Herodotus: The Histories

ca. 460 - 420 BCE

- Annotations   ·   No Other Contributors   ·   Out of copyright

Herodotus The Histories Book 7 When the message concerning the fight at Marathon came to Darius son of Hystaspes, already greatly angry against the Athenians for their attack upon Sardis, he was now much more angry and eager to send an expedition against Hellas. [2] Immediately he sent messengers to all the cities and commanded them to equip an army, instructing each to provide many more ships and horses and provisions and transport vessels than they had before. Asia was in commotion with these messages for three years,1 as the best men were enrolled for service against Hellas and made preparations. [3] In the fourth year the Egyptians, whom Cambyses had enslaved, revolted from the Persians; thereupon Darius was even more eager to send expeditions against both. 2. But while Darius was making preparations against Egypt and Athens, a great quarrel arose among his sons concerning the chief power in the land. They held that before his army marched he must declare an heir to the kingship according to Persian law. [2] Three sons had been born to Darius before he became king by his first wife, the daughter of Gobryas, and four more after he became king by Atossa daughter of Cyrus. Artobazanes was the oldest of the earlier sons, Xerxes of the later; [3] and as sons of different mothers they were rivals. Artobazanes pleaded that he was the oldest of all Darius' offspring and that it was everywhere customary that the eldest should rule; Xerxes argued that he was the son of Cyrus' daughter Atossa and that it was Cyrus who had won the Persians their freedom. 3. While Darius delayed making his decision, it chanced that at this time Demaratus son of Ariston had come up to Susa, in voluntary exile from Lacedaemonia after he had lost the kingship of Sparta. [2] Learning of the contention between the sons of Darius, this man, as the story goes, came and advised Xerxes to add this to what he said: that he had been born when Darius was already king and ruler of Persia, but Artobazanes when Darius was yet a subject; [3] therefore it was neither reasonable nor just that anyone should have the royal privilege before him. At Sparta too (advised Demaratus) it was customary that if sons were born before their father became king, and another son born later when the father was king, the succession to the kingship belongs to the later-born. [4] Xerxes followed Demaratus advice, and Darius judged his plea to be just and declared him king. But to my thinking Xerxes would have been made king even without this advice, for Atossa held complete sway. 4. After declaring Xerxes king, Darius was intent on his expedition. But in the year after this and the revolt of Egypt, death came upon him in the midst of his preparations, after a reign of six and thirty years2 in all, and it was not granted to him to punish either the revolted Egyptians or the Athenians. 5. After Darius' death, the royal power descended to his son Xerxes. Now Xerxes was at first by no means eager to march against Hellas; it was against Egypt that he mustered his army. But Mardonius son of Gobryas, Xerxes cousin and the son of Darius' sister, was with the king and had more influence with him than any Persian. He argued as follows: “Master, it is not fitting that the Athenians should go unpunished for their deeds, after all the evil they have done to the Persians. [2] For now you should do what you have in hand; then, when you have tamed the insolence of Egypt, lead your armies against Athens, so that you may have fair fame among men, and others may beware of invading your realm in the future.” [3] This argument was for vengeance,3 but he kept adding that Europe was an extremely beautiful land, one that bore all kinds of orchard trees, a land of highest excellence, worthy of no mortal master but the king. 6. He said this because he desired adventures and wanted to be governor of Hellas. Finally he worked on Xerxes and persuaded him to do this, and other things happened that helped him to persuade Xerxes. [2] Messengers came from Thessaly from the Aleuadae (who were princes of Thessaly) and invited the king into Hellas with all earnestness; the Pisistratidae who had come up to Susa used the same pleas as the Aleuadae, offering Xerxes even more than they did. [3] They had come up to Sardis with Onomacritus, an Athenian diviner4 who had set in order the oracles of Musaeus. They had reconciled their previous hostility with him; Onomacritus had been banished from Athens by Pisistratus' son Hipparchus, when he was caught by Lasus5 of Hermione in the act of interpolating into the writings of Musaeus an oracle showing that the islands off Lemnos would disappear into the sea. [4] Because of this Hipparchus banished him, though they had previously been close friends. Now he had arrived at Susa with the Pisistratidae, and whenever he came into the king's presence they used lofty words concerning him and he recited from his oracles; all that portended disaster to the Persian he left unspoken, choosing and reciting such prophecies as were most favorable, telling how the Hellespont must be bridged by a man of Persia and describing the expedition. [5] So he brought his oracles to bear, while the Pisistratidae and Aleuadae gave their opinions. 7. After being persuaded to send an expedition against Hellas, Xerxes first marched against the rebels in the year after Darius death. He subdued them and laid Egypt under a much harder slavery than in the time of Darius, and he handed it over to Achaemenes, his own brother and Darius' son. While governing Egypt, this Achaemenes was at a later time6 slain by a Libyan, Inaros son of Psammetichus. 8. After the conquest of Egypt, intending now to take in hand the expedition against Athens, Xerxes held a special assembly of the noblest among the Persians, so he could learn their opinions and declare his will before them all. When they were assembled, Xerxes spoke to them as follows: 8A. “Men of Persia, I am not bringing in and establishing a new custom, but following one that I have inherited. As I learn from our elders, we have never yet remained at peace ever since Cyrus deposed Astyages and we won this sovereignty from the Medes. It is the will of heaven; and we ourselves win advantage by our many enterprises. No one needs to tell you, who already know them well, which nations Cyrus and Cambyses and Darius my father subdued and added to our realm. [2] Ever since I came to this throne, I have considered how I might not fall short of my predecessors in this honor, and not add less power to the Persians; and my considerations persuade me that we may win not only renown, but a land neither less nor worse, and more fertile, than that which we now possess; and we would also gain vengeance and requital. For this cause I have now summoned you together, that I may impart to you what I intend to do. 8B. It is my intent to bridge the Hellespont and lead my army through Europe to Hellas, so I may punish the Athenians for what they have done to the Persians and to my father. [2] You saw that Darius my father was set on making an expedition against these men. But he is dead, and it was not granted him to punish them. On his behalf and that of all the Persians, I will never rest until I have taken Athens and burnt it, for the unprovoked wrong that its people did to my father and me. [3] First they came to Sardis with our slave Aristagoras the Milesian and burnt the groves and the temples; next, how they dealt with us when we landed on their shores, when Datis and Artaphrenes were our generals, I suppose you all know. 8C. For these reasons I am resolved to send an army against them; and I reckon that we will find the following benefits among them: if we subdue those men, and their neighbors who dwell in the land of Pelops the Phrygian, we will make the borders of Persian territory and of the firmament of heaven be the same. [2] No land that the sun beholds will border ours, but I will make all into one country, when I have passed over the whole of Europe. [3] I learn that this is the situation: no city of men or any human nation which is able to meet us in battle will be left, if those of whom I speak are taken out of our way. Thus the guilty and the innocent will alike bear the yoke of slavery. 8D. This is how you would best please me: when I declare the time for your coming, every one of you must eagerly appear; and whoever comes with his army best equipped will receive from me such gifts as are reckoned most precious among us. [2] Thus it must be done; but so that I not seem to you to have my own way, I lay the matter before you all, and bid whoever wishes to declare his opinion.” So spoke Xerxes and ceased. 9. After him Mardonius said: “Master, you surpass not only all Persians that have been but also all that shall be; besides having dealt excellently and truly with all other matters, you will not suffer the Ionians7 who dwell in Europe to laugh at us, which they have no right to do. [2] It would be strange indeed if we who have subdued and made slaves of Sacae and Indians and Ethiopians and Assyrians and many other great nations, for no wrong done to the Persians but of mere desire to add to our power, will not take vengeance on the Greeks for unprovoked wrongs. 9A. What have we to fear from them? Have they a massive population or abundance of wealth? Their manner of fighting we know, and we know how weak their power is; we have conquered and hold their sons, those who dwell in our land and are called Ionians and Aeolians and Dorians. [2] I myself have made trial of these men, when by your father's command I marched against them. I marched as far as Macedonia and almost to Athens itself, yet none came out to meet me in battle. 9B. Yet the Greeks are accustomed to wage wars, as I learn, and they do it most senselessly in their wrongheadedness and folly. When they have declared war against each other, they come down to the fairest and most level ground that they can find and fight there, so that the victors come off with great harm; of the vanquished I say not so much as a word, for they are utterly destroyed. [2] Since they speak the same language, they should end their disputes by means of heralds or messengers, or by any way rather than fighting; if they must make war upon each other, they should each discover where they are in the strongest position and make the attempt there. The Greek custom, then, is not good; and when I marched as far as the land of Macedonia, it had not come into their minds to fight. 9C. But against you, O king, who shall make war? You will bring the multitudes of Asia, and all your ships. I think there is not so much boldness in Hellas as that; but if time should show me wrong in my judgment, and those men prove foolhardy enough to do battle with us, they would be taught that we are the greatest warriors on earth. Let us leave nothing untried; for nothing happens by itself, and all men's gains are the fruit of adventure.” 10. Thus Mardonius smoothed Xerxes' resolution and stopped. The rest of the Persians held their peace, not daring to utter any opinion contrary to what had been put forward; then Artabanus son of Hystaspes, the king's uncle, spoke. Relying on his position, he said, 10A. “O king, if opposite opinions are not uttered, it is impossible for someone to choose the better; the one which has been spoken must be followed. If they are spoken, the better can be found; just as the purity of gold cannot be determined by itself, but when gold is compared with gold by rubbing,8 we then determine the better. [2] Now I advised Darius, your father and my brother, not to lead his army against the Scythians, who have no cities anywhere to dwell in. But he hoped to subdue the nomadic Scythians and would not obey me; he went on the expedition and returned after losing many gallant men from his army. [3] You, O king, are proposing to lead your armies against far better men than the Scythians—men who are said to be excellent warriors by sea and land. It is right that I should show you what danger there is in this. 10B. You say that you will bridge the Hellespont and march your army through Europe to Hellas. Now suppose you happen to be defeated either by land or by sea, or even both; the men are said to be valiant, and we may well guess that it is so, since the Athenians alone destroyed the great army that followed Datis and Artaphrenes to Attica. [2] Suppose they do not succeed in both ways; but if they attack with their ships and prevail in a sea-fight, and then sail to the Hellespont and destroy your bridge, that, O king, is the hour of peril. 10C. It is from no wisdom of my own that I thus conjecture; it is because I know what disaster once almost overtook us, when your father, making a highway over the Thracian Bosporus and bridging the river Ister, crossed over to attack the Scythians. At that time the Scythians used every means of entreating the Ionians, who had been charged to guard the bridges of the Ister, to destroy the way of passage.9 [2] If Histiaeus the tyrant of Miletus had consented to the opinion of the other tyrants instead of opposing it, the power of Persia would have perished. Yet it is dreadful even in the telling, that one man should hold in his hand all the king's fortunes. 10D. So do not plan to run the risk of any such danger when there is no need for it. Listen to me instead: for now dismiss this assembly; consider the matter by yourself and, whenever you so please, declare what seems best to you. [2] A well-laid plan is always to my mind most profitable; even if it is thwarted later, the plan was no less good, and it is only chance that has baffled the design; but if fortune favor one who has planned poorly, then he has gotten only a prize of chance, and his plan was no less bad. 10E. You see how the god smites with his thunderbolt creatures of greatness and does not suffer them to display their pride, while little ones do not move him to anger; and you see how it is always on the tallest buildings and trees that his bolts fall; for the god loves to bring low all things of surpassing greatness. Thus a large army is destroyed by a smaller, when the jealous god sends panic or the thunderbolt among them, and they perish unworthily; for the god suffers pride in none but himself. 10F. Now haste is always the parent of failure, and great damages are likely to arise; but in waiting there is good, and in time this becomes clear, even though it does not seem so in the present. 10G. This, O king, is my advice to you. But you, Mardonius son of Gobryas, cease your foolish words about the Greeks, for they do not deserve to be maligned. By slandering the Greeks you incite the king to send this expedition; that is the end to which you press with all eagerness. Let it not be so. [2] Slander is a terrible business; there are two in it who do wrong and one who suffers wrong. The slanderer wrongs another by accusing an absent man, and the other does wrong in that he is persuaded before he has learned the whole truth; the absent man does not hear what is said of him and suffers wrong in the matter, being maligned by the one and condemned by the other. 10H. If an army must by all means be sent against these Greeks, hear me now: let the king himself remain in the Persian land, and let us two stake our children's lives upon it; you lead out the army, choosing whatever men you wish and taking as great an army as you desire. [2] If the king's fortunes fare as you say, let my sons be slain, and myself with them; but if it turns out as I foretell, let your sons be so treated, and you likewise, if you return. [3] But if you are unwilling to submit to this and will at all hazards lead your army overseas to Hellas, then I think that those left behind in this place will hear that Mardonius has done great harm to Persia, and has been torn apart by dogs and birds in the land of Athens or of Lacedaemon, if not even before that on the way there; and that you have learned what kind of men you persuade the king to attack.” 11. Thus spoke Artabanus. Xerxes answered angrily, “Artabanus, you are my father's brother; that will save you from receiving the fitting reward of foolish words. But for your cowardly lack of spirit I lay upon you this disgrace, that you will not go with me and my army against Hellas, but will stay here with the women; I myself will accomplish all that I have said, with no help from you. [2] May I not be the son of Darius son of Hystaspes son of Arsames son of Ariaramnes son of Teispes son of Cyrus son of Cambyses son of Teispes son of Achaemenes,10 if I do not have vengeance on the Athenians; I well know that if we remain at peace they will not; they will assuredly invade our country, if we may infer from what they have done already, for they burnt Sardis and marched into Asia. [3] It is not possible for either of us to turn back: to do or to suffer is our task, so that what is ours be under the Greeks, or what is theirs under the Persians; there is no middle way in our quarrel. [4] Honor then demands that we avenge ourselves for what has been done to us; thus will I learn what is this evil that will befall me when I march against these Greeks—men that even Pelops the Phrygian, the slave of my forefathers, did so utterly subdue that to this day they and their country are called by the name of their conqueror.” 12. The discussion went that far; then night came, and Xerxes was pricked by the advice of Artabanus. Thinking it over at night, he saw clearly that to send an army against Hellas was not his affair. He made this second resolve and fell asleep; then (so the Persians say) in the night he saw this vision: It seemed to Xerxes that a tall and handsome man stood over him and said, [2] “Are you then changing your mind, Persian, and will not lead the expedition against Hellas, although you have proclaimed the mustering of the army? It is not good for you to change your mind, and there will be no one here to pardon you for it; let your course be along the path you resolved upon yesterday.” 13. So the vision spoke, and seemed to Xerxes to vanish away. When day dawned, the king took no account of this dream, and he assembled the Persians whom he had before gathered together and addressed them thus: [2] “Persians, forgive me for turning and twisting in my purpose; I am not yet come to the fullness of my wisdom, and I am never free from people who exhort me to do as I said. It is true that when I heard Artabanus' opinion my youthful spirit immediately boiled up, and I burst out with an unseemly and wrongful answer to one older than myself; but now I see my fault and will follow his judgment. [3] Be at peace, since I have changed my mind about marching against Hellas.” 14. When the Persians heard that, they rejoiced and made obeisance to him. But when night came on, the same vision stood again over Xerxes as he slept, and said, “Son of Darius, have you then plainly renounced your army's march among the Persians, and made my words of no account, as though you had not heard them? Know for certain that, if you do not lead out your army immediately, this will be the outcome of it: as you became great and mighty in a short time, so in a moment will you be brought low again.” 15. Greatly frightened by the vision, Xerxes leapt up from his bed, and sent a messenger to summon Artabanus. When he came, Xerxes said, “Artabanus, for a moment I was of unsound mind, and I answered your good advice with foolish words; but after no long time I repented, and saw that it was right for me to follow your advice. [2] Yet, though I desire to, I cannot do it; ever since I turned back and repented, a vision keeps coming to haunt my sight, and it will not allow me to do as you advise; just now it has threatened me and gone. [3] Now if a god is sending the vision, and it is his full pleasure that there this expedition against Hellas take place, that same dream will hover about you and give you the same command it gives me. I believe that this is most likely to happen, if you take all my apparel and sit wearing it upon my throne, and then lie down to sleep in my bed.” 16. Xerxes said this, but Artabanus would not obey the first command, thinking it was not right for him to sit on the royal throne; at last he was compelled and did as he was bid, saying first: 16A. “O king, I judge it of equal worth whether a man is wise or is willing to obey good advice; to both of these you have attained, but the company of bad men trips you up; just as they say that sea, of all things the most serviceable to men, is hindered from following its nature by the blasts of winds that fall upon it. [2] It was not that I heard harsh words from you that stung me so much as that, when two opinions were laid before the Persians, one tending to the increase of pride, the other to its abatement, showing how evil a thing it is to teach the heart continual desire of more than it has, of these two opinions you preferred that one which was more fraught with danger to yourself and to the Persians. 16B. Now when you have turned to the better opinion, you say that, while intending to abandon the expedition against the Greeks, you are haunted by a dream sent by some god, which forbids you to disband the expedition. [2] But this is none of heaven's working, my son. The roving dreams that visit men are of such nature as I shall teach you, since I am many years older than you. Those visions that rove about us in dreams are for the most part the thoughts of the day; and in these recent days we have been very busy with this expedition. 16C. But if this is not as I determine and it has something divine to it, then you have spoken the conclusion of the matter; let it appear to me just as it has to you, and utter its command. If it really wishes to appear, it should do so to me no more by virtue of my wearing your dress instead of mine, and my sleeping in your bed rather than in my own. [2] Whatever it is that appears to you in your sleep, surely it has not come to such folly as to infer from your dress that I am you when it sees me. We now must learn if it will take no account of me and not deign to appear and haunt me, whether I am wearing your robes or my own, but will come to you; if it comes continually, I myself would say that it is something divine. [3] If you are determined that this must be done and there is no averting it, and I must lie down to sleep in your bed, so be it; this duty I will fulfill, and let the vision appear also to me. But until then I will keep my present opinion.” 17. So spoke Artabanus and did as he was bid, hoping to prove Xerxes' words vain; he put on Xerxes' robes and sat on the king's throne. Then while he slept there came to him in his sleep the same dream that had haunted Xerxes; it stood over him and spoke thus: [2] “Are you the one who dissuades Xerxes from marching against Hellas, because you care for him? Neither in the future nor now will you escape with impunity for striving to turn aside what must be. To Xerxes himself it has been declared what will befall him if he disobeys.” 