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This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1946

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. IV) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

(Book XI, continued)

 p175  20 1 Now that we have described at sufficient length the events in Europe, we shall shift our narrative to the affairs of another people. The Carthaginians, we recall,1 had agreed with the Persians to subdue the Greeks of Sicily at the same time and had made preparations on a large scale of such materials as would be useful in carrying on a war. And when they had made everything ready, they chose for general Hamilcar, having selected him as the man who was held by them in the highest esteem. 2 He assumed command of huge forces, both land and naval, and sailed forth from Carthage with an army of not less than three hundred thousand men and a fleet of  p177 over two hundred ships of war, not to mention many cargo ships for carrying supplies, numbering more than three thousand. Now as he was crossing the Libyan sea he encountered a storm and lost the vessels which were carrying the horses and chariots. And when he came to port in Sicily in the harbour of Panormus2 he remarked that he had finished the war; for he had been afraid that the sea would rescue the Siceliotes from the perils of the conflict. 3 He took three days to rest his soldiers and to repair the damage which the storm had inflicted on his ships, and then advanced together with his host against Himera, the fleet skirting the coast with him. And when he had arrived near the city we have just mentioned, he pitched two camps, the one for the army and the other for the naval force. All the warships he hauled up on land and threw about them a deep ditch and a wooden palisade, and he strengthened the camp of the army, which he placed so that it fronted the city, and prolonged so that it took in the area from the wall extending along the naval camp as far as the hills which overhung the city. 4 Speaking generally, he took control of the entire west side, after which he unloaded all the supplies from the cargo vessels and at once sent off all these boats, ordering them to bring grain and the other supplies from Libya and Sardinia. 5 Then, taking his best troops, he advanced to the city, and routing the Himerans who came out against him and slaying many of them, he struck the inhabitants of the city with terror. Consequently Theron, the ruler of the Acragantini, who with a considerable force was standing by to guard Himera,  p179 in fear hastily sent word to Syracuse, asking Gelon to come to his aid as rapidly as possible.

21 1 Gelon, who had likewise held his army in readiness, on learning that the Himerans were in despair set out from Syracuse with all speed, accompanied by not less than fifty thousand foot-soldiers and over five thousand cavalry. He covered the distance swiftly, and as he drew near the city of the Himerans he inspired boldness in the hearts of those who before had been dismayed at the forces of the Carthaginians. 2 For after pitching a camp which was appropriate to the terrain about the city, he not only fortified it with a deep ditch and a palisade but also dispatched his entire body of cavalry against such forces of the enemy as were ranging over the countryside in search of booty. And the cavalry, unexpectedly appearing to men who were scattered without military order over the countryside, took prisoner as many as each man could drive before him. And when prisoners of the number of more than ten thousand had been brought into the city, not only was Gelon accorded great approbation but the Himerans also came to hold the enemy in contempt. 3 Following up what he had already accomplished, all the gates which Theron through fear had formerly blocked up were now, on the contrary, opened up by Gelon through his contempt of the enemy, and he even constructed additional ones which might prove serviceable to him in case of urgent need.

In a word Gelon, excelling as he did in skill as a general and in shrewdness, set about at once to discover how he might without any risk to his army outgeneral the barbarians and utterly destroy their power. And his own ingenuity was greatly aided by  p181 accident, because of the following circumstance. 4 He had decided to set fire to the ships of the enemy; and while Hamilcar was occupied in the naval camp with the preparation of a magnificent sacrifice to Poseidon,3 cavalrymen came from the countryside bringing to Gelon a letter-carrier who was conveying dispatches from the people of Selinus, in which was written that they would send the cavalry for that day for which Hamilcar had written to dispatch them. 5 The day was that on which Hamilcar planned to celebrate the sacrifice. And on that day Gelon dispatched cavalry of his own, who were under orders to skirt the immediate neighbourhood and to ride up at daybreak to the naval camp, as if they were the allies from Selinus, and when they had once got inside the wooden palisade, to slay Hamilcar and set fire to the ships. He also sent scouts to the hills which overlook the city, ordering them to raise the signal as soon as they saw that the horsemen were inside the wall. For his part, at daybreak he drew up his army and awaited the sign which was to come from the scouts.

