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All these articles being approved of and passed into a law, the citizens of Platea took upon them to solemnize every year the anniversary festival in honour of those persons that were slain in the battle. The order and manner of performing this sacrifice was as follows: The 16th day of the month Maimacterion, which answers to our month of December, at the first appearance of daybreak, they walked in a solemn procession, which was preceded by a trumpet that sounded to battle. Next to the trumpet marched several chariots, filled with crowns and branches of myrtle. After these chariots was led a black bull, behind which marched a company of young persons, carrying pitchers in their hands full of wine and milk, the ordinary effusions offered to the dead, and vials of oil and essence. All these young persons were freemen ; for no slave was allowed to have any part in this ceremony, which was instituted for men who had lost their lives for lib. erty. In the rear of this pomp followed the Archon, or chief magistrate of the Plateans, for whom it was unlawful at any other time even so much as to touch iron, or to wear any other garment than a white one. But upon this occasion, being clad in purple raiment, having a sword by his side, and holding an urn in his hands, which he took from the place where they kept their public records, he marched quite through the city to the place where the tombs of his memorable countrymen were erected. As soon as he came there, he drew out water with his urn from the fountain, washed with his own hands the little columns that stood by the tombs, rubbed them afterwards with essence, and then up certain
* Three months after the battle of Platea was fought. Probably these funeral rites were not at first performed till after the enemy were entirely gone, and the country was free,
killed the bull upon a pile of wood prepared for that purpose. After having offered
prayers to the terrestrial " Jupiter and Mercury, he invited those valiant souls deceased to come to their feast, and to partake of their funeral effusions ; then taking a cup in his hand, and having filled it with wine, he poured it out on the ground, and said with a loud voice, “I present this cup to those valiant men who died for the lib. erty of the Grecians.”
These ceremonies were annually performed even in the time of Plutarch.
Diodorus ' adds, that the Athenians in particula embellished the monuments of their citizens who died in the war with the Persians with magnificent ornaments, instituted funeral games to their honour, and appointed a solemn panegyric to be pronounced to the same intent, which in all probability was repeated every year.
The reader will be sensible, without my observing it, how much these solemn testimonies and perpetual demonstrations of honour, esteem, and gratitude for soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the defence of liberty, conduced to enhance the merit of valor, and of the services they rendered their country, and to inspire the spectators with emulation and courage ; and how exceeding proper all this was for cultivating and perpetuating a spirit of bravery in the people, and for making their troops victorious and invincible.
The reader, no doubt, will be as much surprised, on the other hand, to see how wonderfully careful and
The terrestrial Jupiter is no other than Pluto ; and the same epithet of terrestrial was also given to Mercury, because it was believed to be his office to conduct departed souls to the infernal regions.
2 Lib. xi. p. 26. VOL, 3.
exact these people were in acquitting themselves on all occasions of the duties of religion. The great event which I have just been relating, viz. the battle of Platea, affords us very remarkable proofs of this particular, in the annual and perpetual sacrifice they instituted to Jupiter Liberator, which was still continued in the time of Plutarch ; in the care they took to consecrate. the tenth part of all their spoil to the gods; and in the decree proposed by Aristides to establish a solemn festival for ever, as an anniversary commemoration of that success. It is a delightful thing, methinks, to see pagan and idolatrous nations thus publicly confessing and declaring, that all their expectations centre in the Supreme Being; that they think themselves obliged to ascribe the success of all their undertakings to him ; that they look upon him as the author of all their victories and prosperities, as the sovereign ruler and disposer of states and empires, as the source from whence all salutary counsels, wisdom, and courage are derived, and as entitled, on all these accounts, to the first and best part of their spoils, and to their perpetual acknowledgments and thanksgivings for such distinguished favours and benefits.
THE BATTLE NEAR MYCALE.
THE DEFEAT OF THE PER
* On the same day the Greeks fought the battle of Platea, their naval forces obtained a memorable victory in Asia over the remainder of the Persian fleet. For whilst that of the Greeks lay at Egina, under the command of Leotychides, one of the kings of Sparta, and of Xanthippus the Athenian, ambassadors came to those generals from the Ionians, to invite them into Asia to deliver the Grecian cities from their subjection to the barbarians. On this invitation they immediately set sail for Asia, and steered their course by Delos; where, when they arrived, other ambassadors arrived from Samos, and brought them intelligence, that the Persian fleet, which had passed the winter at Cumæ, was then at Samoś, where it would be an easy matter to defeat and destroy it, earnestly pressing them at the same time not to neglect so favourable an opportunity. The Greeks hereupon sailed away directly for Samos. But the Persians receiving intelligence of their approach, retired to Mycale, a promontory of the continent of Asia, where their land army, consisting of one hundred thousand men, who were the remainder of those that Xerxes had carried back from Greece the year before, was encamped. Here they drew their vessels ashore, which was a common practice among the ancients, and encompassed them round with a strong rampart. The Grecians followed them to the very place, and with the help of the Ionians, defeated their land army, forced their rampart, and burnt all their vessels.
* Herod. 1. isc. 89-105. Diod. 1. si p. 26-28.
The battle of Platea was fought in the morning, and that of Mycale in the afternoon of the same day; and yet all the Greek writers pretend that the victory of Platea was known at Mycale before the latter engagement was begun, though the whole Egean sea, which requires several days sailing to cross it, was between those two places. But Diodorus, the Sicilian, explains us this mystery. He tells us, that
He tells us, that Leotychides, observing his soldiers to be much dejected for fear their countrymen at Platea should sink under the numbers of Mardonius's army, contrived a stratagem to reanimate them; and that, therefore, when he was just upon the point of making the first attack, he caused a rumour to be b spread among his troops, that the Persiarts were defeated at Platea, though at that time he had no man. ner of knowledge of the matter.
• Xerxes, hearing the news of these two overthrows, left Sardis with as much haste and hurry as he had done Athens before, after the battle of Salamin, and retired with great precipitation into Persia, in order to put himself, as far as he possibly could, out of the reach of his victorious enemies. But before he set out, he gave orders that his people should burn and demolish all the temples belonging to the Grecian cities in Asia : which order was so far executed, that not one escaped, except the temple of Diana at Ephesus. He acted in this manner at the instigation of the Magi, who were professed enemies to temples and images. The second Zoroaster had thoroughly instructed him in their religion, and made him a zealous defender of it. Pliny informs us, that Ostanes, the head of the Magi; and the patriarch of that sect, who maintained its maxims and interests with the greatest violence, attended Xerxes upon his expedition against Greece. This prince, as he passed through Babylon on his return to Susa, destroyed also all the temples in that city, as he had done those of Greece and Asia Minor ; doubtless through
• What we are told also of Paulus Emilius's victory over the Macedonians, which was known at Rome the very day it was obtained, without doubt happened in the same manner. • Diod. 1. xi. p. 28. d Strab. I. i. p. 634. • Cic. 1. ii. de. Leg. n. 29. Plin. l. XXX. C. 1.
& Arrian. I. vij.