18. With this threat (so it seemed to Artabanus) the vision was about to burn his eyes with hot irons. He leapt up with a loud cry, then sat by Xerxes and told him the whole story of what he had seen in his dream, and next he said: [2] “O King, since I have seen, as much as a man may, how the greater has often been brought low by the lesser, I forbade you to always give rein to your youthful spirit, knowing how evil a thing it is to have many desires, and remembering the end of Cyrus' expedition against the Massagetae and of Cambyses' against the Ethiopians, and I myself marched with Darius against the Scythians. [3] Knowing this, I judged that you had only to remain in peace for all men to deem you fortunate. But since there is some divine motivation, and it seems that the gods mark Hellas for destruction, I myself change and correct my judgment. Now declare the gods' message to the Persians, and bid them obey your first command for all due preparation. Do this, so that nothing on your part be lacking to the fulfillment of the gods' commission.” [4] After this was said, they were incited by the vision, and when daylight came Xerxes imparted all this to the Persians. Artabanus now openly encouraged that course which he alone had before openly discouraged. 19. Xerxes was now intent on the expedition and then saw a third vision in his sleep, which the Magi interpreted to refer to the whole earth and to signify that all men should be his slaves. This was the vision: Xerxes thought that he was crowned with an olive bough, of which the shoots spread over the whole earth, and then the crown vanished from off his head where it was set. [3] The Magi interpreted it in this way, and immediately every single man of the Persians who had been assembled rode away to his own province and there used all zeal to fulfill the kings command, each desiring to receive the promised gifts. Thus it was that Xerxes mustered his army, searching out every part of the continent. 20. For full four years11 after the conquest of Egypt he was equipping his force and preparing all that was needed for it; before the fifth year was completed, he set forth on his march with the might of a great multitude. [2] This was by far the greatest of all expeditions that we know of. The one that Darius led against the Scythians is nothing compared to it; neither is the Scythian expedition when they burst into Media12 in pursuit of the Cimmerians and subdued and ruled almost all the upper lands of Asia (it was for this that Darius afterwards attempted to punish them). According to the reports, the expedition led by the sons of Atreus against Troy is also nothing by comparison; neither is the one of the Mysians and Teucrians which before the Trojan war crossed the Bosporus into Europe,13 subdued all the Thracians, and came down to the Ionian sea, marching southward as far as the river Peneus. 21. All these expeditions and whatever others have happened in addition could not together be compared with this single one. For what nation did Xerxes not lead from Asia against Hellas? What water did not fail when being drunk up, except only the greatest rivers? [2] Some people supplied him with ships, some were enrolled in his infantry, some were assigned the provision of horsemen, others of horse-bearing transports to follow the army, and others again of warships for the bridges, or of food and ships. 22. Since those who had earlier attempted to sail around Athos had suffered shipwreck, for about three years preparations had been underway there. Triremes were anchored off Elaeus in the Chersonese; with these for their headquarters, all sorts of men in the army were compelled by whippings to dig a canal, coming by turns to the work; the inhabitants about Athos also dug. [2] Bubares son of Megabazus and Artachaees son of Artaeus, both Persians, were the overseers of the workmen. Athos is a great and famous mountain, running out into the sea and inhabited by men. At the mountain's landward end it is in the form of a peninsula, and there is an isthmus about twelve stadia wide; here is a place of level ground or little hills, from the sea by Acanthus to the sea opposite Torone. [3] On this isthmus which is at the end of Athos, there stands a Greek town, Sane; there are others situated seaward of Sane and landward of Athos, and the Persian now intended to make them into island and not mainland towns; they are Dion, Olophyxus, Acrothoum, Thyssus, and Cleonae. 23. These are the towns situated on Athos. The foreigners dug as follows,14 dividing up the ground by nation: they made a straight line near the town of Sane; when the channel had been dug to some depth, some men stood at the bottom of it and dug, others took the dirt as it was dug out and delivered it to yet others that stood higher on stages, and they again to others as they received it, until they came to those that were highest; these carried it out and threw it away. [2] For all except the Phoenicians, the steep sides of the canal caved in, doubling their labor; since they made the span the same breadth at its mouth and at the bottom, this was bound to happen. [3] But the Phoenicians showed the same skill in this as in all else they do; taking in hand the portion that fell to them, they dug by making the topmost span of the canal as wide again as the canal was to be, and narrowed it as they worked lower, until at the bottom their work was of the same span as that of the others. [4] There is a meadow there, where they made a place for buying and marketing; much ground grain frequently came to them from Asia. 24. As far as I can judge by conjecture, Xerxes gave the command for this digging out of pride, wishing to display his power and leave a memorial; with no trouble they could have drawn their ships across the isthmus, yet he ordered them to dig a canal from sea to sea, wide enough to float two triremes rowed abreast. The same men who were assigned the digging were also assigned to join the banks of the river Strymon by a bridge. 25. Thus Xerxes did this. He assigned the Phoenicians and Egyptians to make ropes of papyrus and white flax for the bridges,15 and to store provisions for his army, so that neither the army nor the beasts of burden would starve on the march to Hellas. [2] After making inquiry, he ordered them to store it in the most fitting places, carrying it to the various places from all parts of Asia in cargo ships and transports. They brought most of it to the White Headland (as it is called) in Thrace; some were dispatched to Tyrodiza in the Perinthian country or to Doriscus, others to Eion on the Strymon or to Macedonia. 26. While these worked at their appointed task, all the land force had been mustered and was marching with Xerxes to Sardis, setting forth from Critalla in Cappadocia, which was the place appointed for gathering all the army that was to march with Xerxes himself by land. [2] Now which of his governors received the promised gifts from the king for bringing the best-equipped army, I cannot say; I do not even know if the matter was ever determined. [3] When they had crossed the river Halys and entered Phrygia, they marched through that country to Celaenae,16 where rises the source of the river Maeander and of another river no smaller, which is called Cataractes; it rises right in the market-place of Celaenae and issues into the Maeander. The skin of Marsyas the Silenus also hangs there; the Phrygian story tells that it was flayed off him and hung up by Apollo.17 27. In this city Pythius son of Atys, a Lydian, sat awaiting them; he entertained Xerxes himself and all the king's army with the greatest hospitality, and declared himself willing to provide money for the war. [2] When Pythius offered the money, Xerxes asked the Persians present who this Pythius was and how much wealth he possessed in making the offer. They said, “O king, this is the one who gave your father Darius the gift of a golden plane-tree and vine; he is now the richest man we know of after you.” 28. Xerxes marvelled at this last saying and next himself asked Pythius how much wealth he had. “O king,” said Pythius, “I will not conceal the quantity of my property from you, nor pretend that I do not know; I know and will tell you the exact truth. [2] As soon as I learned that you were coming down to the Greek sea, I wanted to give you money for the war, so I inquired into the matter, and my reckoning showed me that I had two thousand talents of silver, and four million Daric staters of gold,18 lacking seven thousand. [3] All this I freely give to you; for myself, I have a sufficient livelihood from my slaves and my farms.” 29. Thus he spoke. Xerxes was pleased with what he said and replied: “My Lydian friend, since I came out of Persia I have so far met with no man who was willing to give hospitality to my army, nor who came into my presence unsummoned and offered to furnish money for the war, besides you. [2] But you have entertained my army nobly and offer me great sums. In return for this I give you these privileges: I make you my friend, and out of my own wealth I give you the seven thousand staters which will complete your total of four million, so that your four million not lack the seven thousand and the even number be reached by my completing it. [3] Remain in possession of what you now possess, and be mindful to be always such as you are; neither for the present nor in time will you regret what you now do.” 30. Xerxes said this and made good his words, then journeyed ever onward. Passing by the Phrygian town called Anaua, and the lake from which salt is obtained, he came to Colossae, a great city in Phrygia; there the river Lycus plunges into a cleft in the earth and disappears,19 until it reappears about five stadia away; this river issues into the Maeander. [2] From Colossae the army held its course for the borders of Phrygia and Lydia, and came to the city of Cydrara, where there stands a pillar set up by Croesus which marks the boundary with an inscription. 31. Passing from Phrygia into Lydia, he came to the place where the roads part; the road on the left leads to Caria, the one on the right to Sardis; on the latter the traveller must cross the river Maeander and pass by the city of Callatebus, where craftsmen make honey out of wheat and tamarisks. Xerxes went by this road and found a plane-tree, which he adorned with gold because of its beauty, and he assigned one of his immortals to guard it. On the next day he reached the city of the Lydians. 32. After he arrived in Sardis, he first sent heralds to Hellas to demand earth and water and to command the preparation of meals for the king. He sent demands for earth everywhere except to Athens and Lacedaemon. The reason for his sending for earth and water the second time was this: he fully believed that whoever had not previously given it to Darius' messengers would now be compelled to give by fear; so he sent out of desire to know this for certain. 33. After this he prepared to march to Abydos; meanwhile his men were bridging the Hellespont from Asia to Europe. On the Chersonese, which is on the Hellespont, between the city of Sestus and Madytus there is a broad headland20 running out into the sea opposite Abydos. It was here that not long afterwards the Athenians, when Xanthippus son of Ariphron was their general, took Artayctes, a Persian and the governor of Sestus, and crucified him alive; he had been in the habit of bringing women right into the temple of Protesilaus at Elaeus and doing impious deeds there. 34. The men who had been given this assignment made bridges starting from Abydos across to that headland; the Phoenicians one of flaxen cables, and the Egyptians a papyrus one. From Abydos to the opposite shore it is a distance of seven stadia.21 But no sooner had the strait been bridged than a great storm swept down, breaking and scattering everything. 35. When Xerxes heard of this, he was very angry and commanded that the Hellespont be whipped with three hundred lashes, and a pair of fetters be thrown into the sea. I have even heard that he sent branders with them to brand the Hellespont. [2] He commanded them while they whipped to utter words outlandish and presumptuous, “Bitter water, our master thus punishes you, because you did him wrong though he had done you none. Xerxes the king will pass over you, whether you want it or not; in accordance with justice no one offers you sacrifice, for you are a turbid and briny river.” [3] He commanded that the sea receive these punishments and that the overseers of the bridge over the Hellespont be beheaded. 36. So this was done by those who were appointed to the thankless honor, and new engineers set about making the bridges. They made the bridges as follows: in order to lighten the strain of the cables, they placed fifty-oared ships and triremes alongside each other, three hundred and sixty to bear the bridge nearest the Euxine sea, and three hundred and fourteen to bear the other; all lay obliquely to the line of the Pontus and parallel with the current of the Hellespont.22 [2] After putting the ships together they let down very great anchors, both from the end of the ships on the Pontus side to hold fast against the winds blowing from within that sea, and from the other end, towards the west and the Aegean, to hold against the west and south winds. They left a narrow opening to sail through in the line of fifty-oared ships and triremes, that so whoever wanted to could sail by small craft to the Pontus or out of it. [3] After doing this, they stretched the cables from the land, twisting them taut with wooden windlasses; they did not as before keep the two kinds apart, but assigned for each bridge two cables of flax and four of papyrus. [4] All these had the same thickness and fine appearance, but the flaxen were heavier in proportion, for a cubit of them weighed a talent.23 [5] When the strait was thus bridged, they sawed logs of wood to a length equal to the breadth of the floating supports,24 and laid them in order on the taut cables; after placing them together they then made them fast. After doing this, they carried brushwood onto the bridge; when this was all laid in order they heaped earth on it and stamped it down; then they made a fence on either side, so that the beasts of burden and horses not be frightened by the sight of the sea below them. 37. When the bridges and the work at Athos were ready, and both the dikes at the canal's entrances, built to prevent the surf from silting up the entrances of the dug passage, and the canal itself were reported to be now completely finished, the army then wintered. At the beginning of spring25 the army made ready and set forth from Sardis to march to Abydos. [2] As it was setting out, the sun left his place in the heaven and was invisible, although the sky was without clouds and very clear, and the day turned into night. When Xerxes saw and took note of that, he was concerned and asked the Magi what the vision might signify. [4] They declared to him that the god was showing the Greeks the abandonment of their cities; for the sun (they said) was the prophet of the Greeks, as the moon was their own. Xerxes rejoiced exceedingly to hear that and continued on his march. 38. As Xerxes led his army away, Pythius the Lydian, frightened by the heavenly vision and encouraged by the gifts that he had received, came to Xerxes and said, “Master, I have a favor to ask that I desire of you, easy for you to grant and precious for me to receive.” [2] Xerxes supposed that Pythius would demand anything rather than what he did ask and answered that he would grant the request, bidding him declare what he desired. When Pythius heard this, he took courage and said: “Master, I have five sons, and all of them are constrained to march with you against Hellas. [3] I pray you, O king, take pity on me in my advanced age, and release one of my sons, the eldest, from service, so that he may take care of me and of my possessions; take the four others with you, and may you return back with all your plans accomplished.” 39. Xerxes became very angry and thus replied: “Villain, you see me marching against Hellas myself, and taking with me my sons and brothers and relations and friends; do you, my slave, who should have followed me with all your household and your very wife, speak to me of your son? Be well assured of this, that a man's spirit dwells in his ears; when it hears good words it fills the whole body with delight, but when it hears the opposite it swells with anger. [2] When you did me good service and promised more, you will never boast that you outdid your king in the matter of benefits; and now that you have turned aside to the way of shamelessness, you will receive a lesser requital than you merit. You and four of your sons are saved by your hospitality; but you shall be punished by the life of that one you most desire to keep.” [3] With that reply, he immediately ordered those who were assigned to do these things to find the eldest of Pythius sons and cut him in half, then to set one half of his body on the right side of the road and the other on the left, so that the army would pass between them. 40. This they did, and the army passed between. First went the baggage train and the beasts of burden, and after them a mixed army of all sorts of nations, not according to their divisions but all mingled together; when more than half had passed there was a space left, and these did not come near the king. [2] After that, first came a thousand horsemen, chosen out of all Persians; next, a thousand spearmen, picked men like the others, carrying their spears reversed; and after them ten horses of the breed called Nesaean, equipped most splendidly. [3] The horses are called Nesaean because there is in Media a wide plain of that name, where the great horses are bred. [4] Behind these ten horses was the place of the sacred chariot of Zeus,26 drawn by eight white horses, with the charioteer following the horses on foot and holding the reins; for no mortal man may mount into that seat. After these came Xerxes himself in a chariot drawn by Nesaean horses; beside him was his charioteer, whose name was Patiramphes, the son of Otanes, a Persian. 41. In this way Xerxes rode out from Sardis; but whenever the thought took him he would alight from the chariot into a carriage. Behind him came a thousand spearmen of the best and noblest blood of Persia, carrying their spears in the customary manner; after them a thousand picked Persian horsemen, and after the horse ten thousand that were foot soldiers, chosen out of the rest of the Persians. [3] One thousand of these had golden pomegranates on their spear-shafts instead of a spike, and surrounded the rest; the nine thousand who were inside them had silver pomegranates. Those who held their spears reversed also carried golden pomegranates, and those following nearest to Xerxes had apples of gold. After the ten thousand came ten thousand Persian horsemen in array. After these there was a space of two stadia, and then the rest of the multitude followed all mixed together. 42. From Lydia the army took its course to the river Caicus and the land of Mysia; leaving the Caicus, they went through Atarneus to the city of Carene, keeping the mountain of Cane27 on the left. From there they journeyed over the plain of Thebe, passing the city of Adramytteum and the Pelasgian city of Antandrus. [2] Then they came into the territory of Ilium, with Ida on their left. When they had halted for the night at the foot of Ida, a storm of thunder and lightning fell upon them, killing a great crowd of them there. 43. When the army had come to the river Scamander, which was the first river after the beginning of their march from Sardis that fell short of their needs and was not sufficient for the army and the cattle to drink—arriving at this river, Xerxes ascended to the citadel of Priam, having a desire to see it. [2] After he saw it and asked about everything there, he sacrificed a thousand cattle to Athena of Ilium, and the Magi offered libations to the heroes. After they did this, a panic fell upon the camp in the night. When it was day they journeyed on from there, keeping on their left the cities of Rhoetium and Ophryneum and Dardanus, which borders Abydos,28 and on their right the Teucrian Gergithae. 44. When they were at Abydos, Xerxes wanted to see the whole of his army. A lofty seat of white stone had been set up for him on a hill29 there for this very purpose, built by the people of Abydos at the king's command. There he sat and looked down on the seashore, viewing his army and his fleet; as he viewed them he desired to see the ships contend in a race. They did so, and the Phoenicians of Sidon won; Xerxes was pleased with the race and with his expedition. 45. When he saw the whole Hellespont covered with ships, and all the shores and plains of Abydos full of men, Xerxes first declared himself blessed, and then wept. 46. His uncle Artabanus perceived this, he who in the beginning had spoken his mind freely and advised Xerxes not to march against Hellas. Marking how Xerxes wept, he questioned him and said, “O king, what a distance there is between what you are doing now and a little while ago! After declaring yourself blessed you weep.” [2] Xerxes said, “I was moved to compassion when I considered the shortness of all human life, since of all this multitude of men not one will be alive a hundred years from now.” [3] Artabanus answered, “In one life we have deeper sorrows to bear than that. Short as our lives are, there is no human being either here or elsewhere so fortunate that it will not occur to him, often and not just once, to wish himself dead rather than alive. Misfortunes fall upon us and sicknesses trouble us, so that they make life, though short, seem long. [4] Life is so miserable a thing that death has become the most desirable refuge for humans; the god is found to be envious in this, giving us only a taste of the sweetness of living.” 47. Xerxes answered and said, “Artabanus, human life is such as you define it to be. Let us speak no more of that, nor remember evils in our present prosperous estate. But tell me this: if you had not seen the vision in your dream so clearly, would you still have held your former opinion and advised me not to march against Hellas, or would you have changed your mind? Come, tell me this truly.” [2] Artabanus answered and said, “O king, may the vision that appeared in my dream bring such an end as we both desire! But I am even now full of fear and beside myself for many reasons, especially when I see that the two greatest things in the world are your greatest enemies.” 48. Xerxes made this response: “Are you possessed? What are these two things that you say are my greatest enemies? Is there some fault with the numbers of my land army? Does it seem that the Greek army will be many times greater than ours? Or do you think that our navy will fall short of theirs? Or that the fault is in both? If our power seems to you to lack anything in this regard, it would be best to muster another army as quickly as possible.” 49. Artabanus answered and said, “O king, there is no fault that any man of sound judgment could find either with this army or with the number of your ships; and if you gather more, those two things I speak of become even much more your enemies. These two are the land and the sea. [2] The sea has nowhere any harbor, as I conjecture, that will be able to receive this navy and save your ships if a storm arise. Yet there has to be not just one such harbor, but many of them all along the land you are sailing by. [3] Since there are no harbors able to receive you, understand that men are the subjects and not the rulers of their accidents. I have spoken of one of the two, and now I will tell you of the other. [4] The land is your enemy in this way: if nothing is going to stand in your way and hinder you, the land becomes more your enemy the further you advance, constantly unaware of what lies beyond; no man is ever satisfied with success. [5] So I say that if no one opposes you, the increase of your territory and the time passed in getting it will breed famine. The best man is one who is timid while making plans because he takes into account all that may happen to him, but is bold in action.” 