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one halfof the fleet, should separate themselves from the allies, as their general had taken occasion to insinuate.
'A council of war was also held on the side of the Persians, in order to determine whether they should hazard a naval engagement. Xerxes himself was come to the feet to take the advice of his captains and officers, who were all unanimous for the battle, because they knew it was agreeable to the king's inclination. Queen Artemisa was the only person who opposed that resolution. She represented the dangerous consequences of coming to blows with people much more conversant and more expert in maritime affairs than the Persians ; alleging, that the loss of a battle at sea would be attended with the ruin of their land army ; whereas, by protracting the war, and approaching Peloponnesus, they would create jealousies and divisions among their enemies, or rather augment the division already very great amongst them ; that the confederates in that case would not fail to separate from one another, to return and defend their respective countries ; and that then the king, without difficulty, and almost without striking a blow, might make himself master of all Greece. This wise advice was not followed, and a battle was resolved upon.
Xerxes, imputing the ill success of all his former engagements at sea to his own absence, was resolved to be witness of this from the top of an eminence, where he caused a throne to be erected for that purpose. This might have contributed in some measure to animate his forces; but there is another much more sure and effectual means of doing it, I mean, by the prince's real presence and example, when he himself
* Hered. I. viii. c. 67-70.
shares in the danger, and thereby shows himself worthy of being the soul and head of a brave and numerous body of men, ready to die for his service. A prince that has not this sort of fortitude, which nothing can shake, and which even takes new vigor from danger, may nevertheless be endued with other excellent qualities, but then he is by no means proper to command an army. No qualification whatsoever can supply the want of courage in a general ; and the more he labours to show the appearance of it, when he has not the reality, the more he discovers his cowardice and fear. There is, it must be owned, a vast difference between a general officer and a simple soldier. “Xerxes ought not to have exposed his person otherwise than became a prince, that is to say, as the head, not as the hand ; as he, whose business it is to direct and give orders, not as those who are to put them in execution. But to keep himself entirely at a distance from danger, and to act no other part than that of a spectator, was really renouncing the quality and office of a general.
* Themistocles knowing that some of the commanders in the Grecian fleet still entertained thoughts of sailing towards the isthmus, contrived to have notice given underhand to Xerxes, that as the Grecian allies were now assembled together in one place, it would be an easy matter for him to subdue and destroy them altogether ; whereas, if they once separated from one another, as they were going to do, he might never meet with another opportunity so favourable. .
The king gave into this opinion, and immediately commanded
Quanto magis occultare ac abdere pavorem nitebantur, manifestius pavidi. Tacit. Hist.
Herod. I. viii c. 74–78.
a great number of his vessels to surround Salamin by night, in order to make it impracticable for the Greeks to quit their post.
9 No body among the Grecians perceived that their army was surrounded in this manner.
Aristides came the same night from Egina, where he had some forces under his command, and with very great danger passed through the whole fleet of the enemy. When he came up to Themistocles' tent, he took him aside, and spoke to him in the following manner : “ if we are wise, Themistocles, we shall from henceforward lay aside that vain and childish dissension that has hith. erto divided us, and strive with a more noble and useful emulation which of us shall render the best service to his country ; you by commanding, and doing the duty of a wise and able captain, and I by obeying your
orders, and by assisting you with my person and advice.” He then informed him of the army's being surrounded with the ships of the Persians, and warmly exhorted him to give them battle without delay. Themistocles, extremely astonished at such a greatness of soul, and such a noble and generous frankness, was somewhat ashamed that he had suffered himself to be so much excelled by his rival; but without being ashamed to own it, he promised Aristides that he would henceforward imitatę his generosity, and even exceed it, if it were possible, in the whole of bis future conduct. Then, after having imparted to him the stratagem he had contrived to deceive the barbarian, he desired him to go in person to Eurybiades, in order to convince him that there was no other means of safety for them than to engage the enemy by sea at Salamin ; which commission Aristides executed with pleasure and success; for he was in great credit and esteem with that general.
9 Plut. in Arist. p. 323.
Herod. l. viii. c. 78-82.
'Both sides therefore, prepared themselves for the battle. The Grecian fleet consisted of three hundred and eighty sail of ships, which in every thing followed the direction and orders of Themistocles. As nothing escaped his vigilance, and as, like an able commander, he knew how to improve every circumstance and incident to advantage, before he would begin the engagement, he waited till a certain wind, which rose regularly every day at a certain hour, and which was entirely contrary to the enemy, began to blotv. As soon as this wind rose, the signal was given for battle. The Persians, who knew that their king had his eyes upon them, advanced with such a courage and impetuosity, as were capable of strikng an enemy with terror. But the heat of the first attack quickly abated, when they came to be engaged. Every thing was contrary to, and disadvantageous for them ; the wind, which blew directly in their faces; the height, and the heaviness of their vessels, which could not move and turn without great difficulty ; and even the number of their ships, which was so far from being of use to them, that it only served to embarrass them in a place so strait and narrow, as that they fought in ; whereas, on the side of the Grecians, every thing was done with good order, and without hurry or confusion; because every thing was directed by one commander. The Ionians, whom Themistocles had advised by characters engraven upon stones along the coasts of Eubea to remember from whom they derived their original, were the first that betook themselves to flight, and were quickly
: Herod. l. yiii. c. 84-96.
followed by the rest of the fleet. But queen
Artemisa distinguised herself by incredible efforts of resolution and courage, so that Xerxes, who saw in what manner she had behaved herself, cried out,' that the men had behaved like women in this engagement, and that the women had showed the courage of men. The Athenians, being enraged that a woman had dared to appear in arms against them, had promised a reward of ten thousand drachms to any one that should be able to take her alive : but she had the good fortune to escape their pursuits. If they had taken her, she could have deserved nothing from them but the highest commendations, and the most honourable and generous treatment.
* The manner in which that queen escaped, ought not to be omitted. Seeing herself warmly pursued by an Athenian ship, from which it seemed impossible for her to escape, she hung out Grecian colours, and attacked one of the Persian vessels, on board of which was Damasithymus, king of 'Calynda, with whom she had some difference, and sunk it: this made her pursuers believe that her ship was one of the Grecian feet, and gave over the chace.
Οι μεν ανδρες γεγογισιμοι γυναίκες, αι δε γυναίκες ανδρες. Artemisia inter primos duces bellum acerrime ciebat. Quippe, ut in viro muliebrem timorem, ita in muliere virilem audaciam cerneres. Just. 1. ii. c. 12.
· Herod. 1. viii. c. 87, 88. Polyæn. I. viii. c. 53. a It appears that Artemisa valued herself no less upon stratagem than courage, and at the same time was not very delicate in the choice of the measure she used. It is said, that being desirous of seizing Latmus, & small city of Caria, that lay very commodiously for her, she laid her troops in ambush, and, under pretence of celebrating the feast of the mother of the gods, in a wood consecrated to her near that city, that she repaired thither with a great train of eunuchs, women, drums, and trumpets. The inhabitants ran in throngs to see that religious ceremony : and in the mean time Artemisa's troops took possession of the place. Polyæn Stratag. I. viii. c. 53.
• A city of Lycia.