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Greece. But do you, O king, pity me, who am thus advanced in years, and release one of my sons from the service, that he may take care of me and my property. Take the other four with you, and, having accomplished your designs, may you return home.” 39. Xerxes was highly incensed, and answered as follows: “ Base man! hast thou dared, when I am marching in person against Greece, and taking with me my children, and brothers, and kinsmen, and friends, to make mention of thy son ? thou, who art my slave, and who wert bound in duty to follow me with all thy family, even with thy wife. Now learn this well, that the spirit of man dwells in his ears; which when it hears pleasing things, fills the whole body with delight, but when it hears the contrary, swells with indignation. When, therefore, you did well, and gave promise of the like, you cannot boast of having surpassed the king in generosity. But now that you have adopted a more shameless conduct, you shall not receive your deserts, but less than your deserts ; for your hospitality preserves four of your children, but you shall be punished with the loss of the one whom you cherish most.” When he had given this answer, he immediately commanded those whose office it was to execute such orders, to find out the eldest of the sons of Pythius, and to cut his body in two; and having so done, to deposit the halves, one on the right of the road, the other on the left; and that the army should pass between them.
40. When they had done this, the army afterwards passed between. The baggage-bearers and beasts of burden first led the way; after them came a host of all nations promiscuously, not distinguished: after more than one half of the army had passed, an interval was left, that they might not mix with the king's troops. Before him a thousand horsemen led the van, chosen from among all the Persians; and next to them a thousand spearmen, these also chosen from among all, carrying their lances turned downwards to the earth. After these came ten sacred horses called Nisæan, gorgeously caparisoned. These horses are called Nisæan on the following account: there is a large plain in the Medic territory, which is called the Nisæan ; now this plain produces these large horses. Behind these ten horses was placed the sacred chariot of Jupiter, drawn by eight white horses ; behind the horses followed a charioteer on foot, holding the reins; because no mortal ever
ascends this seat. Behind this came Xerxes himself on a chariot drawn by Nisæan horses; and a charioteer walked at his side, whose name was Patiramphes, son of Otanes, a Persian. 41. In this manner, then, Xerxes marched out of Sardis, and whenever he thought right, he used to pass from the chariot to a covered carriage. Behind him marched a thousand spearmen, the bravest and most noble of the Persians, carrying their spears in the usual manner ; and after them another body of a thousand horse, chosen from among the Persians : after the cavalry came ten thousand men chosen from the rest of the Persians; these were infantry; and of these, one thousand had golden pomegranates on their spears instead of ferules, and they enclosed the others all round; but the nine thousand, being within them, had silver pomegranates. Those also that carried their spears turned to the earth, had golden pomegranates, and those that followed nearest to Xerxes had golden apples. Behind the ten thousand foot were placed ten thousand Persian cavalry; and after the cavalry was left an interval of two stades ; and then the rest of the throng followed promiscuously. 42. The army directed its march from Lydia to the river Caicus and the Mysian territory; and proceeding from the Caicus, leaving Mount Canæ on the left, passed through Atarneus to the city Carina. From thence it marched through the plain
of Thebes, and passing by the city of Adramyttium and the Pelasgian Antrandus, and keeping Mount Ida on the left, it entered the territory of Ilium. But before this, as the army halted during the night under Mount Ida, thunder and lightning fell upon them, and destroyed a considerable number of the troops on the spot. 43. When the army arrived at the Scamander, which was the first river since they had set out on their march from Sardis, whose stream failed and did not afford sufficient drink for the army and beasts of burden ; when, accordingly, Xerxes arrived at this river, he went up to the Pergamus of Priam, being desirous of seeing it; and having seen it, and inquired into every particular, he sacrificed a thousand oxen to the Ilian Minerva, and the magi poured out libations in honour of the heroes. After they had done this, a panic fell on the camp during the night, and at the dawn of day they marched from thence, on the left skirting
1 That is, “ the citadel.”
the city of Rhætium, and Ophrynium, and Dardanus, which borders on Abydos ; and on the right the Gergithæ Teucrians.