50. Xerxes answered, “Artabanus, you define these matters reasonably. But do not fear everything, nor take account of all alike; If you wanted to take everything equally into account on every occasion that happens, you would never do anything; it is better to do everything boldly and suffer half of what you dread than to fear all chances and so never suffer anything. [2] But if you quarrel with whatever is said yet cannot put forth a secure position, you must be proved as wrong on your part as he who holds the contrary opinion. In this both are alike: how can someone who is only human know where there is security? I think it is impossible. Those who have the will to act most often win the rewards, not those who hesitate and take account of all chances. [3] You see what power Persia has attained. Now if those kings who came before me had held such opinions as yours, or if they had not held them but had had advisers like you, you would never have seen our fortunes at their present height; but as it is those kings ran the risks and advanced them to this height. [4] Great successes are not won except by great risks. So we will do as they did; we are travelling in the fairest season of the year, and we will return home the conquerors of all Europe without suffering famine or any other harm anywhere. First, we carry ample provisions with us on our march; second, we will have the food of those whose land and nation we invade; for we are marching against men who are tillers of the soil, not nomads.” 51. Then said Artabanus: “O king, I see that you will not allow us to fear any danger. But take from me this advice, as there is need for much speaking when our affairs are so great. [2] Cyrus son of Cambyses subdued and made tributary to Persia all Ionians except only the Athenians. I advise you by no means to lead these Ionians against the land of their fathers, since even without their aid we are well able to overcome our enemies. If they come with our army, they must either behave very unjustly by enslaving their mother city, or very justly by aiding it to be free. [3] If they deal very unjustly they bring us no great advantage, but by dealing very justly they may well do great harm to your army. Take to heart the truth of that ancient saying, that the end of every matter is not revealed at its beginning.” 52. Xerxes answered, “Artabanus, in all your pronouncements you are most mistaken when you fear that the Ionians might change sides; we have the surest guarantee for them, and you and all who marched with Darius against the Scythians can bear witness. They had the power to destroy or to save the whole Persian army, and they gave proof of their justice and faithfulness, with no evil intent. [2] Moreover, since they have left their children and wives and possessions in our country, we need not consider it even possible that they will make any violent change. So be rid of that fear; keep a stout heart and guard my household and tyranny; to you alone I entrust the symbols of my kingship.” 53. Xerxes spoke thus and sent Artabanus away to Susa. He next sent for the most notable among the Persians, and when they were present he said, “Persians, I have assembled you to make this demand, that you bear yourselves bravely and never sully the great and glorious former achievements of the Persians. Let us each and all be zealous, for the good that we seek is common to all. [2] For these reasons I bid you set your hands to the war strenuously; I know that we march against valiant men, and if we overcome them it is certain that no other human army will ever withstand us. Let us now cross over, after praying to the gods who hold Persia for their allotted realm.” 54. All that day they made preparations for the crossing. On the next they waited until they could see the sun rise, burning all kinds of incense on the bridges and strewing the road with myrtle boughs. [2] At sunrise Xerxes poured a libation from a golden phial into the sea, praying to the sun that no accident might befall him which would keep him from subduing Europe before he reached its farthest borders. After the prayer, he cast the phial into the Hellespont, and along with it a golden bowl, and a Persian sword which they call “acinaces.”30 [3] As for these, I cannot rightly determine whether he cast them into the sea for offerings to the sun, or repented having whipped the Hellespont and gave gifts to the sea as atonement. 55. When they had done this they crossed over, the foot and horse all by the bridge nearest to the Pontus, the beasts of burden and the service train by the bridge towards the Aegean. [2] The ten thousand Persians, all wearing garlands, led the way, and after them came the mixed army of diverse nations. All that day these crossed; on the next, first crossed the horsemen and the ones who carried their spears reversed; these also wore garlands. [3] After them came the sacred horses and the sacred chariot, then Xerxes himself and the spearmen and the thousand horse, and after them the rest of the army. Meanwhile the ships put out and crossed to the opposite shore. But I have also heard that the king crossed last of all. 56. When Xerxes had passed over to Europe, he viewed his army crossing under the lash. Seven days and seven nights it was in crossing, with no pause. [2] It is said that when Xerxes had now crossed the Hellespont, a man of the Hellespont cried, “O Zeus, why have you taken the likeness of a Persian man and changed your name to Xerxes, leading the whole world with you to remove Hellas from its place? You could have done that without these means.” 57. When all had passed over and were ready for the road, a great portent appeared among them. Xerxes took no account of it, although it was easy to interpret: a mare gave birth to a hare. The meaning of it was easy to guess: Xerxes was to march his army to Hellas with great pomp and pride, but to come back to the same place fleeing for his life. [2] There was another portent that was shown to him at Sardis: a mule gave birth to a mule that had double genitals, both male and female, the male above the other. But he took no account of either sign and journeyed onward; the land army was with him. 58. His navy sailed out of the Hellespont and travelled along the land, going across from the land army. [2] The ships sailed westwards, laying their course for the headland of Sarpedon, where Xerxes had ordered them to go and wait for him; the army of the mainland travelled towards the east31 and the sunrise through the Chersonese, with the tomb of Athamas' daughter Helle on its right and the town of Cardia on its left, marching through the middle of a city called Agora. [3] From there they rounded the head of the Black Bay (as it is called) and crossed the Black River, which could not hold its own then against the army, but gave out—crossing this river, which gives its name to the bay, they went westwards, past the Aeolian city of Aenus and the marsh of Stentor, until they came to Doriscus. 59. The territory of Doriscus is in Thrace, a wide plain by the sea, and through it flows a great river, the Hebrus; here had been built that royal fortress which is called Doriscus, and a Persian guard had been posted there by Darius ever since the time of his march against Scythia. [2] It seemed to Xerxes to be a fit place for him to arrange and number his army, and he did so. All the ships had now arrived at Doriscus, and the captains at Xerxes' command brought them to the beach near Doriscus, where stands the Samothracian city of Sane, and Zone; at the end is Serreum, a well-known headland. This country was in former days possessed by the Cicones. [3] To this beach they brought in their ships and hauled them up for rest. Meanwhile Xerxes made a reckoning of his forces at Doriscus. 60. I cannot give the exact number that each part contributed to the total, for there is no one who tells us that; but the total of the whole land army was shown to be one million and seven hundred thousand. [2] They were counted in this way: ten thousand men were collected in one place, and when they were packed together as closely as could be a line was drawn around them; when this was drawn, the ten thousand were sent away and a wall of stones was built on the line reaching up to a man's navel; [3] when this was done, others were brought into the walled space, until in this way all were numbered. When they had been numbered, they were marshalled by nations. 61. The men who served in the army were the following: the Persians were equipped in this way: they wore on their heads loose caps called tiaras, and on their bodies embroidered sleeved tunics, with scales of iron like the scales of fish in appearance, and trousers on their legs; for shields they had wicker bucklers, with quivers hanging beneath them; they carried short spears, long bows, and reed arrows, and daggers that hung from the girdle by the right thigh. [2] Their commander was Otanes, son of Amestris and father of Xerxes' wife. They were formerly called by the Greeks Cephenes, but by themselves and their neighbors Artaei. [3] When Perseus son of Danae and Zeus had come to Cepheus son of Belus and married his daughter Andromeda, a son was born to him whom he called Perses, and he left him there; for Cepheus had no male offspring; it was from this Perses that the Persians took their name.32 62. The Medes in the army were equipped like the Persians; indeed, that fashion of armor is Median, not Persian. Their commander was Tigranes, an Achaemenid. The Medes were formerly called by everyone Arians,33 but when the Colchian woman Medea came from Athens to the Arians they changed their name, like the Persians. This is the Medes' own account of themselves. [2] The Cissians in the army were equipped like the Persians, but they wore turbans instead of caps. Their commander was Anaphes son of Otanes. The Hyrcanians34 were armed like the Persians; their leader was Megapanus, who was afterwards the governor of Babylon. 63. The Assyrians in the army wore on their heads helmets of twisted bronze made in an outlandish fashion not easy to describe. They carried shields and spears and daggers of Egyptian fashion, and also wooden clubs studded with iron, and they wore linen breastplates. They are called by the Greeks Syrians, but the foreigners called them Assyrians. With them were the Chaldeans. Their commander was Otaspes son of Artachaees. 64. The Bactrians in the army wore a headgear very similar to the Median, carrying their native reed bows and short spears. [2] The Sacae, who are Scythians, had on their heads tall caps, erect and stiff and tapering to a point; they wore trousers, and carried their native bows, and daggers, and also axes which they call “sagaris.” These were Amyrgian Scythians, but were called Sacae; that is the Persian name for all Scythians. The commander of the Bactrians and Sacae was Hystaspes, son of Darius and Cyrus' daughter Atossa. 65. The Indians wore garments of tree-wool,35 and carried reed bows and iron-tipped reed arrows. Such was their equipment; they were appointed to march under the command of Pharnazathres son of Artabates. 66. The Arians were equipped with Median bows, but in all else like the Bactrians; their commander was Sisamnes son of Hydarnes. The Parthians, Chorasmians, Sogdians, Gandarians, and Dadicae in the army had the same equipment as the Bactrians. [2] The Parthians and Chorasmians had for their commander Artabazus son of Pharnaces, the Sogdians Azanes son of Artaeus, the Gandarians and Dadicae Artyphius son of Artabanus. 67. The Caspians in the army wore cloaks and carried their native reed bows and short swords. Such was their equipment; their leader was Ariomardus, brother of Artyphius. The Sarangae were conspicuous in their dyed garments and knee-high boots, carrying bows and Median spears. Their commander was Pherendates son of Megabazus. [3] The Pactyes wore cloaks and carried their native bows and daggers; their commander was Artayntes son of Ithamitres. 68. The Utians and Mycians and Paricanians were equipped like the Pactyes; the Utians and Mycians had for their commander Arsamenes son of Darius, the Paricanians Siromitres son of Oeobazus. 69. The Arabians wore mantles girded up, and carried at their right side long bows curving backwards.36 The Ethiopians were wrapped in skins of leopards and lions, and carried bows made of palmwood strips, no less than four cubits long, and short arrows pointed not with iron but with a sharpened stone that they use to carve seals; furthermore, they had spears pointed with a gazelle's horn sharpened like a lance, and also studded clubs. [2] When they went into battle they painted half their bodies with gypsum and the other half with vermilion. The Arabians and the Ethiopians who dwell above Egypt had as commander Arsames, the son of Darius and Artystone daughter of Cyrus, whom Darius loved best of his wives; he had an image made of her of hammered gold. 70. The Ethiopians above Egypt and the Arabians had Arsames for commander, while the Ethiopians of the east37 (for there were two kinds of them in the army) served with the Indians; they were not different in appearance from the others, only in speech and hair: the Ethiopians from the east are straight-haired, but the ones from Libya have the woolliest hair of all men. [2] These Ethiopians of Asia were for the most part armed like the Indians; but they wore on their heads the skins of horses' foreheads, stripped from the head with ears and mane; the mane served them for a crest, and they wore the horses' ears stiff and upright; for shields they had bucklers of the skin of cranes. 71. The Libyans came in leather garments, using javelins of burnt wood. Their commander was Massages son of Oarizus. 72. The Paphlagonians in the army had woven helmets on their heads, and small shields and short spears, and also javelins and daggers; they wore their native shoes that reach midway to the knee. The Ligyes and Matieni and Mariandyni and Syrians were equipped like the Paphlagonians. These Syrians are called by the Persians Cappadocians. [2] Dotus son of Megasidrus was commander of the Paphlagonians and Matieni, Gobryas son of Darius and Artystone of the Mariandyni and Ligyes and Syrians. 73. The Phrygian equipment was very similar to the Paphlagonian, with only a small difference. As the Macedonians say, these Phrygians were called Briges as long as they dwelt in Europe, where they were neighbors of the Macedonians; but when they changed their home to Asia, they changed their name also and were called Phrygians.38 The Armenians, who are settlers from Phrygia, were armed like the Phrygians. Both these together had as their commander Artochmes, who had married a daughter of Darius. 74. The Lydian armor was most similar to the Greek. The Lydians were formerly called Meiones, until they changed their name and were called after Lydus son of Atys. The Mysians wore on their heads their native helmets, carrying small shields and javelins of burnt wood. [2] They are settlers from Lydia, and are called Olympieni after the mountain Olympus. The commander of the Lydians and Mysians was that Artaphrenes son of Artaphrenes, who attacked Marathon with Datis. 75. The Thracians in the army wore fox-skin caps on their heads, and tunics on their bodies; over these they wore embroidered mantles; they had shoes of fawnskin on their feet and legs; they also had javelins and little shields and daggers. [2] They took the name of Bithynians after they crossed over to Asia; before that they were called (as they themselves say) Strymonians, since they lived by the Strymon; they say that they were driven from their homes by Teucrians and Mysians. The commander of the Thracians of Asia was Bassaces son of Artabanus. 76. The <Pisidians> had little shields of raw oxhide; each man carried two wolf-hunters' spears; they wore helmets of bronze, and on these helmets were the ears and horns of oxen wrought in bronze, and also crests; their legs were wrapped around with strips of purple rags. Among these men is a place of divination sacred to Ares. 77. The Cabelees,39 who are Meiones and are called Lasonii, had the same equipment as the Cilicians; when I come in my narrative to the place of the Cilicians, I will then declare what it was. The Milyae had short spears and garments fastened by brooches; some of them carried Lycian bows and wore caps of skin on their heads. The commander of all these was Badres son of Hystanes. 78. The Moschi wore wooden helmets on their heads, and carried shields and small spears with long points. The Tibareni and Macrones and Mossynoeci in the army were equipped like the Moschi. The commanders who marshalled them were, for the Moschi and Tibareni, Ariomardus son of Darius and Parmys, the daughter of Cyrus' son Smerdis; for the Macrones and Mossynoeci, Artayctes son of Cherasmis, who was governor of Sestus on the Hellespont. 79. The Mares wore on their heads their native woven helmets, and carried javelins and small hide shields. The Colchians had wooden helmets and small shields of raw oxhide and short spears, and also swords. The commander of the Mares and Colchians was Pharandates son of Teaspis. The Alarodians and Saspires in the army were armed like the Colchians; Masistius son of Siromitres was their commander. 80. The island tribes that came from the Red Sea, and from the islands where the king settles those who are called Exiles, wore dress and armor very similar to the Median. The commander of these islanders was Mardontes son of Bagaeus, who in the next year40 was general at Mykale and died in the battle. 81. These are the nations that marched by the mainland and had their places in the infantry. The commanders of this army were those whom I have mentioned, and they were the ones who marshalled and numbered them and appointed captains of thousands and ten thousands; the captains of ten thousands appointed the captains of hundreds and of tens. There were others who were leaders of companies and nations.41 82. These were the commanders, as I have said; the generals of these and of the whole infantry were Mardonius son of Gobryas, Tritantaechmes son of that Artabanus who delivered the opinion that there should be no expedition against Hellas, Smerdomenes son of Otanes (these two latter were sons of Darius' brothers, and thus they were Xerxes' cousins), Masistes son of Darius and Atossa, Gergis son of Ariazus, and Megabyzus son of Zopyrus. 83. These were the generals of the whole infantry, except the Ten Thousand. Hydarnes son of Hydarnes was general of these picked ten thousand Persians, who were called Immortals for this reason: when any one of them was forced to fall out of the number by death or sickness, another was chosen so that they were never more or fewer than ten thousand. [3] The Persians showed the richest adornment of all, and they were the best men in the army. Their equipment was such as I have said; beyond this they stood out by the abundance of gold that they had. They also brought carriages bearing concubines and many well-equipped servants; camels and beasts of burden carried food for them, apart from the rest of the army. 84. There are horsemen in these nations, but not all of them furnished cavalry. Only the following did so: the Persians, equipped like their infantry, except that some of them wore headgear of hammered bronze and iron. 85. There are also certain nomads called Sagartian; they are Persian in speech, and the fashion of their equipment is somewhat between the Persian and the Pactyan; they furnished eight thousand horsemen. It is their custom to carry no armor of bronze or iron, except only daggers, and to use ropes of twisted leather.42 [2] They go to battle relying on these. This is the manner of fighting of these men: when they are at close quarters with their enemy, they throw their ropes, which have a noose at the end; whatever he catches, horse or man, each man drags to himself, and the enemy is entangled in the coils and slain. Such is their manner of fighting; they were marshalled with the Persians. 86. The Median cavalry were equipped like their infantry, and the Cissians similarly. The Indians were armed in the same manner as their infantry; they rode swift horses and drove chariots drawn by horses and wild asses. The Bactrians were equipped as were their foot, and the Caspians in the same manner. [2] The Libyans, too, were armed like the men of their infantry, and all of them also drove chariots. In the same manner the Caspians and Paricanians were armed as the men of their infantry. The Arabians had the same equipment as the men of their infantry, and all of them rode on camels no less swift than horses. 87. These nations alone were on horseback; the number of the horsemen was shown to be eighty thousand, besides the camels and the chariots. All the rest of the horsemen were ranked with their companies, but the Arabians were posted last. Since horses cannot endure camels, their place was in the rear, so that the horses would not be frightened. 88. The captains of cavalry were Harmamithres and Tithaeus, sons of Datis; the third who was captain with them, Pharnuches, had been left behind sick at Sardis. As they set forth from Sardis, an unwelcome mishap befell him: a dog ran under the feet of the horse he was riding, and the horse was taken by surprise and frightened, so it reared up and threw Pharnuches; after his fall he vomited blood and began to waste away. [2] The horse was immediately dealt with according to Pharnuces' command; his servants led it away to the place where it had thrown their master, and cut off its legs at the knee. Thus it was that Pharnuches lost his command. 89. The number of the triremes was twelve hundred and seven, and they were furnished by the following: the Phoenicians with the Syrians of Palestine furnished three hundred; for their equipment, they had on their heads helmets very close to the Greek in style; they wore linen breastplates, and carried shields without rims, and javelins. [2] These Phoenicians formerly dwelt, as they themselves say, by the Red Sea; they crossed from there and now inhabit the seacoast of Syria. This part of Syria as far as Egypt is all called Palestine. [3] The Egyptians furnished two hundred ships. They wore woven helmets and carried hollow shields with broad rims, and spears for sea-warfare, and great battle-axes. Most of them wore cuirasses and carried long swords. 90. Such was their armor. The Cyprians furnished a hundred and fifty ships; for their equipment, their princes wore turbans wrapped around their heads, and the people wore tunics, but in all else they were like the Greeks. These are their tribes:43 some are from Salamis and Athens, some from Arcadia, some from Cythnus, some from Phoenice, and some from Ethiopia, as the Cyprians themselves say. 91. The Cilicians furnished a hundred ships. They also wore on their heads their native helmets, carried bucklers of raw oxhide for shields, and were clad in woollen tunics; each had two javelins and a sword very close in style to the knives of Egypt. These Cilicians were formerly called Hypachaei, and took their name from Cilix son of Agenor, a Phoenician.44 The Pamphylians furnished a hundred ships: they were armed like the Greeks. These Pamphylians are descended from the Trojans of the diaspora who followed Amphilochus and Calchas. 92. The Lycians furnished fifty ships; they wore cuirasses and greaves, and carried cornel-wood bows and unfeathered arrows and javelins; goat-skins hung from their shoulders, and they wore on their heads caps crowned with feathers; they also had daggers and scimitars. The Lycians are from Crete and were once called Termilae; they took their name from Lycus son of Pandion, an Athenian. 