22 1 At sunrise the cavalrymen rode up to the naval camp of the Carthaginians, and when the guards admitted them, thinking them to be allies, they at once galloped to where Hamilcar was busied with the sacrifice, slew him, and then set fire to the ships; thereupon the scouts raised the signal and Gelon advanced with his entire army in battle order against the Carthaginian camp. 2 The commanders of the  p183 Phoenicians in the camp at the outset led out their troops to meet the Siceliotes and as the lines closed they put up a vigorous fight; at the same time in both camps they sounded with the trumpets the signal for battle and a shout arose from the two armies one after the other, each eagerly striving to outdo their adversaries in the volume of their cheering. 3 The slaughter was great, and the battle was swaying back and forth, when suddenly the flames from the ships began to rise on high and sundry persons reported that the general had been slain; then the Greeks were emboldened and with spirits elated at the rumours and by the hope of victory they pressed with greater boldness upon the barbarians, while the Carthaginians, dismayed and despairing of victory, turned in flight.

4 Since Gelon had given orders to take no prisoners, there followed a great slaughter of the enemy in their flight, and in the end no less than one hundred and fifty thousand of them were slain. All who escaped the battle and fled to a strong position at first warded off the attackers, but the position they had seized had no water, and thirst compelled them to surrender to the victors. 5 Gelon, who had won a victory in a most remarkable battle and had gained his success primarily by reason of his own skill as a general, acquired a fame that was noised abroad, not only among the Siceliotes, but among all other men as well; 6 for memory recalls no man before him who had used a stratagem like this, nor one who had slain more barbarians in one engagement or had taken so great a multitude of prisoners.

 p185  23 1 Because of this achievement many historians compare this battle with the one which the Greeks fought at Plataea and the stratagem of Gelon with the ingenious schemes of Themistocles, and the first place they assign, since such exceptional merit was shown by both men, some to the one and some to the other. 2 And the reason is that, when the people of Greece on the one hand and those of Sicily on the other were struck with dismay before the conflict at the multitude of the barbarian armies, it was the prior victory of the Sicilian Greeks which gave courage to the people of Greece when they learned of Gelon's victory; and as for the men in both affairs who held the supreme command, we know that in the case of the Persians the king escaped with his life and many myriads together with him, whereas in the case of the Carthaginians not only did the general perish but also everyone who participated in the war was slain, and, as the saying is, not even a man to bear the news got back alive to Carthage. 3 Furthermore, of the most distinguished of the leaders of the Greeks, Pausanias and Themistocles, the former was put to death by his fellow citizens because of his overweening greed of power and treason, and the latter was driven from every corner of Greece and fled for refuge to Xerxes, his bitterest enemy, on whose hospitality he lived to the end of his life; whereas Gelon after the battle received greater approbation every year at the hands of the Syracusans, grew old in the kingship, and died in the esteem of his people, and so strong was the goodwill which the citizens felt for  p187 him that the kingship was maintained for three members of this house.4

However, now that these men, who enjoy a well deserved fame, have received from us also the eulogies they merit, we shall pass on to the continuation of the preceding narrative.

24 1 Now it so happened that Gelon won his victory on the same day that Leonidas and his soldiers were contesting against Xerxes at Thermopylae,5 as if the deity intentionally so arranged that both the fairest victory and the most honourable defeat should take place at the same time. 2 After the battle at the city of the Himerans twenty warships made their escape from the fight, being those which Hamilcar, to serve his routine requirements, had not hauled up on shore. Consequently, although practically all the rest of the combatants were either slain or taken prisoner, these vessels managed to set sail before they were noticed. But they picked up many fugitives, and while heavily laden on this account, they encountered a storm and were all lost. A handful only of survivors got safely to Carthage in a small boat to give their fellow citizens a statement which was brief: "All who crossed over to Sicily have perished."

3 The Carthaginians, who had suffered a great disaster so contrary to their hopes, were so terror-stricken that every night they kept vigil guarding the city, in the belief that Gelon with his entire force must have decided to sail forthwith against Carthage.  p189 4 And because of the multitude of the lost the city went into public mourning, while privately the homes of citizens were filled with wailing and lamentation. For some kept inquiring after sons, others after brothers, while a very large number of children who had lost their fathers, alone now in the world, grieved at the death of those who had begotten them and at their own desolation through the loss of those who could succour them. And the Carthaginians, fearing lest Gelon should forestall them in crossing over to Libya, at once dispatched to him as ambassadors plenipotentiary their ablest orators and counsellors.

