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ARDONIUS, when Alexander, having returned, had made known the answer from the Athenians, set out from Thessaly, and led his army in haste against
Athens; and wherever he arrived from time to time, he joined the people to his own forces. The leaders of Thessaly were so far from repenting of what had been before done that they urged on the Persian much more: and Thorax of Larissa both assisted in escorting Xerxes in his flight, and now openly gave Mardonius a passage into Greece. When the army on its march arrived among the Boeotians, the Thebans endeavoured to restrain Mardonius, and advised him, saying that there was no country more convenient to encamp in than that, and dissuaded him from advancing farther, but urged him to take up his station there, and contrive so as to subdue the whole of Greece without a battle. For that if the Greeks continue firmly united, as they had done before, it would be difficult even for all mankind to overcome them. “But,” they continued, “ if you will do what we advise, you will without difficulty frustrate all their plans: send money to the most powerful men in the cities; and by sending it you will split Greece into parties, and then, with the assistance of those of your party, you may easily subdue those who are not in your interest.” They gave this advice; he, however, was not prevailed on, but a vehement desire of taking Athens a second time was instilled into him; partly by presumption, and partly, he hoped, by signal fires across the islands, to make known to the king while he was at Sardis that he was in possession of Athens. When he arrived in Attica he did not find the Athenians there; but was informed that most of them were at Salamis, and on board their ships; he therefore took the deserted city. The capture by the king was ten months before this second invasion by Mardonius.
While Mardonius was at Athens he sent Murychides, a Hellespontine, to Salamis, with the same proposals which
Alexander the Macedonian had already conveyed to the Athenians. He sent this second time, although before aware that the disposition of the Athenians was not friendly to him, but expecting they would remit something of their haughtiness, since the whole Attic territory was taken and now in his power. For these reasons he sent Murychides to Salamis. He, on coming before the council, delivered the message of Mardonius. And Lycidas, one of the councillors, gave his opinion that it appeared to him to be best to entertain the proposal which Murychides brought to them, and to report it to the people. He delivered this opinion, either because he had received money from Mardonius or because such was really his opinion. But the Athenians, immediately being very indignant, both those belonging to the council and those without, as soon as they were informed of it surrounded Lycidas, and stoned him to death; but they dismissed Murychides the Hellespontine unharmed. A tumult having taken place at Salamis respecting Lycidas, the Athenian women obtained information of what had happened; whereupon one woman encouraging another, and uniting together, they went of their own accord to the house of Lycidas, and stoned his wife and children. The Athenians had crossed over to Salamis under the following circumstances : as long as they expected that an army would come from the Peloponnesus to assist them, they remained in Attica; but when they had recourse to delay and extreme tardiness, and Mardonius was advancing and reported to be in Baotia, they then removed all their effects, and themselves crossed over to Salamis: they also sent ambassadors to Lacedæmon, partly to blame the Lacedæmonians, because they had allowed the barbarian to invade Attica, and had not gone out with them to meet him in Bæotia; and partly to remind them of what the Persian had promised to give them if they would change sides; and to forewarn them that, unless they assisted the Athenians, they would themselves find some means of escape. At that time the Lacedæmonians were employed in celebrating a festival, and it was the Hyacinthia with them; and they deemed it of the greatest importance to attend to the service of the deity. At the same time they were busied in building the wall at the isthmus, and it had already received the breastworks.
When the ambassadors from the Athenians arrived at Lacedæmon, bringing with them ambassadors from Megara and Platæa, they went before the ephori, and spoke as follows: “The Athenians have sent us to tell you that the King of the Medes in the first place offers to restore our country; and, secondly, is willing to make us his allies on fair and equal terms, without fraud or deceit; he is also willing to give us another territory, in addition to our own, whatever we ourselves may choose. We, however, reverencing the Grecian Jupiter, and thinking it disgraceful to betray Greece, have not acceded to, but rejected his offers; though we are unjustly treated, and betrayed by the Greeks, and know that it is more for our interest to come to terms with the Persian than to continue the war; still we will never willingly come to terms with him. Thus sincerely we have acted toward the Greeks. But you, who were then in the utmost consternation lest we should come to terms with the Persian, when you were clearly assured of our resolution that we will never betray Greece, and because your wall drawn across the isthmus is now nearly completed, no longer show any regard for the Athenians. For having agreed to advance with us to meet the Persian in Bæotia, you have betrayed us, and have allowed the barbarian to invade Attica. Hitherto the Athenians are angry with you, for you have not acted in a becoming manner; and now they exhort you to send out forces with us with all expedition, that we may receive the barbarian in Attica; for since we have missed Bæotia, the Thriasian plain in our own territory is the most convenient place to give battle in.” When the ephori had heard this message, they put off their answer to the next day, and on the next day to the morrow. This they did for ten days, putting them off from day to day. During this time they proceeded with the wall at the isthmus, all the Peloponnesians using the utmost diligence; and it was nearly completed. I can give no reason why, when Alexander the Macedonian went to Athens, they took such pains to prevent the Athenians from siding with the Mede, and then took no trouble about it, except that the isthmus was now fortified, and they thought they had no further need of the Athenians; whereas, when Alexander arrived in Attica, the wall was not yet built, but they were working at it, being in great dread of the Persians.