93. The Dorians of Asia furnished thirty ships; their armor was Greek; they are of Peloponnesian descent. The Carians furnished seventy ships; they had scimitars and daggers, but the rest of their equipment was Greek. I have said in the beginning of my history45 what they were formerly called. 94. The Ionians furnished a hundred ships; their equipment was like the Greek. These Ionians, as long as they were in the Peloponnese, dwelt in what is now called Achaia, and before Danaus and Xuthus came to the Peloponnese, as the Greeks say, they were called Aegialian Pelasgians.46 They were named Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthus. 95. The islanders provided seventeen ships and were armed like Greeks; they were also of Pelasgian stock, which was later called Ionian for the same reason as were the Ionians of the twelve cities,47 who came from Athens. The Aeolians furnished sixty ships and were equipped like Greeks; formerly they were called Pelasgian, as the Greek story goes. [2] Of the people of the Hellespont, the people of Abydos had been charged by the king to remain at home and guard the bridges; the rest of the people from Pontus who came with the army furnished a hundred ships and were equipped like Greeks. They were settlers from the Ionians and Dorians. 96. Persians and Medes and Sacae served as soldiers on all the ships. The most seaworthy ships were furnished by the Phoenicians, and among them by the Sidonians. All of these, as with those who were marshalled in the infantry, each had their native leaders, whose names I do not record, since it is not necessary for the purpose of my history. [2] The leaders of each nation are not worthy of mention, and every city of each nation had a leader of its own. These came not as generals but as slaves, like the rest of the expedition; I have already said who were the generals of supreme authority and the Persian commanders of each nation. 97. The admirals of the navy were Ariabignes son of Darius, Prexaspes son of Aspathines, Megabazus son of Megabates, and Achaemenes son of Darius. Ariabignes, son of Darius and Gobryas' daughter, was admiral of the Ionian and Carian fleet; the admiral of the Egyptians was Achaemenes, full brother of Xerxes; and the two others were admirals of the rest. The ships of thirty and of fifty oars, the light galleys, and the great transports for horses came to a total of three thousand all together. 98. After the admirals, the most famous of those on board were these: from Sidon, Tetramnestus son of Anysus; from Tyre, Matten son of Siromus; from Aradus, Merbalus son of Agbalus; from Cilicia, Syennesis son of Oromedon; from Lycia, Cyberniscus son of Sicas; from Cyprus, Gorgus son of Chersis and Timonax son of Timagoras; and from Caria, Histiaeus son of Tymnes, Pigres son of Hysseldomus, and Damasithymus son of Candaules. 99. I see no need to mention any of the other captains except Artemisia. I find it a great marvel that a woman went on the expedition against Hellas: after her husband died, she took over his tyranny, though she had a young son, and followed the army from youthful spirits and manliness, under no compulsion. [2] Artemisia was her name, and she was the daughter of Lygdamis; on her fathers' side she was of Halicarnassian lineage, and on her mothers' Cretan. She was the leader of the men of Halicarnassus and Cos and Nisyrus and Calydnos, and provided five ships. [3] Her ships were reputed to be the best in the whole fleet after the ships of Sidon, and she gave the king the best advice of all his allies. The cities that I said she was the leader of are all of Dorian stock, as I can show, since the Halicarnassians are from Troezen, and the rest are from Epidaurus. 100. Here ends what I have said of the fleet. When his army had been numbered and marshalled, Xerxes desired to ride through and view it. Then he did this; as he rode in a chariot past the men of each nation, he questioned them while his scribes wrote it all down, until he had gone from one end to the other of the cavalry and infantry. [2] After he had done this, the ships were drawn down and launched into the sea. Xerxes alighted from his chariot into a Sidonian ship and sat under a golden canopy while he was carried past the prows of the ships, questioning the men in the same way as the army and having the answers written down. [3] The captains put out and anchored in line four hundred feet from the shore, with their prows turned landward and the marines armed for war; Xerxes viewed them by passing between the prows and the land. 101. After he passed by all his fleet and disembarked from the ship, he sent for Demaratus48 son of Ariston, who was on the expedition with him against Hellas. He summoned him and said, “Demaratus, it is now my pleasure to ask you what I wish to know. You are a Greek, and, as I am told both by you and by the other Greeks whom I have talked to, a man from neither the least nor the weakest of Greek cities. [2] So tell me: will the Greeks offer battle and oppose me? I think that even if all the Greeks and all the men of the western lands were assembled together, they are not powerful enough to withstand my attack, unless they are united. [3] Still I want to hear from you what you say of them.” To this question Demaratus answered, “O king, should I speak the truth or try to please you?” Xerxes bade him speak the truth and said that it would be no more unpleasant for him than before. 102. Demaratus heard this and said, “O King, since you bid me by all means to speak the whole truth, and to say what you will not later prove to be false, in Hellas poverty is always endemic, but courage is acquired as the fruit of wisdom and strong law; by use of this courage Hellas defends herself from poverty and tyranny. [2] Now I praise all the Greeks who dwell in those Dorian lands, yet I am not going to speak these words about all of them, but only about the Lacedaemonians. First, they will never accept conditions from you that bring slavery upon Hellas; and second, they will meet you in battle even if all the other Greeks are on your side. [3] Do not ask me how many these men are who can do this; they will fight with you whether they have an army of a thousand men, or more than that, or less.” 103. When he heard this, Xerxes smiled and said, “What a strange thing to say, Demaratus, that a thousand men would fight with so great an army! Come now, tell me this: you say that you were king of these men. Are you willing right now to fight with ten men? Yet if your state is entirely as you define it,49 you as their king should by right encounter twice as many according to your laws. [2] If each of them is a match for ten men of my army, then it is plain to me that you must be a match for twenty; in this way you would prove that what you say is true. But if you Greeks who so exalt yourselves are just like you and the others who come to speak with me, and are also the same size, then beware lest the words you have spoken be only idle boasting. [3] Let us look at it with all reasonableness: how could a thousand, or ten thousand, or even fifty thousand men, if they are all equally free and not under the rule of one man, withstand so great an army as mine? If you Greeks are five thousand, we still would be more than a thousand to one. [4] If they were under the rule of one man according to our custom, they might out of fear of him become better than they naturally are, and under compulsion of the lash they might go against greater numbers of inferior men; but if they are allowed to go free they would do neither. I myself think that even if they were equal in numbers it would be hard for the Greeks to fight just against the Persians. [5] What you are talking about is found among us alone, and even then it is not common but rare; there are some among my Persian spearmen who will gladly fight with three Greeks at once. You have no knowledge of this and are spouting a lot of nonsense.” 104. To this Demaratus answered, “O king I knew from the first that the truth would be unwelcome to you. But since you compelled me to speak as truly as I could, I have told you how it stands with the Spartans. [2] You yourself best know what love I bear them: they have robbed me of my office and the privileges of my house, and made me a cityless exile; your father received me and gave me a house and the means to live on. It is not reasonable for a sensible man to reject goodwill when it appears; rather he will hold it in great affection. [3] I myself do not promise that I can fight with ten men or with two, and I would not even willingly fight with one; yet if it were necessary, or if some great contest spurred me, I would most gladly fight with one of those men who claim to be each a match for three Greeks. [4] So is it with the Lacedaemonians; fighting singly they are as brave as any man living, and together they are the best warriors on earth. They are free, yet not wholly free: law is their master, whom they fear much more than your men fear you. [5] They do whatever it bids; and its bidding is always the same, that they must never flee from the battle before any multitude of men, but must abide at their post and there conquer or die. If I seem to you to speak foolishness when I say this, then let me hereafter hold my peace; it is under constraint that I have now spoken. But may your wish be fulfilled, King.” 105. Thus Demaratus answered. Xerxes made a joke of the matter and showed no anger, but sent him away kindly. After he had conversed with Demaratus, and appointed Mascames son of Megadostes governor of this Doriscus, deposing the governor Darius had appointed, Xerxes marched his army through Thrace towards Hellas. 106. Xerxes left behind this Mascames, who so conducted himself that to him alone Xerxes always sent gifts, as being the most valiant of all the governors that he or Darius appointed; he sent these gifts every year, and so did Artaxerxes son of Xerxes to Mascames' descendants. Before this march, governors had been appointed everywhere in Thrace and on the Hellespont. [2] All of these in Thrace and the Hellespont, except the governor of Doriscus, were after this expedition captured by the Greeks; but no one could ever drive out Mascames in Doriscus, though many tried. For this reason gifts are sent by the successive kings of Persia. 107. The only one of those who were driven out by the Greeks whom king Xerxes considered a valiant man was Boges, from whom they took Eion. He never ceased praising this man, and gave very great honor to his sons who were left alive in Persia; indeed Boges proved himself worthy of all praise. When he was besieged by the Athenians under Cimon son of Miltiades, he could have departed under treaty from Eion and returned to Asia, but he refused, lest the king think that he had saved his life out of cowardice; instead he resisted to the last. [2] When there was no food left within his walls, he piled up a great pyre and slew his children and wife and concubines and servants and cast them into the fire; after that, he took all the gold and silver from the city and scattered it from the walls into the Strymon; after he had done this, he cast himself into the fire. Thus he is justly praised by the Persians to this day. 108. From Doriscus Xerxes went on his way towards Hellas, compelling all that he met to go with his army. As I have shown earlier, all the country as far as Thessaly had been enslaved and was tributary to the king, by the conquests of Megabazus and Mardonius after him. [2] On his road from Doriscus he first passed the Samothracian fortresses;50 of these, the city built farthest to the west is called Mesambria. Next to it is the Thasian city of Stryme; between them runs the river Lisus, which now could not furnish water enough for Xerxes' army, but was exhausted. [3] All this region was once called Gallaic, but it is now called Briantic; however, by rights it also belongs to the Ciconians. 109. After he had crossed the dried-up bed of the river Lisus, he passed by the Greek cities of Maronea, Dicaea, and Abdera. He passed by these, and along certain well-known lakes near them: the Ismarid lake that lies between Maronea and Stryme, and near Dicaea the Bistonian lake, into which the rivers Travus and Compsantus discharge. Near Abdera Xerxes passed no well-known lake, but crossed the river Nestus where it flows into the sea. [2] From these regions he passed by the cities of the mainland, one of which has near it a lake of about thirty stadia in circuit, full of fish and very salty; this was drained dry by watering the beasts of burden alone. This city is called Pistyrus. 110. Xerxes marched past these Greek cities of the coast, keeping them on his left. The Thracian tribes through whose lands he journeyed were the Paeti, Cicones, Bistones, Sapaei, Dersaei, Edoni, and Satrae.51 Of these, the ones who dwelt by the sea followed his army on shipboard; the ones living inland, whose names I have recorded, were forced to join with his land army, all of them except the Satrae. 111. The Satrae, as far as we know, have never yet been subject to any man; they alone of the Thracians have continued living in freedom to this day; they dwell on high mountains covered with forests of all kinds and snow, and they are excellent warriors. [2] It is they who possess the place of divination sacred to Dionysus. This place is in their highest mountains; the Bessi, a clan of the Satrae, are the prophets of the shrine; there is a priestess who utters the oracle, as at Delphi; it is no more complicated here than there.52 112. After passing through the aforementioned land, Xerxes next passed the fortresses of the Pierians, one called Phagres and the other Pergamus. By going this way he marched right under their walls, keeping on his right the great and high Pangaean range, where the Pierians and Odomanti and especially the Satrae have gold and silver mines. 113. Marching past the Paeonians, Doberes, and Paeoplae, who dwell beyond and northward of the Pangaean mountains,53 he kept going westwards, until he came to the river Strymon and the city of Eion; its governor was that Boges, then still alive, whom I mentioned just before this. [2] All this region about the Pangaean range is called Phyllis; it stretches westwards to the river Angites, which issues into the Strymon, and southwards to the Strymon itself; at this river the Magi sought good omens by sacrificing white horses. 114. After using these enchantments and many others besides on the river, they passed over it at the Nine Ways in Edonian country,54 by the bridges which they found thrown across the Strymon. When they learned that Nine Ways was the name of the place, they buried alive that number of boys and maidens, children of the local people. [2] To bury people alive is a Persian custom; I have learned by inquiry that when Xerxes' wife Amestris reached old age, she buried twice seven sons of notable Persians as an offering on her own behalf to the fabled god beneath the earth. 115. Journeying from the Strymon, the army passed by Argilus, a Greek town standing on a stretch of coast further westwards; the territory of this town and that which lies inland of it are called Bisaltia. [2] From there, keeping on his left hand the gulf off Poseideion, Xerxes traversed the plain of Syleus (as they call it), passing by the Greek town of Stagirus, and came to Acanthus. He took along with him all these tribes and those that dwelt about the Pangaean range, just as he did those previously mentioned, the men of the coast serving in his fleet and the inland men in his land army. [3] The entire road along which king Xerxes led his army the Thracians neither break up nor sow, but they hold it in great reverence to this day. 116. When Xerxes came to Acanthus, he declared the Acanthians his guests and friends, and gave them Median clothing, praising them for the zeal with which he saw them furthering his campaign, and for what he heard of the digging of the canal. 117. While Xerxes was at Acanthus, it happened that Artachaees, overseer of the digging of the canal, died of an illness. He was high in Xerxes' favor, an Achaemenid by lineage, and the tallest man in Persia, lacking four finger-breadths of five royal cubits55 in stature, and his voice was the loudest on earth. For this reason Xerxes mourned him greatly and gave him a funeral and burial of great pomp, and the whole army poured libations on his tomb. [2] The Acanthians hold Artachaees a hero, and sacrifice to him, calling upon his name. This they do at the command of an oracle. 118. King Xerxes, then, mourned for the death of Artachaees. But the Greeks who received Xerxes' army and entertained the king himself were brought to such a degree of misery, that they were driven from house and home. Witness the case of the Thasians, who received and feasted Xerxes' army on behalf of their towns on the mainland; Antipatrus son of Orgeus, as notable a man as any of his townsmen, chosen by them for this task, rendered them an account of four hundred silver talents expended on the dinner. 119. Similar accounts were returned by the officers in the other towns. Now the dinner, about which a great deal of fuss had been made and for the preparation of which orders had been given long ago, proceeded as I will tell. [2] As soon as the townsmen had word from the herald's proclamation, they divided corn among themselves in their cities and all of them for many months ground it to wheat and barley meal; moreover, they fed the finest beasts that money could buy, and kept landfowl and waterfowl in cages and ponds, for the entertaining of the army. They also made gold and silver cups and bowls and all manner of service for the table. [3] These things were provided for the king himself and those that ate with him. For the rest of the army they provided only food. At the coming of the army, there was always a tent ready for Xerxes to take his rest in, while the men camped out in the open air. [4] When the hour came for dinner, the real trouble for the hosts began. When they had eaten their fill and passed the night there, the army tore down the tent on the next day and marched off with all the movables, leaving nothing but carrying all with them. 120. It was then that a very apt saying was uttered by one Megacreon of Abdera. He advised his townsmen, men and women alike, to gather at their temples, and there in all humility to entreat the gods to defend them in the future from half of every threatened ill. They should also, he said, thank the gods heartily for their previous show of favor, for it was Xerxes' custom to take a meal only once a day. Otherwise they would have been commanded to furnish a breakfast similar to the dinner. [2] The people of Abdera would then have had no choice but to flee before Xerxes' coming, or to perish most miserably if they awaited him. 121. So the townsmen, oppressed as they were, nevertheless did as they were commanded. Upon leaving Acanthus, Xerxes sent his ships on their course away from him, giving orders to his generals that the fleet should await him at Therma, the town on the Thermaic gulf which gives the gulf its name, for this, he learned, was his shortest way. [2] The order of the army's march, from Doriscus to Acanthus, had been such as I will show. Dividing his entire land army into three parts, Xerxes appointed one of them to march beside his fleet along the coast. [3] Mardonius and Masistes were the generals of this segment, while another third of the army marched, as appointed, further inland under Tritantaechmes and Gergis. The third part, with which Xerxes himself went, marched between the two, and its generals were Smerdomenes and Megabyzus. 122. Now when the fleet had left Xerxes, it sailed through the Athos canal which reached to the gulf in which are located the towns of Assa, Pilorus, Singus, and Sarte. The fleet took on board troops from all these cities and then headed for the Thermaic gulf. Then rounding Ampelus, the headland of Torone, it passed the Greek towns of Torone, Galepsus, Sermyle, Mecyberna, and Olynthus, all of which gave them ships and men. 123. This country is called Sithonia. The fleet held a straight course from the headland of Ampelus to the Canastraean headland, where Pallene runs farthest out to sea, and received ships and men from the towns of what is now Pallene but was formerly called Phlegra, namely, Potidaea, Aphytis, Neapolis, Aege, Therambus, Scione, Mende, and Sane. [2] Sailing along this coast they made for the appointed place, taking troops from the towns adjacent to Pallene and near the Thermaic gulf, of which the names are Lipaxus, Combrea, Aesa, Gigonus, Campsa, Smila, Aenea; the territory of these cities is called Crossaea to this day. [3] From Aenea, the last-named in my list of the towns, the course of the fleet lay from the Thermaic gulf itself and the Mygdonian territory until its voyage ended at Therma, the place appointed, and the towns of Sindus and Chalestra, where it came to the river Axius; this is the boundary, between the Mygdonian and the Bottiaean territory, in which are located the towns of Ichnae and Pella on the narrow strip of coast. 124. So the fleet lay there off the river Axius and the city of Therma and the towns between them, awaiting the king. But Xerxes and his land army marched from Acanthus by the straightest inland course, making for Therma. Their way lay through the Paeonian and the Crestonaean country to the river Cheidorus, which, rising in the Crestonaean land, flows through the Mygdonian country and issues by the marshes of the Axius. 125. As Xerxes marched by this route, lions attacked the camels which carried his provisions; nightly they would come down out of their lairs and made havoc of the camels alone, seizing nothing else, man or beast of burden. I wonder what prevented the lions from touching anything but the camels, creatures which they had not seen and had no knowledge of until then. 126. In these parts there are many lions and wild oxen, whose horns are those very long ones which are brought into Hellas. The boundary of the lions' country is the river Nestus which flows through Abdera and the river Achelous which flows through Acarnania. Neither to the east of the Nestus anywhere in the nearer part of Europe, nor to the west of the Achelous in the rest of the mainland, is any lion to be seen, but they are found in the country between those rivers. 