25 1 As for Gelon, after his victory he not only honoured with gifts the horsemen who had slain Hamilcar but also decorated with rewards for prowess all others who had played the part of men. The fairest part of the booty he put to one side, since he wished to embellish the temples of Syracuse with the spoils; as for the rest of the booty, much of it he nailed to the most notable of the temples in Himera, and the rest of it, together with the captives, he divided among the allies, apportioning it in accordance with the number who had served with him. 2 The cities put the captives allotted to them in chains and used them for building their public works. A very great number was received by the Acragantini, who embellished their city and countryside; for so great was the multitude of prisoners at their disposal that many private citizens had five hundred captives in their homes. A contributing reason for the vast number of the captives among them was not only that they had sent many soldiers into the battle, but also that, when the flight took place, many of the  p191 fugitives turned into the interior, especially into the territory of the Acragantini, and since every man of them was taken captive by the Acragantini, the city was crammed full of the captured. 3 Most of these were handed over to the state, and it was these men who quarried the stones of which not only the largest temples of the gods were constructed but also the underground conduits were built to lead off the waters from the city; these are so large that their construction is well worth seeing, although it is little thought of since they were built at slight expense. The builder in charge of these works, who bore the name of Phaeax, brought it about that, because of the fame of the construction, the underground conduits got the name "Phaeaces" from him. 4 The Acragantini also built an expensive kolumbethra,6 seven stades in circumference and twenty cubits deep. Into it the waters from rivers and springs were conducted and it became a fish-pond, which supplied fish in great abundance to be used for food and to please the plate; and since swans also in the greatest numbers settled down upon it, the pool came to be a delight to look upon. In later years, however, the pool became choked up through neglect and was destroyed by the long passage of time; 5 but the entire site, which was fertile, the inhabitants planted in vines and in trees of every description placed close together, so that they derived from it great revenues.

Gelon, after dismissing the allies, led the citizens of Syracuse back home, and because of the magnitude of his success he was enthusiastically received not only among his fellow citizens but also throughout the whole of Sicily; for he brought with him such  p193 a multitude of captives that it looked as if the island had made the whole of Libya captive. 26 And at once there came to him ambassadors from both the cities and rulers which had formerly opposed him, asking forgiveness for their past mistakes and promising for the future to carry out his every command. With all of them he dealt equitably and concluded alliances, bearing his good fortune as men should, not toward them alone but even toward the Carthaginians, his bitterest foes. 2 For when the ambassadors who had been dispatched from Carthage came to him and begged him with tears to treat them humanely, he granted them peace, exacting of them the expense he had incurred for the war, two thousand talents of silver, and requiring them further to build two temples in which they should place copies of the treaty. 3 The Carthaginians, having unexpectedly gained their deliverance, not only agreed to all this but also promised to give in addition a gold crown to Damaretê, the wife of Gelon. For Damaretê at their request had contributed the greatest aid toward the conclusion of the peace, and when she had received the crown of one hundred gold talents from them, she struck a coin which was called from her a Damareteion. This was worth ten Attic drachmas and was called by the Sicilian Greeks, according to its weight, a pentekontalitron.7

4 Gelon treated all men fairly, primarily because that was his disposition, but not the least motive was that he was eager to make all men his own by acts of goodwill. For instance, he was making ready to sail to Greece with a large force and to join the Greeks in their war against the Persians. 5 And he was already  p195 on the point of setting out to sea, when certain men from Corinth put in at Syracuse and brought the news that the Greeks had won the sea-battle at Salamis and that Xerxes and a part of his armament had retreated from Europe. Consequently he stopped his preparations for departure, while welcoming the enthusiasm of the soldiers; and then he called them to an assembly, issuing orders for each man to appear fully armed. As for himself, he came to the assembly not only with no arms but not even wearing a tunic and clad only in a cloak, and stepping forward he rendered an account of his whole life and of all he had done for the Syracusans; 6 and when the throng shouted its approval at each action he mentioned and showed especially its amazement that he had given himself unarmed into the hands of any who might wish to slay him, so far was he from being a victim of vengeance as a tyrant that they united in acclaiming him with one voice Benefactor and Saviour and King.8 7 After this incident Gelon built noteworthy temples to Demeter and Corê9 out of the spoils, and making a golden tripod10 of sixteen talents value he set it up in the sacred precinct at Delphi as a thank-offering to Apollo. At a later time he purposed to  p197 build a temple to Demeter at Aetna, since she had none in that place; but he did not complete it, his life having been cut short by fate.

8 Of the lyric poets Pindar was in his prime in this period. Now these are in general the most notable events which took place in this year.

