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Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete
by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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In the midst of the perplexity which pervaded the king's councils after this defeat, there arrived at the Persian camp one Ephialtes, a Malian. Influenced by the hope of a great reward, this traitor demanded and obtained an audience, in which he offered to conduct the Medes through a secret path across the mountains, into the pass. The offer was joyfully accepted, and Hydarnes, with the forces under his command, was despatched under the guidance of the Malian. At the dusk of evening the detachment left the camp, and marching all night, from the river Asopus, between the mountains of Oeta on the right hand, and the Trachinian ridges on the left, they found themselves at the early dawn at the summit of the hill, on which a thousand Phocians had been stationed to defend the pass, for it was not unknown to the Spartans. In the silence of dawn they wound through the thick groves of oak that clad the ascent, and concealed the glitter of their arms; but the exceeding stillness of the air occasioned the noise they made in trampling on the leaves [65] to reach the ears of the Phocians. That band sprang up from the earth on which they had slept, to the consternation and surprise of the invaders, and precipitately betook themselves to arms. The Persians, though unprepared for an enemy at this spot, drew up in battle array, and the heavy onslaught of their arrows drove the Phocians to seek a better shelter up the mountains, not imagining that the passage into the defile, but their own destruction, was the object of the enterprise. The Persians prudently forbore pursuit, but availing themselves of the path now open to their progress, rapidly descended the opposite side of the mountain.

IX. Meanwhile, dark and superstitious terrors were at work in the Grecian camp. The preceding eve the soothsayer (Megistias) had inspected the entrails, and foretold that death awaited the defenders of Thermopylae in the morning; and on that fatal night a Cumaean deserted from the Persian camp had joined Leonidas, and informed him of the treachery of Ephialtes. At early day their fears were confirmed by the sentinels posted on the mountains, who fled into the defile at the approach of the barbarians.

A hasty council was assembled; some were for remaining, some for flight. The council ended with the resolution of a general retreat, probably with the assent, possibly by the instances, of Leonidas, who was contented to possess the monopoly of glory and of death. The laws of the Spartans forbade them to fly from any enemy, however numerous, and Leonidas did not venture to disobey them. Perhaps his resolution was strengthened by an oracle of that Delphi so peculiarly venerated by the Dorian race, and which foretold either the fall of Sparta, or the sacrifice of a Spartan king of the blood of Hercules. To men whose whole happiness was renown, life had no temptation equal to such a death!

X. Leonidas and his countrymen determined to keep the field. The Thespians alone voluntarily remained to partake his fate; but he detained also the suspected Thebans, rather as a hostage than an auxiliary. The rest of the confederates precipitately departed across the mountains to their native cities. Leonidas would have dismissed the prophetic soothsayer, but Megistias insisted on his right to remain; he contented himself with sending away his only son, who had accompanied the expedition. Even the stern spirit of Leonidas is said to have yielded to the voice of nature; and he ordered two of his relations to return to Sparta to report the state of affairs. "You prescribe to us the duties of messengers, not of soldiers," was the reply, as the warriors buckled on their shields, and took their posts with the rest.

If history could penetrate from events into the hearts of the agents, it would be interesting even to conjecture the feelings of this devoted band, awaiting the approach of a certain death, in that solitary defile. Their enthusiasm, and that rigid and Spartan spirit which had made all ties subservient to obedience to the law—all excitement tame to that of battle—all pleasure dull to the anticipation of glory—probably rendered the hours preceding death the most enviable of their lives. They might have exulted in the same elevating fanaticism which distinguished afterward the followers of Mahomet; and seen that opening paradise in immortality below, which the Moslemin beheld in anticipation above.

XI. Early on that awful morning, Xerxes offered a solemn libation to his gods, and at the middle of the noon, when Hydarnes might be supposed to be close upon the rear of the enemy, the barbarian troops commenced their march. Leonidas and his band advanced beyond their intrenchment, into the broader part of the defile. Before the fury of their despair, the Persians fell in great numbers; many of them were hurled into the sea, others trodden down and crushed by the press of their own numbers.

When the spears of the Greeks were shivered in pieces they had recourse to their swords, and the battle was fought hand to hand: thus fighting, fell Leonidas, surrounded in death by many of his band, of various distinction and renown. Two half-brothers of Xerxes, mingling in the foremost of the fray, contended for the body of the Spartan king, and perished by the Grecian sword.

For a short time the Spartans repelled the Persian crowd, who, where valour failed to urge them on, were scourged to the charge by the lash of their leaders, and drew the body of Leonidas from the press; and now, winding down the pass, Hydarnes and his detachment descended to the battle. The scene then became changed, the Spartans retired, still undaunted, or rather made yet more desperate as death drew near, into the narrowest of the pass, and, ranged upon an eminence of the strait, they died—fighting, even after their weapons were broken, with their hands and teeth—rather crushed beneath the number than slain by the swords of the foe—"non victi sed vincendo fatigati." [67]

XII. Two Spartans of the three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus, had, in consequence of a severe disorder in the eyes, been permitted to sojourn at Alpeni; but Eurytus, hearing of the contest, was led by his helot into the field, and died with his countrymen. Aristodemus alone remained, branded with disgrace on his return to Sparta; but subsequently redeeming his name at the battle of Plataea. [68]

The Thebans, beholding the victory of the Persians, yielded their arms; and, excepting a few, slain as they approached, not as foes, but as suppliants, were pardoned by Xerxes.

The king himself came to view the dead, and especially the corpse of Leonidas. He ordered the head of that hero to be cut off, and his body suspended on a cross [69], an instance of sudden passion, rather than customary barbarity. For of all nations the Persians most honoured valour, even in their foes.

XIII. The moral sense of mankind, which places the example of self-sacrifice among the noblest lessons by which our nature can be corrected, has justly immortalized the memory of Leonidas. It is impossible to question the virtue of the man, but we may fairly dispute the wisdom of the system he adorned. We may doubt whether, in fact, his death served his country so much as his life would have done. It was the distinction of Thermopylae, that its heroes died in obedience to the laws; it was the distinction of Marathon, that its heroes lived to defeat the invader and preserve their country. And in proof of this distinction, we find afterward, at Plataea, that of all the allied Greeks the Spartans the most feared the conquerors of Thermopylae; the Athenians the least feared the fugitives of Marathon.

XIV. Subsequently, on the hill to which the Spartans and Thespians had finally retired, a lion of stone was erected by the Amphictyons, in honour of Leonidas; and many years afterward the bones of that hero were removed to Sparta, and yearly games, at which Spartans only were allowed to contend, were celebrated round his tomb. Separate monuments to the Greeks generally, and to the three hundred who had refused to retreat, were built also, by the Amphictyons, at Thermopylae. Long extant, posterity admired the inscriptions which they bore; that of the Spartans became proverbial for its sublime conciseness.

"Go, stranger," it said, "and tell the Spartans that we obeyed the law—and lie here!"

The private friendship of Simonides the poet erected also a monument to Megistias, the soothsayer, in which it was said truly to his honour,

"That the fate he foresaw he remained to brave;"

Such is the history of the battle of Thermopylae (B. C. 480). [70]



CHAPTER VII.

The Advice of Demaratus to Xerxes.—Themistocles.—Actions off Artemisium.—The Greeks retreat.—The Persians invade Delphi, and are repulsed with great Loss.—The Athenians, unaided by their Allies, abandon Athens, and embark for Salamis.—The irresolute and selfish Policy of the Peloponnesians.—Dexterity and Firmness of Themistocles.—Battle of Salamis.—Andros and Carystus besieged by the Greeks.—Anecdotes of Themistocles.—Honours awarded to him in Sparta.—Xerxes returns to Asia.—Olynthus and Potidaea besieged by Artabazus.—The Athenians return Home.—The Ostracism of Aristides is repealed.

I. After the victory of Thermopylae, Demaratus advised the Persian monarch to despatch a detachment of three hundred vessels to the Laconian coast, and seize the Island of Cythera, of which a Spartan once (foreseeing how easily hereafter that post might be made to command and overawe the Laconian capital) had said, "It were better for Sparta if it were sunk into the sea." The profound experience of Demaratus in the selfish and exclusive policy of his countrymen made him argue that, if this were done, the fears of Sparta for herself would prevent her joining the forces of the rest of Greece, and leave the latter a more easy prey to the invader.

The advice, fortunately for the Greeks, was overruled by Achaemenes.

Meanwhile the Grecian navy, assembled off Artemisium, was agitated by divers councils. Beholding the vast number of barbarian ships now collected at Aphetae, and the whole shores around swarming with hostile troops, the Greeks debated the necessity of retreat.