127. When he had arrived at Therma, Xerxes quartered his army there. Its encampment by the sea covered all the space from Therma and the Mygdonian country to the rivers Lydias and Haliacmon, which unite their waters in one stream and so make the border between the Bottiaean and the Macedonian56 territory. [2] In this place the foreigners lay encamped; of the rivers just mentioned, the Cheidorus, which flows from the Crestonaean country, was the only one which could not suffice for the army's drinking but was completely drained by it. 128. When Xerxes saw from Therma the very great height of the Thessalian mountains Olympus and Ossa and learned that the Peneus flows through them in a narrow pass, which was the way that led into Thessaly, he desired to view the mouth of the Peneus because he intended to march by the upper road through the highland people of Macedonia to the country of the Perrhaebi and the town of Gonnus;57 this, it was told him, was the safest way. [2] He did exactly as he desired. He embarked on a Sidonian ship which he always used when he had some such business in hand, and hoisted his signal for the rest also to put out to sea, leaving his land army where it was. Great wonder took him when he came and viewed the mouth of the Peneus, and calling his guides, he asked them if it were possible to turn the river from its course and lead it into the sea by another way. 129. Thessaly, as tradition has it, was in old times a lake enclosed all round by high mountains. On its eastern side it is fenced in by the joining of the lower parts of the mountains Pelion and Ossa, to the north by Olympus, to the west by Pindus, towards the south and the southerly wind by Othrys. In the middle, then, of this ring of mountains, lies the vale of Thessaly. [2] A number of rivers pour into this vale, the most notable of which are Peneus, Apidanus, Onochonus, Enipeus, Pamisus. These five, while they flow towards their meeting place from the mountains which surround Thessaly, have their several names, until their waters all unite and issue into the sea by one narrow passage. [3] As soon as they are united, the name of the Peneus prevails, making the rest nameless. In ancient days, it is said, there was not yet this channel and outfall, but those rivers and the Boebean lake,58 which was not yet named, had the same volume of water as now, and thereby turned all Thessaly into a sea. [4] Now the Thessalians say that Poseidon made the passage by which the Peneus flows. This is reasonable, for whoever believes that Poseidon is the shaker of the earth and that rifts made by earthquakes are the work of that god will conclude, upon seeing that passage, that it is of Poseidon's making. It was manifest to me that it must have been an earthquake which forced the mountains apart.59 130. Xerxes asked his guides if there were any other outlet for the Peneus into the sea, and they, with their full knowledge of the matter, answered him: “The river, O king, has no other way into the sea, but this alone. This is so because there is a ring of mountains around the whole of Thessaly.” Upon hearing this Xerxes said: “These Thessalians are wise men; [2] this, then, was the primary reason for their precaution long before60 when they changed to a better mind, for they perceived that their country would be easily and speedily conquerable. It would only have been necessary to let the river out over their land by barring the channel with a dam and to turn it from its present bed so that the whole of Thessaly, with the exception of the mountains, might be under water.” [3] This he said with regard in particular to the sons of Aleues, the Thessalians who were the first Greeks to surrender themselves to the king. Xerxes supposed that when they offered him friendship they spoke for the whole of their nation. After delivering this speech and seeing what he had come to see, he sailed back to Therma. 131. Xerxes stayed for many days in the region of Pieria while a third part of his army was clearing a road over the Macedonian mountains so that the whole army might pass by that way to the Perrhaebian country. Now it was that the heralds who had been sent to Hellas to demand earth, some empty-handed, some bearing earth and water, returned. 132. Among those who paid that tribute were the Thessalians,61 Dolopes, Enienes, Perrhaebians, Locrians, Magnesians, Melians, Achaeans of Phthia, Thebans, and all the Boeotians except the men of Thespiae and Plataea. [2] Against all of these the Greeks who declared war with the foreigner entered into a sworn agreement, which was this: that if they should be victorious, they would dedicate to the god of Delphi the possessions of all Greeks who had of free will surrendered themselves to the Persians. Such was the agreement sworn by the Greeks. 133. To Athens and Sparta Xerxes sent no heralds to demand earth, and this he did for the following reason. When Darius had previously sent men with this same purpose, those who made the request were cast at the one city into the Pit62 and at the other into a well, and bidden to obtain their earth and water for the king from these locations. [2] What calamity befell the Athenians for dealing in this way with the heralds I cannot say, save that their land and their city were laid waste. I think, however, that there was another reason for this, and not the aforesaid.63 134. Be that as it may, the anger of Talthybius, Agamemnon's herald, fell upon the Lacedaemonians. At Sparta there is a shrine of Talthybius and descendants of Talthybius called Talthybiadae, who have the special privilege of conducting all embassies from Sparta. [2] Now there was a long period after the incident I have mentioned above during which the Spartans were unable to obtain good omens from sacrifice. The Lacedaemonians were grieved and dismayed by this and frequently called assemblies, making a proclamation inviting some Lacedaemonian to give his life for Sparta. Then two Spartans of noble birth and great wealth, Sperthias son of Aneristus and Bulis son of Nicolaus, undertook of their own free will to make atonement to Xerxes for Darius' heralds who had been killed at Sparta. [3] Thereupon the Spartans sent these men to Media for execution. 135. Worthy of admiration was these men's deed of daring, and so also were their sayings. On their way to Susa, they came to Hydarnes, a Persian, who was general of the coast of Asia. He entertained and feasted them as his guests, and as they sat at his board, he asked: [2] “Lacedaemonians, why do you shun the king's friendship? You can judge from what you see of me and my condition how well the king can honor men of worth. So might it be with you if you would but put yourselves in the king's hands, being as you are of proven worth in his eyes, and every one of you might by his commission be a ruler of Hellas.” [3] To this the Spartans answered: “Your advice to us, Hydarnes, is not completely sound; one half of it rests on knowledge, but the other on ignorance. You know well how to be a slave, but you, who have never tasted freedom, do not know whether it is sweet or not. Were you to taste of it, not with spears you would counsel us to fight for it, no, but with axes.” 136. This was their answer to Hydarnes. From there they came to Susa, into the king's presence, and when the guards commanded and would have compelled them to fall down and bow to the king, they said they would never do that. This they would refuse even if they were thrust down headlong, for it was not their custom, said they, to bow to mortal men, nor was that the purpose of their coming. Having averted that, they next said, [2] “The Lacedaemonians have sent us, O king of the Medes, in requital for the slaying of your heralds at Sparta, to make atonement for their death,” and more to that effect. To this Xerxes, with great magnanimity, replied that he would not imitate the Lacedaemonians. “You,” said he, “made havoc of all human law by slaying heralds, but I will not do that for which I censure you, nor by putting you in turn to death will I set the Lacedaemonians free from this guilt.” 137. This conduct on the part of the Spartans succeeded for a time in allaying the anger of Talthybius, in spite of the fact that Sperthias and Bulis returned to Sparta. Long after that, however, it rose up again in the war between the Peloponnesians and Athenians, as the Lacedaemonians say. That seems to me to be an indication of something divine. [2] It was just that the wrath of Talthybius descended on ambassadors, nor abated until it was satisfied. The venting of it, however, on the sons of those men who went up to the king to appease it, namely on Nicolas son of Bulis and Aneristus son of Sperthias (that Aneristus who landed a merchant ships crew at the Tirynthian settlement of Halia and took it),64 makes it plain to me that this was the divine result of Talthybius' anger. [3] These two had been sent by the Lacedaemonians as ambassadors to Asia, and betrayed by the Thracian king Sitalces son of Tereus and Nymphodorus son of Pytheas of Abdera, they were made captive at Bisanthe on the Hellespont, and carried away to Attica, where the Athenians put them, and with them Aristeas son of Adimantus, a Corinthian, to death.65 This happened many years after the king's expedition, and I return now to the course of my history. 138. The professed intent of the king's march was to attack Athens, but in truth all Hellas was his aim. This the Greeks had long since learned, but not all of them regarded the matter alike. [2] Those of them who had paid the tribute of earth and water to the Persian were of good courage, thinking that the foreigner would do them no harm, but they who had refused tribute were afraid, since there were not enough ships in Hellas to do battle with their invader; furthermore, the greater part of them had no stomach for grappling with the war, but were making haste to side with the Persian. 139. Here I am forced to declare an opinion which will be displeasing to most, but I will not refrain from saying what seems to me to be true. [2] Had the Athenians been panic-struck by the threatened peril and left their own country, or had they not indeed left it but remained and surrendered themselves to Xerxes, none would have attempted to withstand the king by sea. What would have happened on land if no one had resisted the king by sea is easy enough to determine. [3] Although the Peloponnesians had built not one but many walls across the Isthmus for their defense,66 they would nevertheless have been deserted by their allies (these having no choice or free will in the matter, but seeing their cities taken one by one by the foreign fleet), until at last they would have stood alone. They would then have put up quite a fight and perished nobly. [4] Such would have been their fate. Perhaps, however, when they saw the rest of Hellas siding with the enemy, they would have made terms with Xerxes. In either case Hellas would have been subdued by the Persians, for I cannot see what advantage could accrue from the walls built across the isthmus, while the king was master of the seas. [5] As it is, to say that the Athenians were the saviors of Hellas is to hit the truth. It was the Athenians who held the balance; whichever side they joined was sure to prevail. choosing that Greece should preserve her freedom, the Athenians roused to battle the other Greek states which had not yet gone over to the Persians and, after the gods, were responsible for driving the king off. [6] Nor were they moved to desert Hellas by the threatening oracles which came from Delphi and sorely dismayed them, but they stood firm and had the courage to meet the invader of their country. 140. The Athenians had sent messages to Delphi asking that an oracle be given them, and when they had performed all due rites at the temple and sat down in the inner hall, the priestess, whose name was Aristonice, gave them this answer: [2] “Wretches, why do you linger here? Rather flee from your houses and city, Flee to the ends of the earth from the circle embattled of Athens! The head will not remain in its place, nor in the body, Nor the feet beneath, nor the hands, nor the parts between; But all is ruined, for fire and the headlong god of war speeding in a Syrian chariot will bring you low. ” [3] “Many a fortress too, not yours alone, will he shatter; Many a shrine of the gods will he give to the flame for devouring; Sweating for fear they stand, and quaking for dread of the enemy, Running with gore are their roofs, foreseeing the stress of their sorrow; Therefore I bid you depart from the sanctuary. Have courage to lighten your evil.67 ” 141. When the Athenian messengers heard that, they were very greatly dismayed, and gave themselves up for lost by reason of the evil foretold. Then Timon son of Androbulus, as notable a man as any Delphian, advised them to take boughs of supplication and in the guise of suppliants, approach the oracle a second time. [2] The Athenians did exactly this; “Lord,” they said, “regard mercifully these suppliant boughs which we bring to you, and give us some better answer concerning our country. Otherwise we will not depart from your temple, but remain here until we die.” Thereupon the priestess gave them this second oracle: [3] “Vainly does Pallas strive to appease great Zeus of Olympus; Words of entreaty are vain, and so too cunning counsels of wisdom. Nevertheless I will speak to you again of strength adamantine. All will be taken and lost that the sacred border of Cecrops Holds in keeping today, and the dales divine of Cithaeron; Yet a wood-built wall will by Zeus all-seeing be granted To the Trito-born, a stronghold for you and your children. ” [4] “Await not the host of horse and foot coming from Asia, Nor be still, but turn your back and withdraw from the foe. Truly a day will come when you will meet him face to face. Divine Salamis, you will bring death to women's sons When the corn is scattered, or the harvest gathered in. ” 142. This answer seemed to be and really was more merciful than the first, and the envoys, writing it down, departed for Athens. When the messengers had left Delphi and laid the oracle before the people, there was much inquiry concerning its meaning, and among the many opinions which were uttered, two contrary ones were especially worthy of note. Some of the elder men said that the gods answer signified that the acropolis should be saved, for in old time the acropolis of Athens had been fenced by a thorn hedge, [2] which, by their interpretation, was the wooden wall. But others supposed that the god was referring to their ships, and they were for doing nothing but equipping these. Those who believed their ships to be the wooden wall were disabled by the two last verses of the oracle: “Divine Salamis, you will bring death to women's sons When the corn is scattered, or the harvest gathered in. ” [3] These verses confounded the opinion of those who said that their ships were the wooden wall, for the readers of oracles took the verses to mean that they should offer battle by sea near Salamis and be there overthrown. 143. Now there was a certain Athenian, by name and title Themistocles son of Neocles, who had lately risen to be among their chief men. He claimed that the readers of oracles had incorrectly interpreted the whole of the oracle and reasoned that if the verse really pertained to the Athenians, it would have been formulated in less mild language, calling Salamis “cruel” rather than “divine ” seeing that its inhabitants were to perish. [2] Correctly understood, the gods' oracle was spoken not of the Athenians but of their enemies, and his advice was that they should believe their ships to be the wooden wall and so make ready to fight by sea. [3] When Themistocles put forward this interpretation, the Athenians judged him to be a better counsellor than the readers of oracles, who would have had them prepare for no sea fight, and, in short, offer no resistance at all, but leave Attica and settle in some other country. 144. The advice of Themistocles had prevailed on a previous occasion. The revenues from the mines at Laurium68 had brought great wealth into the Athenians' treasury, and when each man was to receive ten drachmae for his share, Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to make no such division but to use the money to build two hundred ships for the war, that is, for the war with Aegina. [2] This was in fact the war the outbreak of which saved Hellas by compelling the Athenians to become seamen. The ships were not used for the purpose for which they were built, but later came to serve Hellas in her need. These ships, then, had been made and were already there for the Athenians' service, and now they had to build yet others. [3] In their debate after the giving of the oracle they accordingly resolved that they would put their trust in the god and meet the foreign invader of Hellas with the whole power of their fleet, ships and men, and with all other Greeks who were so minded. 145. These oracles, then, had been given to the Athenians. All the Greeks who were concerned about the general welfare of Hellas met in conference and exchanged guarantees. They resolved in debate to make an end of all their feuds and wars against each other, whatever the cause from which they arose; among others that were in course at that time, the greatest was the war between the Athenians and the Aeginetans. [2] Presently, learning that Xerxes was at Sardis with his army, they planned to send men into Asia to spy out the king's doings and to despatch messengers, some to Argos, who should make the Argives their brothers in arms against the Persian, some to Gelon son of Dinomenes in Sicily, some to Corcyra, praying aid for Hellas, and some to Crete. This they did in the hope that since the danger threatened all Greeks alike, all of Greek blood might unite and work jointly for one common end. Now the power of Gelon was said to be very great, surpassing by far any power in Hellas. 146. Being so resolved and having composed their quarrels, they first sent three men as spies into Asia. These came to Sardis and took note of the king's army. They were discovered, however, and after examination by the generals of the land army, they were led away for execution. [2] They were condemned to die, but when Xerxes heard of it, he blamed the judgment of his generals and sent some of his guards, charging them to bring the spies before him if they should be found alive. [3] They were found still living and brought into the king's presence; then Xerxes, having inquired of them the purpose of their coming, ordered his guards to lead them around and show them his whole army. When the spies had seen all to their heart's content, they were to send them away unharmed to whatever country they pleased. 147. The reason alleged for his command was this: had the spies been put to death, the Greeks would not so soon have learned the unspeakable greatness of his power, and the Persians would have done their enemy no great harm by putting three men to death. Xerxes said that if they should return to Hellas, the Greeks would hear of his power and would surrender their peculiar freedom before the expedition with the result that there would be no need to march against them. [2] This was like that other saying of Xerxes when he was at Abydos and saw ships laden with corn sailing out of the Pontus through the Hellespont on their way to Aegina and the Peloponnese. His counsellors, perceiving that they were enemy ships, were for taking them, and looked to the king for orders to do so. [3] Xerxes, however, asked them where the ships were sailing, and they answered: “To your enemies, Sire, carrying corn.” Xerxes then answered, “And are not we too sailing to the same places as they, with corn among all our other provisions? What wrong are they doing us in carrying food there?” 148. So the spies were sent back after they had seen all and returned to Europe. After sending the spies, those of the Greeks who had sworn alliance against the Persian next sent messengers to Argos. [2] Now this is what the Argives say of their own part in the matter. They were informed from the first that the foreigner was stirring up war against Hellas. When they learned that the Greeks would attempt to gain their aid against the Persian, they sent messengers to Delphi to inquire of the god how it would be best for them to act, for six thousand of them had been lately69 slain by a Lacedaemonian army and Cleomenes son of Anaxandrides its general. For this reason, they said, the messengers were sent. [3] The priestess gave this answer to their question: “Hated by your neighbors, dear to the immortals, Crouch with a lance in rest, like a warrior fenced in his armor, Guarding your head70 from the blow, and the head will shelter the body. ” This answer had already been uttered by the priestess when the envoys arrived in Argos and entered the council chamber to speak as they were charged. [4] Then the Argives answered to what had been said that they would do as was asked of them if they might first make a thirty years peace with Lacedaemonia and if the command of half the allied power were theirs. It was their right to have the full command, but they would nevertheless be content with half. 149. This, they say, was the answer of their council, although the oracle forbade them to make the alliance with the Greeks; furthermore, they, despite their fear of the oracle, were eager to secure a thirty years treaty so that their children might have time in those years to grow to be men. If there were to be no such treaty—so they reasoned—then, if after the evil that had befallen them the Persian should deal them yet another blow, it was to be feared that they would be at the Lacedaemonians' mercy. [2] Then those of the envoys who were Spartans replied to the demands of the council, saying that they would refer the question of the truce to their own government at home; as for the command, however, they themselves had been commissioned to say that the Spartans had two kings, and the Argives but one. Now it was impossible to deprive either Spartan of his command, but there was nothing to prevent the Argive from having the same right of voting as their two had. [3] At that, say the Argives, they decided that the Spartans' covetousness was past all bearing and that it was better to be ruled by the foreigners than give way to the Lacedaemonians. They then bade the envoys depart from the land of Argos before sunset, for they would otherwise be treated as enemies. 150. Such is the Argives' account of this matter, but there is another story told in Hellas, namely that before Xerxes set forth on his march against Hellas, he sent a herald to Argos, who said on his coming (so the story goes), [2] “Men of Argos, this is the message to you from King Xerxes. Perses our forefather had, as we believe, Perseus son of Danae for his father, and Andromeda daughter of Cepheus for his mother; if that is so, then we are descended from your nation. In all right and reason we should therefore neither march against the land of our forefathers, nor should you become our enemies by aiding others or do anything but abide by yourselves in peace. If all goes as I desire, I will hold none in higher esteem than you.” [3] The Argives were strongly moved when they heard this, and although they made no promise immediately and demanded no share, they later, when the Greeks were trying to obtain their support, did make the claim, because they knew that the Lacedaemonians would refuse to grant it, and that they would thus have an excuse for taking no part in the war. 151. This is borne out, some of the Greeks say, by the tale of a thing which happened many years afterwards. It happened that while Athenian envoys, Callias son of Hipponicus, and the rest who had come up with him, were at Susa, called the Memnonian,71 about some other business,72 the Argives also had at this same time sent envoys to Susa, asking of Xerxes' son Artoxerxes whether the friendship which they had forged with Xerxes still held good, as they desired, or whether he considered them as his enemies. Artoxerxes responded to this that it did indeed hold good and that he believed no city to be a better friend to him than Argos.” 152. Now, whether it is true that Xerxes sent a herald with such a message to Argos, and that the Argive envoys came up to Susa and questioned Artoxerxes about their friendship, I cannot say with exactness, nor do I now declare that I consider anything true except what the Argives themselves say. [2] This, however, I know full well, namely if all men should carry their own private troubles to market for barter with their neighbors, there would not be a single one who, when he had looked into the troubles of other men, would not be glad to carry home again what he had brought.73 [3] The conduct of the Argives was accordingly not utterly shameful. As for myself, although it is my business to set down that which is told me, to believe it is none at all of my business. This I ask the reader to hold true for the whole of my history, for there is another tale current, according to which it would seem that it was the Argives who invited the Persian into Hellas, because the war with the Lacedaemonians was going badly, and they would prefer anything to their present distresses. 