on the score of cowardice in the recent defeat: the general was at length so maddened by a repetition of these insults, that he drew his cimeter and would have slain Masistês, had he not been prevented by a Greek of Halikarnassus named Xenagoras,[403] who was rewarded by Xerxes with the government[p. 199] of Kilikia. Xerxes was still at Sardis, where he had remained ever since his return, and where he conceived a passion for the wife of his brother Masistês; the consequences of his passion entailed upon that unfortunate woman sufferings too tragical to be described, by the orders of his own queen, the jealous and savage Amêstris.[404] But he had no fresh army ready to send down to the coast, so that the Greek cities, even on the continent, were for the time practically liberated from Persian supremacy, while the insular Greeks were in a position of still greater safety.

The commanders of the victorious Grecian fleet had full confidence in their power of defending the islands, and willingly admitted the Chians, Samians, Lesbians, and the other islanders hitherto subjects of Persia, to the protection and reciprocal engagements of their alliance. We may presume that the despots Stratis and Theomêstor were expelled from Chios and Samos.[405] But the Peloponnesian commanders hesitated in guaranteeing the same secure autonomy to the continental cities, which could not be upheld against the great inland power without efforts incessant as well as exhausting. Nevertheless, not enduring to abandon these continental Ionians to the mercy of Xerxes, they made the offer to transplant them into European Greece, and to make room for them by expelling the medizing Greeks from their seaport towns. But this proposition was at once repudiated by the Athenians, who would not permit that colonies originally planted by themselves should be abandoned, thus impairing the metropolitan dignity of Athens.[406] The Lacedæmonians readily acquiesced in this objection, and were glad, in all probability, to find honorable grounds for renouncing a scheme of wholesale dispossession eminently difficult to execute,[407]—yet, at the same[p. 200] time, to be absolved from onerous obligations towards the Ionians, and to throw upon Athens either the burden of defending or the shame of abandoning them. The first step was thus taken, which we shall quickly see followed by others, for giving to Athens a separate ascendency and separate duties in regard to the Asiatic Greeks, and for introducing first, the confederacy of Delos,—next, Athenian maritime empire.

From the coast of Ionia the Greek fleet sailed northward to the Hellespont, chiefly at the instance of the Athenians, and for the purpose of breaking down the Xerxeian bridge; for so imperfect was their information, that they believed this bridge to be still firm and in passable condition in September, 479 B. C., though it had been broken and useless at the time when Xerxes crossed the strait in his retreat, ten months before, about November, 480 B. C.[408] Having ascertained on their arrival at Abydos the destruction of the bridge, Leotychidês and the Peloponnesians returned home forthwith; but Xanthippus with the Athenian squadron resolved to remain and expel the Persians from the Thracian Chersonese. This peninsula had been in great part an Athenian possession, for the space of more than forty years, from the first settlement of the elder Miltiadês[409] down to the suppression of the Ionic revolt, although during part of that time tributary to Persia: from the flight of the second Miltiadês to the expulsion of Xerxes from Greece (493-480 B. C.), a period during which the Persian monarch was irresistible and full of hatred to Athens, no Athenian citizen would find it safe to live there. But the Athenian squadron from Mykalê were now naturally eager both to reëstablish the ascendency of Athens and to regain the properties of Athenian citizens in the Chersonese,—probably many of the leading men, especially Kimon, son of Miltiadês, had extensive possessions there to recover, as Alkibiades had in[p. 201] after days, with private forts of his own.[410] To this motive for attacking the Chersonese may be added another,—the importance of its corn-produce as well as of a clear passage through the Hellespont for the corn ships out of the Propontis to Athens and Ægina.[411] Such were the reasons which induced Xanthippus and the leading Athenians, even without the coöperation of the Peloponnesians, to undertake the siege of Sestus,—the strongest place in the peninsula, the key of the strait, and the centre in which all the neighboring Persian garrisons, from Kardia and elsewhere, had got together, under Œobazus and Artayktês.[412]

The Grecian inhabitants of the Chersonese readily joined the Athenians in expelling the Persians, who, taken altogether by surprise, had been constrained to throw themselves into Sestus, without stores of provisions or means of making a long defence. But of all the Chersonesites the most forward and exasperated were the inhabitants of Elæus,—the southernmost town of the peninsula, celebrated for its tomb, temple, and sacred grove of the hero Protesilaus, who figured in the Trojan legend as the foremost warrior in the host of Agamemnon to leap ashore, and as the first victim to the spear of Hektor. The temple of Protesilaus, conspicuously placed on the sea-shore,[413] was a scene of worship and pilgrimage not merely for the inhabitants of Elæus, but also for the neighboring Greeks generally, insomuch that it had been enriched with ample votive offerings, and probable deposits for security,—money, gold and silver saucers, brazen implements, robes, and various other presents. The story ran, that when Xerxes was on his march across the Hellespont into Greece, Artayktês, greedy of all this wealth, and aware that the monarch would not knowingly permit the sanctuary to be despoiled, preferred a wily request to him: “Master, here is the house of a Greek, who, in invading thy territory, met his just reward and perished: I pray thee give his house to me, in order[p. 202] that people may learn for the future not to invade thy land,”—the whole soil of Asia being regarded by the Persian monarchs as their rightful possession, and Protesilaus having been in this sense an aggressor against them. Xerxes, interpreting the request literally, and not troubling himself to ask who the invader was, consented: upon which, Artayktês, while the army were engaged in their forward march into Greece, stripped the sacred grove of Protesilaus, carrying all the treasures to Sestus. Nor was he content without still farther outraging Grecian sentiment: he turned cattle into the grove, ploughed and sowed it, and was even said to have profaned the sanctuary by visiting it with his concubines.[414] Such proceedings were more than enough to raise the strongest antipathy against him among the Chersonesite Greeks, who now crowded to reinforce the Athenians and blocked him up in Sestus. After a certain length of siege, the stock of provisions in the town failed, and famine began to make itself felt among the garrison, which nevertheless still held out, by painful shifts and endurance, until a late period in the autumn, when the patience even of the Athenian besiegers was well-nigh exhausted; nor was it without difficulty that the leaders repressed the clamorous desire manifested in their own camp to return to Athens.

Impatience having been appeased, and the seamen kept together, the siege was pressed without relaxation, and presently the privations of the garrison became intolerable; so that Artayktês and Œobazus were at last reduced to the necessity of escaping by stealth, letting themselves down with a few followers from the wall at a point where it was imperfectly blockaded. Œobazus found his way into Thrace, where, however, he was taken captive by the Absinthian natives and offered up as a sacrifice to their god Pleistôrus: Artayktês fled northward along the shores of the Hellespont, but was pursued by the Greeks, and made prisoner near Ægos Potamos, after a strenuous resistance. He was brought with his son in chains to Sestus, which immediately after his departure had been cheerfully surrendered[p. 203] by its inhabitants to the Athenians. It was in vain that he offered a sum of one hundred talents as compensation to the treasury of Protesilaus, and a farther sum of two hundred talents to the Athenians as personal ransom for himself and his son. So deep was the wrath inspired by his insults to the sacred ground, that both the Athenian commander Xanthippus and the citizens of Elæus disdained everything less than a severe and even cruel personal atonement for the outraged Protesilaus. Artayktês, after having first seen his son stoned to death before his eyes, was hung up to a lofty board fixed for the purpose, and left to perish, on the spot where the Xerxeian bridge had been fixed.[415] There is something in this proceeding more Oriental than Grecian: it is not in the Grecian character to aggravate death by artificial and lingering preliminaries.

After the capture of Sestus, the Athenian fleet returned home with their plunder, towards the commencement of winter, not omitting to carry with them the vast cables of the Xerxeian bridge, which had been taken in the town, as a trophy to adorn the acropolis of Athens.[416]

[p. 204]


I have already mentioned, in the third volume of this history, the foundation of the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily, together with the general fact, that in the sixth century before the Christian era, they were among the most powerful and flourishing cities that bore the Hellenic name. Beyond this general fact, we obtain little insight into their history.

Though Syracuse, after it fell into the hands of Gelo, about 485 B. C., became the most powerful city in Sicily, yet in the preceding century Gela and Agrigentum, on the south side of the island, had been its superiors. The latter, within a few years of its foundation, fell under the dominion of one of its own citizens, named Phalaris; a despot energetic, warlike, and cruel. An exile from Astypalæa near Rhodes, but a rich man, and an early settler at Agrigentum, he contrived to make himself despot, seemingly, about the year 570 B. C. He had been named to one of the chief posts in the city, and having undertaken at his own cost the erection of a temple to Zeus Polieus in the acropolis (as the Athenian Alkmæônids rebuilt the burnt temple of Delphi), he was allowed on this pretence to assemble therein a considerable number of men; whom he armed, and availed himself of the opportunity of a festival of Dêmêtêr to turn them against the people. He is said to have made many conquests over the[p. 205] petty Sikan communities in the neighborhood: but exaction and cruelties towards his own subjects are noticed as his most prominent characteristic, and his brazen bull passed into imperishable memory. This piece of mechanism was hollow, and sufficiently capacious to contain one or more victims inclosed within it, to perish in tortures when the metal was heated: the cries of these suffering prisoners passed for the roarings of the animal. The artist was named Perillus, and is said to have been himself the first person burnt in it, by order of the despot. In spite of the odium thus incurred, Phalaris maintained himself as despot for sixteen years; at the end of which period a general rising of the people, headed by a leading man named Telemachus, terminated both his reign and his life.[417] Whether Telemachus became despot or not, we have no information: sixty years afterwards, we shall find his descendant Thêron established in that position.

It was about the period of the death of Phalaris that the Syracusans reconquered their revolted colony of Kamarina (in the southeast of the island between Syracuse and Gela), expelled or dispossessed the inhabitants, and resumed the territory.[418] With the exception of this accidental circumstance, we are without information about the Sicilian cities until a time[p. 206] rather before 500 B. C., just when the war between Kroton and Sybaris had extinguished the power of the latter, and when the despotism of the Peisistratids at Athens had been exchanged for the democratical constitution of Kleisthenês. The first forms of government among the Sicilian Greeks, as among the cities of Greece Proper in the early historical age, appear to have been all oligarchical: we do not know under what particular modifications, but probably all more or less resembling that of Syracuse, where the Gamori—or wealthy proprietors descended from the original colonizing chiefs—possessing large landed properties titled by a numerous Sikel serf population called Kyllyrii, formed the qualified citizens, out of whom, as well as by whom, magistrates and generals were chosen; while the Demos, or non-privileged freemen, comprised the small proprietary cultivators who maintained themselves, by manual labor and without slaves, from their own lands or gardens, together with the artisans and tradesmen. In the course of two or three generations, many individuals of the privileged class would have fallen into poverty and would find themselves more nearly on a par with the non-privileged; while such members of the latter as might rise to opulence were not for that reason admitted into the privileged body. Here were ample materials for discontent: ambitious leaders, often themselves members of the privileged body, put themselves at the head of the popular opposition, overthrew the oligarchy, and made themselves despots; democracy being at that time hardly known anywhere in Greece. The general fact of this change, preceded by occasional violent dissensions among the privileged class themselves,[419] is all that we are permitted to know, without those modifying circumstances by which it must have been accompanied in every separate city. Towards or near the year 500 B. C., we find Anaxilaus despot at Rhegium, Skythês at Zanklê, Têrillus at Himera, Peithagoras at Selinus, Kleander at Gela, and Panætius at Leontini.[420] It was about the year 509 B. C. that[p. 207] the Spartan prince Dorieus conducted a body of emigrants to the territories of Eryx and Egesta, near the northwestern corner of the island, in hopes of expelling the non-Hellenic inhabitants and founding a new Grecian colony. But the Carthaginians, whose Sicilian possessions were close adjoining, and who had already aided in driving Dorieus from a previous establishment at Kinyps in Libya,—now lent such vigorous assistance to the Egestæan inhabitants, that the Spartan prince, after a short period of prosperity, was defeated and slain with most of his companions: such of them as escaped, under the orders of Euryleon, took possession of Minoa, which bore from henceforward the name of Herakleia,[421]—a colony and dependency of the neighboring town of Selinus, of which Peithagoras was then despot. Euryleon joined the malcontents at Selinus, overthrew Peithagoras, and established himself as despot, until, after a short possession of power, he was slain in a popular mutiny.[422]

We are here introduced to the first known instance of that series of contests between the Phenicians and Greeks in Sicily, which, like the struggles between the Saracens and the Normans in the eleventh and twelfth centuries after the Christian era, were destined to determine whether the island should be a part of Africa or a part of Europe,—and which were only terminated, after the lapse of three centuries, by the absorption of both into the vast bosom of Rome. It seems that the Carthaginians and Egestæans not only overwhelmed Dorieus, but also made some conquests of the neighboring Grecian possessions, which were subsequently recovered by Gelo of Syracuse.[423]

Not long after the death of Dorieus, Kleander, despot of Gela, began to raise his city to ascendency over the other Sicilian Greeks,[p. 208] who had hitherto been, if not all equal, at least all independent. His powerful mercenary force, levied in part among the Sikel tribes,[424] did not preserve him from the sword of a Geloan citizen named Sabyllus, who slew him after a reign of seven years: but it enabled his brother and successor Hippokratês to extend his dominion over nearly half of the island. In that mercenary force two officers, Gelo and Ænesidêmus (the latter a citizen of Agrigentum, of the conspicuous family of the Emmenidæ, and descended from Telemachus, the deposer of Phalaris), particularly distinguished themselves. Gelo was descended from a native of Têlos near the Triopian cape, one of the original settlers who accompanied the Rhodian Antiphêmus to Sicily. His immediate ancestor, named Têlinês, had first raised the family to distinction, by valuable aid to a defeated political party, who had been worsted in a struggle, and forced to seek shelter in the neighboring town of Maktorium. Têlinês was possessed of certain peculiar sacred rites (or visible and portable holy symbols, with a privileged knowledge of the ceremonial acts and formalities of divine service under which they were to be shown) for propitiating the subterranean goddesses, Dêmêtêr and Persephonê; “from whom he obtained them, or how he got at them himself (says Herodotus) I cannot say:” but such was the imposing effect of his presence and manner of exhibiting them, that he ventured to march into Gela at the head of the exiles from Maktorium, and was enabled to reinstate them in power,—deterring the people from resistance in the same manner as the Athenians had been overawed by the spectacle of Phyê-Athênê in the chariot along with Peisistratus. The extraordinary boldness of this proceeding excites the admiration of Herodotus, especially as he had been informed that Têlinês was of an unwarlike temperament: the restored exiles rewarded it by granting to him, and to his descendants after him, the hereditary dignity of hierophants of the two goddesses,[425]—a function [p. 209]certainly honorable, and probably lucrative, connected with the[p. 210] administration of consecrated property and with the enjoyment of a large portion of its fruits.

[p. 211]Gelo thus belonged to an ancient and distinguished hierophantic family at Gela, being the eldest of four brothers, sons of Deinomenes,—Gelo, Hiero, Polyzelus, and Thrasybulus: and he further ennobled himself by such personal exploits in the army of the despot Hippokratês as to be promoted to the supreme command of the cavalry. It was greatly to his activity that the despot owed a succession of victories and conquests, in which the Ionic or Chalkidic cities of Kallipolis, Naxos, Leontini, and Zanklê, were successively reduced to dependence.[426]

The fate of Zanklê,—seemingly held by its despot Skythês, in a state of dependent alliance under Hippokratês, and in standing feud with Anaxilaus of Rhegium, on the opposite side of the strait of Messina,—was remarkable. At the time when the Ionic revolt in Asia was suppressed, and Milêtus reconquered by the Persians (B. C. 494-493), a natural sympathy was manifested by the Ionic Greeks in Sicily towards the sufferers of the same race on the east of the Ægean sea. Projects were devised for assisting the Asiatic refugees to a new abode, and the Zanklæans especially, invited them to form a new Pan-Ionic colony upon the territory of the Sikels, called Kalê Aktê, on the north coast of Sicily,—a coast presenting fertile and attractive situations, and along the whole line of which there was only one Grecian colony,—Himera. This invitation was accepted by the refugees from Samos and Milêtus, who accordingly put themselves on shipboard for Zanklê; steering, as was usual, along the coast of Akarnania to Korkyra, from thence across to Tarentum, and along the Italian coast to the strait of Messina. It happened that when they reached the town of Epizephyrian Lokri, Skythês, the despot of Zanklê, was absent from his city, together with the larger portion of his military force, on an expedition against the Sikels,—perhaps undertaken to facilitate the contemplated colony at Kalê Aktê: and his enemy the Rhegian Anaxilaus, taking advantage of this accident, proposed to the refugees at Lokri that they should seize for themselves, and retain, the unguarded city of Zanklê. They followed his suggestion, and possessed themselves of the[p. 212] city, together with the families and property of the absent Zanklæans; who speedily returned to repair their loss, while their prince Skythês farther invoked the powerful aid of his ally and superior, Hippokratês. The latter, however, provoked at the loss of one of his dependent cities, seized and imprisoned Skythês, whom he considered as the cause of it,[427] at Inykus, in the interior of the island; but he found it at the same time advantageous to accept a proposition made to him by the Samians, captors of the city, and to betray the Zanklæans whom he had come to aid. By a convention, ratified with an oath, it was agreed that Hippokratês should receive for himself all the extra-mural, and half the intra-mural, property and slaves belonging to Zanklæans, leaving the other half to the Samians. Among the property without the walls, not the least valuable part consisted in the persons of those Zanklæans whom Hippokratês had come to assist, but whom he now carried away as slaves: excepting, however, from this lot, three hundred of the principal citizens, whom he delivered over to the Samians to be slaughtered,—probably lest they might find friends to procure their ransom, and afterwards disturb the Samian possession of the town. Their lives were however spared by the Samians, though we are not told what became of them. This transaction, alike perfidious on the part of the Samians and of Hippokratês, secured to the former a flourishing city, and to the latter an abundant booty. We are glad to learn that the imprisoned Skythês found means to escape to Darius, king of Persia, from whom he received a generous shelter,—imperfect compensation for the iniquity of his fellow Greeks.[428] The Samians, however, did not long retain possession of their conquest, but were expelled by the very per[p. 213]son who had instigated them to seize it,—Anaxilaus, of Rhegium. He planted in it new inhabitants, of Dorian and Messenian race, recolonizing it under the name of Messênê,—a name which it ever afterwards bore;[429] and it appears to have been governed either by himself or by his son Kleophron, until his death about B. C. 476.

Besides the conquests above mentioned, Hippokratês of Gela was on the point of making the still more important acquisition of Syracuse, and was only prevented from doing so, after defeating the Syracusans at the river Helôrus, and capturing many prisoners, by the mediation of the Corinthians and Korkyræans, who prevailed on him to be satisfied with the cession of Kamarina and its territory as a ransom. Having repeopled this territory, which became thus annexed to Gela, he was prosecuting his conquests farther among the Sikels, when he died or was killed at Hybla. His death caused a mutiny among the Geloans, who refused to acknowledge his sons, and strove to regain their freedom; but Gelo, the general of horse in the army, espousing the cause of the sons with energy, put down by force the resistance of the people. As soon as this was done, he threw off the mask, deposed the sons of Hippokratês, and seized the sceptre himself.[430]

Thus master of Gela, and succeeding probably to the ascendency enjoyed by his predecessor over the Ionic cities, Gelo became the most powerful man in the island; but an incident which occurred a few years afterwards (B. C. 485), while it aggrandized him still farther, transferred the seat of his power from Gela to Syracuse. The Syracusan Gamori, or oligarchical order of proprietary families, probably humbled by their ruinous defeat at the Helôrus, were dispossessed of the government by a combination between their serf-cultivators, called the Kyllyrii, and the smaller freemen, called the Demos; they were forced to retire to Kasmenæ, where they invoked the aid of Gelo to restore them. That ambitious prince undertook the task, and accomplished it with facility; for the Syracusan people,[p. 214] probably unable to resist their political opponents when backed by such powerful foreign aid, surrendered to him without striking a blow.[431] But instead of restoring the place to the previous oligarchy, Gelo appropriated it to himself, and left Gela to be governed by his brother Hiero. He greatly enlarged the city of Syracuse, and strengthened its fortifications: probably it was he who first carried it beyond the islet of Ortygia, so as to include a larger space of the adjacent mainland (or rather island of Sicily) which bore the name of Achradina. To people this enlarged space, he brought all the residents in Kamarina, which town he dismantled,—and more than half of those in Gela; which was thus reduced in importance, while Syracuse became the first city in Sicily, and even received fresh addition of inhabitants from[p. 215] the neighboring towns of Megara and Eubœa. Both these towns, like Syracuse, were governed by oligarchies, with serf cultivators dependent upon them, and a Dêmos, or body of smaller freemen, excluded from the political franchise: both were involved in war with Gelo, probably to resist his encroachments,—both were besieged and taken. The oligarchy who ruled these cities, and who were the authors as well as leaders of the year, anticipated nothing but ruin at the hands of the conqueror; while the Demos, who had not been consulted and had taken no part in the war (which we must presume to have been carried on by the oligarchy and their serfs alone), felt assured that no harm would be done to them. His behavior disappointed the expectations of both. After transporting both of them to Syracuse, he established the oligarchs in that town as citizens, and sold the Demos as slaves, under covenant that they should be exported from Sicily. “His conduct (says Herodotus[432]) was dictated by the conviction, that a Demos was a most troublesome companion to live with.” It appears that the state of society which he wished to establish was that of Patricians and clients, without any Plebs; something like that of Thessaly, where there was a proprietary oligarchy living in the cities, with Penestæ, or dependent cultivators, occupying and tilling the land on their account,—but no small self-working proprietors or tradesmen in sufficient number to form a recognized class. And since Gelo was removing the free population from these conquered towns, and leaving in or around the towns no one except the serf-cultivators, we may presume that the oligarchical proprietors when removed might still continue, even as residents at Syracuse, to receive the produce raised for them by others: but the small self-working proprietors, if removed in like manner, would be deprived of subsistence, because their land would be too distant for personal tillage,[p. 216] and they had no serfs. While therefore we fully believe, with Herodotus, that Gelo considered the small free proprietors as “troublesome yoke-fellows,”—a sentiment perfectly natural to a Grecian despot, unless where he found them useful aids to his own ambition against a hostile oligarchy,—we must add that they would become peculiarly troublesome in his scheme of concentrating the free population of Syracuse, seeing that he would have to give them land in the neighborhood or to provide in some other way for their maintenance.

So large an accession of size, walls, and population, rendered Syracuse the first Greek city in Sicily. And the power of Gelo, embracing as it did not merely Syracuse, but so considerable a portion of the rest of the island, Greek as well as Sikel, was the greatest Hellenic force then existing. It appears to have comprised the Grecian cities on the east and southeast of the island from the borders of Agrigentum to those of Zanklê or Messênê, together with no small proportion of the Sikel tribes. Messênê was under the rule of Anaxilaus of Rhegium, Agrigentum under that of Thêro son of Ænesidêmus, Himera under that of Terillus; while Selinus, close on the borders of Egesta and the Carthaginian possessions, had its own government free or despotic, but appears to have been allied with or dependent upon Carthage.[433] A dominion thus extensive doubtless furnished ample tribute; besides which Gelo, having conquered and dispossessed many landed proprietors and having recolonized Syracuse, could easily provide both lands and citizenship to recompense adherents. Hence, he was enabled to enlarge materially the military force transmitted to him by Hippokratês, and to form a naval force besides. Phormis[434] the Mænalian, who took service under him and became citizen of Syracuse, with fortune enough to send donatives to Olympia,—and Agêsias, the Iamid prophet from Stymphâlus,[435]—are doubtless not the only examples of[p. 217] emigrants joining him from Arcadia; for the Arcadian population were poor, brave, and ready for mercenary soldiership; nor can we doubt that the service of a Greek despot in Sicily must have been more attractive to them than that of Xerxes.[436] Moreover, during the ten years between the battles of Marathon and Salamis, when not only so large a portion of the Greek cities had become subject to Persia, but the prospect of Persian invasion hung like a cloud over Greece Proper, the increased feeling of insecurity throughout the latter probably rendered emigration to Sicily unusually inviting.

These circumstances in part explain the immense power and position which Herodotus represents Gelo to have enjoyed, towards the autumn of 481 B. C., when the Greeks from the isthmus of Corinth, confederated to resist Xerxes, sent to solicit his aid. He was then imperial leader of Sicily: he could offer to the Greek—so the historian tells us—twenty thousand hoplites, two hundred triremes, two thousand cavalry, two thousand archers, two thousand slingers, two thousand light-armed horse, besides furnishing provisions for the entire Grecian force as long as the war might last.[437] If this numerical statement could be at all trusted, which I do not believe, Herodotus would be much within the truth in saying, that there was no other Hellenic power which would bear the least comparison with that of Gelo:[438][p. 218] and we may well assume such general superiority to be substantially true, though the numbers above mentioned may be an empty boast rather than a reality.

Owing to the great power of Gelo, we now for the first time trace an incipient tendency in Sicily to combined and central operations. It appears that Gelo had formed the plan of uniting the Greek forces in Sicily for the purpose of expelling the Carthaginians and Egestæans, either wholly or partially, from their maritime possessions in the western corner of the island, and of avenging the death of the Spartan prince, Dorieus;—that he even attempted, though in vain, to induce the Spartans and other central Greeks to coöperate in this plan,—and that, upon their refusal, he had in part executed it with the Sicilian forces alone.[439] We have nothing but a brief and vague allusion to this exploit, wherein Gelo appears as the chief and champion of Hellenic against barbaric interests in Sicily,—the forerunner of Dionysius, Timoleon, and Agathoklês. But he had already begun to conceive himself, and had already been recognized by others, in this commanding position, when the envoys of Sparta, Athens, Corinth, etc., reached him from the isthmus of Corinth, in 481[p. 219] B. C., to entreat his aid for the repulse of the vast host of invaders about to cross the Hellespont. Gelo, after reminding them that they had refused a similar application for aid from him, said that, far from requiting them at the hour of need in the like ungenerous spirit, he would bring to them an overwhelming reinforcement (the numbers as given by Herodotus have been already stated), but upon one condition only,—that he should be recognized as generalissimo of the entire Grecian force against the Persians. His offer was repudiated, with indignant scorn, by the Spartan envoy: and Gelo then so far abated in his demand, as to be content with the command either of the land-force or the naval force, whichever might be judged preferable. But here the Athenian envoy interposed his protest: “We are sent here (said he) to ask for an army, and not for a general; and thou givest us the army, only in order to make thyself general. Know, that even if the Spartans would allow thee to command at sea, we would not. The naval command is ours, if they decline it: we Athenians, the oldest nation in Greece,—the only Greeks who have never migrated from home,—whose leader before Troy stands proclaimed by Homer as the best of all the Greeks for marshalling and keeping order in an army,—we, who moreover furnish the largest naval contingent in the fleet,—we will never submit to be commanded by a Syracusan.”

“Athenian stranger (replied Gelo), ye seem to be provided with commanders, but ye are not likely to have soldiers to be commanded. Ye may return as soon as you please, and tell the Greeks that their year is deprived of its spring.”[440]

That envoys were sent from Peloponnesus to solicit assistance from Gelo against Xerxes, and that they solicited in vain, is an incident not to be disputed: but the reason assigned for refusal—conflicting pretensions about the supreme command—may be suspected to have arisen less from historical transmission, than from the conceptions of the historian, or of his informants, respecting the relations between the parties. In his time, Sparta,[p. 220] Athens, and Syracuse were the three great imperial cities of Greece, and his Sicilian witnesses, proud of the great past power of Gelo, might well ascribe to him that competition for preëminence and command which Herodotus has dramatized. The immense total of forces which Gelo is made to promise becomes the more incredible, when we reflect that he had another and a better reason for refusing aid altogether. He was attacked at home, and was fully employed in defending himself.

The same spring which brought Xerxes across the Hellespont into Greece, also witnessed a formidable Carthaginian invasion of Sicily. Gelo had already been engaged in war against them, as has been above stated, and had obtained successes, which they would naturally seek the first opportunity of retrieving. The vast Persian invasion of Greece, organized for three years before, and drawing contingents not only from the whole eastern world, but especially from their own metropolitan brethren at Tyre and Sidon, was well calculated to encourage them: and there seems good reason for believing that the simultaneous attack on the Greeks both in Peloponnesus and in Sicily, was concerted between the Carthaginians and Xerxes,[441]—probably by the Phenicians on behalf of Xerxes. Nevertheless, this alliance does not exclude other concurrent circumstances in the interior of the island, which supplied the Carthaginians both with invitation and with help. Agrigentum, though not under the dominion of Gelo, was ruled by his friend and relative Thêro: while Rhegium and Messênê under the government of Anaxilaus, Himera under that of his father-in-law Terillus, and Selinus, seem to have formed an opposing minority among the Sicilian Greeks; at variance with Gelo and Thêro, but in amity and correspondence with Carthage.[442] It was seemingly about the year 481 B. C., that Thêro, perhaps invited by an Himeræan party, expelled from Himera the despot Terillus, and[p. 221] became possessed of the town. Terillus applied for aid to Carthage, backed by his son-in-law Anaxilaus, who espoused the quarrel so warmly, as even to tender his own children as hostages to Hamilkar the Carthaginian suffes, or general, the personal friend or guest of Terillus. The application was favorably entertained, and Hamilkar, arriving at Panormus in the eventful year 480 B. C., with a fleet of three thousand ships of war and a still larger number of storeships, disembarked a land-force of three hundred thousand men: which would even have been larger, had not the vessels carrying the cavalry and the chariots happened to be dispersed by storms.[443] These numbers we can only repeat as we find them, without trusting them any farther than as proof that the armament was on the most extensive scale. But the different nations of whom Herodotus reports the land-force to have consisted are trustworthy and curious: it included Phenicians, Libyans, Iberians, Ligyes, Helisyki, Sardinians, and Corsicans.[444] This is the first example known to us of those numerous mercenary armies, which it was the policy of Carthage to compose of nations different in race and language,[445] in order to obviate conspiracy or mutiny against the general. Having landed at Panormus, Hamilkar marched to Himera, dragged his vessels on shore under the shelter of a rampart, and then laid siege to the town: while the Himeræans, reinforced by Thêro and the army of Agrigentum, determined on an obstinate defence, and even bricked up the gates. Pressing messages were despatched to solicit aid from Gelo, who collected his whole force, said to have amounted to fifty thousand foot, and five thousand horse, and marched to Himera. His arrival restored the courage of the inhabitants, and after some partial fighting, which turned out to the advantage of the Greeks, a general battle ensued. It was obstinate and bloody, lasting from sunrise until late in the after[p. 222]noon; and its success was mainly determined by an intercepted letter which fell into the hands of Gelo,—a communication from the Selinuntines to Hamilkar, promising to send a body of horse to his aid, and intimating the time at which they would arrive. A party of Gelo’s horse, instructed to personate this reinforcement from Selinus, were received into the camp of Hamilkar, where they spread consternation and disorder, and are even said to have slain the general and set fire to the ships: while the Greek army, brought to action at this opportune moment, at length succeeded in triumphing over both superior numbers and a determined resistance. If we are to believe Diodorus, one hundred and fifty thousand men were slain on the side of the Carthaginians; the rest fled partly to the Sikanian mountains, where they became prisoners of the Agrigentines,—partly to a hilly ground, where, from want of water, they were obliged to surrender at discretion: twenty ships alone escaped with a few fugitives, and these twenty were destroyed by a storm in the passage, so that only one small boat arrived at Carthage with the disastrous tidings.[446] Dismissing such unreasonable exaggerations, we can only venture to assert that the battle was strenuously disputed, the victory complete, and the slain as well as the prisoners numerous. The body of Hamilkar was never discovered, in spite of careful search ordered by Gelo: the Carthaginians affirmed, that as soon as the defeat of his army became irreparable, he had cast himself into the great sacrificial fire, wherein he had been offering entire victims (the usual sacrifice consisting only of a small part of the beast),[447] to propitiate the gods, and had there been consumed. The Carthaginians erected funereal monuments to him, graced with periodical sacrifices, both in Carthage and in[p. 223] their principal colonies:[448] on the field of battle itself also, a monument was raised to him by the Greeks. On that monument, seventy years afterwards, his victorious grandson, fresh from the plunder of this same city of Himera, offered the bloody sacrifice of three thousand Grecian prisoners.[449]

We may presume that Anaxilaus with the forces of Rhegium shared in the defeat of the foreign invader whom he had called in, and probably other Greeks besides. All of them were now compelled to sue for peace from Gelo, and to solicit the privilege of being enrolled as his dependent allies, which was granted to them without any harder imposition than the tribute probably involved in that relation.[450] Even the Carthaginians themselves were so intimidated by the defeat, that they sent envoys to ask for peace at Syracuse, which they are said to have obtained mainly by the solicitation of Damaretê, wife of Gelo, on condition of paying two thousand talents to defray the costs of the war, and of erecting two temples in which the terms of the treaty were to be permanently recorded.[451] If we could believe the assertion of Theophrastus, Gelo exacted from the Carthaginians a stipulation that they would for the future abstain from human[p. 224] sacrifices in their religious worship:[452] but such an interference with foreign religious rites would be unexampled in that age, and we know, moreover, that the practice was not permanently discontinued at Carthage.[453] Indeed, we may reasonably suspect that Diodorus, copying from writers like Ephorus, and Timæus, long after the events, has exaggerated considerably the defeat, the humiliation, and the amercement, of the Carthaginians. For the words of the poet Pindar, a very few years after the battle of Himera, represent a fresh Carthaginian invasion as matter of present uneasiness and alarm:[454] and the Carthaginian fleet is found engaged in aggressive warfare on the coast of Italy, requiring to be coerced by the brother and successor of Gelo.

The victory of Himera procured for the Sicilian cities immunity from foreign war together with a rich plunder. Splendid offerings of thanksgiving to the gods were dedicated in the temples of Himera, Syracuse, and Delphi: and the epigram of Simonidês,[455] composed for the tripod offered in the latter temple, described Gelo with his three brothers Hiero, Polyzêlus, and Thrasybulus, as the joint liberators of Greece from the Barbarian, along with the victors of Salamis and Platæa. And the Sicilians alleged that he was on the point of actually sending reinforcements to the Greeks against Xerxes, in spite of the necessity of submitting to Spartan command, when the intelligence of the defeat and retreat of that prince reached him. But we find another statement decidedly more probable,—that he sent a confidential envoy named Kadmus, to Delphi, with orders to watch the turn of the Xerxeian invasion, and in case it should prove successful (as he thought that it probably would be) to tender presents and submission to the victorious invader on behalf of Syracuse.[456] When we consider that until the very morning of the battle of Salamis, the cause of Grecian independence must have appeared to an impartial spectator almost desperate,[p. 225] we cannot wonder that Gelo should take precautions for preventing the onward progress of the Persians towards Sicily, which was already sufficiently imperiled by its formidable enemies in Africa. The defeat of the Persians at Salamis, and of the Carthaginians at Himera, cleared away, suddenly and unexpectedly, the terrific cloud from Greece as well as from Sicily, and left a sky comparatively brilliant with prosperous hopes.

To the victorious army of Gelo, there was abundant plunder for recompense as well as distribution: among the most valuable part of the plunder were the numerous prisoners taken, who were divided among the cities in proportion to the number of troops furnished by each. Of course the largest shares must have fallen to Syracuse and Agrigentum: while the number acquired by the latter was still farther increased by the separate capture of those prisoners who had dispersed throughout the mountains in and near the Agrigentine territory. All the Sicilian cities allied with or dependent on Gelo, but especially the two last mentioned, were thus put in possession of a number of slaves as public property, who were kept in chains to work,[457] and were either employed on public undertakings for defence, ornament, and religious solemnity,—or let out to private masters so as to afford a revenue to the state. So great was the total of these public slaves at Agrigentum, that though many were employed on state-works, which elevated the city to signal grandeur during the flourishing period of seventy years which intervened between the recent battle and its subsequent capture by the Carthaginians,—there nevertheless remained great numbers to be let out to private individuals, some of whom had no less than five hundred slaves respectively in their employment.[458]

The peace which now ensued left Gelo master of Syracuse and Gela, with the Chalkidic Greek towns on the east of the[p. 226] island; while Thêro governed in Agrigentum, and his son Thrasydæus in Himera. In power as well as in reputation, Gelo was unquestionably the chief person in the island; moreover, he was connected by marriage, and lived on terms of uninterrupted friendship, with Thêro. His conduct both at Syracuse and towards the cities dependent upon him, was mild and conciliating. But his subsequent career was very short: he died of a dropsical complaint, not much more than a year after the battle of Himera, while the glories of that day were fresh in every one’s recollection. As the Syracusan law rigorously interdicted expensive funerals, Gelo had commanded that his own obsequies should be conducted in strict conformity to the law: nevertheless, the zeal of his successor as well as the attachment of the people disobeyed these commands. The great mass of citizens followed his funeral procession from the city to the estate of his wife, fifteen miles distant: nine massive towers were erected to distinguish the spot; and the solemnities of heroic worship were rendered to him. Nor did the respectful recollections of the conqueror of Himera ever afterwards die out among the Syracusan people, though his tomb was defaced, first by the Carthaginians, and afterwards by the despot Agathoklês.[459] And when we recollect the destructive effects caused by the subsequent Carthaginian invasions, we shall be sensible how great was the debt of gratitude owing to Gelo by his contemporaries.

It was not merely as conqueror of Himera, but as a sort of second founder of Syracuse,[460] that Gelo was thus solemnly worshipped. The size, the strength, and the population of the town were all greatly increased under him. Besides the number of new inhabitants which he brought from Gela, the Hyblæan Megara, and the Sicilian Eubœa, we are informed that he also inscribed on the roll of citizens no less than ten thousand mercenary soldiers. It will, moreover, appear that these new-made citizens were in possession of the islet of Ortygia, and the portion of the city closely bordering on it, which bore the name of Achradina,[461]—the interior strongholds of Syracuse. It has[p. 227] already been stated that Ortygia was the original settlement, and that the city did not overstep the boundaries of the islet before the enlargements of Gelo. We do not know by what arrangements Gelo provided new lands for so large a number of newcomers; but when we come to notice the antipathy with which these latter were regarded by the remaining citizens, we shall be inclined to believe that the old citizens had been dispossessed and degraded.

Gelo left a son in tender years; but his power passed, by his own direction, to two of his brothers, Polyzêlus and Hiero; the former of whom married the widow of the deceased prince, and was named, according to his testamentary directions, commander of the military force,—while Hiero was intended to enjoy the government of the city. Whatever may have been the wishes of Gelo, however, the real power fell to Hiero,—a man of energy and determination, and munificent as a patron of contemporary poets, Pindar, Simonidês, Bacchylidês, Epicharmus, Æschylus, and others; but the victim of a painful internal complaint, jealous in his temper, cruel and rapacious in his government,[462] and noted as an organizer of that systematic espionage which broke up all freedom of speech among his subjects. Especially jealous of his brother Polyzêlus, who was very popular in the city, he despatched him on a military expedition against the Krotoniates, with a view of indirectly accomplishing his destruction: but Polyzêlus, aware of the snare, fled to Agrigentum, and sought protection from his brother-in-law, the despot Thêron; from whom Hiero redemanded him, and, on receiving a refusal, prepared to enforce the demand by arms. He had already advanced on his march as far as the river Gela, but no actual battle appears to have taken place: it is interesting to hear that Simonidês the poet, esteemed and rewarded by both these princes, was the mediator of peace between them.[463]

The temporary breach, and sudden reconciliation, between[p. 228] these two powerful despots, proved the cause of sorrow and ruin at Himera. That city, under the dominion of the Agrigentine Thêro, was administered by his son Thrasydæus,—a youth whose oppressive conduct speedily excited the strongest antipathy. The Himeræans, knowing that they had little chance of redress from Thêro against his son, took advantage of the quarrel between him and Hiero to make propositions to the latter, and to entreat his aid for the expulsion of Thrasydæus, tendering themselves as subjects of Syracuse. It appears that Kapys and Hippokratês, cousins of Thêro, but at variance with him, and also candidates for the protection of Hiero, were concerned in this scheme for detaching Himera from the dominion of Thêro. But so soon as peace had been concluded, Hiero betrayed to Thêro both the schemes and the malcontents at Himera. We seem to make out that Kapys and Hippokratês collected some forces to resist Thêro, but were defeated by him at the river Himera:[464] his victory was followed by seizing and putting to death a large number of Himeræan citizens. So great was the number slain, coupled with the loss of others who fled for fear of being slain, that the population of the city was sensibly and inconveniently diminished. Thêro invited and enrolled a large addition of new citizens, chiefly of Dorian blood.[465]

The power of Hiero, now reconciled both with Thêro and with his brother Polyzêlus, is marked by several circumstances as noway inferior to that of Gelo, and probably the greatest not merely in Sicily, but throughout the Grecian world. The citizens of the distant city of Cumæ, on the coast of Italy, harassed by Carthaginian and Tyrrhenian fleets, entreated his aid, and received from him a squadron which defeated and drove off their enemies:[466] he even settled a Syracusan colony in the neighbor[p. 229]ing island of Pithekusa. Anaxilaus, despot of Rhegium and Messênê, had attacked, and might probably have overpowered, his neighbors, the Epizephyrian Lokrians; but the menaces of Hiero, invoked by the Lokrians, and conveyed by the envoy Chromius, compelled him to desist.[467] Those heroic honors, which in Greece belonged to the œkist of a new city, were yet wanting to him; and he procured them by the foundation of the new city of Ætna,[468] on the site and in the place of Katana, the inhabitants of which he expelled, as well as those of Naxos. While these Naxians and Katanæans were directed to take up their abode at Leontini along with the existing inhabitants, Hiero planted ten thousand new inhabitants in his adopted city of Ætna: five thousand from Syracuse and Gela,—with an equal number from Peloponnesus. They served as an auxiliary force, ready to be called forth in the event of discontents at Syracuse, as we shall see by the history of his successor: he gave them not only the territory which had before belonged to Katana, but also a large addition besides, chiefly at the expense of the neighboring Sikel tribes. His son Deinomenês, and his friend and confidant, Chromius, enrolled as an Ætnæan, became joint administrators of the city: its religious and social customs were assimilated to the Dorian model,[469] and Pindar dreams of future relations between the despot and citizens of Ætna, analogous to those between king and citizens at Sparta. Both Hiero and Chromius were proclaimed as Ætnæans at the Pythian and Ne[p. 230]mean games, when their chariots gained victories; on which occasion the assembled crowd heard for the first time of the new Hellenic city of Ætna. We see, by the compliments of Pindar,[470] that Hiero was vain of his new title as founder; but we must remark that it was procured, not, as in most cases, by planting Greeks on a spot previously barbarous, but by the dispossession and impoverishment of other Grecian citizens, who seem to have given no ground of offence. Both in Gelo and Hiero we see the first exhibition of that propensity to violent and wholesale transplantation of inhabitants from one seat to another, which was not uncommon among Assyrian and Persian despots, and which was exhibited on a still larger scale by the successors of Alexander the Great in their numerous new-built cities.

Anaxilaus of Rhegium died shortly after that message of Hiero which had compelled him to spare the Lokrians; but such was the esteem entertained for his memory, and so efficient the government of Mikythus, a manumitted slave whom he constituted regent, that Rhegium and Messênê were preserved for his children, yet minors.[471] But a still more important change in Sicily was caused by the death of the Agrigentine Thêro, which took place, seemingly, about 472 B. C. This prince, a partner with Gelo in the great victory over the Carthaginians, left a reputation of good government as well as ability among the Agrigentines, which we find perpetuated in the laureate strains of Pindar,—and his memory doubtless became still farther endeared from comparison with his son and successor. Thrasydæus, now master both of Himera and Agrigentum, displayed on a larger scale the same oppressive and sanguinary dispositions which had before provoked rebellion at the former city. Feeling himself detested by his subjects, he enlarged the military force which had been left by his father, and engaged so many new mercenaries, that he became master of a force of twenty thousand men, horse and foot. And in his own territory, perhaps, he might long have trodden with impunity in the footsteps of Phal[p. 231]aris, had he not imprudently provoked his more powerful neighbor, Hiero. In an obstinate and murderous battle between these two princes, two thousand men were slain on the side of the Syracusans, and four thousand on that of the Agrigentines: an immense slaughter, considering that it mostly fell upon the Greeks in the two armies, and not upon the non-Hellenic mercenaries.[472] But the defeat of Thrasydæus was so complete, that he was compelled to flee not only from Agrigentum, but from Sicily: he retired to Megara, in Greece Proper, where he was condemned to death and perished.[473] The Agrigentines, thus happily released from their oppressor, sued for and obtained peace from Hiero: they are said to have established a democratical government, but we learn that Hiero sent many citizens into banishment from Agrigentum and Himera, as well as from Gela,[474] nor can we doubt that all the three were numbered among his subject cities. The moment of freedom only commenced for them when the Gelonian dynasty shared the fate of the Theronian.

The victory over Thrasydæus rendered Hiero more completely master of Sicily than his brother Gelo had been before him. The last act which we hear of him, is, his interference on behalf of his brothers-in-law,[475] the sons of Anaxilaus of Rhegium, who were now of age to govern. He encouraged them to prefer, and probably showed himself ready to enforce, their claim against Mikythus, who had administered Rhegium since the death of Anaxilaus, for the property as well as the sceptre. Mikythus[p. 232] complied readily with the demand, rendering an account so exact and faithful, that the sons of Anaxilaus themselves entreated him to remain and govern,—or more probably to lend his aid to their government. This request he was wise enough to refuse: he removed his own property and retired to Tegea in Arcadia. Hiero died shortly afterwards, of the complaint under which he had so long suffered, after a reign of ten years.[476]

On the death of Hiero, the succession was disputed between his brother Thrasybulus, and his nephew, the youthful son of Gelo, so that the partisans of the family became thus divided. Thrasybulus, surrounding his nephew with temptations to luxurious pleasure, contrived to put him indirectly aside, and thus to seize the government for himself.[477] This family division,—a curse often resting upon the blood-relations of Grecian despots, and leading to the greatest atrocities,[478]—coupled with the conduct of Thrasybulus himself, caused the downfall of the mighty Gelonian dynasty. The bad qualities of Hiero were now seen greatly exaggerated, but without his energy, in Thrasybulus,—who put to death many citizens, and banished still more, for the purpose of seizing their property, until at length he provoked among the Syracusans intense and universal hatred, shared even by many of the old Gelonian partisans. Though he tried to strengthen himself by increasing his mercenary force, he could[p. 233] not prevent a general revolt from breaking out among the Syracusan population. By summoning those citizens whom Hiero had planted in his new city of Ætna, as well as various troops from his dependent allies, he found himself at the head of fifteen thousand men, and master of the interior strongholds of the city,—the island of Ortygia with Achradina, while the great body of the revolted Syracusans were assembled in the outer city called Tychê. Though superior in number, yet being no match in military efficiency for the forces of Thrasybulus, they were obliged to invoke aid from the other cities in Sicily, as well as from the Sikel tribes,—proclaiming the Gelonian dynasty as the common enemy of freedom in the island, and holding out universal independence as the reward of victory. It was fortunate for them that there was no brother-despot, like the powerful Thêro, to espouse the cause of Thrasybulus: Gela, Agrigentum, Selinus, Himera, and even the Sikel tribes, all responded to the call with alacrity, so that a large force, both military and naval, came to reinforce the Syracusans: Thrasybulus was totally defeated, first in a naval action, next on land, and obliged to shut himself up in Ortygia and Achradina, where he soon found his situation hopeless. He accordingly opened a negotiation with his opponents, which ended in his abdication and retirement to Lokri, while the mercenary troops whom he had brought together were also permitted to depart unmolested.[479] The expelled Thrasybulus afterwards lived and died as a private citizen at Lokri,—a very different fate from that which had befallen Thrasydæus, son of Thêro at Megara, though both seem to have given the same provocation.

Thus fell the powerful Gelonian dynasty at Syracuse, after a continuance of eighteen years.[480] Its fall was nothing less than an extensive revolution throughout Sicily. Among the various cities of the island there had grown up many petty despots, each with his separate mercenary force; acting as the instruments, and relying on the protection, of the great despot at Syracuse. All these were now expelled, and governments more or less democratical were established everywhere.[481] The sons of Anaxilaus[p. 234] maintained themselves a little longer at Rhegium and Messênê, but the citizens of these two towns at length followed the general example, compelled them to retire,[482] and began their era of freedom.

But though the Sicilian despots had thus been expelled, the free governments established in their place were exposed at first to much difficulty and collision. It has been already mentioned that Gelo, Hiero, Thêro, Thrasydæus, Thrasybulus, etc., had all condemned many citizens to exile with confiscation of property; and had planted on the soil new citizens and mercenaries in numbers no less considerable. To what race these mercenaries belonged, we are not told: it is probable that they were only in part Greeks. Such violent mutations, both of persons and property, could not occur without raising bitter conflicts, of interest as well as of feeling, between the old, the new, and the dispossessed proprietors, as soon as the iron hand of compression was removed. This source of angry dissension was common to all the Sicilian cities, but in none did it flow more profusely than in Syracuse. In that city, the new mercenaries last introduced by Thrasybulus, had retired at the same time with him, many of them to the Hieronian city of Ætna, from whence they had been brought; but there yet remained the more numerous body introduced principally by Gelo, partly also by Hiero,—the former alone had enrolled ten thousand, of whom more than seven thousand yet remained. What part these Gelonian citizens had taken in the late revolution, we do not find distinctly stated: they seem not to have supported Thrasybulus, as a body, and probably many of them took part against him. After the revolution had been accomplished, a public assembly of the Syracusans was convened, in which the first resolution was, to provide for the religious commemoration of the event, by erecting a colossal statue of Zeus Eleutherius, and by celebrating an annual festival to be called the Eleutheria, with solemn matches and sacrifices. They next proceeded to determine the political constitution; and such was the predominant reaction, doubtless aggravated by the returned exiles, of hatred and fear against the expelled dynasty,—that the whole body of new citizens, who had been domicili[p. 235]ated under Gelo and Hiero, were declared ineligible to magistracy or honor. This harsh and sweeping disqualification, falling at once upon a numerous minority, naturally provoked renewed irritation and civil war. The Gelonian citizens, the most warlike individuals in the state, and occupying, as favored partisans of the previous dynasty, the inner and separately fortified sections of Syracuse,[483]—Achradina and Ortygia,—placed themselves in open revolt; while the general mass of citizens, masters of all the outer sections of the city, were not strong enough to assail with success this defensible position. They could only block it up, and intercept its supplies, which the garrison within were forced to come out and fight for. This disastrous internal war continued for some months, with many partial conflicts both by land and sea: the general body of citizens became accustomed to arms, while a chosen regiment of six hundred trained volunteers acquired especial efficiency. Unable to maintain themselves longer, the Gelonians were forced to hazard a general battle, which, after an obstinate struggle, terminated in their complete defeat. The chosen band of six hundred, who had[p. 236] eminently contributed to this victory, received from their fellow-citizens a crown of honor, and a reward of one mina per head.[484]

The meagre annals, wherein these interesting events are indicated rather than described, tell us scarcely anything of the political arrangements which resulted from so important a victory. Probably the Gelonians were expelled: but we may assume as certain, that the separate fortifications of the island and Achradina were abolished, and that from henceforward there was only one fortified city, until the time of the despot Dionysius, more than fifty years afterwards.[485]

Meanwhile the rest of Sicily had experienced disorders analogous in character to those of Syracuse. At Gela, at Agrigentum, at Himera, the reaction against the Gelonian dynasty had brought back in crowds the dispossessed exiles; who, claiming restitution of their properties and influence, found their demands sustained by the population generally. The Katanæans, whom Hiero had driven from their own city to Leontini, in order that he might convert Katana into his own settlement Ætna, assembled in arms and allied themselves with the Sikel prince Duketius, to reconquer their former home and to restore to the Sikels that which Hiero had taken from them for enlargement of the Ætnæan territory. They were aided by the Syracusans, to whom the neighborhood of these Hieronian partisans was dangerous: but they did not accomplish their object until after a long contest and several battles with the Ætnæans. A convention was at length concluded, by which the latter evacuated Katana and were allowed to occupy the town and territory,—seemingly Sikel,—of Ennesia, or Inessa, upon which they bestowed the name of Ætna,[486] with monuments commemorating Hiero as the founder,—while the tomb of the latter at Katana was demolished by the restored inhabitants.

These conflicts, disturbing the peace of all Sicily, came to be so intolerable, that a general congress was held between the various cities to adjust them. It was determined by joint reso[p. 237]lution to readmit the exiles and to extrude the Gelonian settlers everywhere: but an establishment was provided for these latter in the territory of Messênê. It appears that the exiles received back their property, or at least an assignment of other lands in compensation for it. The inhabitants of Gela were enabled to provide for their own exiles by reëstablishing the city of Kamarina,[487] which had been conquered from Syracuse by Hippokratês, despot of Gelo, but which Gelo, on transferring his abode to Syracuse, had made a portion of the Syracusan territory, conveying its inhabitants to the city of Syracuse. The Syracusans now renounced the possession of it,—a cession to be explained probably by the fact, that among the new-comers transferred by Gelo to Syracuse, there were included not only the previous Kamarinæans, but also many who had before been citizens of Gela.[488] For these men, now obliged to quit Syracuse, it would be convenient to provide an abode at Kamarina, as well as for the other restored Geloan exiles; and we may farther presume that this new city served as a receptacle for other homeless citizens from all parts of the island. It was consecrated by the Geloans as an independent city, with Dorian rights and customs: its lands were distributed anew, and among its settlers were men rich enough to send prize chariots to Peloponnesus, as well as to pay for odes of Pindar. The Olympic victories of the Kamarinæan Psaumis secured for his new city an Hellenic celebrity, at a moment when it hardly yet emerged from the hardships of an initiatory settlement.[489]

Such was the great reactionary movement in Sicily against the high-handed violences of the previous despots. We are only enabled to follow it generally, but we see that all their trans[p. 238]plantations and expulsions of inhabitants were reversed, and all their arrangements overthrown. In the correction of the past injustice, we cannot doubt that new injustice was in many cases committed, nor are we surprised to hear that at Syracuse many new enrolments of citizens took place without any rightful claim,[490] probably accompanied by grants of land. The reigning feeling at Syracuse would now be quite opposite to that of the days of Gelo, when the Demos, or aggregate of small self-working proprietors, was considered as “a troublesome yoke-fellow,” fit only to be sold into slavery for exportation: it is highly probable that the new table of citizens now prepared included that class of men in larger number than ever, on principles analogous to the liberal enrolments of Kleisthenês at Athens. In spite of all the confusion, however, with which this period of popular government opens, lasting for more than fifty years until the despotism of the elder Dionysius, we shall find it far the best and most prosperous portion of Sicilian history. We shall arrive at it in a subsequent chapter.