The fleet was under the command of Eurybiades, the Spartan. For although Athens furnished a force equal to all the rest of the allies together, and might justly, therefore, have pretended to the command, yet the jealousy of the confederates, long accustomed to yield to the claims of Sparta, and unwilling to acknowledge a new superiority in another state, had induced the Athenians readily to forego their claim. And this especially at the instance of Themistocles. "To him," says Plutarch, "Greece not only owes her preservation, but the Athenians in particular the glory of surpassing their enemies in valour and their allies in moderation." But if fortune gave Eurybiades the nominal command, genius forced Themistocles into the actual pre-eminence. That extraordinary man was, above all, adapted to his time; and, suited to its necessities, he commanded its fates. His very fault in the callousness of the moral sentiment, and his unscrupulous regard to expediency, peculiarly aided him in his management of men. He could appeal to the noblest passions—he could wind himself into the most base. Where he could not exalt he corrupted, where he could not persuade he intimidated, where he could not intimidate he bribed. [71]

When the intention to retreat became generally circulated, the inhabitants of the northern coast of Euboea (off which the Athenian navy rode) entreated Eurybiades at least to give them time to remove their slaves and children from the vengeance of the barbarian. Unsuccessful with him, they next sought Themistocles. For the consideration of thirty talents, the Athenian promised to remain at Artemisium, and risk the event of battle. Possessed of this sum, he won over the sturdy Spartan by the gift of five talents, and to Adimantus the Corinthian, the most obstinate in retreat, he privately sent three [72]. The remainder he kept for his own uses;— distinguished from his compeers in this—that he obtained a much larger share of the gift than they; that they were bribed to be brave, and that he was rewarded for bribing them. The pure-minded statesman of the closet cannot but feel some disdain and some regret to find, blended together, the noblest actions and the paltriest motives. But whether in ancient times or in modern, the web of human affairs is woven from a mingled yarn, and the individuals who save nations are not always those most acceptable to the moralist. The share of Themistocles in this business is not, however, so much to his discredit as to that of the Spartan Eurybiades. We cannot but observe that no system contrary to human nature is strong against actual temptation. The Spartan law interdicted the desire of riches, and the Spartans themselves yielded far more easily to the lust of avarice than the luxurious Athenians. Thus a native of Zelea, a city in Asia Minor, had sought to corrupt the Peloponnesian cities by Persian gold: it was not the Spartans, it was the Athenians, who declared this man infamous, and placed his life out of the pale of the Grecian law. With a noble pride Demosthenes speaks of this decree. "The gold," he, says, "was brought into Peloponnesus, not to Athens. But our ancestors extended their care beyond their own city to the whole of Greece." [73] An Aristides is formed by the respect paid to integrity, which society tries in vain—a Demaratus, an Eurybiades, and, as we shall see, a Pausanias, by the laws which, affecting to exclude the influence of the passions, render their temptations novel, and their effects irresistible.

II. The Greeks continued at Euboea; and the Persians, eager to engage so inconsiderable an enemy, despatched two hundred chosen vessels, with orders to make a circuitous route beyond Sciathos, and thus, unperceived, to attack the Grecian rear, while on a concerted signal the rest would advance upon the front.

A deserter of Scios escaped, however, from Aphetae, and informed the Greeks of the Persian plan. Upon this it was resolved at midnight to advance against that part of the fleet which had been sent around Euboea. But as twilight approached, they appeared to have changed or delayed this design, and proceeded at once towards the main body of the fleet, less perhaps with the intention of giving regular battle, than of attempting such detached skirmishes as would make experiment of their hardihood and skill. The Persians, amazed at the infatuation of their opponents, drew out their fleet in order, and succeeded in surrounding the Greek ships.

The night, however, separated the hostile forces, but not until the Greeks had captured thirty of the barbarian vessels; the first ship was taken by an Athenian. The victory, however, despite this advantage, was undecided, when the Greeks returned to Artemisium, the Persians to Aphetae.

III. But during the night one of those sudden and vehement storms not unfrequent to the summers of Greece broke over the seas. The Persians at Aphetae heard, with a panic dismay, the continued thunder that burst above the summit of Mount Pelion; and the bodies of the dead and the wrecks of ships, floating round the prows, entangled their oars amid a tempestuous and heavy sea. But the destruction which the Persians at Aphetae anticipated to themselves, actually came upon that part of the barbarian fleet which had made the circuit round Euboea. Remote from land, exposed to all the fury of the tempest, ignorant of their course, and amid the darkness of night, they were dashed to pieces against those fearful rocks termed "The Hollows," and not a single galley escaped the general destruction.

Thus the fleet of the barbarians was rendered more equal to that of the Greeks. Re-enforced by fifty-three ships from Athens the next day, the Greeks proceeded at evening against that part of the hostile navy possessed by the Cilicians. These they utterly defeated, and returned joyfully to Artemisium.

Hitherto these skirmishes, made on the summer evenings, in order probably to take advantage of the darkening night to break off before any irremediable loss was sustained, seem rather to have been for the sake of practice in the war—chivalric sorties as it were—than actual and deliberate engagements. But the third day, the Persians, impatient of conquest, advanced to Artemisium. These sea encounters were made precisely on the same days as the conflicts at Thermopylae; the object on each was the same—the gaining in one of the sea defile, in the other of the land entrance into Greece. The Euripus was the Thermopylae of the ocean.

IV. The Greeks remained in their station, and there met the shock; the battle was severe and equal; the Persians fought with great valour and firmness, and although the loss upon their side was far the greatest, many of the Greek vessels also perished. They separated as by mutual consent, neither force the victor. Of the Persian fleet the Egyptians were the most distinguished—of the Grecian the Athenians; and of the last none equalled in valour Clinias; his ship was manned at his own expense. He was the father of that Alcibiades, afterward so famous.

While the Greeks rested at Artemisium, counting the number of their slain, and amid the wrecks of their vessels, they learned the fate of Leonidas. [74] This determined their previous consultations on the policy of retreat, and they abandoned the Euripus in steady and marshalled order, the Corinthians first, the Athenians closing the rear. Thus the Persians were left masters of the sea and land entrance into Greece.

But even in retreat, the active spirit of Themistocles was intent upon expedients. It was more than suspected that a considerable portion of the Ionians now in the service of Xerxes were secretly friendly to the Greeks. In the swiftest of the Athenian vessels Themistocles therefore repaired to a watering-place on the coast, and engraved upon the rocks these words, which were read by the Ionians the next day.

"Men of Ionia, in fighting against your ancestors, and assisting to enslave Greece, you act unworthily. Come over to us; or if that may not be, at least retire from the contest, and prevail on the Carians to do the same. If yet neither secession nor revolt be practicable, at least when we come to action exert not yourselves against us. Remember that we are descended from one common race, and that it was on your behalf that we first incurred the enmity of the Persian."

A subtler intention than that which was the more obvious, was couched beneath this exhortation. For if it failed to seduce the Ionians, it might yet induce Xerxes to mistrust their alliance.

When the Persians learned that the Greeks had abandoned their station, their whole fleet took possession of the pass, possessed themselves of the neighbouring town of Histiaea, and overrunning a part of the Isle of Euboea, received the submission of the inhabitants.

Xerxes now had recourse to a somewhat clumsy, though a very commonly practised artifice. Twenty thousand of his men had fallen at Thermopylae: of these he buried nineteen thousand, and leaving the remainder uninterred, he invited all who desired it, by public proclamation, to examine the scene of contest. As a considerable number of helots had joined their Spartan lords and perished with them, the bodies of the slain amounted to four thousand [75], while those of the Persians were only one thousand. This was a practical despotic bulletin.

V. Of all the neighbouring district, the Phocians had alone remained faithful to the Grecian cause: their territory was now overrun by the Persians, at the instance of their hereditary enemies, the Thessalians, destroying city and temple, and committing all the horrors of violence and rapine by the way. Arrived at Panopeae, the bulk of the barbarian army marched through Boeotia towards Athens, the great object of revenge, while a separate detachment was sent to Delphi, with a view of plundering the prodigious riches accumulated in that celebrated temple, and of which, not perhaps uncharacteristically, Xerxes was said to be better informed than of the treasures he had left behind in his own palace.

But the wise and crafty priesthood of Delphi had been too long accustomed successfully to deceive mankind to lose hope or self-possession at the approach even of so formidable a foe. When the dismayed citizens of Delphi ran to the oracle, demanding advice and wishing to know what should be done with the sacred treasures, the priestess gravely replied that "the god could take care of his own possessions, and that the only business of the citizens was to provide for themselves;" a priestly answer, importing that the god considered his possessions, and not the flock, were the treasure. The one was sure to be defended by a divinity, the other might shift for themselves.

The citizens were not slow in adopting the advice; they immediately removed their wives and children into Achaia—while the males and adults fled—some to Amphissa, some amid the craggy recesses of Parnassus, or into that vast and spacious cavern at the base of Mount Corycus, dedicated to the Muses, and imparting to those lovely deities the poetical epithet of Corycides. Sixty men, with the chief priest, were alone left to protect the sacred city.

VI. But superstition can dispense with numbers in its agency. Just as the barbarians were in sight of the temple, the sacred arms, hitherto preserved inviolable in the sanctuary, were seen by the soothsayer to advance to the front of the temple. And this prodigy but heralded others more active. As the enemy now advanced in the stillness of the deserted city, and impressed doubtless by their own awe (for not to a Persian army could there have seemed no veneration due to the Temple of the Sun!) just by the shrine of Minerva Pronaea, built out in front of the great temple, a loud peal of thunder burst suddenly over their heads, and two enormous fragments of rock (separated from the heights of that Parnassus amid whose recesses mortals as well as gods lay hid) rolled down the mountain-side with a mighty crash, and destroyed many of the Persian multitude. At the same time, from the temple of the warlike goddess broke forth a loud and martial shout, as if to arms. Confused—appalled—panic-stricken by these supernatural prodigies—the barbarians turned to fly; while the Delphians, already prepared and armed, rushed from cave and mountain, and, charging in the midst of the invaders, scattered them with great slaughter. Those who escaped fled to the army in Boeotia. Thus the treasures of Delphi were miraculously preserved, not only from the plunder of the Persian, but also from the clutch of the Delphian citizens themselves, who had been especially anxious, in the first instance, to be permitted to deposite the treasures in a place of safety. Nobody knew better than the priests that treasures always diminish when transferred from one hand to another.

