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this, would say that Neptune formed it. For it appears evident to me, that the separation of these mountains is the effect of an earthquake. 130. The guides, when Xerxes asked if there was any other exit for the Peneus to the sea, being accurately acquainted with the country, said, “O king, this river has no other outlet that extends to the sea, except this one; for all Thessaly is surrounded by mountains.” Xerxes is reported to have said to this: “The Thessalians are prudent men, and therefore they long ago took precautions, and altered their minds, both on other accounts, and because they possessed a country which might be easily subdued and quickly taken. For it would only be necessary to turn the river on to their territory, by forcing it back by a mound at the pass, and diverting it from the channels through which it now flows, so that all Thessaly, except the mountains, would be inundated.” Xerxes expressed himself thus in reference to the sons of Aleuas, because they, being Thessalians, were the first of the Greeks who gave themselves up to the king; Xerxes supposing that they promised alliance in behalf of the whole nation. Having thus spoken, and viewed the spot, he sailed back to Therma. 131. He remained several days about Pieria, for a third division of his army was employed in felling the trees on the Macedonian range, that the whole army might pass in that direction to the Perrhaebi. In the mean time the heralds,” who had been sent to Greece to demand earth, returned to Xerxes; some empty, and others bringing earth and water. 132. Of those who gave them were the following: the Thessalians, the Dolopes, the Enienes, the Perrhaebi, the Locrians, the Magnetes, the Melians, the Achaeans of Pthiotis, and the Thebans, and all the rest of the Boeotians, except the Thespians and Plataeans. Against these the Greeks, who engaged in war with the barbarians, made a solemn oath. The oath ran as follows: “Whatever Greeks have given themselves up to the Persian, without compulsion, so soon as their affairs are restored to order, that these should be compelled to pay a tithe to the god at Delphi.” Such was the oath taken by the Greeks. 133. To Athens and Sparta he did not send heralds to demand earth, for the following reasons: On a former occasion, when Darius sent for the same purpose, the former
! See chap. 6. * See chap. 32.
having thrown those who made the demand into the barathrum,” and the latter into a well, bade them carry earth and water to the king from those places. For that reason, Xerxes did not send persons to make the demand. What calamity befel the Athenians, in consequence of their having treated the heralds in this manner, I cannot say, except that their territory and city were ravaged; but I do not think that happened in consequence of that crime. 134. On the Lacedaemonians, however, the anger of Talthybius, Agamemnon's herald, alighted. For Talthybius has a temple in Sparta; and there are descendants of Talthybius, called Talthybiadae, to whom all embassies from Sparta are given as a privilege. After these events, the Spartans were unable, when they sacrificed, to get favourable omens; and this continued for a long time. The Lacedaemonians being grieved, and considering it a great calamity, and having frequently held assemblies, and at length made inquiry by public proclamation, whether any Lacedaemonian was willing to die for Sparta, Sperthies, son of Aneristus, and Bulis, son of Nicolaus, both Spartans of distinguished birth, and eminent for their wealth, voluntarily offered to give satisfaction to Xerxes for the heralds of Darius who had perished at Sparta. Accordingly, the Spartans sent them to the Medes, for the purpose of being put to death. 135. And both the courage of these men deserves admiration, and also the following words on this occasion. For on their way to Susa, they came to Hydarnes; but Hydarnes was a Persian by birth, and governor of the maritime people in Asia; he having offered them hospitality, entertained them, and while he was entertaining them, he questioned them as follows, saying, “Men of Lacedaemon, why do you refuse to be friendly with the king For you may see how well the king knows how to honour brave men, by looking at me and my condition. So also, if you would surrender yourselves to the king, for you are deemed by him to be brave men, each of you would obtain a government in some part of Greece, at the hands of the king.” To this they answered as follows: “Hydarnes, the advice you hold out to us is not impartial; for you advise us, having tried the one state, but being inexperienced in the other: what it is to be a slave you know perfectly well, but you have never tried liberty, whether it is sweet or not. For if you had tried it, you would advise us to fight for it, not with spears, but even with hatchets.” Thus they answered Hydarnes. 