27 1 While Xanthippus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Quintus Fabius Silvanus and Servius Cornelius Tricostus.11 At this time the Persian fleet, with the exception of the Phoenician contingent, after its defeat in the sea-battle of Salamis lay at Cymê. Here it passed the winter, and at the coming of summer it sailed down the coast to Samos to keep watch on Ionia; and the total number of the ships in Samos excelled four hundred. Now they were keeping watch upon the cities of the Ionians who were suspected of hostile sentiments.

2 Throughout Greece, after the battle of Salamis, since the Athenians were generally believed to have been responsible for the victory, and on this account were themselves exultant, it became as a matter of fact to all that they were intending to dispute with the Lacedaemonians for the leadership on the sea; consequently the Lacedaemonians, foreseeing what was going to happen, did all they could to humble the pride of the Athenians. When, therefore, a judgement was proposed to determine the prizes to be awarded for this valour, through the superior favour they enjoyed they caused the decision to be that of states Aegina had won the prize, and of men Ameinias of Athens, the brother of Aeschylus the  p199 poet; for Ameinias, while commanding a trireme, had been the first to ram the flagship of the Persians, sinking it and killing the admiral. 3 And when the Athenians showed their anger at this undeserved humiliation, the Lacedaemonians, fearful lest Themistocles should be displeased at the outcome and should devise some great evil against them and the Greeks, honoured him with double the number of gifts awarded to those who had received the prize of valour. And when Themistocles accepted the gifts, the Athenians in assembly removed him from the generalship and bestowed the office upon Xanthippus the son of Ariphron.

28 1 When the estrangement which had arisen between the Athenians and the other Greeks became noised abroad, there came to Athens ambassadors from the Persians and from the Greeks. Now those who had been dispatched by the Persians bore word that Mardonius the general assured the Athenians that, if they should choose the cause of the Persians, he would give them their choice of any land in Greece, rebuild their walls and temples, and allow the city to live under its own laws; but those who had been sent from the Lacedaemonians begged the Athenians not to yield to the persuasions of the barbarians but to maintain their loyalty toward the Greeks, who were men of their own blood and of the same speech. 2 And the Athenians replied to the barbarians that the Persians possessed no land rich enough nor garland in sufficient abundance which the Athenians would accept in return for abandoning the Greeks; while to the Lacedaemonians they said that as for themselves the concern which they had formerly held for the welfare of Greece they would endeavour to  p201 maintain hereafter also, and of the Lacedaemonians they only asked that they should come with all speed to Attica together with all their allies. For it was evident, they added, that Mardonius, now that the Athenians had declared against him, would advance with his army against Athens. 3 And this is what actually took place. For Mardonius, who was stationed in Boeotia with all his forces, at first attempted to cause certain cities in the Peloponnesus to come over to him, distributing money among their leading men, but afterwards, when he learned of the reply the Athenians had given, in his rage he led his entire force into Attica. 4 Apart from the army Xerxes had given him he had himself gathered many other soldiers from Thrace and Macedonia and the other allied states, more than two hundred thousand men. 5 With the advance into Attica of so large a force as this, the Athenians dispatched couriers bearing letters to the Lacedaemonians, asking their aid; and since the Lacedaemonians still loitered and the barbarians had already crossed the border of Attica, they were dismayed, and again, taking their children and wives and whatever else they were able to carry off in their haste, they left their native land and a second time fled for refuge to Salamis. 6 And Mardonius was so angry with them that he ravaged the entire countryside, razed the city to the ground, and utterly destroyed the temples that were still standing.

29 1 When Mardonius and his army had returned to Thebes, the Greeks gathered in congress decreed to make common cause with the Athenians and advancing to Plataea in a body, to fight to a finish for  p203 liberty, and also to make a vow to the gods that, if they were victorious, the Greeks would unite in celebrating the Festival of Liberty on that day12 and would hold the games of the Festival in Plataea. 2 And when the Greek forces were assembled at the Isthmus, all of them agreed that they should swear an oath about the war, one that would make staunch the concord among them and would compel entrenchment nobly to endure the perils of the battle. 3 The oath ran as follows: "I will not hold life dearer than liberty, nor will I desert the leaders, whether they be living or dead, but I will bury all the allies who have perished in the battle; and if I overcome the barbarians in the war, I will not destroy any one of the cities which have participated in the struggle;13 nor will I rebuild any one of the sanctuaries which have been burnt or demolished, but I will let them be and leave them as a reminder to coming generations of the impiety of the barbarians." 4 After they had sworn the oath, they marched to Boeotia through the pass of Cithaeron, and when they had descended as far as the foothills near Erythrae, they pitched camp there. The command over the Athenians was held by Aristeides, and the supreme command by Pausanias, who was the guardian14 of the son of Leonidas.