VII. The Grecian fleet anchored at Salamis by the request of the Athenians, who were the more anxious immediately to deliberate on the state of affairs, as the Persian army was now approaching their borders, and they learned that the selfish warriors of the Peloponnesus, according to their customary policy, instead of assisting the Athenians and Greece generally, by marching towards Boeotia, were engaged only in fortifying the isthmus or providing for their own safety.

Unable to engage the confederates to assist them in protecting Attica, the Athenians entreated, at least, the rest of the maritime allies to remain at Salamis, while they themselves hastened back to Athens.

Returned home, their situation was one which their generous valour had but little merited. Although they had sent to Artemisium the principal defence of the common cause, now, when the storm rolled towards themselves, none appeared on their behalf. They were at once incensed and discouraged by the universal desertion. [76] How was it possible that, alone and unaided, they could withstand the Persian multitude? Could they reasonably expect the fortunes of Marathon to be perpetually renewed? To remain at Athens was destruction—to leave it seemed to them a species of impiety. Nor could they anticipate victory with a sanguine hope, in abandoning the monuments of their ancestors and the temples of their gods. [77]

Themistocles alone was enabled to determine the conduct of his countrymen in this dilemma. Inexhaustible were the resources of a genius which ranged from the most lofty daring to the most intricate craft. Perceiving that the only chance of safety was in the desertion of the city, and that the strongest obstacle to this alternative was in the superstitious attachment to HOME ever so keenly felt by the ancients, he had recourse, in the failure of reason, to a counter-superstition. In the temple of the citadel was a serpent, dedicated to Minerva, and considered the tutelary defender of the place. The food appropriated to the serpent was suddenly found unconsumed—the serpent itself vanished; and, at the suggestion of Themistocles, the priests proclaimed that the goddess had deserted the city and offered herself to conduct them to the seas. Then, amid the general excitement, Themistocles reiterated his version of the Delphic oracle. Then were the ships reinterpreted to be the wooden walls, and Salamis once more proclaimed "the Divine." The fervour of the people was awakened—the persuasions of Themistocles prevailed—even the women loudly declared their willingness to abandon Athens for the sake of the Athenians; and it was formally decreed that the city should be left to the guardianship of Minerva, and the citizens should save themselves, their women, children, and slaves, as their own discretion might suggest. Most of them took refuge in Troezene, where they were generously supported at the public expense—some at Aegina—others repaired to Salamis.

A moving and pathetic spectacle was that of the embarcation of the Athenians for the Isle of Salamis. Separated from their children, their wives (who were sent to remoter places of safety)—abandoning their homes and altars—the citadel of Minerva—the monuments of Marathon—they set out for a scene of contest (B. C. 480), perilous and precarious, and no longer on the site of their beloved and father-land. Their grief was heightened by the necessity of leaving many behind, whose extreme age rendered them yet more venerable, while it incapacitated their removal. Even the dumb animals excited all the fond domestic associations, running to the strand, and expressing by their cries their regret for the hands that fed them: one of them, a dog, that belonged to Xanthippus, father of Pericles, is said to have followed the ships, and swam to Salamis, to die, spent with toil, upon the sands.

VIII. The fleet now assembled at Salamis; the Spartans contributed only sixteen vessels, the people of Aegina thirty—swift galleys and well equipped; the Athenians one hundred and eighty; the whole navy, according to Herodotus, consisted of three hundred and seventy-eight [78] ships, besides an inconsiderable number of vessels of fifty oars.

Eurybiades still retained the chief command. A council of war was held. The greater number of the more influential allies were composed of Peloponnesians, and, with the countenance of the Spartan chief, it was proposed to retire from Salamis and fix the station in the isthmus near the land-forces of Peloponnesus. This was highly consonant to the interested policy of the Peloponnesian states, and especially to that of Sparta; Attica was considered already lost, and the fate of that territory they were therefore indisposed to consider. While the debate was yet pending, a messenger arrived from Athens with the intelligence that the barbarian, having reduced to ashes the allied cities of Thespiae and Plataea in Boeotia, had entered Attica; and shortly afterward they learned that (despite a desperate resistance from the handful of Athenians who, some from poverty, some from a superstitious prejudice in favour of the wooden wall of the citadel, had long held out, though literally girt by fire from the burning of their barricades) the citadel had been taken, plundered, and burnt, and the remnant of its defenders put to the sword.

IX. Consternation seized the council; many of the leaders broke away hastily, went on board, hoisted their sails, and prepared to fly. Those who remained in the council determined that an engagement at sea could only be risked near the isthmus. With this resolve the leaders at night returned to their ships.

It is singular how often, in the most memorable events, the fate and the glory of nations is decided by the soul of a single man. When Themistocles had retired to his vessel, he was sought by Mnesiphilus, who is said to have exercised an early and deep influence over the mind of Themistocles, and to have been one of those practical yet thoughtful statesmen called into existence by the sober philosophy of Solon [79], whose lessons on the science of government made a groundwork for the rhetorical corruptions of the later sophists. On learning the determination of the council, Mnesiphilus forcibly represented its consequences. "If the allies," said he, "once abandon Salamis, you have lost for ever the occasion of fighting for your country. The fleet will certainly separate, the various confederates return home, and Greece will perish. Hasten, therefore, ere yet it be too late, and endeavour to persuade Eurybiades to change his resolution and remain."

This advice, entirely agreeable to the views of Themistocles, excited that chief to new exertions. He repaired at once to Eurybiades; and, by dint of that extraordinary mastery over the minds of others which he possessed, he finally won over the Spartan, and, late as the hour was, persuaded him to reassemble the different leaders.

X. In that nocturnal council debate grew loud and warm. When Eurybiades had explained his change of opinion and his motives for calling the chiefs together; Themistocles addressed the leaders at some length and with great excitement. It was so evidently the interest of the Corinthians to make the scene of defence in the vicinity of Corinth, that we cannot be surprised to find the Corinthian leader, Adimantus, eager to interrupt the Athenian. "Themistocles," said he, "they who at the public games rise before their time are beaten."

"True," replied Themistocles, with admirable gentleness and temper; "but they who are left behind are never crowned."

Pursuing the advantage which a skilful use of interruption always gives to an orator, the Athenian turned to Eurybiades. Artfully suppressing his secret motive in the fear of the dispersion of the allies, which he rightly judged would offend without convincing, he had recourse to more popular arguments. "Fight at the isthmus," he said, "and you fight in the open sea, where, on account of our heavier vessels and inferior number, you contend with every disadvantage. Grant even success, you will yet lose, by your retreat, Salamis, Megara, and Aegina. You would preserve the Peloponnesus, but remember, that by attracting thither the war, you attract not only the naval, but also the land forces of the enemy. Fight here, and we have the inestimable advantage of a narrow sea—we shall preserve Salamis, the refuge of our wives and children—we shall as effectually protect the Peloponnesus as by repairing to the isthmus and drawing the barbarian thither. If we obtain the victory, the enemy will neither advance to the isthmus nor penetrate beyond Attica. Their retreat is sure."

The orator was again interrupted by Adimantus with equal rudeness. And Themistocles, who well knew how to alternate force with moderation, and menace with persuasion, retorted with an equal asperity, but with a singular dignity and happiness of expression.

"It becomes you," said Adimantus, scornfully, alluding to the capture of Athens, "it becomes you to be silent, and not to advise us to desert our country; you, who no longer have a country to defend! Eurybiades can only be influenced by Themistocles when Themistocles has once more a city to represent."

"Wretch!" replied Themistocles, sternly, "we have indeed left our walls and houses—preferring freedom to those inanimate possessions— but know that the Athenians still possess a country and a city, greater and more formidable than yours, well provided with stores and men, which none of the Greeks will be able to resist: our ships are our country and our city."

"If," he added, once more addressing the Spartan chief, "if you continue here you will demand our eternal gratitude: fly, and you are the destroyers of Greece. In this war the last and sole resource of the Athenians is their fleet: reject my remonstrances, and I warn you that at once we will take our families on board, and sail to that Siris, on the Italian shores, which of old is said to have belonged to us, and in which, if the oracle be trusted, we ought to found a city. Deprived of us, you will remember my words."

XI. The menace of Themistocles—the fear of so powerful a race, unhoused, exasperated, and in search of a new settlement—and the yet more immediate dread of the desertion of the flower of the navy— finally prevailed. Eurybiades announced his concurrence with the views of Themistocles, and the confederates, wearied with altercation, consented to risk the issue of events at Salamis.

XII. Possessed of Athens, the Persian king held also his council of war. His fleet, sailing up the Euripus, anchored in the Attic bay of Phalerum; his army encamped along the plains around, or within the walls of Athens. The losses his armament had sustained were already repaired by new re-enforcements of Malians, Dorians, Locrians, Bactrians, Carystians, Andrians, Tenedians, and the people of the various isles. "The farther," says Herodotus, "the Persians penetrated into Greece, the greater the numbers by which they were followed." It may be supposed, however, that the motley contributions of an idle and predatory multitude, or of Greeks compelled, not by affection, but fear, ill supplied to Xerxes the devoted thousands, many of them his own gallant Persians, who fell at Thermopylae or perished in the Euboean seas.

XIII. Mardonius and the leaders generally were for immediate battle. The heroine Artemisia alone gave a more prudent counsel. She represented to them, that if they delayed a naval engagement or sailed to the Peloponnesus [80], the Greeks, failing of provisions and overruled by their fears, would be certain to disperse, to retire to their several homes, and, thus detached, fall an easy prey to his arms.