Respecting the Grecian cities along the coast of Italy, during the period of the Gelonian dynasty, a few words will exhaust the whole of our knowledge. Rhegium, with its despots Anaxilaus and Mikythus, figures chiefly as a Sicilian city, and has been noticed as such in the stream of Sicilian politics. But it is also involved in the only event which has been preserved to us respecting this portion of the history of the Italian Greeks. It was about the year B. C. 473, that the Tarentines undertook an expedition against their non-Hellenic neighbors the Iapygians, in hopes of conquering Hyria and the other towns belonging to them. Mikythus, despot of Rhegium, against the will of his citizens, despatched three thousand of them by constraint as auxiliaries to the Tarentines. But the expedition proved signally disastrous to both. The Iapygians, to the number of twenty thousand men, encountered the united Grecian forces in the field, and completely defeated them: the battle having taken place in a hostile country, it seems that the larger portion, both of Rhegians and Tarentines, perished, insomuch that Herodotus pronounces it to have been the greatest Hellenic slaughter within[p. 239] his knowledge.[491] Of the Tarentines slain, a great proportion were opulent and substantial citizens, the loss of whom sensibly affected the city; strengthening the Demos, and rendering the constitution more democratical. In what particulars the change consisted we do not know: the expression of Aristotle gives reason to suppose that even before this event the constitution had been popular.[492]


After having in the last chapter followed the repulse of the Carthaginians by the Sicilian Greeks, we now return to the central Greeks and the Persians,—a case in which the triumph was yet more interesting to the cause of human improvement generally. The disproportion between the immense host assembled by Xerxes, and the little which he accomplished, naturally provokes both contempt for Persian force and an admiration for the[p. 240] comparative handful of men by whom they were so ignominiously beaten. Both these sentiments are just, but both are often exaggerated beyond the point which attentive contemplation of the facts will justify. The Persian mode of making war (which we may liken to that of the modern Turks,[493] now that the period of their energetic fanaticism has passed away) was in a high degree disorderly and inefficient: the men indeed, individually taken, especially the native Persians, were not deficient in the qualities of soldiers, but their arms and their organization were wretched,—and their leaders yet worse. On the other hand, the Greeks, equal, if not superior, in individual bravery, were incomparably superior in soldier-like order as well as in arms: but here too the leadership was defective, and the disunion a constant source of peril. Those who, like Plutarch (or rather the Pseudo-Plutarch) in his treatise on the Malignity of Herodotus, insist on acknowledging nothing but magnanimity and heroism in the proceedings of the Greeks throughout these critical years, are forced to deal very harshly with the inestimable witness on whom our knowledge of the facts depends,—and who intimates plainly that, in spite of the devoted courage displayed, not less by the vanquished at Thermopylæ than by the victors at Salamis, Greece owed her salvation chiefly to the imbecility, cowardice, and credulous rashness, of Xerxes.[494] Had he indeed possessed either the personal energy of Cyrus or the judgment of Artemisia, it may be doubted whether any excellence of management, or any intimacy of union, could have preserved the Greeks against so great a superiority of force; but it is certain that all their courage as soldiers in line would have been unavailing for that purpose, without a higher degree of generalship, and a more hearty spirit of coöperation, than that which they actually manifested.

One hundred and fifty years after this eventful period, we shall see the tables turned, and the united forces of Greece under[p. 241] Alexander of Macedon becoming invaders of Persia. We shall find that in Persia no improvement has taken place during this long interval,—that the scheme of defence under Darius Codomannus labors under the same defects as that of attack under Xerxes,—that there is the same blind and exclusive confidence in pitched battles with superior numbers,[495]—that the advice of Mentor the Rhodian, and of Charidemus, is despised like that of Demaratus and Artemisia,—that Darius Codomannus, essentially of the same stamp as Xerxes, is hurried into the battle of Issus by the same ruinous temerity as that which threw away the Persian fleet at Salamis,—and that the Persian native infantry (not the cavalry) even appear to have lost that individual gallantry which they displayed so conspicuously at Platæa. But on the Grecian side, the improvement in every way is very great: the orderly courage of the soldier has been sustained and even augmented, while the generalship and power of military combination has reached a point unexampled in the previous history of mankind. Military science may be esteemed a sort of creation during this interval, and will be found to go through various stages: Demosthenês and Brasidas, the Cyreian army and Xenophon, Agesilaus, Iphikratês, Epaminondas, Philip of Macedon, Alexander:[496] for the Macedonian princes are borrowers of Greek tactics, though extending and applying them with a personal energy peculiar to themselves, and with advantages of position such as no Athenian or Spartan ever enjoyed. In this comparison between the invasion of Xerxes and that of Alexander we contrast the progressive spirit of Greece, serving as herald and stimulus to the like spirit in Europe, with the stationary mind of Asia, occasionally roused by some splendid individual, but never appropriating to itself new social ideas or powers, either for war or for peace.

It is out of the invasion of Xerxes that those new powers of combination, political as well as military, which lighten up Grecian history during the next two centuries, take their rise. They are brought into agency through the altered position and charac[p. 242]ter of the Athenians—improvers, to a certain extent, of military operations on land, but the great creators of marine tactics and manœuvring in Greece,—and the earliest of all Greeks who showed themselves capable of organizing and directing the joint action of numerous allies and dependents,—thus uniting the two distinctive qualities of the Homeric Agamemnon,[497]—ability in command, with vigor in execution.

In the general Hellenic confederacy, which had acted against Persia under the presidency of Sparta, Athens could hardly be said to occupy any ostensible rank above that of an ordinary member: the post of second dignity in the line at Platæa had indeed been adjudged to her, but only after a contending claim from Tegea. But without any difference in ostensible rank, she was in the eye and feeling of Greece no longer the same power as before. She had suffered more, and at sea had certainly done more, than all the other allies put together: even on land at Platæa, her hoplites had manifested a combination of bravery, discipline, and efficiency against the formidable Persian cavalry superior even to the Spartans: nor had any Athenian officer committed so perilous an act of disobedience as the Spartan Amompharetus. After the victory of Mykalê, when the Peloponnesians all hastened home to enjoy their triumph, the Athenian forces did not shrink from prolonged service for the important object of clearing the Hellespont, thus standing forth as the willing and forward champions of the Asiatic Greeks against Persia. Besides these exploits of Athens collectively, the only two individuals gifted with any talents for command, whom this momentous conquest had thrown up, were both of them Athenians: first, Themistoklês; next, Aristeidês. From the beginning to the end of the struggle, Athens had displayed an unreserved Pan-Hellenic patriotism, which had been most ungenerously requited by the Peloponnesians; who had kept within their isthmian walls, and betrayed Attica twice to hostile ravage; the first time, perhaps, unavoidably,—but the second time a culpable neglect, in postponing their outward march against Mardonius. And the Peloponnesians could not but feel, that while they had[p. 243] left Attica unprotected, they owed their own salvation at Salamis altogether to the dexterity of Themistoklês and the imposing Athenian naval force.

Considering that the Peloponnesians had sustained little or no mischief by the invasion, while the Athenians had lost for the time even their city and country, with a large proportion of their movable property irrecoverably destroyed,—we might naturally expect to find the former, if not lending their grateful and active aid to repair the damage in Attica, at least cordially welcoming the restoration of the ruined city by its former inhabitants. Instead of this, we find the same selfishness again prevalent among them; ill-will and mistrust for the future, aggravated by an admiration which they could not help feeling, overlays all their gratitude and sympathy. The Athenians, on returning from Salamis after the battle of Platæa, found a desolate home to harbor them. Their country was laid waste,—their city burnt or destroyed; so that there remained but a few houses standing, wherein the Persian officers had taken up their quarters,—and their fortifications for the most part razed or overthrown. It was their first task to bring home their families and effects from the temporary places of shelter at Trœzen, Ægina, and Salamis. After providing what was indispensably necessary for immediate wants, they began to rebuild their city and its fortifications on a scale of enlarged size in every direction.[498] But as soon as they were seen to be employed on this indispensable work, without which neither political existence nor personal safety was practicable, the allies took the alarm, preferred complaints to Sparta, and urged her to arrest the work: in the front of these complainants, probably, stood the Æginetans, as the old enemies of Athens, and as having most to apprehend from her might at sea. The Spartans, perfectly sympathizing with the jealousy and uneasiness of their allies, were even disposed, from old association, to carry their dislike of fortifications still farther, so that they would have been pleased to see all the other Grecian cities systematically defenceless like Sparta itself.[499] But while sending an embassy to Athens,[p. 244] to offer a friendly remonstrance against the project of re-fortifying the city, they could not openly and peremptorily forbid the exercise of a right common to every autonomous community,—nor did they even venture, at a moment when the events of the past months were fresh in every one’s remembrance, to divulge their real jealousies as to the future. They affected to offer prudential reasons against the scheme, founded on the chance of a future Persian invasion; in which case it would be a dangerous advantage for the invader to find any fortified city outside of Peloponnesus to further his operations, as Thebes had recently seconded Mardonius. They proposed to the Athenians, therefore, not merely to desist from their own fortifications, but also to assist them in demolishing all fortifications of other cities beyond the limits of Peloponnesus,—promising shelter within the isthmus, in case of need, to all exposed parties.

A statesman like Themistoklês was not likely to be imposed upon by this diplomacy: but he saw that the Spartans had the power of preventing the work if they chose, and that it could only be executed by the help of successful deceit. By his advice, the Athenians dismissed the Spartan envoys, saying that they would themselves send to Sparta and explain their views. Accordingly, Themistoklês himself was presently despatched thither, as one among three envoys instructed to enter into explanations with the Spartan authorities; but his two colleagues, Aristeidês and Abronichus, by previous concert, were tardy in arriving,—and he remained inactive at Sparta, making use of their absence as an excuse for not even demanding an audience, but affecting surprise that their coming was so long delayed. But while Aristeidês and Abronichus, the other two envoys, were thus studiously kept back, the whole population of Athens labored unremittingly at the walls. Men, women, and children, all tasked their strength to the utmost during this precious interval: neither private houses, nor sacred edifices, were spared to furnish materials; and such was their ardor in the enterprise, that, before the three envoys were united at Sparta, the wall had already attained a height sufficient at least to attempt defence. Yet the interval[p. 245] had been long enough to provoke suspicion, even in the slow mind of the Spartans, while the more watchful Æginetans sent them positive intelligence that the wall was rapidly advancing. Themistoklês, on hearing this allegation, peremptorily denied the truth of it; and the personal esteem entertained towards him was at that time so great, that his assurance[500] obtained for some time unqualified credit, until fresh messengers again raised suspicions in the minds of the Spartans. In reply to these, Themistoklês urged the ephors to send envoys of their own to Athens, and thus convince themselves of the state of the facts. They unsuspectingly acted upon his recommendation, while he at the same time transmitted a private communication to Athens, desiring that the envoys might not be suffered to depart until the safe return of himself and his colleagues, which he feared might be denied them when his trick came to be divulged. Aristeidês and Abronichus had now arrived,—the wall was announced to be of a height at least above contempt,—and Themistoklês at once threw off the mask: he avowed the stratagem practised,—told the Spartans that Athens was already fortified sufficiently to insure the safety and free will of its inhabitants,—and warned them that the hour of constraint was now past, the Athenians being in a condition to define and vindicate for themselves their own rights and duties in reference to Sparta and the allies. He reminded them that the Athenians had always been found competent to judge for themselves, whether in joint consultation, or in any separate affair, such as the momentous crisis of abandoning their city and taking to their ships: they had now, in the exercise of this self-judgment, resolved upon fortifying their city, as a step indispensable to themselves and advantageous even to the allies generally. Nor could there be any equal or fair interchange of opinion unless all the allies had equal means of defence: either all must be unfortified, or Athens must be fortified as well as the rest.[501]

Mortified as the Spartans were by a revelation which showed that they had been not only detected in a dishonest purpose, but[p. 246] completely outwitted,—they were at the same time overawed by the decisive tone of Themistoklês, whom they never afterwards forgave. To arrest beforehand erection of the walls would have been practicable, though not perhaps without difficulty; to deal by force with the fact accomplished, was perilous in a high degree: moreover, the inestimable services just rendered by Athens became again predominant in their minds, so that sentiment and prudence for the time coincided. They affected therefore to accept the communication without manifesting any offence, nor had they indeed put forward any pretence which required to be formally retracted. The envoys on both sides returned home, and the Athenians completed their fortifications without obstruction,[502]—yet not without murmurs on the part of the allies, who bitterly reproached Sparta afterwards for having let slip this golden opportunity of arresting the growth of the giant.[503]

If the allies were apprehensive of Athens before, the mixture of audacity, invention, and deceit, whereby she had just eluded the hindrance opposed to her fortifications, was well calculated to aggravate their uneasiness. On the other hand, to the Athenians, the mere hint of intervention to debar them from that common right of self-defence which was exercised by every autonomous city except Sparta, must have appeared outrageous injustice,—aggravated by the fact that it was brought upon them by their peculiar sufferings in the common cause, and by the very allies who, without their devoted forwardness, would[p. 247] now have been slaves of the Great King. And the intention of the allies to obstruct the fortifications must have been known to every soul in Athens, from the universal press of hands required to hurry the work and escape interference; just as it was proclaimed to after-generations by the shapeless fragments and irregular structure of the wall, in which even sepulchral stones and inscribed columns were seen imbedded.[504] Assuredly, the sentiment connected with this work, performed as it was alike by rich and poor, strong and weak,—men, women, and children,—must have been intense as well as equalizing: all had endured the common miseries of exile, all had contributed to the victory, all were now sharing the same fatigue for the defence of their recovered city, in order to counterwork the ungenerous hindrance of their Peloponnesian allies. We must take notice of these stirring circumstances, peculiar to the Athenians and acting upon a generation which had now been nursed in democracy for a quarter of a century, and had achieved unaided the victory of Marathon,—if we would understand that still stronger burst of aggressive activity, persevering self-confidence, and aptitude as well as thirst for command,—together with that still wider spread of democratical organization,—which marks their character during the age immediately following.

The plan of the new fortification was projected on a scale not unworthy of the future grandeur of the city. Its circuit was sixty stadia, or about seven miles, with the acropolis nearly in the centre: but the circuit of the previous walls is unknown, so that we are unable to measure the extent of that enlargement which Thucydidês testifies to have been carried out on every side. It included within the town the three hills of the Areopagus, the Pnyx, and the Museum; while on the south of the town it was carried for a space even on the southern bank of the Ilissus, thus also comprising the fountain Kallirhoê.[505] In spite[p. 248] of the excessive hurry in which it was raised, the structure was thoroughly solid and sufficient against every external enemy: but there is reason to believe that its very large inner area was never filled with buildings. Empty spaces, for the temporary shelter of inhabitants driven in from the country with their property, were eminently useful to a Grecian city-community; to none more useful than to the Athenians, whose principal strength lay in their fleet, and whose citizens habitually resided in large proportion in their separate demes throughout Attica.

The first indispensable step, in the renovation of Athens after her temporary extinction, was now happily accomplished: the city was made secure against external enemies. But Themistoklês, to whom the Athenians owed the late successful stratagem, and whose influence must have been much strengthened by its success, had conceived plans of a wider and more ambitious range. He had been the original adviser of the great maritime start taken by his countrymen, as well as of the powerful naval force which they had created during the last few years, and which had so recently proved their salvation. He saw in that force both the only chance of salvation for the future, in case the Persians should renew their attack by sea,—a contingency at that time seemingly probable,—and boundless prospects of future ascendency over the Grecian coasts and islands: it was the great engine of defence, of offence, and of ambition. To continue this movement required much less foresight and genius than to begin it, and Themistoklês, the moment that the walls of the city had been finished, brought back the attention of his countrymen to those wooden walls which had served them as a refuge against the Persian monarch. He prevailed upon them to provide harbor-room at once safe and adequate, by the enlargement end fortification of the Peiræus. This again was only the prosecution of an enterprise previously begun: for he had already, while in office two or three years before,[506] made his[p. 249] countrymen sensible that the open roadstead of Phalêrum was thoroughly insecure, and had prevailed upon them to improve and employ in part the more spacious harbors of Peiræus and Munychia,—three natural basins, all capable of being closed and defended. Something had then been done towards the enlargement of this port, though it had probably been subsequently ruined by the Persian invaders: but Themistoklês now resumed the scheme on a scale far grander than he could then have ventured to propose,—a scale which demonstrates the vast auguries present to his mind respecting the destinies of Athens. Peiræus and Munychia, in his new plan, constituted a fortified space as large as the enlarged Athens, and with a wall far more elaborate and unassailable. The wall which surrounded them, sixty stadia in circuit,[507] was intended by him to be so stupendous, both in height and thickness, as to render assault hopeless, and to enable the whole military population to act on shipboard, leaving only old men and boys as a garrison.[508] We may judge how vast his[p. 250] project was, when we learn that the wall, though in practice always found sufficient, was only carried up to half the height which he had contemplated.[509] In respect to thickness, however, his ideas were exactly followed: two carts meeting one another brought stones which were laid together right and left on the outer side of each, and thus formed two primary parallel walls, between which the interior space—of course, at least as broad as the joint breadth of the two carts—was filled up, “not with rubble, in the usual manner of the Greeks, but constructed, throughout the whole thickness, of squared stones, cramped together with metal.”[510] The result was a solid wall, probably not less than fourteen or fifteen feet thick, since it was intended to carry so very unusual a height. In the exhortations whereby he animated the people to this fatiguing and costly work, he labored to impress upon them that Peiræus was of more value to them than Athens itself, and that it afforded a shelter into which, if their territory should be again overwhelmed by a superior land-force, they might securely retire, with full liberty of that maritime action in which they were a match for all the world.[511] We may even suspect that if Themistoklês could have followed his own feelings, he would have altered the site of the city from Athens to Peiræus: the attachment of the people to their ancient and holy rock doubtless prevented any such proposition. Nor did he at that time, probably, contemplate the possibility of those long walls which in a few years afterwards consolidated the two cities into one.

Forty-five years afterwards, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, we shall hear from Periklês, who espoused and carried out the large ideas of Themistoklês, this same language[p. 251] about the capacity of Athens to sustain a great power exclusively or chiefly upon maritime action. But the Athenian empire was then an established reality, whereas in the time of Themistoklês it was yet a dream, and his bold predictions, surpassed as they were by the future reality, mark that extraordinary power of practical divination which Thucydidês so emphatically extols in him. And it proves the exuberant hope which had now passed into the temper of the Athenian people, when we find them, on the faith of these predictions, undertaking a new enterprise of so much toil and expense; and that too when just returned from exile into a desolated country, at a moment of private distress and public impoverishment. However, Peiræus served other purposes besides its direct use as a dockyard for military marine: its secure fortifications and the protection of the Athenian navy, were well calculated to call back those metics, or resident foreigners, who had been driven away by the invasion of Xerxes, and who might feel themselves insecure in returning, unless some new and conspicuous means of protection were exhibited. To invite them back, and to attract new residents of a similar description, Themistoklês proposed to exempt them from the metoikion, or non-freeman’s annual tax:[512] but this exemption can only have lasted for a time, and the great temptation for them to return must have consisted in the new securities and facilities for trade, which Athens, with her fortified ports and navy, now afforded. The presence of numerous metics was profitable to the Athenians, both privately and publicly: much of the trading, professional, and handicraft business was in their hands: and the Athenian legislation, while it excluded them from the political franchise, was in other respects equitable and protective to them. In regard to trading pursuits, the metics had this advantage over the citizens,—that they were less frequently carried away for foreign military service. The great increase of their numbers, from this period forward, while it tended materially to increase the value of property all throughout Attica, but especially in Peiræus and Athens, where they mostly resided, helps us to explain the extraordinary prosperity, together with the excellent cultivation, prevalent throughout the[p. 252] country before the Peloponnesian war. The barley, vegetables, figs, and oil, produced in most parts of the territory,—the charcoal prepared in the flourishing deme of Acharnæ,[513]—and the fish obtained in abundance near the coast,—all found opulent buyers and a constant demand from the augmenting town population.

We are farther told that Themistoklês[514] prevailed on the Athenians to build every year twenty new ships of the line,—so we may designate the trireme. Whether this number was always strictly adhered to, it is impossible to say: but to repair the ships, as well as to keep up their numbers, was always regarded among the most indispensable obligations of the executive government.

It does not appear that the Spartans offered any opposition to the fortification of the Peiræus, though it was an enterprise greater, more novel, and more menacing, than that of Athens. But Diodorus tells us, probably enough, that Themistoklês thought it necessary to send an embassy to Sparta,[515] intimating that his scheme was to provide a safe harbor for the collective navy of Greece, in the event of future Persian attack.

Works on so vast a scale must have taken a considerable time, and absorbed much of the Athenian force; yet they did not pre[p. 253]vent Athens from lending active aid towards the expedition which, in the year after the battle of Platæa (B. C. 478) set sail for Asia under the Spartan Pausanias. Twenty ships from the various cities of Peloponnesus[516] were under his command: the Athenians alone furnished thirty, under the orders of Aristeidês and Kimon: other triremes also came from the Ionian and insular allies. They first sailed to Cyprus, in which island they liberated most of the Grecian cities from the Persian government: next, they turned to the Bosphorus of Thrace, and undertook the siege of Byzantium, which, like Sestus in the Chersonese, was a post of great moment, as well as of great strength,—occupied by a considerable Persian force, with several leading Persians and even kinsmen of the monarch. The place was captured,[517] seemingly after a prolonged siege: it might probably hold out even longer than Sestus, as being taken less unprepared. The line of communication between the Euxine sea and Greece was thus cleared of obstruction.

The capture of Byzantium proved the signal for a capital and unexpected change in the relations of the various Grecian cities; a change, of which the proximate cause lay in the misconduct of Pausanias, but towards which other causes, deep-seated as well as various, also tended. In recounting the history of Miltiades,[518] I noticed the deplorable liability of the Grecian leading men to be spoiled by success: this distemper worked with singular rapidity on Pausanias. As conqueror of Platæa, he had acquired a renown unparalleled in Grecian experience, together with a prodigious share of the plunder: the concubines, horses,[519] camels, and gold plate, which had thus passed into his possession, were well calculated to make the sobriety and discipline of Spartan life irksome, while his power also, though great on foreign command, became subordinate to that of the ephors when he returned home. His newly-acquired insolence was manifested immediately after the battle, in the commemorative tripod dedicated by[p. 254] his order at Delphi, which proclaimed himself by name and singly, as commander of the Greeks and destroyer of the Persians: an unseemly boast, of which the Lacedæmonians themselves were the first to mark their disapprobation, by causing the inscription to be erased, and the names of the cities who had taken part in the combat to be all enumerated on the tripod.[520] Nevertheless, he was still sent on the command against Cyprus and Byzantium, and it was on the capture of this latter place that his ambition and discontent first ripened into distinct treason. He entered into correspondence with Gongylus the Eretrian exile (now a subject of Persia, and invested with the property and government of a district in Mysia), to whom he intrusted his new acquisition of Byzantium, and the care of the valuable prisoners taken in it. These prisoners were presently suffered to escape, or rather sent away underhand to Xerxes; together with a letter from the hand of Pausanias himself, to the following effect: “Pausanias, the Spartan commander, having taken these captives, sends them back, in his anxiety to oblige thee. I am minded, if it so please thee, to marry thy daughter, and to bring under thy dominion both Sparta and the rest of Greece: with thy aid, I think myself competent to achieve this. If my proposition be acceptable, send some confidential person down to the seaboard, through whom we may hereafter correspond.” Xerxes, highly pleased with the opening thus held out, immediately sent down Artabazus (the same who had been second in command in Bœotia) to supersede Megabatês in the satrapy of Daskylium; the new satrap, furnished with a letter of reply bearing the regal seal, was instructed to further actively the projects of Pausanias. The letter was to this purport: “Thus saith King Xerxes to Pausanias. Thy name stands forever recorded in my house as a[p. 255] well-doer, on account of the men whom thou hast saved for me beyond sea at Byzantium: and thy propositions now received are acceptable to me. Relax not either night or day in accomplishing that which thou promisest, nor let thyself be held back by cost, either gold or silver, or numbers of men, if thou standest in need of them, but transact in confidence thy business and mine jointly with Artabazus, the good man whom I have now sent, in such manner as may be best for both of us.”[521]

Throughout the whole of this expedition, Pausanias had been insolent and domineering, degrading the allies at quarters and watering-places in the most offensive manner as compared with the Spartans, and treating the whole armament in a manner which Greek warriors could not tolerate, even in a Spartan Herakleid, and a victorious general. But when he received the letter from Xerxes, and found himself in immediate communication with Artabazus, as well as supplied with funds for corruption,[522] his insane hopes knew no bounds, and he already fancied himself son-in-law of the Great King, as well as despot of Hellas. Fortunately for Greece, his treasonable plans were not deliberately laid and veiled until ripe for execution, but manifested with childish impatience. He clothed himself in Persian attire—(a proceeding which the Macedonian army, a century and a half afterwards, could not tolerate,[523] even in Alexander the Great)—he traversed Thrace with a body of Median and Egyptian guards,—he copied the Persian chiefs, both in the luxury of his table and in his conduct towards the free women of Byzantium. Kleonikê, a Byzantine maiden of conspicuous family, having been ravished from her parents by his order, was brought to his chamber at night: he happened to be asleep, and being suddenly awakened, knew not at first who was the person approaching his bed,[p. 256] but seized his sword and slew her.[524] Moreover, his haughty reserve, with uncontrolled bursts of wrath, rendered him unapproachable; and the allies at length came to regard him as a despot rather than a general. The news of such outrageous behavior, and the manifest evidences of his alliance with the Persians, were soon transmitted to the Spartans, who recalled him to answer for his conduct, and seemingly the Spartan vessels along with him.[525]

In spite of the flagrant conduct of Pausanias, the Lacedæmonians acquitted him on the allegations of positive and individual wrong; yet, mistrusting his conduct in reference to collusion with the enemy, they sent out Dorkis to supersede him as commander. But a revolution, of immense importance for Greece, had taken place in the minds of the allies. The headship, or hegemony, was in the hands of Athens, and Dorkis the Spartan found the allies not disposed to recognize his authority.

Even before the battle of Salamis, the question had been raised,[526] whether Athens was not entitled to the command at sea, in consequence of the preponderance of her naval contingent. The repugnance of the allies to any command except that of Sparta, either on land or water, had induced the Athenians to waive their pretensions at that critical moment. But the subsequent victories had materially exalted the latter in the eyes of Greece: while the armament now serving, differently composed from that which had fought at Salamis, contained a large proportion of the newly-enfranchised Ionic Greeks, who not only had no preference for Spartan command, but were attached to the Athenians on every ground,—as well from kindred race, as from the certainty that Athens with her superior fleet was the only protector upon whom they could rely against the Persians. Moreover, it happened that the Athenian generals on this expe[p. 257]dition, Aristeidês and Kimon, were personally just and conciliating, forming a striking contrast with Pausanias. Hence the Ionic Greeks in the fleet, when they found that the behavior of the latter was not only oppressive towards themselves but also revolting to Grecian sentiment generally, addressed themselves to the Athenian commanders for protection and redress, on the plausible ground of kindred race;[527] entreating to be allowed to serve under Athens as leader instead of Sparta. Plutarch tells us that Aristeidês not only tried to remonstrate with Pausanias, who repelled him with arrogance,—which is exceedingly probable,—but that he also required, as a condition of his compliance with the request of the Ionic allies, that they should personally insult Pausanias, so as to make reconciliation impracticable: upon which a Samian and a Chian captain deliberately attacked and damaged the Spartan admiral-ship in the harbor of Byzantium.[528] The historians from whom Plutarch copied this latter statement must have presumed in the Athenians a disposition to provoke that quarrel with Sparta which afterwards sprung up as it were spontaneously: but the Athenians had no interest in doing so, nor can we credit the story,—which is, moreover, unnoticed by Thucydidês. To give the Spartans a just ground of indignation, would have been glaring imprudence on the part of Aristeidês: but he had every motive to entertain the request of the allies, and he began to take his measures for acting as their protector and chief. And his proceedings were much facilitated by the circumstance that the Spartan government about this time recalled Pausanias to undergo an examination, in consequence of the universal complaints against him which had reached them. He seems to have left no Spartan authority behind him,—even the small Spartan squadron accompanied him home: so that the Athenian generals had the best opportunity for insuring to themselves and exercising that command which the allies besought them to undertake. So effectually did they improve the moment, that when Dorkis arrived to replace Pausanias, they were already in full supremacy; while Dorkis,[p. 258] having only a small force, and being in no condition to employ constraint, found himself obliged to return home.[529]

This incident, though not a declaration of war against Sparta, was the first open renunciation of her authority as presiding state among the Greeks; the first avowed manifestation of a competitor for that dignity, with numerous and willing followers; the first separation of Greece—considered in herself alone and apart from foreign solicitations, such as the Persian invasion—into two distinct organized camps, each with collective interests and projects of its own. In spite of mortified pride, Sparta was constrained, and even in some points of view not indisposed, to patient acquiescence: for she had no means of forcing the dispositions of the Ionic allies, while the war with Persia altogether,—having now become no longer strictly defensive, and being withal maritime as well as distant from her own territory,—had ceased to be in harmony with her home routine and strict discipline. Her grave senators, especially an ancient Herakleid named Hetœmaridas, reproved the impatience of the younger citizens, and discountenanced the idea of permanent maritime command as a dangerous innovation: they even treated it as an advantage, that Athens should take the lead in carrying on the Persian war, since it could not be altogether dropped; nor had the Athenians as yet manifested any sentiments positively hostile, to excite their alarm.[530] Nay, they actually took credit in the eyes of Athens, about a century afterwards, for having themselves advised this separation of command at sea from command on land.[531] Moreover, if the war continued[p. 259] under Spartan guidance, there would be a continued necessity for sending out their kings or chief men to command: and the example of Pausanias showed them the depraving effect of such military power, remote as well as unchecked. The example of their king Leotychidês, too, near about this time, was a second illustration of the same tendency. At the same time, apparently, that Pausanias embarked for Asia to carry on the war against the Persians, Leotychidês was sent with an army into Thessaly to put down the Aleuadæ and those Thessalian parties who had sided with Xerxes and Mardonius. Successful in this expedition, he suffered himself to be bribed, and was even detected with a large sum of money actually on his person: in consequence of which the Lacedæmonians condemned him to banishment, and razed his house to the ground: he died afterwards in exile at Tegea.[532] Two such instances were well calculated to[p. 260] make the Lacedæmonians distrust the conduct of their Herakleid leaders when on foreign service, and this feeling weighed much in inducing them to abandon the Asiatic headship in favor of Athens. It appears that their Peloponnesian allies retired from this contest at the same time as they did, so that the prosecution of the war was thus left to Athens as chief of the newly-emancipated Greeks.[533]

It was from these considerations that the Spartans were induced to submit to that loss of command which the misconduct of Pausanias had brought upon them. Their acquiescence facilitated the immense change about to take place in Grecian politics. According to the tendencies in progress prior to the Persian invasion, Sparta had become gradually more and more the president of something like a Pan-Hellenic union, comprising the greater part of the Grecian states. Such at least was the point towards which things seemed to be tending; and if many separate states stood aloof from this union, none of them at least sought to form any counter-union, if we except the obsolete and impotent pretensions of Argos. The preceding volumes of this history have shown that Sparta had risen to such ascendency, not from her superior competence in the management of collective interests, nor even in the main from ambitious efforts on her own part to acquire it,—but from the converging tendencies of Grecian feeling, which required some such presiding state, and from the commanding military power, rigid discipline, and ancient undisturbed constitution, which attracted that feeling towards Sparta. The necessities of common defence against Persia greatly strengthened these tendencies, and the success of the defence, whereby so many Greeks were emancipated who required protection against their former master, seemed destined to have[p. 261] the like effect still more. For an instant, after the battles of Platæa and Mykalê,—when the town of Platæa was set apart as a consecrated neutral spot for an armed confederacy against the Persian, with periodical solemnities and meetings of deputies,—Sparta was exalted to be the chief of a full Pan-Hellenic union, Athens being only one of the principal members: and had Sparta been capable either of comprehensive policy, of self-directed and persevering efforts, or of the requisite flexibility of dealing, embracing distant Greeks as well as near,—her position was now such, that her own ascendency, together with undivided Pan-Hellenic union, might long have been maintained. But she was lamentably deficient in all the requisite qualities, and the larger the union became, the more her deficiency stood manifest. On the other hand, Athens, now entering into rivalry as a sort of leader of opposition, possessed all those qualities in a remarkable degree, over and above that actual maritime force which was the want of the day; so that the opening made by Spartan incompetence and crime, so far as Pausanias was concerned, found her in every respect prepared. But the sympathies of the Peloponnesians still clung to Sparta, while those of the Ionian Greeks had turned to Athens: and thus not only the short-lived symptoms of an established Pan-Hellenic union, but even all tendencies towards it from this time disappear. There now stands out a manifest schism, with two pronounced parties, towards one of which nearly all the constituent atoms of the Grecian world gravitate: the maritime states, newly enfranchised from Persia, towards Athens,—the land-states, which had formed most part of the confederate army at Platæa, towards Sparta.[534] Along with[p. 262] this national schism and called into action by it, appears the internal political schism in each separate city between oligarchy and[p. 263] democracy. Of course, the germ of these parties had already previously existed in the separate states, but the energetic democracy of Athens, and the pronounced tendency of Sparta to rest upon the native oligarchies in each separate city as her chief support, now began to bestow, on the conflict of internal political parties, an Hellenic importance, and an aggravated bitterness, which had never before belonged to it.

The departure of the Spartan Dorkis left the Athenian generals at liberty; and their situation imposed upon them the duty of organizing the new confederacy which they had been chosen to conduct. The Ionic allies were at this time not merely willing and unanimous, but acted as the forward movers in the enterprise; for they stood in obvious need of protection against the attacks of Persia, and had no farther kindness to expect from Sparta or the Peloponnesians. But even had they been less under the pressure of necessity, the conduct of Athens, and of Aristeidês as the representative of Athens, might have sufficed to bring them into harmonious coöperation. The new leader was no less equitable towards the confederates than energetic against the common enemy. The general conditions of the confederacy were regulated in a common synod of the members, appointed to meet periodically for deliberative purposes, in the temple of Apollo and Artemis at Delos,—of old, the venerated spot for the religious festivals of the Ionic cities, and at the same time a convenient centre for the members. A definite obligation, either in equipped ships of war or in money, was imposed upon every separate city; and the Athenians, as leaders, determined in which form contribution should be made by each: their assessment must of course have been reviewed by the synod, nor had they at this time power to enforce any regulation not approved by that body. It had been the good fortune of Athens to profit by the genius of Themistoklês on two recent critical occasions (the battle of Salamis and the rebuilding of her walls), where sagacity, craft, and decision were required in extraordinary measure, and where pecuniary probity was of less necessity: it was no less her good fortune now,—in the delicate business of assessing a new tax and determining how much each state should bear, without precedents to guide them, when unimpeachable honesty in the assessor was the first of all qualities,—not to[p. 264] have Themistoklês; but to employ in his stead the well-known, we might almost say the ostentatious, probity of Aristeidês. This must be accounted good fortune, since at the moment when Aristeidês was sent out, the Athenians could not have anticipated that any such duty would devolve upon him. His assessment not only found favor at the time of its original proposition, when it must have been freely canvassed by the assembled allies—but also maintained its place in general esteem, as equitable and moderate, after the once responsible headship of Athens had degenerated into an unpopular empire.[535]

Respecting this first assessment, we scarcely know more than one single fact,—the aggregate in money was four hundred and sixty talents, equal to about one hundred and six thousand pounds sterling. Of the items composing such aggregate,—of the individual cities which paid it,—of the distribution of obligations to furnish ships and to furnish money,—we are entirely ignorant: the little information which we possess on these points relates to a period considerably later, shortly before the Peloponnesian war, under the uncontrolled empire then exercised by Athens. Thucydidês, in his brief sketch, makes us clearly understand the difference between presiding Athens, with her[p. 265] autonomous and regularly assembled allies in 476 B. C., and imperial Athens, with her subject allies in 432 B. C.; the Greek word equivalent to ally left either of these epithets to be understood, by an ambiguity exceedingly convenient to the powerful states,—and he indicates the general causes of the change: but he gives us few particulars as to the modifying circumstances, and none at all as to the first start. He tells us only that the Athenians appointed a peculiar board of officers, called the Hellênotamiæ, to receive and administer the common fund,—that Delos was constituted the general treasury, where the money was to be kept,—and that the payment thus levied was called the phorus;[536] a name which appears then to have been first put into circulation, though afterwards usual,—and to have conveyed at first no degrading import, though it afterwards became so odious as to be exchanged for a more innocent synonym.

Endeavoring as well as we can to conceive the Athenian alliance in its infancy, we are first struck with the magnitude of the total sum contributed; which will appear the more remarkable when we reflect that many of the contributing cities furnished ships besides. We may be certain that all which was done at first was done by general consent, and by a freely determining majority: for Athens, at the time when the Ionic allies besought her protection against Spartan arrogance, could have had no power of constraining unwilling parties, especially when the loss of supremacy, though quietly borne, was yet fresh and rankling among the countrymen of Pausanias. So large a total implies, from the very first, a great number of contributing states, and we learn from hence to appreciate the powerful, wide-spread, and voluntary movement which then brought together the maritime and insular Greeks distributed throughout the Ægean sea and the Hellespont. The Phenician fleet, and the Persian land-force, might at any moment reappear, nor was there any hope of resisting either except by confederacy: so that confederacy, under such circumstances, became, with these exposed Greeks, not merely a genuine feeling, but at that time the first of all their feelings. It was their common fear, rather than Athenian ambi[p. 266]tion, which gave birth to the alliance, and they were grateful to Athens for organizing it. The public import of the name Hellênotamiæ, coined for the occasion,—the selection of Delos as a centre, and the provision for regular meetings of the members,—demonstrate the patriotic and fraternal purpose which the league was destined to serve. In truth, the protection of the Ægean sea against foreign maritime force and lawless piracy, as well as that of the Hellespont and Bosphorus against the transit of a Persian force, was a purpose essentially public, for which all the parties interested were bound in equity to provide by way of common contribution: any island or seaport which might refrain from contributing, was a gainer at the cost of others: and we cannot doubt that the general feeling of this common danger as well as equitable obligation, at a moment when the fear of Persia was yet serious, was the real cause which brought together so many contributing members, and enabled the forward parties to shame into concurrence such as were more backward. How the confederacy came to be turned afterwards to the purposes of Athenian ambition, we shall see at the proper time: but in its origin it was an equal alliance, in so far as alliance between the strong and the weak can ever be equal,—not an Athenian empire: nay, it was an alliance in which every individual member was more exposed, more defenceless, and more essentially benefited in the way of protection, than Athens. We have here in truth one of the few moments in Grecian history wherein a purpose at once common, equal, useful, and innocent, brought together spontaneously many fragments of this disunited race, and overlaid for a time that exclusive bent towards petty and isolated autonomy which ultimately made slaves of them all. It was a proceeding equitable and prudent, in principle as well as in detail; promising at the time the most beneficent consequences,—not merely protection against the Persians, but a standing police of the Ægean sea, regulated by a common superintending authority. And if such promise was not realized, we shall find that the inherent defects of the allies, indisposing them to the hearty appreciation and steady performance of their duties as equal confederates, are at least as much chargeable with the failure as the ambition of Athens. We may add that, in selecting Delos as a centre, the Ionic allies were conciliated by a renova[p. 267]tion of the solemnities which their fathers, in the days of former freedom, had crowded to witness in that sacred island.

At the time when this alliance was formed, the Persians still held not only the important posts of Eion on the Strymon and Doriskus in Thrace, but also several other posts in that country,[537] which are not specified to us. We may thus understand why the Greek cities on and near the Chalkidic peninsula,—Argilus, Stageirus, Akanthus, Skôlus, Olynthus, Spartôlus, etc.,—which we know to have joined under the first assessment of Aristeidês, were not less anxious[538] to seek protection in the bosom of the new confederacy, than the Dorian islands of Rhodes and Kos, the Ionic islands of Samos and Chios, the Æolic Lesbos and Tenedos, or continental towns such as Milêtus and Byzantium: by all of whom adhesion to this alliance must have been contemplated, in 477 or 476 B. C., as the sole condition of emancipation from Persia. Nothing more was required, for the success of a foreign enemy against Greece generally, than complete autonomy of every Grecian city, small as well as great,—such as the Persian monarch prescribed and tried to enforce ninety years afterwards, through the Lacedæmonian Antalkidas, in the pacification which bears the name of the latter: some sort of union, organized and obligatory upon each city, was indispensable to the safety of all. Nor was it by any means certain, at the time when the confederacy of Delos was first formed, that, even with that aid, the Asiatic enemy would be effectually kept out; especially as the Persians were strong, not merely from their own force, but also from the aid of internal parties in many of the Grecian states,—traitors within, as well as exiles without.

Among these, the first in rank as well as the most formidable, was the Spartan Pausanias. Summoned home from Byzantium to Sparta, in order that the loud complaints against him might be[p. 268] examined, he had been acquitted[539] of the charges of wrong and oppression against individuals; yet the presumptions of medism, or treacherous correspondence with the Persians, appeared so strong that, though not found guilty, he was still not reappointed to the command. Such treatment seems to have only emboldened him in the prosecution of his designs against Greece, and he came out with this view to Byzantium in a trireme belonging to Hermionê, under pretence of aiding as a volunteer without any formal authority in the war. He there resumed his negotiations with Artabazus: his great station and celebrity still gave him a strong hold on men’s opinions, and he appears to have established a sort of mastery in Byzantium, from whence the Athenians, already recognized heads of the confederacy, were constrained to expel him by force:[540] and we may be very sure that the terror excited by his presence as well as by his known designs tended materially to accelerate the organization of the confederacy under Athens. He then retired to Kolônæ in the Troad, where he continued for some time in the farther prosecution of his schemes, trying to form a Persian party, despatching emissaries to distribute Persian gold among various cities of Greece, and probably employing the name of Sparta to impede the formation of the new confederacy:[541] until at length the Spartan authorities, apprized of his[p. 269] proceedings, sent a herald out to him, with peremptory orders that he should come home immediately along with the herald: if he disobeyed, “the Spartans would declare war against him,” or constitute him a public enemy.

As the execution of this threat would have frustrated all the ulterior schemes of Pausanias, he thought it prudent to obey; the rather, as he felt entire confidence of escaping all the charges against him at Sparta by the employment of bribes,[542] the means for which were abundantly furnished to him through Artabazus. He accordingly returned along with the herald, and was, in the first moments of indignation, imprisoned by order of the ephors; who, it seems, were legally competent to imprison him, even had he been king instead of regent. But he was soon let out, on his own requisition, and under a private arrangement with friends and partisans, to take his trial against all accusers.[543] Even to[p. 270] stand forth as accuser against so powerful a man was a serious peril: to undertake the proof of specific matter of treason against him was yet more serious: nor does it appear that any Spartan ventured to do either. It was known that nothing short of the most manifest and invincible proof would be held to justify his condemnation, and amidst a long chain of acts carrying conviction when taken in the aggregate, there was no single treason sufficiently demonstrable for the purpose. Accordingly, Pausanias remained not only at large but unaccused, still audaciously persisting both in his intrigues at home and his correspondence abroad with Artabazus. He ventured to assail the unshielded side of Sparta by opening negotiations with the Helots, and instigating them to revolt; promising them both liberation and admission to political privilege;[544] with a view, first, to destroy the board of ephors, and render himself despot in his own country,—next, to acquire through Persian help the supremacy of Greece. Some of those Helots to whom he addressed himself revealed the plot to the ephors, who, nevertheless, in spite of such grave peril, did not choose to take measures against Pausanias upon no better information,—so imposing was still his name and position. But though some few Helots might inform, probably many others both gladly heard the proposition and faithfully kept the secret: we shall find, by what happened a few years afterwards, that there were a large number of them who had their spears in readiness for revolt. Suspected as Pausanias was, yet by the fears of some and the connivance of others, he was allowed to bring his plans to the very brink of consummation; and his last letters to Artabazus,[545] intimating that he was ready for action, and bespeaking immediate performance of the engagements concerted between them, were actually in the hands of the messenger. Sparta was saved from an outbreak of the most formidable kind,[p. 271] not by the prudence of her authorities, but by a mere accident, or rather by the fact that Pausanias was not only a traitor to his country, but also base and cruel in his private relations.

The messenger to whom these last letters were intrusted was a native of Argilus in Thrace, a favorite and faithful slave of Pausanias; once connected with him by that intimate relation which Grecian manners tolerated, and admitted even to the full confidence of his treasonable projects. It was by no means the intention of this Argilian to betray his master; but, on receiving the letter to carry, he recollected, with some uneasiness, that none of the previous messengers had ever come back. Accordingly, he broke the seal and read it, with the full view of carrying it forward to its destination, if he found nothing inconsistent with his own personal safety: he had farther taken the precaution to counterfeit his master’s seal, so that he could easily reclose the letter. On reading it, he found his suspicions confirmed by an express injunction that the bearer was to be put to death,—a discovery which left him no alternative except to deliver it to the ephors. But those magistrates, who had before disbelieved the Helot informers, still refused to believe even the confidential slave with his master’s autograph and seal, and with the full account besides, which doubtless he would communicate at the same time, of all that had previously passed in the Persian correspondence, not omitting copies of those letters between Pausanias and Xerxes, which I have already cited from Thucydidês—for in no other way can they have become public. Partly from the suspicion which, in antiquity, always attached to the testimony of slaves, except when it was obtained under the pretended guarantee of torture, partly from the peril of dealing with so exalted a criminal,—the ephors would not be satisfied with any evidence less than his own speech and their own ears. They directed the Argilian slave to plant himself as a suppliant in the sacred precinct of Poseidon, near Cape Tænarus, under the shelter of a double tent, or hut, behind which two of them concealed themselves. Apprized of this unexpected mark of alarm, Pausanias hastened to the temple, and demanded the reason: upon which the slave disclosed his knowledge of the contents of the letter, and complained bitterly that, after long and faithful service,—with a secrecy never once betrayed, through[p. 272]out this dangerous correspondence,—he was at length rewarded with nothing better than the same miserable fate which had befallen the previous messengers. Pausanias, admitting all these facts, tried to appease the slave’s disquietude, and gave him a solemn assurance of safety if he would quit the sanctuary; urging him at the same time to proceed on the journey forthwith, in order that the schemes in progress might not be retarded.

All this passed within the hearing of the concealed ephors; who at length thoroughly satisfied, determined to arrest Pausanias immediately on his return to Sparta. They met him in the public street, not far from the temple of Athênê Chalkiœkus (or of the Brazen House); but as they came near, either their menacing looks, or a significant nod from one of them, revealed to this guilty man their purpose; and he fled for refuge to the temple, which was so near that he reached it before they could overtake him. He planted himself as a suppliant, far more hopeless than the Argilian slave whom he had so recently talked over at Tænarus, in a narrow-roofed chamber belonging to the sacred building; where the ephors, not warranted in touching him, took off the roof, built up the doors, and kept watch until he was on the point of death by starvation. According to a current story,[546]—not recognized by Thucydidês, yet consistent with Spartan manners,—his own mother was the person who placed the first stone to build up the door, in deep abhorrence of his treason. His last moments being carefully observed, he was brought away just in time to expire without, and thus to avoid the desecration of the temple. The first impulse of the ephors was to cast his body into the ravine, or hollow, called the Kæadas, the usual place of punishment for criminals: probably, his powerful friends averted this disgrace, and he was buried not far off, until, some time afterwards, under the mandate of the Delphian oracle, his body was exhumed and transported to the exact spot where he had died. Nor was the oracle satisfied even with this reinterment: pronouncing the whole proceeding to be a profanation of the sanctity of Athênê, it enjoined that two bodies should be presented to her as an atonement for the one carried away. In the very early days of Greece,—or among the Carthaginians,[p. 273] even at this period,—such an injunction would probably have produced the slaughter of two human victims: on the present occasion, Athênê, or Hikesius, the tutelary god of suppliants, was supposed to be satisfied by two brazen statues; not, however, without some attempts to make out that the expiation was inadequate.[547]

Thus perished a Greek who reached the pinnacle of renown simply from the accidents of his lofty descent, and of his being general at Platæa, where it does not appear that he displayed any superior qualities. His treasonable projects implicated and brought to disgrace a man far greater than himself, the Athenian Themistoklês.

The chronology of this important period is not so fully known as to enable us to make out the full dates of particular events; but we are obliged—in consequence of the subsequent events connected with Themistoklês, whose flight to Persia is tolerably well marked as to date—to admit an interval of about nine years between the retirement of Pausanias from his command at Byzantium, and his death. To suppose so long an interval engaged in treasonable correspondence, is perplexing; and we can only explain it to ourselves very imperfectly by considering that the Spartans were habitually slow in their movements, and that the suspected regent may perhaps have communicated with partisans, real or expected, in many parts of Greece. Among those whom he sought to enlist as accomplices was Themistoklês, still in great power,—though, as it would seem, in declining power,—at Athens: and the charge of collusion with the Persians connects itself with the previous movement of political parties in that city.

The rivalry of Themistoklês and Aristeidês had been greatly appeased by the invasion of Xerxes, which had imposed upon both the peremptory necessity of coöperation against a common enemy. Nor was it apparently resumed, during the times which immediately succeeded the return of the Athenians to their country: at least we hear of both in effective service, and in prominent posts. Themistoklês stands forward as the contriver of the city walls and architect of Peiræus: Aristeidês is commander of the fleet, and first organizer of the confederacy of[p. 274] Delos. Moreover, we seem to detect a change in the character of the latter: he had ceased to be the champion of Athenian old-fashioned landed interest, against Themistoklês as the originator of the maritime innovations. Those innovations had now, since the battle of Salamis, become an established fact; a fact of overwhelming influence on the destinies and character, public as well as private, of the Athenians. During the exile at Salamis, every man, rich or poor, landed proprietor or artisan, had been for the time a seaman: and the anecdote of Kimon, who dedicated the bridle of his horse in the acropolis, as a token that he was about to pass from the cavalry to service on shipboard,[548] is a type of that change of feeling which must have been impressed more or less upon every rich man in Athens. From henceforward the fleet is endeared to every man as the grand force, offensive and defensive, of the state, in which character all the political leaders agree in accepting it: we ought to add, at the same time, that this change was attended with no detriment either to the land-force or to the landed cultivation of Attica, both of which will be found to acquire extraordinary development during the interval between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. Still, the triremes and the men who manned them, taken collectively, were now the determining element in the state: moreover, the men who manned them had just returned from Salamis, fresh from a scene of trial and danger, and from a harvest of victory, which had equalized for the moment all Athenians as sufferers, as combatants, and as patriots. Such predominance of the maritime impulse, having become pronounced immediately after the return from Salamis, was farther greatly strengthened by the construction and fortification of the Peiræus,—a new maritime Athens, as large as the old inland city,—as well as by the unexpected formation of the confederacy at Delos, with all its untried prospects and stimulating duties.

The political change arising from hence in Athens was not less important than the military. “The maritime multitude, authors of the victory of Salamis,”[549] and instruments of the new[p. 275] vocation of Athens as head of the Delian confederacy, appear now ascendant in the political constitution also; not in any way as a separate or privileged class, but as leavening the whole mass, strengthening the democratical sentiment, and protesting against all recognized political inequalities. In fact, during the struggle at Salamis, the whole city of Athens had been nothing else than “a maritime multitude,” among which the proprietors and chief men had been confounded, until, by the efforts of all, the common country had been reconquered: nor was it likely that this multitude, after a trying period of forced equality, during which political privilege had been effaced, would patiently acquiesce in the full restoration of such privilege at home. We see by the active political sentiment of the German people, after the great struggles of 1813 and 1814, how much an energetic and successful military effort of the people at large, blended with endurance of serious hardship, tends to stimulate the sense of political dignity and the demand for developed citizenship: and if this be the tendency even among a people habitually passive on such subjects, much more was it to be expected in the Athenian population, who had gone through a previous training of near thirty years under the democracy of Kleisthenês. At the time when that constitution was first established,[550] it was perhaps the most democratical in Greece: it had worked extremely well and had diffused among the people a sentiment favorable to equal citizenship and unfriendly to avowed privilege: so that the impressions made by the struggle at Salamis found the popular mind prepared to receive them. Early after the return to Attica, the Kleisthenean constitution was enlarged as respects eligibility to the magistracy. According to that constitution, the fourth or last class on the Solonian census, including the considerable majority of the freemen, were not admissible to offices of state, though they possessed votes in common with the rest: no person was eligible to be a magistrate unless he belonged to[p. 276] one of the three higher classes. This restriction was now annulled, and eligibility extended to all the citizens. We may appreciate the strength of feeling with which such reform was demanded, when we find that it was proposed by Aristeidês; a man the reverse of what is called a demagogue, and a strenuous friend of the Kleisthenean constitution. No political system would work after the Persian war, which formally excluded “the maritime multitude” from holding magistracy. I rather imagine, as has been stated in the previous volume, that election of magistrates was still retained, and not exchanged for drawing lots until a certain time, though not a long time, afterwards. That which the public sentiment first demanded was the recognition of the equal and open principle: after a certain length of experience, it was found that poor men, though legally qualified to be chosen, were in point of fact rarely chosen: then came the lot, to give them an equal chance with the rich. The principle of sortition, or choice by lot, was never applied, as I have before remarked, to all offices at Athens,—never, for example, to the stratêgi, or generals, whose functions were more grave and responsible than those of any other person in the service of the state, and who always continued to be elected by show of hands.

