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He, however, though dismissed, did not himself depart, but sent away his son, who served with him in the expedition, being his only child. 222. The allies accordingly, that were dismissed, departed, and obeyed Leonidas ; but only the Thespians and the Thebans remained with the Lacedæmonians ; the Thebans, indeed, remained unwillingly, and against their inclination, for Leonidas detained them, treating them as hostages; but the Thespians willingly, for they refused to go away and abandon Leonidas and those with him, but remained and died with them. Demophilus, son of Diadromas, commanded them.
223. Xerxes, after he had poured out libations at sun-rise, having waited a short time, began his attack about the time of full market; for he had been so instructed by Ephialtes ; for the descent from the mountain is more direct, and the distance much shorter, than the circuit and ascent. The barbarians, therefore, with Xerxes, advanced; and the Greeks with Leonidas, marching out as if for certain death, now advanced much farther than before into the wide part of the defile. For the fortification of the wall had protected them, and they on the preceding days, having taken up their position in the narrow part, there fought. But now engaging outside the narrows, great numbers of the barbarians fell. For the officers of the companies from behind, having scourges, flogged every man, constantly urging them forward ; in consequence, many of them falling into the sea, perished, and many more were trampled alive under foot by one another ; and no regard was paid to any that perished. For the Greeks, knowing that death awaited them at the hands of those who were going round the mountain, being desperate, and regardless of their own lives, displayed the utmost possible valour against the barbarians. 224. Already were most of their javelins broken, and they had begun to despatch the Persians with their swords. In this part of the struggle fell Leonidas, fighting valiantly, and with him other eminent Spartans, whose names, seeing they were deserving men, I have ascertained ; indeed I have ascertained the names of the whole three hundred. On the side of the Persians, also, many other eminent men fell on this occasion, and amongst them two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and Hyperanthes, born to Darius of Phrataguna, daughter of Artanes ; but Artanes was brother to king Darius, and son of Hystaspes, son of Arsames. He, when he gave his daughter to Darius, gave him also all his property, as she was his only child. 225. Accordingly, two brothers of Xerxes fell at this spot, fighting for the body of Leonidas, and there was a violent struggle between the Persians and Lacedæmonians, until at last the Greeks rescued it by their valour, and four times repulsed the enemy. Thus the contest continued until those with Ephialtes came up. When the Greeks heard that they were approaching, from this time the battle was altered. For they retreated to the narrow part of the way, and passing beyond the wall, came and took up their position on the rising ground, all in a compact body, with the exception of the Thebans: the rising ground is at the entrance where the stone lion now stands to the memory of Leonidas. On this spot, while they defended themselves with swords, such as had them still remaining, and their hands and teeth, the barbarians overwhelmed them with missiles, some of them attacking them in front, and having thrown down the wall; and others surrounding and attacking them on every side.
226. Though the Lacedæmonians and Thespians behaved in this manner, yet Dieneces, a Spartan, is said to have been the bravest man. They relate that he made the following remark, before they engaged with the Medes, having heard a Trachinian say, that when the barbarians let fly their arrows, they would obscure the sun by the multitude of their shafts, so great were their numbers : but be, not at all alarmed at this, said, holding in contempt the numbers of the Medes, that “their Trachinian friend told them every thing to their advantage, since if the Medes obscure the sun, they would then have to fight in the shade, and not in the sun. This and other sayings of the same kind they relate that Dieneces, the Lacedæmonian, left as memorials. 227. Next to him, two Lacedæmonian brothers, Alpheus and Maron, sons of Orisiphantus, are said to have distinguished themselves most'; and of the Thespians, he obtained the greatest glory whose name was Dithyrambus, son of Harmatides. 228. In honour of the slain, who were buried on the spot where they fell, and of those who died before they who were dismissed by Leonidas went away, the following inscription has been engraved over them: “Four thousand from Peloponnesus once fought on this spot with
three hundred myriads." This inscription was made for all; and for the Spartans in particular: “ Stranger, go tell the Lacedæmonians, that we lie here, obedient to their commands." This was for the Lacedæmonians ; and for the prophet, the following: “This is the monument of the illustrious Megistias, whom once the Medes, having passed the river Sperchius, slew ; a prophet, who, at the time well knowing the impending fate, would not abandon the leaders of Sparta.” The Amphictyons are the persons who honoured them with these inscriptions and columns, with the exception of the inscription to the prophet; that of the prophet Megistias, Simonides, son of Leoprepes, caused to be engraved, from personal friendship.