Although Xerxes, contrary to expectation, received the adverse opinion of the Carian princess with compliments and praise, he yet adopted the counsel of the majority; and, attributing the ill success at Artemisium to his absence, resolved in person to witness the triumph of his arms at Salamis.

The navy proceeded, in order, to that island: the land-forces on the same night advanced to the Peloponnesus: there, under Cleombrotus, brother to Leonidas, all the strength of the Peloponnesian confederates was already assembled. They had fortified the pass of Sciron, another Thermopylae in its local character, and protected the isthmus by a wall, at the erection of which the whole army worked night and day; no materials sufficing for the object of defence were disdained—wood, stones, bricks, and sand—all were pressed into service. Here encamped, they hoped nothing from Salamis—they believed the last hope of Greece rested solely with themselves. [81]

XIV. Again new agitation, fear, and dissension broke out in the Grecian navy. All those who were interested in the safety of the Peloponnesus complained anew of the resolution of Eurybiades—urged the absurdity of remaining at Salamis to contend for a territory already conquered—and the leaders of Aegina, Megara, and Athens were left in a minority in the council.

Thus overpowered by the Peloponnesian allies, Themistocles is said to have bethought himself of a stratagem, not inconsonant with his scheming and wily character. Retiring privately from the debate, yet unconcluded, and summoning the most confidential messenger in his service [82], he despatched him secretly to the enemy's fleet with this message—"The Athenian leader, really attached to the king, and willing to see the Greeks subjugated to his power, sends me privately to you. Consternation has seized the Grecian navy; they are preparing to fly; lose not the opportunity of a splendid victory. Divided among themselves, the Greeks are unable to resist you; and you will see, as you advance upon them, those who favour and those who would oppose you in hostility with each other."

The Persian admiral was sufficiently experienced in the treachery and defection of many of the Greeks to confide in the message thus delivered to him; but he scarcely required such intelligence to confirm a resolution already formed. At midnight the barbarians passed over a large detachment to the small isle of Psyttaleia, between Salamis and the continent, and occupying the whole narrow sea as far as the Attic port of Munychia, under cover of the darkness disposed their ships, so as to surround the Greeks and cut off the possibility of retreat.

XV. Unconscious of the motions of the enemy, disputes still prevailed among the chiefs at Salamis, when Themistocles was summoned at night from the council, to which he had returned after despatching his messenger to the barbarian. The person who thus summoned him was Aristides. It was the third year of his exile—which sentence was evidently yet unrepealed—or not in that manner, at night and as a thief, would the eminent and high-born Aristides have joined his countrymen. He came from Aegina in an open boat, under cover of the night passed through the midst of the Persian ships, and arrived at Salamis to inform the Greeks that they were already surrounded.

"At any time," said Aristides, "it would become us to forget our private dissensions, and at this time especially; contending only who should most serve his country. In vain now would the Peloponnesians advise retreat; we are encompassed, and retreat is impossible."

Themistocles welcomed the new-comer with joy, and persuaded him to enter the council and acquaint the leaders with what he knew. His intelligence, received with doubt, was presently confirmed by a trireme of Tenians, which deserted to them; and they now seriously contemplated the inevitable resort of battle.

XVI. At dawn all was prepared. Assembled on the strand, Themistocles harangued the troops; and when he had concluded, orders were given to embark.

It was in the autumn of 480 B. C., two thousand three hundred and sixteen years ago, that the battle of Salamis was fought.

High on a throne of precious metals, placed on one of the eminences of Mount Aegaleos, sat, to survey the contest, the royal Xerxes. The rising sun beheld the shores of the Eleusinian gulf lined with his troops to intercept the fugitives, and with a miscellaneous and motley crowd of such as were rather spectators than sharers of the conflict. [83]

But not as the Persian leaders had expected was the aspect of the foe; nor did the Greeks betray the confusion or the terror ascribed to them by the emissary of Themistocles. As the daylight made them manifest to the Persian, they set up the loud and martial chorus of the paean— "the rocks of Salamis echoed back the shout"—and, to use the expression of a soldier of that day [84], "the trumpet inflamed them with its clangour."

As soon as the Greeks began to move, the barbarian vessels advanced swiftly. But Themistocles detained the ardour of the Greeks until the time when a sharp wind usually arose in that sea, occasioning a heavy swell in the channel, which was peculiarly prejudicial to the unwieldy ships of the Persians; but not so to the light, low, and compact vessels of the Greeks. The manner of attack with the ancient navies was to bring the prow of the vessel, which was fortified by long projecting beaks of brass, to bear upon the sides of its antagonist, and this, the swell of the sea causing the Persian galleys to veer about unwieldily, the agile ships of the Greeks were well enabled to effect.

By the time the expected wind arose, the engagement was begun. The Persian admiral [85] directed his manoeuvres chiefly against Themistocles, for on him, as the most experienced and renowned of the Grecian leaders, the eyes of the enemy were turned. From his ship, which was unusually lofty, as from a castle [86], he sent forth darts and arrows, until one of the Athenian triremes, commanded by Aminias, shot from the rest, and bore down upon him with the prow. The ships met, and, fastened together by their brazen beaks, which served as grappling-irons, Ariabignes gallantly boarded the Grecian vessel, and was instantly slain by the hostile pikes and hurled into the sea [87]. The first who took a ship was an Athenian named Lycomedes. The Grecians keeping to the straits, the Persians were unable to bring their whole armament to bear at once, and could only enter the narrow pass by detachments; the heaviness of the sea and the cumbrous size of their tall vessels frequently occasioned more embarrassment to themselves than the foe—driven and hustling the one against the other. The Athenians maintaining the right wing were opposed by the Phoenicians; the Spartans on the left by the Ionians. The first were gallantly supported by the Aeginetans, who, long skilled in maritime warfare, eclipsed even their new rivals the Athenians. The Phoenician line was broken. The Greeks pursued their victory, still preserving the steadiest discipline and the most perfect order. The sea became strewn and covered with the wrecks of vessels and the bodies of the dead; while, to the left, the Ionians gave way before that part of the allied force commanded by the Spartans, some fighting with great valour, some favouring the Greek confederates. Meanwhile, as the Persians gave way, and the sea became more clear, Aristides, who had hitherto remained on shore, landed a body of Athenians on the Isle of Psyttaleia, and put the Persian guard there stationed to the sword.

Xerxes from the mountain, his countless thousands from the shore, beheld, afar and impotent, the confusion, the slaughter, the defeat of the forces on the sea. Anxious now only for retreat, the barbarians retreated to Phalerum; and there, intercepted by the Aeginetans, were pressed by them in the rear; by the Athenians, led by Themistocles, in front. At this time the heroine Artemisia, pursued by that Aminias whose vessel had first grappled with the Persians, and who of all the Athenian captains was that day the most eminently distinguished, found herself in the extremest danger. Against that remarkable woman the efforts of the Athenians had been especially directed: deeming it a disgrace to them to have an enemy in a woman, they had solemnly set a reward of great amount upon her capture. Thus pursued, Artemisia had recourse to a sudden and extraordinary artifice. Falling in with a vessel of the Persians, commanded by a Calyndian prince, with whom she had once been embroiled, she bore down against the ship and sunk it—a truly feminine stratagem—deceiving at once a public enemy and gratifying a private hatred. The Athenian, seeing the vessel he had pursued thus attack a barbarian, conceived he had mistaken a friendly vessel, probably a deserter from the Persians, for a foe, and immediately sought new objects of assault. Xerxes beheld and admired the prowess of Artemisia, deeming, in the confusion, that it was a hostile vessel she had sunken. [88]

XVII. The battle lasted till the dusk of evening, when at length the remnant of the barbarian fleet gained the port of Phalerum; and the Greeks beheld along the Straits of Salamis no other vestige of the enemy than the wrecks and corpses which were the evidence of his defeat.

XVIII. When morning came, the Greeks awaited a renewal of the engagement; for the Persian fleet were still numerous, the Persian army yet covered the neighbouring shores, and, by a feint to conceal his real purpose, Xerxes had ordered the Phoenician transports to be joined together, as if to connect Salamis to the continent. But a mandate was already issued for the instant departure of the navy for the Hellespont, and a few days afterward the army itself retired into Boeotia.

The victory of Salamis was celebrated by solemn rejoicings, in which, principally remarkable for the beauty of his person, and his accomplishments on the lyre and in the dance, was a youth named Sophocles, destined afterward to share the glory of Aeschylus, who, no less a warrior than a poet, distinguished himself in the battle, and has bequeathed to us the most detailed and animated account we possess of its events.

The Grecian conquerors beheld the retreat of the enemy with indignation; they were unwilling that any of that armament which had burnt their hearths and altars should escape their revenge; they pursued the Persian ships as far as Andros, where, not reaching them, they cast anchor and held a consultation. Themistocles is said to have proposed, but not sincerely, to sail at once to the Hellespont and destroy the bridge of boats. This counsel was overruled, and it was decided not to reduce so terrible an enemy to despair:—"Rather," said one of the chiefs (whether Aristides or Eurybiades is differently related), "build another bridge, that Xerxes may escape the sooner out of Europe."

Themistocles affected to be converted to a policy which he desired only an excuse to effect; and, in pursuance of the hint already furnished him, is said to have sent secretly to Xerxes, informing him that it was the intention of the allies to sail to the Hellespont and destroy the bridge, so that, if the king consulted his safety, he would return immediately into Asia, while Themistocles would find pretexts to delay the pursuit of the confederates.