In the new position into which Athens was now thrown, with so great an extension of what may be termed her foreign relations, and with a confederacy which imposed the necessity of distant military service, the functions of the stratêgi naturally tended to become both more absorbing and complicated; while the civil administration became more troublesome, if not more difficult, from the enlargement of the city, and the still greater enlargement of Peiræus,—leading to an increase of town population, and especially to an increase of the metics, or resident non-freemen. And it was probably about this period, during the years immediately succeeding the battle of Salamis,—when the force of old habit and tradition had been partially enfeebled by so many stirring novelties,—that the archons were withdrawn altogether from political and military duties, and confined to civil or judicial administration. At the battle of Marathon, the polemarch is a military commander, president of the ten stratêgi:[551][p. 277] we know him afterwards only as a civil magistrate, administering justice to the metics, or non-freemen, while the stratêgi perform military duties without him. I conceive that this alteration, indicating as it does a change in the character of the archons generally, must have taken place at the time which we have now reached,[552]—a time when the Athenian establishments on all sides required a more elaborate distribution of functionaries. The distribution of so many Athenian boards of functionaries, part to do duty in the city, and part in the Peiræus, cannot have commenced until after this period, when Peiræus had been raised by Themistoklês to the dignity of town, fortress, and state-harbor. Such boards were the astynomi and agoranomi, who maintained the police of streets and markets,—the metronomi, who watched over weights and measures,—the sitophylakes, who carried into effect various state regulations respecting the custody and sale of corn,—with various others who acted not less in Peiræus than in the city.[553] We may presume that each of these boards was originally created as the exigency appeared to call for it, at a period later than that which we have now reached, most of these duties of detail having been at first discharged by the archons, and afterwards, when these latter became too full of occupation, confided to separate administrators. The special and important change which characterized the period immediately succeeding the battle of Salamis, was the more accurate line drawn between the archons and the stratêgi; assigning the foreign and military department entirely to the stratêgi, and rendering the archons purely civil magistrates,—administrative as well as judicial; while the first creation of the separate boards above named was probably an ulterior enlargement, arising out of increase of population, power, and trade, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. It was by some such steps that the Athenian administration gradually attained that complete development which it exhibits in practice during the century from the[p. 278] Peloponnesian war downward, to which nearly all our positive and direct information relates.

With this expansion both of democratical feeling and of military activity at Athens, Aristeidês appears to have sympathized; and the popularity thus insured to him, probably heightened by some regret for his previous ostracism, was calculated to acquire permanence from his straightforward and incorruptible character, now brought into strong relief from his function as assessor to the new Delian confederacy. On the other hand, the ascendency of Themistoklês, though so often exalted by his unrivalled political genius and daring, as well as by the signal value of his public recommendations, was as often overthrown by his duplicity of means and unprincipled thirst for money. New political opponents sprung up against him, men sympathizing with Aristeidês, and far more violent in their antipathy than Aristeidês himself. Of these, the chief were Kimon—son of Miltiades—and Alkmæon; moreover, it seems that the Lacedæmonians, though full of esteem for Themistoklês immediately after the battle of Salamis, had now become extremely hostile to him,—a change which may be sufficiently explained from his stratagem respecting the fortifications of Athens, and his subsequent ambitious projects in reference to the Peiræus. The Lacedæmonian influence, then not inconsiderable in Athens, was employed to second the political combinations against him.[554] He is said to have given offence by manifestations of personal vanity,—by continual boasting of his great services to the state, and by the erection of a private chapel, close to his own house, in honor of Artemis Aristobulê, or Artemis of admirable counsel; just as Pausanias had irritated the Lacedæmonians by inscribing his own single name on the Delphian tripod, and as the friends of Aristeidês had displeased the Athenians by endless encomiums upon his justice.[555] But the main cause of his discredit was, the prostitution of his great influence for arbitrary and corrupt purposes. In the unsettled condition of so many different Grecian communities, recently emancipated from Persia, when there was past misrule to avenge,[p. 279] wrong-doers to be deposed and perhaps punished, exiles to be restored, and all the disturbance and suspicions accompanying so great a change of political condition as well as of foreign policy,—the influence of the leading men at Athens must have been great in determining the treatment of particular individuals. Themistoklês, placed at the head of an Athenian squadron and sailing among the islands, partly for the purposes of war against Persia, partly for organizing the new confederacy,—is affirmed to have accepted bribes without scruple, for executing sentences just and unjust,—restoring some citizens, expelling others, and even putting some to death. We learn this from a friend and guest of Themistoklês,—the poet Timokreon of Ialysus in Rhodes, who had expected his own restoration from the Athenian commander, but found that it was thwarted by a bribe of three talents from his opponents; so that he was still kept in exile on the charge of medism. The assertions of Timokreon, personally incensed on this ground against Themistoklês, are doubtless to be considered as passionate and exaggerated: nevertheless, they are a valuable memorial of the feelings of the time, and are far too much in harmony with the general character of this eminent man to allow of our disbelieving them entirely. Timokreon is as emphatic in his admiration of Aristeidês as in his censure of Themistoklês, whom he denounces as “a lying and unjust traitor.”[556]

Such conduct as that described by this new Archilochus, even making every allowance for exaggeration, must have caused Themistoklês to be both hated and feared among the insular allies, whose opinion was now of considerable importance to the Athenians. A similar sentiment grew up partially against him in Athens itself, and appears to have been connected with suspicions of treasonable inclinations towards the Persians. As the Persians could offer the highest bribes, a man open to corruption might naturally be suspected of inclinations towards their cause; and if Themistoklês had rendered preëminent service against them, so also had Pausanias, whose conduct had undergone so fatal a change for the worse. It was the treason of Pausanias, suspected and believed against him by the Athenians even when[p. 280] he was in command at Byzantium, though not proved against him at Sparta until long afterwards,—which first seems to have raised the presumption of medism against Themistoklês also, when combined with the corrupt proceedings which stained his public conduct: we must recollect, also, that Themistoklês had given some color to these presumptions, even by the stratagems in reference to Xerxes, which wore a double-faced aspect, capable of being construed either in a Persian or in a Grecian sense. The Lacedæmonians, hostile to Themistoklês since the time when he had outwitted them respecting the walls of Athens,—and fearing him also as a supposed accomplice of the suspected Pausanias,—procured the charge of medism to be preferred against him at Athens; by secret instigations, and, as it is said, by bribes, to his political opponents.[557] But no satisfactory proof could be furnished of the accusation, which Themistoklês himself strenuously denied, not without emphatic appeals to his illustrious services. In spite of violent invectives against him from Alkmæon and Kimon, tempered, indeed, by a generous modera[p. 281]tion on the part of Aristeidês,[558] his defence was successful. He carried the people with him and was acquitted of the charge. Nor was he merely acquitted, but, as might naturally be expected, a reaction took place in his favor: his splendid qualities and exploits were brought impressively before the public mind, and he seemed for the time to acquire greater ascendency than ever.[559]

Such a charge, and such a failure, must have exasperated to the utmost the animosity between him and his chief opponents,—Aristeidês, Kimon, Alkmæon, and others; nor can we wonder that they were anxious to get rid of him by ostracism. In explaining this peculiar process, I have already stated that it could never be raised against any one individual separately and ostensibly,—and that it could never be brought into operation at all, unless its necessity were made clear, not merely to violent party men, but also to the assembled senate and people, including, of course, a considerable proportion of the more moderate citizens. We may well conceive that the conjuncture was deemed by many dispassionate Athenians well suited for the tutelary intervention of ostracism, the express benefit of which consisted in its separating political opponents when the antipathy between them threatened to push one or the other into extra-constitutional proceedings,—especially when one of those parties was Themistoklês, a man alike vast in his abilities and unscrupulous in his morality. Probably also there were not a few who wished to revenge the previous ostracism of Aristeidês: and lastly, the friends of Themistoklês himself, elate with his acquittal and his seemingly augmented popularity, might indulge hopes that the vote of ostracism would turn out in his favor, and remove one or other of his chief political opponents. From all these circumstances we learn without astonishment, that a vote of ostracism was soon after resorted to. It ended in the temporary banishment of Themistoklês.

[p. 282]He retired into exile, and was residing at Argos, whither he carried a considerable property, yet occasionally visiting other parts of Peloponnesus,[560]—when the exposure and death of Pausanias, together with the discovery of his correspondence, took place at Sparta. Among this correspondence were found proofs, which Thucydidês seems to have considered as real and sufficient, of the privity of Themistoklês. According to Ephorus and others, he is admitted to have been solicited by Pausanias, and to have known his plans,—but to have kept them secret while refusing to coöperate in them,[561]—but probably after his exile he took a more decided share in them than before; being well-placed for that purpose at Argos, a city not only unfriendly to Sparta, but strongly believed to have been in collusion with Xerxes at his invasion of Greece. On this occasion the Lacedæmonians sent to Athens, publicly to prefer a formal charge of treason against him, and to urge the necessity of trying him as a Pan-Hellenic criminal before the synod of the allies assembled at Sparta.[562] Whether this latter request would have been granted, or whether Themistoklês would have been tried at Athens, we cannot tell: for no sooner was he apprized that joint envoys from Sparta and Athens had been despatched to arrest him, than he fled forthwith from Argos to Korkyra. The inhabitants of that island,[p. 283] though owing gratitude to him and favorably disposed, could not venture to protect him against the two most powerful states in Greece, but sent him to the neighboring continent. Here, however, being still tracked and followed by the envoys, he was obliged to seek protection from a man whom he had formerly thwarted in a demand at Athens, and who had become his personal enemy,—Admêtus, king of the Molossians. Fortunately for him, at the moment when he arrived, Admêtus was not at home; and Themistoklês, becoming a suppliant to his wife, conciliated her sympathy so entirely, that she placed her child in his arms and planted him at the hearth in the full solemnity of supplication to soften her husband. As soon as Admêtus returned, Themistoklês revealed his name, his pursuers, and his danger,—entreating protection as a helpless suppliant in the last extremity. He appealed to the generosity of the Epirotic prince not to take revenge on a man now defenceless, for offence given under such very different circumstances; and for an offence too, after all, not of capital moment, while the protection now entreated was to the suppliant a matter of life or death. Admêtus raised him up from the hearth with the child in his arms,—an evidence that he accepted the appeal and engaged to protect him; refusing to give him up to the envoys, and at last only sending him away on the expression of his own wish to visit the king of Persia. Two Macedonian guides conducted him across the mountains to Pydna, in the Thermaic gulf, where he found a merchant-ship about to set sail for the coast of Asia Minor, and took a passage on board; neither the master nor the crew knowing his name. An untoward storm drove the vessel to the island of Naxos, at that moment besieged by an Athenian armament: had he been forced to land there, he would of course have been recognized and seized, but his wonted subtlety did not desert him. Having communicated both his name and the peril which awaited him, he conjured the master of the ship to assist in saving him, and not to suffer any one of the crew to land; menacing that if by any accident he were discovered, he would bring the master to ruin along with himself, by representing him as an accomplice induced by money to facilitate the escape of Themistoklês: on the other hand, in case of safety, he promised a large reward. Such promises and threats weighed with the master,[p. 284] who controlled his crew, and forced them to beat about during a day and a night off the coast, without seeking to land. After that dangerous interval, the storm abated, and the ship reached Ephesus in safety.[563]

Thus did Themistoklês, after a series of perils, find himself safe on the Persian side of the Ægean. At Athens, he was proclaimed a traitor, and his property confiscated: nevertheless, as it frequently happened in cases of confiscation, his friends secreted a considerable sum, and sent it over to him in Asia, together with the money which he had left at Argos; so that he was thus enabled liberally to reward the ship-captain who had preserved him. With all this deduction, the property which he possessed of a character not susceptible of concealment, and which was therefore actually seized, was found to amount to eighty talents, according to Theophrastus,—to one hundred talents, according to Theopompus. In contrast with this large sum, it is melancholy to learn that he had begun his political career with a property not greater than three talents.[564] The poverty of Aristeidês at the end of his life presents an impressive contrast to the enrichment of his rival.

The escape of Themistoklês, and his adventures in Persia, appear to have formed a favorite theme for the fancy and exaggeration of authors a century afterwards: we have thus many anecdotes which contradict either directly or by implication the simple narrative of Thucydidês. Thus we are told that at the moment when he was running away from the Greeks, the Persian king also had proclaimed a reward of two hundred talents for his head, and that some Greeks on the coast of Asia were watching to take him for this reward: that he was forced to conceal himself strictly near the coast, until means were found[p. 285] to send him up to Susa in a closed litter, under pretence that it was a woman for the king’s harem: that Mandanê, sister of Xerxes, insisted upon having him delivered up to her as an expiation for the loss of her son at the battle of Salamis: that he learned Persian so well, and discoursed in it so eloquently, as to procure for himself an acquittal from the Persian judges, when put upon his trial through the importunity of Mandanê: that the officers of the king’s household at Susa, and the satraps in his way back, threatened him with still farther perils: that he was admitted to see the king in person, after having received a lecture from the chamberlain on the indispensable duty of falling down before him to do homage, etc., with several other uncertified details,[565] which make us value more highly the narrative of Thucydidês. Indeed, Ephorus, Deinô, Kleitarchus, and Herakleidês, from whom these anecdotes appear mostly to be derived, even affirmed that Themistoklês had found Xerxes himself alive and seen him: whereas, Thucydidês and Charon, the two contemporary authors, for the former is nearly contemporary, asserted that he had found Xerxes recently dead, and his son Artaxerxes on the throne.

According to Thucydidês, the eminent exile does not seem to have been exposed to the least danger in Persia. He presented himself as a deserter from Greece, and was accepted as such: moreover,—what is more strange, though it seems true,—he was received as an actual benefactor of the Persian king, and a sufferer from the Greeks on account of such dispositions,—in consequence of his communications made to Xerxes respecting the intended retreat of the Greeks from Salamis, and respecting the contemplated destruction of the Hellespontine bridge. He was conducted by some Persians on the coast up to Susa, where he addressed a letter to the king couched in the following terms, such as probably no modern European king would tolerate except from a Quaker: “I, Themistoklês, am come to thee, having done to thy house more mischief than any other Greek, as long as I was compelled in my own defence to resist the attack of thy father,—but having also done him yet greater good, when I could do so with safety to myself, and when his retreat was[p. 286] endangered. Reward is yet owing to me for my past service: moreover, I am now here, chased away by the Greeks, in consequence of my attachment to thee,[566] but able still to serve thee with great effect. I wish to wait a year, and then to come before thee in person to explain my views.”

Whether the Persian interpreters, who read this letter to Artaxerxes Longimanus, exactly rendered its brief and direct expression, we cannot say. But it made a strong impression upon him, combined with the previous reputation of the writer, and he willingly granted the prayer for delay: though we shall not readily believe that he was so transported as to show his joy by immediate sacrifice to the gods, by an unusual measure of convivial indulgence, and by crying out thrice in his sleep, “I have got Themistoklês the Athenian,”—as some of Plutarch’s authors informed him.[567] In the course of the year granted, Themistoklês had learned so much of the Persian language and customs as to be able to communicate personally with the king, and acquire his confidence: no Greek, says Thucydidês, had ever before attained such a commanding influence and position at the Persian court. His ingenuity was now displayed in laying out schemes for the subjugation of Greece to Persia, which were eminently captivating to the monarch, who rewarded him with a Persian wife and large presents, sending him down to Magnesia, on the Mæander, not far from the coast of Ionia. The revenues of the district round that town, amounting to the large sum of fifty talents yearly, were assigned to him for bread: those of the neighboring seaport of Myus, for articles of condiment to his bread, which was always accounted the main nourishment: those of Lampsakus on the Hellespont, for wine.[568] Not knowing the amount of these two latter items, we cannot determine how much[p. 287] revenue Themistoklês received altogether: but there can be no doubt; judging from the revenues of Magnesia alone, that he was a great pecuniary gainer by his change of country. After having visited various parts of Asia,[569] he lived for a certain time at Magnesia, in which place his family joined him from Athens. How long his residence at Magnesia lasted we do not know, but seemingly long enough to acquire local estimation and leave mementos behind him. He at length died of sickness, when sixty-five years old, without having taken any step towards the accomplishment of those victorious campaigns which he had promised to Artaxerxes. That sickness was the real cause of his death, we may believe on the distinct statement of Thucydidês;[570] who at the same time notices a rumor partially current in his own time,[p. 288] of poison voluntarily taken, from painful consciousness on the part of Themistoklês himself that the promises made could never be performed,—a farther proof of the general tendency to surround the last years of this distinguished man with impressive adventures, and to dignify his last moments with a revived feeling, not unworthy of his earlier patriotism. The report may possibly have been designedly circulated by his friends and relatives, in order to conciliate some tenderness towards his memory (his sons still continued citizens at Athens, and his daughters were married there). These friends farther stated that they had brought back his bones to Attica, at his own express command, and buried them privately without the knowledge of the Athenians; no condemned traitor being permitted to be buried in Attic soil. If, however, we even suppose that this statement was true, no one could point out with certainty the spot wherein such interment had taken place: nor does it seem, when we mark the cautious expressions of Thucydidês,[571] that he himself was satisfied of the fact: moreover, we may affirm with confidence that the inhabitants of Magnesia, when they showed the splendid sepulchral monument erected in honor of Themistoklês in their own market-place, were persuaded that his bones were really inclosed within it.

Aristeidês died about three or four years after the ostracism of Themistoklês;[572] but respecting the place and manner of his death,[p. 289] there were several contradictions among the authors whom Plutarch had before him. Some affirmed that he perished on foreign service in the Euxine sea; others, that he died at home, amidst the universal esteem and grief of his fellow-citizens. A third story, confined to the single statement of Kraterus, and strenuously rejected by Plutarch, represents Aristeidês as having been falsely accused before the Athenian judicature and condemned to a fine of fifty minæ, on the allegation of having taken bribes during the assessment of the tribute upon the allies,—which fine he was unable to pay, and was therefore obliged to retire to Ionia, where he died. Dismissing this last story, we find nothing certain about his death except one fact,—but that fact at the same time the most honorable of all,—that he died very poor. It is even asserted that he did not leave enough to pay funeral expenses,—that a sepulchre was provided for him at Phalêrum at the public cost, besides a handsome donation to his son Lysimachus, and a dowry to each of his two daughters. In the two or three ensuing generations, however, his descendants still continued poor, and even at that remote day, some of them received aid out of the public purse, from the recollection of their incorruptible ancestor. Near a century and a half afterwards, a poor man, named Lysimachus, descendant of the just Aristeidês, was to be seen at Athens, near the chapel of Iacchus, carrying a mysterious tablet, and obtaining his scanty fee of two oboli for interpreting the dreams of the passers by: Demetrius the Phalerean procured from the people, for the mother and aunt of this poor man, a small daily allowance.[573] On all these points the contrast is marked when we compare Aristeidês with Themistoklês. The latter, having distinguished himself by ostentatious cost at Olympia, and by a choregic victory at Athens, with little scruple as to the means of acquisition,—ended his life at Magnesia in dishonorable affluence, greater than ever, and left an enriched posterity both at that place and at Athens. More than five centuries afterwards, his descendant, the Athenian Themistoklês, attended the lectures of the philosopher Ammonius at Athens, as the comrade and friend of Plutarch himself.[574]

[p. 290]


I have already recounted, in the preceding chapter, how the Asiatic Greeks, breaking loose from the Spartan Pausanias, entreated Athens to organize a new confederacy, and to act as presiding city (Vorort),—and how this confederacy, framed not only for common and pressing objects, but also on principles of equal rights and constant control on the part of the members, attracted soon the spontaneous adhesion of a large proportion of Greeks, insular or maritime, near the Ægean sea. I also noticed this event as giving commencement to a new era in Grecian politics. For whereas there had been before a tendency, not very powerful, yet on the whole steady and increasing, towards something like one Pan-Hellenic league under Sparta as president,—from henceforward that tendency disappears and a bifurcation begins: Athens and Sparta divide the Grecian world between them, and bring a much larger number of its members into coöperation, either with one or the other, than had ever been so arranged before.

Thucydidês marks precisely, as far as general words can go, the character of the new confederacy during the first years after its commencement: but unhappily he gives us scarcely any particular facts,—and in the absence of such controlling evidence, a habit has grown up of describing loosely the entire period between 477 B. C., and 405 B. C. (the latter date is that of the battle of Ægos Potamos), as constituting “the Athenian empire.” This word denotes correctly enough the last part, perhaps the last forty years, of the seventy-two years indicated; but it is misleading when applied to the first part: nor, indeed, can any single word be found which faithfully characterizes as well the one part as the other. A great and serious change had taken place, and we disguise the fact of that change, if we talk of the Athenian[p. 291] hegemony, or headship, as a portion of the Athenian empire. Thucydidês carefully distinguishes the two, speaking of the Spartans as having lost, and of the Athenians as having acquired, not empire, but headship, or hegemony.[575] The transition from the[p. 292] Athenian hegemony to the Athenian empire was doubtless gradual, so that no one could determine precisely where the former ends and the latter begins: but it had been consummated before the thirty years’ truce, which was concluded fourteen years before the Peloponnesian war,—and it was in fact the substantial cause of that war. Empire then came to be held by Athens,—partly as a fact established, resting on acquiescence rather than attachment or consent on the minds of the subjects,—partly as a corollary from necessity of union combined with her superior force: while this latter point, superiority of force as a legitimate title, stood more and more forward, both in the language of her speakers and in the conceptions of her citizens. Nay, the Athenian orators of the middle of the Peloponnesian war venture to affirm that their empire had been of this same character ever since the repulse of the Persians: an inaccuracy so manifest, that if we could suppose the speech made by the Athenian Euphêmus at Kamarina in 415 B. C. to have been heard by Themistoklês or Aristeidês fifty years before, it would have been alike offensive to the prudence of the one and to the justice of the other. The imperial state of Athens, that which she held at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when her allies, except Chios and Lesbos, were tributary subjects, and when the Ægean sea was an Athenian lake,—was of course the period of her greatest splendor and greatest action upon the Grecian world. It was also the period most impressive to historians, orators, and philosophers,—suggesting the idea of some one state exercising dominion[p. 293] over the Ægean, as the natural condition of Greece, so that if Athens lost such dominion, it would be transferred to Sparta,—holding out the dispersed maritime Greeks as a tempting prize for the aggressive schemes of some new conqueror,—and even bringing up by association into men’s fancies the mythical Minos of Krete, and others, as having been rulers of the Ægean in times anterior to Athens.

Even those who lived under the full-grown Athenian empire had before them no good accounts of the incidents between 479-450 B. C.; for we may gather from the intimation of Thucydidês, as well as from his barrenness of facts, that while there were chroniclers both for the Persian invasion and for the times before, no one cared for the times immediately succeeding.[576] Hence, the little light which has fallen upon this blank has all been borrowed—if we except the careful Thucydidês—from a subsequent age; and the Athenian hegemony has been treated as a mere commencement of the Athenian empire: credit has been given to Athens for a long-sighted ambition, aiming from the Persian war downwards at results which perhaps Themistoklês[577] may have partially divined, but which only time and successive accidents opened even to distant view. But such systematic anticipation[p. 294] of subsequent results is fatal to any correct understanding, either of the real agents or of the real period; both of which are to be explained from the circumstances preceding and actually present, with some help, though cautious and sparing, from our acquaintance with that which was then an unknown future. When Aristeidês and Kimon dismissed the Lacedæmonian admiral Dorkis, and drove Pausanias away from Byzantium on his second coming out, they had to deal with the problem immediately before them; they had to complete the defeat of the Persian power, still formidable,—and to create and organize a confederacy as yet only inchoate. This was quite enough to occupy their attention, without ascribing to them distant views of Athenian maritime empire.

In that brief sketch of incidents preceding the Peloponnesian war, which Thucydidês introduces as “the throwing off of his narrative,”[578] he neither gives, nor professes to give, a complete enumeration of all which actually occurred. During the interval between the first desertion of the Asiatic allies from Pausanias to Athens, in 477 B. C.,—and the revolt of Naxos in 466 B. C.,—he recites three incidents only: first, the siege and capture of Eion, on the Strymon, with its Persian garrison,—next, the capture of Skyros, and appropriation of the island to Athenian kleruchs, or out-citizens,—thirdly, the war with Karystus in Eubœa, and reduction of the place by capitulation. It has been too much the practice to reason as if these three events were the full history of ten or eleven years. Considering what Thucydidês states respecting the darkness of this period, we might perhaps suspect that they were all which he could learn about it on good authority: and they are all, in truth, events having a near and special bearing on the subsequent history of Athens herself,—for Eion was the first stepping-stone to the important settlement of Amphipolis, and Skyros in the time of Thucydidês was the property of outlying Athenian citizens, or kleruchs. Still, we are left in almost entire ignorance of the proceedings of Athens, as conducting the newly-established confederate force: for it is certain that the first ten years of the Athenian hegemony must have been years of most active[p. 295] warfare against the Persians. One positive testimony to this effect has been accidentally preserved to us by Herodotus, who mentions, that “before the invasion of Xerxes, there were Persian commanders and garrisons everywhere in Thrace and the Hellespont,[579] all of whom were conquered by the Greeks after that invasion, with the single exception of Maskamês, governor of Doriskus, who could never be taken, though many different Grecian attempts were made upon the fortress. Of those who were captured by the Greeks, not one made any defence sufficient to attract the admiration of Xerxes, except Bogês, governor of Eion.” Bogês, after bravely defending himself, and refusing offers of capitulation, found his provisions exhausted, and farther resistance impracticable. He then kindled a vast funeral pile,—slew his wives, children, concubines, and family, and cast them into it,—threw his precious effects over the wall into the Strymon,—and lastly, precipitated himself into the flames.[580] His brave despair was the theme of warm encomium among the Persians, and his relatives in Persia were liberally rewarded by Xerxes. This capture of Eion, effected by Kimon, has been[p. 296] mentioned, as already stated, by Thucydidês; but Herodotus here gives us to understand that it was only one of a string of enterprises, all unnoticed by Thucydidês, against the Persians. Nay, it would seem from his language, that Maskamês maintained himself in Doriskus during the whole reign of Xerxes, and perhaps longer, repelling successive Grecian assaults.

The valuable indication here cited from Herodotus would be of itself a sufficient proof that the first years of the Athenian hegemony were full of busy and successful hostility against the Persians. And in truth this is what we should expect: the battles of Salamis, Platæa, and Mykalê, drove the Persians out of Greece, and overpowered their main armaments, but did not remove them at once from all the various posts which they occupied throughout the Ægean and Thrace. Without doubt, the Athenians had to clear the coasts and the islands of a great number of different Persian detachments: an operation never short nor easy, with the then imperfect means of siege, as we may see by the cases of Sestus and Eion; nor, indeed, always practicable, as the case of Doriskus teaches us. The fear of these Persians, yet remaining in the neighborhood,[581] and even the chance of a renewed Persian invading armament, formed one pressing motive for Grecian cities to join the new confederacy: while the expulsion of the enemy added to it those places which he had occupied. It was by these years of active operations at sea against the common enemy, that the Athenians first established[582] that constant, systematic, and laborious training, among their own ships’ crews, which transmitted itself with continual im[p. 297]provements down to the Peloponnesian war: it was by these, combined with the present fear, that they were enabled to organize the largest and most efficient confederacy ever known among Greeks,—to bring together deliberative deputies,—to plant their own ascendency as enforcers of the collective resolutions,—and to raise a prodigious tax from universal contribution. Lastly, it was by these same operations, prosecuted so successfully as to remove present alarm, that they at length fatigued the more lukewarm and passive members of the confederacy, and created in them a wish either to commute personal service for pecuniary contribution, or to escape from the obligation of service in any way. The Athenian nautical training would never have been acquired,—the confederacy would never have become a working reality,—the fatigue and discontents among its members would never have arisen,—unless there had been a real fear of the Persians, and a pressing necessity for vigorous and organized operations against them, during the ten years between 477 and 466 B. C.

As to the ten years from 477-466 B. C., there has been a tendency almost unconscious to assume that the particular incidents mentioned by Thucydidês about Eion, Skyros, Karystus, and Naxos, constitute the sum total of events. To contradict this assumption, I have suggested proof sufficient, though indirect, that they are only part of the stock of a very busy period,—the remaining details of which, indicated in outline by the large general language of Thucydidês, we are condemned not to know. Nor are we admitted to be present at the synod of Delos, which during all this time continued its periodical meetings: though it would have been highly interesting to trace the steps whereby an institution which at first promised to protect not less the separate rights of the members than the security of the whole, so lamentably failed in its object. We must recollect that this confederacy, formed for objects common to all, limited to a certain extent the autonomy of each member; both conferring definite rights and imposing definite obligations. Solemnly sworn to by all, and by Aristeidês on behalf of Athens, it was intended to bind the members in perpetuity,—marked even in the form of the oath, which was performed by casting heavy lumps of[p. 298] iron into the sea never again to be seen.[583] As this confederacy was thus both perpetual and peremptory, binding each member to the rest, and not allowing either retirement or evasion, so it was essential that it should be sustained by some determining authority and enforcing sanction. The determining authority was provided by the synod at Delos: the enforcing sanction was exercised by Athens as president. And there is every reason to presume that Athens, for a long time, performed this duty in a legitimate and honorable manner, acting in execution of the resolves of the synod, or at least in full harmony with its general purposes. She exacted from every member the regulated quota of men or money, employing coercion against recusants, and visiting neglect of military duty with penalties. In all these requirements she only discharged her appropriate functions as chosen leader of the confederacy, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the general synod went cordially along with her[584] in strictness of dealing towards those defaulters who obtained protection without bearing their share of the burden.

But after a few years, several of the confederates becoming weary of personal military service, prevailed upon the Athenians to provide ships and men in their place, and imposed upon themselves in exchange a money-payment of suitable amount. This commutation, at first probably introduced to meet some special case of inconvenience, was found so suitable to the taste of all parties that it gradually spread through the larger portion of the confederacy. To unwarlike allies, hating labor and privation, it was a welcome relief,—while to the Athenians, full of ardor and patient of labor, as well as discipline, for the aggrandizement of their country, it afforded constant pay for a fleet more numerous than they could otherwise have kept afloat. It is plain from the statement of Thucydidês that this altered practice was introduced from the petition of the confederates themselves, not from any[p. 299] pressure or stratagem, on the part of Athens.[585] But though such was its real source, it did not the less fatally degrade the allies in reference to Athens, and extinguish the original feeling of equal rights and partnership in the confederacy, with communion of danger as well as of glory, which had once bound them together. The Athenians came to consider themselves as military chiefs and soldiers, with a body of tribute-paying subjects, whom they were entitled to hold in dominion, and restrict, both as to foreign policy and internal government, to such extent as they thought expedient,—but whom they were also bound to protect against foreign enemies. The military force of these subject-states was thus in a great degree transferred to Athens, by their own act, just as that of so many of the native princes in India has been made over to the English. But the military efficiency of the confederacy against the Persians was much increased, in proportion as the vigorous resolves of Athens[586] were less and less paralyzed by the contentions and irregularity of a synod; so that the war was prosecuted with greater success than ever, while those motives of alarm, which had served as the first pressing stimulus to the formation of the confederacy, became every year farther and farther removed.

Under such circumstances several of the confederate states grew tired even of paying their tribute,—and averse to continuance as members. They made successive attempts to secede, but Athens, acting seemingly in conjunction with the synod, repressed their attempts one after the other,—conquering, fining, and disarming the revolters; which was the more easily done,[p. 300] since in most cases their naval force had been in great part handed over to her. As these events took place, not all at once, but successively in different years,—the number of mere tribute-paying allies as well as of subdued revolters continually increasing,—so there was never any one moment of conspicuous change in the character of the confederacy: the allies slid unconsciously into subjects, while Athens, without any predetermined plan, passed from a chief into a despot. By strictly enforcing the obligations of the pact upon unwilling members, and by employing coercion against revolters, she had become unpopular in the same proportion as she acquired new power,—and that, too, without any guilt of her own. In this position, even if she had been inclined to relax her hold upon the tributary subjects, considerations of her own safety would have deterred her from doing so; for there was reason to apprehend that they might place their strength at the disposal of her enemies. It is very certain that she never was so inclined; it would have required a more self-denying public morality than has ever been practised by any state, either ancient or modern, even to conceive the idea of relinquishing voluntarily an immense ascendency as well as a lucrative revenue: least of all was such an idea likely to be conceived by Athenian citizens, whose ambition increased with their power, and among whom the love of Athenian ascendency was both passion and patriotism. But though the Athenians were both disposed and qualified to push all the advantages offered, and even to look out for new, we must not forget that the foundations of their empire were laid in the most honorable causes: voluntary invitation, efforts both unwearied and successful against a common enemy, unpopularity incurred in discharge of an imperative duty, and inability to break up the confederacy without endangering themselves as well as laying open the Ægean sea to the Persians.[587]

[p. 301]There were two other causes, besides that which has just been adverted to, for the unpopularity of imperial Athens. First, the existence of the confederacy, imposing permanent obligations, was in conflict with the general instinct of the Greek mind, tending towards separate political autonomy of each city, as well as with the particular turn of the Ionic mind, incapable of that steady personal effort which was requisite for maintaining the synod of Delos, on its first large and equal basis. Next,—and this is the great cause of all,—Athens, having defeated the Persians, and thrust them to a distance, began to employ the force and the tribute of her subject-allies in warfare against Greeks, wherein these allies had nothing to gain from success,—everything to apprehend from defeat,—and a banner to fight for, offensive to Hellenic sympathies. On this head, the subject-allies had great reason to complain, throughout the prolonged wars of Greek against Greek, for the purpose of sustaining Athenian predominance: but on the point of practical grievances or oppressions, they had little ground for discontent, and little feeling of actual discontent, as I shall show more fully hereafter. Among the general body of citizens in the subject-allied cities, the feeling towards Athens was rather indifference than hatred: the movement of revolt against her proceeded from small parties of leading men, acting apart from the citizens, and generally with collateral views of ambition for themselves: and the positive hatred towards her was felt chiefly by those who were not her subjects.

It is probable that the same indisposition to personal effort, which prompted the confederates of Delos to tender money-payment as a substitute for military service, also induced them to[p. 302] neglect attendance at the synod. But we do not know the steps whereby this assembly, at first an effective reality, gradually dwindled into a mere form and vanished. Nothing, however, can more forcibly illustrate the difference of character between the maritime allies of Athens, and the Peloponnesian allies of Sparta, than the fact,—that while the former shrank from personal service, and thought it an advantage to tax themselves in place of it,—the latter were “ready enough with their bodies,” but uncomplying and impracticable as to contributions.[588] The contempt felt by these Dorian landsmen for the military efficiency of the Ionians recurs frequently, and appears even to have exceeded what the reality justified: but when we turn to the conduct of the latter twenty years earlier, at the battle of Ladê, in the very crisis of the Ionic revolt from Persia,[589]—we detect the same want of energy, the same incapacity of personal effort and labor, as that which broke up the confederacy of Delos with all its beneficial promise. To appreciate fully the indefatigable activity and daring, together with the patient endurance of laborious maritime training, which characterized the Athenians of that day,—we have only to contrast them with these confederates, so remarkably destitute of both. Amidst such glaring inequalities of merit, capacity, and power, to maintain a confederacy of equal members was impossible: it was in the nature of things that the confederacy should either break up, or be transmuted into an Athenian empire.

It has already been mentioned that the first aggregate assessment of tribute, proposed by Aristeidês, and adopted by the synod at Delos, was four hundred and sixty talents in money. At that time many of the confederates paid their quota, not in money but in ships; but this practice gradually diminished, as the commutations above alluded to, of money in place of ships, were multiplied, while the aggregate tribute, of course, became larger. It was no more than six hundred talents[590] at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, forty-six years after the first forma[p. 303]tion of the confederacy; from whence we may infer that it was never at all increased upon individual members during the interval. For the difference between four hundred and sixty talents and six hundred admits of being fully explained by the numerous commutations of service for money, as well as by the acquisitions of new members, which doubtless Athens had more or less the opportunity of making. It is not to be imagined that the confederacy had attained its maximum number, at the date of the first assessment of tribute: there must have been various cities, like Sinopê and Ægina, subsequently added.[591]

Without some such preliminary statements as those just given, respecting the new state of Greece between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, beginning with the Athenian hegemony, or headship, and ending with the Athenian empire, the reader would hardly understand the bearing of those particular events which our authorities enable us to recount; events unhappily few in number, though the period must have been full of action, and not well authenticated as to dates. The first known enterprise of the Athenians in their new capacity—whether the first absolutely or not, we cannot determine—between 476 B. C. and 466 B. C., was the conquest of the important post of Eion, on the Strymon, where the Persian governor, Bogês, starved out after a desperate resistance, destroyed himself rather than capitulate, together with his family and precious effects, as has already been stated. The next events named are their enterprises against the Dolopes and Pelasgi in the island of Skyros, seemingly about 470 B. C., and the Dryopes in the town and district of Karystus, in Eubœa. To the latter, who were of a different kindred from the inhabitants of Chalkis and Eretria, and received no aid from them, they granted a capitulation: the former were more rigorously dealt with, and expelled from their island. Skyros was barren, and had little to recommend it, except a good maritime position and an excellent harbor; while its inhabitants, seemingly akin to the Pelasgian residents in Lemnos, prior to the Athenian occupation of that spot, were alike piratical and cruel. Some Thessalian traders, recently plundered and imprisoned by them, had raised a complaint against them before the Amphiktyonic[p. 304] synod, which condemned the island to make restitution: the mass of the islanders threw the burden upon those who had committed the crime; and these men, in order to evade payment, invoked Kimon with the Athenian armament,—who conquered the island, expelled the inhabitants, and peopled it with Athenian settlers.

Such clearance was a beneficial act, suitable to the new character of Athens as guardian of the Ægean sea against piracy: but it seems also connected with Athenian plans. The island lay very convenient for the communication with Lemnos, which the Athenians had doubtless reoccupied after the expulsion of the Persians,[592] and became, as well as Lemnos, a recognized adjunct, or outlying portion, of Attica: moreover, there were old legends which connected the Athenians with it, as the tomb of their hero Theseus, whose name, as the mythical champion of democracy, was in peculiar favor at the period immediately following the return from Salamis. It was in the year 476 B. C., that the oracle had directed them to bring home the bones of Theseus from Skyros, and to prepare for that hero a splendid entombment and edifice in their new city: they had tried to effect this, but the unsocial manners of the Dolopians had prevented a search, and it was only after Kimon had taken the island that he found, or pretended to find, the body. It was brought to Athens in the year 469 B. C.,[593] and after being wel[p. 305]comed by the people in solemn and joyous procession, as if the hero himself had come back, was deposited in the interior of the[p. 306] city,—the monument called the Theseium, with its sacred precinct being built on the spot, and invested with the privilege of a sanctuary for men of poor condition who might feel ground for dreading the oppressions of the powerful, as well as for slaves in case of cruel usage.[594] Such were the protective functions of the mythical hero of democracy, whose installation is interesting as marking the growing intensity of democratical feeling in Athens since the Persian war.

It was about two years or more after this incident, that the first breach of union in the confederacy of Delos took place. The important island of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades,—an island which thirty years before had boasted a large marine[p. 307] force and eight thousand hoplites,—revolted; on what special ground we do not know: but probably the greater islands fancied themselves better able to dispense with the protection of the confederacy than the smaller,—at the same time that they were more jealous of Athens. After a siege, of unknown duration, by Athens and the confederate force, it was forced to surrender, and reduced to the condition of a tributary subject;[595] its armed ships being doubtless taken away, and its fortifications razed: whether any fine or ulterior penalty was levied, we have no information.

We cannot doubt that the reduction of this powerful island, however untoward in its effects upon the equal and self-maintaining character of the confederacy, strengthened its military force by placing the whole Naxian fleet with new pecuniary contributions in the hands of the chief: nor is it surprising to hear that Athens sought both to employ this new force, and to obliterate the late act of severity, by increased exertions against the common enemy. Though we know no particulars respecting operations against Persia, since the attack on Eion, such operations must have been going on; but the expedition under Kimon, undertaken not long after the Naxian revolt, was attended with memorable results. That commander, having under him two hundred triremes from Athens, and one hundred from the various confederates, was despatched to attack the Persians on the south-western and southern coast of Asia Minor. He attacked and drove out several of their garrisons from various Grecian settlements, both in Karia and Lykia: among others, the important trading city of Phasêlis, though at first resisting, and even standing a siege, was prevailed upon by the friendly suggestions of the Chians in Kimon’s armament to pay a contribution of ten talents and join in the expedition. From the length of time occupied in these various undertakings, the Persian satraps had been enabled to assemble a powerful force, both fleet and army, near the mouth of the river Eurymedon, in Pamphylia, under the command of Tithraustês and Pherendatês, both of the regal[p. 308] blood. The fleet, chiefly Phenician, seems to have consisted of two hundred ships, but a farther reinforcement of eighty Phenician ships was expected, and was actually near at hand, and the commanders were unwilling to hazard a battle before its arrival. Kimon, anxious for the same reason to hasten on the combat, attacked them vigorously: partly from their inferiority of numbers, partly from discouragement at the absence of the reinforcement, they seem to have made no strenuous resistance. They were put to flight and driven ashore; so speedily, and with so little loss to the Greeks, that Kimon was enabled to disembark his men forthwith, and attack the land-force which was drawn up on shore to protect them. The battle on land was long and gallantly contested, but Kimon at length gained a complete victory, dispersed the army with the capture of many prisoners, and either took or destroyed the entire fleet. As soon as his victory and his prisoners were secured, he sailed to Cyprus for the purpose of intercepting the reinforcement of eighty Phenician ships in their way, and was fortunate enough to attack them while yet they were ignorant of the victories of the Eurymedon. These ships too were all destroyed, though most of the crews appear to have escaped ashore on the island. Two great victories, one at sea and the other on land, gained on the same day by the same armament, counted with reason among the most glorious of all Grecian exploits, and were extolled as such in the inscription on the commemorative offering to Apollo, set up out of the tithe of the spoils.[596] The number of prisoners, as well as the booty taken by the victors, was immense.

[p. 309]A victory thus remarkable, which thrust back the Persians to the region eastward of Phasêlis, doubtless fortified materially the position of the Athenian confederacy against them; but it tended not less to exalt the reputation of Athens, and even to popularize her with the confederates generally, from the large amount of plunder divisible among them. Probably this increased power and popularity stood her in stead throughout her approaching contest with Thasos, at the same time that it explains the increasing fear and dislike of the Peloponnesians.

Thasos was a member of the confederacy of Delos; but her quarrel with Athens seems to have arisen out of causes quite distinct from confederate relations. It has been already stated that the Athenians had within the last few years expelled the Persians from the important post of Eion, on the Strymon, the most convenient post for the neighboring region of Thrace, which was not less distinguished for its fertility than for its mining wealth. In the occupation of this post, the Athenians had had time to become acquainted with the productive character of the adjoining region, chiefly occupied by the Edonian Thracians; and it is extremely probable that many private settlers arrived[p. 310] from Athens, with the view of procuring grants or making their fortunes by partnership with powerful Thracians in working the gold-mines round Mount Pangæus. In so doing, they speedily found themselves in collision with the Greeks of the opposite island of Mount Thasos, who possessed a considerable strip of land, with various dependent towns on the continent of Thrace, and derived a large revenue from the mines of Skaptê Hylê, as well as from others in the neighborhood.[597] The condition of Thasos at this time, about 465 B. C., indicates to us the progress which the Grecian states in the Ægean had made since their liberation from Persia. It had been deprived both of its fortifications and of its maritime force, by order of Darius, about 491 B. C., and must have remained in this condition until after the repulse of Xerxes; but we now find it well-fortified and possessing a powerful maritime force.

In what precise manner the quarrel between the Thasians and the Athenians of Eion manifested itself, respecting the trade and the mines in Thrace, we are not informed; but it reached such a height that the Athenians were induced to send a powerful armament against the island, under the command of Kimon.[598] Having vanquished the Thasian force at sea, they disembarked, gained various battles, and blocked up the city by land as well as by sea. And at the same time they undertook—what seems to have been part and parcel of the same scheme—the establishment of a larger and more powerful colony on Thracian ground not far from Eion. On the Strymon, about three miles higher up than Eion, near the spot where the river narrows itself again out of a broad expanse of the nature of a lake, was situated the Edonian town or settlement called Ennea Hodoi, (Nine Ways), a little above the bridge, which here served as an important communication for all the people of the interior. Both[p. 311] Histiæus and Aristagoras, the two Milesian despots, had been tempted by the advantages of this place to commence a settlement there: both of them had failed, and a third failure on a still grander scale was now about to be added. The Athenians sent thither a large body of colonists, ten thousand in number, partly from their own citizens, partly collected from their allies: and the temptations of the site probably rendered volunteers numerous. As far as Ennea Hodoi was concerned, they were successful in conquering it and driving away the Edonian possessors: but on trying to extend themselves farther to the eastward, to a spot called Drabêskus, convenient for the mining region, they encountered a more formidable resistance from a powerful alliance of Thracian tribes, who had come to the aid of the Edonians in decisive hostility to the new colony,—probably not without instigation from the inhabitants of Thasos. All or most of the ten thousand colonists were slain in this warfare, and the new colony was for the time completely abandoned: we shall find it resumed hereafter.[599]

Disappointed as the Athenians were in this enterprise, they did not abandon the blockade of Thasos, which held out more than two years, and only surrendered in the third year. Its fortifications were razed; its ships of war, thirty-three in number, taken away:[600] its possessions and mining establishments on the opposite continent relinquished: moreover, an immediate contribution in money was demanded from the inhabitants, over and above the annual payment assessed upon them for the future. The subjugation of this powerful island was another step in the growing dominion of Athens over her confederates.

The year before the Thasians surrendered, however, they had[p. 312] taken a step which deserves particular notice, as indicating the newly-gathering clouds in the Grecian political horizon. They had made secret application to the Lacedæmonians for aid, entreating them to draw off the attention of Athens by invading Attica; and the Lacedæmonians, without the knowledge of Athens, having actually engaged to comply with this request, were only prevented from performing their promise by a grave and terrible misfortune at home.[601] Though accidentally unperformed, however, this hostile promise is a most significant event: it marks the growing fear and hatred on the part of Sparta and the Peloponnesians towards Athens, merely on general grounds of the magnitude of her power, and without any special provocation. Nay, not only had Athens given no provocation, but she was still actually included as a member of the Lacedæmonian alliance, and we shall find her presently both appealed to and acting as such. We shall hear so much of Athens, and that too with truth, as pushing and aggressive,—and of Sparta as homekeeping and defensive,—that the incident just mentioned becomes important to remark. The first intent of unprovoked and even treacherous hostility—the germ of the future Peloponnesian war—is conceived and reduced to an engagement by Sparta.

We are told by Plutarch, that the Athenians, after the surrender of Thasos and the liberation of the armament, had expected from Kimon some farther conquests in Macedonia,—and even that he had actually entered upon that project with such promise of success, that its farther consummation was certain as well as easy. Having under these circumstances relinquished it and returned to Athens, he was accused by Periklês and others of having been bought off by bribes from the Macedonian king Alexander; but was acquitted after a public trial.[602]

During the period which had elapsed between the first formation of the confederacy of Delos and the capture of Thasos (about thirteen or fourteen years, B. C. 477-463), the Athenians seem to have been occupied almost entirely in their maritime operations, chiefly against the Persians,—having been free from[p. 313] embarrassments immediately around Attica. But this freedom was not destined to last much longer; and during the ensuing ten years, their foreign relations near home become both active and complicated; while their strength expands so wonderfully, that they are found competent at once to obligations on both sides of the Ægean sea, the distant as well as the near.

Of the incidents which had taken place in Central Greece during the twelve or fifteen years immediately succeeding the battle of Platæa, we have scarcely any information. The feelings of the time, between those Greeks who had supported and those who had resisted the Persian invader, must have remained unfriendly even after the war was at an end, and the mere occupation of the Persian numerous host must have inflicted severe damage both upon Thessaly and Bœotia. At the meeting of the Amphiktyonic synod which succeeded the expulsion of the invaders, a reward was proclaimed for the life of the Melian Ephialtês, who had betrayed to Xerxes the mountain-path over Œta, and thus caused the ruin of Leonidas at Thermopylæ: moreover, if we may trust Plutarch, it was even proposed by Lacedæmon that all the medizing Greeks should be expelled from the synod,[603]—a proposition which the more long-sighted views of Themistoklês successfully resisted. Even the stronger measure, of razing the fortifications of all the extra-Peloponnesian cities, from fear that they might be used to aid some future invasion, had suggested itself to the Lacedæmonians,—as we see from their language on the occasion of rebuilding the walls of Athens; and in regard to Bœotia, it appears that the headship of Thebes as well as the coherence of the federation was for the time almost suspended. The destroyed towns of Platæa and Thespiæ were restored, and the latter in part repeopled,[604] under Athenian influence; and the general sentiment of Peloponnesus as well as of Athens would have sustained these towns against Thebes, if the latter had tried at that time to enforce her supremacy over them in the name of[p. 314] “ancient Bœotian right and usage.”[605] The Theban government was then in discredit for its previous medism,—even in the eyes of Thebans themselves;[606] while the party opposed to Thebes in the other towns was so powerful, that many of them would probably have been severed from the federation to become allies of Athens like Platæa, if the interference of Lacedæmon had not arrested such a tendency. The latter was in every other part of Greece an enemy to organized aggregation of cities, either equal or unequal, and was constantly bent on keeping the little autonomous communities separate;[607] whence she sometimes became by accident the protector of the weaker cities against compulsory alliance imposed upon them by the stronger: the interest of her own ascendency was in this respect analogous to that of the Persians when they dictated the peace of Antalkidas,—of the Romans in administering their extensive conquests,—and of the kings of medieval Europe in breaking the authority of the barons over their vassals. But though such was the policy of Sparta elsewhere, her fear of Athens, which grew up during the ensuing twenty years, made her act differently in regard to Bœotia: she had no other means of maintaining that country as her own ally and as the enemy of Athens, except by organizing the federation effectively, and strengthening the authority of Thebes. It is to this revolution in Spartan politics that Thebes owed the recovery of her ascendency,[608]—a revolution so conspicuously marked, that the Spartans even aided in enlarging her circuit and improving her fortifications: nor was it without difficulty that she maintained this position, even when recovered, against the dangerous neighborhood of Athens, a circumstance which made her not only a vehement partisan of Sparta, but even more furiously anti-Athenian than Sparta, down to the close of the Peloponnesian war.

The revolution, just noticed, in Spartan politics towards Bœotia, did not manifest itself until about twenty years after the com[p. 315]mencement of the Athenian maritime confederacy. During the course of those twenty years, we know that Sparta had had more than one battle to sustain in Arcadia, against the towns and villages of that country, in which she came forth victorious: but we have no particulars respecting these incidents. We also know that a few years after the Persian invasion, the inhabitants of Elis concentrated themselves from many dispersed townships into the one main city of Elis:[609] and it seems probable that Lepreum in Triphylia, and one or two of the towns of Achaia, were either formed or enlarged by a similar process near about the same time.[610] Such aggregation of towns out of preëxisting separate villages was not conformable to the views, nor favorable to the ascendency, of Lacedæmon: but there can be little doubt that her foreign policy, after the Persian invasion, was both embarrassed and discredited by the misconduct of her two contemporary kings, Pausanias, who, though only regent, was practically equivalent to a king, and Leotychidês,—not to mention the rapid development of Athens and Peiræus. But in the year B. C. 464, the year preceding the surrender of Thasos to the Athenian armament, a misfortune of yet more terrific moment befell Sparta. A violent earthquake took place in the immediate neighborhood of Sparta itself, destroying a large portion of the town, and a vast number of lives, many of them Spartan citizens. It was the judgment of the earth-shaking god Poseidon, according to the view of the Lacedæmonians themselves, for a recent violation of his sanctuary at Tænarus, from whence certain suppliant Helots had been dragged away not long before for punishment,[611]—not improbably some of those Helots whom Pausanias had instigated to revolt. The sentiment of the Helots, at all times one of enmity towards their masters, appears at this moment to have been unusually inflammable: so that an earthquake at Sparta, especially an earthquake construed as divine vengeance for Helot blood recently spilt, was sufficient to rouse many of them at once into revolt, together with some even of the Periœki. The insurgents took arms and marched directly upon Sparta,[p. 316] which they were on the point of mastering during the first moments of consternation, had not the bravery and presence of mind of the young king Archidamus reanimated the surviving citizens and repelled the attack. But though repelled, the insurgents were not subdued: for some time they maintained the field against the Spartan force, and sometimes with considerable advantage, since Aeimnêstus, the warrior by whose hand Mardonius had fallen at Platæa, was defeated and slain with three hundred followers in the plain of Stenyklêrus, overpowered by superior numbers.[612] When at length defeated, they occupied and fortified the memorable hill of Ithômê, the ancient citadel of their Messenian forefathers. Here they made a long and obstinate defence, supporting themselves doubtless by incursions throughout Laconia: nor was defence difficult, seeing that the Lacedæmonians were at that time confessedly incapable of assailing even the most imperfect species of fortification. After the siege had lasted some two or three years, without any prospect of success, the Lacedæmonians, beginning to despair of their own sufficiency for the undertaking, invoked the aid of their various allies, among whom we find specified the Æginetans, the Athenians, and the Platæans.[613] The Athenian troops are said to have consisted of four thousand men, under the command of Kimon; Athens being still included in the list of Lacedæmonian allies.