44. When they were at Abydos, Xerxes wished to behold the whole army. And there had been previously erected on a hill at this place, for his express use, a lofty throne of white marble; the people of Abydos had made it, in obedience to a previous order of the king. When he was seated there, looking down towards the shore, he beheld both the land army and the fleet; and when he beheld them, he desired to see a contest take place between the ships ; and when it had taken place, and the Sidonian Phænicians were victorious, he showed himself exceedingly gratified both with the contest and the army. 45. And when he saw the whole Hellespont covered by the ships, and all the shores and the plains of Abydos full of men, Xerxes thereupon pronounced himself happy; but afterwards shed tears. 46. Artabanus, his paternal uncle, having observed him, the same who had before freely declared his opinion and advised Xerxes not to invade Greece; this man, having perceived Xerxes shedding tears, addressed him thus: “O king, how very different from each other are what you are now doing, and what you did a little while ago! for having pronounced yourself happy, now you weep." He answered, “ Commiseration seized me, when I considered how brief all human life is, since of these, numerous as they are, not one shall survive to the hundredth year.” But Artabanus replied, saying, “We suffer during life other things more pitiable than this; for in this so brief life, there is not one, either of these or of others, born so happy, that it will not occur to him, not only once but oftentimes, to wish rather to die than to live. For calamities befalling him, and diseases disturbing him, make life, though really short, appear to be long ; so that death, life being burdensome, becomes the most desirable refuge for man: and the deity, having given us to taste of sweet existence, is found to be jealous of his gift.” 47. Xerxes answered, saying, “ Artabanus, of human life, which is such as you have described it, let us say no more, nor let us call evils to mind, now that we have good things before us. But tell me this. If the vision of the dream had not appeared so clearly, would you have retained your former opinion, and dissuaded me from making war against Greece, or would you have changed your opinion?
Come, tell me this explicitly." He answered, saying, “O king, may the vision of the dream that appeared terminate as we both desire: but I am still full of alarm and not master of myself, when I consider many other circumstances, and moreover perceive two things of the greatest importance, most hostile to you." 48. To this Xerxes answered as follows: Strange man! what are these two things which you say are most hostile to me? whether do you find fault with the land army on account of numbers, and do you think that the Grecian army will be much more numerous than ours? or that our navy will fall short of theirs ? or both these together? For if you think our forces deficient in this respect, we can quickly assemble another army.” 49. He answered, saying, “O king, no man of common understanding can find fault either with this army or the number of the ships. (1.) But even if you should muster more, the two things which I mean would become still more hostile. These two things are land and sea. For, as I conjecture, there is no where any harbour of the sea so large as to be capable, in case a storm should arise, of receiving this your navy, and sheltering the ships. And yet there is need, not only that there be one such harbour, but others along the whole continent, by which you are about to coast. Since there are not harbours sufficiently capacious, remember, that accidents rule men, not men accidents. (2.) One of the two things having thus been mentioned, I now proceed to mention the other. The land will be hostile to you in this way: if nothing else should stand in your way, it will become more hostile to you the farther you advance, as you are continually drawn on unawares; for men are never satiated with success. And even if I should grant, that no one will oppose you, I say, that the country, becoming more extensive in process of time, will produce a famine. A man would therefore thus prove himself most wise, if in deliberation he should be apprehensive and consider himself likely to suffer every misfortune, but in action should be bold.” 50. Xerxes answered in these words: “ Artabanus, you have discussed each of these particulars plausibly; but do not fear every thing, nor weigh every circumstance with equal strictness. (1.) For if in every matter that is proposed, you should weigh every thing with equal care, you would never do any thing at all; it is better, being confident on all occasions, to
suffer half the evils, than fearing every thing before-hand, never suffer any thing at all. But if you oppose every thing that is proposed, and do not advance something certain, you must fail in your plans equally with the person who has given a contrary opinion. This, therefore, comes to the same. (2.) Can any one who is a man know for a certainty what ought to be done? I think, certainly not. To those, however, who are ready to act, gain for the most part is wont to accrue; but to those that weigh every thing and are timid, it seldom does. You see to what a degree of power the empire of the Persians has advanced ; if, then, they who were kings before me had entertained such opinions as you do, or not entertaining such opinions, had such counsellors, you would never have seen their power advanced to this pitch. But now, by hazarding dangers, they carried it to this height. For great undertakings are wont to be accomplished at great hazards. We, therefore, emulating them, set out at the most favourable season of the year, and having subdued all Europe, will return home, without having met with famine any where, or suffered any other reverse. For in the first place we march, carrying with us abundant provisions, and in the next place, whatever land and nation we invade, we shall have their corn; and we are making war on men who are husbandmen, and not feeders of cattle.” 51. After this Artabanus said, “O king, since you will not allow us to fear any thing, yet hearken to my advice; for it is necessary, when speaking on many topics, to extend one's discourse. Cyrus, son of Cambyses, subdued all Ionia except the Athenians, so as to be tributary to the Persians. I advise you, therefore, on no account to lead these men against their fathers; for even without them we are able to get the better of our enemies. For if they accompany you, they must either be most unjust, in assisting to enslave their mother-city, or most just in endeavouring to maintain its freedom. Now if they should be most unjust, they will not add any great gain to us ; but if just, they are able to damage your army to a great degree. Consider therefore on this ancient saying, since it has been well said, that the termination is not always evident at the beginning. 52. To this Xerxes an
? I have followed the reading and punctuation of Matthiæ and Baehr. The latter, though he approves the mark of interrogation, omits it in his version of this passage.