This artifice appears natural to the scheming character of Themistocles; and, from concurrent testimony [89], it seems to me undoubted that Themistocles maintained a secret correspondence with Xerxes, and even persuaded that monarch that he was disposed to favour him. But it is impossible to believe, with Herodotus, that he had at that time any real desire to conciliate the Persian, foreseeing that he might hereafter need a refuge at the Eastern court. Then in the zenith of his popularity, so acute a foresight is not in man. He was one of those to whom the spirit of intrigue is delight in itself, and in the present instance it was exerted for the common cause of the Athenians, which, with all his faults, he never neglected for, but rather incorporated with, his own.

XIX. Diverted from the notion of pursuing the Persians, the Grecian allies, flushed with conquest, were yet eager for enterprise. The isles which had leagued with the Mede were strongly obnoxious to the confederates, and it was proposed to exact from them a fine; in defrayal of the expenses of the war. Siege was laid to Andros, and those islanders were the first who resisted the demand. Then was it that they made that memorable answer, which may serve as a warning in all times to the strong when pressing on the desperate.

"I bring with me," said Themistocles, "two powerful divinities— Persuasion and Force."

"And we," answered the Andrians, "have two gods equally powerful on our side—Poverty and Despair."

The Andrian deities eventually triumphed, and the siege was raised without effect. But from the Parians and Carystians, and some other islanders, Themistocles obtained enormous sums of money unknown to his colleagues, which, however unjustly extorted, it does not satisfactorily appear that he applied largely to his own personal profit, but, as is more probable, to the rebuilding of Athens. Perhaps he thought, nor without reason, that as the Athenians had been the principal sufferers in the war, and contributed the most largely to its resources, so whatever fines were levied on the seceders were due, not to the confederates generally, but the Athenians alone. The previous conduct of the allies, with so much difficulty preserved from deserting Athens, merited no particular generosity, and excused perhaps the retaliation of a selfish policy. The payment of the fine did not, however, preserve Carystus from attack. After wasting its lands, the Greeks returned to Salamis and divided the Persian spoils. The first fruits were dedicated to the gods, and the choicest of the booty sent to Delphi. And here we may notice one anecdote of Themistocles, which proves, that whatever, at times and in great crises, was the grasping unscrupulousness of his mind, he had at least no petty and vulgar avarice. Seeing a number of bracelets and chains of gold upon the bodies of the dead, he passed them by, and turning to one of his friends, "Take these for yourself," said he, "for you are not Themistocles." [90]

Meanness or avarice was indeed no part of the character of Themistocles, although he has been accused of those vices, because guilty, at times, of extortion. He was profuse, ostentatious, and magnificent above his contemporaries and beyond his means. His very vices were on a large and splendid scale; and if he had something of the pirate in his nature, he had nothing of the miser. When he had to choose between two suiters for his daughter, he preferred the worthy to the wealthy candidate—willing that she should rather marry a man without money than money without a man. [91]

XX. The booty divided, the allies repaired to the isthmus, according to that beautiful ancient custom of apportioning rewards to such as had been most distinguished. It was in the temple of Neptune that the leaders met. The right of voting was confined to the several chiefs, who were to declare whom they thought the first in merit and whom the second. Each leader wrote his own name a candidate for the first rank; but a great majority of suffrages awarded the second to Themistocles. While, therefore, each leader had only a single suffrage in favour of the first rank, the second rank was unequivocally due to the Athenian.

XXI. But even conquest had not sufficed to remove the jealousies of the confederate leaders—they evaded the decision of a question which could not but be propitious to the Athenians, and returned home without having determined the point which had assembled them at the isthmus. But Themistocles was not of a temper to brook patiently this fraud upon his honours. Far from sharing the petty and miserable envies of their chiefs, the Greeks generally were loud in praise of his wisdom and services; and, taking advantage of their enthusiasm, Themistocles repaired to Sparta, trusting to the generosity of the principal rival to compensate the injustice of many. His expectations were not ill-founded—the customs of Sparta allowed no slight to a Spartan, and they adjudged therefore the prize of valour to their own Eurybiades, while they awarded that of wisdom or science to Themistocles. Each was equally honoured with a crown of olive. Forgetful of all their prejudices, their envy, and their inhospitable treatment of strangers, that nation of warriors were dazzled by the hero whose courage assimilated to their own. They presented him with the stateliest chariot to be found in Sparta, and solemnly conducted him homeward as far as Tegea, by an escort of three hundred chosen Spartans called "The Knights"—the sole example of the Spartans conducting any man from their city. It is said that on his return to Athens, Themistocles was reproached by Timodemus of Aphidna, a Belbinite by origin [92], and an implacable public enemy, with his visit to Sparta: "The honours awarded you," said Timodemus, "are bestowed from respect, not to you, but to Athens."

"My friend," retorted the witty chief, "the matter stands thus. Had I been a Belbinite, I had not been thus distinguished at Sparta, nor would you, although you had been born an Athenian!"

While the Greeks were thus occupied, the Persian army had retreated with Mardonius into Thessaly. Here that general selected and marshalled the forces with which he intended to renew the war, retaining in his service the celebrated Immortals. The total, including the cavalry, Herodotus estimates at three hundred thousand men.

Thus occupied, and ere Xerxes departed from Thessaly, the Spartans, impelled by an oracle, sent a messenger to Xerxes to demand atonement for the death of Leonidas.

"Ay," replied the king, laughing, "this man (pointing to Mardonius) shall make you fitting retribution."

Leaving Mardonius in Thessaly, where he proposed to winter, Xerxes now hastened home. Sixty thousand Persians under Artabazus accompanied the king only as far as the passage into Asia; and it was with an inconsiderable force, which, pressed by famine, devastated the very herbage on their way, and which a pestilence and the dysentery diminished as it passed, that the great king crossed the Hellespont, on which the bridge of boats had already been broken by wind and storm. A more abundant supply of provisions than they had yet experienced tempted the army to excesses, to which many fell victims. The rest arrived at Sardis with Xerxes, whence he afterward returned to his more distant capital.

XXII. The people of Potidaea, on the Isthmus of Pallene, and Olynthus, inhabited by the Bottiaeans, a dubious and mongrel race, that boasted their origin from those Athenians who, in the traditional ages, had been sent as tributary captives to the Cretan Minos, no sooner learned the dispersion of the fleet at Salamis, and the retreat of the king, than they openly revolted from the barbarian. Artabazus, returning from the Hellespont, laid siege to Olynthus, massacred the inhabitants, and colonized the town with Chalcidians. He then sat down before Potidaea; but a terrible inundation of the sea, with the sallies of the besieged, destroyed the greater number of the unfortunate invaders. The remnant were conducted by Artabazus into Thessaly, to join the army of Mardonius. The Persian fleet, retreating from Salamis, after passing over the king and his forces from the Chersonese to Abydos, wintered at Cuma; and at the commencement of the spring assembled at Samos.

Meanwhile the Athenians returned to their dismantled city, and directed their attention to its repair and reconstruction. It was then, too, that in all probability the people hastened, by a formal and solemn reversal of the sentence of ostracism, to reward the services of Aristides, and to restore to the commonwealth the most spotless of its citizens. [93]



CHAPTER VIII.

Embassy of Alexander of Macedon to Athens.—The Result of his Proposals.—Athenians retreat to Salamis.—Mardonius occupies Athens. —The Athenians send Envoys to Sparta.—Pausanias succeeds Cleombrotus as Regent of Sparta.—Battle of Plataea.—Thebes besieged by the Athenians.—Battle of Mycale.—Siege of Sestos.—Conclusion of the Persian War.

I. The dawning spring and the formidable appearance of Mardonius, who, with his Persian forces, diminished indeed, but still mighty, lowered on their confines, aroused the Greeks to a sense of their danger. Their army was not as yet assembled, but their fleet, consisting of one hundred and ten vessels, under the command of Leotychides, king of Sparta, and Xanthippus of Athens, lay off Aegina. Thus anchored, there came to the naval commanders certain Chians, who, having been discovered in a plot against the life of Strattis, a tyrant imposed upon Chios by the Persians, fled to Aegina. They declared that all Ionia was ripe for revolt, and their representations induced the Greeks to advance as far as the sacred Delos.

Beyond they dared not venture, ignorant alike of the localities of the country and the forces of the enemy. Samos seemed to them no less remote than the Pillars of Hercules, and mutual fear thus kept the space between the Persian and the Greek fleet free from the advance of either. But Mardonius began slowly to stir from his winter lethargy. Influenced, thought the Greeks, perhaps too fondly, by a Theban oracle, the Persian general despatched to Athens no less distinguished an ambassador than Alexander, the king of Macedon. That prince, connected with the Persians by alliance (for his sister had married the Persian Bubares, son of Megabazus), was considered an envoy calculated to conciliate the Athenians while he served their enemy. And it was now the object of Mardonius to reconcile the foe whom he had failed to conquer. Aware of the Athenian valour, Mardonius trusted that if he could detach that state from the confederacy, and prevail on the Athenians to unite their arms to his own, the rest of Greece would become an easy conquest. By land he already deemed himself secure of fortune, by sea what Grecian navy, if deprived of the flower of its forces, could resist him?

II. The King of Macedon arrived at Athens; but conscious of the jealous and anxious fear which the news of an embassy from Persia would excite among the confederates, the Athenians delayed to grant him the demanded audience until they had time to send for and obtain deputies from Sparta to be present at the assembly.

Alexander of Macedon then addressed the Athenians.