So imperfect were the means of attacking walls at that day, even for the most intelligent Greeks, that this increased force made no immediate impression on the fortified hill of Ithômê. And when the Lacedæmonians saw that their Athenian allies were not more successful than they had been themselves, they soon passed from surprise into doubt, mistrust, and apprehension. The troops had given no ground for such a feeling, and Kimon, their general, was notorious for his attachment to Sparta; yet the Lacedæmonians could not help calling to mind the ever-wakeful energy and ambition of these Ionic strangers, whom they had introduced into the interior of Laconia, together with their own promise—though doubtless a secret promise—to invade Attica, not long before, for the benefit of the Thasians. They even be[p. 317]gan to fear that the Athenians might turn against them, and listen to solicitations for espousing the cause of the besieged. Under the influence of such apprehensions, they dismissed the Athenian contingent forthwith, on pretence of having no farther occasion for them; while all the other allies were retained, and the siege or blockade went on as before.[614]

[p. 318]This dismissal, ungracious in the extreme, and probably rendered even more offensive by the habitual roughness of Spartan dealing, excited the strongest exasperation both among the Athenian soldiers and the Athenian people,—an exasperation heightened by circumstances immediately preceding. For the resolution to send auxiliaries into Laconia, when the Lacedæmonians first applied for them, had not been taken without considerable debate at Athens: the party of Periklês and Ephialtês, habitually in opposition to Kimon, and partisans of the forward democratical movement, had strongly discountenanced it, and conjured their countrymen not to assist in renovating and strengthening their most formidable rival. Perhaps the previous engagement of the Lacedæmonians to invade Attica on behalf of the Thasians may have become known to them, though not so formally as to exclude denial; and even supposing this engagement to have remained unknown at that time to every one, there were not wanting other grounds to render the policy of refusal plausible. But Kimon, with an earnestness which even the philo-Laconian Kritias afterwards characterized as a sacrifice of the grandeur of Athens to the advantage of Lacedæmon,[615] employed all his credit and influence in seconding the application. The maintenance of alliance with Sparta on equal footing,—peace among the great powers of Greece, and common war against Persia,—together with the prevention of all farther democratical changes in Athens,—were the leading points of his political creed. As yet, both his personal and political ascendency was predominant over his opponents: as yet, there was no manifest conflict, which had only just begun to show itself in the case of Thasos, between the[p. 319] maritime power of Athens, and the union of land-force under Sparta: and Kimon could still treat both of these phenomena as coexisting necessities of Hellenic well-being. Though no way distinguished as a speaker, he carried with him the Athenian assembly by appealing to a large and generous patriotism, which forbade them to permit the humiliation of Sparta. “Consent not to see Hellas lamed of one leg, and Athens drawing without her yoke-fellow;”[616] such was his language, as we learn from his friend and companion, the Chian poet Ion: and in the lips of Kimon it proved effective. It is a speech of almost melancholy interest, since ninety years passed over before such an appeal was ever again addressed to an Athenian assembly.[617] The despatch of the auxiliaries was thus dictated by a generous sentiment, to the disregard of what might seem political prudence: and we may imagine the violent reaction which took place in Athenian feeling, when the Lacedæmonians repaid them by singling out their troops from all the other allies as objects of insulting suspicion,—we may imagine the triumph of Periklês and Ephialtês, who had opposed the mission,—and the vast loss of influence to Kimon, who had brought it about,—when Athens received again into her public assemblies the hoplites sent back from Ithômê.

Both in the internal constitution, indeed,—of which more presently,—and in the external policy of Athens, the dismissal of these soldiers was pregnant with results. The Athenians immediately passed a formal resolution to renounce the alliance between themselves and Lacedæmon against the Persians. They did more: they looked out for land enemies of Lacedæmon, with whom to ally themselves. Of these by far the first, both in Hellenic rank and in real power, was Argos. That city, neutral during the Persian invasion, had now recovered from the effects of the destructive defeat suffered about thirty years before from the Spartan king Kleomenês: the sons of the ancient citizens had grown to manhood, and the temporary predominance of the Pe[p. 320]riœki, acquired in consequence of the ruinous loss of citizens in that defeat, had been again put down. In the neighborhood of Argos, and dependent upon it, were situated Mykenæ, Tiryns, and Midea,—small in power and importance, but rich in mythical renown. Disdaining the inglorious example of Argos, at the period of danger, these towns had furnished contingents both to Thermopylæ and Platæa, which their powerful neighbor had been unable either to prevent at the time, or to avenge afterwards, from fear of the intervention of Lacedæmon. But so soon as the latter was seen to be endangered and occupied at home, with a formidable Messenian revolt, the Argeians availed themselves of the opportunity to attack not only Mykenæ and Tiryns, but also Orneæ, Midea, and other semi-dependent towns around them. Several of these were reduced; and the inhabitants robbed of their autonomy, were incorporated with the domain of Argos: but the Mykenians, partly from the superior gallantry of their resistance, partly from jealousy of their mythical renown, were either sold as slaves or driven into banishment.[618] Through these victories Argos was now more powerful than ever, and the propositions of alliance made to her by Athens, while strengthening both the two against Lacedæmon, opened to her a new chance of recovering her lost headship in Peloponnesus. The Thessalians became members of this new alliance, which was a defensive alliance against Lacedæmon: and hopes were doubtless entertained of drawing in some of the habitual allies of the latter.

The new character which Athens had thus assumed, as a competitor for landed alliances, not less than for maritime ascendency, came opportunely for the protection of the neighboring town of Megara. It appears that Corinth, perhaps instigated, like Argos, by the helplessness of the Lacedæmonians, had been making border encroachments on the one side upon Kleônæ, on the other side upon Megara:[619] on which ground the latter, probably despairing of protection from Lacedæmon, renounced the Lacedæmoni[p. 321]an connection, and obtained permission to enrol herself as an ally of Athens.[620] This was an acquisition of signal value to the Athenians, since it both opened to them the whole range of territory across the outer isthmus of Corinth to the interior of the Krissæan gulf, on which the Megarian port of Pegæ was situated, and placed them in possession of the passes of Mount Geraneia, so that they could arrest the march of a Peloponnesian army over the isthmus, and protect Attica from invasion. It was, moreover, of great importance in its effects on Grecian politics: for it was counted as a wrong by Lacedæmon, gave deadly offence to the Corinthians, and lighted up the flames of war between them and Athens; their allies, the Epidaurians and Æginetans, taking their part. Though Athens had not yet been guilty of unjust encroachment against any Peloponnesian state, her ambition and energy had inspired universal awe; while the maritime states in the neighborhood, such as Corinth, Epidaurus, and Ægina, saw these terror-striking qualities threatening them at their own doors, through her alliance with Argos and Megara. Moreover, it is probable that the ancient feud between the Athenians and Æginetans, though dormant since a little before the Persian invasion, had never been appeased or forgotten: so that the Æginetans, dwelling within sight of Peiræus, were at once best able to appreciate, and most likely to dread, the enormous maritime power now possessed by Athens. Periklês was wont to call Ægina the eyesore of Peiræus:[621] but we may be very sure that Peiræus, grown into a vast fortified port, within the existing generation, was in a much stronger degree the eyesore of Ægina.

The Athenians were at this time actively engaged in prosecuting the war against Persia, having a fleet of no less than two hundred sail, equipped by or from the confederacy collectively, now serving in Cyprus and on the Phenician coast. Moreover, the revolt of the Egyptians under Inaros, about 460 B. C., opened to them new means of action against the Great King; and their fleet, by invitation of the revolters, sailed up the Nile to Memphis, where there seemed at first a good prospect of throwing off the Persian dominion. Yet in spite of so great an abstraction from their disposable force, their military operations near home[p. 322] were conducted with unabated vigor: and the inscription which remains,—a commemoration of their citizens of the Erechtheid tribe, who were slain in one and the same year, in Cyprus, Egypt, Phenicia, the Halieis, Ægina, and Megara,—brings forcibly before us that energy which astonished and even alarmed their contemporaries. Their first proceedings at Megara were of a nature altogether novel, in the existing condition of Greece. It was necessary for the Athenians to protect their new ally against the superiority of Peloponnesian land-force, and to insure a constant communication with it by sea; but the city, like most of the ancient Hellenic towns, was situated on a hill at some distance from the sea, separated from its port Nisæa by a space of nearly one mile. One of the earliest proceedings of the Athenians was to build two lines of wall, near and parallel to each other, connecting the city with Nisæa, so that the two thus formed one continuous fortress, wherein a standing Athenian garrison was maintained, with the constant means of succor from Athens in case of need. These “long walls,” though afterwards copied in other places, and on a larger scale, were at that juncture an ingenious invention, for the purpose of extending the maritime arm of Athens to an inland city.

The first operations of Corinth, however, were not directed against Megara. The Athenians having undertaken a landing in the territory of the Halieis, the population of the southern Argolic peninsula, bordering on Trœzen and Hermionê, were defeated on land by the Corinthian and Epidaurian forces: possibly it may have been in this expedition that they acquired possession of Trœzen, which we find afterwards in their dependence, without knowing when it became so. But in a sea-fight which took place off the island of Kekryphaleia, between Ægina and the Argolic peninsula, the Athenians gained the victory. After this victory and defeat,—neither of them apparently very decisive,—the Æginetans began to take a more energetic part in the war, and brought out their full naval force, together with that of their allies,—Corinthians, Epidaurians, and other Peloponnesians: while Athens equipped a fleet of corresponding magnitude, summoning her allies also; though we do not know the actual numbers on either side. In the great naval battle which ensued off the island of Ægina, the superiority of the[p. 323] new nautical tactics, acquired by twenty years’ practice of the Athenians since the Persian war,—over the old Hellenic ships and seamen, as shown in those states where, at the time of the battle of Marathon, the maritime strength of Greece had resided,—was demonstrated by a victory most complete and decisive. The Peloponnesian and Dorian seamen had as yet had no experience of the improved seacraft of Athens, and when we find how much they were disconcerted with it, even twenty-eight years afterwards, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, we shall not wonder at its destructive effect upon them in this early battle. The maritime power of Ægina was irrecoverably ruined: the Athenians captured seventy ships of war, landed a large force upon the island, and commenced the siege of the city by land as well as by sea.[622]

If the Lacedæmonians had not been occupied at home by the blockade of Ithômê, they would have been probably induced to invade Attica as a diversion to the Æginetans; especially as the Persian Megabazus came to Sparta at this time on the part of Artaxerxes to prevail upon them to do so, in order that the Athenians might be constrained to retire from Egypt: this Persian brought with him a large sum of money, but was nevertheless obliged to return without effecting his mission.[623] The Corinthians and Epidaurians, however, while they carried to Ægina a reinforcement of three hundred hoplites, did their best to aid her farther by an attack upon Megara; which place, it was supposed, the Athenians could not possibly relieve without withdrawing their forces from Ægina, inasmuch as so many of their men were at the same time serving in Egypt. But the Athenians showed themselves equal to all these three exigencies at one and the same time,—to the great disappointment of their enemies. Myrônidês marched from Athens to Megara at the head of the citizens in the two extremes of military age, old and young; these being the only troops at home. He fought the Corinthians near the town, gaining a slight, but debatable advantage, which he commemorated by a trophy, as soon as the Corinthians had returned home. But the latter when they arrived at home, were[p. 324] so much reproached by their own old citizens, for not having vanquished the refuse of the Athenian military force,[624] that they returned back at the end of twelve days and erected a trophy on their side, laying claim to a victory in the past battle. The Athenians, marching out of Megara, attacked them a second time, and gained on this occasion a decisive victory. The defeated Corinthians were still more unfortunate in their retreat; for a body of them, missing their road, became entangled in a space of private ground, inclosed on every side by a deep ditch, and having only one narrow entrance. Myrônidês, detecting this fatal mistake, planted his hoplites at the entrance to prevent their escape, and then surrounded the enclosure with his light-armed troops, who, with their missile weapons, slew all the Corinthian hoplites, without possibility either of flight or resistance. The bulk of the Corinthian army effected their retreat, but the destruction of this detachment was a sad blow to the city.[625]

Splendid as the success of the Athenians had been during this year, both on land and at sea, it was easy for them to foresee that the power of their enemies would presently be augmented by the Lacedæmonians taking the field. Partly on this account,—partly also from the more energetic phase of democracy, and the long-sighted views of Periklês, which were now becoming ascendent in the city,—the Athenians began the stupendous undertaking of connecting Athens with the sea by means of long walls. The idea of this measure had doubtless been first suggested by the recent erection of long walls, though for so much smaller a distance, between Megara and Nisæa: for without such an intermediate stepping-stone, the idea of a wall forty stadia long (equal to four and a half miles) to join Athens with Peiræus, and another wall of thirty-five stadia (equal to about four miles) to join it with Phalêrum, would have appeared extravagant even[p. 325] to the sanguine temper of Athenians,—as it certainly would have seemed a few years earlier to Themistoklês himself. Coming as an immediate sequel of great recent victories, and while Ægina, the great Dorian naval power, was prostrate and under blockade, it excited the utmost alarm among the Peloponnesians,—being regarded as the second great stride,[626] at once conspicuous and of lasting effect, in Athenian ambition, next to the fortification of Peiræus. But besides this feeling in the bosom of enemies, the measure was also interwoven with the formidable contention of political parties then going on at Athens. Kimon had been recently ostracized; and the democratical movement pressed by Periklês and Ephialtês—of which more presently—was in its full tide of success, yet not without a violent and unprincipled opposition on the part of those who supported the existing constitution. Now, the long walls formed a part of the foreign policy of Periklês, continuing on a gigantic scale the plans of Themistoklês when he first schemed the Peiræus. They were framed to render Athens capable of carrying on war against any superiority of landed attack, and of bidding defiance to the united force of Peloponnesus. But though thus calculated for contingencies which a long-sighted man might see gathering in the distance, the new walls were, almost on the same grounds, obnoxious to a considerable number of Athenians: to the party recently headed by Kimon, who were attached to the Lacedæmonian connection, and desired above all things to maintain peace at home, reserving the energies of the state for anti-Persian enterprise: to many landed proprietors in Attica, whom they seemed to threaten with approaching invasion and destruction of their territorial possessions: to the rich men and aristocrats of Athens, averse to a still closer contact and amalgamation with the maritime multitude in Peiræus: lastly, perhaps, to a certain vein of old Attic feeling, which might look upon the junction of Athens with the separate demes of Peiræus and Phalêrum as effacing the special associations connected with the holy rock of[p. 326] Athênê. When, to all these grounds of opposition, we add, the expense and trouble of the undertaking itself, the interference with private property, the peculiar violence of party which happened then to be raging, and the absence of a large proportion of military citizens in Egypt,—we shall hardly be surprised to find that the projected long walls brought on a risk of the most serious character both for Athens and her democracy. If any farther proof were wanting of the vast importance of these long walls, in the eyes both of friends and of enemies, we might find it in the fact, that their destruction was the prominent mark of Athenian humiliation after the battle of Ægos Potamos, and their restoration the immediate boon of Pharnabazus and Konon after the victory of Knidus.

Under the influence of the alarm now spread by the proceedings of Athens, the Lacedæmonians were prevailed upon to undertake an expedition out of Peloponnesus, although the Helots in Ithômê were not yet reduced to surrender. Their force consisted of fifteen hundred troops of their own, and ten thousand of their various allies, under the regent Nikomêdês. The ostensible motive, or the pretence, for this march, was the protection of the little territory of Doris against the Phocians, who had recently invaded it and taken one of its three towns. The mere approach of so large a force immediately compelled the Phocians to relinquish their conquest, but it was soon seen that this was only a small part of the objects of Sparta, and that her main purposes, under instigation of the Corinthians, were directed against the aggrandizement of Athens. It could not escape the penetration of Corinth, that the Athenians might presently either enlist or constrain the towns of Bœotia into their alliance, as they had recently acquired Megara, in addition to their previous ally, Platæa: for the Bœotian federation was at this time much disorganized, and Thebes, its chief, had never recovered her ascendency since the discredit of her support lent to the Persian invasion. To strengthen Thebes, and to render her ascendency effective over the Bœotian cities, was the best way of providing a neighbor at once powerful and hostile to the Athenians, so as to prevent their farther aggrandizement by land: it was the same policy as Epaminondas pursued eighty years afterwards in organizing Arcadia and Messênê against Sparta. Accordingly, the[p. 327] Peloponnesian force was now employed partly in enlarging and strengthening the fortifications of Thebes herself, partly in constraining the other Bœotian cities into effective obedience to her supremacy: probably by placing their governments in the hands of citizens of known oligarchical politics,[627] and perhaps banishing suspected opponents. To this scheme the Thebans lent themselves with earnestness; promising to keep down for the future their border neighbors, so as to spare the necessity of armies coming from Sparta.[628]

But there was also a farther design, yet more important, in contemplation by the Spartans and Corinthians. The oligarchical opposition at Athens were so bitterly hostile to the Long Walls, to Periklês, and to the democratical movement, that several of them opened a secret negotiation with the Peloponnesian leaders, inviting them into Attica, and entreating their aid in an internal rising for the purpose not only of putting a stop to the Long Walls, but also of subverting the democracy. And the Peloponnesian army, while prosecuting its operations in Bœotia, waited in hopes of seeing the Athenian malcontents in arms, encamping at Tanagra, on the very borders of Attica, for the purpose of immediate coöperation with them. The juncture was undoubtedly one of much hazard for Athens, especially as the ostracized Kimon and his remaining friends in the city were suspected of being implicated in the conspiracy. But the Athenian leaders, aware of the Lacedæmonian operations in Bœotia, knew also what was meant by the presence of the army on their immediate borders, and took decisive measures to avert the danger. Having obtained a reinforcement of one thousand Argeians and some Thessalian horse, they marched out to Tanagra, with the full Athenian force then at home; which must, of course, have consisted chiefly of the old and the young, the same who had fought under Myrônidês at Megara; for the blockade of Ægina was still going on. Nor[p. 328] was it possible for the Lacedæmonian army to return into Peloponnesus without fighting; for the Athenians, masters of the Megarid, were in possession of the difficult highlands of Geraneia, the road of march along the isthmus; while the Athenian fleet, by means of the harbor of Pegæ, was prepared to intercept them, if they tried to come by sea across the Krissæan gulf, by which way it would appear that they had come out. Near Tanagra, a bloody battle took place between the two armies, wherein the Lacedæmonians were victorious, chiefly from the desertion of the Thessalian horse, who passed over to them in the very heat of the engagement.[629] But though the advantage was on their side, it was not sufficiently decisive to favor the contemplated rising in Attica: nor did the Peloponnesians gain anything by it, except an undisturbed retreat over the highlands of Geraneia, after having partially ravaged the Megarid.

Though the battle of Tanagra was a defeat, yet there were circumstances connected with it which rendered its effects highly beneficial to Athens. The ostracized Kimon presented himself on the field as soon as the army had passed over the boundaries of Attica, requesting to be allowed to occupy his station as an hoplite and to fight in the ranks of his tribe,—the Œnêis. But such was the belief, entertained by the members of the senate and by his political enemies present, that he was an accomplice in the conspiracy known to be on foot, that permission was refused and he was forced to retire. In departing, he conjured his personal friends, Euthippus, of the deme Anaphlystus, and others, to behave in such a manner as might wipe away the stain resting upon his fidelity, and in part also upon theirs. His friends retained his panoply, and assigned to it the station in the ranks which he would himself have occupied: they then entered the engagement with desperate resolution, and one hundred of them fell side by side in their ranks. Periklês, on his part, who was present among the hoplites of his own tribe, the Akamantis, aware of this application and repulse of Kimon, thought it incumbent upon him to display not merely his ordinary personal courage, but an unusual recklessness of life and safety, though it happened that he escaped unwounded. All these incidents brought about a generous sympathy and spirit of compromise[p. 329] among the contending parties at Athens, while the unshaken patriotism of Kimon and his friends discountenanced and disarmed those conspirators who had entered into correspondence with the enemy, at the same time that it roused a repentant admiration towards the ostracized leader himself. Such was the happy working of this new sentiment that a decree was shortly proposed and carried,—proposed too, by Periklês himself,—to abridge the ten years of Kimon’s ostracism, and permit his immediate return.[630] We may recollect that, under circumstances partly analogous, Themistoklês had himself proposed the restoration of his rival Aristeidês from ostracism, a little before the battle of Salamis:[631] and in both cases, the suspension of enmity between the two leaders was partly the sign, partly also the auxiliary cause, of reconciliation and renewed fraternity among the general body of citizens. It was a moment analogous to that salutary impulse of compromise, and harmony of parties, which followed the extinction of the oligarchy of Four Hundred, forty-six years afterwards, and on which Thucydidês dwells emphatically as the salvation of Athens in her distress,—a moment rare in free communities generally, not less than among the jealous competitors for political ascendency at Athens.[632]

[p. 330]So powerful was this burst of fresh patriotism and unanimity after the battle of Tanagra, which produced the recall of Kimon,[p. 331] and appears to have overlaid the preëxisting conspiracy, that the Athenians were quickly in a condition to wipe off the stain of their defeat. It was on the sixty-second day after the battle that they undertook an aggressive march under Myrônidês into Bœotia: the extreme precision of this date,—being the single case throughout the summary of events between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, wherein Thucydidês is thus precise, marks how strong an impression it made upon the memory of the Athenians. At the battle of Œnophyta, engaged against the aggregate Theban and Bœotian forces,—or, if Diodorus is to be trusted, in two battles, of which that of Œnophyta was the last, Myrônidês was completely victorious. The Athenians became masters of Thebes as well as of the remaining Bœotian towns; reversing all the arrangements recently made by Sparta,— establishing democratical governments,—and forcing the aristocratical leaders, favorable to Theban ascendency and Lacedæmonian connection, to become exiles. Nor was it only Bœotia which the Athenians thus acquired: Phocis and Lokris were both successively added to the list of their dependent allies,—the former being in the main friendly to Athens and not disinclined to the change, while the latter were so decidedly hostile that one hundred of their chiefs were detained and sent to Athens as hostages. The Athenians thus extended their influence,—maintained through internal party-management, backed by the dread of interference from without in case of need,—from the borders of the Corinthian territory, including both Megara and Pêgæ, to the strait of Thermopylæ.[633]

These important acquisitions were soon crowned by the completion of the Long Walls and the conquest of Ægina. That island, doubtless starved out by its protracted blockade, was forced to capitulate on condition of destroying its fortifications, surrendering all its ships of war, and submitting to annual tribute as a dependent ally of Athens. The reduction of this once powerful maritime city, marked Athens as mistress of the sea on the Peloponnesian coast not less than on the Ægean. Her admiral Tolmidês displayed her strength by sailing round Peloponnesus, and even by the insult of burning the Lacedæmonian ports[p. 332] of Methônê and of Gythium. He took Chalkis, a possession of the Corinthians, and Naupaktus belonging to the Ozolian Lokrians, near the mouth of the Corinthian gulf,—disembarked troops near Sikyon with some advantage in a battle against opponents from that town,—and either gained or forced into the Athenian alliance not only Zakynthus and Kephallênia, but also some of the towns of Achaia; for we afterwards find these latter attached to Athens without knowing when the connection began.[634]

During the ensuing year the Athenians renewed their attack upon Sikyon, with a force of one thousand hoplites under Periklês himself, sailing from the Megarian harbor of Pêgæ in the Krissæan gulf. This eminent man, however, gained no greater advantage than Tolmidês,—defeating the Sikyonian forces in the field and driving them within their walls: he afterwards made an expedition into Akarnania, taking the Achæan allies in addition to his own forces, but miscarried in his attack on Œniadæ and accomplished nothing. Nor were the Athenians more successful in a march undertaken this same year against Thessaly, for the purpose of restoring Orestes, one of the exiled princes or nobles of Pharsalus. Though they took with them an imposing force, including their Bœotian and Phocian allies, the powerful Thessalian cavalry forced them to keep in a compact body and confined them to the ground actually occupied by their hoplites; while all their attempts against the city failed, and their hopes of internal rising were disappointed.[635]

Had the Athenians succeeded in Thessaly, they would have acquired to their alliance nearly the whole of extra-Peloponnesian Greece: but even without Thessaly their power was prodigious, and had now attained a maximum height, from which it never varied except to decline. As a counterbalancing loss against so many successes, we have to reckon their ruinous defeat in Egypt, after a war of six years against the Persians (B. C. 460-455). At first, they had gained brilliant advantages, in conjunction with the insurgent prince Inarôs; expelling the Persians from all Memphis except the strongest part, called the White Fortress: and such was the alarm of the Persian king,[p. 333] Artaxerxes, at the presence of the Athenians in Egypt, that he sent Megabazus with a large sum of money to Sparta, in order to induce the Lacedæmonians to invade Attica. This envoy, however, failed, and an augmented Persian force being sent to Egypt under Megabyzus, son of Zopyrus,[636] drove the Athenians and their allies, after an obstinate struggle, out of Memphis into the island of the Nile called Prosôpîtis. Here they were blocked up for eighteen months, until at length Megabyzus turned the arm of the river, laid the channel dry, and stormed the island by land. A very few Athenians escaped by land to Kyrênê: the rest were either slain or made captive, and Inarôs himself was crucified. And the calamity of Athens was farther aggravated by the arrival of fifty fresh Athenian ships, which, coming after the defeat, but without being aware of it, sailed into the Mendesian branch of the Nile, and thus fell unawares into the power of the Persians and Phenicians; very few either of the ships or men escaping. The whole of Egypt became again subject to the Persians, except Amyrtæus, who contrived, by retiring into the inaccessible fens, still to maintain his independence. One of the largest armaments ever sent forth by Athens and her confederacy was thus utterly ruined.[637]

It was about the time of the destruction of the Athenian army in Egypt, and of the circumnavigation of Peloponnesus by Tolmidês, that the internal war, carried on by the Lacedæmonians, against the Helots or Messenians at Ithômê, ended. These besieged men, no longer able to stand out against a protracted blockade, were forced to abandon this last fortress of ancient Messenian independence, stipulating for a safe retreat from Peloponnesus with their wives and families, with the proviso, that if any one of them ever returned to Peloponnesus, he should become the slave of the first person who seized him. They were established by Tolmidês at Naupaktus, which had recently been[p. 334] taken by the Athenians from the Ozolian Lokrians,[638]—where they will be found rendering good service to Athens in the following wars.

After the victory of Tanagra, the Lacedæmonians made no farther expeditions out of Peloponnesus for several succeeding years, not even to prevent Bœotia and Phocis from being absorbed into the Athenian alliance. The reason of this remissness lay, partly, in their general character; partly, in the continuance of the siege of Ithômê, which occupied them at home; but still more, perhaps, in the fact that the Athenians, masters of the Megarid, were in occupation of the road over the highlands of Geraneia, and could therefore obstruct the march of any army out from Peloponnesus. Even after the surrender of Ithômê, the Lacedæmonians remained inactive for three years, after which time a formal truce was concluded with Athens by the Peloponnesians generally, for five years longer.[639] This truce was concluded in a great degree through the influence of Kimon,[640] who was eager to resume effective operations against the Persians; while it was not less suitable to the political interests of Periklês[p. 335] that his most distinguished rival should be absent on foreign service,[641] so as not to interfere with his influence at home. Accordingly, Kimon equipped a fleet of two hundred triremes, from Athens and her confederates, and set sail for Cyprus, from whence he despatched sixty ships to Egypt, at the request of the insurgent prince Amyrtæus, who was still maintaining himself against the Persians amidst the fens,—while with the remaining armament he laid siege to Kitium. In the prosecution of this siege, he died, either of disease or of a wound. The armament, under his successor, Anaxikrates, became so embarrassed for want of provisions that they abandoned the undertaking altogether, and went to fight the Phenician and Kilikian fleet near Salamis, in Cyprus. They were here victorious, first on sea, and afterwards on land, though probably not on the same day, as at the Eurymedon; after which they returned home, followed by the sixty ships which had gone to Egypt for the purpose of aiding Amyrtæus.[642]

From this time forward no farther operations were undertaken by Athens and her confederacy against the Persians. And it appears that a convention was concluded between them, whereby the Great King on his part promised two things: To leave free, undisturbed, and untaxed, the Asiatic maritime Greeks, not sending troops within a given distance of the coast: to refrain from sending any ships of war either westward of Phasêlis (others place the boundary at the Chelidonean islands, rather more to the westward) or within the Kyanean rocks at the confluence[p. 336] of the Thracian Bosphorus with the Euxine. On their side, the Athenians agreed to leave him in undisturbed possession of Cyprus and Egypt. Kallias, an Athenian of distinguished family, with some others of his countrymen, went up to Susa to negotiate this convention: and certain envoys from Argos, then in alliance with Athens, took the opportunity of going thither at the same time, to renew the friendly understanding which their city had established with Xerxes at the period of his invasion of Greece.[643]

As is generally the case with treaties after hostility,—this convention did little more than recognize the existing state of things, without introducing any new advantage or disadvantage on either side, or calling for any measures to be taken in consequence of it. We may hence assign a reasonable ground for the silence of Thucydidês, who does not even notice the convention as having been made: we are to recollect always that in the interval between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, he does not profess to do more than glance briefly at the main events. But the boastful and inaccurate authors of the ensuing century, orators, rhetors, and historians, indulged in so much exaggeration and untruth respecting this convention, both as to date and as to details,—and extolled as something so glorious the fact of[p. 337] having imposed such hard conditions on the Great King,—that they have raised a suspicion against themselves. Especially, they have occasioned critics to ask the very natural question, how this splendid achievement of Athens came to be left unnoticed by Thucydidês? Now the answer to such question is, that the treaty itself was really of no great moment: it is the state of facts and relations implied in the treaty, and existing substantially before it was concluded, which constitutes the real glory of Athens. But to the later writers, the treaty stood forth as the legible evidence of facts which in their time were passed and gone; while Thucydidês and his contemporaries, living in the actual fulness of the Athenian empire, would certainly not appeal to the treaty as an evidence, and might well pass it over, even as an event, when studying to condense the narrative. Though Thucydidês has not mentioned the treaty, he says nothing which disproves its reality, and much which is in full harmony with it. For we may show, even from him: 1. That all open and direct hostilities between Athens and Persia ceased, after the last-mentioned victories of the Athenians near Cyprus: that this island is renounced by Athens, not being included by Thucydidês in his catalogue of Athenian allies prior to the Peloponnesian war;[644] and that no farther aid is given by Athens to the revolted Amyrtæus in Egypt. 2. That down to the time when the Athenian power was prostrated by the ruinous failure at Syracuse, no tribute was collected by the Persian satraps in Asia Minor from the Greek cities on the coast, nor were Persian ships of war allowed to appear in the waters of the Ægean,[645] nor was the Persian king[p. 338] admitted to be sovereign of the country down to the coast. Granting, therefore, that we were even bound, from the silence of[p. 339] Thucydidês, to infer that no treaty was concluded, we should still be obliged also to infer, from his positive averments, that a state[p. 340] of historical fact, such as the treaty acknowledged and prescribed, became actually realized. But when we reflect farther, that Herodotus[646] certifies the visit of Kallias and other Athenian envoys to the court of Susa, we can assign no other explanation of such visit so probable as the reality of this treaty: certainly, no envoys would have gone thither during a state of recognized war; and though it may be advanced as possible that they may have gone with the view to conclude a treaty, and yet not have succeeded,—this would be straining the limits of possibility beyond what is reasonable.[647]

[p. 341]We may therefore believe in the reality of this treaty between Athens and Persia, improperly called the Kimonian treaty: im[p. 342]properly, since not only was it concluded after the death of Kimon, but the Athenian victories by which it was immediately brought on were gained after his death. Nay, more,—the probability is, that if Kimon had lived, it would not have been concluded at all; for his interest as well as his glory led him to prosecute the war against Persia, since he was no match for his rival Periklês, either as a statesman or as an orator, and could only maintain his popularity by the same means whereby he had earned it,—victories and plunder at the cost of the Persians. His death insured more complete ascendency to Periklês, whose policy and character were of a cast altogether opposite:[648] while even Thucydidês, son of Melêsias, who succeeded Kimon, his relation, as leader of the anti-Periklean party, was also a man of the senate and public assembly rather than of campaigns and conquests. Averse to distant enterprises and precarious acquisitions, Periklês was only anxious to maintain unimpaired the Hellenic ascendency of Athens, now at its very maximum: he was well aware that the undivided force and vigilance of Athens would not be too much for this object,—nor did they in fact prove sufficient, as we shall presently see. With such dispositions he was naturally glad to conclude a peace, which excluded the Persians from all the coasts of Asia Minor, westward of the Chelidoneans, as well as from all the waters of the Ægean, under the simple condition of renouncing on the part of Athens farther aggressions against Cyprus, Phenicia, Kilikia, and Egypt. The Great King on his side had had sufficient experience of Athenian energy to fear the consequences of such aggressions, if prosecuted; nor did he lose much by relinquishing formally a tribute which at the time he could have little hope of realizing, and which of course he intended to resume on the first favorable opportunity. Weighing all these circumstances, we shall find that the peace, improperly called Kimonian, results naturally from the position and feelings of the contracting parties.

[p. 343]Athens was now at peace both abroad and at home, under the administration of Periklês, with a great empire, a great fleet, and a great accumulated treasure. The common fund collected from the contributions of the confederates, and originally deposited at Delos, had before this time been transferred to the acropolis at Athens. At what precise time this transfer took place, we cannot state: nor are we enabled to assign the successive stages whereby the confederacy, chiefly with the freewill of its own members, became transformed from a body of armed and active warriors under the guidance of Athens, into disarmed and passive tribute-payers, defended by the military force of Athens,—from allies free, meeting at Delos, and self-determining, into subjects isolated, sending their annual tribute, and awaiting Athenian orders. But it would appear that the change had been made before this time: some of the more resolute of the allies had tried to secede, but Athens had coerced them by force, and reduced them to the condition of tribute-payers, without ships or defence; and Chios, Lesbos, and Samos were now the only allies free and armed on the original footing. Every successive change of an armed ally into a tributary,—every subjugation of a seceder,—tended of course to cut down the numbers, and enfeeble the authority, of the Delian synod; and, what was still worse, it altered the reciprocal relation and feelings both of Athens and her allies,—exalting the former into something like a despot, and degrading the latter into mere passive subjects.

Of course, the palpable manifestation of the change must have been the transfer of the confederate fund from Delos to Athens. The only circumstance which we know respecting this transfer is, that it was proposed by the Samians,[649]—the second power in the confederacy, inferior only to Athens, and least of all likely to favor any job or sinister purpose of the Athenians. It is farther said that, when the Samians proposed it, Aristeidês characterized it as a motion unjust, but useful: we may well doubt, however, whether it was made during his lifetime. When the synod at Delos ceased to be so fully attended as to command respect,—when war was lighted up, not only with Persia, but with Ægina and Peloponnesus,—the Samians might not unnat[p. 344]urally feel that the large accumulated fund, with its constant annual accessions, would be safer at Athens than at Delos, which latter island would require a permanent garrison and squadron to insure it against attack. But whatever may have been the grounds on which the Samians proceeded, when we find them coming forward to propose the transfer, we may reasonably infer that it was not displeasing, and did not appear unjust, to the larger members of the confederacy,—and that it was no high-handed and arbitrary exercise of power, as it is often called, on the part of Athens.

After the conclusion of the war with Ægina, and the consequences of the battle of Œnophyta, the position of Athens became altered more and more. She acquired a large catalogue of new allies, partly tributary, like Ægina,—partly in the same relation as Chios, Lesbos, and Samos; that is, obliged only to a conformity of foreign policy and to military service. In this last category were Megara, the Bœotian cities, the Phocians, Lokrians, etc. All these, though allies of Athens, were strangers to Delos and the confederacy against Persia; and accordingly, that confederacy passed insensibly into a matter of history, giving place to the new conception of imperial Athens, with her extensive list of allies, partly free, partly subject. Such transition, arising spontaneously out of the character and circumstances of the confederates themselves, was thus materially forwarded by the acquisitions of Athens extraneous to the confederacy. She was now not merely the first maritime state of Greece, but perhaps equal to Sparta even in land-power,—possessing in her alliance Megara, Bœotia, Phocis, Lokris, together with Achæa and Trœzen, in Peloponnesus. Large as this aggregate already was, both at sea and on land, yet the magnitude of the annual tribute, and still more the character of the Athenians themselves, superior to all Greeks in that combination of energy and discipline which is the grand cause of progress, threatened still farther increase. Occupying the Megarian harbor of Pêgæ, the Athenians had full means of naval action on both sides of the Corinthian isthmus: but, what was of still greater importance to them, by their possession of the Megarid, and of the highlands of Geraneia, they could restrain any land-force from marching out of Peloponnesus, and were thus, considering besides their mas[p. 345]tery at sea, completely unassailable in Attica. Ever since the repulse of Xerxes, Athens had been advancing in an uninterrupted course of power and prosperity at home, as well as of victory and ascendency abroad,—to which there was no exception, except the ruinous enterprise in Egypt. Looking at the position of Greece, therefore, about 448 B. C.,—after the conclusion of the five years’ truce between the Peloponnesians and Athens, and of the so-called Kimonian peace between Persia and Athens,—a discerning Greek might well calculate upon farther aggrandizement of this imperial state as the tendency of the age; and accustomed as every Greek was to the conception of separate town-autonomy as essential to a freeman and a citizen, such prospect could not but inspire terror and aversion. The sympathy of the Peloponnesians for the islanders and ultra-maritime states, who constituted the original confederacy of Athens, was not considerable; but when the Dorian island of Ægina was subjugated also, and passed into the condition of a defenceless tributary, they felt the blow sorely on every ground. The ancient celebrity and eminent service rendered at the battle of Salamis, of this memorable island, had not been able to protect it; while those great Æginetan families, whose victories at the sacred festival-games Pindar celebrates in a large proportion of his odes, would spread the language of complaint and indignation throughout their numerous “guests” in every Hellenic city. Of course, the same anti-Athenian feeling would pervade those Peloponnesian states who had been engaged in actual hostility with Athens,—Corinth, Sikyon, Epidaurus, etc., as well as Sparta, the once-recognized head of Hellas, but now tacitly degraded from her preëminence, baffled in her projects respecting Bœotia, and exposed to the burning of her port at Gythium, without being able even to retaliate upon Attica. Putting all those circumstances together, we may comprehend the powerful feeling of dislike and apprehension now diffused so widely over Greece against the upstart despot city; whose ascendency, newly acquired, maintained by superior force, and not recognized as legitimate,—threatened, nevertheless, still farther increase. Sixteen years hence, this same sentiment will be found exploding into the Peloponnesian war; but it became rooted in the Greek mind during the period which we have now reached, when[p. 346] Athens was much more formidable than she had come to be at the commencement of that war: nor shall we thoroughly appreciate the ideas of that later period, unless we take them as handed down from the earlier date of the five years’ truce, about 451-446 B. C.

Formidable as the Athenian empire both really was and appeared to be, however, this wide-spread feeling of antipathy proved still stronger, so that, instead of the threatened increase, the empire underwent a most material diminution. This did not arise from the attack of open enemies; for during the five years’ truce, Sparta undertook only one movement, and that not against Attica: she sent troops to Delphi, in an expedition dignified with the name of the Sacred War,—expelled the Phocians, who had assumed to themselves the management of the temple,—and restored it to the native Delphians. To this the Athenians made no direct opposition: but as soon as the Lacedæmonians were gone, they themselves marched thither and placed the temple again in the hands of the Phocians, who were then their allies.[650] The Delphians were members of the Phocian league, and there was a dispute of old standing as to the administration of the temple,—whether it belonged to them separately or to the Phocians collectively. The favor of those who administered it counted as an element of considerable moment in Grecian politics; the sympathies of the leading Delphians led them to embrace the side of Sparta, but the Athenians now hoped to counteract this tendency by means of their preponderance in Phocis. We are not told that the Lacedæmonians took any ulterior step in consequence of their views being frustrated by Athens,—a significant evidence of the politics of that day.

The blow which brought down the Athenian empire from this its greatest exaltation, was struck by the subjects themselves. The Athenian ascendency over Bœotia, Phocis, Lokris, and Eubœa, was maintained, not by means of garrisons, but through domestic parties favorable to Athens, and a suitable form of government; just in the same way as Sparta maintained her influence over her[p. 347] Peloponnesian allies.[651] After the victory of Œnophyta, the Athenians had broken up the governments in the Bœotian cities established by Sparta before the battle of Tanagra, and converted them into democracies at Thebes and elsewhere. Many of the previous leading men had thus been sent into exile: and as the same process had taken place in Phocis and Lokris, there was at this time a considerable aggregate body of exiles, Bœotian, Phocian, Lokrian, Eubœan, Æginetan, etc., all bitterly hostile to Athens, and ready to join in any attack upon her power. We learn farther that the democracy,[652] established at Thebes after the battle of Œnophyta, was ill-conducted and disorderly: which circumstances laid open Bœotia still farther to the schemes of assailants on the watch for every weak point. These various exiles, all joining their forces and concerting measures with their partisans in the interior, succeeded in mastering Orchomenus, Chæroneia, and some other less important places in Bœotia. The Athenian general, Tolmidês, marched to expel them, with one thousand Athenian hoplites and an auxiliary body of allies. It appears that this march was undertaken in haste and rashness: the hoplites of Tolmidês, principally youthful volunteers, and belonging to the best families of Athens, disdained the enemy too much to await a larger and more commanding force: nor would the people listen even to Periklês, when he admonished them that the march would be full of hazard, and adjured them not to attempt it without greater numbers as well as greater caution.[653] Fatally, indeed, were his predictions justified. Though Tolmidês was successful in his first enterprise,—the recapture of Chæroneia, wherein he placed a garrison,—yet in his march, probably[p. 348] incautious and disorderly, when departing from that place, he was surprised and attacked unawares, near Korôneia, by the united body of exiles and their partisans. No defeat in Grecian history was ever more complete or ruinous. Tolmidês himself was slain, together with many of the Athenian hoplites, while a large number of them were taken prisoners. In order to recover these prisoners, who belonged to the best families in the city, the Athenians submitted to a convention whereby they agreed to evacuate Bœotia altogether: in all the cities of that country, the exiles were restored, the democratical government overthrown, and Bœotia was transformed from an ally of Athens into her bitter enemy.[654] Long, indeed, did the fatal issue of this action dwell in the memory of the Athenians,[655] and inspire them with an apprehension of Bœotian superiority in heavy armor on land: but if the hoplites under Tolmidês had been all slain on the field, their death would probably have been avenged and Bœotia would not have been lost,—whereas, in the case of living citizens, the Athenians deemed no sacrifice too great to redeem them. We shall discover hereafter in the Lacedæmonians a feeling very similar, respecting their brethren captured at Sphakteria.

The calamitous consequences of this defeat came upon Athens in thick and rapid succession. The united exiles, having carried their point in Bœotia, proceeded to expel the philo-Athenian government both from Phocis and Lokris, and to carry the flame of revolt into Eubœa. To this important island Periklês himself proceeded forthwith, at the head of a powerful force; but before he had time to complete the reconquest, he was summoned home by news of a still more formidable character. The Megarians had revolted from Athens: by a conspiracy previously planned, a division of hoplites from Corinth, Sikyon, and Epidaurus, was already admitted as garrison into their city: the Athenian soldiers who kept watch over the Long Walls had been overpowered and slain, except a few who escaped into the fortified port of Nisæa. As if to make the Athenians at once sensible how seriously this[p. 349] disaster affected them, by throwing open the road over Geraneia,—Pleistoanax, king of Sparta, was announced as already on his march for an invasion of Attica. He did, in truth, conduct an army, of mixed Lacedæmonians and Peloponnesian allies, into Attica, as far as the neighborhood of Eleusis and the Thriasian plain. He was a very young man, so that a Spartan of mature years, Kleandridês, had been attached to him by the ephors as adjutant and counsellor. Periklês, it is said, persuaded both the one and the other, by means of large bribes, to evacuate Attica without advancing to Athens. We may well doubt whether they had force enough to adventure so far into the interior, and we shall hereafter observe the great precautions with which Archidamus thought it necessary to conduct his invasion, during the first year of the Peloponnesian war, though at the head of a more commanding force. Nevertheless, on their return, the Lacedæmonians, believing that they might have achieved it, found both of them guilty of corruption. Both were banished: Kleandridês never came back, and Pleistoanax himself lived for a long time in sanctuary near the temple of Athênê, at Tegea, until at length he procured his restoration by tampering with the Pythian priestess, and by bringing her bought admonitions to act upon the authorities at Sparta.[656]

So soon as the Lacedæmonians had retired from Attica, Periklês returned with his forces to Eubœa, and reconquered the island completely. With that caution which always distinguished him as a military man, so opposite to the fatal rashness of Tolmidês, he took with him an overwhelming force of fifty triremes and five thousand hoplites. He admitted most of the Eubœan towns to surrender, altering the government of Chalkis by the expulsion of the wealthy oligarchy called the Hippobotæ; but the inhabitants of Histiæa, at the north of the island, who had taken an Athenian merchantman and massacred all the crew, were more severely dealt with,—the free population being all or in great part expelled, and the land distributed among Athenian kleruchs, or out-settled citizens.[657]

[p. 350]But the reconquest of Eubœa was far from restoring Athens to the position which she had occupied before the fatal engagement of Korôneia. Her land empire was irretrievably gone, together with her recently acquired influence over the Delphian oracle; and she reverted to her former condition of an exclusively maritime potentate. For though she still continued to hold Nisæa and Pegæ, yet her communication with the latter harbor was now out off by the loss of Megara and its appertaining territory, so that she thus lost her means of acting in the Corinthian gulf, and of protecting as well as of constraining her allies in Achaia. Nor was the port of Nisæa of much value to her, disconnected from the city to which it belonged, except as a post for annoying that city. Moreover, the precarious hold which she possessed over unwilling allies had been demonstrated in a manner likely to encourage similar attempts among her maritime subjects,—attempts which would now be seconded by Peloponnesian armies invading Attica. The fear of such a combination of embarrassments, and especially of an irresistible enemy carrying ruin over the flourishing territory round Eleusis and Athens, was at this moment predominant in the Athenian mind. We shall find Periklês, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, fourteen years afterwards, exhausting all his persuasive force, and not succeeding without great difficulty, in prevailing upon his countrymen to endure the hardship of invasion,—even in defence of their maritime empire, and when events had been gradually so ripening as to render the prospect of war familiar, if not inevitable. But the late series of misfortunes had burst upon them so rapidly and unexpectedly, as to discourage even Athenian confidence, and to render the prospect of continued war full of gloom and danger. The prudence of Periklês would doubtless counsel the surrender of their remaining landed possessions or alliances, which had now become unprofitable, in order to purchase peace; but we may be sure that nothing short of extreme temporary despondency could have induced the Athenian assembly to listen to such advice, and to accept the inglorious peace which followed. A truce for thirty years was concluded with Sparta and her allies, in the beginning of 445 B. C., whereby Athens surrendered Nisæa, Pegæ, Achaia, and Trœzen,[p. 351]—thus abandoning Peloponnesus altogether,[658] and leaving the Megarians—with their full territory and their two ports—to be included among the Peloponnesian allies of Sparta.

It was to the Megarians, especially, that the altered position of Athens after this truce was owing: it was their secession from Attica and junction with the Peloponnesians, which laid open Attica to invasion. Hence, arose the deadly hatred on the part of the Athenians towards Megara, manifested during the ensuing years,—a sentiment the more natural, as Megara had spontaneously sought the alliance of Athens a few years before as a protection against the Corinthians, and had then afterwards, without any known ill-usage on the part of Athens, broken off from the alli[p. 352]ance and become her enemy, with the fatal consequence of rendering her vulnerable on the land-side. Under such circumstances we shall not be surprised to find the antipathy of the Athenians against Megara strongly pronounced, insomuch that the system of exclusion which they adopted against her was among the most prominent causes of the Peloponnesian war.

Having traced what we may call the foreign relations of Athens down to this thirty years’ truce, we must notice the important internal and constitutional changes which she had experienced during the same interval.


The period which we have now passed over appears to have been that in which the democratical cast of Athenian public life was first brought into its fullest play and development, as to judicature, legislation, and administration.

The great judicial change was made by the methodical distribution of a large proportion of the citizens into distinct judicial divisions, by the great extension of their direct agency in that department, and by the assignment of a constant pay to every citizen so engaged. It has been already mentioned that even under the democracy of Kleisthenês, and until the time succeeding the battle of Platæa, large powers still remained vested both in the individual archons and in the senate of Areopagus: which latter was composed exclusively of the past archons after their year of office, sitting in it for life,—though the check exercised by the general body of citizens, assembled for law-making in the ekklesia, and for judging in the heliæa, was at the same time[p. 353] materially increased. We must farther recollect, that the distinction between powers administrative and judicial, so highly valued among the more elaborate governments of modern Europe, since the political speculations of the last century, was in the early history of Athens almost unknown. Like the Roman kings,[659] and the Roman consuls before the appointment of the prætor, the Athenian archons not only administered, but also exercised jurisdiction, voluntary as well as contentious,—decided disputes, inquired into crimes, and inflicted punishment. Of the same mixed nature were the functions of the senate of Areopagus, and even of the annual senate of Five Hundred, the creation of Kleisthenês. The stratêgi, too, as well as the archons, had doubtless the double competence—in reference to military, naval, and foreign affairs—of issuing orders and of punishing by their[p. 354] own authority, disobedient parties: the imperium of the magistrates, generally, enabled them to enforce their own mandates as well as to decide in cases of doubt whether any private citizen had or had not been guilty of infringement. Nor was there any appeal from these magisterial judgments; though the magistrates were subject, under the Kleisthenean constitution, to personal responsibility for their general behavior, before the people judicially assembled, at the expiration of their year of office,—and to the farther animadversion of the ekklesia, or public deliberative assembly, meeting periodically during the course of that year: in some of which ekklesiæ, the question might formally be raised for deposing any magistrate, even before his year was expired.[660] Still, in spite of such partial checks, the accumulation, in the same hand, of powers to administer, judge, punish, and decide civil disputes, without any other canon than the few laws then existing, and without any appeal,—must have been painfully felt, and must have often led to corrupt, arbitrary, and oppressive dealing: and if this be true of individual magistrates, exposed to annual accountability, it is not likely to have been less true of the senate of Areopagus, which, acting collectively, could hardly be rendered accountable, and in which the members sat for life.[661]

I have already mentioned that shortly after the return of the expatriated Athenians from Salamis, Aristeidês had been impelled, by the strong democratical sentiment which he found among his countrymen, to propose the abolition of all pecuniary qualification for magistracies, so as to render every citizen legally eligible. This innovation, however, was chiefly valuable as a victory[p. 355] and as an index of the predominant sentiment: notwithstanding the enlarged promise of eligibility, little change probably took place in the fact, and rich men were still most commonly chosen. Hence the magistrates, possessing the large powers administrative and judicial above described,—and still more the senate of Areopagus, which sat for life,—still belonging almost entirely to the wealthier class, remained animated more or less with the same oligarchical interest and sympathies, which manifested themselves in the abuse of authority. At the same time the democratical sentiment among the mass of Athenians went on steadily increasing from the time of Aristeidês to that of Periklês: Athens became more and more maritime, the population of Peiræus augmented in number as well as in importance, and the spirit even of the poorest citizen was stimulated by that collective aggrandizement of his city to which he himself individually contributed. Before twenty years had elapsed, reckoning from the battle of Platæa, this new fervor of democratical sentiment made itself felt in the political contests of Athens, and found able champions in Periklês and Ephialtês, rivals of what may be called the conservative party, headed by Kimon.

We have no positive information that it was Periklês who introduced the lot, in place of election, for the choice of archons and various other magistrates, but the change must have been introduced nearly at this time, and with a view of equalizing the chances of office to every candidate, poor as well as rich, who chose to give in his name, and who fulfilled certain personal and family conditions ascertained in the dokimasy, or preliminary examination. But it was certainly to Periklês and Ephialtês that Athens owed the elaborate constitution of her popular dikasteries, or jury courts regularly paid, which exercised so important an influence upon the character of the citizens. These two eminent men deprived both the magistrates and the senate of Areopagus of all the judicial and penal competence which they had hitherto possessed, save and except the power of imposing a small fine. This judicial power, civil as well as criminal, was transferred to numerous dikasts, or panels of jurors selected from the citizens; six thousand of whom were annually drawn by lot and sworn, and then distributed into ten panels of five hundred each, the remainder forming a supplement in case of[p. 356] vacancies. The magistrate, instead of deciding causes, or inflicting punishment by his own authority, was now constrained to impanel a jury,—that is, to submit each particular case, which might call for a penalty greater than the small fine to which he was competent, to the judgment of one or other among these numerous popular dikasteries. Which of the ten he should take, was determined by lot, so that no one knew beforehand what dikastery would try any particular cause: he himself presided over it during the trial, and submitted to it the question at issue, with the results of his own preliminary examination, in addition to the speeches of accuser and accused, with the statements of their witnesses. So also the civil judicature, which had before been exercised in controversies between man and man by the archons, was withdrawn from them and transferred to these dikasteries under the presidence of an archon. It is to be remarked, that the system of reference to arbitration for private causes[662] was extensively applied at Athens: a certain number of public arbitrators were[p. 357] annually appointed, to one of whom—or to some other citizen adopted by mutual consent of the parties—all private disputes were submitted in the first instance. If dissatisfied with the decision, either party might afterwards carry the matter before the dikastery: but it appears that in many cases the decision of the arbitrator was acquiesced in without this ultimate resort.