136. Afterwards, when they went up to Susa, and were come into the king's presence, in the first place, when the guards commanded and endeavoured to compel them to prostrate themselves and worship the king, they said, they would by no means do so, although they were thrust by them on their heads; for that it was not their custom to worship a man, nor had they come for that purpose. When they had fought off this, and on their addressing Xerxes in words to the following effect, “King of the Medes, the Lacedaemonians have sent us in return for the heralds who were killed at Sparta, to make satisfaction for them;” on their saying this, Xerxes answered with magnanimity, “that he would not be like the Lacedaemonians, for that they had violated the law of all nations, by murdering his heralds; but he would not do the very thing which he blamed in them; nor by killing them in return, would relieve the Lacedaemonians from guilt.” 137. Thus the wrath of Talthybius, when the Spartans acted in this manner, ceased for the time, although Sperthies and Bulis returned to Sparta. But some time afterwards it was again aroused, during the war between the Peloponnesians and Athenians, as the Lacedæmonians say; and this appears to me to have happened in a most extraordinary manner: for that the wrath of Talthybius alighted on the messengers, and did not cease until it was satisfied, justice allowed; but that it should fall on the sons of the men who went up to the king on account of that wrath, on Nicolaus, son of Bulis, and on Aneristus, son of Sperthies, who, sailing in a merchant vessel fully manned, captured some fishermen from Tiryns, makes it clear to me that the occurrence was extraordinary in consequence of that wrath. For they, being sent by the Lacedaemonians as ambassadors to Asia, and being betrayed by Sitalces, son of Teres, king of the Thracians, and by Nymphodorus, son of Pytheas of Abdera, were taken near Bisanthe on the Hellespont, and being carried to Attica, were put to death by the Athenians; and with them Aristeas, son of Adimantus, a Corinthian. These things, however, happened many years after the expedition of the king. 138. But I return to my former subject. This expedition
* The barathrum was a deep pit at Athens, into which certain criminals who were sentenced to death, were thrown.
of the king was nominally directed against Athens, but was
anxious to consult the oracle: and after they had performed the usual ceremonies about the temple, when they entered the sanctuary and sat down, the Pythian, whose name was Aristonica, uttered the following warning: “O wretched men, why sit ye here 2 fly to the ends of the earth, leaving your houses and the lofty summits of your wheel-shaped city. For neither does the head remain firm nor the body, nor the lowest feet nor the hands, nor is aught of the middle left, but they are all fallen to ruin. For fire and fleet Mars, driving the Syrian chariot, destroys it. And he will destroy many other turrets, and not yours alone; and he will deliver many temples of the immortals to devouring fire, which now stand dripping with sweat, shaken with terror; and from the topmost roofs trickles black blood, pronouncing inevitable woe. But go from the sanctuary, and infuse your mind with courage to meet misfortunes.” 141. The deputies of the Athenians, having heard this, deemed it a very great calamity; and when they were dejected at the predicted evil, Timon, son of Androbulus, a man reputed at Delphi equally with the best, advised them to take supplicatory branches and go again and consult the oracle as suppliants. The Athenians yielding to this advice, and saying, “O king, vouchsafe to give us a more favourable answer concerning our country, having regard to these supplicatory branches which we have brought with us; otherwise we will never depart from thy sanctuary, but will remain here till we die.” When they had said this, the priestess gave a second answer, in these terms: “Pallas is unable to propitiate Olympian Jove, entreating him with many a prayer and prudent counsel. But to you again I utter this speech, making it like adamant; for when all is taken that the limit of Cecrops contains within it, and the recesses of divine Cithaeron, wide-seeing Jupiter gives a wooden wall to the Triton-born goddess, to be alone impregnable, which shall preserve you and your children. Nor do you quietly wait for the cavalry and infantry advancing in multitudes from the continent, but turn your back and withdraw. You will still be able to face them. O divine Salamis, thou shalt cause the sons of women to perish, whether Ceres is scattered or gathered in.” 142. Having written this answer down, for it appeared to them to be of milder import than the former one, they departed for Athens: and when the