"Men of Athens!" said he, "Mardonius informs you, through me, of this mandate from the king: 'Whatever injuries,' saith he, 'the Athenians have done me, I forgive. Restore them their country—let them even annex to it any other territories they covet—permit them the free enjoyment of their laws. If they will ally with me, rebuild the temples I have burnt.'"

Alexander then proceeded to dilate on the consequences of this favourable mission, to represent the power of the Persian, and urge the necessity of an alliance. "Let my offers prevail with you," he concluded, "for to you alone, of all the Greeks, the king extends his forgiveness, desiring your alliance."

When Alexander had concluded, the Spartan envoys thus spoke through their chief, addressing, not the Macedonian, but the Athenians:—"We have been deputed by the Spartans to entreat you to adopt no measures prejudicial to Greece, and to receive no conditions from the barbarians. This, most iniquitous in itself, would be, above all, unworthy and ungraceful in you; with you rests the origin of the war now appertaining to all Greece. Insufferable, indeed, if the Athenians, once the authors of liberty to many, were now the authors of the servitude of Greece. We commiserate your melancholy condition —your privation for two years of the fruits of your soil, your homes destroyed, and your fortunes ruined. We, the Spartans, and the other allies, will receive your women and all who may be helpless in the war while the war shall last. Let not the Macedonian, smoothing down the messages of Mardonius, move you. This becomes him; tyrant himself, he would assist in a tyrant's work. But you will not heed him if you are wise, knowing that faith and truth are not in the barbarians."

III. The answer of the Athenians to both Spartan and Persian, the substance of which is, no doubt, faithfully preserved to us by Herodotus, may rank among the most imperishable records of that high-souled and generous people.

"We are not ignorant," ran the answer, dictated, and, probably, uttered by Aristides [94], "that the power of the Mede is many times greater than our own. We required not that ostentatious admonition. Yet, for the preservation of liberty, we will resist that power as we can. Cease to persuade us to contract alliance with the barbarian. Bear back to Mardonius this answer from the Athenians—So long as yonder sun," and the orator pointed to the orb [95], "holds the courses which now it holds—so long will we abjure all amity with Xerxes—so long, confiding in the aid of our gods and heroes, whose shrines and altars he hath burnt, will we struggle against him in battle and for revenge. And thou, beware how again thou bearest such proffers to the Athenians; nor, on the plea of benefit to us, urge us to dishonour; for we would not—ungrateful to thee, our guest and our friend—have any evil befall to thee from the anger of the Athenians."

"For you, Spartans! it may be consonant with human nature that you should fear our alliance with the barbarians—yet shamefully you fear it, knowing with what spirit we are animated and act. Gold hath no amount—earth hath no territory, how beautiful soever—that can tempt the Athenians to accept conditions from the Mede for the servitude of Greece. Were we so inclined, many and mighty are our prohibitions; first and chiefly, our temples burnt and overthrown, urging us not to alliance, but to revenge. Next, the whole race of Greece has one consanguinity and one tongue, and common are its manners, its altars, and its gods base indeed, if Athenians were of these the betrayers. Lastly, learn now, if ye knew it not before, that, while one Athenian shall survive, Athens allies herself not with Xerxes."

"We thank you for your providence of us—your offers to protect our families—afflicted and impoverished as we are. We will bear, however, our misfortunes as we may—becoming no burden upon you. Be it your care to send your forces to the field. Let there be no delay. The barbarian will be on us when he learns that we have rejected his proposals. Before he proceed to Attica let us meet him in Boeotia."

IV. On receiving this answer from the Athenians the Spartan ambassadors returned home; and, shortly afterward, Mardonius, by rapid marches, conducted his army towards Attica; fresh supplies of troops recruiting his forces wheresoever he passed. The Thessalian princes, far from repenting their alliance with Mardonius, animated his ardour.

Arrived in Boeotia, the Thebans endeavoured to persuade the Persian general to encamp in that territory, and to hazard no battle, but rather to seek by bribes to the most powerful men in each city, to detach the confederates from the existent alliance. Pride, ambition, and the desire of avenging Xerxes once more upon Athens, deterred Mardonius from yielding to this counsel. He marched on to Attica—he found the territory utterly deserted. He was informed that the inhabitants were either at Salamis or with the fleet. He proceeded to Athens (B. C. 479), equally deserted, and, ten months after the first capture by Xerxes, that city a second time was occupied by the Mede.

From Athens Mardonius despatched a Greek messenger to Salamis, repeating the propositions of Alexander. On hearing these offers in council, the Athenians were animated by a species of fury. A counsellor named Lycidas having expressed himself in favour of the terms, he was immediately stoned to death. The Athenian women, roused by a similar passion with the men, inflicted the same fate upon his wife and children—one of those excesses of virtue which become crimes, but for which exigency makes no despicable excuse. [96] The ambassador returned uninjured.

V. The flight of the Athenians to Salamis had not been a willing resort. That gallant people had remained in Attica so long as they could entertain any expectation of assistance from the Peloponnesus; nor was it until compelled by despair at the inertness of their allies, and the appearance of the Persians in Boeotia, that they had removed to Salamis.

The singular and isolated policy of Sparta, which had curbed and crippled, to an exclusive regard for Spartans, all the more generous and daring principles of action, was never, perhaps, so odiously displayed as in the present indifference to an ally that had so nobly preferred the Grecian liberties to its own security. The whole of the Peloponnesus viewed with apathy the occupation of Attica, and the Spartans were employed in completing the fortifications of the isthmus.

The Athenians despatched messengers to Sparta, as did also Megara and Plataea. These ambassadors assumed a high and reproachful tone of remonstrance.

They represented the conduct of the Athenians in rejecting the overtures of the barbarians—they upbraided the Spartans with perfidy for breaking the agreement to meet the enemy in Boeotia—they declared the resentment of the Athenians at the violation of this compact, demanded immediate supplies, and indicated the plains near Thria, a village in Attica, as a fitting field of battle.

The ephors heard the remonstrance, but from day to day delayed an answer. The Spartans, according to Herodotus, were engaged in celebrating the solemnities in honour of Hyacinthus and Apollo; and this ceremonial might have sufficed as a plausible cause for procrastination, according to all the usages and formalities of Spartan manners. But perhaps there might be another and a graver reason for the delayed determination of the ephors.

When the isthmian fortifications were completed, the superstition of the regent Cleombrotus, who had superintended their construction, was alarmed by an eclipse, and he led back to Sparta the detachment he had commanded in that quarter. He returned but to die; and his son Pausanias succeeded to the regency during the continued minority of Pleistarchus, the infant heir of Leonidas [97]. If the funeral solemnities on the death of a regent were similar to those bestowed upon a deceased king, we can account at once for the delay of the ephors, since the ten days which passed without reply to the ambassadors exactly correspond in number with the ten days dedicated to public mourning. [98] But whatever the cause of the Spartan delay —and the rigid closeness of that oligarchic government kept, in yet more important matters, its motives and its policy no less a secret to contemporaneous nations than to modern inquirers—the delay itself highly incensed the Athenian envoys: they even threatened to treat with Mardonius, and abandon Sparta to her fate, and at length fixed the day of their departure. The ephors roused themselves. Among the deputies from the various states, there was then in Sparta that Chileus of Tegea, who had been scarcely less serviceable than Themistocles in managing the affairs of Greece in the isthmian congress. This able and eminent Arcadian forcibly represented to the ephors the danger of forfeiting the Athenian alliance, and the insufficient resistance against the Persian that the fortifications of the isthmus would afford. The ephors heard, and immediately acted with the secrecy and the vigilance that belongs to oligarchies. That very night they privately despatched a body of five thousand Spartans and thirty-five thousand helots (seven to each Spartan), under the command of Pausanias.

The next morning the ephors calmly replied to the angry threats of the Athenians, by protesting that their troops were already on the march, and by this time in Oresteum, a town in Arcadia, about eighteen miles distant from Sparta. The astonished deputies [99] hastened to overtake the Spartan force, and the ephors, as if fully to atone for their past procrastination, gave them the escort and additional re-enforcement of five thousand heavy-armed Laconians or Perioeci.

VI. Mardonius soon learned from the Argives (who, not content with refusing to join the Greek legion, had held secret communications with the Persians) of the departure of the Spartan troops. Hitherto he had refrained from any outrage on the Athenian lands and city, in the hope that Athens might yet make peace with him. He now set fire to Athens, razed the principal part of what yet remained of the walls and temples [100], and deeming the soil of Attica ill adapted to his cavalry, and, from the narrowness of its outlets, disadvantageous in case of retreat, after a brief incursion into Megara he retired towards Thebes, and pitched his tents on the banks of the Asopus, extending from Erythrae to Plataea. Here his force was swelled by such of the Greeks as were friendly to his cause.

VII. Meanwhile the Spartans were joined at the isthmus by the rest of the Peloponnesian allies. Solemn sacrifices were ordained, and the auguries drawn from the victims being favourable, the Greek army proceeded onward; and, joined at Eleusis by the Athenians, marched to the foot of Cithaeron, and encamped opposite the Persians, with the river of the Asopus between the armies. Aristides commanded the Athenians, at the head of eight thousand foot; and while the armies were thus situated, a dangerous conspiracy was detected and defeated by that able general.

The disasters of the war—the devastation of lands, the burning of houses—had reduced the fortunes of many of the Athenian nobles. With their property diminished their influence. Poverty, and discontent, and jealousy of new families rising into repute [101], induced these men of fallen fortunes to conspire for the abolition of the popular government at Athens, and, failing that attempt, to betray the cause to the enemy.