I do not here mean to affirm that there never was any trial by the people before the time of Periklês and Ephialtês: I doubt not that, before their time, the numerous judicial assembly called Heliæa, pronounced upon charges against accountable magistrates as well as upon various other accusations of public importance; and perhaps in some cases, separate bodies of them may have been drawn by lot for particular trials. But it is not the less true, that the systematic distribution and constant employment of the numerous dikasts of Athens cannot have begun before the age of these two statesmen, since it was only then that the practice of paying them began: for so large a sacrifice of time on the part of poor men, wherein M. Boëckh states,[663] doubtless in very exaggerated language, that “nearly one-third of the citizens sat as judges every day,” cannot be conceived without an assured remuneration. From and after the time of Periklês, these dikasteries were the exclusive assemblies for trial of all causes, civil as well as criminal, with some special exceptions, such as cases of homicide and a few others: but before his time, the greater number of these causes had been adjudged either by individual magistrates or by the senate of Areopagus. We may therefore conceive how great and important was the revolution wrought by that statesman, when he first organized these dikastic assemblies into systematic action, and transferred to them nearly all the judicial power which had before been exercised by magistrates and sen[p. 358]ate. The position and influence of these latter became radically altered: the most commanding functions of the archon were abrogated, and he retained only the power of receiving complaints, inquiring into them, exercising some small preliminary interference with the parties for the furtherance of the cause or accusation, fixing the day for trial, and presiding over the dikastic assembly, by whom peremptory verdict was pronounced. His administrative functions remained unaltered, but his powers, inquisitorial and determining, as a judge, passed away.[664]

In reference to the senate of Areopagus also, the changes introduced were not less considerable. That senate, anterior to the democracy in point of date, and standing alone in the enjoyment of a life-tenure, appears to have exercised an undefined and extensive control which long continuance had gradually consecrated. It was invested with a kind of religious respect, and believed to possess mysterious traditions emanating from a divine source:[665] especially, the cognizance which it took of intentional[p. 359] homicide was a part of old Attic religion not less than of judicature. Though put in the background for a time, after the expulsion of the Peisistratids, it had gradually recovered itself when recruited by the new archons under the Kleisthenean constitution; and during the calamitous sufferings of the Persian invasion, its forwardness and patriotism had been so highly appreciated as to procure for it an increased sphere of ascendency. Trials for homicide were only a small part of its attributions: it exercised judicial competence in many other cases besides, and what was of still greater moment, it maintained a sort of censorial police over the lives and habits of the citizens,—it professed to enforce a tutelary and paternal discipline, beyond that which the strict letter of the law could mark out, over the indolent, the prodigal, the undutiful, and the deserters from old rite and custom. To crown all, the senate of Areopagus also exercised a supervision over the public assembly, taking care that none of the proceedings of those meetings should be such as to infringe the established laws of the country. These were powers immense as well as undefined, not derived from any formal grant of the people, but having their source in immemorial antiquity, and sustained by general awe and reverence: when we read the serious expressions of this sentiment in the mouths of the later orators,—Demosthenês, Æschinês, or Deinarchus,—we shall comprehend how strong it must have been a century and a half before them, at the period of the Persian invasion. Isokratês, in his Discourse usually called Areopagiticus, written a century and a quarter after that invasion, draws a picture of what the senate of Areopagus had been while its competence was yet undiminished, and ascribes to it a power of interference little short of paternal despotism, which he asserts to have been most salutary and improving in its effect. That the picture of this rhetor is inaccurate,[p. 360]—and to a great degree indeed ideal, insinuating his own recommendations under the color of past realities,—is sufficiently obvious: but it enables us to presume generally, the extensive regulating power of the senate of Areopagus, in affairs both public and private, at the time which we are now describing.

Such powers were pretty sure to be abused, and when we learn that the Spartan senate[666] was lamentably open to bribery, we can hardly presume much better of the life-sitting elders at Athens. But even if their powers had been guided by all that beneficence of intention which Isokratês affirms, they were in their nature such as could only be exercised over a passive and stationary people: and the course of events at Athens, at that time peculiarly, presented conditions altogether the reverse. During the pressure of the Persian invasion, indeed, the senate of Areopagus had been armed with more than ordinary authority, which it had employed so creditably as to strengthen its influence, and tighten its supervision during the period immediately following: but that same trial had also called forth in the general body of the citizens a fresh burst of democratical sentiment, and an augmented consciousness of force, both individual and national. Here then were two forces, not only distinct but opposite and conflicting, both put into increased action at the same time.[667] Nor was this all: a novel cast was just then given to Athenian life and public habits by many different circumstances,—the enlargement of the city, the creation of the fortified port and new town of Peiræus, the introduction of an increased nautical population, the active duties of Athens as head[p. 361] of the Delian confederacy, etc. All these circumstances tended to open new veins of hope and feeling, and new lines of action, in the Athenians between 480-460 B. C., and by consequence to render the interference of the senate of Areopagus, essentially old-fashioned and conservative as it was, more and more difficult. But at the very time when prudence would have counselled that it should have been relaxed or modified, the senate appear to have rendered it stricter, or at least to have tried to do so: which could not fail to raise against them a considerable body of enemies. Not merely the democratical innovators, but also the representatives of new interests generally at Athens, became opposed to the senate as an organ of vexatious repression, employed for oligarchical purposes.[668]

From the character of the senate of Areopagus, and the ancient reverence with which it was surrounded, it served naturally as a centre of action to the oligarchical or conservative party,—that party which desired to preserve the Kleisthenean constitution unaltered, with undiminished authority, administrative as well as judicial, both to individual magistrates and to the collective Areopagus. Of this sentiment, at the time of which we are now speaking, Kimon was the most conspicuous leader, and his brilliant victories at the Eurymedon, as well as his exploits in other warlike enterprises, doubtless strengthened very much his political influence at home. The same party also probably included the large majority of rich and old families at Athens; who, so long as the magistracies were elected and not chosen by lot, usually got themselves chosen, and had every interest in keeping the power of such offices as high as they could. Moreover, the party was farther strengthened by the pronounced support of Sparta, imparted chiefly through Kimon, proxenus of Sparta at Athens. Of course, such aid could only have been indirect, yet it appears to have been of no inconsiderable moment,—for when we consider that Ægina had been in ancient[p. 362] feud with Athens, and Corinth in a temper more hostile than friendly, the good feeling of the Lacedæmonians might well appear to Athenian citizens eminently desirable to preserve: and the philo-Laconian character of the leading men at Athens contributed to disarm the jealousy of Sparta during that critical period while the Athenian maritime ascendency was in progress.[669]

The political opposition between Periklês and Kimon was hereditary, since Xanthippus, the father of the former, had been the accuser of Miltiadês, the father of the latter. Both were of the first families in the city, and this, combined with the military talents of Kimon, and the great statesmanlike superiority of Periklês, placed both the one and the other at the head of the two political parties which divided Athens. Periklês must have begun his political career very young, since he maintained a position first of great influence, and afterwards of unparalleled moral and political ascendency, for the long period of forty years, against distinguished rivals, bitter assailants, and unscrupulous libellers (about 467-428 B. C.) His public life began about the time when Themistoklês was ostracized, and when Aristeidês was passing off the stage, and he soon displayed a character which combined the pecuniary probity of the one with the resource and large views of the other; superadding to both a discretion and mastery of temper never disturbed,—an excellent musical and lettered education received from Pythokleidês,—an eloquence such as no one before had either heard or conceived,—and the best philosophy which the age afforded. His military duties as a youthful citizen were faithfully and strenuously performed, but he was timid in his first political approaches to the people,—a fact perfectly in unison with the caution of his temperament, but which some of his biographers[670] explained by saying that he was afraid of being ostracized, and that his countenance resembled that of the despot Peisistratus. We may be pretty sure, however, that this personal resemblance, like the wonderful dream ascribed to his mother[671] when pregnant of him, was an after-thought of enemies, when his ascendency was already[p. 363] established,—and that young beginners were in little danger of ostracism. The complexion of political parties in Athens had greatly changed since the days of Themistoklês and Aristeidês; for the Kleisthenean constitution, though enlarged by the latter after the return from Salamis to the extent of making all citizens without exception eligible for magistracy, had become unpopular with the poorer citizens, and to the keener democratical feeling which now ran through Athens and Peiræus.

It was to this democratical party,—the party of movement against that of resistance, or of reformers against conservatives, if we are to employ modern phraseology,—that Periklês devoted his great rank, character, and abilities. From the low arts which it is common to ascribe to one who espouses the political interests of the poor against the rich, he was remarkably exempt: he was indefatigable in his attention to public business, but he went little into society, and disregarded almost to excess the airs of popularity: his eloquence was irresistibly impressive, yet he was by no means prodigal of it, taking care to reserve himself, like the Salaminian trireme, for solemn occasions, and preferring for the most part to employ the agency of friends and partisans:[672] moreover, he imbibed from his friend and teacher Anaxagoras, a tinge of physical philosophy, which greatly strengthened his mind,[673] and armed him against many of the reigning superstitions,— but which at the same time tended to rob him of the sympathy of the vulgar, rich as well as poor. The arts of demagogy were in fact much more cultivated by the oligarchical Kimon, whose open-hearted familiarity of manner was extolled, by his personal friend the poet Ion, in contrast with the reserved and stately demeanor of his rival Periklês. Kimon employed the rich plunder, procured by his maritime expeditions, in public decorations as well as in largesses to the poorer citizens,—throwing open his fields and fruits to all the inhabitants of his deme, and causing himself to be attended in public by well-dressed slaves, directed to tender their warm tunics in exchange for the threadbare garments of those who seemed in want; while the property of[p. 364] Periklês was administered with a strict, though benevolent economy, by his ancient steward Evangelus,—the produce of his lands being all sold, and the consumption of his house supplied by purchase in the market.[674] It was by such regularity that his perfect and manifest independence of all pecuniary seduction was sustained. In taste, in talent, and in character, Kimon was the very opposite of Perikles,—a brave and efficient commander, a lavish distributor, a man of convivial and amorous habits, but incapable of sustained attention to business, untaught in music or letters, and endued with Laconian aversion to rhetoric and philosophy; while the ascendency of Periklês was founded on his admirable combination of civil qualities,—probity, firmness, diligence, judgment, eloquence, and power of guiding partisans. As a military commander, though noway deficient in personal courage, he rarely courted distinction, and was principally famous for his care of the lives of the citizens, discountenancing all rash or distant enterprises: his private habits were sober and recluse,—his chief conversation was with Anaxagoras, Protagoras,[675] Zeno, the musician Damon, and other philosophers,—while the tenderest domestic attachment bound him to the engaging and cultivated Aspasia.

Such were the two men who stood forward at this time as most conspicuous in Athenian party-contest,—the expanding democracy against the stationary democracy of the past generation, which now passed by the name of oligarchy,—the ambitious and talkative energy spread even among the poor population, which was now forming more and more the characteristic of Athens, against the unlettered and uninquiring valor of the conquerors of Marathon.[676] Ephialtês, son of Sophônidês, was at this time the leading auxiliary, seemingly indeed the equal of Periklês, and no way inferior to him in personal probity, though he was a poor man:[677] as to aggressive political warfare, he was even more active[p. 365] than Periklês, who appears throughout his long public life to have manifested but little bitterness against political enemies. Unfortunately, our scanty knowledge of the history of Athens brings before us only some general causes and a few marked facts: the details and the particular persons concerned are not within our sight: yet the actual course of political events depends everywhere mainly upon these details, as well as upon the general causes. Before Ephialtês advanced his main proposition for abridging the competence of the senate of Areopagus, he appears to have been strenuous in repressing the practical abuse of magisterial authority, by accusations brought against the magistrates at the period of their regular accountability. After repeated efforts to check the practical abuse of these magisterial powers,[678] Ephialtês and Periklês were at last conducted to the proposition of cutting them down permanently, and introducing an altered system.

We are not surprised to find that such proceedings provoked extreme bitterness of party-feeling, and it is probable that this temper may have partly dictated the accusation preferred against Kimon, about 463 B. C., after the surrender of Thasos, for alleged reception of bribes from the Macedonian prince Alexander,—an accusation of which he was acquitted. At this time the oligarchical or Kimonian party was decidedly the most powerful: and when the question was proposed for sending troops to aid the Lacedæmonians in reducing the revolted Helots on Ithômê, Kimon carried the people along with him to comply, by an appeal to their generous feelings, in spite of the strenuous opposition of Ephialtês.[679] But when Kimon and the Athenian hoplites returned home, having been dismissed by Sparta under circumstances of insulting suspicion, as has been mentioned in the preceding chapter, the indignation of the citizens was extreme: they renounced their alliance with Sparta, and entered into amity with Argos. Of course the influence of Kimon, and the position of the oligarchi[p. 366]cal party, was materially changed by this incident: and in the existing bitterness of political parties, it is not surprising that his opponents should take the opportunity for proposing, soon afterwards, a vote of ostracism,[680]—a challenge, indeed, which may, perhaps, have been accepted not unwillingly by Kimon and his party, since they might still fancy themselves the strongest, and suppose that the sentence of banishment would fall upon Ephialtês or Periklês. However, the vote ended in the expulsion of Kimon, a sure proof that his opponents were now in the ascendent. On this occasion, as on the preceding, we see the ostracism invoked to meet a period of intense political conflict, the violence of which it would at least abate, by removing for the time one of the contending leaders.

It was now that Periklês and Ephialtês carried their important scheme of judicial reform. The senate of Areopagus was deprived of its discretionary censorial power, as well as of all its judicial competence except that which related to homicide. The individual magistrates, as well as the senate of Five Hundred, were also stripped of their judicial attributes, except the power of imposing a small fine,[681] which were transferred to the newly created panels of salaried dikasts, lotted off in ten divisions from the aggregate heliæa. Ephialtês[682] first brought down the laws of Solon from the acropolis to the neighborhood of the marketplace, where the dikasteries sat,—a visible proof that the judicature was now popularized.

In the representations of many authors, the full bearing of this great constitutional change is very inadequately conceived. What we are commonly told, is, that Periklês was the first to assign a salary to these numerous dikasteries at Athens; he bribed the[p. 367] people with the public money, says Plutarch, in order to make head against Kimon, who bribed them out of his own private purse: as if the pay were the main feature in the case, and as if all which Periklês did, was to make himself popular by paying the dikasts for judicial service, which they had before rendered gratuitously. The truth is, that this numerous army of dikasts, distributed into ten regiments and summoned to act systematically throughout the year, was now for the first time organized: the commencement of their pay is also the commencement of their regular judicial action. What Periklês really did, was to sever for the first time from the administrative competence of the magistrates that judicial authority which had originally gone along with it. The great men who had been accustomed to hold these offices were lowered both in influence and authority:[683] while on the other hand a new life, habit, and sense of power, sprang up among the poorer citizens. A plaintiff, having cause of civil action, or an accuser, invoking punishment against citizens guilty of injury either to himself or to the state, had still to address himself to one or other of the archons, but it was only with a view of ultimately arriving before the dikastery, by whom the cause was to be tried. While the magistrates acting individually were thus restricted to simple administration and preliminary police, they experienced a still more serious loss of power in their capacity of[p. 368] members of the Areopagus, after the year of archonship was expired. Instead of their previous unmeasured range of supervision and interference, they were now deprived of all judicial sanction, beyond that small power of fining, which was still left both to individual magistrates, and to the senate of Five Hundred. But the cognizance of homicide was still expressly reserved to them,—for the procedure, in this latter case, religious not less than judicial, was so thoroughly consecrated by ancient feeling, that no reformer could venture to disturb or remove it.[684] It was[p. 369] upon this same ground probably that the stationary party defended all the prerogatives of the senate of Areopagus,—denouncing the curtailments proposed by Ephialtês as impious and guilty innovations.[685] How extreme their resentment be[p. 370]came, when these reforms were carried, and how fierce was the collision of political parties at this moment, we may judge by the result. The enemies of Ephialtês caused him to be privately assassinated, by the hand of a Bœotian of Tanagra, named Aristodikus. Such a crime—rare in the political annals of Athens, for we come to no known instance of it afterwards, until the oligarchy of the Four Hundred, in 411 B. C.—marks at once the gravity of the change now introduced, the fierceness of the opposition offered, and the unscrupulous character of the conservative party: Kimon was in exile, and had no share in the deed. Doubtless the assassination of Ephialtês produced an effect unfavorable in every way to the party who procured it: the popular party, in their resentment, must have become still more attached to the judicial reforms just assured to them, while the hands of Periklês, the superior leader, left behind and now acting singly, must have been materially strengthened.

It is from this point that the administration of that great man may be said to date: he was now the leading adviser, we might almost say prime minister, of the Athenian people. His first years were marked by a series of brilliant successes, already mentioned, the acquisition of Megara as an ally, and the victorious war against Corinth and Ægina. But when he proposed the great and valuable improvement of the Long Walls, thus making one city of Athens and Peiræus, the same oligarchical party which had opposed his judicial changes and assassinated Ephialtês again stood forward in vehement resistance. Finding direct opposition unavailing, they did not scruple to enter into treasonable correspondence with Sparta, invoking the aid of a foreign force for the overthrow of the democracy; so odious had it become in their eyes since the recent innovations. How serious was the hazard incurred by Athens, near the time of the battle of Tanagra, has been already recounted; together with the rapid and unexpected reconciliation of parties after that battle, principally owing to the generous patriotism of Kimon and his imme[p. 371]diate friends. He was restored from ostracism on this occasion, before his full time had expired, and the rivalry between him and Periklês henceforward becomes mitigated, or even converted into a compromise,[686] whereby the internal affairs of the city were left to the one, and the conduct of foreign expeditions to the other. The successes of Athens during the ensuing ten years were more brilliant than ever, and she attained the maximum of her power: which doubtless had a material effect in imparting stability to the democracy, as well as to the administration of Periklês, and enabled both the one and the other to stand the shock of those great public reverses, which deprived the Athenians of their dependent landed alliances, during the interval between the defeat of Korôneia and the thirty years’ truce.

Along with the important judicial revolution brought about by Periklês, were introduced other changes belonging to the same scheme and system.

Thus a general power of supervision, both over the magistrates and over the public assembly, was vested in seven magistrates, now named for the first time, called Nomophylakes, or Law-Guardians, and doubtless changed every year. These nomophylakes sat alongside of the proëdri, or presidents, both in the senate and in the public assembly, and were charged with the duty of interposing whenever any step was taken or any proposition made contrary to the existing laws: they were also empowered to constrain the magistrates to act according to law.[687] We do not know whether[p. 372] they possessed the presidency of a dikastery,—that is, whether they could themselves cause one of the panels of jurors to be summoned, and put an alleged delinquent on his trial before it, under their presidency, or whether they were restricted to entering a formal protest, laying the alleged illegality before the public assembly. To appoint magistrates, however, invested with this special trust of watching and informing, was not an unimportant step; for it would probably enable Ephialtês to satisfy many objectors who feared to abolish the superintending power of the Areopagus without introducing any substitute. The nomophylakes were honored with a distinguished place at the public processions and festivals, and were even allowed, like the archons, to enter the senate of Areopagus after their year of office had expired: but they never acquired any considerable power, such as that senate had itself exercised. Their interference must have been greatly superseded by the introduction and increasing application of the Graphê Paranomôn, presently to be explained; nor are they even noticed in the description of that misguided assembly which condemned the six generals after the battle of Arginusæ, by a gross violation of legal form not less than of substantial justice.[688] After the expulsion of the Thirty, the senate of Areopagus was again invested with a supervision over magistrates, though without anything like its ancient ascendency.

Another important change which we may with probability refer to Periklês, is the institution of the Nomothetæ. These men were, in point of fact, dikasts, members of the six thousand citizens annually sworn in that capacity. But they were not, like the dikasts for trying causes, distributed into panels, or regiments, known by a particular letter, and acting together throughout the entire year: they were lotted off to sit together only on special occasion and as the necessity arose. According to the reform now introduced, the ekklesia, or public assembly, even with the sanction of the senate of Five Hundred, became incompetent either to pass[p. 373] a new law or to repeal a law already in existence; it could only enact a psephism,—that is, properly speaking, a decree, applicable only to a particular case; though the word was used at Athens in a very large sense, sometimes comprehending decrees of general as well as permanent application. In reference to laws, a peculiar judicial procedure was established. The thesmothetæ were directed annually to examine the existing laws, noting any contradictions or double laws on the same matter; and in the first prytany (tenth part) of the Attic year, on the eleventh day, an ekklesia was held, in which the first business was to go through the laws seriatim, and submit them for approval or rejection: first beginning with the laws relating to the senate, next, those of more general import, especially such as determined the functions and competence of the magistrates. If any law was condemned by the vote of the public assembly, or if any citizen had a new law to propose, the third assembly of the prytany was employed, previous to any other business, in the appointment of nomothetæ, and in the provision of means to pay their salary. Previous notice was required to be given publicly by every citizen who had new propositions of the sort to make, in order that the time necessary for the sitting of the nomothetæ might be measured according to the number of matters to be submitted to their cognizance. Public advocates were farther named to undertake the formal defence of all the laws attacked, and the citizen who proposed to repeal them had to make out his case against this defence, to the satisfaction of the assembled nomothetæ. These latter were taken from the six thousand sworn dikasts, and were of different numbers according to circumstances: sometimes we hear of them as five hundred, sometimes as one thousand, and we may be certain that the number was always considerable.

The effect of this institution was, to place the making or repealing of laws under the same solemnities and guarantees as the trying of causes or accusations in judicature. We must recollect that the citizens who attended the ekklesia, or public assembly, were not sworn like the dikasts; nor had they the same solemnity of procedure, nor the same certainty of hearing both sides of the question set forth, nor the same full preliminary notice. How much the oath sworn was brought to act upon the minds of the dikasts, we may see by the frequent appeals to it in the orators,[p. 374] who contrast them with the unsworn public assembly.[689] And there can be no doubt that the nomothetæ afforded much greater security than the public assembly, for a proper decision. That security depended upon the same principle as we see to pervade all the constitutional arrangements of Athens; upon a fraction of the people casually taken, but sufficiently numerous to have the same interest with the whole,—not permanent, but delegated for the occasion,—assembled under a solemn sanction, and furnished with a full exposition of both sides of the case. The power of passing psephisms, or special decrees, still remained with the public assembly, which was doubtless much more liable to be surprised into hasty or inconsiderate decision than either the dikastery or the nomothetæ,—in spite of the necessity of previous authority from the senate of Five Hundred, before any proposition could be submitted to it.

As an additional security both to the public assembly and the nomothetæ against being entrapped into decisions contrary to existing law, another remarkable provision has yet to be men[p. 375]tioned,—a provision probably introduced by Periklês at the same time as the formalities of law-making by means of specially delegated nomothetæ. This was the Graphê Paranomôn,—indictment for informality or illegality,—which might be brought on certain grounds against the proposer of any law or any psephism, and rendered him liable to punishment by the dikastery. He was required, in bringing forward his new measure, to take care that it should not be in contradiction with any preëxisting law,—or if there were any such contradiction, to give formal notice of it, to propose the repeal of that which existed, and to write up publicly beforehand what his proposition was,—in order that there might never be two contradictory laws at the same time in operation, nor any illegal decree passed either by the senate or by the public assembly. If he neglected this precaution, he was liable to prosecution under the graphê paranomôn, which any Athenian citizen might bring against him before the dikastery, through the intervention and under the presidency of the thesmothetæ.

Judging from the title of this indictment, it was originally confined to the special ground of formal contradiction between the new and the old. But it had a natural tendency to extend itself: the citizen accusing would strengthen his case by showing that the measure which he attacked contradicted not merely the letter, but the spirit and purpose of existing laws,—and he would proceed from hence to denounce it as generally mischievous and disgraceful to the state. In this unmeasured latitude, we find the graphê paranomôn at the time of Demosthenês: the mover of a new law or psephism, even after it had been regularly discussed and passed, was liable to be indicted, and had to defend himself not only against alleged informalities in his procedure, but also against alleged mischiefs in the substance of his measure. If found guilty by the dikastery, the punishment inflicted upon him by them was not fixed, but variable according to circumstances; for the indictment belonged to that class wherein, after the verdict of guilty, first a given amount of punishment was proposed by the accuser, next, another and lighter amount was named by the accused party against himself,—the dikastery being bound to make their option between one and the other, without admitting any third modification,—so that it was the[p. 376] interest even of the accused party to name against himself a measure of punishment sufficient to satisfy the sentiment of the dikasts, in order that they might not prefer the more severe proposition of the accuser. At the same time, the accuser himself, as in other public indictments, was fined in the sum of one thousand drachms, unless the verdict of guilty obtained at least one-fifth of the suffrages of the dikastery. The personal responsibility of the mover, however, continued only one year after the introduction of his new law: if the accusation was brought at a greater distance of time than one year, the accuser could invoke no punishment against the mover, and the sentence of the dikasts neither absolved nor condemned anything but the law. Their condemnation of the law, with or without the author, amounted ipso facto to a repeal of it.

Such indictment against the author of a law or of a decree, might be preferred either at some stage prior to its final enactment,—as after its acceptance simply by the senate, if it was a decree, or after its approval by the public assembly, and prior to its going before the nomothetæ, if it was a law,—or after it had reached full completion by the verdict of the nomothetæ. In the former case, the indictment stayed its farther progress until sentence had been pronounced by the dikasts.

This regulation is framed in a thoroughly conservative spirit, to guard the existing laws against being wholly or partially nullified by a new proposition. As, in the procedure of the nomothetæ, whenever any proposition was made for distinctly repealing any existing law, it was thought unsafe to intrust the defence of the law so assailed to the chance of some orator gratuitously undertaking it, and paid advocates were appointed for the purpose; so also, when any citizen made a new positive proposition, sufficient security was not supposed to be afforded by the chance of opponents rising up at the time; and a farther guarantee was provided in the personal responsibility of the mover. That the latter, before he proposed a new decree or a new law, should take care that there was nothing in it inconsistent with existing laws,—or, if there were, that he should first formally bring forward a direct proposition for the repeal of such preëxistent law,—was in no way unreasonable: it imposed upon him an obligation such as he might perfectly well fulfil,—it served as a check[p. 377] upon the use of that right, of free speech and initiative in the public assembly, which belonged to every Athenian without exception,[690] and which was cherished by the democracy as much as it was condemned by oligarchical thinkers,—it was a security to the dikasts, who were called upon to apply the law to particular cases, against the perplexity of having conflicting laws quoted before them, and being obliged in their verdict to set aside either one or the other. In modern European governments, even the most free and constitutional, laws have been both made and applied either by select persons or select assemblies, under an organization so different as to put out of sight the idea of personal responsibility on the proposer of a new law. Moreover, even in such assemblies, private initiative has either not existed at all, or has been of comparatively little effect, in law-making; while in the application of laws when made, there has always been a permanent judicial body exercising an action of its own, more or less independent of the legislature, and generally interpreting away the text of contradictory laws so as to keep up a tolerably consistent course of forensic tradition. But at Athens, the fact that the proposer of a new decree, or of a new law, had induced the senate or the public assembly to pass it, was by no means supposed to cancel his personal responsibility, if the proposition was illegal: he had deceived the senate or the people, in deliberately keeping back from them a fact which he knew, or at least might and ought to have known.

But though a full justification may thus be urged on behalf of the graphê paranomôn, as originally conceived and intended, it will hardly apply to that indictment as applied afterwards in its plenary and abusive latitude. Thus Æschinês indicts Ktesiphon under it for having, under certain circumstances, proposed a crown to Demosthenês. He begins by showing that the proposition was illegal,—for this was the essential foundation of the indictment: he then goes on farther to demonstrate, in a splendid[p. 378] harangue, that Demosthenês was a vile man and a mischievous politician: accordingly, assuming the argument to be just, Ktesiphon had deceived the people in an aggravated way,—first, by proposing a reward under circumstances contrary to law; next, by proposing it in favor of an unworthy man. The first part of the argument only is of the essence of the graphê paranomôn: the second part is in the nature of an abuse growing out of it,—springing from that venom of personal and party enmity which is inseparable, in a greater or less degree, from free political action, and which manifested itself with virulence at Athens, though within the limits of legality. That this indictment, as one of the most direct vents for such enmity, was largely applied and abused at Athens, is certain; but though it probably deterred unpractised citizens from originating new propositions, it did not produce the same effect upon those orators who made politics a regular business, and who could therefore both calculate the temper of the people, and reckon upon support from a certain knot of friends. Aristophon, towards the close of his political life, made it a boast that he had been thus indicted and acquitted seventy-five times. Probably, the worst effect which it produced was that of encouraging the vein of personality and bitterness which pervades so large a proportion of Attic oratory, even in its most illustrious manifestations; turning deliberative into judicial eloquence, and interweaving the discussion of a law, or decree, along with a declamatory harangue against the character of its mover. We may at the same time add that the graphê paranomôn was often the most convenient way of getting a law or a psephism repealed, so that it was used even when the annual period had passed over, and when the mover was therefore out of danger,—the indictment being then brought only against the law, or decree, as in the case which forms the subject of the harangue of Demosthenês against Leptinês. If the speaker of this harangue obtained a verdict, he procured at once the repeal of the law, or decree, without proposing any new provision in its place; which he would be required to do,—if not peremptorily, at least by common usage,—if he had carried the law for repeal before the nomothetæ.

The dikasteries provided under the system of Periklês varied in number of members: we never hear of less than two hun[p. 379]dred members,—most generally of five hundred,—and sometimes also of one thousand, fifteen hundred, two thousand members, on important trials.[691] Each man received pay from the treasurers, called Kolakretæ, after his day’s business was over, of three oboli, or half a drachm: at least this was the amount paid during the early part of the Peloponnesian war. M. Boëckh supposes that the original pay proposed by Periklês was one obolus, afterwards tripled by Kleon; but his opinion is open to much doubt. It was indispensable to propose a measure of pay sufficient to induce citizens to come, and come frequently, if not regularly: now one obolus seems to have proved afterwards an inadequate temptation even to the ekklesiasts, or citizens who attended the public assembly, who were less frequently wanted, and must have had easier sittings, than the dikasts: much less, therefore, would it be sufficient in the case of the latter. I incline to the belief that the pay originally awarded was three oboli:[692] the rather, as these new institutions seem to have nearly coincided in point of time with the transportation of the confeder[p. 380]ate treasure from Delos to Athens,—so that the exchequer would then appear abundantly provided. As to the number of dikasts actually present on each day of sitting, or the minimum number requisite to form a sitting, we are very imperfectly informed. Though each of the ten panels or divisions of dikasts included five hundred individuals, seldom probably did all of them attend; but it also seldom happened, probably, that all the ten divisions sat on the same day: there was therefore an opportunity of making up deficiencies in division Α, when its lot was called and when its dikasts did not appear in sufficient numbers, from those who belonged to division Β or Δ, besides the supplementary dikasts who were not comprised in any of the ten divisions: though on all these points we cannot go beyond conjecture. Certain it is, however, that the dikasteries were always numerous, and that none of the dikasts could know in what causes they would be employed, so that it was impossible to tamper with them beforehand.[693]

Such were the great constitutional innovations of Periklês and Ephialtês,—changes full of practical results,—the transformation as well as the complement of that democratical system which Kleisthenês had begun, and to which the tide of Athenian feeling had been gradually mounting up, during the preceding twenty years. The entire force of these changes is generally not perceived, because the popular dikasteries and the nomothetæ are[p. 381] so often represented as institutions of Solon, and as merely supplied with pay by Periklês. This erroneous supposition prevents all clear view of the growth of the Athenian democracy, by throwing back its last elaborations to the period of its early and imperfect start. To strip the magistrates of all their judicial power, except that of imposing a small fine, and the Areopagus of all its jurisdiction, except in cases of homicide,—providing popular, numerous, and salaried dikasts to decide all the judicial business at Athens, as well as to repeal and enact laws; this was the consummation of the Athenian democracy: no serious constitutional alteration—I except the temporary interruptions of the Four Hundred and the Thirty—was afterwards made until the days of Macedonian interference. As Periklês made it, so it remained in the days of Demosthenês,—though with a sensible change in the character, and abatement in the energies, of the people, rich as well as poor.

In appreciating the practical working of these numerous dikasteries at Athens, in comparison with such justice as might have been expected from individual magistrates, we have to consider, first, that personal and pecuniary corruption seems to have been a common vice among the leading men of Athens and Sparta, when acting individually or in boards of a few members, and not uncommon even with the kings of Sparta,—next, that in the Grecian cities generally, as we know even from the oligarchical Xenophon (he particularly excepts Sparta), the rich and great men were not only insubordinate to the magistrates, but made a parade of showing that they cared nothing about them.[694] We know, also, from the same unsuspected source,[695] that while the[p. 382] poorer Athenian citizens who served on ship board were distinguished for the strictest discipline, the hoplites, or middling burghers, who formed the infantry, were less obedient, and the rich citizens who served on horseback the most disobedient of all. To make rich and powerful criminals effectively amenable to justice, has indeed been found so difficult everywhere, until a recent period of history, that we should be surprised if it were otherwise in Greece. When we follow the reckless demeanor of rich men like Kritias, Alkibiadês,[696] and Meidias, even under the full grown democracy of Athens, we may be very sure that their predecessors under the Kleisthenean constitution would have been often too formidable to be punished or kept down by an individual archon of ordinary firmness,[697] even assuming him to be upright and well[p. 383]intentioned. Now the dikasteries established by Periklês were inaccessible both to corruption and intimidation: their number,[p. 384] their secret suffrage, and the impossibility of knowing beforehand what individuals would sit in any particular cause, prevented both the one and the other. And besides that the magnitude of their number, extravagant, according to our ideas of judicial business, was essential to this tutelary effect,[698] it served farther to render the trial solemn and the verdict imposing on the minds of parties and spectators, as we may see by the fact that, in important causes, the dikastery was doubled or tripled. Nor was it possible, by any other means than numbers,[699] to give dignity to an as[p. 385]sembly of citizens, of whom many were poor, some old, and all were despised individually by rich accused persons who were brought before them,—as Aristophanês and Xenophon give us plainly to understand.[700] If we except the strict and peculiar educational discipline of Sparta, these numerous dikasteries afforded the only organ which Grecian politics could devise, for getting redress against powerful criminals, public as well as private, and for obtaining a sincere and uncorrupt verdict.

Taking the general working of the dikasteries, we shall find that they are nothing but jury-trial applied on a scale broad, systematic, unaided, and uncontrolled, beyond all other historical[p. 386] experience, and that they therefore exhibit in exaggerated proportions both the excellences and the defects characteristic of the jury-system, as compared with decision by trained and professional judges. All the encomiums, which it is customary to pronounce upon jury-trial, will be found predicable of the Athenian dikasteries in a still greater degree: all the reproaches, which can be addressed on good ground to the dikasteries, will apply to modern juries also, though in a less degree. Nor is the parallel less just, though the dikasteries, as the most democratical feature of democracy itself, have been usually criticized with marked disfavor,—every censure, or sneer, or joke against them, which can be found in ancient authors, comic as well as serious, being accepted as true almost to the letter; while juries are so popular an institution, that their merits have been over-stated, in England at least, and their defects kept out of sight. The theory of the Athenian dikastery, and the theory of jury-trial, as it has prevailed in England since the revolution of 1688, are one and the[p. 387] same: recourse to a certain number of private citizens, taken by chance, or without possibility of knowing beforehand who they will be, sworn to hear fairly and impartially plaintiff and defendant, accuser and accused, and to find a true verdict, according to their consciences, upon a distinct issue before them. But in Athens this theory was worked out to its natural consequences; while English practice, in this respect as in so many others, is at variance with English theory: the jury, though an ancient and a constant portion of the judicial system, has never been more than a portion,—kept in subordination, trammels, and pupilage, by a powerful crown, and by judges presiding over an artificial system of law. In the English state trials, down to a period not long before the revolution of 1688, any jurors who found a verdict contrary to the dictation of the judge were liable to fine; and at an earlier period, if a second jury on being summoned found an opposite verdict, even to the terrible punishment of attaint.[701][p. 388] And though, for the last century and a half, the verdict of the jury has been free as to matters of fact, new trials having taken the place of the old attaint, yet the ascendency of the presiding judge over their minds, and his influence over the procedure as the authority on matters of law, has always been such as to overrule the natural play of their feelings and judgment as men and citizens,[702] sometimes to the detriment, much oftener to the benefit—always excepting political trials—of substantial justice. But in Athens, the dikasts judged of the law as well as of the fact: the laws were not numerous, and were couched in few, for the most part familiar, words. To determine how the facts stood, and whether, if the facts were undisputed, the law invoked was properly applicable to them, were parts of the integral question submitted to them, and comprehended in their verdict: moreover, each dikastery construed the law for itself, without being bound to follow the decisions of those which had preceded[p. 389] it, except in so far as such analogy might really influence the convictions of the members. They were free, self-judging persons, unassisted by the schooling, but at the same time untrammelled by the awe-striking ascendency, of a professional judge, obeying the spontaneous inspirations of their own consciences, and recognizing no authority except the laws of the city, with which they were familiar.

Trial by jury, as practised in England since 1688, has been politically most valuable, as a security against the encroachments of an anti-popular executive: partly for this reason, partly for others, not necessary to state here, it has had greater credit as an instrument of judicature generally, and has been supposed to produce much more of what is good in English administration of justice, than really belongs to it. Amidst the unqualified encomiums so frequently bestowed upon the honesty, the unprejudiced rectitude of appreciation, the practical instinct for detecting falsehood and resisting sophistry, in twelve citizens taken by hazard and put into a jury-box,—comparatively little account is taken either of the aids, or of the restrictions, or of the corrections in the shape of new trials, under which they act, or of the artificial forensic medium into which they are plunged for the time of their service: so that the theory of the case presumes them to be more of spontaneous agents, and more analogous to the Athenian dikasts than the practice confirms. Accordingly, when we read these encomiums in modern authors, we shall find that both the direct benefits ascribed to jury-trial in insuring pure and even-handed justice, and still more its indirect benefits in improving and educating the citizens generally, might have been set forth yet more emphatically in a laudatory harangue of Periklês about the Athenian dikasteries. If it be true that an Englishman or an American counts more certainly on an impartial and uncorrupt verdict from a jury of his country, than from a permanent professional judge, much more would this be the feeling of an ordinary Athenian, when he compared the dikasteries with the archon. The juror hears and judges under full persuasion that he himself, individually, stands in need of the same protection or redress invoked by others: so also did the dikast. As to the effects of jury-trial, in diffusing respect to the laws and constitution, in giving to every citizen a personal interest in enforcing the[p. 390] former and maintaining the latter, in imparting a sentiment of dignity to small and poor men, through the discharge of a function exalted as well as useful, in calling forth the patriotic sympathies, and exercising the mental capacities of every individual; all these effects were produced in a still higher degree by the dikasteries at Athens; from their greater frequency, numbers, and spontaneity of mental action, without any professional judge, upon whom they could throw the responsibility of deciding for them.[703]

[p. 391]

On the other hand, the imperfections inherent in jury-trial were likewise disclosed in an exaggerated form under the Athe[p. 392]nian system. Both juror and dikast represent the average man of the time and of the neighborhood, exempt, indeed, from pecuniary corruption or personal fear, deciding according to what he thinks justice, or to some genuine feeling of equity, mercy, religion, or patriotism, which in reference to the case before him he thinks[p. 393] as good as justice,—but not exempt from sympathies, antipathies, and prejudices, all of which act the more powerfully because there is often no consciousness of their presence, and because they even appear essential to his idea of plain and straight-forward good sense. According as a jury are composed of Catholics or Protestants, Irishmen or Englishmen, tradesmen, farmers, or inhabitants of a frontier on which smuggling prevails, there is apt to prevail among them a corresponding bias: at the time of any great national delusion, such as the Popish Plot,—or of any powerful local excitement, such as that of the Church and King mobs, at Birmingham, in 1791, against Dr. Priestley and the Dissenters,—juries are found to perpetrate what a calmer age recognizes to have been gross injustice. A jury who disapprove of the infliction of capital punishment for a particular crime, will acquit prisoners in spite of the clearest evidence of guilt. It is probable that a delinquent, indicted for any state offence before the dikastery, at Athens,—having only a private accuser to contend against, with equal power of speaking in his own defence, of summoning witnesses, and of procuring friends to speak for him,—would have better chance of a fair trial than he would now have anywhere, except in England and the United States of America; and better than he would have had in England down to the seventeenth century.[704] Juries bring the com[p. 394]mon feeling as well as the common reason of the public,—or often, indeed, only the separate feeling of particular fractions of the public,—to dictate the application of the law to particular cases: they are a protection against anything worse,—especially against such corruption and servility as are liable to taint permanent official persons, but they cannot possibly reach anything better. Now the dikast trial at Athens effected the same object, and had in it only the same ingredients of error and misdecision,[p. 395] as the English jury: but it had them in stronger dose,[705] without[p. 396] the counteracting authority of a judge, and without the benefit of a procedure such as has now been obtained in England. The[p. 397] feelings of the dikasts counted for more, and their reason for less: not merely because of their greater numbers, which naturally heightened the pitch of feeling in each individual, but also because the addresses of orators or parties formed the prominent part of the procedure, and the depositions of witnesses only a very subordinate part; the dikast,[706] therefore, heard little of the naked facts,[p. 398] the appropriate subjects for his reason,—but he was abundantly supplied with the plausible falsehoods, calumnies, irrelevant statements and suggestions, etc., of the parties, and that too in a manner skilfully adapted to his temper. To keep the facts of the case before the jury, apart from the falsehood and coloring of parties, is the most useful function of the modern judge, whose influence is also considerable as a restraint upon the pleader. The helps to the reason of the dikast were thus materially diminished, while the action upon his feelings, of anger as well as of compassion, was sharpened, as compared with the modern juror.[707] We see, in the remaining productions of the Attic orators, how much there is of plausible deception, departure from the true issue, and appeals to sympathies, antipathies, and prejudices of[p. 399] every kind; addressed to the dikasteries.[708] Of course, such arti[p. 400]fices were resorted to by opposite speakers in each particular trial, nor have we any means of knowing to what extent they actually perverted the judgment of the hearers.[709] Probably, the frequent habit of sitting in dikastery, gave them a penetration in detecting sophistry not often possessed by non-professional citizens: nevertheless, it cannot be doubted that, in a considerable proportion of cases, success depended less upon the intrinsic merits of a case, than upon apparent airs of innocence and truth-telling, dexterity of statement, and good general character, in the parties, their witnesses, and the friends who addressed the court on their behalf. The accusatory speeches in Attic oratory, wherein punishment is invoked upon an alleged delinquent, are expressed with a bitterness which is now banished from English criminal judicature, though it was common in the state trials of two centuries ago. Against them may be set the impassioned and emphatic appeals made by defendants and their friends to the commiseration of the dikasts; appeals the more often successful, because they came last, immediately before decision was pronounced. This is true of Rome as well as of Athens.[710]

[p. 401]As an organ for judicial purposes, the Athenian dikasteries were thus a simple and plenary manifestation of jury-trial, with its inherent excellences and defects both brought out in exaggerated relief: they insured a decision at once uncorrupt, public-minded, and imposing,—together with the best security which the case admitted against illegal violences on the part of the rich and great.[711] Their extreme publicity, as well as their simple and oral procedure, divested of that verbal and ceremonial technicality which marked the law of Rome, even at its outset, was no small benefit: and as the verdicts of the dikasts, even when wrong, depended upon causes of misjudgment common to them with the general body of the citizens, so they never appeared to pronounce unjustly, nor lost the confidence of their fellow-citizens generally. But whatever may have been their defects as judicial instruments, as a stimulus both to thought and speech, their efficacy was unparalleled, in the circumstances of Athenian society. Doubtless, they would not have produced the same effect if established at Thebes or Argos: the susceptibilities of the Athenian mind, as well as the previous practice and expansive tendencies of democratical citizenship, were also essential conditions,—and that genuine taste of sitting in judgment, and hearing both sides fairly, which, however Aristophanês may caricature and deride it, was alike honorable and useful to the people. The first establishment of the dikasteries is nearly coincident with the great improvement of Attic tragedy in passing from Æschylus to Sophoklês. The same development of the national genius, now preparing splendid manifestations both in tragic and comic poetry, was called with redoubled force into the path of oratory, by the new judicial system. A certain power of speech now became necessary, not merely for those who intended to take a prominent part in politics, but also for private citizens to vindicate their rights, or repel accusations in a court of justice. It was an accomplishment of the greatest practical utility, even[p. 402] apart from ambitious purposes; hardly less so than the use of arms or the practice of the gymnasium. Accordingly, the teachers of grammar and rhetoric, and the composers of written speeches to be delivered by others, now began to multiply and to acquire an unprecedented importance,—as well at Athens as under the contemporary democracy of Syracuse,[712] in which, also, some form of popular judicature was established. Style and speech began to be reduced to a system, and so communicated: not always happily, for several of the early rhetors[713] had adopted an artificial, ornate, and conceited manner, from which Attic good taste afterwards liberated itself,—but the very character of a teacher of rhetoric as an art,—a man giving precepts and putting himself forward in show-lectures as a model for others, is a feature first belonging to the Periklean age, and indicates a new demand in the minds of the citizens. We begin to hear, in the generation now growing up, of the rhetor and the sophist, as persons of influence and celebrity. These two names denoted persons of similar moral and intellectual endowments, or often indeed the same person, considered in different points of view;[714] either as professing to improve the moral character, or as communicating power and facility of expression, or as suggesting premises for persuasion, illustrations on the common-places of morals and politics, argumentative abundance on matters of ordinary experience, dialectical subtlety in confuting an opponent,[p. 403] etc.[715] Antipho of the deme Rhamnus in Attica, Thrasymachus of Chalkêdon, Tisias of Syracuse, Gorgias of Leontini, Protagoras of Abdêra, Prodikus of Keôs, Theodôrus of Byzantium, Hippias of Elis, Zeno of Elea, were among the first who distinguished themselves in these departments of teaching. Antipho was the author of the earliest composed speech really spoken in a dikastery, and preserved down to the later critics.[716] These men were mostly not citizens of Athens, though many of them belonged to towns comprehended in the Athenian empire, at a time when important judicial causes belonging to these towns were often carried up to be tried at Athens,—while all of them looked to that city as a central point of action and distinction. The term sophist, which Herodotus[717] applies with sincere respect to men of distinguished wisdom, such as Solon, Anacharsis, Pythagoras, etc., now came to be applied to these teachers of virtue, rhetoric, conversation, and disputation; many of whom professed[p. 404] acquaintance with the whole circle of human science, physical as well as moral (then narrow enough), so far as was necessary to talk about any portion of it plausibly and effectively, and to answer any question which might be proposed to them. Though these men passed from one Grecian town to another, partly in the capacity of envoys from their fellow-citizens, partly as exhibiting their talents to numerous hearers, with much renown and large gain,[718]—they appeared to have been viewed with jealousy and dislike by a large portion of the public:[719] for at a time when every citizen pleaded his own cause before the dikastery, they imparted, to those who were rich enough to purchase it, a peculiar skill in the common weapons, which made them seem like fencing-masters, or professional swordsmen, amidst a society of untrained duellists.[720] Moreover, Sokratês,—himself a product of the same age, and a disputant on the same subjects,—and bearing the same name of a sophist,[721] but despising political and[p. 405] judicial practice, and looking to the production of intellectual stimulus and moral impressions upon his hearers,—Sokratês carried on throughout his life a constant polemical warfare against the sophists and rhetors, in that negative vein in which he was unrivalled. And as the works of these latter have not remained, it is chiefly from the observations of their opponents that we know them; so that they are in a situation such as that in which Sokratês himself would have been, if we had been compelled to judge of him only from the Clouds of Aristophanês, or from those unfavorable impressions respecting his character, which we know, even from the Apologies of Plato and Xenophon, to have been generally prevalent at Athens. This is not the opportunity, however, for trying to distinguish the good from the evil in the working of the sophists and rhetors: at present, it is enough that they were the natural product of the age,—supplying those wants, and answering to that stimulus, which arose partly from the deliberations of the ekklesia, but still more from the contentions before the dikastery,—in which latter a far greater number of citizens took active part, with or without their own consent. The public and frequent dikasteries constituted by Periklês, opened to the Athenian mind precisely that career of improvement which was best suited to its natural aptitude: they were essential to the development of that demand out of which grew not only Grecian oratory, but also, as secondary products,[p. 406] the speculative moral and political philosophy, and the didactic analysis of rhetoric and grammar, which long survived after Grecian creative genius had passed away.[722] And it was one of the first measures of the oligarchy of Thirty, to forbid, by an express law, any teaching of the art of speaking. Aristophanês derides the Athenians for their love of talk and controversy, as if it had enfeebled their military energy: but in his time, most undoubtedly, that reproach was not true; nor did it become true, even in part, until the crushing misfortunes which marked the close of the Peloponnesian war. During the course of that war, restless and energetic action was the characteristic of Athens, even in a greater degree than oratory or political discussion, though before the time of Demosthenês a material alteration had taken place.

The establishment of these paid dikasteries at Athens was thus one of the most important and prolific events in all Grecian history. The pay helped to furnish a maintenance for old citizens, past the age of military service. Elderly men were the best persons for such a service, and were preferred for judicial purposes both at Sparta, and, as it seems, in heroic Greece: nevertheless, we need not suppose that all the dikasts were either old or poor, though a considerable proportion of them were so, and though Aristophanês selects these qualities as among the most suitable subjects for his ridicule. Periklês has been often censured for this institution, as if he had been the first to insure pay to dikasts who before served for nothing, and had thus introduced poor citizens into courts previously composed of citizens above poverty. But, in the first place, this supposition is not correct in point of fact, inasmuch as there were no such constant dikasteries previously acting without pay; next, if it had been true, the habitual exclusion of the poor citizens would have nullified the popular working of these bodies, and would have prevented them from answering any longer to the reigning senti[p. 407]ment at Athens. Nor could it be deemed unreasonable to assign a regular pay to those who thus rendered regular service: it was, indeed, an essential item in the whole scheme[723] and purpose; so that the suppression of the pay of itself seems to have suspended the dikasteries, while the oligarchy of Four Hundred was established,—and it can only be discussed in that light. As the fact stands, we may suppose that the six thousand heliasts who filled the dikasteries were composed of the middling and poorer citizens indiscriminately: though there was nothing to exclude the richer, if they chose to serve.


[1] Herodot. vii, 3, 4.

[2] Herodot. vii, 1-4. He mentions—simply as a report, and seemingly without believing it himself—that Demaratus the exiled king of Sparta was at Susa at the moment when Darius was about to choose a successor among his sons (this cannot consist with Ktesias, Persic. c. 23): and that he suggested to Xerxes a convincing argument by which to determine the mind of his father, urging the analogy of the law of regal succession at Sparta, whereby the son of a king, born after his father became king, was preferred to an elder son born before that event. The existence of such a custom at Sparta may well be doubted.

Some other anecdotes, not less difficult of belief than this, and alike calculated to bestow a factitious importance on Demaratus, will be noticed in the subsequent pages. The latter received from the Persian king the grant of Pergamus and Teuthrania, with their land-revenues, which his descendants long afterwards continued to occupy (Xenoph. Hellen. iii, 1-6): and perhaps these descendants may have been among the persons from whom Herodotus derived his information respecting the expedition of Xerxes. See vii, 239.

Plutarch (De Fraterno Amore, p. 488) gives an account in many respects different concerning the circumstances which determined the succession of Xerxes to the throne, in preference to his elder brother.

[3] Herod. vii, 187. The like personal beauty is ascribed to Darius Codomannus, the last of the Persian kings (Plutarch, Alexand. c. 21).

[4] Herodot. vii, 6; viii, 20, 96, 77. Ὀνομάκριτος—κατέλεγε τῶν χρησμῶν· εἰ μέν τι ἐνέοι σφάλμα φέρον τῷ Πέρσῃ, τῶν μὲν ἔλεγε οὐδέν· ὁ δὲ τὰ εὐτυχέστατα ἐκλεγόμενος, ἔλεγε τόν τε Ἑλλήσποντον ὡς ζευχθῆναι χρέον εἴη ὑπ’ ἀνδρὸς Πέρσεω, τήν τε ἔλασιν ἐξηγεόμενος, etc.

An intimation somewhat curious respecting this collection of prophecies; it was of an extremely varied character, and contained promises or threats to meet any emergency which might arise.

[5] Æschylus, Pers. 761.

[6] Herodot. vii, 5. ὡς ἡ Εὐρώπη περικαλλὴς χώρη, καὶ δένδρεα παντοῖα φέρει τὰ ἥμερα, βασιλέϊ τε μούνῳ θνητῶν ἀξίη ἐκτῆσθαι—χώρην παμφορωτέρην (vii, 8).

[7] Herodot. v, 49.

[8] Homer, Iliad, i, 3. Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή. Herodotus is characterized as Ὁμήρου ζηλωτὴς—Ὁμηρικώτατος (Dionys. Halic. ad Cn. Pompeium, p. 772, Reiske; Longinus De Sublim. p. 86, ed. Pearce).