153. Such is the end of the story of the Argives. As for Sicily, envoys were sent there by the allies to hold converse with Gelon, Syagrus from Lacedaemon among them. The ancestor of this Gelon, who settled at Gela, was from the island of Telos which lies off Triopium. When the founding of Gela by Antiphemus and the Lindians of Rhodes was happening, he would not be left behind. [2] His descendants in time became and continue to be priests of the goddesses of the underworld;74 this office had been won, as I will show, by Telines, one of their forefathers. There were certain Geloans who had been worsted in party strife and had been banished to the town of Mactorium, inland of Gela. [3] These men Telines brought to Gela with no force of men but only the holy instruments of the goddesses worship to aid him. From where he got these, and whether or not they were his own invention, I cannot say; however that may be, it was in reliance upon them that he restored the exiles, on the condition that his descendants should be ministering priests of the goddesses. [4] Now it makes me marvel that Telines should have achieved such a feat, for I have always supposed that such feats cannot be performed by any man but only by such as have a stout heart and manly strength. Telines, however, is reported by the dwellers in Sicily to have had a soft and effeminate disposition. 154. At the death75 of Cleandrus son of Pantares, who had been tyrant of Gela for seven years, and had been slain by a man of that city named Sabyllus, the sovereignty passed to Cleandrus' brother Hippocrates. While Hippocrates was tyrant, Gelon, a descendant of the ministering priest Telines, was one of Hippocrates' guard, as were Aenesidemus son of Pataecus and many others. [2] In no long time he was appointed for his worth to be captain of the entire cavalry, for his performance had been preeminent while he served under Hippocrates in the assaults against Callipolis, Naxos, Zancle, Leontini, Syracuse, and many other of the foreigners' towns. None of these cities, with the exception of Syracuse, escaped enslavement by Hippocrates; the Syracusans were defeated in battle on the river Elorus. [3] They were, however, rescued by the Corinthians and Corcyraeans, who made a peace for them on the condition that the Syracusans should deliver up to Hippocrates Camarina, which had formerly been theirs. 155. When Hippocrates, too, after reigning the same number of years as his brother Cleandrus, came to his end near the town of Hybla—from where he had marched against the Sicels—then Gelon made a pretence of serving the cause of Hippocrates' sons Euclides and Cleandrus, whose rule the citizens would no longer bear. When he had defeated the men of Gela, however, he deposed the sons of Hippocrates and held sway himself. [2] After this stroke of good fortune, Gelon brought back from the town of Casmena to Syracuse both the so-called landed gentry of Syracuse, who had been driven into exile by the common people, and their slaves, the Cyllyrians. He then took possession of that city also, for the Syracusan common people surrendered themselves and it to Gelon at his coming. 156. When he had made Syracuse his own, he took less account of his rule over Gela, which he gave in charge to his brother Hiero; over Syracuse he reigned, and all his care was for Syracuse. [2] Straightway that city grew and became great, for not only did Gelon bring all the people of Camarina to Syracuse and give them its citizenship, razing the township of Camarina, but he did the same thing to more than half of the townsmen of Gela, and when the Megarians76 in Sicily surrendered to him on terms after a siege, he took the wealthier of them, who had made war on him and expected to be put to death for this, and brought them to Syracuse to be citizens there. As for the common people of Megara, who had had no hand in the making of that war and expected that no harm would be done them, these too he brought to Syracuse and sold them for slaves to be taken out of Sicily. [3] He dealt in a similar way with the Euboeans77 of Sicily, making the same distinction. The reason for his treating the people of both places in this way was that he held the common people to be exceedingly disagreeable to live with. 157. By these means Gelon had grown to greatness as a tyrant, and now, when the Greek envoys had come to Syracuse, they had audience with him and spoke as follows: “The Lacedaemonians and their allies have sent us to win your aid against the foreigner, for it cannot be, we think, that you have no knowledge of the Persian invader of Hellas, how he proposes to bridge the Hellespont and lead all the hosts of the east from Asia against us, making an open show of marching against Athens, but actually with intent to subdue all Hellas to his will. [2] Now you are rich in power, and as lord of Sicily you rule what is not the least part of Hellas; therefore, we beg of you, send help to those who are going to free Hellas, and aid them in so doing. The uniting of all those of Greek stock entails the mustering of a mighty host able to meet our invaders in the field. If, however, some of us play false and others will not come to our aid, while the sound part of Hellas is but small, then it is to be feared that all Greek lands alike will be destroyed. [3] Do not for a moment think that if the Persian defeats us in battle and subdues us, he will leave you unassailed, but rather look well to yourself before that day comes. Aid us, and you champion your own cause; in general a well-laid plan leads to a happy issue.” 158. This is what they said, and Gelon, speaking very vehemently, said in response to this: “Men of Hellas, it is with a self-seeking plea that you have dared to come here and invite me to be your ally against the foreigners; yet what of yourselves? [2] When I was at odds with the Carchedonians,78 and asked you to be my comrades against a foreign army, and when I desired that you should avenge the slaying of Dorieus79 son of Anaxandrides on the men of Egesta, and when I promised to free those trading ports from which great advantage and profit have accrued to you,—then neither for my sake would you come to aid nor to avenge the slaying of Dorieus. Because of your position in these matters, all these lands lie beneath the foreigners' feet. [3] Let that be; for all ended well, and our state was improved. But now that the war has come round to you in your turn, it is time for remembering Gelon! [4] Despite the fact that you slighted me, I will not make an example of you; I am ready to send to your aid two hundred triremes, twenty thousand men-at-arms, two thousand horsemen, two thousand archers, two thousand slingers, and two thousand light-armed men to run with horsemen.80 I also pledge to furnish provisions for the whole Greek army until we have made an end of the war. [5] All this, however, I promise on one condition, that I shall be general and leader of the Greeks against the foreigner. On no other condition will I come myself or send others.” 159. When Syagrus heard that, he could not contain himself; “In truth,” he cried, “loudly would Agamemnon son of Pelops lament, when hearing that the Spartans had been bereft of their command by Gelon and his Syracusans! No, rather, put the thought out of your minds that we will give up the command to you. If it is your will to aid Hellas, know that you must obey the Lacedaemonians; but if, as I think, you are too proud to obey, then send no aid.” 160. Thereupon Gelon, seeing how unfriendly Syagrus' words were, for the last time declared his opinion to them: “My Spartan friend, the hard words that a man hears are likely to arouse his anger; but for all the arrogant tenor of your speech you will not move me to make an unseemly answer. [2] When you set such store by the command, it is but reasonable that it should be still more important to me since I am the leader of an army many times greater than yours and more ships by far. But seeing that your response to me is so haughty, we will make some concession in our original condition. It might be that you should command the army, and I the fleet; or if it is your pleasure to lead by sea, then I am ready to take charge of the army. With that you will surely be content, unless you want depart from here without such allies as we are.” 161. Such was Gelon's offer, and the Athenian envoy answered him before the Lacedaemonian could speak. “King of the Syracusans,” he said, “Hellas sends us to you to ask not for a leader but for an army. You however, say no word of sending an army without the condition of your being the leader of Hellas; it is the command alone that you desire. [2] Now as long as you sought the leadership of the whole force, we Athenians were content to hold our peace, knowing that the Laconian was well able to answer for both of us; but since, failing to win the whole, you would gladly command the fleet, we want to let you know how the matter stands. Even if the Laconian should permit you to command it, we would not do so, for the command of the fleet, which the Lacedaemonians do not desire for themselves, is ours. If they should desire to lead it, we will not withstand them, but we will not allow anyone else to be admiral. [3] It would be for nothing, then, that we possess the greatest number of seafaring men in Hellas, if we Athenians yield our command to Syracusans,—we who can demonstrate the longest lineage of all and who alone among the Greeks have never changed our place of habitation;81 of our stock too was the man of whom the poet Homer says that of all who came to Ilion, he was the best man in ordering and marshalling armies.82 We accordingly cannot be reproached for what we now say. ” 162. “My Athenian friend,” Gelon answered, “it would seem that you have many who lead, but none who will follow. Since, then, you will waive no claim but must have the whole, it is high time that you hasten home and tell your Hellas that her year has lost its spring.” [2] The significance of this statement was that Gelon's army was the most notable part of the Greek army, just as the spring is the best part of the year. He accordingly compared Hellas deprived of alliance with him to a year bereft of its spring.83 163. After such dealings with Gelon the Greek envoys sailed away. Gelon, however, feared that the Greeks would not be able to overcome the barbarian, while believing it dreadful and intolerable that he, the tyrant of Sicily, should go to the Peloponnese to be at the beck and call of Lacedaemonians. For this reason he took no more thought of this plan but followed another instead. [2] As soon as he was informed that the Persian had crossed the Hellespont, he sent Cadmus son of Scythes,84 a man of Cos, to Delphi with three fifty-oared ships, bringing them money and messages of friendship. Cadmus was to observe the outcome of the battle, and if the barbarian should be victorious, he was to give him both the money, and earth and water on behalf of Gelon's dominions. If, however, the Greeks were victorious, he was to bring everything back again. 164. This Cadmus had previously inherited from his father the tyranny of Cos. Although the tyranny was well established, he nevertheless handed the government over to the whole body of Coans of his own free will. This he did under no constraint of danger, but out of a sense of justice, and he then went to Sicily, where he was given by the Samians the city of Zancle which he colonized and changed its name to Messene. [2] This is how Cadmus had come, and it was he whom Gelon now sent because of his sense of justice. What I will now relate was not the least of the many just acts of Cadmus' life; he had in his possession great wealth entrusted to him by Gelon and might have kept it. He nevertheless would not do so, but when the Greeks had prevailed in the sea-fight and Xerxes had headed home, Cadmus returned to Sicily with all that money. 165. There is, however, another story told by the Sicilians: even though he was to be under Lacedaemonian authority, Gelon would still have aided the Greeks had it not been for Terillus son of Crinippus, the tyrant of Himera. This man, who had been expelled from Himera by Theron son of Aenesidemus, sovereign ruler of Acragas, at this very time brought against Gelon three hundred thousand Phoenicians, Libyans, Iberians, Ligyes, Elisyci, Sardinians, and Cyrnians,85 led by Amilcas son of Annon, the king of the Carchedonians. Terillus had induced him to do this partly through the prerogative of personal friendship, but mainly through the efforts of Anaxilaus son of Cretines, tyrant of Rhegium. He had handed over his own children as hostages to Amilcas, and brought him into Sicily to the help of his father-in-law; for Anaxilaus had as his wife Terillus' daughter Cydippe. Accordingly Gelon sent the money to Delphi, because he could not aid the Greeks. 166. They add this tale too—that Gelon and Theron won a victory over Amilcas the Carchedonian in Sicily on the same day that the Greeks defeated the Persian at Salamis. This Amilcas was, on his father's side, a Carchedonian, and a Syracusan on his mother's and had been made king of Carchedon for his virtue. When the armies met and he was defeated in the battle, it is said that he vanished from sight, for Gelon looked for him everywhere but was not able to find him anywhere on earth, dead or alive. 167. The story told by the Carchedonians themselves seems to have some element of truth. They say that the barbarians fought with the Greeks in Sicily from dawn until late evening (so long, it is said, the battle was drawn out), during which time Amilcas stayed in his camp offering sacrifice and striving to obtain favorable omens by burning whole bodies on a great pyre. When he saw his army routed, he cast himself into the fire where he was pouring libations on the sacrifice; he was consumed by this and was not seen any more. [2] Whether he vanished as the Phoenicians say, or in the manner related by the Carchedonians and Syracusans, sacrifice is offered to him, and monuments have been set up in all the colonists' cities, the greatest of which is in Carchedon itself. 168. This is how the campaign in Sicily fell out. As for the Corcyraeans, their answer to the envoys and their acts were as I will show. The men who had gone to Sicily sought their aid too, using the same arguments which they had used with Gelon. The Corcyraeans straightaway promised to send help and protection, declaring that they would not allow Hellas to perish, for if she should fall, the very next day would certainly see them also enslaved. They would accordingly have to help to the best of their ability. [2] Now this answer seemed fair enough, but when the time came for sending help, their minds changed. They manned sixty ships and put out to sea, making for the coast of the Peloponnese. There, however, they anchored off Pylos and Taenarus in the Lacedaemonian territory, waiting like the others to see which way the war should incline. They had no hope that the Greeks would prevail, but thought that the Persian would win a great victory and be lord of all Hellas. [3] Their course of action, therefore, had been planned with a view to being able to say to the Persian, “O king, we whose power is as great as any and who could have furnished as many ships as any state save Athens,—we, when the Greeks attempted to gain our aid in this war, would not resist you nor do anything displeasing to you.” This plea, they hoped, would win them some advantage more than ordinary; and so, I believe, it would have been. [4] They were, however, also ready with an excuse which they could make to the Greeks, and in the end they made it; when the Greeks blamed them for sending no help, they said that they had manned sixty triremes, but that they could not round Malea because of the Etesian winds. It was for this reason, they said, that they could not arrive at Salamis; it was not cowardliness which made them late for the sea-fight. With such a plea they put the Greeks off. 169. But the Cretans, when the Greeks appointed to deal with them were trying to gain their aid, acted as I will show. They sent messengers to Delphi, inquiring if it would be to their advantage to help the Greeks. [2] The Pythia answered them, “Foolish men, was not the grief enough which Minos sent upon your people for the help given to Menelaus, out of anger that those others86 would not help to avenge his death at Camicus, while you helped them to avenge the stealing of that woman from Sparta by a barbarian?” When this was brought to the ears of the Cretans, they would have nothing to do with aiding the Greeks. 170. Now Minos, it is said, went to Sicania, which is now called Sicily, in search for Daedalus, and perished there by a violent death. Presently all the Cretans except the men of Polichne and Praesus were bidden by a god to go with a great host to Sicania. Here they besieged the town of Camicus, where in my day the men of Acragas dwelt, for five years. [2] Presently, since they could neither take it nor remain there because of the famine which afflicted them, they departed. However, when they were at sea off Iapygia, a great storm caught and drove them ashore. Because their ships had been wrecked and there was no way left of returning to Crete, they founded there the town of Hyria, and made this their dwelling place, accordingly changing from Cretans to Messapians of Iapygia, and from islanders to dwellers on the mainland. [3] From Hyria they made settlements in those other towns which a very long time afterwards the Tarentines attempted to destroy, thereby suffering great disaster. The result was that no one has ever heard of so great a slaughter of Greeks as that of the Tarentines and Rhegians; three thousand townsmen of the latter, men who had been coerced by Micythus son of Choerus to come and help the Tarentines, were killed, and no count was kept of the Tarentine slain. [4] Micythus was a servant of Anaxilaus and had been left in charge of Rhegium; it was he who was banished from Rhegium and settled in Tegea of Arcadia, and who set up those many statues at Olympia. 171. In relating the matter of the Rhegians and Tarentines, however, I digress from the main thread of my history. The Praesians say that when Crete was left desolate, it was populated especially by Greeks, among other peoples. Then, in the third generation after Minos, the events surrounding the Trojan War, in which the Cretans bore themselves as bravely as any in the cause of Menelaus, took place. [2] After this, when they returned from Troy, they and their flocks and herds were afflicted by famine and pestilence, until Crete was once more left desolate. Then came a third influx of Cretans, and it is they who, with those that were left, now dwell there. It was this that the priestess bade them remember, and so prevented them from aiding the Greeks as they were previously inclined. 172. The Thessalians had at first sided with the Persians, not willingly but of necessity. This their acts revealed, because they disliked the plans of the Aleuadae; as soon as they heard that the Persian was about to cross over into Europe, they sent messengers to the Isthmus, where men chosen from the cities which were best disposed towards Hellas were assembled in council for the Greek cause. [2] To these the Thessalian messengers came and said, “Men of Hellas, the pass of Olympus must be guarded so that Thessaly and all Hellas may be sheltered from the war. Now we are ready to guard it with you, but you too must send a great force. If you will not send it, be assured that we will make terms with the Persian, for it is not right that we should be left to stand guard alone and so perish for your sakes. [3] If you will not send help, there is nothing you can do to constrain us, for no necessity can prevail over lack of ability. As for us, we will attempt to find some means of deliverance for ourselves.” These are the words of the men of Thessaly. 173. Thereupon the Greeks resolved that they would send a land army to Thessaly by sea to guard the pass. When the forces had assembled, they passed through the Euripus and came to Alus in Achaea, where they disembarked and took the road for Thessaly, leaving their ships where they were. They then came to the pass of Tempe, which runs from the lower87 Macedonia into Thessaly along the river Peneus, between the mountains Olympus and Ossa. [2] There the Greeks were encamped, about ten thousand men-at-arms altogether, and the cavalry was there as well. The general of the Lacedaemonians was Euaenetus son of Carenus, chosen from among the Polemarchs, yet not of the royal house, and Themistocles son of Neocles was the general of the Athenians. [3] They remained there for only a few days, for messengers came from Alexander son of Amyntas, the Macedonian. These, pointing out the size of the army and the great number of ships, advised them to depart and not remain there to be trodden under foot by the invading host. When they had received this advice from the messengers (as they thought their advice was sound and that the Macedonian meant well by them), the Greeks followed their counsel. [4] To my thinking, however, what persuaded them was fear, since they had found out that there was another pass leading into Thessaly by the hill country of Macedonia through the country of the Perrhaebi, near the town of Gonnus; this was indeed the way by which Xerxes' army descended on Thessaly. The Greeks accordingly went down to their ships and made their way back to the Isthmus. 174. This was the course of their expedition into Thessaly, while the king was planning to cross into Europe from Asia and was already at Abydos. The Thessalians, now bereft of their allies, sided with the Persian wholeheartedly and unequivocally. As a result of this they, in their acts, proved themselves to be most useful to the king. 175. When they had come to the Isthmus, the Greeks, taking into account what was said by Alexander, deliberated as a body how and where they should stand to fight. It was decided that they should guard the pass of Thermopylae, for they saw that it was narrower than the pass into Thessaly and nearer home. [2] The pass, then, which brought about the fall of those Greeks who fell at Thermopylae, was unknown to them until they came to Thermopylae and learned of it from the men of Trachis. This pass they were resolved to guard and so stay the barbarian's passage into Hellas, while their fleet should sail to Artemisium in the territory of Histiaea. These places are near to each other, and each force could therefore be informed of the other's doings. As for the places themselves, their nature is as follows. 