At length the answer and march of the Spartans happened in the following manner: 1 On the day preceding that on which the last audience was to take place, Chileus of Tegea, who had the greatest influence in Lacedæmon of any stranger, was informed by the ephori of all that the Athenians had said. Chileus, having heard it, spoke to them as follows: “ The case is thus, O ephori; if the Athenians are not united with us, but
' Literally, “the following manner of the answer and march took are allied to the barbarians, although a strong wall has been carried across the isthmus, wide doors leading into the Peloponnesus are open to the Persian; therefore give heed, before the Athenians come to any other determination which may bring ruin on Greece.” He then gave them this advice; and they, taking his remark into consideration, forthwith, without saying anything to the ambassadors who had come from the cities, while it was still night, sent out five thousand Spartans, appointing seven helots to attend each, and committing the conduct of them to Pausanias, son of Cleombrotus. The command properly belonged to Pleistarchus, son of Leonidas; but he was still a boy, and the former his guardian and cousin. For Cleombrotus, the father of Pausanias, and son to Anaxandrides, was no longer living, but having led back the army that had built the wall from the isthmus, he died shortly afterward. Cleombrotus led back the army from the isthmus for this reason: as he was sacrificing against the Persians, the sun darkened in the heavens. Pausanias chose as his colleague Euryanax, son of Dorieus, who was a man of the same family. These forces, accordingly, marched from Sparta with Pausanias. The ambassadors, when they came, knowing nothing of the march of the troops, went to the ephori, being resolved themselves also to depart severally to their own cities; and having come into their presence, they spoke as follows: “You, O Lacedæmonians, remaining here, celebrate the Hyacinthia, and divert yourselves, while you are betraying the allies. But the Athenians, being injured by you, and destitute of allies, will make peace with the Persian on such terms as they can. And having made peace, it is evident that we shall become the king's allies, and shall march with them against whatever country they shall lead us; and then you will learn what the consequence will be to yourselves.” When the ambassadors had thus spoken, the ephori said with an oath that those who had set out against the foreigners were already at Oresteum, for they call the barbarians foreigners. The ambassadors asked what was meant; and on inquiry learned the whole truth, so that, being much surprised, they followed after them with all possible expedition; and with them five thousand chosen heavy armed troops of the neighbouring Lacedæmonians did the same. They then hastened toward the isthmus. But the Argives, as soon as they heard that the troops with Pausanias had left Sparta, sent a herald to Attica, having looked out the best of their couriers, for they had before promised Mardonius to prevent the Spartans from going out. He, when he arrived at Athens, spoke as follows: “Mardonius, the Argives have sent me to inform you that the youth of Lacedæmon are marched out, and that the Argives were'unable to prevent them from going out. Under these circumstances take the best advice you can.” He, having spoken thus, went home again.
Mardonius, when he heard this, was by no means desirous to stay longer in Attica. Before he heard this he lingered there, wishing to know from the Athenians what they would do; but he neither ravaged nor injured the Attic territory, being in expectation all along that they would come to terms. But when he could not persuade them, being informed of the whole truth, he withdrew, before those with Pausanias reached the isthmus, having first set fire to Athens, and if any part of the walls, or houses, or temples, happened to be standing, having thrown down and laid all in ruins. He marched out for the following reasons, because the Attic country was not adapted for cavalry; and if he should be conquered in an engagement, there was no way to escape except through a narrow pass, so that even a small number of men could intercept them. He determined, therefore, to retire to Thebes, and to fight near a friendly city, and in a country adapted for cavalry. Mardonius accordingly retreated; and while he was yet on his march, another message came in advance that another army had reached Megara, consisting of a thousand Lacedæmonians. When he heard this he deliberated, wishing, if by any means he could, to take these first; therefore, wheeling round, he led his army against Megara; and his cavalry going on before scoured the Megarian territory. This was the farthest part of Europe, toward the sunset, to which the Persian army reached. After this, news came to Mardonius that the Greeks were assembled at the isthmus; he therefore marched back to Decelea. For the Baotian chiefs had sent for the neighbours of the Asopians; and they conducted him along the way to Sphendale, and from thence to Tanagra; and having passed the night at Tanagra, and on the next day turned toward Scolus, he arrived in the territory of the Thebans. There he cleared the lands of the Thebans, though they sided with the Mede, not out of enmity toward them, but constrained by urgent necessity; wishing to make a fortification for his army, and in case, when he engaged, the result should not be such as he wished, he might have this as a place of refuge. His camp, beginning at Erythræ, passed by Hisiä and extended to the Platæan territory, stretching to the river Asopus. The wall, however, was not built of this extent, but each front was about ten stades in length.