This project spread secretly through the camp, and corrupted numbers; the danger became imminent. On the one hand, the conspiracy was not to be neglected; and, on the other, in such a crisis it might be dangerous too narrowly to sift a design in which men of mark and station were concerned. Aristides acted with a singular prudence. He arrested eight of the leaders. Of these he prosecuted only two (who escaped during the proceedings), and, dismissing the rest, appealed to the impending battle as the great tribunal which would acquit them of the charge and prove their loyalty to the state. [102]

VIII. Scarce was this conspiracy quelled than the cavalry of the Persians commenced their operations. At the head of that skilful and gallant horse, for which the oriental nations are yet renowned, rode their chief, Masistius, clad in complete armour of gold, of brass, and of iron, and noted for the strength of his person and the splendour of his trappings. Placed on the rugged declivities of Cithaeron, the Greeks were tolerably safe from the Persian cavalry, save only the Megarians, who, to the number of three thousand, were posted along the plain, and were on all sides charged by that agile and vapid cavalry. Thus pressed, the Megarians sent to Pausanias for assistance. The Spartan beheld the air darkened with shafts and arrows, and knew that his heavy-armed warriors were ill adapted to act against horse. He in vain endeavoured to arouse those about him by appeals to their honour —all declined the succour of the Megarians—when Aristides, causing the Athenian to eclipse the Spartan chivalry, undertook the defence. With three hundred infantry, mixed with archers, Olympiodorus, one of the ablest of the Athenian officers, advanced eagerly on the barbarian.

Masistius himself, at the head of his troops, spurred his Nisaean charger against the new enemy. A sharp and obstinate conflict ensued; when the horse of the Persian general, being wounded, threw its rider, who could not regain his feet from the weight of his armour. There, as he lay on the ground, with a swarm of foes around him, the close scales of his mail protected him from their weapons, until at length a lance pierced the brain through an opening in his visor. After an obstinate conflict for his corpse, the Persians were beaten back to the camp, where the death of one, second only to Mardonius in authority and repute, spread universal lamentation and dismay.

The body of Masistius, which, by its vast size and beautiful proportions, excited the admiration of the victors, remained the prize of the Greeks; and, placed on a bier, it was borne triumphantly through the ranks.

IX. After this victory, Pausanias conducted his forces along the base of Cithaeron into the neighbourhood of Plataea, which he deemed a more convenient site for the disposition of his army and the supply of water. There, near the fountain of Gargaphia [103], one of the sources of the Asopus (which splits into many rivulets, bearing a common name), and renowned in song for the death of the fabulous Actaeon, nor far from the shrine of an old Plataean hero (Androcrates), the Greeks were marshalled in regular divisions, the different nations, some on a gentle acclivity, others along the plain.

In the allotment of the several stations a dispute arose between the Athenians and the Tegeans. The latter claimed, from ancient and traditionary prescription, the left wing (the right being unanimously awarded to the Spartans), and assumed, in the course of their argument, an insolent superiority over the Athenians.

"We came here to fight," answered the Athenians (or Aristides in their name [104]), "and not to dispute. But since the Tegeans proclaim their ancient as well as their modern deeds, fit is it for us to maintain our precedence over the Arcadians."

Touching slightly on the ancient times referred to by the Tegeans, and quoting their former deeds, the Athenians insisted chiefly upon Marathon; "Yet," said their orators, or orator, in conclusion, "while we maintain our right to the disputed post, it becomes us not, at this crisis, to altercate on the localities of the battle. Place us, oh Spartans! wherever seems best to you. No matter what our station; we will uphold our honour and your cause. Command, then—we obey."

Hearing this generous answer, the Spartan leaders were unanimous in favour of the Athenians; and they accordingly occupied the left wing.

X. Thus were marshalled that confederate army, presenting the strongest force yet opposed to the Persians, and comprising the whole might and manhood of the free Grecian states; to the right, ten thousand Lacedaemonians, one half, as we have seen, composed of the Perioeci, the other moiety of the pure Spartan race—to each warrior of the latter half were allotted seven armed helots, to each of the heavy-armed Perioeci one serving-man. Their whole force was, therefore, no less than fifty thousand men. Next to the Spartans (a kind of compromise of their claim) were the one thousand five hundred Tegeans; beyond these five thousand Corinthians; and to them contiguous three hundred Potidaeans of Pallene, whom the inundation of their seas had saved from the Persian arms. Next in order, Orchomenus ranged its six hundred Arcadians; Sicyon sent three thousand, Epidaurus eight hundred, and Troezene one thousand warriors. Neighbouring the last were two hundred Lepreatae, and by them four hundred Myceneans and Tirynthians [105]. Stationed by the Tirynthians came, in successive order, a thousand Phliasians, three hundred Hermionians, six hundred Eretrians and Styreans, four hundred Chalcidians, five hundred Ambracians, eight hundred Leucadians and Anactorians, two hundred Paleans of Cephallenia, and five hundred only of the islanders of Aegina. Three thousand Megarians and six hundred Plataeans were ranged contiguous to the Athenians, whose force of eight thousand men, under the command of Aristides, closed the left wing.

Thus the total of the heavy-armed soldiery was thirty-eight thousand seven hundred. To these were added the light-armed force of thirty-five thousand helots and thirty-four thousand five hundred attendants on the Laconians and other Greeks; the whole amounting to one hundred and eight thousand two hundred men, besides one thousand eight hundred Thespians, who, perhaps, on account of the destruction of their city by the Persian army, were without the heavy arms of their confederates.

Such was the force—not insufficient in number, but stronger in heart, union, the memory of past victories, and the fear of future chains— that pitched the tent along the banks of the rivulets which confound with the Asopus their waters and their names.

XI. In the interim Mardonius had marched from his former post, and lay encamped on that part of the Asopus nearest to Plataea. His brave Persians fronted the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans; and, in successive order, ranged the Medes and Bactrians, the Indians and the Sacae, the Boeotians, Locrians, Malians, Thessalians, Macedonians, and the reluctant aid of a thousand Phocians. But many of the latter tribe about the fastnesses of Parnassus, openly siding with the Greeks, harassed the barbarian outskirts: Herodotus calculates the hostile force at three hundred and fifty thousand, fifty thousand of which were composed of Macedonians and Greeks. And, although the historian has omitted to deduct from this total the loss sustained by Artabazus at Potidaea, it is yet most probable that the barbarian nearly trebled the Grecian army—odds less fearful than the Greeks had already met and vanquished.

XII. The armies thus ranged, sacrifices were offered up on both sides. It happened, by a singular coincidence, that to either army was an Elean augur. The appearance of the entrails forbade both Persian and Greek to cross the Asopus, and ordained each to act on the defensive.

That the Persian chief should have obeyed the dictates of a Grecian soothsayer is sufficiently probable; partly because a superstitious people rarely despise the superstitions of another faith, principally because a considerable part of the invading army, and that perhaps the bravest and the most skilful, was composed of native Greeks, whose prejudices it was politic to flatter—perilous to affront.

Eight days were consumed in inactivity, the armies confronting each other without motion; when Mardonius, in order to cut off the new forces which every day resorted to the Grecian camp, despatched a body of cavalry to seize the pass of Cithaeron. Falling in with a convoy of five hundred beasts of burden, carrying provisions from the Peloponnesus, the barbarians, with an inhumanity sufficient, perhaps, to prove that the detachment was not composed of Persians, properly so speaking, a mild though gallant people—slaughtered both man and beast. The provisions were brought to the Persian camp.

XIII. During the two following days Mardonius advanced nearer to the Asopus, and his cavalry (assisted by the Thebans, who were the right arm of the barbarian army), in repeated skirmishes, greatly harassed the Greeks with much daring and little injury.

At length Mardonius, either wearied of this inactivity or unable to repress the spirit of a superior army, not accustomed to receive the attack, resolved to reject all further compliance with the oracles of this Elean soothsayer, and, on the following morning, to give battle to the Greeks. Acting against one superstition, he sagaciously, however, sought to enlist on his behalf another; and, from the decision of a mortal, he appealed to the ambiguous oracles of the Delphic god, which had ever one interpretation for the enterprise and another for the success.

XIV. "The watches of the night were set," says Herodotus, in his animated and graphic strain—"the night itself was far advanced—a universal and utter stillness prevailed throughout the army, buried in repose—when Alexander, the Macedonian prince, rode secretly from the Persian camp, and, coming to the outposts of the Athenians, whose line was immediately opposed to his own, demanded an audience of their commanders. This obtained, the Macedonian thus addressed them: 'I am come to inform you of a secret you must impart to Pausanias alone. From remote antiquity I am of Grecian lineage. I am solicitous of the safety of Greece. Long since, but for the auguries, would Mardonius have given battle. Regarding these no longer, he will attack you early on the morning. Be prepared. If he change his purpose, remain as you are—he has provisions only for a few days more. Should the event of war prove favourable, you will but deem it fitting to make some effort for the independence of one who exposes himself to so great a peril for the purpose of apprizing you of the intentions of the foe. I am Alexander of Macedon.'"

"Thus saying, the horseman returned to the Persian camp."

"The Athenian leaders hastened to Pausanias, and informed him of what they had heard."

The Spartan does not appear, according to the strong expressions [106] of Herodotus, to have received the intelligence with the customary dauntlessness of his race. He feared the Persians, he was unacquainted with their mode of warfare, and he proposed to the Athenians to change posts with the Lacedaemonians; "For you," said he, "have before contended with the Mede, and your experience of their warfare you learned at Marathon. We, on the other hand, have fought against the Boeotians and Thessalians [opposed to the left wing]. Let us then change our stations."