[9] While Plutarch—if indeed the treatise De Herodoti Malignitate be the work of Plutarch—treats Herodotus as uncandid, malicious, corrupt, the calumniator of great men and glorious deeds,—Dionysius of Halikarnassus, on the contrary, with more reason, treats him as a pattern of excellent dispositions in an historian, contrasting him in this respect with Thucydides, to whom he imputes an unfriendly spirit in criticizing Athens, arising from his long banishment: Ἡ μὲν Ἡροδότου διάθεσις ἐν ἅπασιν ἐπιεικὴς, καὶ τοῖς μὲν ἀγαθοῖς συνηδομένη, τοῖς δὲ κακοῖς συναλγοῦσα· ἡ δὲ Θουκυδίδου διάθεσις αὐθέκαστός τις καὶ πικρὰ, καὶ τῇ πατρίδι τῆς φυγῆς μνησικακοῦσα· τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἁμαρτήματα ἐπεξέρχεται καὶ μάλα ἀκριβῶς, τῶν δὲ κατὰ νοῦν κεχωρηκότων καθάπαξ οὐ μέμνηται ἢ ὥσπερ ἠναγκασμένος. (Dionys. Hal. ad. Cn. Pompeium de Præcip. Historicis Judic. p. 774, Reisk.)

Precisely the same fault which Dionysius here imputes to Thucydides (though in other places he acquits him, ἀπὸ παντὸς φθόνου καὶ πάσης κολακείας, p. 824), Plutarch and Dio cast far more harshly upon Herodotus. In neither case is the reproach deserved.

Both the moralists and the rhetoricians of ancient times were very apt to treat history, not as a series of true matters of fact, exemplifying the laws of human nature and society, and enlarging our knowledge of them for purposes of future inference,—but as if it were a branch of fiction, so to be handled as to please our taste or improve our morality. Dionysius, blaming Thucydides for the choice of his subject, goes so far as to say that the Peloponnesian war, a period of ruinous discord in Greece, ought to have been left in oblivion and never to have passed into history (σιωπῇ καὶ λήθῃ παραδοθεὶς, ὑπο τῶν ἐπιγιγνομένων ἠγνοῆσθαι, ibid. p. 768),—and that especially Thucydides ought never to have thrown the blame of it upon his own city, since there were many other causes to which it might have been imputed (ἑτέραις ἔχοντα πολλαῖς ἀφορμαῖς περιάψαι τὰς αἰτίας, p. 770).

[10] Herodot. viii, 99. Μαρδόνιον ἐν αἰτίῃ τιθέντες: compare c. 100.

[11] Herodot. vii, 9.

[12] Herodot. vii, 10.

[13] Herodot. vii, 15. Εἰ ὦν θεός ἐστι ὁ ἐπιπέμπων καὶ οἱ πάντως ἐν ἡδονῇ ἐστι γενέσθαι στρατηλασίην ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἐπιπτήσεται καὶ σοὶ τὠυτὸ τοῦτο ὄνειρον, ὁμοίως καὶ ἐμοὶ ἐντελλόμενον. Εὑρίσκω δὲ ὧδε ἂν γινόμενα ταῦτα, εἰ λάβοις τὴν ἐμὴν σκευὴν πᾶσαν, καὶ ἐνδὺς, μετὰ τοῦτο ἵζοιο ἐς τὸν ἐμὸν θρόνον, καὶ ἔπειτα ἐν κοίτῃ τῇ ἐμῇ κατυπνώσειας. Compare vii, 8. θεὸς τε οὕτω ἄγει, etc.

[14] See Brissonius, De Regno Persarum, lib. i, p. 27.

[15] Herodot. vii, 16. Οὐ γὰρ δὴ ἐς τοσοῦτό γε εὐηθείης ἀνήκει τοῦτο, ὅτι δή κοτέ ἐστι τὸ ἐπιφαινόμενόν τοι ἐν τῷ ὕπνῳ, ὥστε δόξει ἐμὲ ὁρῶν σὲ ὁρᾷν, τῇ σῇ ἐσθῆτι τεκμαιρόμενον. ... εἰ γὰρ δὴ ἐπιφοιτήσειέ γε συνεχέως, φαίην ἂν καὶ αὐτὸς θεῖον εἶναι.

[16] Herodot. vii, 18. Ἐπεὶ δὲ δαιμονίη τις γίγνεται ὁρμὴ, καὶ Ἕλληνας, ὡς ἔοικε, φθορὴ τις καταλαμβάνει θεήλατος, ἐγὼ μὲν καὶ αὐτὸς τράπομαι, καὶ τὴν γνώμην μετατίθεμαι. ... Ποίεε δὲ οὕτω ὅκως, τοῦ θεοῦ παραδίδοντος, τῶν σῶν ἐνδεήσεται μηδέν.

The expression τοῦ θεοῦ παραδίδοντος in this place denotes what is expressed by τὸ χρέον γίγνεσθαι, c. 17. The dream threatens Artabanus and Xerxes for trying to turn aside the current of destiny,—or in other words, to contravene the predetermined will of the gods.

[17] Herodot. vii, 12. Καὶ δή κου ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ εἶδε ὄψιν τοιήνδε, ὡς λέγεται ὑπὸ Περσέων.

Herodotus seems to use ὄνειρον in the neuter gender, not ὄνειρος in the masculine: for the alteration of Bähr (ad vii, 16) of ἐῶντα in place of ἐῶντος, is not at all called for. The masculine gender ὄνειρος is commonly used in Homer; but there are cases of the neuter ὄνειρον.

Respecting the influence of dreams in determining the enterprises of the early Turkish Sultans, see Von Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, book ii, vol. i, p. 49.

[18] Compare the dream of Darius Codomannus. Plutarch, Alexander, c. 18. Concerning the punishment inflicted by Astyagês on the Magians for misinterpreting his dreams, see Herodot. i, 128.

Philochorus, skilled in divination, affirmed that Nikias put a totally wrong interpretation upon that fatal eclipse of the moon which induced him to delay his retreat, and proved his ruin (Plutarch, Nikias, c. 23).

[19] Æschylus, Pers. 96, 104, 181, 220, 368, 745, 825: compare Sophocl. Ajax, 129, 744, 775, and the end of the Œdipus Tyrannus; Euripid. Hecub. 58; Pindar, Olymp. viii. 86; Isthm. vi, 39; Pausanias, ii, 33, 3. Compare the sense of the word δεισιδαίμων in Xenophon, Agesilaus, c. 11, sect. 8,—“the man who in the midst of success fears the envious gods,”—opposed to the person who confides in its continuance; and Klausen, Theologumena Æschyli, p. 18.

[20] The manner in which Herodotus groups together the facts of his history, in obedience to certain religious and moral sentiments in his own mind, is well set forth in Hoffmeister, Sittlich—religiöse Lebensansicht des Herodotos, Essen, 1832, especially sects. 21, 22, pp. 112, seqq. Hoffmeister traces the veins of sentiment running through, and often overlaying, or transforming, the matters of fact through a considerable portion of the nine books. He does not, perhaps, sufficiently advert to the circumstance, that the informants from whom Herodotus collected his facts were for the most part imbued with sentiments similar to himself; so that the religious and moral vein pervaded more or less his original materials, and did not need to be added by himself. There can be little doubt that the priests, the ministers of temples and oracles, the exegetæ or interpreting guides around these holy places were among his chief sources for instructing himself: a stranger, visiting so many different cities must have been constantly in a situation to have no other person whom he could consult. The temples were interesting both in themselves and in the trophies and offerings which they exhibited, while the persons belonging to them were, as a general rule, accessible and communicative to strangers, as we may see both from Pausanias and Plutarch,—both of whom, however, had books before them also to consult, which Herodotus hardly had at all. It was not only the priests and ministers of temples in Egypt, of Hêraklês at Tyre, and of Bêlus at Babylon, that Herodotus questioned (i, 181; ii, 3, 44, 143), but also those of Delphi (Δελφῶν οἶδα ἐγὼ οὕτως ἀκούσας γενέσθαι, i, 20: compare i, 91, 92, 51); Dôdôna (ii, 52); of the Ismenian Apollo at Thebes (v, 59); of Athênê Alea at Tegea (i, 66); of Dêmêtêr at Paros (vi, 134—if not the priests, at least persons full of temple inspirations); of Halus in Achaia Phthiôtis (vii, 197); of the Kabeiri in Thrace (ii, 51); of persons connected with the Herôon of Protesilaus in the Chersonese (ix, 116, 120). The facts which these persons communicated to him were always presented along with associations referring to their own functions or religious sentiments, nor did Herodotus introduce anything new when he incorporated them as such in his history. The treatise of Plutarch—“Cur Pythia nunc non reddat Oracula Carmine”—affords an instructive description of the ample and multifarious narratives given by the expositors at Delphi, respecting the eminent persons and events of Grecian history, so well fitted to satisfy the visitors who came full of curiosity—φιλοθεάμονες, φιλόλογοι, and φιλομαθεῖς (Plutarch, ib. p. 394)—such as Herodotus was in a high degree. Compare pp. 396, 397, 400, 407, of the same treatise: also Plutarch, De Defectu Oraculorum, p. 417—οἱ Δελφῶν θεολόγοι, etc. Plutarch remarks that in his time political life was extinguished in Greece, and that the questions put to the Pythian priestess related altogether to private and individual affairs; whereas, in earlier times, almost all political events came somehow or other under her cognizance, either by questions to be answered, or by commemorative public offerings (p. 407). In the time of Herodotus, the great temples, especially those of Delphi and Olympia, were interwoven with the whole web of Grecian political history. See the Dissertation of Preller, annexed to his edition of Polemonis Fragmenta, c. 3, pp. 157-162; De Historiâ atque Arte Periegetarum; also K. F. Hermann, Gottesdienstliche Alterthümer der Griechen, part 1, ch. 12, p. 52.

The religious interpretation of historical phenomena is not peculiar to Herodotus, but belongs to him in common with his informants and his age generally, as indeed Hoffmeister remarks (pp. 31-136): though it is remarkable to notice the frankness with which he (as well as the contemporary poets: see the references in Monk ad Euripid. Alcestis, 1154) predicates envy and jealousy of the gods, in cases where the conduct, which he supposes them to pursue, is really such as would deserve that name in a man,—and such as he himself ascribes to the despot (iii, 80): he does not think himself obliged to call the gods just and merciful while he is attributing to them acts of envy and jealousy in their dealing with mankind. But the religious interpretation does not reign alone throughout the narrative of Herodotus: it is found side by side with careful sifting of fact and specification of positive, definite, appreciable causes: and this latter vein is what really distinguishes the historian from his age,—forming the preparation for Thucydides, in whom it appears predominant and almost exclusive. See this point illustrated in Creuzer, Historische Kunst der Griechen, Abschnitt iii, pp. 150-159.

Jäger (Disputationes Herodoteæ, p. 16. Göttingen, 1828) professes to detect evidences of old age (senile ingenium) in the moralizing color which overspreads the history of Herodotus, but which I believe to have belonged to his middle and mature age not less than to his latter years,—if indeed he lived to be very old, which is noway proved, except upon reasons which I have already disputed in my preceding volume. See Bähr, Commentatio de Vitâ et Scriptis Herodoti, in the fourth volume of his edition, c. 6, p. 388.

[21] Herodot. vii, 19. χῶρον πάντα ἐρευνῶν τῆς ἠπείρου.

[22] Herodot. vii, 106. Κατέστασαν γὰρ ἔτι πρότερον ταύτης τῆς ἐξελάσιος (i. e. the invasion by Xerxes) ὕπαρχοι ἐν τῇ Θρηΐκῃ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλλησπόντου πανταχῇ. vii, 108. ἐδεδούλωτο γὰρ, ὡς καὶ πρότερόν μοι δεδήλωται, ἡ μέχρι Θεσσαλίης πᾶσα, καὶ ἦν ὑπὸ βασιλῆα δασμοφόρος, Μεγαβάζου τε καταστρεψαμένου καὶ ὕστερον Μαρδονίου; also vii, 59, and Xenophon, Memorab. iii, 5, 11. Compare Æschylus Pers. 871-896, and the vision ascribed to Cyrus in reference to his successor Darius, covering with his wings both Europe and Asia (Herodot. i, 209).

[23] Herodot. vii, 26-31.

[24] Herodot. vii. 23-25.

[25] Æschylus, Pers. 731, 754, 873.

[26] Plutarch (De Tranquillitate Animi, p. 470), speaks of them as having had their noses and ears cut off.

[27] Herodot. vii, 34, 35. ἐνετέλλετο δὴ ὦν ῥαπίζοντας, λέγειν βάρβαρά τε καὶ ἀτάσθαλα, Ὦ πικρὸν ὕδωρ, δεσπότης τοι δίκην ἐπιτιθεῖ τήνδε, ὅτι μιν ἠδίκησας, οὐδὲν πρὸς ἐκείνου ἄδικον παθόν. Καὶ βασιλεὺς μὲν Ξέρξης διαβήσεταί σε, ἤν τε σύ γε βούλῃ, ἤν τε καὶ μή· σοὶ δὲ κατὰ δίκην ἄρα οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων θύει, ὡς ἐόντι καὶ δολερῷ καὶ ἁλμυρῷ ποταμῷ.

The assertion—that no one was in the habit of sacrificing to the Hellespont—appears strange, when we look to the subsequent conduct of Xerxes himself (vii, 53): compare vii, 113, and vi, 76. The epithet salt employed as a reproach, seems to allude to the undrinkable character of the water.

[28] See Stanley and Blomfield ad Æschyl. Pers. 731, and K. O. Müller (in his Review of Benjamin Constant’s work Sur la Religion), Kleine Schriften, vol. ii, p. 59.

[29] See Auguste Comte, Traité de Philosophie Positive, vol. v, leçon 52, pp. 40, 46.

[30] See vol. ii, part 2, c. i, p. 297 of the present work; and compare Wachsmuth, Hellenisch. Alterthümer, 2, i, p. 320, and K. F. Hermann, Griech. Staatsalterthümer, sect. 104.

For the manner in which Cyrus dealt with the river Gyndês, see Herodot. i, 202. The Persian satrap Pharnuchês was thrown from his horse at Sardis, and received an injury of which he afterwards died: he directed his attendants to lead the horse to the place where the accident had happened, to cut off all his legs, and leave him to perish there (Herodot. vii, 88). The kings of Macedonia offered sacrifice even during the time of Herodotus, to the river which had been the means of preserving the life of their ancestor Perdikkas; after he had crossed it, the stream swelled and arrested his pursuers (Herodot. viii, 138): see an analogous story about the inhabitants of Apollonia and the river Aöus, Valerius Maxim. i, 5, 2.

After the death of the great boxer, wrestler, etc., Theagenês of Thasus, a statue was erected to his honor. A personal enemy, perhaps one of the fourteen hundred defeated competitors, came every night to gratify his wrath and revenge by flogging the statue. One night the statue fell down upon this scourger and killed him; upon which his relatives indicted the statue for murder: it was found guilty by the Thasians, and thrown into the sea. The gods, however, were much displeased with the proceeding, and visited the Thasians with continued famine, until at length a fisherman by accident fished up the statue, and it was restored to its place (Pausan. vi, 11. 2). Compare the story of the statue of Hermês in Babrius, Fabul. 119, edition of Mr. Lewis.

[31] Herodot. vii, 35-54: compare viii, 109. Arrian, Exp. Alex. vii, 14. 9.

[32] Herodot. vii, 36. The language in which Herodotus describes the position of these ships which formed the two bridges, seems to me to have been erroneously or imperfectly apprehended by most of the commentators: see the notes of Bähr, Kruse, Wesseling, Rennell, and especially Larcher: Schweighäuser is the most satisfactory—τοῦ μὲν Πόντου ἐπικαρσίας, τοῦ δὲ Ἑλλησπόντου κατὰ ῥόον. The explanation given by Tzetzes of ἐπικαρσίας by the word πλαγίας seems to me hardly exact: it means, not oblique, but at right angles with. The course of the Bosphorus and Hellespont, flowing out of the Euxine sea, is conceived by the historian as meeting that sea at right angles; and the ships, which were moored near together along the current of the strait, taking the line of each from head to stern, were therefore also at right angles with the Euxine sea. Moreover, Herodotus does not mean to distinguish the two bridges hereby, and to say that the ships of the one bridge were τοῦ Πόντου ἐπικαρσίας, and those of the other bridge τοῦ Ἑλλησπόντου κατὰ ῥόον, as Bähr and other commentators suppose: both the predicates apply alike to both the bridges,—as indeed it stands to reason that the arrangement of ships best for one bridge must also have been best for the other. Respecting the meaning of ἐπικάρσιος in Herodotus, see iv, 101; i, 180. In the Odyssey (ix, 70: compare Eustath. ad loc.) ἐπικάρσιαι does not mean oblique, but headlong before the wind: compare ἐπίκαρ, Iliad, xviii, 392. The circumstance stated by Herodotus—that in the bridge higher up the stream, or nearest to the Euxine, there were in all three hundred and sixty vessels, while in the other bridge there were no more than three hundred and fourteen—has perplexed the commentators, and induced them to resort to inconvenient explanations,—as that of saying, that in the higher bridge the vessels were moored not in a direct line across, but in a line slanting, so that the extreme vessel on the European side was lower down the stream than the extreme vessel on the Asiatic side. This is one of the false explanations given of ἐπικαρσίας (slanting, schräg): while the idea of Gronovius and Larcher, that the vessels in the higher bridge presented their broadside to the current, is still more inadmissible. But the difference in the number of ships employed in the one bridge compared with the other seems to admit of an easier explanation. We need not suppose, nor does Herodotus say, that the two bridges were quite close together: considering the multitude which had to cross them, it would be convenient that they should be placed at a certain distance from each other. If they were a mile or two apart, we may well suppose that the breadth of the strait was not exactly the same in the two places chosen, and that it may have been broader at the point of the upper bridge,—which, moreover, might require to be made more secure, as having to meet the first force of the current. The greater number of vessels in the upper bridge will thus be accounted for in a simple and satisfactory manner.

In some of the words used by Herodotus there appears an obscurity: they run thus,—ἐζεύγνυσαν δὲ ὧδε· Πεντηκοντέρους καὶ τριήρεας συνθέντες, ὑπὸ μὲν τὴν (these words are misprinted in Bähr’s edition) πρὸς τοῦ Εὐξείνου Πόντου ἐξήκοντά τε καὶ τριηκοσίας, ὑπὸ δὲ τὴν ἑτέρην τέσσερες καὶ δέκα καὶ τριηκοσὶας (τοῦ μὲν Πόντου, ἐπικαρσίας, τοῦ δὲ Ἑλλησπόντου κατὰ ῥόον), ἵνα ἀνακωχεύῃ τὸν τόνον τῶν ὅπλων· συνθέντες δὲ, ἀγκύρας κατῆκαν περιμήκεας, etc.

There is a difficulty respecting the words ἵνα ἀνακωχεύῃ τὸν τόνον τῶν ὅπλων,—what is the nominative case to this verb? Bähr says in his note, sc. ὁ ῥόος, and he construes τῶν ὅπλων to mean the cables whereby the anchors were held fast. But if we read farther on, we shall see that τὰ ὅπλα mean, not the anchor-cables, but the cables which were stretched across from shore to shore to form the bridge; the very same words τῶν ὅπλων τοῦ τόνου, applied to these latter cables, occur a few lines afterwards. I think that the nominative case belonging to ἀνακωχεύῃ is ἡ γεφύρα (not ὁ ῥόος), and that the words from τοῦ μὲν Πόντου down to ῥόον are to be read parenthetically, as I have printed them above: the express object for which the ships were moored was, “that the bridge might hold up, or sustain, the tension of its cables stretched across from shore to shore.” I admit that we should naturally expect ἀνακωχεύωσι and not ἀνακωχεύῃ, since the proposition would be true of both bridges; but though this makes an awkward construction, it is not inadmissible, since each bridge had been previously described in the singular number.

Bredow and others accuse Herodotus of ignorance and incorrectness in this description of the bridges, but there seems nothing to bear out this charge.

Herodotus (iv, 85), Strabo (xiii, p. 591), and Pliny (H. N. iv, 12; vi, 1) give seven stadia as the breadth of the Hellespont in its narrowest part. Dr. Pococke also assigns the same breadth: Tournefort allows but a mile (vol. ii, lett. 4). Some modern French measurements give the distance as something considerably greater,—eleven hundred and thirty or eleven hundred and fifty toises (see Miot’s note on his translation of Herodotus). The Duke of Ragusa states it at seven hundred toises (Voyage en Turquie, vol. ii, p. 164). If we suppose the breadth to be one mile, or five thousand two hundred and eighty feet, three hundred and sixty vessels at an average breadth of fourteen and two thirds feet would exactly fill the space. Rennell says, “Eleven feet is the breadth of a barge: vessels of the size of the smallest coasting-craft were adequate to the purpose of the bridge.” (On the Geography of Herodotus, p. 127.)

The recent measurements or estimates stated by Miot go much beyond Herodotus: that of the Duke of Ragusa nearly coincides with him. But we need not suppose that the vessels filled up entirely the whole breadth, without leaving any gaps between: we only know, that there were no gaps left large enough for a vessel in voyage to sail through, except in three specified places.

[33] For the long celebrity of these cables, see the epigram of Archimêlus, composed two centuries and a half afterwards, in the time of Hiero the Second, of Syracuse, ap. Athenæum, v, 209.

Herodotus states that in thickness and compact make (παχυτὴς καὶ καλλονὴ) the cables of flax were equal to those of papyrus; but that in weight the former were superior; for each cubit in length of the flaxen cable weighed a talent: we can hardly reason upon this, because we do not know whether he means an Attic, an Euboic, or an Æginæan talent: nor, if he means an Attic talent, whether it be an Attic talent of commerce, or of the monetary standard.

The cables contained in the Athenian dockyard are distinguished as σχοίνια ὀκτωδάκτυλα, ἐξδάκτυλα,—in which expressions, however, M. Boeckh cannot certainly determine whether circumference or diameter be meant: he thinks probably the former. See his learned book, Das Seewesen der Athener, ch. x, p. 165.

[34] For a specimen of the destructive storms near the promontory of Athos, see Ephorus, Fragment. 121, ed. Didot; Diodor. xiii, 41.

[35] Herodot. vii, 22, 23, 116; Diodor. xi. 2.

[36] Herodot. vii, 24: ὡς μὲν ἐμὲ συμβαλλεόμενον εὑρίσκειν, μεγαλοφροσύνης εἵνεκα αὐτὸ Ξέρξης ὀρύσσειν ἐκέλευε, ἐθέλων τε δύναμιν ἀποδείκνυσθαι, καὶ μνημόσυνα λιπέσθαι· παρεὸν γὰρ, μηδένα πόνον λαβόντας, τὸν ἰσθμὸν τὰς νέας διειρύσαι, ὀρύσσειν ἐκέλευε διώρυχα τῇ θαλάσσῃ, εὖρος ὡς δύο τριήρεας πλέειν ὁμοῦ ἐλαστρευμένας.

According to the manner in which Herodotus represents this excavation to have been performed, the earth dug out was handed up from man to man from the bottom of the canal to the top—the whole performed by hand, without any aid of cranes or barrows.

The pretended work of turning the course of the river Halys, which Grecian report ascribed to Crœsus on the advice of Thales, was a far greater work than the cutting at Athos (Herodot. i, 75).

As this ship-canal across the isthmus of Athos has been treated often as a fable both by ancients (Juvenal, Sat. x) and by moderns (Cousinéry, Voyage en Macédoine), I transcribe the observations of Colonel Leake. That excellent observer points out evident traces of its past existence: but in my judgment, even if no such traces now remained, the testimony of Herodotus and Thucydides (iv, 109) would alone be sufficient to prove that it had existed really. The observations of Colonel Leake illustrate at the same time the motives in which the canal originated: “The canal (he says) seems to have been not more than sixty feet wide. As history does not mention that it was ever kept in repair after the time of Xerxes, the waters from the heights around have naturally filled it in part with soil, in the course of ages. It might, however, without much labor, be renewed: and there can be no doubt that it would be useful to the navigation of the Ægean: for such is the fear entertained by the Greek boatmen, of the strength and uncertain direction of the currents around Mount Athos, and of the gales and high seas to which the vicinity of the mountain is subject during half the year, and which are rendered more formidable by the deficiency of harbors in the gulf of Orfaná, that I could not, as long as I was on the peninsula, and though offering a high price, prevail upon any boat to carry me from the eastern side of the peninsula to the western. Xerxes, therefore, was perfectly justified in cutting this canal, as well from the security which it afforded to his fleet, as from the facility of the work and the advantages of the ground, which seems made expressly to tempt such an undertaking. The experience of the losses which the former expedition under Mardonius had suffered suggested the idea. The circumnavigation of the capes Ampelus and Canastræum was much less dangerous, as the gulfs afford some good harbors, and it was the object of Xerxes to collect forces from the Greek cities in those gulfs as he passed. If there be any difficulty arising from the narrative of Herodotus, it is in comprehending how the operation should have required so long a time as three years, when the king of Persia had such multitudes at his disposal, and among them Egyptians and Babylonians, accustomed to the making of canals.” (Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. iii, ch. 24, p. 145.)

These remarks upon the enterprise are more judicious than those of Major Rennell (Geogr. of Herodot. p. 116). I may remark that Herodotus does not affirm that the actual cutting of the canal occupied three years,—he assigns that time to the cutting with all its preliminary arrangements included,—προετοιμάζετο ἐκ τρίων ἐτέων κου μάλιστα τὰ ἐς τὸν Ἄθων (vii, 22).

[37] Herodot. vii, 22: ὤρυσσον ὑπὸ μαστίγων παντοδαποὶ τῆς στρατιῆς· διάδοχοι δ’ ἐφοίτων.—vii, 56: Ξέρξης δὲ, ἐπεί τε διέβη ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην, ἐθηεῖτο τὸν στρατὸν ὑπὸ μαστίγων διαβαίνοντα:—compare vii, 103, and Xenophon, Anabasis, iii, 4-25.

The essential necessity, and plentiful use, of the whip, towards subject-tributaries, as conceived by the ancient Persians, finds its parallel in the modern Turks. See the Mémoires du Baron de Tott, vol. i, p. 256, seqq., and his dialogue on this subject with his Turkish conductor Ali-Aga.

[38] Herodot. vii, 57. Τέρας σφι ἐφάνη μέγα, τὸ Ξέρξης ἐν οὐδενὶ λόγῳ ἐποιήσατο, καίπερ εὐσύμβλητον ἐόν· ἵππος γὰρ ἔτεκε λαγόν. Εὐσύμβλητον ὦν τῇδε ἐγένετο, ὅτι ἔμελλε μὲν ἐλᾶν στρατιὴν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα Ξέρξης ἀγαυρότατα καὶ μεγαλοπρεπέστατα, ὀπίσω δὲ περὶ ἑωϋτοῦ τρέχων ἥξειν ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν χῶρον.

The prodigy was, that a mare brought forth a hare, which signified that Xerxes would set forth on his expedition to Greece with strength and splendor, but that he would come back in timid and disgraceful flight.

The implicit faith of Herodotus, first in the reality of the fact,—next, in the certainty of his interpretation,—deserves notice, as illustrating his canon of belief, and that of his age. The interpretation is doubtless here the generating cause of the story interpreted: an ingenious man, after the expedition has terminated, imagines an appropriate simile for its proud commencement and inglorious termination (Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus), and the simile is recounted, either by himself or by some hearer who is struck with it, as if it had been a real antecedent fact. The aptness of this supposed antecedent fact to foreshadow the great Persian invasion (τὸ εὐσύμβλητον of Herodotus) serves as presumptive evidence to bear out the witness asserting it; while departure from the established analogies of nature affords no motive for disbelief to a man who admits that the gods occasionally send special signs and warnings.

[39] Compare the description of the processional march of Cyrus, as given in the Cyropædia of Xenophon, viii, 2, 1-20.

[40] Herodot. vii, 41. Μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἵππον διελέλειπτο καὶ δύο σταδίους, καὶ ἔπειτα ὁ λοιπὸς ὅμιλος ἤϊε ἀναμίξ.

[41] The incident respecting Pythius is in Herodot. vii, 27, 28, 38, 39. I place no confidence in the estimate of the wealth of Pythius; but in other respects, the story seems well entitled to credit.

[42] Herodot. vii, 42.

[43] Herodot. vii, 43. θεησάμενος δὲ, καὶ πυθόμενος κείνων ἕκαστα, etc.

[44] Herodot. vii, 45, 53, 56. Ὦ Ζεῦ, τί δὴ ἀνδρὶ εἰδόμενος Πέρσῃ, καὶ οὔνομα ἀντὶ Διὸς Ξέρξην θέμενος, ἀνάστατον τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐθέλεις ποιῆσαι, ἄγων πάντας ἀνθρώπους; καὶ γὰρ ἄνευ τουτέων ἐξῆν τοι ποιέειν ταῦτα.

[45] Tacitus, Histor. iii, 24. “Undique clamor, et orientem solem, ita in Syriâ mos est, consalutavêre,”—in his striking description of the night battle near Cremona, between the Roman troops of Vitellius and Vespasian, and the rise of the sun while the combat was yet unfinished: compare also Quintus Curtius (iii, 3, 8, p. 41, ed. Mützel).

[46] Herodot. vii, 54. ταῦτα οὐκ ἔχω ἀτρεκέως διακρῖναι, οὔτε εἰ τῷ Ἡλίῳ ἀνατιθεὶς κατῆκε ἐς τὸ πέλαγος, οὔτε εἰ μετεμέλησέ οἱ τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον μαστιγώσαντι, καὶ ἀντὶ τούτων τὴν θάλασσαν ἐδωρέετο.

[47] Herodot. vii, 55, 56. Διέβη δὲ ὁ στρατὸς αὐτοῦ ἐν ἑπτὰ ἡμέρῃσι καὶ ἐν ἑπτὰ εὐφρόνῃσι, ἐλινύσας οὐδένα χρόνον.

[48] Herodot. vii, 58-59; Pliny, H. N. iv, 11. See some valuable remarks on the topography of Doriskus and the neighborhood of the town still called Enos, in Grisebach, Reise durch Rumelien und nach Brussa, ch. vi, vol. i, pp. 157-159 (Göttingen, 1841). He shows reason for believing that the indentation of the coast, marked on the map as the gulf of Ænos, did not exist in ancient times, any more than it exists now.

[49] Herodot. vii, 20-21.

[50] See the enumeration in Herodotus, vii, 61-96. In chapter 76, one name has dropped out of the text (see the note of Wesseling and Schweighäuser), which, in addition to those specified under the head of the land-force, makes up exactly forty-six. It is from this source that Herodotus derives the boast which he puts into the mouth of the Athenians (ix, 27) respecting the battle of Marathon, in which they pretend to have vanquished forty-six nations,—ἐνικήσαμεν ἔθνεα ἓξ καὶ τεσσαράκοντα: though there is no reason for believing that so great a number of contingents were engaged with Datis at Marathon.

Compare the boasts of Antiochus king of Syria. (B. C. 192) about his immense Asiatic host brought across into Greece, as well as the contemptuous comments of the Roman consul Quinctius (Livy, xxxv, 48-49). “Varia enim genera armorum, et multa nomina gentium inauditarum, Dahas, et Medos, et Cadusios, et Elymæos—Syros omnes esse: haud paulo mancipiorum melius, propter servilia ingenia, quam militum genus:” and the sharp remark of the Arcadian envoy Antiochus (Xenophon, Hellen. vii, 1, 33). Quintus Curtius also has some rhetorical turns about the number of nations, whose names even were hardly known, tributary to the Persian empire (iii, 4, 29; iv, 45, 9), “ignota etiam ipsi Dario gentium nomina,” etc.

[51] Herodot. vii, 89-93.

[52] Herodot. vii, 61-81.

[53] The army which Darius had conducted against Scythia is said to have been counted by divisions of ten thousand each, but the process is not described in detail (Herodot. iv, 87).

[54] Herodot. vii, 60, 87, 184. This same rude mode of enumeration was employed by Darius Codomannus a century and a half afterwards, before he marched his army to the field of Issus (Quintus Curtius, iii, 2, 3, p. 24, Mutzel).

[55] Herodot. vii, 89-97.

[56] Herodot. vii, 185-186. ἐπάγων πάντα τὸν ἠῷον στρατὸν ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίης (vii, 157). “Vires Orientis et ultima secum Bactra ferens,” to use the language of Virgil about Antony at Actium.

[57] Even Dahlmann, who has many good remarks in defence of Herodotus, hardly does him justice (Herodot, Aus seinem Buche sein Leben, ch. xxxiv, p. 176).

[58] Only one hundred and twenty ships of war are mentioned by Herodotus (vii, 185) as having joined afterwards from the seaports in Thrace. But four hundred were destroyed, if not more, in the terrible storm on the coast of Magnesia (vii, 190); and the squadron of two hundred sail, detached by the Persians round Eubœa, were also all lost (viii, 7); besides forty-five taken or destroyed in the various sea-fights near Artemisium (vii, 194; viii, 11). Other losses are also indicated (viii, 14-16).

As the statement of Æschylus for the number of the Persian triremes at Salamis appears well-entitled to credit, we must suppose either that the number of Doriskus was greater than Herodotus has mentioned, or that a number greater than that which he has stated joined afterwards.

See a good note of Amersfoordt, ad Demosthen. Orat. de Symmoriis, p. 88 (Leyden, 1821).

[59] See on this point Volney, Travels in Egypt and Syria, ch. xxiv, vol. ii, pp. 70, 71; ch. xxxii, p. 367; and ch. xxxix, p. 435, (Engl. transl.).

Kinneir, Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, pp. 22-23. Bernier, who followed the march of Aurungzebe from Delhi, in 1665, says that some estimated the number of persons in the camp at three hundred thousand, others at different totals, but that no one knew, nor had they ever been counted. He says: “You are, no doubt, at a loss to conceive how so vast a number both of men and animals can be maintained in the field. The best solution of the difficulty will be found in the temperance and simple diet of the Indians.” (Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, translated by Brock, vol. ii, App. p. 118).

So also Petit de la Croix says, about the enormous host of Genghis-Khan: “Les hommes sont si sobres, qu’ils s’accommodent de toutes sortes d’alimens.”

That author seems to estimate the largest army of Genghis at seven hundred thousand men (Histoire de Genghis, liv. ii, ch. vi, p. 193).

[60] Thucydid. v, 68. Xenophon calls the host of Xerxes innumerable,—ἀναρίθμητον στρατιάν (Anabas. iii, 2, 13).

It seems not to be considered necessary for a Turkish minister to know the numbers of an assembled Turkish army. In the war between the Russians and Turks in 1770, when the Turkish army was encamped at Babadag near the Balkan, Baron de Tott tells us: “Le Visir me demanda un jour fort sérieusement si l’armée Ottomane étoit nombreuse. C’est à vous que je m’adresserois, lui dis-je, si j’étais curieux de le savoir. Je l’ignore, me repondit-il. Si vous l’ignorez, comment pourrois-je en être instruit? En lisant la Gazette de Vienna, me répliqua-t-il. Je restai confondu.”

The Duke of Ragusa (in his voyage en Hongrie, Turquie, etc.), after mentioning the prodigiously exaggerated statements current about the numbers slain in the suppressed insurrection of the Janissaries at Constantinople in 1826, observes: “On a dit et répété, que leur nombre s’étoit élévé a huit ou dix mille, et cette opinion s’est accréditée (it was really about five hundred). Mais les Orientaux en général, et les Turcs en particulier, n’ont aucune idée des nombres: ils les emploient sans exactitude, et ils sont par caractère portés à l’exagération. D’un autre coté, le gouvernement a dû favoriser cette opinion populaire, pour frapper l’imagination et inspirer une plus grande terreur.” (Vol. ii, p. 37.)

[61] Ktesias, Persica, c. 22, 23; Ælian, V. H. xiii, 3; Diodorus, xi, 2-11.

Respecting the various numerical statements in this case, see the note of Bos ad Cornel. Nepot. Themistocl. c. 2, pp. 75, 76.

The Samian poet Chœrilus, a few years younger than Herodotus, and contemporary with Thucydides, composed an epic poem on the expedition of Xerxes against Greece. Two or three short fragments of it are all that is preserved: he enumerated all the separate nations who furnished contingents to Xerxes, and we find not only the Sakæ, but also the Solymi (apparently the Jews, and so construed by Josephus) among them. See Fragments, iii and iv, in Næke’s edition of Chœrilus, pp. 121-134. Josephus cont. Apion. p. 454, ed. Havercamp.

[62] Æschylus, Pers. 14-124, 722-737. Heeren (in his learned work on the commerce of the ancient world, Über den Verkehr der alten Welt, part 1, sect. 1, pp. 162, 558, 3d edition) thinks that Herodotus had seen the actual muster-roll, made by Persian authority, of the army at Doriskus. I cannot think this at all probable: it is much more reasonable to believe that all his information was derived from Greeks who had accompanied the expedition. He must have seen and conversed with many such. The Persian royal scribes, or secretaries, accompanied the king, and took note of any particular fact or person who might happen to strike his attention (Herodot. vii, 100; viii, 90), or to exhibit remarkable courage. They seem to have been specially attached to the person of the king as ministers to his curiosity and amusement, rather than keepers of authentic and continuous records.

Heeren is disposed to accept the numerical totals, given by Herodotus as to the army of Xerxes, much too easily, in my judgment: nor is he correct in supposing that the contingents of the Persian army marched with their wives and families (pp. 557-559).

[63] When Herodotus specifies his informants—it is much to be regretted that he does not specify them oftener—they seem to be frequently Greeks, such as Dikæus the Athenian exile, Thersander of Orchomenus in Bœotia, Archias of Sparta, etc. (iii, 55; viii, 65; ix, 16.) He mentions the Spartan king Demaratus often, and usually under circumstances both of dignity and dramatic interest: it is highly probable that he may have conversed with that prince himself, or with his descendants, who remained settled for a long time in Teuthrania, near the Æolic coast of Asia Minor (Xenoph. Hellenica, iii, 1, 6), and he may thus have heard of representations offered by the exiled Spartan king to Xerxes. Nevertheless, the remarks made by Hoffmeister, on the speeches ascribed to Demaratus by Herodotus, are well deserving of attention (Sittlich-religiöse Lebensansicht des Herodotos, p. 118).

“Herodotus always brings into connection with insolent kings some man or other through whom he gives utterance to his own lessons of wisdom. To Crœsus, at the summit of his glory, comes the wise Solon: Crœsus himself, reformed by his captivity, performs the same part towards Cyrus and Kambyses: Darius, as a prudent and honest man, does not require any such counsellor; but Xerxes in his pride has the sententious Artabanus and the sagacious Demaratus attached to him; while Amasis king of Egypt is employed to transmit judicious counsel to Polykratês, the despot of Samos. Since all these men speak one and the same language, it appears certain that they are introduced by Herodotus merely as spokesmen for his own criticisms on the behavior and character of the various monarchs,—criticisms which are nothing more than general maxims, moral and religious, brought out by Solon, Crœsus, or Artabanus, on occasion of particular events. The speeches interwoven by Herodotus have, in the main, not the same purpose as those of Tacitus,—to make the reader more intimately acquainted with the existing posture of affairs, or with the character of the agents,—but a different purpose quite foreign to history: they embody in the narrative his own personal convictions respecting human life and the divine government.”

This last opinion of Hoffmeister is to a great degree true, but is rather too absolutely delivered.

[64] Herodot. vii, 101-104. How inferior is the scene between Darius and Charidemus, in Quintus Curtius! (iii, 2, 9-19, p. 20, ed. Mutzel.)

Herodotus takes up substantially the same vein of sentiment and the same antithesis as that which runs through the Persæ of Æschylus; but he handles it like a social philosopher, with a strong perception of the real causes of Grecian superiority.

It is not improbable that the skeleton of the conversation between Xerxes and Demaratus was a reality, heard by Herodotus from Demaratus himself or from his sons; for the extreme specialty with which the Lacedæmonian exile confines his praise to the Spartans and Dorians, not including the other Greeks, hardly represents the feeling of Herodotus himself.

The minuteness of the narrative which Herodotus gives respecting the deposition and family circumstances of Demaratus (vi, 63, seq.), and his view of the death of Kleomenês as an atonement to that prince for injury done, may seem derived from family information (vi, 84).

[65] Herodot. vii, 109, 111, 118.

[66] This sum of four hundred talents was equivalent to the entire annual tribute charged in the Persian king’s rent-roll, upon the satrapy comprising the western and southern coast of Asia Minor, wherein were included all the Ionic and Æolic Greeks, besides Lykians, Pamphylians, etc. (Herodot. iii, 90.)

[67] Herodot. vii, 118-120. He gives (vii, 187) the computation of the quantity of corn which would have been required for daily consumption, assuming the immense numbers as he conjectures them, and reckoning one chœnix of wheat for each man’s daily consumption, equal to one eighth of a medimnus. It is unnecessary to examine a computation founded on such inadmissible data.

[68] Herodot. vii, 108, 109.

[69] Herodot. vii, 114. He pronounces this savage practice to be specially Persian. The old and cruel Persian queen Amestris, wife of Xerxes, sought to prolong her own life by burying alive fourteen victims, children of illustrious men, as offerings to the subterranean god.

[70] Herodot. viii, 116.

[71] Herodot. vii, 122-127.

Respecting the name Pieria, and the geography of these regions, see the previous volume, vol. iv, ch. xxv. p. 14.

[72] Herodot. vii, 116.

[73] Herodot. vi, 74, 75.

[74] Herodot. vi, 84.

[75] Herodot. vi, 61. Κλεομένεα, ἐόντα ἐν τῇ Αἰγίνῃ, καὶ κοινὰ τῇ Ἑλλάδι ἀγαθὰ προεργαζόμενον, etc.

[76] Herodot. vi, 85: compare vi, 49-73, and the preceding volume of this history, c. xxxvi, pp. 437-441.

[77] Herodot. vi, 87, 88.

Instead of ἦν γὰρ δὴ τοῖσι Ἀθηναίοισι πεντήρης ἐπὶ Σουνίῳ (vi, 87), I follow the reading proposed by Schömann and sanctioned by Boëckh—πεντετηρίς. It is hardly conceivable that the Athenians at that time should have had any ships with five banks of oars (πεντήρης): moreover, apart from this objection, the word πεντήρης makes considerable embarrassment in the sentence; see Boëckh, Urkunden über das Attische Seewesen, chap. vii, pp. 75, 76.

The elder Dionysius of Syracuse is said to have been the first Greek who constructed πεντήρεις or quinquereme ships (Diodor. xiv, 40, 41).

There were many distinct pentaëterides, or solemnities celebrated every fifth year, included among the religious customs of Athens: see Aristoteles, Πολιτ. Fragm. xxvii, ed. Neumann; Pollux, viii, 107.

[78] See Thucyd. i, 8.

The acropolis at Athens, having been the primitive city inhabited, bore the name of The City even in the time of Thucydides (ii, 15), at a time when Athens and Peiræus covered so large a region around and near it.

[79] Herodot. vi, 91. χεῖρες δὲ κεῖναι ἐμπεφυκυῖαι ἦσαν τοῖσι ἐπισπαστῆρσι. The word κεῖναι for ἐκεῖναι, “those hands,” appears so little suitable in this phrase, that I rather imagine the real reading to have been κειναὶ (the Ionic dialect for κεναὶ), “the hands with nothing attached to them:” compare a phrase not very unlike, Homer, Iliad, iii, 376, κεινὴ δὲ τρυφάλεια ἅμ’ ἕσπετο, etc.

Compare the narrative of the arrest of the Spartan king Pausanias, and of the manner in which he was treated when in sanctuary at the temple of Athênê Chalkiœkos (Thucyd. i, 134).

[80] Herodot. vi, 91. Ἀπὸ τούτου δὲ καὶ ἄγος σφι ἐγένετο, τὸ ἐκθύσασθαι οὐκ οἶοί τε ἐγένοντο ἐπιμηχανώμενοι, ἀλλ’ ἔφθησαν ἐκπεσόντες πρότερον ἐκ τῆς νήσου ἤ σφι ἵλεον γενέσθαι τὴν θεόν.

Compare Thucyd. ii, 27 about the final expulsion from Ægina. The Lacedæmonians assigned to these expelled Æginetans a new abode in the territory of Thyrea, on the eastern coast of Peloponnesus, where they were attacked, taken prisoners, and put to death by the Athenians, in the eighth year of the war (Thucyd. iv, 57). Now Herodotus, while he mentions the expulsion, does not allude to their subsequent and still more calamitous fate. Had he known the fact, he could hardly have failed to notice it, as a farther consummation of the divine judgment. We may reasonably presume ignorance in this case, which would tend to support the opinion thrown out in my preceding volume (chap. xxxiii, p. 225, note) respecting the date of composition of his history,—in the earliest years of the Peloponnesian war.

[81] Herodot. ix, 75.

[82] Herodot. vi, 90-93. Thucyd. i, 41. About Sôphanês, comp. ix, 75.

How much damage was done by such a privateering war, between countries so near as Ægina and Attica, may be seen by the more detailed description of a later war of the same kind in 388 B. C. (Xenophon, Hellenic. v. 1.)

[83] Plutarch, Themist. c. 19.

[84] See Mr. Galt’s interesting account of the Hydriot sailors, Voyages and Travels in the Mediterranean, pp. 376-378 (London, 1802).

“The city of Hydra originated in a small colony of boatmen belonging to the Morea, who took refuge in the island from the tyranny of the Turks. About forty years ago they had multiplied to a considerable number, their little village began to assume the appearance of a town, and they had cargoes that went as far as Constantinople. In their mercantile transactions, the Hydriots acquired the reputation of greater integrity than the other Greeks, as well as of being the most intrepid navigators in the Archipelago; and they were of course regularly preferred. Their industry and honesty obtained its reward. The islands of Spezzia, Paros, Myconi, and Ipsara, resemble Hydra in their institutions, and possess the same character for commercial activity. In paying their sailors, Hydra and its sister islands have a peculiar custom. The whole amount of the freight is considered as a common stock, from which the charges of victualing the ship are deducted. The remainder is then divided into two equal parts: one is allotted to the crew, and equally shared among them without reference to age or rank; the other part is appropriated to the ship and captain. The capital of the cargo is a trust given to the captain and crew on certain fixed conditions. The character and manners of the Hydriot sailors, from the moral effect of these customs, are much superior in regularity to the ideas that we are apt to entertain of sailors. They are sedate, well-dressed, well-bred, shrewd, informed, and speculative. They seem to form a class, in the orders of mankind, which has no existence among us. By their voyages, they acquire a liberality of notion which we expect only among gentlemen, while in their domestic circumstances their conduct is suitable to their condition. The Greeks are all traditionary historians, and possess much of that kind of knowledge to which the term learning is usually applied. This, mingled with the other information of the Hydriots, gives them that advantageous character of mind which I think they possess.”

[85] Plato, Legg. iv, pp. 705, 706. Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 19. Isokratês, Panathenaic, c. 43.

Plutarch, Philopœmen. c. 14. Πλὴν Ἐπαμεινώνδαν μὲν ἔνιοι λέγουσιν ὀκνοῦντα γεῦσαι τῶν κατὰ θάλασσαν ὠφελειῶν τοὺς πολίτας, ὅπως αὐτῷ μὴ λάθωσιν ἀντὶ μονίμων ὁπλιτῶν, κατὰ Πλάτωνα, ναῦται γενόμενοι καὶ διαφθαρέντες, ἄπρακτον ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίας καὶ τῶν νήσων ἀπελθεῖν ἑκουσίως: compare vii, p. 301.

[86] See the remarkable passage in Xenophon (Memorab. iii, 5, 19), attesting that the Hoplites and the Hippeis, the persons first in rank in the city were also the most disobedient on military service.

[87] Thucyd. i, 93. ἰδὼν (Themistoklês) τῆς βασιλέως στρατιᾶς τὴν κατὰ θάλασσαν ἔφοδον εὐπορωτέραν τῆς κατὰ γῆν οὖσαν.

[88] Thucyd. i, 14. Herodot. vii, 144.

[89] Thucyd. i, 93.

[90] Herodot. vii, 144. Οὗτος γὰρ ὁ πόλεμος συστὰς ἔσωσε τότε τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀναγκάσας θαλασσίους γενέσθαι Ἀθηναίους.

Thucyd. i, 18. ναυτικοὶ ἐγένοντο.

[91] Æschylus, Persæ, 235.

[92] The mountain region of Laurium has been occasionally visited by modern travellers, but never carefully surveyed until 1836, when Dr. Fiedler examined it mineralogically by order of the present Greek government. See his Reisen durch Griechenland, vol. i, pp. 39, 73. The region is now little better than a desert, but Fiedler especially notices the great natural fertility of the plain near Thorikus, together with the good harbor at that place,—both circumstances of great value at the time when the mines were in work. Many remains are seen of shafts sunk in ancient times,—and sunk in so workmanlike a manner as to satisfy the eye of a miner of the present day.—p. 76.

[93] Herodot. vii, 144. Ὅτε Ἀθηναίοισι γενομένων χρημάτων μεγάλων ἐν τῷ κοινῷ, τὰ ἐκ τῶν μετάλλων σφι προσῆλθε τῶν ἀπὸ Λαυρείου, ἔμελλον λάξεσθαι ὀρχηδὸν ἕκαστος δέκα δραχμάς.

[94] All the information—unfortunately it is very scanty—which we possess respecting the ancient mines of Laurium, is brought together in the valuable Dissertation of M. Boëckh, translated and appended to the English translation of his Public Economy of Athens. He discusses the fact stated in this chapter of Herodotus, in sect. 8 of that Dissertation: but there are many of his remarks in which I cannot concur.

After multiplying ten drachmæ by the assumed number of twenty thousand Athenian citizens, making a sum total distributed of thirty-three and one-third talents, he goes on: “That the distribution was made annually might have been presumed from the principles of the Athenian administration, without the testimony of Cornelius Nepos. We are not, therefore, to suppose that the savings of several years are meant, nor merely a surplus; but that all the public money arising from the mines, as it was not required for any other object, was divided among the members of the community,” (p. 632).

We are hardly authorized to conclude from the passage of Herodotus that all the sum received from the mines was about to be distributed: the treasury was very rich, and a distribution was about to be made,—but it does not follow that nothing was to be left in the treasury after the distribution. Accordingly, all calculations of the total produce of the mines, based upon this passage of Herodotus, are uncertain. Nor is it clear that there was any regular annual distribution, unless we are to take the passage of Cornelius Nepos as proving it: but he talks rather about the magistrates employing this money for jobbing purposes,—not about a regular distribution: “Nam cum pecunia publica quæ ex metallis redibat, largitione magistratuum quotannis periret.” Corn. Nep. Themist. c. 2. A story is told by Polyænus, from whomsoever he copied it,—of a sum of one hundred talents in the treasury, which Themistoklês persuaded the people to hand over to one hundred rich men, for the purpose of being expended as the latter might direct, with an obligation to reimburse the money in case the people were not satisfied with the expenditure: these rich men employed each the sum awarded to him in building a new ship, much to the satisfaction of the people (Polyæn. i, 30). This story differs materially from that of Herodotus, and we cannot venture either to blend the two together or to rely upon Polyænus separately.

I imagine that the sum of thirty three talents, or fifty talents, necessary for the distribution, formed part of a larger sum lying in the treasury, arising from the mines. Themistoklês persuaded the people to employ the whole sum in ship-building, which of course implied that the distribution was to be renounced. Whether there had been distributions of a similar kind in former years, as M. Boëckh affirms, is a matter on which we have no evidence. M. Boëckh seems to me not to have kept in view the fact, which he himself states just before, that there were two sources of receipt into the treasury,—original purchase-money paid down, and reserved annual rent. It is from the former source that I imagine the large sum lying in the treasury to have been derived: the small reserved rent probably went among the annual items of the state-budget.

[95] Herodot. vii, 239.

[96] Herodot. vii, 8-138.

[97] Herodot. vii, 145. Φρονήσαντες εἴ κως ἕν τε γένοιτο τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν, καὶ εἰ συγκύψαντες τωὐτὸ πρήσσοιεν πάντες, ὡς δεινῶν ἐπιόντων ὁμοίως πᾶσι Ἕλλησι.

[98] Herodot. viii, 92.

[99] Herodot. vii, 145.

[100] Plutarch, Themistokl. c. 10. About Cheileos, Herodot. ix, 9.

[101] Herodot. vii, 203. οὐ γὰρ θεὸν εἶναι τὸν ἐπιόντα ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀλλ’ ἄνθρωπον, etc.: compare also vii, 56.

[102] Herodot. vii, 140.

Ἀλλ’ ἴτον ἐξ ἀδύτοιο, κακοῖς δ’ ἐπικίδνατε θυμόν.

The general sense and scope of the oracle appears to me clear, in this case. It is a sentence of nothing but desolation and sadness; though Bähr and Schweighäuser, with other commentators, try to infuse into it some thing of encouragement by construing θυμόν, fortitude. The translation of Valla and Schultz is nearer to the truth. But even when the general sense of an oracle is plain (which it hardly ever is), the particular phrases are always wild and vague.

[103] Herodot. vii, 141.

Οὐ δύναται Παλλὰς Δί’ Ὀλύμπιον ἐξιλάσασθαι

Λισσομένη πολλοῖσι λόγοις καὶ μήτιδι πυκνῇ.

Compare with this the declaration of Apollo to Crœsus of Lydia (i, 91).


... Τεῖχος Τριτογενεῖ ξύλινον διδοῖ εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς

Μοῦνον ἀπόρθητον τελέθειν, τὸ σὲ τέκνα τ’ ὀνήσει.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ὦ θείη Σαλαμὶς, ἀπολεῖς δὲ σὺ τέκνα γυναικῶν, etc.

(Herodot. vii, 141).

[105] Herodot. vii, 143. Ταύτῃ Θεμιστοκλέους ἀποφαινομένου, Ἀθηναῖοι ταῦτά σφι ἔγνωσαν αἱρετώτερα εἶναι μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ τῶν χρησμολόγων, οἳ οὐκ εἴων ναυμαχίην ἀρτέεσθαι, ἀλλὰ ἐκλιπόντας χώρην τὴν Ἀττικὴν, ἄλλην τινὰ οἰκίζειν.