176. Artemisium is where the wide Thracian sea contracts until the passage between the island of Sciathus and the mainland of Magnesia is but narrow. This strait leads next to Artemisium, which is a beach on the coast of Euboea, on which stands a temple of Artemis. [2] The pass through Trachis into Hellas88 is fifty feet wide at its narrowest point. It is not here, however, but elsewhere that the way is narrowest, namely, in front of Thermopylae and behind it; at Alpeni, which lies behind, it is only the breadth of a cart-way, and it is the same at the Phoenix stream, near the town of Anthele. [3] To the west89 of Thermopylae rises a high mountain, inaccessible and precipitous, a spur of Oeta; to the east of the road there is nothing but marshes and sea. In this pass are warm springs for bathing, called the Basins by the people of the country, and an altar of Heracles stands nearby. Across this entry a wall had been built, and formerly there was a gate in it. [4] It was the Phocians90 who built it for fear of the Thessalians when these came from Thesprotia to dwell in the Aeolian land, the region which they now possess. Since the Thessalians were trying to subdue them, the Phocians made this their protection, and in their search for every means to keep the Thessalians from invading their country, they then turned the stream from the hot springs into the pass, so that it might be a watercourse. [5] The ancient wall had been built long ago and most of it lay in ruins; those who built it up again thought that they would in this way bar the foreigner's way into Hellas. Very near the road is a village called Alpeni, and it is from here that the Greeks expected to obtain provisions. 177. These places, then, were thought by the Greeks to suit their purpose. After making a thorough survey, they concluded that the barbarians could not make use of their entire army, nor of their horsemen. They therefore resolved, that they would meet the invader of Hellas here. Then, when they heard that the Persian was in Pieria, they broke up from the Isthmus and set out with their army to Thermopylae and with their fleet to Artemisium. 178. So with all speed the Greeks went their several ways to meet the enemy. In the meantime, the Delphians, who were afraid for themselves and for Hellas, consulted the god. They were advised to pray to the winds, for these would be potent allies for Hellas. [2] When they had received the oracle, the Delphians first sent word of it to those Greeks who desired to be free; because of their dread of the barbarian, they were forever grateful. Subsequently they erected an altar to the winds at Thyia, the present location of the precinct of Thyia the daughter of Cephisus, and they offered sacrifices to them. This, then, is the reason why the Delphians to this day offer the winds sacrifice of propitiation. 179. Xerxes' fleet, however, set forth from the city of Therma, and the ten swiftest of the ships laid their course straight for Sciathus, where there lay an advance guard of three Greek ships, a Troezenian, an Aeginetan, and an Attic. These, when they sighted the foreigners ships, took to flight. 180. The ship of Troezen, of which Prexinus was captain, was pursued and straightway captured by the foreigners, who brought the best of its fighting men and cut his throat on the ship's prow, thinking that the sacrifice91 of the foremost and fairest of their Greek captives would be auspicious. The name of the sacrificed man was Leon, and it was perhaps his name that he had to thank for it. 181. The Aeginetan trireme, of which Asonides was captain, did however give them some trouble. On board this ship was Pytheas son of Ischenous, who acted heroically on that day. When his ship had been taken, he would not stop fighting until he had been entirely hacked to mincemeat. [2] When he finally did fall, he still had life in him, and the Persian soldiers on the ships took great pains to keep him alive for his valor, tending his wounds with ointments and wrapping him in bandages of linen cloth92. [3] Upon returning to their own station, they showed him to the whole host, and made much of him and treated him with kindness. The rest of those whom they took in that ship, however, they used as slaves. 182. Two of the ships, then, were made captive, and the third trireme, of which Phormus an Athenian was captain, ran aground in her flight at the mouth of the Peneus; the barbarians took her hull but not the crew, for the Athenians, as soon as they had run their craft aground, leapt out and made their way through Thessaly to Athens. 183. The Greeks who were stationed at Artemisium were informed of these matters by beacons from Sciathus. They were frightened by this and accordingly changed their anchorage from Artemisium to Chalcis, proposing to guard the Euripus and leaving watchmen on the heights of Euboea. [2] Three of the ten barbarian ships ran aground on the reef called the Ant, which lies between Sciathus and Magnesia. The barbarians then brought a pillar of stone and set it on the reef, and when their course was plain before them, the whole fleet set forth and sailed from Therma, eleven days after the king had marched from there. [3] It was Pammon of Scyros who showed them where in the strait the reef lay. After sailing along all day, the foreign fleet reached Sepias in Magnesia and the beach between the town of Casthanaea and the Sepiad headland. 184. Until the whole host reached this place and Thermopylae it suffered no hurt, and calculation proves to me that its numbers were still such as I will now show. The ships from Asia were twelve hundred and seven in number, and including the entire host of nations involved, there were a total of two hundred and forty-one thousand and four hundred men, two hundred being reckoned for each ship. [2] 93On board all these ships were thirty fighting men of the Persians and Medes and Sacae in addition to the company which each had of native fighters; the number of this added contingent is thirty-six thousand, two hundred and ten. [3] To this and to the first number I add the crews of the ships of fifty oars, calculating eighty men for each, whether there were actually more or fewer. Now seeing that, as has already been said,94 three thousand of these vessels were assembled, the number of men in them must have been two hundred and forty thousand. [4] These, then, were the ships' companies from Asia, and the total number of them was five hundred and seventeen thousand, six hundred and ten. There were seven hundred thousand and one hundred footsoldiers and eighty thousand cavalrymen; to these I add the Arabian camel-riders and Libyan charioteers, estimating them to have been twenty thousand in number. [5] The forces of sea and land added together would consist of two million, three hundred and seventeen thousand, six hundred and ten men. So far I have spoken of the force which came from Asia itself, without the train of servants which followed it and the companies of the grain-bearing craft. 185. I must, however, also take into account the force brought from Europe, and I will rely on my best judgment in doing so. The Greeks of Thrace and the islands off Thrace furnished one hundred and twenty ships, and the companies of these ships must then have consisted of twenty-four thousand men. [2] As regards the land army supplied by all the nations—Thracians, Paeonians, Eordi, Bottiaei, Chalcidians, Brygi, Pierians, Macedonians, Perrhaebi, Enienes, Dolopes, Magnesians, Achaeans, dwellers on the coast of Thrace—of all these I suppose the number to have been three hundred thousand. [3] When these numbers are added to the numbers from Asia, the sum total of fighting men is two million, six hundred and forty-one thousand, six hundred and ten. 186. This then is the number of soldiers. As for the service-train which followed them and the crews of the light corn-bearing vessels and all the other vessels besides which came by sea with the force, these I believe to have been not fewer but more than the fighting men. [2] Suppose, however, that they were equal in number, neither more nor fewer. If they were equal to the fighting contingent, they made up as many tens of thousands as the others. The number, then, of those whom Xerxes son of Darius led as far as the Sepiad headland and Thermopylae was five million, two hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty. 187. That is the number of Xerxes' whole force. No one, however, can say what the exact number of cooking women, and concubines, and eunuchs was, nor can one determine the number of the beasts of draught and burden, and the Indian dogs which accompanied the host; so many of them were there. It is accordingly not surprising to me that some of the streams of water ran dry. I do, however, wonder how there were provisions sufficient for so many tens of thousands, [2] for calculation shows me, that if each man received one choenix of wheat a day and no more, eleven hundred thousand and three hundred and forty bushels would be required every day.95 In this calculation I take no account of the provisions for the women, eunuchs, beasts of burden and dogs. Of all those tens of thousands of men, there was not one, as regards looks and grandeur, worthier than Xerxes himself to hold that command. 188. The Persian fleet put to sea and reached the beach of the Magnesian land, between the city of Casthanaea and the headland of Sepia. The first ships to arrive moored close to land, with the others after them at anchor; since the beach was not large, they lay at anchor in rows eight ships deep out into the sea. [2] They spent the night in this way, but at dawn a storm descended upon them out of a clear and windless sky, and the sea began to boil. A strong east wind blew, which the people living in those parts call Hellespontian. [3] Those who felt the wind rising or had proper mooring dragged their ships up on shore ahead of the storm and so survived with their ships. The wind did, however, carry those ships caught out in the open sea against the rocks called the Ovens at Pelion or onto the beach. Some ships were wrecked on the Sepian headland, others were cast ashore at the city of Meliboea or at Casthanaea. The storm was indeed unbearable. 189. The story is told that because of an oracle the Athenians invoked Boreas, the north wind, to help them, since another oracle told them to summon their son-in-law as an ally. According to the Hellenic story, Boreas had an Attic wife, Orithyia, the daughter of Erechtheus, ancient king of Athens. [2] Because of this connection, so the tale goes, the Athenians considered Boreas to be their son-in-law. They were stationed off Chalcis in Euboea, and when they saw the storm rising, they then, if they had not already, sacrificed to and called upon Boreas and Orithyia to help them by destroying the barbarian fleet, just as before at Athos. [3] I cannot say whether this was the cause of Boreas falling upon the barbarians as they lay at anchor, but the Athenians say that he had come to their aid before and that he was the agent this time. When they went home, they founded a sacred precinct of Boreas beside the Ilissus river. 190. They say that at the very least no fewer than 400 ships were destroyed in this labor, along with innumerable men and abundant wealth. This shipwreck proved useful to Ameinocles son of Cretines, a man of Magnesia who owned land around Sepia, for he later picked up many gold and silver cups cast up on shore, found the Persian treasures, and acquired other untold riches. Although he became very rich from his findings, he did not enjoy luck in everything, for he suffered greatly when his son was murdered. 191. There was no counting how many grain-ships and other vessels were destroyed. The generals of the fleet were afraid that the Thessalians might attack them now that they had been defeated, so they built a high palisade out of the wreckage. [2] The storm lasted three days. Finally the Magi made offerings and cast spells upon the wind, sacrificing also to Thetis and the Nereids. In this way they made the wind stop on the fourth day—or perhaps it died down on its own. They sacrificed to Thetis after hearing from the Ionians the story that it was from this place that Peleus had carried her off and that all the headland of Sepia belonged to her and to the other Nereids. 192. The storm, then, ceased on the fourth day. Now the scouts stationed on the headlands of Euboea ran down and told the Hellenes all about the shipwreck on the second day after the storm began. [2] After hearing this they prayed to Poseidon as their savior and poured libations. Then they hurried to Artemisium hoping to find few ships opposing them. So they came to Artemisium a second time and made their station there. From that time on they call Poseidon their savior. 193. The barbarians, when the wind ceased and the waves no longer ran high, put to sea and coasted along the mainland; they sailed around the headland of Magnesia and sailed straight into the gulf which stretches toward Pagasae. [2] There is a place on this gulf in Magnesia, where, it is said, Heracles was sent for water and was left behind by Jason and his comrades of the Argo, when they were sailing to Aea in Colchis for the fleece; their purpose was to draw water from there and then to put out to sea. This is the reason why that place has been called Aphetae.96 Here Xerxes' men made their anchorage. 194. Fifteen of those ships had put to sea a long time after all the rest, and it chanced that they sighted the Greek ships off Artemisium. Supposing these to be their own fleet, the barbarians proceeded into the midst of their enemies. Their captain was the viceroy from Cyme in Aeolia, Sandoces son of Thamasius. This man, who was one of the king's judges, had once before been taken and crucified by Darius because he had given unjust judgment for a bribe. [2] When Sandoces had been hung on the cross, Darius found on consideration that his good services to the royal house outweighed his offenses. The king then perceived that he had acted with more haste than wisdom and set Sandoces free. [3] In this way he escaped from being put to death by Darius. Now that he was taken into the midst of the Greeks, however, he was not to escape a second time, for when the Greeks saw the Persians bearing down on them, they perceived their mistake and putting to sea, easily took them captive. 195. In one of these ships they took Aridolis, the tyrant of Alabanda in Caria, and in another the Paphian captain Penthylus, son of Demonous; of the twelve ships which he had brought from Paphos he had lost eleven in the storm off the Sepiad headland and was in the one which remained when he was taken as he headed down on Artemisium. Having questioned these men and learned what they desired to know of Xerxes' force, the Greeks sent them away to the isthmus of Corinth in bonds. 196. So the foreign fleet, of which, with the exception of fifteen ships Sandoces was captain, came to Aphetae. Xerxes and his land army marched through Thessaly and Achaea, and it was three days since he had entered Malis. In Thessaly he held a race for his own cavalry; this was also a test of the Thessalian horsemen, whom he had heard were the best in Hellas. The Greek horses were far outpaced in this contest. Of the Thessalian rivers, the Onochonus was the only one which could not provide enough water for his army to drink. In Achaea, however, even the greatest river there, the Apidanus,97 gave out, remaining but a sorry trickle. 197. When Xerxes had come to Alus in Achaea, his guides, desiring to inform him of all they knew, told him the story which is related in that country concerning the worship of Laphystian Zeus, namely how Athamas son of Aeolus plotted Phrixus' death with Ino, and further, how the Achaeans by an oracle's bidding compel Phrixus descendants to certain tasks. [2] They order the eldest of that family not to enter their town-hall (which the Achaeans call the People's House)98 and themselves keep watch there. If he should enter, he may not come out, save only to be sacrificed. They say as well that many of those who were to be sacrificed had fled in fear to another country, and that if they returned at a later day and were taken, they were brought into the town-hall. The guides showed Xerxes how the man is sacrificed, namely with fillets covering him all over and a procession to lead him forth. [3] It is the descendants of Phrixus' son Cytissorus who are treated in this way, because when the Achaeans by an oracle's bidding made Athamas son of Aeolus a scapegoat for their country and were about to sacrifice him, this Cytissorus came from Aea in Colchis and delivered him, thereby bringing the god's wrath on his own descendants. [4] Hearing all this, Xerxes, when he came to the temple grove, refrained from entering it himself and bade all his army do likewise, holding the house and the precinct of Athamas' descendants alike in reverence.99 198. These were Xerxes' actions in Thessaly and Achaea. From here he came into Malis along a gulf of the sea, in which the tide ebbs and flows daily.100 There is low-lying ground about this gulf, sometimes wide and sometimes very narrow, and around it stand high and inaccessible mountains which enclose the whole of Malis and are called the Rocks of Trachis. [2] Now the first town by the gulf on the way from Achaea is Anticyra, near to which the river Spercheus flows from the country of the Enieni and issues into the sea. About twenty furlongs from that river is another named Dyras, which is said to have risen from the ground to aid Heracles against the fire that consumed him and twenty furlongs again from that there is another river called the Black river. 199. The town of Trachis is five furlongs away from this Black river. Here is the greatest distance in all this region between the sea and the hills on which Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.101 In the mountains which hem in the Trachinian land there is a ravine to the south of Trachis, through which the river Asopus flows past the lower slopes of the mountains. 200. There is another river south of the Asopus, the Phoenix, a little stream which flows from those mountains into the Asopus. Near this stream is the narrowest place; there is only space for a single cart-way. Thermopylae is fifteen furlongs away from the river Phoenix. [2] Between the river and Thermopylae there is a village named Anthele, past which the Asopus flows out into the sea, and there is a wide space around it in which stand a temple of Amphictyonid Demeter, seats for the Amphictyons,102 and a temple of Amphictyon himself 201. King Xerxes lay encamped in Trachis in Malis and the Hellenes in the pass.103 This place is called Thermopylae by most of the Hellenes, but by the natives and their neighbors Pylae.104 Each lay encamped in these places. Xerxes was master of everything to the north105 from Trachis, and the Hellenes of all that lay toward the south on the mainland.106 202. The Hellenes who awaited the Persians in that place were these: three hundred Spartan armed men; one thousand from Tegea and Mantinea, half from each place; one hundred and twenty from Orchomenus in Arcadia and one thousand from the rest of Arcadia; that many Arcadians, four hundred from Corinth, two hundred from Phlius, and eighty Mycenaeans. These were the Peloponnesians present; from Boeotia there were seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans. 203. In addition, the Opuntian Locrians in full force and one thousand Phocians came at the summons. The Hellenes had called upon them through messengers who told them that this was only the advance guard, that the rest of the allies were expected any day now, and that the sea was being watched, with the Athenians and Aeginetans and all those enrolled in the fleet on guard. There was nothing for them to be afraid of. [2] The invader of Hellas was not a god but a human being, and there was not, and never would be, any mortal on whom some amount of evil was not bestowed at birth, with the greatest men receiving the largest share. The one marching against them was certain to fall from pride, since he was a mortal. When they heard this, the Locrians and Phocians marched to Trachis to help. 204. Each city had its own general, but the one most admired and the leader of the whole army was a Lacedaemonian, Leonidas, son of Anaxandrides, son of Leon, son of Eurycratides, son of Anaxandrus, son of Eurycrates, son of Polydorus, son of Alcamenes, son of Teleclus, son of Archelaus, son of Hegesilaus, son of Doryssus, son of Leobotes, son of Echestratus, son of Agis, son of Eurysthenes, son of Aristodemus, son of Aristomachus, son of Cleodaeus, son of Hyllus, son of Heracles. Leonidas had gained the kingship at Sparta unexpectedly. 205. Since he had two older brothers, Cleomenes and Dorieus, he had renounced all thought of the kingship. Cleomenes, however, died without male offspring, and Dorieus, who had met his end in Sicily, was also no longer alive. The succession therefore fell to Leonidas since he was older than Anaxandrides' youngest son Cleombrotus and had married Cleomenes' daughter. [2] He now came to Thermopylae with the appointed three hundred he had selected,107 all of whom had sons. He also brought those Thebans whom I counted among the number and whose general was Leontiades son of Eurymachus. [3] Leonidas took pains to bring only the Thebans among the Hellenes, because they were accused of medizing; he summoned them to the war wishing to know whether they would send their men with him or openly refuse the Hellenic alliance. They sent the men but intended something quite different 206. The Spartans sent the men with Leonidas on ahead so that the rest of the allies would see them and march, instead of medizing like the others if they learned that the Spartans were delaying. At present the Carneia108 was in their way, but once they had completed the festival, they intended to leave a garrison at Sparta and march out in full force with all speed. [2] The rest of the allies planned to do likewise, for the Olympiad coincided with these events. They accordingly sent their advance guard, not expecting the war at Thermopylae to be decided so quickly. 207. This is what they intended, but the Hellenes at Thermopylae, when the Persians drew near the pass, fearfully took counsel whether to depart. The rest of the Peloponnesians were for returning to the Peloponnese and guarding the isthmus, but the Phocians and Locrians were greatly angered by this counsel. Leonidas voted to remain where they were and send messengers to the cities bidding them to send help, since they were too few to ward off the army of the Medes. 208. While they debated in this way, Xerxes sent a mounted scout to see how many there were and what they were doing. While he was still in Thessaly, he had heard that a small army was gathered there and that its leaders were Lacedaemonians, including Leonidas, who was of the Heracleid clan. [2] Riding up to the camp, the horseman watched and spied out the place. He could, however, not see the whole camp, for it was impossible to see those posted inside the wall which they had rebuilt and were guarding. He did take note of those outside, whose arms lay in front of the wall, and it chanced that at that time the Lacedaemonians were posted there. [3] He saw some of the men exercising naked and others combing their hair. He marvelled at the sight and took note of their numbers. When he had observed it all carefully, he rode back in leisure, since no one pursued him or paid him any attention at all. So he returned and told Xerxes all that he had seen. 209. When Xerxes heard that, he could not comprehend the fact that the Lacedaemonians were actually, to the best of their ability, preparing to kill or be killed. What they did appeared laughable to him, so he sent for Demaratus the son of Ariston, who was in his camp. [2] When this man arrived, he asked him about each of these matters, wanting to understand what it was that the Lacedaemonians were doing. Demaratus said, “You have already heard about these men from me, when we were setting out for Hellas, but when you heard, you mocked me, although I told you how I expected things to turn out. It is my greatest aim, O King, to be truthful in your presence. [3] So hear me now. These men have come to fight us for the pass, and it for this that they are preparing. This is their custom: when they are about to risk their lives, they arrange their hair. [4] Rest assured that if you overcome these men and those remaining behind at Sparta, there is no one else on earth who will raise his hands to withstand you, my King. You are now attacking the fairest kingdom in Hellas and men who are the very best.” [5] What he said seemed completely incredible to Xerxes, so he then asked how they, who were so few in number, would fight against his army. Demaratus answered, “My King, take me for a liar if this does not turn out as I say.” So he spoke, but he did not persuade Xerxes. 