229. It is said, that two of these three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus, when it was in the power of both, if they had agreed together, either to return alike safe to Sparta, since they had been dismissed from the camp by Leonidas, and were lying at Alpeni desperately afflicted with a disease of the eyes ; or, if they would not return, to have died together with the rest; when it was in their power to do either of these, they could not agree; and being divided in opinion, Eurytus, having heard of the circuit made by the Persians, and having called for and put on his arms, ordered his helot to lead him to the combatants; and when he had led him, the man who led him ran away, but he, rushing into the midst of the throng, perished; but Aristodemus, failing in courage, was left behind. Now if it had happened that Aristodemus alone, being sick, had returned to Sparta, or if both had gone home together, in my opinion the Spartans would not have shown any anger against them. But now, since one of them perished, and the other, who had only the same excuse, refused to die, it was necessary for them to be exceedingly angry with Aristodemus. 230. Some say that Aristodemus thus got safe to Sparta, and on such a pretext ; but others, that being sent as a messenger from the army, though he might have arrived while the battle was going on, he would not, but having lingered on the road, survived ; while his fellow-messenger, arriving in time for the battle, died. 231. Aristodemus having returned to Lacedæmon, met with insults and infamy. He was declared infamous by being treated as follows: not one of the Spartans would either give him fire or converse with him ; and he met with insult, being
called Aristodemus the coward. However, in the battle of Platæa, he removed all the disgrace that attached to him.? 232. It is also said, that another of the three hundred, whose name was Pantites, having been sent as a messenger to Thessaly, survived; and that he, on his return to Sparta, finding himself held in dishonour, hung himself. 233. The Thebans, whom Leontiades commanded, as long as they were with the Greeks, being constrained by necessity, fought against the king's army; but when they saw the forces of the Persians gaining the upper hand, as the Greeks with Leonidas were hastening to the hill, having separated from them, they held out their hands and went near the barbarians, saying the truest thing they could say, that “they were both on the side of the Medes, and were among the first who gave earth and water to the king, and that they came to Thermopylæ from compulsion, and were guiltless of the blow that had been inflicted on the king. So that, by saying this, they saved their lives; for they had the Thessalians as witnesses to what they said : they were not, however, fortunate in every respect; for when the barbarians seized them as they came up, some they slew, and the greater number of them, by the command of Xerxes, they branded with the royal mark, beginning with the general, Leontiades ; whose son, Eurymachus, some time afterwards, the Platæans slew, when he was commanding four hundred Thebans, and had got possession of the citadel of the Platæans. 234. Thus the Greeks fought at Thermopylæ. And Xerxes, having sent for Demaratus, questioned him, beginning as follows: “ Demaratus, you are an honest man; I judge so from experience ; for whatever you said, has turned out accordingly. Now tell me, how many the rest of the Lacedæmonians may be; and how many of them, or whether all, are such as these in war?” He answered, “O king, the number of all the Lacedæmonians is great, and their cities are many; but I shall inform you of that which you desire to know. In Laconia is Sparta, a city containing about eight thousand men ; all these are equal to those who have fought here; the rest of the Lacedæmonians, however, are not equal to these, though brave.” To this Xerxes said: “ Demaratus, in what way can we conquer these men with the least trouble, come tell me; for you must be acquainted with the course of their counsels,
7 See B. IX. chap. 71.
since have been their king.” 235. He replied: "O king, since you ask my advice so earnestly, it is right that I should tell you
what is best. You should, then, despatch three hundred ships of your naval force to the Laconian coast. Off that coast there lies an island called Cythera, which Chilon, the wisest man amongst us, said would be more advantageous to the Spartans if sunk to the bottom of the sea, than if it remained above water; always apprehending that some such thing would come from it, as I am going to propose ; not that he foresaw the arrival of your fleet, but fearing equally every naval force. Sallying from this island, then, let them alarm the Lacedæmonians; and when they have a war of their own near home, they will no longer give you cause to fear, lest they should succour the rest of Greece, while it is being taken by your land-forces. But when the rest of Greece is subdued, the Laconian territory, being left alone, will be feeble. If
you will not act in this manner, you may expect that this will happen. There is in Peloponnesus a narrow isthmus ; in this place, all the Peloponnesians being combined against you, expect to meet more violent struggles than the past; whereas, if you do as I advise, both this isthmus and the cities will submit to you without a battle.” 236. After him spoke Achæmenes, who was brother of Xerxes, and commander of the naval forces, having been present at the conversation, and fearing lest Xerxes might be induced to adopt that plan: “O king, I perceive you listening to the suggestions of a man, who envies your prosperity, or would betray your cause. For the Greeks are commonly of that character; they envy success, and hate superior power. If, therefore, in the present state of our affairs, after four hundred ships have been wrecked, you should detach three hundred more from the fleet to sail round Peloponnesus, our enemies may fight us upon equal terms; but if our fleet is kept together, it becomes invincible, and they will be unable to fight with us at all: moreover, the whole fleet will assist the land-forces, and the land-forces the fleet, by advancing together ; but if you separate them, neither will they be useful to you, nor you to them. Having, therefore, ordered your own matters well, resolve to pay no attention to what your enemies are doing, how they will carry on the war, what they will do, or how many their numbers are. For they are able to think about themselves, and we in like