There is every reason to accept the statement of Herodotus as true, respecting these oracles delivered to the Athenians, and the debated interpretation of them. They must have been discussed publicly in the Athenian assembly, and Herodotus may well have conversed with persons who had heard the discussion. Respecting the other oracle which he states to have been delivered to the Spartans,—intimating that either Sparta must be conquered or a king of Sparta must perish,—we may well doubt whether it was in existence before the battle of Thermopylæ (Herodot. vii, 220).

The later writers, Justin (ii, 12), Cornelius Nepos (c. 2), and Polyænus (i, 30), give an account of the proceeding of Themistoklês, inferior to Herodotus in vivacity as well as in accuracy.

[106] Herodot. vii, 139. οὐδὲ σφέας χρηστήρια φοβερὰ, ἐλθόντα ἐκ Δελφῶν, καὶ ἐς δεῖμα βαλόντα, ἔπεισε ἐκλιπεῖν τὴν Ἑλλάδα, etc.

For the abundance of oracles and prophecies, from many different sources, which would be current at such a moment of anxiety, we may compare the analogy of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, described by the contemporary historian (Thucyd. ii, 8).

[107] Herodot. vii, 139. Ἐνθαῦτα ἀναγκαίῃ ἐξέργομαι γνώμην ἀποδέξασθαι, ἐπίφθονον μὲν πρὸς τῶν πλεόνων ἀνθρώπων· ὅμως δὲ, τῇ γέ μοι φαίνεται εἶναι ἀληθὲς, οὐκ ἐπισχήσω. Εἰ Ἀθηναῖοι, καταῤῥωδήσαντες τὸν ἐπιόντα κίνδυνον, ἐξέλιπον τὴν σφετέρην, etc. ... Νῦν δὲ, Ἀθηναίους ἄν τις λέγων σωτῆρας γενέσθαι τῆς Ἑλλάδος, οὐκ ἂν ἁμαρτάνοι τὸ ἀληθές, etc.

The whole chapter deserves peculiar attention, as it brings before us the feelings of those contemporaries to whom his history is addressed, and the mode of judging with which they looked back on the Persian war. One is apt unconsciously to fancy that an ancient historian writes for men in the abstract, and not for men of given sentiments, prejudices, and belief. The persons whom Herodotus addressed are those who were so full of admiration for Sparta, as to ascribe to her chiefly the honor of having beaten back the Persians; and to maintain that, even without the aid of Athens, the Spartans and Peloponnesians both could have defended, and would have defended, the isthmus of Corinth, fortified as it was by a wall built expressly. The Peloponnesian allies of that day forgot that they were open to attack by sea as well as by land.

[108] Herodot. vii, 139. ἑλόμενοι δὲ τὴν Ἑλλάδα περιεῖναι ἐλευθέρην, τοῦτο τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν πᾶν τὸ λοιπὸν, ὅσον μὴ ἐμήδισε, αὐτοὶ οὗτοι ἦσαν οἱ ἐπεγείραντες, καὶ βασιλέα μετά γε θεοὺς ἀνωσάμενοι.

[109] Herodot. viii, 2, 3: compare vii, 161.

[110] Herodot. vii, 144.

[111] Thucyd. iii, 56. ἐν καιροῖς οἷς σπάνιον ἦν τῶν Ἑλλήνων τινὰ ἀρετὴν τῇ Ξέρξου δυνάμει ἀντιτάξασθαι.

This view of the case is much more conformable to history than the boasts of later orators respecting wide-spread patriotism in these times. See Demosthen. Philipp. iii, 37, p. 120.

[112] Herodot. vii, 147-150.

[113] The opinion of Herodotus is delivered in a remarkable way, without mentioning the name of the Argeians, and with evident reluctance. After enumerating all the Grecian contingents assembled for the defence of the Isthmus, and the different inhabitants of Peloponnesus, ethnically classified, he proceeds to say: Τούτων ὦν τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐθνέων αἱ λοιπαὶ πόλις, πάρεξ τῶν κατέλεξα, ἐκ τοῦ μέσου ἐκατέατο· εἰ δὲ ἐλευθέρως ἔξεστι εἰπεῖν, ἐκ τοῦ μέσου κατήμενοι ἐμήδιζον (viii, 73). This assertion includes the Argeians without naming them.

Where he speaks respecting the Argeians by name, he is by no means so free and categorical; compare vii, 152,—he will give no opinion of his own, differing from the allegation of the Argeians themselves,—he mentions other stories, incompatible with that allegation, but without guaranteeing their accuracy,— he delivers a general admonition that those who think they have great reason to complain of the conduct of others would generally find, on an impartial scrutiny, that others have as much reason to complain of them,—“and thus the conduct of Argos has not been so much worse than that of others,”—οὕτω δὴ οὐκ Ἀργείοισι αἴσχιστα πεποίηται.

At the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the history of Herodotus was probably composed, the Argeians were in a peculiarly favorable position. They took part neither with Athens nor Lacedæmon, each of whom was afraid of offending them. An historian who openly countenanced a grave charge of treason against them in the memorable foregone combat against Xerxes, was thus likely to incur odium from both parties in Greece.

The comments of Plutarch on Herodotus in respect to this matter are of little value (De Herodoti Malignit. c. 28, p. 863), and are indeed unfair, since he represents the Argeian version of the facts as being universally believed (ἅπαντες ἴσασιν), which it evidently was not.

[114] Herodot. vii, 169.

[115] Herodot. vii, 168.

[116] Thucyd. i, 32-37. It is perhaps singular that the Corinthian envoys in Thucydides do not make any allusion to the duplicity of the Korkyræans in regard to the Persian invasion, in the strong invective which they deliver against Korkyra before the Athenian assembly (Thucydid. i, 37-42). The conduct of Corinth herself, however, on the same occasion, was not altogether without reproach.

[117] Herodot. vii, 158-167. Diodor. xi, 22.

[118] See Schol. ad Aristeid., Anathenaic. p. 138.

[119] Herodot. vii, 172: compare c. 130.

[120] Herodot. vii, 173.

[121] Herodot. vii, 172. τὴν ἐσβολὴν τὴν Ὀλυμπικήν. See the description and plan of Tempê in Dr. Clarke’s Travels, vol. iv, ch. ix, p. 280; and the Dissertation of Kriegk, in which all the facts about this interesting defile are collected and compared (Das Thessalische Tempe. Frankfort, 1834).

The description of Tempê in Livy (xliii, 18; xliv, 6) seems more accurate than that in Pliny (H. N. iv, 8). We may remark that both the one and the other belong to times subsequent to the formation and organization of the Macedonian empire, when it came to hold Greece in a species of dependence. The Macedonian princes after Alexander the Great, while they added to the natural difficulties of Tempê by fortifications, at the same time made the road more convenient as a military communication. In the time of Xerxes, these natural difficulties had never been approached by the hand of art, and were doubtless much greater.

The present road through the pass is about thirteen feet broad in its narrowest part, and between fifteen and twenty feet broad elsewhere,—the pass is about five English miles in length (Kriegk, pp. 21-33).

[122] Herodot. vii, 173.

[123] Herodot. viii, 140-143.

[124] Herodot. vii, 173, 174.

[125] Diodor. xi, 3. ἔτι παρούσης τῆς ἐν τοῖς Τέμπεσι φυλακῆς, etc.

[126] Herodot. vii, 131, 132, 174.

[127] Herodot. vii, 177

[128] Herodot. vii, 132; Diodor. xi, 3.

[129] Herodot. viii, 15-60. Compare Isokratês, Panegyric, Or. iv, p. 59.

I shall have occasion presently to remark the revolution which took place in Athenian feeling on this point between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

[130] The word Pass commonly conveys the idea of a path inclosed between mountains. In this instance it is employed to designate a narrow passage, having mountains on one side only, and water (or marsh ground) on the other.

[131] According to one of the numerous hypotheses for refining religious legend into matter of historical and physical fact, Hêraklês as supposed to have been an engineer, or water-finder, in very early times,—δεινὸς περὶ ζήτησιν ὑδάτων καὶ συναγωγήν. See Plutarch, Cum principibus viris philosopho esse disserendum, c. i, p. 776.

[132] About Thermopylæ, see Herodot. vii, 175, 176, 199, 200.

Ἡ δὲ αὖ διὰ Τρηχῖνος ἔσοδος ἐς τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἔστι, τῇ στεινότατον, ἡμίπλεθρον· οὐ μέντοι κατὰ τοῦτό γ’ ἔστι τὸ στεινότατον τῆς χώρης τῆς ἄλλης, ἀλλ’ ἔμπροσθέ τε Θερμοπυλέων καὶ ὄπισθε· κατά τε Ἀλπηνοὺς, ὄπισθε ἐόντας, ἐοῦσα ἁμαξιτὸς μούνη· καὶ ἔμπροσθε κατὰ Φοίνικα ποταμὸν, ἁμαξιτὸς ἄλλη μούνη.

Compare Pausanias, vii, 15, 2. τὸ στένον τὸ Ἡρακλείας τε μεταξὺ καὶ Θερμοπυλέων; Strabo, ix, p. 429; and Livy, xxxvi, 12.

Herodotus says about Thermopylæ—στεινοτέρη γὰρ ἐφαίνετο ἐοῦσα τῆς εἰς Θεσσαλίην, i. e. than the defile of Tempê.

If we did not possess the clear topographical indications given by Herodotus, it would be almost impossible to comprehend the memorable event here before us; for the configuration of the coast, the course of the rivers, and the general local phenomena, have now so entirely changed, that modern travellers rather mislead than assist. In the interior of the Maliac gulf, three or four miles of new land have been formed by the gradual accumulation of river deposit, so that the gulf itself is of much less extent, and the mountain bordering the gate of Thermopylæ is not now near to the sea. The river Spercheius has materially altered its course; instead of flowing into the sea in an easterly direction considerably north of Thermopylæ, as it did in the time of Herodotus, it has been diverted southward in the lower part of its course, with many windings, so as to reach the sea much south of the pass: while the rivers Dyras, Melas, and Asôpus, which in the time of Herodotus all reached the sea separately between the mouth of Spercheius and Thermopylæ, now do not reach the sea at all, but fall into the Spercheius. Moreover, the perpetual flow of the thermal springs has tended to accumulate deposit and to raise the level of the soil generally throughout the pass. Herodotus seems to consider the road between the two gates of Thermopylæ as bearing north and south, whereas it would bear more nearly east and west. He knows nothing of the appellation of Callidromus, applied by Livy and Strabo to an undefined portion of the eastern ridge of Œta.

Respecting the past and present features of Thermopylæ, see the valuable observations of Colonel Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. ii, ch. x, pp. 7-40; Gell, Itinerary of Greece, p. 239; Kruse, Hellas, vol. iii, ch. x, p. 129. Dr. Clarke observes: “The hot springs issue principally from two mouths at the foot of the limestone precipices of Œta, upon the left of the causeway, which here passes close under the mountain, and on this part of it scarcely admits two horsemen abreast of each other, the morass on the right, between the causeway and the sea, being so dangerous, that we were very near being buried, with our horses, by our imprudence in venturing a few paces into it from the paved road.” (Clarke’s Travels, vol. iv, ch. viii, p. 247.)

[133] Herodot. vii, 177, 205. ἐπιλεξάμενος ἄνδρας τε τοὺς κατεστεῶτας τριηκοσίους, καὶ τοῖσι ἐτύγχανον παῖδες ἐόντες.

In selecting men for a dangerous service, the Spartans took by preference those who already had families: if such a man was slain, he left behind him a son to discharge his duties to the state, and to maintain the continuity of the family sacred rites, the extinction of which was considered as a great misfortune. In our ideas, the life of the father of a family in mature age would be considered as of more value, and his death a greater loss, than that of a younger and unmarried man.

[134] Herodot. vii, 205; Thucyd. iii, 62; Diodor. xi, 4; Plutarch, Aristeides, c. 18.

The passage of Thucydides is very important here, as confirming, to a great degree, the statement of Herodotus, and enabling us to appreciate the criticisms of Plutarch, on this particular point very plausible (De Herodoti Malign. pp. 865, 866). The latter seems to have copied from a lost Bœotian author named Aristophanes, who tried to make out a more honorable case for his countrymen in respect to their conduct in the Persian war.

The statement of Diodorus,—Θηβαίων ἀπὸ τῆς ἑτέρας μέριδος ὡς τετρακόσιοι,—is illustrated by a proceeding of the Korkyræan government (Thucyd. iii, 75), when they enlisted their enemies in order to send them away: also that of the Italian Cumæ (Dionys. Hal. vii, 5).

[135] Diodor. xi, 4.

[136] Herodot. viii, 30.

[137] Herodot. vii, 203. λέγοντες δι’ ἀγγέλων, ὡς αὐτοὶ μὲν ἥκοιεν πρόδρομοι τῶν ἄλλων, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ τῶν συμμάχων προσδόκιμοι πᾶσάν εἰσι ἡμέρην· ... καί σφι εἴη δεινὸν οὐδέν· οὐ γὰρ θεὸν εἶναι τὸν ἐπίοντα ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀλλ’ ἄνθρωπον· εἶναι δὲ θνητὸν οὐδένα, οὐδὲ ἔσεσθαι, τῷ κακὸν ἐξ ἀρχῆς γινομένῳ οὐ συνεμίχθη, τοῖσι δὲ μεγίστοισι αὐτέων, μέγιστα· ὀφείλειν ὦν καὶ τὸν ἐπελαύνοντα, ὡς ἐόντα θνητὸν, ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης πεσέειν ἄν.

[138] Herodot. vii, 206. It was only the Dorian states (Lacedæmon, Argos, Sikyon, etc.) which were under obligation of abstinence from aggressive military operations during the month of the Karneian festival: other states (even in Peloponnesus), Elis, Mantineia, etc., and of course Athens, were not under similar restraint (Thucyd. v, 54, 75).

[139] Josephus, Bell. Judaic. i, 7, 3; ii, 16, 4; ibid. Antiqq. Judaic. xiv, 4, 2. If their bodies were attacked on the Sabbath, the Jews defended themselves; but they would not break through the religious obligations of the day in order to impede any military operations of the besiegers. See Reimar. ad Dion. Cass. lxvi, 7.

[140] Herodot. vii, 206; viii, 40.

[141] Herodot. vii, 212, 216, 218.

[142] Herodot. vii, 207.

[143] Herodot. viii, 1, 2, 3. Diodorus (xi, 12) makes the Athenian number stronger by twenty triremes.

[144] Herodot. vii, 180. τάχα δ’ ἄν τι καὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἐπαύροιτο.

Respecting the influence of a name and its etymology, in this case unhappy for the possessor, compare Herodot. ix, 91; and Tacit. Hist. iv, 53.

[145] For the employment of fire-signals, compare Livy, xxviii, 5; and the opening of the Agamemnon of Æschylus, and the same play, v. 270, 300; also Thucydides, iii, 22-80.

[146] Herodot. vii, 181, 182, 183.

[147] Herodot. vii, 184. μέχρι μὲν δὴ τούτου τοῦ χώρου καὶ τῶν Θερμοπυλέων, ἀπαθής τε κακῶν ἔην ὁ στρατὸς, καὶ πλῆθος ἔην τηνικαῦτα ἔτι τόσον, etc.—viii, 13. ἐποιέετο δὲ πᾶν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅκως ἂν ἐξισωθείη τῷ Ἑλληνικῷ τὸ Περσικὸν, μηδὲ πολλῷ πλέον εἴη. Compare viii, 109; and Diodor. xi, 13.

[148] Herodot. vii, 178. Δελφοὶ δὲ δεξάμενοι τὸ μαντήϊον, πρῶτα μὲν, Ἑλλήνων τοῖσι βουλομένοισι εἶναι ἐλευθέροισι ἐξήγγειλαν τὰ χρησθέντα αὐτοῖσι· καί σφι δεινῶς καταῤῥωδέουσι τὸν βάρβαρον ἐξαγγείλαντες, χάριν ἀθάνατον κατέθεντο.

[149] Herodot. vii, 189. The language of the historian in this chapter is remarkable: his incredulous reason rather gets the better of religious acquiescence.

Clemens Alexandrinus, reciting this incident together, with some other miracles of Ækus, Aristæus, Empedoklês, etc., reproves his pagan opponents for their inconsistency, while believing these, in rejecting the miracles of Moses and the prophets (Stromat. vi, pp. 629, 630).

[150] The pass over which Xerxes passed was that by Petra, Pythium, and Oloosson,—“saltum ad Petram,”—“Perrhæbiæ saltum,”—(Livy, xlv, 21; xliv, 27.) Petra was near the point where the road passed from Pieria, or lower Macedonia, into upper Macedonia (see Livy, xxxix, 26).

Compare respecting this pass, and the general features of the neighboring country, Colonel Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. iii, ch. xviii, pp. 337-343, and ch. xxx, p. 430; also Boué, La Turquie en Europe, vol. i, pp. 198-202.

The Thracian king Sitalkês, like Xerxes on this occasion, was obliged to cause the forests to be cut, to make a road for his army, in the early part of the Peloponnesian war (Thucyd. ii, 98).

[151] Herodot. vii, 130, 131. That Xerxes, struck by the view of Olympus and Ossa, went to see the narrow defile between them, is probable enough; but the remarks put into his mouth are probably the fancy of some ingenious contemporary Greeks, suggested by the juxtaposition of such a landscape and such a monarch. To suppose this narrow defile walled up, was easy for the imagination of any spectator: to suppose that he could order it to be done, was in character with a monarch who disposed of an indefinite amount of manual labor, and who had just finished the cutting of Athos. Such dramatic fitness was quite sufficient to convert that which might have been said into that which was said, and to procure for it a place among the historical anecdotes communicated to Herodotus.

[152] The Persian fleet did not leave Therma until eleven days after Xerxes and his land-force (Herodot. vii, 183); it arrived in one day on the Sêpias Aktê, or southeastern coast of Magnesia (ibid.), was then assailed and distressed for three days by the hurricane (vii, 191), and proceeded immediately afterwards to Aphetæ (vii, 193). When it arrived at the latter places, Xerxes himself had been three days in the Malian territory (vii, 196).

[153] This point is set forth by Hoffmeister, Sittlich-religiöse Lebensansicht des Herodotos, Essen, 1832, sect. 19, p. 93.

[154] Herodot. vii, 196, 197, 201.

[155] Diodor. xi, 12.

[156] Diodorus (xi, 12), Plutarch (Themistoklês, 8), and Mannert (Geogr. der Gr. und Römer, vol. vii, p. 596), seem to treat Sêpias as a cape, the southeastern corner of Magnesia: this is different from Herodotus, who mentions it as a line of some extent (ἅπασα ἡ ἀκτὴ ἡ Σηπιὰς, vii, 191), and notices separately τὴν ἄκρην τῆς Μαγνησίης, vii, 193.

The geography of Apollonius Rhodius (i, 560-580) seems sadly inaccurate.

[157] Herodot. vii, 189-191.

[158] Herodot. vii, 191. On this occasion, as in regard to the prayers addressed by the Athenians to Boreas, Herodotus suffers a faint indication of skepticism to escape him: ἡμέρας γὰρ δὴ ἐχείμαζε τρεῖς· τέλος δὲ, ἔντομά τε ποιεῦντες καὶ καταείδοντες γόοισι τῷ ἀνέμῳ οἱ Μάγοι, πρός τε τούτοισι, καὶ Θέτι καὶ τῇσι Νηρηΐσι θύοντες, ἔπαυσαν τετάρτῃ ἡμέρῃ· ἢ ἄλλως κως αὐτὸς ἐθέλων ἐκόπασε.

[159] Herodot. vii, 194.

[160] Herod. vii, 208, 210. πέμπει ἐς αὐτοὺς Μήδους τε καὶ Κισσίους θυμωθεὶς, ἐντειλάμενός σφεας ζωγρήσαντας ἄγειν ἐς ὄψιν τὴν ἑωϋτοῦ.

[161] Diodor. xi, 4.

[162] Herodot. vii, 174; viii, 29-32.

[163] Diodor. xi, 6.

[164] Herodot. vii, 211; ix, 62, 63; Diodor. xi, 7: compare Æschyl. Pers. 244.

[165] Herodot. vii, 212. Ἐν ταύτῃσι τῇσι προσόδοισι τῆς μάχης λέγεται βασιλέα, θηεύμενον, τρὶς ἀναδραμεῖν ἐκ τοῦ θρόνου, δείσαντα περὶ τῇ στρατίῃ. See Homer, Iliad, xx, 62; Æschyl. Pers. 472.

[166] Herodot. vii, 213, 214; Diodor. xi, 8.

Ktesias states that it was two powerful men of Trachis, Kalliadês and Timaphernês, who disclosed to Xerxes the mountain-path (Persica, c. 24).

[167] Herodot. vii, 217, 218. ἠώς τε δὴ διέφαινε—ἦν μὲν δὴ νηνεμίη, ψόφου δὲ γενομένου πολλοῦ, etc.

I cannot refrain from transcribing a remark of Colonel Leake: “The stillness of the dawn, which saved the Phocians from being surprised, is very characteristic of the climate of Greece in the season when the occurrence took place, and like many other trifling circumstances occurring in the history of the Persian invasion, is an interesting proof of the accuracy and veracity of the historian.” (Travels in Northern Greece, vol. ii, c. x, p. 55.)

[168] Herodot. vii, 216, 217.

[169] Diodor. xi, 9.

[170] Herodot. vii, 219. ἐνθαῦτα ἐβουλεύοντο οἱ Ἕλληνες, καί σφεων ἐσχίζοντο αἱ γνῶμαι.

[171] Herodot. vii, 104.

[172] Herodot. vii, 220. Ταύτῃ καὶ μᾶλλον τῇ γνώμῃ πλεῖστός εἰμι, Λεωνίδην, ἐπεί τε ἤσθετο τοὺς συμμάχους ἐόντας ἀπροθύμους, καὶ οὐκ ἐθέλοντας συνδιακινδυνεύειν, κελεῦσαί σφεας ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι· αὐτῷ δὲ ἀπιέναι οὐ καλῶς ἔχειν· μένοντι δὲ αὐτοῦ κλέος μέγα ἐλείπετο, καὶ ἡ Σπάρτης εὐδαιμονίη οὐκ ἐξηλείφετο.

Compare a similar act of honorable self-devotion, under less conspicuous circumstances, of the Lacedæmonian commander Anaxibius, when surprised by the Athenians under Iphikratês in the territory of Abydus (Xenophon. Hellenic. iv, 8, 38). He and twelve Lacedæmonian harmosts, all refused to think of safety by flight. He said to his men, when resistance was hopeless, Ἄνδρες, ἐμοὶ μὲν καλὸν ἔνθαδε ἀποθανεῖν· ὑμεῖς δὲ, πρὶν συμμίξαι τοῖς πολεμίοις, σπεύδετε εἰς τὴν σωτηρίαν.

[173] Herodot. vii, 221. According to Plutarch, there were also two persons belonging to the Herakleid lineage, whom Leonidas desired to place in safety, and for that reason gave them a despatch to carry home. They indignantly refused, and stayed to perish in the fight (Plutarch. Herodot. Malign. p. 866).

[174] The subsequent distress of the surviving Thespians is painfully illustrated by the fact, that in the battle of Platæa in the following year, they had no heavy armor (Herodot. ix, 30). After the final repulse of Xerxes, they were forced to recruit their city by the admission of new citizens (Herodot. viii, 75).

[175] Herodot. vii, 222. Θηβαῖοι μὲν ἀέκοντες ἔμενον, καὶ οὐ βουλόμενοι, κατεῖχε γάρ σφεας Λεωνίδης, ἐν ὁμήρων λόγῳ ποιεύμενος. How could these Thebans serve as hostages? Against what evil were they intended to guard Leonidas, or what advantages could they confer upon him? Unwilling comrades on such an occasion would be noway desirable. Plutarch (De Herodot. Malign. p. 865) severely criticizes this statement of Herodotus, and on very plausible grounds: among the many unjust criticisms in his treatise, this is one of the few exceptions.

Compare Diodorus, xi, 9; and Pausan. x, 20, 1.

Of course the Thebans, taking part as they afterwards did heartily with Xerxes, would have an interest in representing that their contingent had done as little as possible against him, and may have circulated the story that Leonidas detained them as hostages. The politics of Thebes before the battle of Thermopylæ were essentially double-faced and equivocal: not daring to take any open part against the Greeks before the arrival of Xerxes.

The eighty Mykenæans, like the other Peloponnesians, had the isthmus of Corinth behind them as a post which presented good chances of defence.

[176] The story of Diodorus (xi, 10) that Leonidas made an attack upon the Persian camp during the night, and very nearly penetrated tn the regal tent, from which Xerxes was obliged to flee, suddenly, in order to save his life, while the Greeks, after having caused immense slaughter in the camp, were at length overpowered and slain,—is irreconcilable with Herodotus and decidedly to be rejected. Justin, however (ii, 11), and Plutarch (De Herodot. Malign. p. 866), follow it. The rhetoric of Diodorus is not calculated to strengthen the evidence in its favor. Plutarch had written, or intended to write, a biography of Leonidas (De Herodot. Mal. ibid.); but it is not preserved.

[177] Herodot. vii, 225.

[178] Herodot. vii, 226.

[179] Herodot. vii, 224. ἐπυθόμην δὲ καὶ ἁπάντων τῶν τριακοσίων. Pausanias, iii, 14, 1. Annual festivals, with a panegyrical oration and gymnastic matches, were still celebrated even in his time in honor of Leonidas, jointly with Pausanias, whose subsequent treason tarnished his laurels acquired at Platæa. It is remarkable, and not altogether creditable to Spartan sentiment, that the two kings should have been made partners in the same public honors.

[180] Herod. vii, 229. Ἀριστόδημον—λειποψυχέοντα λειφθῆναι—ἀλγήσαντα ἀπονοστῆσαι ἐς Σπάρτην. The commentators are hard upon Aristodêmus when they translate these epithets, “animo deficientem, timidum, pusillanimum,” considering that ἐλειποψύχησε is predicated by Thucydides (iv, 12) even respecting the gallant Brasidas. Herodotus scarcely intends to imply anything like pusillanimity, but rather the effect of extreme physical suffering. It seems, however, that there were different stories about the cause which had kept Aristodêmus out of the battle.

The story of another soldier, named Pantitês, who having been sent on a message by Leonidas into Thessaly, did not return in time for the battle, and was so disgraced when he went back to Sparta that he hanged himself,—given by Herodotus as a report, is very little entitled to credit. It is not likely that Leonidas would send an envoy into Thessaly, then occupied by the Persians: moreover, the disgrace of Aristodêmus is particularly explained by Herodotus by the difference between his conduct and that of his comrade Eurytus: whereas Pantitês stood alone.

[181] See the story of the single Athenian citizen, who returned home alone, after all his comrades had perished in an unfortunate expedition to the island of Ægina. The widows of the slain warriors crowded round him, each asking him what had become of her husband, and finally put him to death by pricking with their bodkins (Herodot. v, 87).

In the terrible battle of St. Jacob on the Birs, near Basle (August, 1444), where fifteen hundred Swiss crossed the river and attacked forty thousand French and Germans under the Dauphin of France, against strong remonstrances from their commanders,—all of them were slain, after deeds of unrivalled valor and great loss to the enemy, except sixteen men, who receded from their countrymen in crossing the river, thinking the enterprise desperate. These sixteen men, on their return, were treated with intolerable scorn and hardly escaped execution (Vogelin, Geschichte der Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft, vol. i, ch. 5, p. 393).

[182] Herodot. vii, 233; Plutarch, Herodot. Malign. p. 867. The Bœotian history of Aristophanês, cited by the latter, professed to be founded in part upon memorials arranged according to the sequence of magistrates and generals—ἐκ τῶν κατὰ ἄρχοντας ὑπομνημάτων ἱστόρησε.

[183] Herodot. vii, 235.

[184] Herodot. vii, 236.

[185] Herodot. vii, 237. “The citizen (Xerxes is made to observe) does indeed naturally envy another citizen more fortunate than himself, and if asked for counsel, will keep back what he has best in his mind, unless he be a man of very rare virtue. But a foreign friend usually sympathizes heartily with the good fortune of another foreigner, and will give him the best advice in his power whenever he is asked.”

[186] Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 7; Herodot. viii, 5, 6.

[187] The expression of Herodotus is somewhat remarkable: Οὗτοί τε δὴ πληγέντες δώροισι (Eurybiadês, Adeimantus, etc.), ἀναπεπεισμένοι ἦσαν, καὶ τοῖσι Εὐβοέεσι ἐκεχάριστο· αὐτός τε ὁ Θεμιστοκλέης ἐκέρδῃνε, ἐλάνθανε δὲ τὰ λοιπὰ ἔχων.

[188] Herodot. viii, 20. Οἱ γὰρ Εὐβοέες παραχρησάμενοι τὸν Βάκιδος χρησμὸν ὡς οὐδὲν λέγοντα, οὔτε τι ἐξεκομίσαντο οὐδὲν, οὔτε προεσάξαντο, ὡς παρεσομένου σφι πολέμου· περιπετέα δὲ ἐποιήσαντο σφίσι αὐτοῖσι τὰ πρήγματα. Βάκιδι γὰρ ὧδε ἔχει περὶ τούτων ὁ χρησμός·

Φράζεο, βαρβαρόφωνον ὅταν ζυγὸν εἰς ἅλα βάλλῃ

Βύβλινον, Εὐβοίης ἀπέχειν πολυμηκάδας αἶγας.

Τούτοισι δὲ οὐδὲν τοῖσι ἔπεσι χρησαμένοισι ἐν τοῖσι τότε παρεοῦσί τε καὶ προσδοκίμοισι κακοῖσι, παρῆν σφι συμφορῇ χρῆσθαι πρὸς τὰ μέγιστα.

[189] Herodot. viii, 6. καὶ ἔμελλον δῆθεν ἐκφεύξεσθαι (οἱ Ἕλληνες)· ἔδει δὲ μηδὲ πυρφόρον, τῷ ἐκείνων (Περσῶν) λόγῳ, περιγενέσθαι.

[190] Herodot. viii, 7, 8. Wonderful stories were recounted respecting the prowess of Skyllias as a diver.

[191] Diodorus, xi, 12.

[192] Herodot. viii, 9. δείλην ὀψίην γινομένην τῆς ἡμέρης φυλάξαντες, αὐτοὶ ἐπανέπλωον ἐπὶ τοὺς βαρβάρους, ἀπόπειραν αὐτῶν ποιήσασθαι βουλόμενοι τῆς τε μάχης καὶ τοῦ διεκπλόου.

[193] Compare the description in Thucyd. ii, 84, of the naval battle between the Athenian fleet under Phormio and the Lacedæmonian fleet, where the ships of the latter are marshalled in this same array.

[194] Herodot. viii, 11. πολλὸν παρὰ δόξαν ἀγωνισάμενοι—ἑτεραλκέως ἀγωνιζομένους, etc.

[195] Herodot. viii, 12, 13, 14; Diodor. xi, 12.

[196] Herodot. viii, 17, 18.

[197] Herodot. viii, 18. δρησμὸν δὴ ἐβούλευον ἔσω ἐς τὴν Ἑλλάδα.

[198] Herodot. viii, 19, 21, 22; Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 9.

[199] Herodot. viii, 24, 25. οὐ μὴν οὐδ’ ἐλάνθανε τοὺς διαβεβηκότας Ξέρξης ταῦτα πρήξας περὶ τοὺς νεκροὺς τοὺς ἑωϋτοῦ· καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ γελοῖον ἦν, etc.

[200] About the numbers of the Greeks at Thermopylæ, compare Herodot. vii, 202; Diodorus, xi, 4; Pausanias, x, 20, 1; and Manso’s Sparta, vol. ii, p. 308; Beylage 24th.

Isokratês talks about one thousand Spartans, with a few allies, Panegyric, Or. iv, p. 59. He mentions also only sixty Athenian ships of war at Artemisium: in fact, his numerical statements deserve little attention.

[201] Herodot. vii, 228.

[202] Herodot. viii, 40, 71, 73.

[203] Herodot. viii, 66. Diodorus calls the battle of Thermopylæ a Kadmeian victory for Xerxes,—which is true only in the letter, but not in the spirit: he doubtless lost a greater number of men in the pass than the Greeks, but the advantage which he gained was prodigious (Diodor. xi, 12); and Diodorus himself sets forth the terror of the Greeks after the event (xi, 13-15).

[204] Plutarch, De Herodot. Malignit. p. 864; Herodot. viii, 34.

[205] Herodot. viii, 44, 50.

[206] Herodot. viii, 66.

[207] Thucyd. i, 69. τόν τε γὰρ Μῆδον αὐτοὶ ἴσμεν ἀπὸ περάτων γῆς πρότερον ἐπὶ Πελοπόννησον ἐλθόντα, πρὶν τὰ παρ’ ὑμῶν ἀξίως προαπαντῆσαι.

[208] Herodot. viii, 71. συνδραμόντες ἐκ τῶν πολίων.

[209] Herodot. viii, 74.

[210] Herodot. vii, 139.

[211] Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 9. ἅμα μὲν ὀργὴ τῆς προδοσίας εἶχε τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, ἅμα δὲ δυσθυμία καὶ κατήφεια μεμονωμένους.

Herodot. viii, 40. δοκέοντες γὰρ εὑρήσειν Πελοποννησίους πανδημεὶ ἐν τῇ Βοιωτίῃ ὑποκατημένους τὸν βάρβαρον, τῶν μὲν εὗρον οὐδὲν ἐὸν, οἱ δὲ ἐπυνθάνοντο τὸν Ἰσθμὸν αὐτοὺς τειχέοντας ἐς τὴν Πελοπόννησον, περὶ πλείστου δὲ ποιουμένους περιεῖναι, καὶ ταύτην ἔχοντας ἐν φυλακῇ, τὰ τε ἄλλα ἀπιέναι.

Thucyd. i, 74. ὅτε γοῦν ἦμεν (we Athenians) ἔτι σῶοι, οὐ παρεγένεσθε (Spartans).

Both Lysias (Oratio Funebr. c. 8) and Isokratês take pride in the fact that the Athenians, in spite of being thus betrayed, never thought of making separate terms for themselves with Xerxes (Panegyric, Or. iv. p. 60). But there is no reason to believe that Xerxes would have granted them separate terms: his particular vengeance was directed against them. Isokratês has confounded in his mind the conduct of the Athenians when they refused the offers of Mardonius in the year following the battle of Salamis, with their conduct before the battle of Salamis against Xerxes.

[212] Herodot. viii, 40-42.

[213] Plato, Legg. iii, p. 699.

[214] Herodot. viii, 66, 67. There was, therefore, but little time for the breaking up and carrying away of furniture, alluded to by Thucydides, i, 18—διανοηθέντες ἐκλιπεῖν τὴν πόλιν καὶ ἀνασκευασάμενοι, etc.

[215] Herodot. viii, 41; Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. x.

In the years 1821 and 1822, during the struggle which preceded the liberation of Greece, the Athenians were forced to leave their country and seek refuge in Salamis three several times. These incidents are sketched in a manner alike interesting and instructive by Dr. Waddington, in his Visit to Greece (London, 1825), Letters, vi, vii, x. He states, p. 92, “Three times have the Athenians emigrated in a body, and sought refuge from the sabre among the houseless rocks of Salamis. Upon these occasions, I am assured, that many have dwelt in caverns, and many in miserable huts, constructed on the mountain-side by their own feeble hands. Many have perished too, from exposure to an intemperate climate; many, from diseases contracted through the loathsomeness of their habitations; many from hunger and misery. On the retreat of the Turks, the survivors returned to their country. But to what a country did they return? To a land of desolation and famine; and in fact, on the first reoccupation of Athens, after the departure of Omer Brioni, several persons are known to have subsisted for some time on grass, till a supply of corn reached the Piræus from Syra and Hydra.”

A century and a half ago, also in the war between the Turks and Venetians, the population of Attica was forced to emigrate to Salamis, Ægina, and Corinth. M. Buchon observes, “Les troupes Albanaises, envoyées en 1688 par les Turcs (in the war against the Venetians) se jetèrent sur l’Attique, mettant tout à feu et à sang. En 1688, les chroniques d’Athènes racontent que ses malheureux habitants furent obligés de se refugier à Salamine, à Egine, et à Corinthe, et que ce ne fut qu’après trois ans qu’ils purent rentrer en partie dans leur ville et dans leurs champs. Beaucoup des villages de l’Attique sont encore habités par les déscendans de ces derniers envahisseurs, et avant la dernière révolution, on n’y parloit que la langue albanaise: mais leur physionomie diffère autant que leur langue de la physionomie de la race Grecque.” (Buchon, La Grèce Continentale et la Morée. Paris, 1843, ch. ii, p. 82.)

[216] Pausanias seems to consider these poor men somewhat presumptuous for pretending to understand the oracle better than Themistoklês,—Ἀθηναίων τοὺς πλέον τι ἐς τὸν χρησμὸν ἢ Θεμιστοκλῆς εἰδέναι νομίζοντας (i, 18, 2).

[217] Herodot. viii, 50.

[218] Thucyd. ii, 16, 17.

[219] Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 10, 11; and Kimon, c. 5.

[220] Whether this be the incident which Aristotle (Politic. v, 3, 5) had in his mind, we cannot determine.

[221] Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. x.

[222] Herodot. ix, 99.

[223] Herodot. viii, 43-48.

[224] Æschylus, Persæ, 347; Herodot. viii, 48; vi, 9; Pausanias, i, 14, 4. The total which Herodotus announces is three hundred and seventy-eight; but the items which he gives amount, when summed up, only to three hundred and sixty-six. There seems no way of reconciling this discrepancy except by some violent change, which we are not warranted in making.

Ktesias represents that the numbers of the Persian war-ships at Salamis were above one thousand, those of the Greeks seven hundred (Persica, c. 26).

The Athenian orator in Thucydides (i, 74) calls the total of the Grecian fleet at Salamis “nearly four hundred ships, and the Athenian contingent somewhat less than two parts of this total (ναῦς μέν γε ἐς τὰς τετρακοσίας ὀλίγῳ ἐλάσσους τῶν δύο μοιρῶν).”

The Scholiast, with Poppo and most of the commentators on this passage, treat τῶν δύο μοιρῶν as meaning unquestionably two parts out of three: and if this be the sense, I should agree with Dr. Arnold in considering the assertion as a mere exaggeration of the orator, not at all carrying the authority of Thucydides himself. But I cannot think that we are here driven to such a necessity; for the construction of Didot and Göller, though Dr. Arnold pronounces it “a most undoubted error,” appears to me perfectly admissible. They maintain that αἱ δύο μοιραὶ does not of necessity mean two parts out of three: in Thucydid. i, 10, we find καίτοι Πελοποννήσου τῶν πέντε τὰς δύο μοιρὰς νέμονται, where the words mean two parts out of five. Now in the passage before us, we have ναῦς μέν γε ἐς τὰς τετρακοσίας ὀλίγῳ ἐλάσσους τῶν δύο μοιρῶν: and Didot and Göller contend, that in the word τετρακοσίας is implied a quaternary division of the whole number,—four hundreds or hundredth parts: so that the whole meaning would be—“To the aggregate four hundreds of ships we contributed something less than two.” The word τετρακοσίας, equivalent to τέσσαρας ἑκατοντάδας, naturally includes the general idea of τέσσαρας μοιράς: and this would bring the passage into exact analogy with the one cited above,—τῶν πέντε τὰς δύο μοιράς. With every respect to the judgment of Dr. Arnold on an author whom he had so long studied, I cannot enter into the grounds on which he has pronounced this interpretation of Didot and Göller to be “an undoubted error.” It has the advantage of bringing the assertion of the orator in Thucydides into harmony with Herodotus, who states the Athenians to have furnished one hundred and eighty ships at Salamis.

Wherever such harmony can be secured by an admissible construction of existing words, it is an unquestionable advantage, and ought to count as a reason in the case, if there be a doubt between two admissible constructions. But on the other hand, I protest against altering numerical statements in one author, simply in order to bring him into accordance with another, and without some substantive ground in the text itself. Thus, for example, in this very passage of Thucydides, Bloomfield and Poppo propose to alter τετρακοσίας into τριακοσίας, in order that Thucydides may be in harmony with Æschylus and other authors, though not with Herodotus; while Didot and Göller would alter τριακοσίων into τετρακοσίων in Demosthenes de Coronâ (c. 70), in order that Demosthenes may be in harmony with Thucydides. Such emendations appear to me inadmissible in principle: we are not to force different witnesses into harmony by retouching their statements.

[225] Herodot. viii, 26. Παπαὶ, Μαρδόνιε, κοίους ἐπ’ ἄνδρας ἤγαγες μαχησομένους ἡμέας, οἳ οὐ περὶ χρημάτων τὸν ἀγῶνα ποιεῦνται, ἀλλὰ περὶ ἀρετῆς.

[226] Herodot. viii, 30.

[227] Herodot. viii, 28, 29.

[228] Herodot. viii, 32-34.

[229] Herodot. viii, 38, 39; Diodor. xi, 14; Pausan. x, 8, 4.

Compare the account given in Pausanias (x, 23) of the subsequent repulse of Brennus and the Gauls from Delphi: in his account, the repulse is not so exclusively the work of the gods as in that of Herodotus: there is a larger force of human combatants in defence of the temple, though greatly assisted by divine intervention: there is also loss on both sides. A similar descent of crags from the summit is mentioned.

See for the description of the road by which the Persians marched, and the extreme term of their progress, Ulrichs, Reisen und Forschungen in Griechenland, ch. iv, p. 46; ch. x, p. 146.

Many great blocks of stone and cliff are still to be seen near the spot, which have rolled down from the top, and which remind the traveller of these passages.

The attack here described to have been made by order of Xerxes upon the Delphian temple, seems not easy to reconcile with the words of Mardonius, Herodot. ix, 42: still less can it be reconciled with the statement of Plutarch (Numa, c. 9), who says that the Delphian temple was burnt by the Medes.

[230] Herodot. viii, 52.

[231] Pausanias, i, 22, 4; Kruse, Hellas, vol. ii, ch. vi, p. 76. Ernst Curtius (Die Akropolis von Athens, p. 5, Berlin, 1844) says that the plateau of the acropolis is rather less than four hundred feet higher than the town: Fiedler states it to be one hundred and seventy-eight fathoms, or one thousand and sixty-eight feet above the level of the sea. (Reise durch das Königreich Griechenland, i, p. 2); he gives the length and breadth of the plateau in the same figures as Kruse, whose statement I have copied in the text. In Colonel Leake’s valuable Topography of Athens, I do not find any distinct statement about the height of the acropolis. We must understand Kruse’s statement, if he and Curtius are both correct, to refer only to the precipitous impracticable portion of the whole rock.

[232] Athenian legend represented the Amazons as having taken post on the Areopagus, and fortified it as a means of attacking the acropolis,—ἀντεπύργωσαν (Æschyl. Eumenid. 638).

[233] Herodot. viii, 52, 53. ... ἔμπροσθε ὦν πρὸ τῆς ἀκροπόλιος, ὄπισθε δὲ τῶν πύλεων καὶ τῆς ἀνόδου, τῇ δὴ οὔτε τις ἐφύλασσε, οὔτ’ ἂν ἤλπισε μή κοτέ τις κατὰ ταῦτα ἀναβαίη ἀνθρώπων, ταύτῃ ἀνέβησάν τινες κατὰ τὸ ἱρὸν τῆς Κέκροπος θυγατρὸς Ἀγλαύρου, καίτοιπερ ἀποκρήμνου ἐόντος τοῦ χώρου.

That the Aglaurion was on the north side of the acropolis, appears clearly made out; see Leake, Topography of Athens, ch. v, p. 261; Kruse, Hellas, vol. ii, ch. vi, p. 119; Forchhammer, Topographie Athens, pp. 365, 366; in Kieler Philologischen Studien, 1841. Siebelis (in the Plan of Athens prefixed to his edition of Pausanias, and in his note on Pausanias, i, 18, 2) places the Aglaurion erroneously on the eastern side of the acropolis.

The expressions ἔμπροσθε πρὸ τῆς ἀκροπόλιος appear to refer to the position of the Persian army, who would naturally occupy the northern and western fronts of the acropolis: since they reached Athens from the north,—and the western side furnished the only regular access. The hill called Areopagus would thus be nearly in the centre of their position. Forchhammer explains these expressions unsatisfactorily.

[234] Herodot. viii, 52, 53.

[235] Herodot. i, 84.

[236] Herodot. v, 102; viii, 53-99; ix, 65. ἔδεε γὰρ κατὰ τὸ θεοπρόπιον πᾶσαν τὴν Ἀττικὴν τὴν ἐν τῇ ἠπείρῳ γενέσθαι ὑπὸ Πέρσῃσι.

[237] Herodot. viii, 55-65.

[238] Herodot. viii, 66. Colonel Leake observes upon this statement (Athens and the Demi of Attica, App. vol. ii, p. 250), “About one thousand ships is the greatest accuracy we can pretend to, in stating the strength of the Persian fleet at Salamis: and from these are to be deducted, in estimating the number of ships engaged in the battle, those which were sent to occupy the Megaric strait of Salamis, two hundred in number.”

The estimate of Colonel Leake appears somewhat lower than the probable reality. Nor do I believe the statement of Diodorus, that ships were detached to occupy the Megaric strait: see a note shortly following.

[239] The picture drawn in the Cyropædia of Xenophon represents the subjects of Persia as spiritless and untrained to war (ἀνάλκιδες καὶ ἀσύντακτοι) and even designedly kept so, forming a contrast to the native Persians (Xenophon, Cyropæd. viii, 1, 45).

[240] Herodot. viii, 68, 69, 70.

[241] Herodot. viii, 70.

[242] Herodot. viii. 49, 50, 56.

[243] Herodot. viii, 57. Οὖτοι ἄρα ἤν ἀπαίρωσι τὰς νῆας ἀπὸ Σαλαμῖνος, περὶ οὐδεμίης ἔτι πατρίδος ναυμαχήσεις· κατὰ γὰρ πόλις ἕκαστοι τρέψονται, etc. Compare vii, 139, and Thucyd. i, 73.

[244] Herodot. viii, 58, 59. The account given by Herodotus, of these memorable debates which preceded the battle of Salamis, is in the main distinct, instructive, and consistent. It is more probable than the narrative of Diodorus (xi, 15, 16), who states that Themistoklês succeeded in fully convincing both Eurybiadês and the Peloponnesian chiefs of the propriety of fighting at Salamis, but that, in spite of all their efforts, the armament would not obey them, and insisted on going to the Isthmus. And it deserves our esteem still more, if we contrast it with the loose and careless accounts of Plutarch and Cornelius Nepos. Plutarch (Themist. c. 11) describes the scene as if Eurybiadês was the person who desired to restrain the forwardness and oratory of Themistoklês, and with that view, first made to him the observation given in my text out of Herodotus, which Themistoklês followed up by the same answer,—next, lifted up his stick to strike Themistoklês, upon which the latter addressed to him the well-known observation,—“Strike, but hear me,” (Πάταξον μὲν, ἄκουσον δέ.) Larcher expresses his surprise that Herodotus should have suppressed so impressive an anecdote as this latter: but we may see plainly from the tenor of his narrative that he cannot have heard it. In the narrative of Herodotus, Themistoklês gives no offence to Eurybiadês, nor is the latter at all displeased with him: nay, Eurybiadês is even brought over by the persuasion of Themistoklês, and disposed to fall in with his views. The persons whom Herodotus represents as angry with Themistoklês, are the Peloponnesian chiefs, especially Adeimantus the Corinthian. They are angry too, let it be added, not without plausible reason: a formal vote has just been taken by the majority, after full discussion; and here is the chief of the minority, who persuades Eurybiadês to reopen the whole debate: not an unreasonable cause for displeasure. Moreover, it is Adeimantus, not Eurybiadês, who addresses to Themistoklês the remark, that “persons who rise before the proper signal are scourged:” and he makes the remark because Themistoklês goes on speaking to, and trying to persuade, the various chiefs, before the business of the assembly has been formally opened. Themistoklês draws upon himself the censure by sinning against the forms of business, and talking before the proper time. But Plutarch puts the remark into the mouth of Eurybiadês, without any previous circumstance to justify it, and without any fitness. His narrative represents Eurybiadês as the person who was anxious both to transfer the ships to the Isthmus, and to prevent Themistoklês from offering any opposition to it: though such an attempt to check argumentative opposition from the commander of the Athenian squadron is noway credible.

Dr. Blomfield (ad Æschyl. Pers. 728) imagines that the story about Eurybiadês threatening Themistoklês with his stick, grew out of the story as related in Herodotus, though to Herodotus himself it was unknown. I cannot think that this is correct, since the story will not fit on to the narrative of that historian: it does not consist with his conception of the relations between Eurybiadês and Themistoklês.

[245] Herodot. viii, 61, 62. Σὺ εἰ μενέεις αὐτοῦ, καὶ μένων ἔσεαι ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός· εἰ δὲ μὴ, ἀνατρέψεις τὴν Ἑλλάδα.

All the best commentators treat this as an elliptical phrase,—some such words as σώσεις τὴν Ἑλλάδα or καλῶς ἂν ἔχοι, being understood after ἀγαθός. I adopt their construction, not without doubts whether it be the true one.

[246] Herodot. viii, 64. Οὕτω μὲν οἱ περὶ Σαλαμῖνα, ἔπεσι ἀκροβολισάμενοι, ἐπεί τε Εὐρυβιάδῃ ἔδοξε, αὐτοῦ παρεσκευάζοντο ὡς ναυμαχήσοντες.

[247] Herodot. viii, 74. ἕως μὲν δὴ αὐτῶν ἀνὴρ ἀνδρὶ παρίστατο, θώυμα ποιεύμενοι τὴν Εὐρυβιάδεω ἀβουλίην· τέλος δὲ, ἐξεῤῥάγη ἐς τὸ μέσον, σύλλογός τε δὴ ἐγίνετο, καὶ πολλὰ ἐλέγετο περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν, etc. Compare Plutarch, Themist. c. 12.

[248] Lykurgus (cont. Leokrat. c. 17, p. 185) numbers the Æginetans among those who were anxious to escape from Salamis during the night, and were only prevented from doing so by the stratagem of Themistoklês. This is a great mistake, as indeed these orators are perpetually misconceiving the facts of their past history. The Æginetans had an interest not less strong than the Athenians in keeping the fleet together and fighting at Salamis.

[249] Plutarch (Themistoklês, c. 12) calls Sikinnus a Persian by birth, which cannot be true.

[250] Herodot. viii, 75.

[251] Thucydid. i, 137. It is curious to contrast this with Æschylus, Persæ, 351, seq. See also Herodot. viii, 109, 110.

Isokratês might well remark about the ultimate rewards given by the Persians to Themistoklês,—Θεμιστοκλέα δ’, ὃς ὑπὲρ τῆς Ἑλλάδος αὐτοὺς κατεναυμάχησε, τῶν μεγίστων δωρέων ἠξίωσαν (Panegyric, Or. iv, p. 74),—though that orator speaks as if he knew nothing about the stratagem by which Themistoklês compelled the Greeks to fight at Salamis against their will. See the same Oration, c. 27, p. 61.

[252] Æschylus, Persæ, 370.

Herodotus does not mention this threat to the generals, nor does he even notice the personal interference of Xerxes in any way, so far as regards the night-movement of the Persian fleet. He treats the communication of Sikinnus as having been made to the Persian generals, and the night-movement as undertaken by them. The statement of the contemporary poet seems the more probable of the two: but he omits, as might be expected, all notice of the perilous dissensions in the Greek camp.

[253] Diodorus (xi, 17) states that the Egyptian squadron in the fleet of Xerxes was detached to block up the outlet between Salamis and the Megarid; that is, to sail round the southwestern corner of the island to the northwestern strait. Where the northwestern corner of the island is separated by a narrow strait from Megara, near the spot where the fort of Budorum was afterwards situated, during the Peloponnesian war.

Herodotus mentions nothing of this movement, and his account evidently implies that the Greek fleet was inclosed to the north of the town of Salamis, the Persian right wing having got between that town and Eleusis. The movement announced by Diodorus appears to me unnecessary and improbable. If the Egyptian squadron had been placed there, they would have been far indeed removed from the scene of the action, but we may see that Herodotus believed them to have taken actual part in the battle along with the rest (viii, 100).

[254] Herodot. viii, 76. Τοῖσι δὲ ὡς πιστὰ ἐγίνετο τὰ ἀγγελθέντα, τοῦτο μὲν, ἐς τὴν νησίδα τὴν Ψυττάλειαν, μεταξὺ Σαλαμῖνός τε κειμένην καὶ τῆς ἠπείρου, πολλοὺς τῶν Περσέων ἀπεβίβασαν· τοῦτο δὲ, ἐπειδὴ ἐγίνοντο μέσαι νύκτες, ἀνῆγον μὲν τὸ ἀπ’ ἑσπέρης κέρας κυκλούμενοι πρὸς τὴν Σαλαμῖνα· ἀνῆγον δὲ οἱ ἀμφὶ τὴν Κέον τε καὶ τὴν Κυνόσουραν τεταγμένοι, κατεῖχόν τε μέχρι Μουνυχίης πάντα τὸν πορθμὸν τῇσι νηϋσί.