210. He let four days go by, expecting them to run away at any minute. They did not leave, and it seemed to him that they stayed out of folly and lack of due respect. On the fifth day he became angry and sent the Medes and Cissians against them, bidding them take them prisoner and bring them into his presence. [2] The Medes bore down upon the Hellenes and attacked. Many fell, but others attacked in turn, and they made it clear to everyone, especially to the king himself, that among so many people there were few real men. The battle lasted all day. 211. When the Medes had been roughly handled, they retired, and the Persians whom the king called Immortals, led by Hydarnes, attacked in turn. It was thought that they would easily accomplish the task. [2] When they joined battle with the Hellenes, they fared neither better nor worse than the Median army, since they used shorter spears than the Hellenes and could not use their numbers fighting in a narrow space. [3] The Lacedaemonians fought memorably, showing themselves skilled fighters amidst unskilled on many occasions, as when they would turn their backs and feign flight. The barbarians would see them fleeing and give chase with shouting and noise, but when the Lacedaemonians were overtaken, they would turn to face the barbarians and overthrow innumerable Persians. A few of the Spartans themselves were also slain. When the Persians could gain no inch of the pass, attacking by companies and in every other fashion, they withdrew. 212. It is said that during these assaults in the battle the king, as he watched, jumped up three times from the throne in fear for his army. This, then, is how the fighting progressed, and on the next day the barbarians fought no better. They joined battle supposing that their enemies, being so few, were now disabled by wounds and could no longer resist. [2] The Hellenes, however, stood ordered in ranks by nation, and each of them fought in turn, except the Phocians, who were posted on the mountain to guard the path.109 When the Persians found nothing different from what they saw the day before, they withdrew. 213. The king was at a loss as to how to deal with the present difficulty. Epialtes son of Eurydemus, a Malian, thinking he would get a great reward from the king, came to speak with him and told him of the path leading over the mountain to Thermopylae. In so doing he caused the destruction of the Hellenes remaining there. [2] Later he fled into Thessaly in fear of the Lacedaemonians, and while he was in exile, a price was put on his head by the Pylagori110 when the Amphictyons assembled at Pylae. Still later he returned from exile to Anticyra and was killed by Athenades, a Trachinian. [3] Athenades slew Epialtes for a different reason, which I will tell later in my history,111 but he was given no less honor by the Lacedaemonians. It was in this way, then, that Epialtes was later killed. 214. There is another story told, namely that Onetes son of Phanagoras, a Carystian, and Corydallus of Anticyra are the ones who gave the king this information and guided the Persians around the mountain, but I find it totally incredible. [2] One must judge by the fact that the Pylagori set a price not on Onetes and Corydallus but on Epialtes the Trachinian, and I suppose they had exact knowledge; furthermore, we know that Epialtes was banished on this charge. [3] Onetes might have known the path, although he was not a Malian, if he had often come to that country, but Epialtes was the one who guided them along the path around the mountain. It is he whom I put on record as guilty. 215. Xerxes was pleased by what Epialtes promised to accomplish. He immediately became overjoyed and sent out Hydarnes and the men under Hydarnes command, who set forth from the camp at about lamp-lighting time. This path112 had been discovered by the native Malians, who used it to guide the Thessalians into Phocis when the Phocians had fenced off the pass with a wall and were sheltered from the war. So long ago the Malians had discovered that the pass was in no way a good thing.113 216. The course of the path is as follows: it begins at the river Asopus as it flows through the ravine, and this mountain and the path have the same name, Anopaea. This Anopaea stretches along the ridge of the mountain and ends at Alpenus, the Locrian city nearest to Malis, near the rock called Blackbuttock and the seats of the Cercopes, where it is narrowest.114 217. This, then, was the nature of the pass. The Persians crossed the Asopus and travelled all night along this path, with the Oetaean mountains on their right and the Trachinian on their left. At dawn they came to the summit of the pass. [2] In this part of the mountain one thousand armed men of the Phocians were on watch, as I have already shown, defending their own country and guarding the path. The lower pass was held by those I have mentioned, but the Phocians had voluntarily promised Leonidas to guard the path over the mountain. 218. The Phocians learned in the following way that the Persians had climbed up: they had ascended without the Phocians' notice because the mountain was entirely covered with oak trees. Although there was no wind, a great noise arose like leaves being trodden underfoot. The Phocians jumped up and began to put on their weapons, and in a moment the barbarians were there. [2] When they saw the men arming themselves, they were amazed, for they had supposed that no opposition would appear, but they had now met with an army. Hydarnes feared that the Phocians might be Lacedaemonians and asked Epialtes what country the army was from. When he had established what he wanted to know with certainty, he arrayed the Persians for battle. [3] The Phocians, assailed by thick showers of arrows and supposing that the Persians had set out against them from the start, fled to the top of the mountain and prepared to meet their destruction. This is what they intended, but the Persians with Epialtes and Hydarnes paid no attention to the Phocians and went down the mountain as fast as possible. 219. The seer Megistias, examining the sacrifices, first told the Hellenes at Thermopylae that death was coming to them with the dawn. Then deserters came who announced the circuit made by the Persians. These gave their signals while it was still night; a third report came from the watchers running down from the heights at dawn. [2] The Hellenes then took counsel, but their opinions were divided. Some advised not to leave their post, but others spoke against them. They eventually parted, some departing and dispersing each to their own cities, others preparing to remain there with Leonidas. 220. It is said that Leonidas himself sent them away because he was concerned that they would be killed, but felt it not fitting for himself and the Spartans to desert that post which they had come to defend at the beginning. [2] I, however, tend to believe that when Leonidas perceived that the allies were dispirited and unwilling to run all risks with him, he told then to depart. For himself, however, it was not good to leave; if he remained, he would leave a name of great fame, and the prosperity of Sparta would not be blotted out. [3] When the Spartans asked the oracle about this war when it broke out, the Pythia had foretold that either Lacedaemon would be destroyed by the barbarians or their king would be killed. She gave them this answer in hexameter verses running as follows: [4] “For you, inhabitants of wide-wayed Sparta, Either your great and glorious city must be wasted by Persian men, Or if not that, then the bound of Lacedaemon must mourn a dead king, from Heracles' line. The might of bulls or lions will not restrain him with opposing strength; for he has the might of Zeus. I declare that he will not be restrained until he utterly tears apart one of these. ” Considering this and wishing to win distinction for the Spartans alone, he sent away the allies rather than have them leave in disorder because of a difference of opinion. 221. Not the least proof I have of this is the fact that Leonidas publicly dismissed the seer who attended the expedition, for fear that he might die with them. This was Megistias the Acarnanian, said to be descended from Melampus, the one who told from the sacrifices what was going to happen to them. He was dismissed but did not leave; instead he sent away his only son who was also with the army. 222. Those allies who were dismissed went off in obedience to Leonidas, only the Thespians and Thebans remaining with the Lacedaemonians. The Thebans remained against their will and desire, for Leonidas kept them as hostages. The Thespians very gladly remained, saying they would not abandon Leonidas and those with him by leaving; instead they would stay and die with them. Their general was Demophilus son of Diadromes. 223. Xerxes made libations at sunrise and waiting till about mid-morning, made his assault. Epialtes had advised this, for the descent from the mountain is more direct, and the way is much shorter than the circuit and ascent. [2] Xerxes and his barbarians attacked, but Leonidas and his Hellenes, knowing they were going to their deaths, advanced now much farther than before into the wider part of the pass. In all the previous days they had sallied out into the narrow way and fought there, guarding the defensive wall. [3] Now, however, they joined battle outside the narrows and many of the barbarians fell, for the leaders of the companies beat everyone with whips from behind, urging them ever forward. Many of them were pushed into the sea and drowned; far more were trampled alive by each other, with no regard for who perished. [4] Since the Hellenes knew that they must die at the hands of those who had come around the mountain, they displayed the greatest strength they had against the barbarians, fighting recklessly and desperately. 224. By this time most of them had had their spears broken and were killing the Persians with swords. Leonidas, proving himself extremely valiant, fell in that struggle and with him other famous Spartans, whose names I have learned by inquiry since they were worthy men. Indeed, I have learned by inquiry the names of all three hundred.115 [2] Many famous Persians also fell there, including two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and Hyperanthes, born to Darius by Phratagune daughter of Artanes. Artanes was the brother of king Darius and son of Hystaspes son of Arsames. When he gave his daughter in marriage to Darius, he gave his whole house as dowry, since she was his only child. 225. Two brothers of Xerxes accordingly fought and fell there. There was a great struggle between the Persians and Lacedaemonians over Leonidas' body, until the Hellenes by their courageous prowess dragged it away and routed their enemies four times. The battle went on until the men with Epialtes arrived. [2] When the Hellenes saw that they had come, the contest turned, for they retired to the narrow part of the way, passed behind the wall, and took their position crowded together on the hill, all except the Thebans. This hill is at the mouth of the pass, where the stone lion in honor of Leonidas now stands. [3] In that place they defended themselves with swords, if they still had them, and with hands and teeth. The barbarians buried them with missiles, some attacking from the front and throwing down the defensive wall, others surrounding them on all sides. 226. This then is how the Lacedaemonians and Thespians conducted themselves, but the Spartan Dieneces is said to have exhibited the greatest courage of all. They say that he made the following speech before they joined battle with the Medes: he had learned from a Trachinian that there were so many of the barbarians that when they shot their missiles, the sun was hidden by the multitude of their arrows. [2] He was not at all disturbed by this and made light of the multitude of the Medes, saying that their Trachinian foreigner brought them good news. If the Medes hid the sun, they could fight them in the shade instead of in the sun. This saying and others like it, they claim, Dieneces the Lacedaemonian left behind as a memorial. 227. Next after him two Lacedaemonian brothers, Alpheus and Maron, sons of Orsiphantus, are said to have been most courageous. The Thespian who gained most renown was one whose name was Dithyrambus son of Harmatides. 228. There is an inscription written over these men, who were buried where they fell, and over those who died before the others went away, dismissed by Leonidas. It reads as follows: “Here four thousand from the Peloponnese once fought three million. ” [2] That inscription is for them all, but the Spartans have their own: “Foreigner, go tell the Spartans that we lie here obedient to their commands. ” [3] That one is to the Lacedaemonians, this one to the seer: “This is a monument to the renowned Megistias, Slain by the Medes who crossed the Spercheius river. The seer knew well his coming doom, But endured not to abandon the leaders of Sparta. ” [4] Except for the seer's inscription, the Amphictyons are the ones who honored them by erecting inscriptions and pillars. That of the seer Megistias was inscribed by Simonides son of Leoprepes because of his tie of guest-friendship with the man.116 229. It is said that two of these three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus, could have agreed with each other either to come home safely together to Sparta, since Leonidas had dismissed them from the camp and they were lying at Alpeni very sick of ophthalmia, or to die with the others, if they were unwilling to return home. They could have done either of these things, but they could not agree and had different intentions. When Eurytus learned of the Persians circuit, he demanded his armor and put it on, bidding his helot to lead him to the fighting. The helot led him there and fled, but he rushed into the fray and was killed. Aristodemus, however, lost his strength and stayed behind. [2] Now if Aristodemus alone had been sick and returned to Sparta, or if they had both made the trip, I think the Spartans would not have been angry with them. When, however, one of them died, and the other had the same excuse but was unwilling to die, the Spartans had no choice but to display great anger towards Aristodemus. 230. Some say that Aristodemus came home safely to Sparta in this way and by this excuse. Others say that he had been sent out of the camp as a messenger and could have gotten back in time for the battle but chose not to, staying behind on the road and so surviving, while his fellow-messenger arrived at the battle and was killed. 231. When Aristodemus returned to Lacedaemon, he was disgraced and without honor. He was deprived of his honor in this way: no Spartan would give him fire or speak with him, and they taunted him by calling him Aristodemus the Trembler. In the battle at Plataea, however, he made up for all the blame brought against him. 232. It is said that another of the three hundred survived because he was sent as a messenger to Thessaly. His name was Pantites. When he returned to Sparta, he was dishonored and hanged himself. 233. The Thebans, whose general was Leontiades, fought against the king's army as long as they were with the Hellenes and under compulsion. When, however, they saw the Persian side prevailing and the Hellenes with Leonidas hurrying toward the hill, they split off and approached the barbarians, holding out their hands. With the most truthful words ever spoken, they explained that they were Medizers, had been among the first to give earth and water to the king, had come to Thermopylae under constraint, and were guiltless of the harm done to the king. [2] By this plea they saved their lives, and the Thessalians bore witness to their words. They were not, however, completely lucky. When the barbarians took hold of them as they approached, they killed some of them even as they drew near. Most of them were branded by Xerxes command with the kings marks, starting with the general Leontiades. His son Eurymachus long afterwards117 was murdered by the Plataeans when, as general of four hundred Thebans, he seized the town of Plataea. 234. This, then, is how the Greeks fought at Thermopylae. Xerxes then sent for Demaratus and questioned him, saying first, “Demaratus you are a good man. I hold that proven by the plain truth, for things have turned out no differently than you foretold. Now, tell me this: how many Lacedaemonians are left, and how many of them are warriors like these? or is it so with them all?” [2] “My king,” said Demaratus, “the number of the Lacedaemonians is great, and so too the number of their cities. But what you would like to know, I will tell you: there is in Lacedaemon a city called Sparta, a city of about eight thousand men, all of them equal to those who have fought here; the rest of the Lacedaemonians are not equal to these, yet they are valiant men.” [3] “And how, Demaratus,” answered Xerxes, “can we overcome those men with the least trouble to ourselves? Come, disclose that to me, for you have been their king and know the plan and order of their counsels.” 235. “My king,” Demaratus replied, “if you in sincerity ask my counsel, it is but right that I should point out to you the best way. It is this, namely that you should send three hundred ships of your fleet to the Laconian land. [2] There is an island lying off their coasts called Cythera. Chilon, a man of much wisdom among us, says about it that it would be better for the Spartans if Cythera were beneath the sea rather than above it. This he said because he expected that it would provide an opportunity for attack just as I am suggesting—not that he had any foreknowledge of your force, but he dreaded all men's forces alike. [3] Let them then make that island their station and set out from there to strike fear into the Lacedaemonians. If these have a war of their own on their borders, you will have no cause to fear that they will send men to save the rest of Hellas from being overrun by your armies; furthermore, the enslavement of the rest of Hellas must weaken Laconia if it is left to stand alone. [4] If, however, you do not do this, then expect what I will now tell you: a narrow isthmus leads to the Peloponnese; all the Peloponnesians will be banded together there against you, and you may expect battles more stubborn than those that you have fought already. But if you do as I have said, then you may have that isthmus and all their cities without striking a blow.” 236. Next spoke Achaemenes, Xerxes' brother and admiral of the fleet; it chanced that he was present during their conversation, and he feared that Xerxes would be persuaded to follow Demaratus' counsel. “O king,” he said, “I see that you are listening to a man who is jealous of your good fortune or is perhaps even a traitor to your cause. These are the ways that are dear to the hearts of all Greeks: they are jealous of success and they hate power. [2] No, if after the recent calamity which has wrecked four hundred of your ships you send away three hundred more from your fleet to sail round the Peloponnese, your enemies will be enough to do battle with you; while your fleet is united, however, it is invincible, and your enemies will not be so many as to be enough to fight; moreover, all your navy will be a help to your army and your army to your navy, both moving together. If you separate some of your fleet from yourself, you will be of no use to them, nor they to you. [3] My counsel is rather that you make your own plans well, and take no account of the business of your adversaries, what battlefields they will choose, what they will do, and how many they are. They are able enough to think for themselves, and we similarly for ourselves. As for the Lacedaemonians, if they meet the Persians in the field, they will in no way repair their most recent losses.” 237. “Achaemenes,” Xerxes answered, “I think that you speak well, and I will do as you counsel. Despite the fact that your advice is better than his, Demaratus does say what he supposes to be most serviceable to me, [2] for assuredly I will never believe that he is no friend to my cause. I believe this of him because of all that he has already said and by what is the truth, namely, that if one citizen prospers, another citizen is jealous of him and shows his enmity by silence, and no one, (except if he has attained the height of excellence; and such are seldom seen) if his own townsman asks for counsel, will give him what he thinks to be the best advice. [3] If one stranger prospers, however, another stranger is beyond all men his well-wisher and will, if he is asked, impart to him the best counsel he has. It is for this reason that I bid you all to refrain from maligning Demaratus, seeing that he is a stranger and a friend.” 238. Having spoken in this way, Xerxes passed over the place where the dead lay and hearing that Leonidas had been king and general of the Lacedaemonians, he gave orders to cut off his head and impale it. [2] It is plain to me by this piece of evidence among many others, that while Leonidas lived, king Xerxes was more incensed against him than against all others; otherwise he would never have dealt so outrageously with his dead body, for the Persians are beyond all men known in the habit of honoring valiant warriors. They, then, who received these orders did as I have said. 239. I return now to that place in my history where it earlier left off.118 The Lacedaemonians were the first to be informed that the king was equipping himself to attack Hellas; with this knowledge it was that they sent to the oracle at Delphi, where they received the answer about which I spoke a little while ago. Now the way in which they were informed of this was strange. [2] Demaratus son of Ariston, an exile among the Medes, was, as I suppose (reason being also my ally), no friend to the Lacedaemonians, and I leave it to be imagined whether what he did was done out of goodwill or spiteful triumph. When Xerxes was resolved to march against Hellas, Demaratus, who was then at Susa and had knowledge of this, desired to send word of it to the Lacedaemonians. [3] He, however, feared detection and had no other way of informing them than this trick:—taking a double tablet, he scraped away the wax from it, and then wrote the king's plan on the wood. Next he melted the wax back again over the writing, so that the bearer of this seemingly blank tablet might not be troubled by the way-wardens. [4] When the tablet came to Lacedaemon, the Lacedaemonians could not guess its meaning, until at last (as I have been told) Gorgo, Cleomenes' daughter and Leonidas' wife, discovered the trick herself and advised them to scrape the wax away so that they would find writing on the wood. When they did so, they found and read the message, and presently sent it to the rest of the Greeks. This is the story, as it is told.