At first the Athenian officers were displeased at the offer, not from terror, but from pride; and it seemed to them as if they were shifted, like helots, from post to post at the Spartan's pleasure. But Aristides, whose power of persuasion consisted chiefly in appeals, not to the baser, but the loftier passions, and who, in swaying, exalted his countrymen—represented to them that the right wing, which the Spartan proposed to surrender, was, in effect, the station of command.

"And are you," he said, "not pleased with the honour you obtain, nor sensible of the advantage of contending, not against the sons of Greece, but the barbarian invader?" [107]

These words animated those whom the Athenian addressed; they instantly agreed to exchange posts with the Spartans, and "to fight for the trophies of Marathon and Salamis." [108]

XV. As, in the dead of night, the Athenians marched to their new station, they exhorted each other to valour and to the recollection of former victories. But Mardonius, learning from deserters the change of position, moved his Persians opposite the Spartans; and Pausanias again returning to the right, Mardonius pursued a similar manoeuvre. Thus the day was consumed without an action. The troops having resumed their former posts, Mardonius sent a herald to the Spartans, chiding them for their cowardice, and proposing that an allotted number meet equal Spartans in battle, and whoever conquered should be deemed victors over the whole adverse army.

This challenge drew no reply from the Spartans. And Mardonius, construing the silence into a proof of fear, already anticipated the victory. His cavalry, advancing upon the Greeks, distressed them from afar and in safety with their shafts and arrows. They succeeded in gaining the Gargaphian fountain, which supplied water to the Grecian army, and choked up the stream. Thus cut off from water, and, at the same time, yet more inconvenienced by the want of provisions, the convoy of which was intercepted by the Persian cavalry, the Grecian chiefs determined to shift the ground, and occupy a space which, being surrounded by rivulets, was termed the Island of Oeroe [109], and afforded an ample supply of water. This island was about a mile from their present encampment: thence they proposed to detach half their army to relieve a convoy of provisions encompassed in the mountains.

About four hours after sunset the army commenced its march; but when Pausanias gave the word to his Spartans, one officer, named Amompharetus, obstinately refused to stir. He alleged the customs and oaths of Sparta, and declared he would not fly from the barbarian foe, nor connive at the dishonour of Sparta.

XVI. Pausanias, though incensed at the obstinacy of the officer, was unwilling to leave him and his troop to perish; and while the dispute was still unsettled, the Athenians, suspicious of their ally, "for they knew well it was the custom of Spartans to say one thing and to think another," [110] despatched a horseman to Pausanias to learn the cause of the delay. The messenger found the soldiers in their ranks; the leaders in violent altercation. Pausanias was arguing with Amompharetus, when the last, just as the Athenian approached, took up a huge stone with both hands, and throwing it at the feet of Pausanias, vehemently exclaimed, "With this calculus I give my suffrage against flying from the stranger." Pausanias, in great perplexity, bade the Athenian report the cause of the delay, and implore his countrymen to halt a little, that they might act in concert. At length, towards morning, Pausanias resolved, despite Amompharetus, to commence his march. All his forces proceeded along the steep defiles at the base of Cithaeron, from fear of the Persian cavalry; the more dauntless Athenians along the plain. Amompharetus, after impotent attempts to detain his men, was reluctantly compelled to follow.

XVII. Mardonius, beholding the vacant ground before him no longer bristling with the Grecian ranks, loudly vented his disdain of the cowardice of the fugitives, and instantly led his impatient army over the Asopus in pursuit. As yet, the Athenians, who had already passed the plain, were concealed by the hills; and the Tegeans and Lacedaemonians were the sole object of attack.

As the troops of Mardonius advanced, the rest of the Persian armament, deeming the task was now not to fight but to pursue, raised their standards and poured forward tumultuously, without discipline or order.

Pausanias, pressed by the Persian line, and if not of a timorous, at least of an irresolute temper, lost no time in sending to the Athenians for succour. But when the latter were on their march with the required aid, they were suddenly intercepted by the auxiliary Greeks in the Persian service, and cut off from the rescue of the Spartans.

The Spartans beheld themselves thus left unsupported with considerable alarm. Yet their force, including the Tegeans and helots, was fifty-three thousand men. Committing himself to the gods, Pausanias ordained a solemn sacrifice, his whole army awaiting the result, while the shafts of the Persian bowmen poured on them near and fast. But the entrails presented discouraging omens, and the sacrifice was again renewed. Meanwhile the Spartans evinced their characteristic fortitude and discipline—not one man stirring from his ranks until the auguries should assume a more favouring aspect; all harassed, and some wounded, by the Persian arrows, they yet, seeking protection only beneath their broad bucklers, waited with a stern patience the time of their leader and of Heaven. Then fell Callicrates, the stateliest and strongest soldier in the whole army, lamenting, not death, but that his sword was as yet undrawn against the invader.

XVIII. And still sacrifice after sacrifice seemed to forbid the battle, when Pausanias, lifting his eyes, that streamed with tears, to the temple of Juno that stood hard by, supplicated the tutelary goddess of Cithaeron, that if the fates forbade the Greeks to conquer, they might at least fall like warriors [111]. And while uttering this prayer, the tokens waited for became suddenly visible in the victims, and the augurs announced the promise of coming victory.

Therewith the order of battle rang instantly through the army, and, to use the poetical comparison of Plutarch, the Spartan phalanx suddenly stood forth in its strength, like some fierce animal—erecting its bristles and preparing its vengeance for the foe. The ground, broken in many steep and precipitous ridges, and intersected by the Asopus, whose sluggish stream [112] winds over a broad and rushy bed, was unfavourable to the movements of cavalry, and the Persian foot advanced therefore on the Greeks.

Drawn up in their massive phalanx, the Lacedaemonians presented an almost impenetrable body—sweeping slowly on, compact and serried— while the hot and undisciplined valour of the Persians, more fortunate in the skirmish than the battle, broke itself into a thousand waves upon that moving rock. Pouring on in small numbers at a time, they fell fast round the progress of the Greeks—their armour slight against the strong pikes of Sparta—their courage without skill—their numbers without discipline; still they fought gallantly, even when on the ground seizing the pikes with their naked hands, and with the wonderful agility which still characterizes the oriental swordsman, springing to their feet and regaining their arms when seemingly overcome—wresting away their enemies' shields, and grappling with them desperately hand to hand.

XIX. Foremost of a band of a thousand chosen Persians, conspicuous by his white charger, and still more by his daring valour, rode Mardonius, directing the attack—fiercer wherever his armour blazed. Inspired by his presence, the Persians fought worthily of their warlike fame, and, even in falling, thinned the Spartan ranks. At length the rash but gallant leader of the Asiatic armies received a mortal wound—his scull was crushed in by a stone from the hand of a Spartan [113]. His chosen band, the boast of the army, fell fighting round him, but his death was the general signal of defeat and flight. Encumbered by their long robes, and pressed by the relentless conquerors, the Persians fled in disorder towards their camp, which was secured by wooden intrenchments, by gates, and towers, and walls. Here, fortifying themselves as they best might, they contended successfully, and with advantage, against the Lacedaemonians, who were ill skilled in assault and siege.

Meanwhile the Athenians obtained the victory on the plains over the Greeks of Mardonius—finding their most resolute enemy in the Thebans (three hundred of whose principal warriors fell in the field)—and now joined the Spartans at the Persian camp. The Athenians are said to have been better skilled in the art of siege than the Spartans; yet at that time their experience could scarcely have been greater. The Athenians were at all times, however, of a more impetuous temper; and the men who had "run to the charge" at Marathon were not to be baffled by the desperate remnant of their ancient foe. They scaled the walls —they effected a breach through which the Tegeans were the first to rush—the Greeks poured fast and fierce into the camp. Appalled, dismayed, stupefied by the suddenness and greatness of their loss, the Persians no longer sustained their fame—they dispersed themselves in all directions, falling, as they fled, with a prodigious slaughter, so that out of that mighty armament scarce three thousand effected an escape. We must except, however, the wary and distrustful Artabazus, who, on the first tokens of defeat, had fled with the forty thousand Parthians and Chorasmians he commanded towards Phocis, in the intention to gain the Hellespont. The Mantineans arrived after the capture of the camp, too late for their share of glory; they endeavoured to atone the loss by the pursuit of Artabazus, which was, however, ineffectual. The Eleans arrived after the Mantineans. The leaders of both these people were afterward banished.

XX. An Aeginetan proposed to Pausanias to inflict on the corpse of Mardonius the same insult which Xerxes had put upon the body of Leonidas.

The Spartan indignantly refused. "After elevating my country to fame," said he, "would you have me depress it to infamy by vengeance on the body of the dead? Leonidas and Thermopylae are sufficiently avenged by this mighty overthrow of the living."

The body of that brave and ill-fated general, the main author of the war, was removed the next day—by whose piety and to what sepulchre is unknown. The tomb of his doubtful fame is alone eternally visible along the plains of Plataea, and above the gray front of the imperishable Cithaeron!

XXI. The victory won (September, B. C. 479), the conquerors were dazzled by the gorgeous plunder which remained—tents and couches decorated with precious metals—cups, and vessels, and sacks of gold— and the dead themselves a booty, from the costly ornaments of their chains and bracelets, and cimeters vainly splendid—horses, and camels, and Persian women, and all the trappings and appliances by which despotism made a luxury of war.

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