He had previously stated Phalêrum as the main station of the Persian fleet; not necessarily meaning that the whole of it was there. The passage which I have just transcribed intimated what the Persians did to accomplish their purpose of surrounding the Greeks in the harbor of Salamis and the first part of it, wherein he speaks of the western (more properly northwestern) wing, presents no extraordinary difficulty, though we do not know how far the western wing extended before the movement was commenced. Probably it extended to the harbor of Peiræus, and began from thence its night-movement along the Attic coast to get beyond the town of Salamis. But the second part of the passage is not easy to comprehend, where he states that, “those who were stationed about Keos and Kynosura also moved, and beset with their ships the whole strait as far as Munychia.” What places are Keos and Kynosura, and where were they situated? The only known places of those names, are the island of Keos, not far south of cape Sunium in Attica,—and the promontory Kynosura, on the northeastern coast of Attica, immediately north of the bay of Marathon. It seems hardly possible to suppose that Herodotus meant this latter promontory, which would be too distant to render the movement which he describes at all practicable: even the island of Keos is somewhat open to the same objection, though not in so great a degree, of being too distant. Hence Barthélemy, Kruse, Bähr, and Dr. Thirlwall, apply the names Keos and Kynosura to two promontories (the southernmost and the southeasternmost) of the island of Salamis, and Kiepert has realized their idea in his newly published maps. But in the first place, no authority is produced for giving these names to two promontories in the island, and the critics only do it because they say it is necessary to secure a reasonable meaning to this passage of Herodotus. In the next place, if we admit their supposition, we must suppose that, before this night-movement commenced, the Persian fleet was already stationed in part of the island of Salamis: which appears to me highly improbable. Whatever station that fleet occupied before the night-movement, we may be very sure that it was not upon an island then possessed by the enemy: it was somewhere on the coast of Attica: and the names Keos and Kynosura must belong to some unknown points in Attica, not in Salamis. I cannot therefore adopt the supposition of these critics, though on the other hand Larcher is not satisfactory in his attempt to remove the objections which apply to the supposition of Keos and Kynosura as commonly understood. It is difficult in this case to reconcile the statement of Herodotus with geographical considerations, and I rather suspect that on this occasion the historian has been himself misled by too great a desire to find the oracle of Bakis truly fulfilled. It is from Bakis that he copies the name Kynosura (viii, 77).

[255] Herodot. viii, 79, 80.

Herodotus states, doubtless correctly, that Aristeidês, immediately after he had made the communication to the synod, went away, not pretending to take part in the debate: Plutarch represents him as present, and as taking part in it (Aristeidês, c. 9). According to Plutarch, Themistoklês desires Aristeidês to assist him in persuading Eurybiadês: according to Herodotus, Eurybiadês was already persuaded: it was the Peloponnesian chiefs who stood out.

The details of Herodotus will be found throughout both more credible and more consistent than those of Plutarch and the later writers.

[256] Æschylus, Pers. 473; Herodot. viii, 90. The throne with silver feet, upon which Xerxes had sat, was long preserved in the acropolis of Athens,—having been left at his retreat. Harpokration, Ἀργυρόπους δίφρος.

A writer, to whom Plutarch refers,—Akestodôrus,—affirmed that the seat of Xerxes was erected, not under mount Ægaleos, but much further to the northwest, on the borders of Attica and the Megarid, under the mountains called Kerata (Plutarch, Themistoklês, 13). If this writer was acquainted with the topography of Attica, we must suppose him to have ascribed an astonishingly long sight to Xerxes: but we may probably take the assertion as a sample of that carelessness in geography which marks so many ancient writers. Ktesias recognizes the Ἡρακλεῖον (Persica, c. 26)

[257] Herodot. viii, 85; Diodor. xi, 16.

[258] Herodot. viii, 83; Plutarch (Themistoklês, c. 13; Aristeidês, c. 9; Pelopidas, c. 21). Plutarch tells a story out of Phanias respecting an incident in the moment before the action, which it is pleasing to find sufficient ground for rejecting. Themistoklês, with the prophet Euphrantidês, was offering sacrifice by the side of the admiral’s galley, when three beautiful youths, nephews of Xerxes, were brought in prisoners. As the fire was just then blazing brilliantly, and sneezing was heard from the right, the prophet enjoined Themistoklês to offer these three prisoners as a propitiatory offering to Dionysus Omêstês: which the clamor of the bystanders compelled him to do against his will. This is what Plutarch states in his life of Themistoklês; in his life of Aristeidês, he affirms that these youths were brought prisoners from Psyttaleia, when Aristeidês attacked it at the beginning of the action. Now Aristeidês did not attack Psyttaleia until the naval combat was nearly over, so that no prisoners can have been brought from thence at the commencement of the action: there could therefore have been no Persian prisoners to sacrifice, and the story may be dismissed as a fiction.

[259] Herodot. viii, 84. φανεῖσαν δὲ διακελεύσασθαι, ὥστε καὶ ἅπαν ἀκοῦσαι τὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων στρατόπεδον, ὀνειδίσασαν πρότερον τάδε· Ὦ δαιμόνιοι, μέχρι κόσου ἔτι πρύμναν ἀνακρούεσθε;

Æschylus (Pers. 396-415) describes finely the war-shout of the Greeks and the response of the Persians: for very good reasons, he does not notice the incipient backwardness of the Greeks, which Herodotus brings before us.

The war-shout, here described by Æschylus, a warrior actually engaged, shows us the difference between a naval combat of that day and the improved tactics of the Athenians fifty years afterwards, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. Phormio especially enjoins on his men the necessity of silence (Thucyd. ii, 89).

[260] Simonides, Epigram 138, Bergk; Plutarch, De Herodot. Malignitate, c. 36.

According to Plutarch (Themist. 12) and Diodorus (xi, 17), it was the Persian admiral’s ship which was first charged and captured: if the fact had been so, Æschylus would probably have specified it.

[261] Herodot. viii, 85; Diodor. xi, 16. Æschylus, in the Persæ, though he gives a long list of the names of those who fought against Athens, does not make any allusion to the Ionic or to any other Greeks as having formed part of the catalogue. See Blomfield ad Æschyl. Pers. 42. Such silence easily admits of explanation: yet it affords an additional reason for believing that the persons so admitted did not fight very heartily.

[262] Herodot. viii, 86; Diodor. xi, 17. The testimony of the former, both to the courage manifested by the Persian fleet, and to their entire want of order and system, is decisive, as well as to the effect of the personal overlooking of Xerxes.

[263] Simonides, Epigr. 138, Bergk.

[264] The many names of Persian chiefs whom Æschylus reports as having been slain, are probably for the most part inventions of his own, to please the ears of his audience. See Blomfield, Præfat. ad Æschyl. Pers. p. xii.

[265] Herodot. viii, 90.

[266] Compare the indignant language of Demosthenês a century and a quarter afterwards, respecting the second Artemisia, queen of Karia, as the enemy of Athens,—ὑμεῖς δ’ ὄντες Ἀθηναῖοι βάρβαρον ἄνθρωπον, καὶ ταῦτα γυναῖκα, φοβηθήσεσθε (Demosthenes, De Rhodior. Libertat. c. x, p. 197).

[267] Herodot. viii, 87, 88, 93. The story given here by Herodotus respecting the stratagem whereby Artemisia escaped, seems sufficiently probable; and he may have heard it from fellow-citizens of his own who were aboard her vessel. Though Plutarch accuses him of extravagant disposition to compliment this queen, it is evident that he does not himself like the story, nor consider it to be a compliment; for he himself insinuates a doubt: “I do not know whether she ran down the Kalyndian ship intentionally, or came accidentally into collision with it.” Since the shock was so destructive that the Kalyndian ship was completely run down and sunk, so that every man of her crew perished, we may be pretty sure that it was intentional; and the historian merely suggests a possible hypothesis to palliate an act of great treachery. Though the story of the sinking of the Kalyndian ship has the air of truth, however, we cannot say the same about the observation of Xerxes, and the notice which he is reported to have taken of the act: all this reads like nothing but romance.

We have to regret (as Plutarch observes, De Malign. Herodot. p. 873) that Herodotus tells us so much less about others than about Artemisia; but he doubtless heard more about her than about the rest, and perhaps his own relatives may have been among her contingent.

[268] Herodot. viii, 95; Plutarch, Aristid. c. 9; Æschyl. Pers. 454-470; Diodor. xii, 19.

[269] Herodot. viii, 96.

[270] The victories of the Greeks over the Persians were materially aided by the personal timidity of Xerxes, and of Darius Codomannus at Issus and Arbela (Arrian, ii, 11, 6; iii, 14, 3).

[271] See this feeling especially in the language of Mardonius to Xerxes (Herodot. viii, 100), as well as in that put into the mouth of Artemisia by the historian (viii, 68), which indicates the general conception of the historian himself, derived from the various information which reached him.

[272] Herodot. vii, 10.

[273] This important fact is not stated by Herodotus: but it is distinctly given in Diodorus, xi, 19. It seems probable enough.

If the tragedy of Phrynichus, entitled Phœnissæ, had been preserved, we should have known more about the position and behavior of the Phenician contingent in this invasion. It was represented at Athens only three years after the battle of Salamis, in B. C. 477 or 476, with Themistoklês as choregus, four years earlier than the Persæ of Æschylus, which was affirmed by Glaukus to have been (παραπεποιῆσθαι) altered from it. The Chorus in the Phœnissæ consisted of Phenician women, possibly the widows of those Phenicians whom Xerxes had caused to be beheaded after the battle (Herodot. viii, 90, as Dr. Blomfield supposes, Præf. ad Æsch. Pers. p. ix), or only of Phenicians absent on the expedition. The fragments remaining of this tragedy, which gained the prize, are too scanty to sustain any conjectures as to its scheme or details (see Welcker Griechische Tragœd. vol. i, p. 26; and Droysen, Phrynichos, Æschylos, und die Trilogie, pp. 4-6).

[274] Herodot. ix, 32.

[275] Herodot. viii, 97-107. Such was the terror of these retreating seamen, that they are said to have mistaken the projecting cliffs of Cape Zôstêr (about half-way between Peiræus and Sunium) for ships, and redoubled the haste of their flight as if an enemy were after them,—a story which we can treat as nothing better than silly exaggeration in the Athenian informants of Herodotus.

Ktesias, Pers. c. xxvi; Strabo, ix, p. 395; the two latter talk about the intention to carry a mole across from Attica to Salamis, as if it had been conceived before the battle.

[276] Compare Herodot. vii, 10.

[277] Herodot. viii, 101, 102.

[278] Herodot. viii, 109, 110; Thucyd. i, 137. The words ἢν ψευδῶς προσεποιήσατο may probably be understood in a sense somewhat larger than that which they naturally bear in Thucydidês. In point of fact, not only was it false that Themistoklês was the person who dissuaded the Greeks from going to the Hellespont, but it was also false that the Greeks had ever any serious intention of going there. Compare Cornelius Nepos, Themistokl. c. 5.

[279] Herodot. viii, 111. ἐπεὶ Ἀνδρίους γε εἶναι γεωπείνας ἐς τὰ μέγιστα ἀνήκοντας, καὶ θεοὺς δύο ἀχρήστους οὐκ ἐκλείπειν σφέων τὴν νῆσον, ἀλλ’ ἀεὶ φιλοχωρέειν—Πενίην τε καὶ Ἀμηχανίην.

Compare Alkæus, Fragm. 90, ed. Bergk, and Herodot. vii, 172.

[280] Herodot. viii, 112; Plutarch, Themistoklês, c. 21,—who cites a few bitter lines from the contemporary poet Timokreon.

[281] Herodot. viii, 112-121.

[282] Herodot. viii, 114-126.

[283] The account given by Æschylus of this retiring march appears to me exaggerated, and in several points incredible (Persæ, 482-513). That they suffered greatly during the march from want of provisions, is doubtless true, and that many of them died of hunger. But we must consider in deduction: 1. That this march took place in the months of October and November, therefore not very long after the harvest. 2. That Mardonius maintained a large army in Thessaly all the winter, and brought them out in fighting condition in the spring. 3. That Artabazus also, with another large division, was in military operation in Thrace all the winter, after having escorted Xerxes into safety.

When we consider these facts, it will seem that the statements of Æschylus, even as to the sufferings by famine, must be taken with great allowance. But his statement about the passage of the Strymon appears to me incredible, and I regret to find myself on this point differing from Dr. Thirlwall, who considers it an undoubted fact. (Hist. Greece, ch. xv, p. 351, 2d ed.) “The river had been frozen in the night hard enough to bear those who arrived first. But the ice suddenly gave way under the morning sun, and numbers perished in the waters,”—so Dr. Thirlwall states, after Æschylus,—adding, in a note, “It is a little surprising that Herodotus, when he is describing the miseries of the retreat, does not notice this disaster, which is so prominent in the narrative of the Persian messenger in Æschylus. There can, however, be no doubt as to the fact: and perhaps it may furnish a useful warning, not to lay too much stress on the silence of Herodotus, as a ground for rejecting even important and interesting facts which are only mentioned by later writers,” etc.

That a large river, such as the Strymon, near its mouth (180 yards broad, and in latitude about N. 40° 50′), at a period which could not have been later than the beginning of November, should have been frozen over in one night so hardly and firmly as to admit of a portion of the army marching over it at daybreak, before the sun became warm,—is a statement which surely requires a more responsible witness than Æschylus to avouch it. In fact, he himself describes it as a “frost out of season,” (χειμῶν’ ἄωρον,) brought about by a special interposition of the gods. If he is to be believed, none of the fugitives were saved, except such as were fortunate enough to cross the Strymon on the ice during the interval between break of day and the sun’s heat. One would imagine that there was a pursuing enemy on their track, leaving them only a short time for escape: whereas in fact, they had no enemy to contend with,—nothing but the difficulty of finding subsistence. During the advancing march of Xerxes, a bridge of boats had been thrown over the Strymon: nor can any reason be given why that bridge should not still have been subsisting: Artabazus must have recrossed it after he had accompanied the monarch to the Hellespont. I will add, that the town and fortress of Eion, which commanded the mouth of the Strymon, remained as an important strong-hold of the Persians some years after this event, and was only captured, after a desperate resistance, by the Athenians and their confederates under Kimon.

The Athenian auditors of the Persæ would not criticize nicely, the historical credibility of that which Æschylus told them about the sufferings of their retreating foe, nor his geographical credibility when he placed Mount Pangæus on the hither side of the Strymon, to persons marching out of Greece (Persæ, 494). But I must confess that, to my mind, his whole narrative of the retreat bears the stamp of the poet and the religious man, not of the historical witness. And my confidence in Herodotus is increased when I compare him on this matter with Æschylus,—as well in what he says as in what he does not say.

[284] Juvenal, Satir. x, 178.

Ille tamen qualis rediit, Salamine relictâ,

In Caurum atque Eurum solitus sævire flagellis, etc.

[285] Herodot. viii, 130.

[286] See the account of the retreat of Xerxes, in Herodotus, viii, 115-120, with many stories which he mentions only to reject. The description given in the Persæ of Æschylus (v, 486, 515, 570) is conceived in the same spirit. The strain reaches its loudest pitch in Justin (ii, 13), who tells us that Xerxes was obliged to cross the strait in a fishing-boat. “Ipse cum paucis Abydon contendit. Ubi cum solutum pontem hibernis tempestatibus offendisset, piscatoriâ scaphâ trepidus trajecit. Erat res spectaculo digna et, æstimatione sortis humanæ, rerum varietate miranda—in exiguo latentem videre navigio, quem paulo ante vix æquor omne capiebat: carentem etiam omni servorum ministerio, cujus exercitus propter multitudinem terris graves erant.”

[287] Herodot. viii, 109. ἡμεῖς δὲ, εὕρημα γὰρ εὑρήκαμεν ἡμέας αὐτοὺς καὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, μὴ διώκωμεν ἄνδρας φεύγοντας.

[288] Herodot. viii, 93-122; Diodor. xi, 27.

[289] Herodot. viii, 94; Thucyd. i, 42, 103. τὸ σφοδρὸν μῖσος from Corinth towards Athens. About Aristeus, Thucyd. ii, 67.

Plutarch (De Herodot. Malignit. p. 870) employs many angry words in refuting this Athenian scandal, which the historian himself does not uphold as truth. The story advanced by Dio Chrysostom (Or. xxxvii, p. 456), that Herodotus asked for a reward from the Corinthians, and on being refused, inserted this story into his history for the purpose of being revenged upon them, deserves no attention without some reasonable evidence: the statement of Diyllus, that he received ten talents from the Athenians as a reward for his history, would be much less improbable, so far as the fact of pecuniary reward, apart from the magnitude of the sum: but this also requires proof. Dio Chrysostom is not satisfied with rejecting this tale of the Athenians, but goes the length of affirming that the Corinthians carried off the palm of bravery, and were the cause of the victory. The epigrams of Simonides, which he cites, prove nothing of the kind (p. 459). Marcellinus (Vit. Thucyd. p. xvi), insinuates a charge against Herodotus, something like that of Plutarch and Dio.

[290] Herodot. viii, 123. Plutarch (Themist. c. 17: compare De Herodot. Malign. p. 871) states that each individual chief gave his second vote to Themistoklês. The more we test Herodotus by comparison with others, the more we shall find him free from the exaggerating spirit.

[291] Herodot. viii 124; Plutarch, Themist. c. 17.

[292] Diodor. xi, 27; compare Herodot. viii, 125, and Thucyd. i, 74.

[293] Herodot. viii, 85.

[294] Herodot. viii, 130; Diodor xi. 27.

[295] Herodot. viii, 131, 132: compare Thucyd. iii, 29-32.

Herodotus says, that the Chian envoys had great difficulty in inducing Leotychidês to proceed even as far as Delos,—τὸ γὰρ προσωτέρω πᾶν δεινὸν ἦν τοῖσι Ἕλλησι, οὔτε τῶν χώρων ἐοῦσι ἐμπείροισι, στρατιῆς τε πάντα πλέα ἐδόκεε εἶναι· τὴν δὲ Σάμον ἐπιστέατο δόξῃ καὶ Ἡρακλέας στήλας ἴσον ἀπέχειν.

This last expression of Herodotus has been erroneously interpreted by some of the commentators, as if it were a measure of the geographical ignorance, either of Herodotus himself, or of those whom he is describing. In my judgment, no inferences of this kind ought to be founded upon it: it marks fear of an enemy’s country which they had not been accustomed to visit, and where they could not calculate the risk beforehand,—rather than any serious comparison between one distance and another. Speaking of our forefathers, such of them as were little used to the sea, we might say,—“A voyage to Bordeaux or Lisbon seemed to them as distant as a voyage to the Indies,”—by which we should merely affirm something as to their state of feeling, not as to their geographical knowledge.

[296] Herodot. ix, 1, 2, 67; viii, 136.

[297] Herodot. viii, 128, 129.

[298] Herodot. viii, 134, 135; Pausanias, ix, 24, 3.

[299] Herodot. viii. 141. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ ... ἀναμνησθέντες τῶν λογίων, ὥς σφεας χρεόν ἐστι ἅμα τοῖσι ἄλλοισι Δωριεῦσι ἐκπίπτειν ἐκ Πελοποννήσου ὑπὸ Μήδων τε καὶ Ἀθηναίων, κάρτα τε ἔδεισαν μὴ ὁμολογήσωσι τῷ Πέρσῃ Ἀθηναῖοι, etc.

Such oracles must have been generated by the hopes of the medizing party in Greece at this particular moment: there is no other point of time to which they could be at all adapted,—no other, in which expulsion of all the Dorians from Peloponnesus, by united Persians and Athenians, could be even dreamed of. The Lacedæmonians are indeed said here, “to call to mind the prophecies,”—as if these latter were old, and not now produced for the first time. But we must recollect that a fabricator of prophecies, such as Onomakritus, would in all probability at once circulate them as old; that is, as forming part of some old collection like that of Bakis or Musæus. And Herodotus doubtless, himself, believed them to be old, so that he would naturally give credit to the Lacedæmonians for the same knowledge, and suppose them to be alarmed by “calling these prophecies to mind.”

[300] Herodot. ix, 7.

[301] Herodot. viii, 142.

[302] Herodot. viii, 142. Πιεζευμένοισι μέντοι ὑμῖν συναχθόμεθα (say the Spartan envoys to the Athenians), καὶ ὅτι καρπῶν ἐστερήθητε διξῶν ἤδη, καὶ ὅτι οἰκοφθόρησθε χρόνον ἤδη πολλόν. Seeing that this is spoken before the invasion of Mardonius, the loss of two crops must include the seed of the preceding autumn; and the advice of Themistoklês to his countrymen,—καί τις οἰκίην τε ἀναπλασάσθω, καὶ σπόρου ἀνακῶς ἐχέτω (viii, 109)—must have been found impracticable in most cases to carry into effect.

[303] Lykurgus the Athenian orator, in alluding to this incident a century and a half afterwards, represents the Athenians as having been “on the point of stoning Alexander,”—μικροῦ δεῖν κατέλευσαν (Lykurg. cont. Leokrat. c. 17. p. 186)—one among many specimens of the careless manner in which these orators deal with past history.

[304] Herodot. viii, 143, 144; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 10. According to Plutarch, it was Aristeidês who proposed and prepared the reply to be delivered. But here as elsewhere, the loose, exaggerating style of Plutarch contrasts unfavorably with the simplicity and directness of Herodotus.

[305] Herodot. ix, 7. συνθέμενοι δὲ ἡμῖν τὸν Πέρσην ἀντιώσεσθαι ἐς τὴν Βοιωτίην, etc.

Diodorus gives the account of this embassy to Athens substantially in the same manner, coupling it however with some erroneous motives (xi, 28).

[306] Herodot. ix, 7. ἐπιστάμενοί τε ὅτι κερδαλεώτερόν ἐστι ὁμολογέειν τῷ Πέρσῃ μᾶλλον ἢ πολεμέειν, etc.

The orators are not always satisfied with giving to Athens the credit which she really deserved: they venture to represent the Athenians as having refused these brilliant offers from Xerxes on his first invasion, instead of from Mardonius in the ensuing summer. Xerxes never made any offers to them. See Isokratês, Or. iv, Panegyric, c. 27, p. 61.

[307] Herodot. ix, 10.

[308] Herodot. ix, 7. Οἱ γὰρ δὴ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ὅρταζόν τε τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον καί σφι ἦν Ὑακίνθια· περὶ πλείστου δ’ ἦγον τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ πορσύνειν· ἅμα δὲ τὸ τεῖχός σφι τὸ ἐν τῷ Ἰσθμῷ ἐτείχεον, καὶ ἤδη ἐπάλξεις ἐλάμβανε.

Nearly a century after this, we are told that it was always the practice for the Amyklæan hoplites to go home for the celebration of the Hyakinthia, on whatever expedition they might happen to be employed (Xenoph. Hellen. iv, 5, 11).

[309] Diodor. xi, 28; Herodot. ix, 2, 3, 17. οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι πάντες παρεῖχον στρατιὴν καὶ συνεσέβαλον ἐς Ἀθήνας ὅσοι περ ἐμήδιζον Ἑλλήνων τῶν ταύτῃ οἰκημένων, etc.

[310] Herodot. ix, 4.

[311] Herodot. ix, 5. I dare not reject this story about Lykidas (see Lykurgus cont. Leokrat. c. 30, p. 222), though other authors recount the same incident as having happened to a person named Kyrsilus, during the preceding year, when the Athenians quitted Athens: see Demosthen. de Coronâ, p. 296, c. 59; and Cicero de Officiis, iii, 11. That two such acts were perpetrated by the Athenians, is noway probable: and if we are to choose between the two, the story of Herodotus is far the more probable. In the migration of the preceding year, we know that a certain number of Athenians actually did stay behind in the acropolis, and Kyrsilus might have been among them, if he had chosen. Moreover, Xerxes held out no offers, and gave occasion to no deliberation; while the offers of Mardonius might really appear to a well-minded citizen deserving of attention.

Isokrates (Or. iv, Panegyric. p. 74, c. 42) states that the Athenians condemned many persons to death for medism (in allusion doubtless to Themistoklês as one), but he adds,—“even now they imprecate curses on any citizen who enters into amicable negotiation with the Persians,”—ἐν δὲ τοῖς συλλόγοις ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἀρὰς ποιοῦνται, εἴτις ἐπικηρυκεύεται Πέρσαις τῶν πολιτῶν. It is difficult to believe that in his time any such imprecation can have been included in the solemnities whereby the Athenian meetings were opened.

[312] Herodot. ix, 10, 11; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 10. Plutarch had read a decree ascribed to Aristeidês, in which Kimon, Xanthippus, and Myrônidês, were named envoys to Sparta. But it is impossible that Xanthippus could have taken part in the embassy, seeing that he was now in command of the fleet.

Probably the Helots must have followed: one hardly sees how so great a number could have been all suddenly collected, and marched off in one night, no preparations having been made beforehand.

Dr. Thirlwall (Hist. Gr. ch. xvi, p. 366) suspects the correctness of the narrative of Herodotus, on grounds which do not appear to me convincing. It seems to me that, after all, the literal narrative is more probable than anything which we can substitute in its place. The Spartan foreign policy all depended on the five ephors; there was no public discussion or criticism. Now the conduct of these ephors is consistent and intelligible,—though selfish, narrow-minded, and insensible to any dangers except what are present and obvious. Nor can I think, with Dr. Thirlwall, that the manner of communication ultimately adopted is of the nature of a jest.

[313] Herodot. ix, 12.

[314] There were stories current at Megara, even in the time of Pausanias, respecting some of these Persians, who were said to have been brought to destruction by the intervention of Artemis (Pausan. i, 40, 2).

[315] Herodot. ix, 15. The situation of the Attic deme Sphendalê, or Sphendaleis, seems not certainly known (Ross, Über die Demen von Attika, p. 138); but Colonel Leake and Mr. Finlay think that it stood “near Aio Merkurio, which now gives name to the pass leading from Dekeleia through the ridges of Parnes into the extremity of the Tanagrian plain, at a place called Malakasa.” (Leake, Athens and the Demi of Attica, vol. ii, sect. iv, p. 123.)

Mr. Finlay (Oropus and the Diakria, p. 38) says that “Malakasa is the only place on this road where a considerable body of cavalry could conveniently halt.”

It appears that the Bœotians from the neighborhood of the Asôpus were necessary as guides for this road. Perhaps even the territory of Orôpus was at this time still a part of Bœotia: we do not certainly know at what period it was first conquered by the Athenians.

The combats between Athenians and Bœotians will be found to take place most frequently in this southeastern region of Bœotia,—Tanagra, Œnophyta, Delium, etc.

[316] Herodot. ix, 15.

[317] The strong town of Thebes was of much service to him (Thucyd. i, 90).

[318] Herodot. ix, 40, 45, 67; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 18.

[319] Herodot. ix, 16. Thersander, though an Orchomenian, passes as a Theban—Πέρσην τε καὶ Θηβαῖον ἐν κλίνῃ ἑκάστῃ—a proof of the intimate connection between Thebes and Orchomenus at this time, which is farther illustrated by Pindar, Isthm. i, 51 (compare the Scholia ad loc. and at the beginning of the Ode), respecting the Theban family of Herodotus and Asôpodôrus. The ancient mythical feud appears to have gone to sleep, but a deadly hatred will be found to grow up in later times between these two towns.

[320] Herodot. ix, 16, 17. The last observation here quoted is striking and emphatic—ἐχθίστη δὲ ὀδύνη ἐστὶ τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποισι αὕτη, πολλὰ φρονέοντα μηδενὸς κρατέειν. It will have to be more carefully considered at a later period of this history, when we come to touch upon the scientific life of the Greeks, and upon the philosophy of happiness and duty as conceived by Aristotle. If carried fully out, this position is the direct negative of what Aristotle lays down in his Ethics, as to the superior happiness of the βίος θεωρητικὸς, or life of scientific observation and reflection.

[321] Herodot. ix, 66.

[322] Herodot. ix, 17. διεξῆλθε φήμη, ὡς κατακοντιεῖ σφέας. Respecting φήμη, see a note a little farther on, at the battle of Mykalê, in this same chapter.

Compare the case of the Delians at Adramyttium, surrounded and slain with missiles by the Persian satrap, though not his enemies—περιστήσας τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ κατηκόντισε (Thucyd. viii, 108).

[323] Οὐκ ἔχω δ’ ἀτρεκέως εἰπεῖν, οὔτε εἰ ἦλθον μὲν ἀπολέοντες τοὺς Φωκέας, δεηθέντων τῶν Θεσσαλῶν, etc. (Herodot. ix, 18.)

This confession of uncertainty as to motives and plans, distinguishing between them and the visible facts which he is describing, is not without importance as strengthening our confidence in the historian.

[324] Compare this list of Herodotus with the enumeration which Pausanias read inscribed on the statue of Zeus, erected at Olympia by the Greeks who took part in the battle of Platæa (Pausan. v, 23, 1).

Pausanias found inscribed all the names here indicated by Herodotus except the Palês of Kephallenia: and he found in addition the Eleians Keans, Kythnians, Tenians, Naxians, and Mêlians. The five last names are islanders in the Ægean: their contingents sent to Platæa must, at all events, have been very small, and it is surprising to hear that they sent any,—especially when we recollect that there was a Greek fleet at this moment on service, to which it would be natural that they should join themselves in preference to land-service.

With respect to the name of the Eleians, the suspicion of Bröndstedt is plausible, that Pausanias may have mistaken the name of the Palês of Kephallenia for theirs, and may have fancied that he read FΑΛΕΙΟΙ when it was really written ΠΑΛΕΙΣ, in an inscription at that time about six hundred years old. The place in the series wherein Pausanias places the name of the Eleians, strengthens the suspicion. Unless it be admitted, we shall be driven, as the most probable alternative, to suppose a fraud committed by the vanity of the Eleians, which may easily have led them to alter a name originally belonging to the Palês. The reader will recollect that the Eleians were themselves the superintendents and curators at Olympia.

Plutarch seems to have read the same inscription as Pausanias (De Herodoti Malignit. p. 873).

[325] Herodot. ix, 19, 28, 29.

[326] Herodot. ix, 28. οἱ ἐπιφοιτῶντές τε καὶ οἱ ἀρχὴν ἐλθόντες Ἑλλήνων.

[327] About the missile weapons and skill of the Persians, see Herodot. i, 136; Xenophon, Anabas. iii, 4, 17.

Cyrus the younger was eminent in the use both of the bow and the javelin (Xenoph. Anab. i, 8, 26; i, 9, 5: compare Cyropæd. i, 2, 4).

[328] See Quintus Curtius, iii, 11, 15; and the note of Mützel.

[329] Herodot. ix, 21, 22, 23; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 14.

[330] Herodot. ix, 24, 25. οἰμωγῇ τε χρεώμενοι ἀπλέτῳ· ἅπασαν γὰρ τὴν Βοιωτίην κατεῖχε ἠχώ, etc.

The exaggerated demonstrations of grief, ascribed to Xerxes and Atossa. in the Persæ of Æschylus, have often been blamed by critics: we may see from this passage how much they are in the manners of Orientals of that day.

[331] Herodot. ix, 25-30; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 11. τὸ τοῦ Ἀνδροκράτους ἡρῷον ἐγγὺς ἄλσει πυκνῶν καὶ συσκίων δένδρων περιεχόμενον.

The expression of Herodotus respecting this position taken by Pausanias, Οὗτοι μὲν οὖν ταχθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ Ἀσωπῷ ἐστρατοπεδεύοντο, as well as the words which follow in the next chapter (31)—Οἱ βάρβαροι, πυθόμενοι εἶναι τοὺς Ἕλληνας ἐν Πλαταιῇσι, παρῇσαν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀσωπὸν τὸν ταύτῃ ῥέοντα,—show plainly that the Grecian troops were encamped along the Asôpus on the Platæan side, while the Persians in their second position occupied the ground on the opposite, or Theban side of the river. Whichever army commenced the attack had to begin by passing the Asôpus (c. 36-59).

For the topography of this region, and of the positions occupied by the two armies, compare Squire, in Walpole’s Turkey, p. 338; Kruse, Hellas, vol. ii, ch. vi, p. 9, seq., and ch. viii, p. 592. seq.: and the still more copious and accurate information of Colonel Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, ch. xvi, vol. ii, pp. 324-360. Both of them have given plans of the region; that which I annex is borrowed from Kiepert’s maps. I cannot but think that the fountain Gargaphia is not yet identified, and that both Kruse and Leake place the Grecian position farther from the river Asôpus than is consistent with the words of Herodotus; which words seem to specify points near the two extremities, indicating that the fountain of Gargaphia was near the river towards the right of the Grecian position, and the chapel of Androkratês also near the river towards the left of that position, where the Athenians were posted. Nor would such a site for a chapel of Androkratês be inconsistent with Thucydides (iii, 24), who merely mentions that chapel as being on the right hand of the first mile of road from Platæa to Thebes.

Considering the length of time which has elapsed since the battle, it would not be surprising if the spring of Gargaphia were no longer recognizable. At any rate, neither the fountain pointed out by Colonel Leake (p. 332) nor that of Vergutiani, which had been supposed by Colonel Squire and Dr. Clarke, appear to me suitable for Gargaphia.

The errors of that plan of the battle of Platæa which accompanies the Voyage d’Anacharsis, are now well understood.

[332] Herodot. ix, 26-29. Judging from the battles of Corinth (B. C. 396) and Mantineia (B. C. 418), the Tegeans seem afterwards to have dropped this pretension to occupy the left wing, and to have preferred the post in the line next to the Lacedæmonians (Xenoph. Hellen. iv, 2, 19).

[333] Herodot. ix, 31, 32.

[334] Herodot. ix, 36, 38. μεμισθωμένος οὐκ ὀλίγου.

These prophets were men of great individual consequence, as may be seen by the details which Herodotus gives respecting their adventures: compare also the history of Euenius, ix, 93.

[335] Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. xi; Thucyd. ii, 74.

[336] Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 13.

[337] Herodot. ix, 40, 49, 50. τήν τε κρήνην τὴν Γαργαφίην, ἀπ’ ἧς ὑδρεύετο πᾶν τὸ στράτευμα τὸ Ἑλληνικόν—ἐρυκόμενοι δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἀσωποῦ, οὕτω δὴ ἐπὶ τὴν κρήνην ἐφοίτεον· ἀπὸ τοῦ ποταμοῦ γάρ σφι οὐκ ἐξῆν ὕδωρ φορέεσθαι, ὑπό τε τῶν ἱππέων καὶ τοξευμάτων.

Diodorus (xi, 30) affirms that the Greek position was so well defended by the nature of the ground, and so difficult of attack, that Mardonius was prevented from making use of his superior numbers. It is evident from the account of Herodotus that this is quite incorrect. The position seems to have had no protection except what it derived from the river Asôpus, and the Greeks were ultimately forced to abandon it by the incessant attacks of the Persian cavalry. The whole account, at once diffuse and uninstructive, given by Diodorus of this battle (xi, 30-36), forms a strong contrast with the clear, impressive, and circumstantial narrative of Herodotus.

[338] Herodot. ix, 38, 39.

[339] Herodot. ix, 40, 41.

[340] Herodot. ix, 42.

[341] Herodot. ix, 42.

[342] Herodot. ix, 43. Τοῦτον δ’ ἔγωγε τὸν χρησμὸν τὸν Μαρδόνιος εἶπε ἐς Πέρσας ἔχειν, ἐς Ἰλλυρίους τε καὶ τὸν Ἐγχελέων στρατὸν οἶδα πεποιημένον, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐς Πέρσας. Ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν Βάκιδι ἐς ταύτην τὴν μάχην ἔστι πεποιημένα, etc.

[343] Herodot. ix, 44-45. The language about the sacrifices is remarkable,—λέγω δὲ ὦν ὅτι Μαρδονίῳ τε καὶ τῇ στρατιῇ οὐ δύναται τὰ σφάγια καταθύμια γενέσθαι· πάλαι γὰρ ἂν ἐμάχεσθε, etc.

Mardonius had tried many unavailing efforts to procure better sacrifices: it could not be done.

[344] Herodot. ix, 47; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 16. Here, as on many other occasions, Plutarch rather spoils than assists the narrative of Herodotus.

[345] Herodot. ix, 71.

[346] Compare the reproaches of Hektor to Diomêdês (Iliad, viii, 161).

[347] Herodot. ix, 49, 50. Pausanias mentions that the Platæans restored the fountain of Gargaphia after the victory (τὸ ὕδωρ ἀνεσώσαντο); but he hardly seems to speak as if he had himself seen it (ix, 4, 2).

[348] See a good description of the ground in Colonel Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, ch. xvi, vol. ii, p. 358.

[349] Herodot. ix, 51. Ἐς τοῦτον δὴ τὸν χῶρον ἐβουλεύσαντο μεταστῆναι, ἵνα καὶ ὕδατι ἔχωσι χρᾶσθαι ἀφθόνῳ, καὶ οἱ ἱππέες σφέας μὴ σινοίατο, ὥσπερ κατ’ ἰθὺ ἐόντων.

The last words have reference to the position of the two hostile armies, extended front to front along the course of the Asôpus.

[350] Herodot. ix, 52. κείνην μὲν τὴν ἡμέρην πᾶσαν, προσκειμένης τῆς ἵππου, εἶχον πόνον ἄτρυτον.

[351] Herodot. ix, 56. Παυσανίης—σημῄνας ἀπῆγε διὰ τῶν κολωνῶν τοὺς λοιποὺς πάντας· εἵποντο δὲ καὶ Τεγεῆται. Ἀθηναῖοι δὲ ταχθέντες ἤϊσαν τὰ ἔμπαλιν ἢ Λακεδαιμόνιοι. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ τῶν τε ὄχθων ἀντείχοντο καὶ τῆς ὑπωρείης τοῦ Κιθαιρῶνος. Ἀθηναῖοι δὲ, κάτω τραφθέντες ἐς τὸ πεδίον.

With which we must combine another passage, c. 59, intimating that the track of the Athenians led them to turn and get behind the hills, which prevented Mardonius from seeing them, though they were marching along the plain: Μαρδόνιος—ἐπεῖχε ἐπὶ Λακεδαιμονίους καὶ Τεγεήτας μούνους· Ἀθηναίους γὰρ τραπομένους ἐς τὸ πεδίον ὑπὸ τῶν ὄχθων οὐ κατεώρα.

[352] There is on this point a difference between Thucydides and Herodotus: the former affirms that there never was any Spartan lochus so called (Thucyd. i, 21).

We have no means of reconciling the difference, nor can we be certain that Thucydides is right in his negative comprehending all past time—ὃς οὐδ’ ἐγένετο πώποτε.

[353] Herodot. ix, 53, 54.

[354] Herodot. ix, 52, 53.

[355] Herodot. ix, 54, Ἀθηναῖοι—εἶχον ἀτρέμας σφέας αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἐτάχθησαν, ἐπιστάμενοι τὰ Λακεδαιμονίων φρονήματα, ὡς ἄλλα φρονεόντων καὶ ἄλλα λεγόντων.

[356] Herodot. xi. 56, 57.

[357] Herodot. ix, 59. ἐδίωκον ὡς ποδῶν ἕκαστος εἶχον, οὔτε κόσμῳ οὐδενὶ κοσμηθέντες, οὔτε τάξι. Καὶ οὗτοι μὲν βοῇ τε καὶ ὁμίλῳ ἐπήϊσαν, ὡς ἀναρπασόμενοι τοὺς Ἕλληνας.

Herodotus dwells especially on the reckless and disorderly manner in which the Persians advanced: Plutarch, on the contrary, says of Mardonius,—ἔχων συντεταγμένην τὴν δύναμιν ἐπεφέρετο τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις, etc. (Plutarch, Aristeid. c. 17.)

Plutarch also says that Pausanias ἦγε τὴν ἄλλην δύναμιν πρὸς τὰς Πλαταιὰς, etc., which is quite contrary to the real narrative of Herodotus. Pausanias intended to march to the island, not to Platæa: he did not reach either the one or the other.

[358] Herodot. ix, 60, 61.

[359] About the Persian bow, see Xenoph. Anabas. iii, 4, 17.

[360] Herod. ix, 72.

[361] Herodot. ix, 62. Καὶ τοῖσι Λακεδαιμονίοισι αὐτίκα μετὰ τὴν εὐχὴν τὴν Παυσανίεω ἐγίνετο θυομένοισι τὰ σφάγια χρηστά. Plutarch exaggerates the long-suffering of Pausanias (Aristeid. c. 17, ad finem).

The lofty and conspicuous site of the Heræon, visible to Pausanias at the distance where he was, is plainly marked in Herodotus (ix, 61).

For incidents illustrating the hardships which a Grecian army endured from its reluctance to move without favorable sacrifices, see Xenophon, Anabasis, vi, 4, 10-25; Hellenic. iii, 2, 17.

[362] Herodot. ix, 62, 63. His words about the courage of the Persians are remarkable: λήματι μέν νυν καὶ ῥώμῃ οὐκ ἕσσονες ἦσαν οἱ Πέρσαι· ἄνοπλοι δὲ ἐόντες, καὶ πρὸς, ἀνεπιστήμονες ἦσαν, καὶ οὐκ ὁμοῖοι τοῖσι ἐναντίοισι σοφίην ... πλεῖστον γάρ σφεας ἐδηλέετο ἡ ἐσθὴς ἐρῆμος ἐοῦσα ὅπλων· πρὸς γὰρ ὁπλίτας ἐόντες γυμνῆτες ἀγῶνα ἐποιεῦντο. Compare the striking conversation between Xerxes and Demaratus (Herodot. vii, 104).

The description given by Herodotus of the gallant rush made by these badly-armed Persians, upon the presented line of spears in the Lacedæmonian ranks, may be compared with Livy (xxxii, 17), a description of the Romans attacking the Macedonian phalanx, and with the battle of Sempach (June, 1386), in which fourteen hundred half-armed Swiss overcame a large body of fully-armed Austrians, with an impenetrable front of projecting spears; which for some time they were unable to break in upon, until at length one of their warriors, Arnold von Winkelried, grasped an armful of spears, and precipitated himself upon them, making a way for his countrymen over his dead body. See Vogelin, Geschichte der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, ch. vi, p. 240, or indeed any history of Switzerland, for a description of this memorable incident.

[363] For the arms of the Persians, see Herodot. vii, 61.

Herodotus states in another place that the Persian troops adopted the Egyptian breastplates (θώρηκας): probably this may have been after the battle of Platæa. Even at this battle, the Persian leaders on horseback had strong defensive armor, as we may see by the case of Masistius, above narrated: by the time of the battle of Kunaxa, the habit had become more widely diffused (Xenoph. Anabas. i, 8, 6; Brisson, De Regno Persarum, lib. iii, p. 361), for the cavalry at least.

[364] Herodot. ix, 64, 65.

[365] Herodot. ix, 67, 68.

[366] Herodot. ix, 67, 68. Τῶν δὲ ἄλλων Ἑλλήνων τῶν μετὰ βασιλέος ἐθελοκακεόντων ... καὶ τῶν ἄλλων συμμάχων ὁ πᾶς ὅμιλος οὔτε διαμαχεσάμενος οὐδενὶ οὔτε τι ἀποδεξάμενος ἔφυγεν.

[367] Herodot. ix, 66.

[368] Herodot. ix, 69.

[369] Herodot. ix, 70; Demosthenês cont. Timokrat. p. 741, c. 33. Pausanias (i, 27, 2) doubts whether this was really the cimeter of Mardonius, contending that the Lacedæmonians would never have permitted the Athenians to take it.

[370] Herodot. ix, 70: compare Æschyl. Pers. 805-824. He singles out “the Dorian spear” as the great weapon of destruction to the Persians at Platæa,—very justly. Dr. Blomfield is surprised at this compliment; but it is to be recollected that all the earlier part of the tragedy had been employed in setting forth the glory of Athens at Salamis, and he might well afford to give the Peloponnesians the credit which they derived at Platæa. Pindar distributes the honor between Sparta and Athens in like manner (Pyth. i, 76).

[371] Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 19. Kleidemus, quoted by Plutarch, stated that all the fifty-two Athenians who perished belonged to the tribe Æantis, which distinguished itself in the Athenian ranks. But it seems impossible to believe that no citizens belonging to the other nine tribes were killed.

[372] Diodorus, indeed, states that Pausanias was so apprehensive of the numbers of the Persians, that he forbade his soldiers to give quarter or take any prisoners (xi, 32); but this is hardly to be believed, in spite of his assertion. His statement that the Greeks lost ten thousand men is still less admissible.

[373] Herodot. ix, 89. The allusions of Demosthenês to Perdikkas king of Macedonia, who is said to have attacked the Persians on their flight from Platæa, and to have rendered their ruin complete, are too loose to deserve attention; more especially as Perdikkas was not then king of Macedonia (Demosthenês cont. Aristokrat. pp. 687, c. 51; and περὶ Συντάξεως, p. 173, c. 9).

[374] Herodot. ix, 84. Herodotus indeed assigns this second burial-place only to the other Spartans, apart from the Select. He takes no notice of the Lacedæmonians not Spartans, either in the battle or in reference to burial, though he had informed us that five thousand of them were included in the army. Some of them must have been slain, and we may fairly presume that they were buried along with the Spartan citizens generally. As to the word ἱρέας, or εἴρενας, or ἱππέας (the two last being both conjectural readings), it seems impossible to arrive at any certainty: we do not know by what name these select warriors were called.

[375] Herodot. ix, 85. Τῶν δ’ ἄλλων ὅσοι καὶ φαίνονται ἐν Πλαταιῇσι ἐόντες τάφοι, τούτους δὲ, ὡς ἐγὼ πυνθάνομαι, ἐπαισχυνομένους τῇ ἀπεστοῖ τῆς μάχης, ἑκάστους χώματα χῶσαι κεινὰ, τῶν ἐπιγινομένων εἵνεκεν ἀνθρώπων· ἐπεὶ καὶ Αἰγινητέων ἐστὶ αὐτόθι καλεόμενος τάφος, τὸν ἐγὼ ἀκούω καὶ δέκα ἔτεσι ὕστερον μετὰ ταῦτα, δεηθέντων τῶν Αἰγινητέων, χῶσαι Κλεάδην τὸν Αὐτοδίκου, ἄνδρα Πλαταιέα, πρόξεινον ἐόντα αὐτῶν.

This is a curious statement, derived by Herodotus doubtless from personal inquiries made at Platæa.

[376] Herodot. ix, 78, 79. This suggestion, so abhorrent to Grecian feeling, is put by the historian into the mouth of the Æginetan Lampôn. In my preceding note, I have alluded to another statement made by Herodotus, not very creditable to the Æginetans: there is, moreover, a third (ix, 80), in which he represents them as having cheated the Helots in their purchases of the booty. We may presume him to have heard all these anecdotes at Platæa: at the time when he probably visited that place, not long before the Peloponnesian war, the inhabitants were united in the most intimate manner with Athens, and doubtless sympathized in the hatred of the Athenians against Ægina. It does not from hence follow that the stories are all untrue. I disbelieve, indeed, the advice said to have been given by Lampôn to crucify the body of Mardonius,—which has more the air of a poetical contrivance for bringing out an honorable sentiment, than of a real incident. But there seems no reason to doubt the truth of the other two stories. Herodotus does but too rarely specify his informants: it is interesting to scent out the track in which his inquiries have been prosecuted.

After the battle of Kunaxa, and the death of Cyrus the younger, his dead body had the head and hands cut off, by order of Artaxerxes, and nailed to a cross (Xenoph. Anab. i, 10, 1; iii, 1, 17).

[377] Herodot. ix, 84; Pausanias, ix, 2, 2.

[378] Herodot. ix, 80, 81: compare vii, 41-83.

[379] Diodorus (xi, 33) states this proportional distribution. Herodotus only says—ἔλαβον ἕκαστοι τῶν ἄξιοι ἦσαν (ix, 81).

[380] Herodot. ix, 76, 80, 81, 82. The fate of these female companions of the Persian grandees, on the taking of the camp by an enemy, forms a melancholy picture here as well as at Issus, and even at Kunaxa: see Diodor. xvii, 35; Quintus Curtius, iii, xi, 21; Xenoph. Anab. i, 10, 2.

[381] Plutarch animadverts severely (De Malign. Herodot. p. 873; compare Plut. Aristeid. c. 19) upon Herodotus, because he states that none of the Greeks had any share in the battle of Platæa except the Lacedæmonians, Tegeans, and Athenians: the orator Lysias repeats the same statement (Oratio Funebr. c. 9).

If this were the fact (Plutarch asks) how comes it that the inscriptions and poems of the time recognize the exploit as performed by the whole Grecian army, Corinthians and others included? But these inscriptions do not really contradict what is affirmed by Herodotus. The actual battle happened to be fought only by a part of the collective Grecian army; but this happened in a great measure by accident; the rest were little more than a mile off, and until within a few hours had been occupying part of the same continuous line of position; moreover, if the battle had lasted a little longer, they would have come up in time to render actual help. They would naturally be considered, therefore, as entitled to partake in the glory of the entire result.

When however in after-times a stranger visited Platæa, and saw Lacedæmonian, Tegean, and Athenian tombs, but no Corinthian nor Æginetan, etc., he would naturally inquire how it happened that none of these latter had fallen in the battle, and would then be informed that they were not really present at it. Hence the motive for these cities to erect empty sepulchral monuments on the spot, as Herodotus informs us that they afterwards did or caused to be done by individual Platæans.

[382] Herodot. ix, 77.

[383] See, a little above in this chapter, the treatment of the wife and children of the Athenian senator Lykidas (Herodot. ix, 5). Compare also Herodot. iii, 116; ix, 120.

[384] Herodot. ix, 87, 88.

[385] Thucyd. i, 131. καὶ πιστεύων χρήμασι διαλύσειν τὴν διαβολήν. Compare Thucyd. viii, 45, where he states that the trierarchs and generals of the Lacedæmonian and allied fleet, all except Hermokratês of Syracuse, received bribes from Tissaphernes to betray the interests both of their seamen and of their country: also c. 49 of the same book about the Lacedæmonian general Astyochus. The bribes received by the Spartan kings Leotychidês and Pleistoanax are recorded (Herodot. vi, 72; Thucyd. ii, 21).

[386] Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 20; De Herodot. Malign. p. 873.

[387] Herodot. iv, 71, 72.

[388] Thucyd. ii, 71, 72. So the Roman emperor Vitellius, on visiting the field of Bebriacum, where his troops had recently been victorious, “instaurabat sacrum Diis loci.” (Tacitus, Histor. ii, 70.)

[389] Thucyd. ii, 71; Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 19-21; Strabo, ix, p. 412; Pausanias, ix, 2, 4.

The Eleutheria were celebrated on the fourth of the Attic month Boedromion, which was the day on which the battle itself was fought; while the annual decoration of the tombs, and ceremonies in honor of the deceased, took place on the sixteenth of the Attic month Mæmaktêrion. K. F. Hermann (Gottesdienstliche Alterthümer der Griechen, ch. 63, note 9) has treated these two celebrations as if they were one.

[390] Plutarch, Aristeidês, c. 21.

[391] Thucyd. i, 90.

[392] It is to this general and solemn meeting, held at Platæa after the victory, that we might probably refer another vow noticed by the historians and orators of the subsequent century, if that vow were not of suspicious authenticity. The Greeks, while promising faithful attachment, and continued peaceful dealing among themselves, and engaging at the same time to amerce in a tithe of their property all who had medized,—are said to have vowed that they would not repair or rebuild the temples which the Persian invader had burnt; but would leave them in their half-ruined condition as a monument of his sacrilege. Some of the injured temples near Athens were seen in their half-burnt state even by the traveller Pausanias (x, 35, 2), in his time. Periklês, forty years after the battle, tried to convoke a Pan-Hellenic assembly at Athens, for the purpose of deliberating what should be done with these temples (Plutarch, Periklês, c. 17). Yet Theopompus pronounced this alleged oath to be a fabrication, though both the orator Lykurgus and Diodorus profess to report it verbatim. We may safely assert that the oath, as they give it, is not genuine; but perhaps the vow of tithing those who had voluntarily joined Xerxes, which Herodotus refers to an earlier period, when success was doubtful, may now have been renewed in the moment of victory: see Diodor. ix, 29; Lykurgus cont. Leokrat. c. 19, p. 193; Polybius, ix, 33; Isokrates, Or. iv; Panegyr. c. 41, p. 74; Theopompus, Fragm. 167, ed. Didot; Suidas, v. Δεκατεύειν, Cicero de Republicâ, iii, 9, and the beginning of the chapter last but one preceding, of this history.

[393] Herodot. ix, 91, 92, 95; viii, 132, 133. The prophet of Mardonius at Platæa bore the same name, and was probably the more highly esteemed for it (Herodot. ix, 37).

Diodorus states the fleet as comprising two hundred and fifty triremes (xi, 34).

The anecdotes respecting the Apolloniate Euenius, the father of Deïphonus, will be found curious and interesting (Herodot. ix, 98, 94). Euenius, as a recompense for having been unjustly blinded by his countrymen, had received from the gods the grant of prophecy transmissible to his descendants: a new prophetic breed was thus created, alongside of the Iamids, Telliads, Klytiads, etc.

[394] Herodot. ix, 96. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐγένοντο τῆς Σαμίης πρὸς Καλάμοισι, οἱ μὲν αὐτοῦ ὁρμισάμενοι κατὰ τὸ Ἡραῖον τὸ ταύτῃ, παρεσκευάζοντο ἐς ναυμαχίην.

It is by no means certain that the Heræum here indicated is the celebrated temple which stood near the city of Samos (iii, 80): the words of Herodotus rather seem to indicate that another temple of Hêrê, in some other part of the island, is intended.

[395] Herodotus describes the Persian position by topographical indications known to his readers, but not open to be determined by us,—Gæson, Skolopœis, the chapel of Dêmêtêr, built by Philistus, one of the primitive colonists of Miletus, etc. (ix, 96): from the language of Herodotus, we may suppose that Gæson was the name of a town as well as of a river (Ephon