30 1 When Mardonius learned that the enemy's army was advancing in the direction of Boeotia, he marched forth from Thebes, and when he arrived at the Asopus River he pitched a camp, which he  p205 strengthened by means of a deep ditch and surrounded with a wooden palisade. The total number of the Greeks approached one hundred thousand men, that of the barbarians some five hundred thousand.15 2 The first to open the battle were the barbarians, who poured out upon the Greeks by night and charged with all their cavalry upon the camp. The Athenians observed them in time and with their army in battle formation boldly advanced to meet them, and a mighty battle ensued. 3 In the end all the rest of the Greeks put to flight the barbarians who were arrayed against them; but the Megarians alone, who faced the commander of the cavalry and the best horsemen the Persians had, being hard pressed in the fighting, though they did not leave their position, sent some of their men as messengers to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians asking them to come to their aid with all speed. 4 Aristeides quickly dispatched the picked Athenians who constituted his body-guard, and these, forming themselves into a compact body and falling on the barbarians, rescued the Megarians from the perils which threatened them, slew of the Persians both the commander of the cavalry and many others, and put the remainder to flight.

The Greeks, now that they had shown their superiority so brilliantly in a kind of dress rehearsal, were encouraged to hope for a decisive victory; and after this encounter they moved their camp from the foothills to a place which was better suited to a complete victory. 5 For on the right was a high hill, on the left the Asopus River, and the space between was held by the camp, which was fortified by the natural impregnability  p207 of the general terrain. 6 Thus for the Greeks, who had laid their plans wisely, the limited space was a great aid to their victory, since the Persian battle-line could not be extended to a great length, and the result was, as the event was to show, that no use could be made of the many myriads of the barbarians. Consequently Pausanias and Aristeides, placing their confidence in the positions they held, led the army out to battle, and when they had taken positions in a manner suitable to the terrain they advanced against the enemy.

31 1 Mardonius, having been forced to increase the depth of his line, arranged his troops in the way that he thought would be to his advantage, and raising the battle-cry, advanced to meet the Greeks. The best soldiers were about him and with these he led the way, striking at the Lacedaemonians who faced him; he fought gallantly and slew many of the Greeks. The Lacedaemonians, however, opposed him stoutly and endured every peril of battle willingly, and so there was a great slaughter of the barbarians. 2 Now so long as Mardonius and his picked soldiers continued to bear the brunt of the fighting, the barbarians sustained the shock of battle with good spirit; but when Mardonius fell, fighting bravely, and of the picked troops some were slain and others wounded, their spirits were dashed and they began to flee. 3 When the Greeks pressed hard upon them, the larger part of the barbarians fled for safety within the palisade, but as for the rest of the army, the Greeks serving with Mardonius withdrew to Thebes, and the remainder, over four hundred thousand in number, were taken in hand by Artabazus, a man of repute among the Persians,  p209 who fled in the opposite direction, and withdrew by forced marches toward Phocis.

32 1 Since the barbarians were thus separated in their flight, so the body of the Greeks was similarly divided; for the Athenians and Plataeans and Thespiaeans pursued after those who had set out for Thebes, and the Corinthians and Sicyonians and the Phliasians and certain others followed after the forces which were retreating with Artabazus; and the Lacedaemonians together with the rest pursued the soldiers who had taken refuge within the palisade and trounced them spiritedly. 2 The Thebans received the fugitives, added them to their forces, and then set upon the pursuing Athenians; a sharp battle took place before the walls, the Thebans fighting brilliantly, and not a few fell on both sides, but at last this body was overcome by the Athenians and took refuge again within Thebes.

3 After this the Athenians withdrew to the aid of the Lacedaemonians and joined with them in assaulting the walls against those Persians who had taken refuge within the camp; both sides put up a vigorous contest, the barbarians fighting bravely from the fortified positions they held and the Greeks storming the wooden walls, and many were wounded as they fought desperately, while not a few were also slain by the multitude of missiles and met death with stout hearts. 4 Nevertheless the powerful onset of the Greeks could be withstood neither by the wall the barbarians had erected nor by their great numbers, but resistance of every kind was forced to give way; for it was a case of rivalry between the foremost peoples of Greece, the Lacedaemonians and the  p211 Athenians, who were buoyed up by reason of their former victories and supported by confidence in their valour. 5 In the end the barbarians were overpowered, and they found no mercy even though they pled to be taken prisoner. For the Greek general, Pausanias, observing how superior the barbarians were in number, took pains of the prevent anything due to miscalculation from happening, the barbarians being many times more numerous than the Greeks; consequently he had issued orders to take no man prisoner, and soon there was an incredible number of dead. And in the end, when the Greeks had slaughtered more than one hundred thousand of the barbarians, they reluctantly ceased slaying the enemy.

33 1 After the battle had ended in the way we have described, the Greeks buried their dead, of which there were more than ten thousand. And after dividing up the booty according to the number of the soldiers, they made their decision as to the award for valour, and in response to the urging of Aristeides they bestowed the prize for cities upon Sparta and for men upon Pausanias the Lacedaemonian. Meanwhile Artabazus with as many as four hundred thousand of the fleeing Persians made his way through Phocis into Macedonia, availing himself of the quickest routes, and got back safely together with the soldiers into Asia.

2 The Greeks, taking a tenth part of the spoils, made a gold tripod16 and set it up in Delphi as a thank-offering  p213 to the God, inscribing on it the following couplet:

This is the gift the saviours of far-flung Hellas upraised here,

Having delivered their states from loathsome slavery's bonds.17

Inscriptions were also set up for the Lacedaemonians who died at Thermopylae; for the whole body of them as follows:

Here on a time there strove with two hundred myriads of foemen

Soldiers in number but four thousand from Pelops' fair Isle;

and for the Spartans alone as follows:

To Lacedaemon's folk, O stranger, carry the message,

How we lie here in this place, faithful and true to their laws.18

3 In like manner the citizen-body of the Athenians embellished the tombs of those who had perished in the Persian War, held the Funeral Games then for the first time, and passed a law that laudatory addresses upon men who were buried at the public expense should be delivered by speakers selected for each occasion.

4 After the events we have described Pausanias the general advanced with the army against Thebes and demanded for punishment the men who had been responsible for the alliance of Thebes with the Persians. And the Thebans were so overawed by  p215 the multitude of their enemy and by their prowess in battle, that the men most responsible for their desertion from the Greeks agreed of their own accord to being handed over, and they all received at the hands of Pausanias the punishment of death.

34 1 Also in Ionia the Greeks fought a great battle with the Persians on the same day as that which took place in Plataea, and since we propose to describe it, we shall take up the account of it from the beginning. 2 Leotychides the Lacedaemonian and Xanthippus19 the Athenian, the commanders of the naval force, after the battle of Salamis collected the fleet in Aegina, and after spending some days there they sailed to Delos with two hundred and fifty triremes. And while they lay at anchor there, ambassadors came to them from Samos asking them to liberate the Greeks of Asia. 3 Leotychides took counsel with the commanders, and after they had heard all the Samians had to say, they decided to undertake to liberate the cities and speedily sailed forth from Delos. When the Persian admirals, who were then at Samos, learned that the Greeks were sailing against them, they withdrew from Samos with all their ships, and putting into port at Mycalê in Ionia they hauled up their ships, since they saw that the vessels were unequal to offering battle, and threw about them a wooden palisade and a deep ditch; despite these defences they also summoned land forces from Sardis and the neighbouring cities and gathered in all about one hundred thousand men. Furthermore, they made ready all the other equipment that is useful in war, believing that the Ionians also would go over to the  p217 enemy. 4 Leotychides advanced with all the fleet ready for action against the barbarians at Mycalê, dispatching in advance a ship carrying a herald who had the strongest voice of anyone in the fleet. This man had been ordered to sail up to the enemy and to announce in a loud voice, "The Greeks, having conquered the Persians, are now come to liberate the Greek cities of Asia." 5 This Leotychides did in the belief that the Greeks in the army of the barbarians would revolt from the Persians and that great confusion would arise in the camp of the barbarians; and that is what actually happened. For as soon as the herald approached the ships which had been hauled up on the shore, and made the announcement as he had been ordered, it came about that the Persians lost confidence in the Greeks and that the Greeks began to agree among themselves about revolting.

35 1 After the Greeks under Leotychides had found out how the Greeks in the Persians' camp felt, they disembarked their forces. And on the following day, while they were making preparation for battle, the rumour came to them of the victory which the Greeks had won over the Persians at Plataea. 2 At this news Leotychides, after calling an assembly, exhorted his troops to the battle, and among the other considerations which he presented to them he announced in histrionic manner the victory of Plataea, in the belief that he would make more confident those who were about to fight. And marvellous indeed was the outcome. For it has become known that it was on the same day that the two battles took place, the one which was fought at Mycalê and the other which  p219 occurred at Plataea. 3 It would seem, therefore, that Leotychides had not yet learned of the victory, but that he was deliberately inventing the military success and did so as a stratagem; for the great distance separating the places proved that the transmission of the message was impossible. 4 But the leaders of the Persians, placing no confidence in the Greeks of their own forces, took away their arms and gave them to men who were friendly to them; and then they called all the soldiers together and told them that Xerxes was coming in person to their aid with a great armament, inspiring them thereby with courage to face the peril of the battle.

36 1 When both sides had drawn out their troops in battle-order and were advancing against each other, the Persians, observing how few the enemy were, disdained them and bore down on them with great shouting. 2 Now the Samians and Milesians had decided unanimously beforehand to support the Greek cause and were pushing forward all together at the double; and as their advance brought them in sight of the Greek army, although the Ionians thought that the Greeks would be encouraged, the result was the very opposite. 3 For the troops of Leotychides, thinking that Xerxes was come from Sardis with his army and advancing upon them, were filled with fear, and confusion and division among themselves arose in the army, some saying that they should take to their ships with all speed and depart and others that they should remain and boldly hold their lines. While they were still in disorder, the Persians came in sight, equipped in a manner to inspire terror and bearing down on them with shouting. 4 The Greeks, having  p221 no respite for deliberation, were compelled to withstand the attack of the barbarians.

At the outset both sides fought stoutly and the battle was indecisive, great numbers falling in both armies; but when the Samians and Milesians put in their appearance,20 the Greeks plucked up courage, whereas the barbarians were filled with terror and broke in flight. 5 A great slaughter followed, as the troops of Leotychides and Xanthippus pressed upon the beaten barbarians and pursued them as far as the camp; and Aeolians participated in the battle, after the issue had already been decided, as well as many other peoples of Asia, since an overwhelming desire for their liberty entered the hearts of the inhabitants of the cities of Asia. 6 Therefore practically all of them gave no thought either to hostages21 or to oaths, but they joined with the other Greeks in slaying the barbarians in their flight. This was the manner in which the Persians suffered defeat, and there were slain of them more than forty thousand, while of the survivors some found refuge in the camp and others withdrew to Sardis. 7 And when Xerxes learned of both the defeat in Plataea and the rout of his own troops in Mycalê, he left a portion of his armament in Sardis to carry on the war against the Greeks, while he himself, in bewilderment, set out with the rest of his army on the way to Ecbatana.

37 1 Leotychides and Xanthippus now sailed back to Samos and made allies of the Ionians and Aeolians,  p223 and then they endeavoured to induce them to abandon Asia and to move their homes to Europe. They promised to expel the peoples who had espoused the cause of the Medes and to give their lands to them; 2 for as a general thing, they explained, if they remained in Asia, they would always have the enemy on their borders, an enemy far superior in military strength, while their allies, who lived across the sea, would be unable to render them any timely assistance. When the Aeolians and Ionians had heard these promises, they resolved to take the advice of the Greeks and set about preparing to sail with them to Europe. 3 But the Athenians changed to the opposite opinion and advised them to stay where they were, saying that even if no other Greeks should come to their aid, the Athenians, as their kinsmen, would do so independently. They reasoned that, if the Ionians were given new homes by the Greeks acting in common they would no longer look upon Athens as their mother-city. It was for this reason that the Ionians changed their minds and decided to remain in Asia.

4 After these events it came to pass that the armament of the Greeks was divided, the Lacedaemonians sailing back to Laconia and the Athenians together with the Ionians and the islanders22 weighing anchor for Sestus. 5 And Xanthippus the general, as soon as he reached that port, launched assaults upon Sestus and took the city, and after establishing a garrison in it he dismissed the allies and himself with his fellow citizens returned to Athens.

6 Now the Median War, as it has been called, after lasting two years, came to the end which we have described. And of the historians, Herodotus, beginning  p225 with the period prior to the Trojan War, has written in nine books a general history of practically all the events which occurred in the inhabited world, and brings his narrative to an end with the battle of the Greeks against the Persians at Mycalê and the siege of Sestus.

7 In Italy the Romans waged a war against the Volscians, and conquering them in battle slew many of them. And Spurius Cassius, who had been consul the preceding year,23 because he was believed to be aiming at a tyranny and was found guilty, was put to death.

These, then, were the events of this year.

38 1 When Timosthenes was archon at Athens, in Rome Caeso Fabius and Lucius Aemilius Mamercus succeeded to the consulship. During this year throughout Sicily an almost complete peace pervaded the island, the Carthaginians having finally been humbled, and Gelon had established a beneficent rule over the Sicilian Greeks and was providing their cities with a high degree of orderly government and an abundance of every necessity of life. 2 And since the Syracusans had by law put an end to costly funerals and done away with the expense which customarily had been incurred for the dead, and there had been specified in the law even the altogether inexpensive obsequies, King Gelon, desiring to foster and maintain the people's interest in all matters, kept the law regarding bodies intact in his own case; 3 for when he fell ill and had given up hope of life, he handed over the kingship to Hieron, his eldest brother, and respecting  p227 his own burial he gave orders that the prescriptions of the law should be strictly observed. Consequently at his death his funeral was held by his successor to the throne just as he had ordered it. 4 His body was buried on the estate of his wife in the Nine Towers, as it is called, which is a marvel to men by reason of its strong construction. And the entire populace accompanied his body from the city, although the place was two hundred stades distant. 5 Here he was buried, and the people erected a noteworthy tomb and accorded Gelon the honours which belong to heroes; but at a later time the monument was destroyed by the Carthaginians in the course of campaign against Syracuse, while the towers were thrown down by Agathocles24 out of envy. Nevertheless, neither the Carthaginians out of enmity nor Agathocles of his native baseness, nor any other man has ever been able to deprive Gelon of his glory; 6 for the just witness of history has guarded his fair fame, heralding it abroad with piercing voice for evermore. It is indeed both just and beneficial to society that history should heap imprecations upon base men who have held positions of authority, but should accord immortal remembrance to those who have been beneficent rulers; for in this way especially, it will be found, many men of later generations will be impelled to work for the general good of mankind.

7 Now Gelon reigned for seven years, and Hieron his brother succeeded him in the rule and reigned over the Syracusans eleven years and eight months.25

39 1 In Greece the Athenians after the victory at  p229 Plataea brought their children and wives back to Athens from Troezen and Salamis, and at once set to work fortifying the city and were giving their attention to every other means which made for its safety. 2 But the Lacedaemonians, observing that the Athenians had gained for themselves great glory by the actions in which their navy had been engaged, looked with suspicion upon their growing power and decided to prevent the Athenians from rebuilding their walls. 3 They at once, therefore, dispatched ambassadors to Athens who would ostensibly advise them not at present to fortify the city, as not being of advantage to the general interests of the Greeks; for, they pointed out, if Xerxes should return with larger armaments than before he would have walled cities ready to hand outside the Peloponnesus which he would use as bases and thus easily subjugate the Greeks. And when no attention was paid to their advice, the ambassadors approached the men who were building the wall and ordered them to stop work immediately.

4 While the Athenians were at a loss what they should do, Themistocles, who enjoyed at that time the highest favour among them, advised them to take no action; for he warned them that if they had recourse to force, the Lacedaemonians could easily march up against them together with the Peloponnesians and prevent them from fortifying the city. 5 But he told the Council in confidence that he and certain others would go as ambassadors to Lacedaemon to explain the matter of the wall to the Lacedaemonians; and he instructed the magistrates, when ambassadors should come from Lacedaemonian to Athens, to detain them until he himself should  p231 return from Lacedaemon, and in the meantime to put the whole population to work fortifying the city. In this manner, he declared to them, they would achieve their purpose.

40 1 After the Athenians had accepted the plan of Themistocles, he and the ambassadors set out for Sparta, and the Athenians began with great enthusiasm to build the walls, sparing neither houses nor tombs.26 And everyone joined in the task, both children and women and, in a word, every alien and slave, no one of them showing any lack of zeal. 2 And when the work was being accomplished with amazing speed both because of the many workmen and the enthusiasm of them all, Themistocles was summoned by the chief magistrates27 and upbraided for the building of the walls; but he denied that there was any construction, and urged the magistrates not to believe empty rumours but to dispatch to Athens trustworthy ambassadors, from whom, he assured them, they would learn the truth; and as surety for them he offered himself and the ambassadors who had accompanied him. 3 The Lacedaemonians, following the advice of Themistocles, put him and his companions under guard and dispatched to Athens their most important men who were to spy out whatever matter should arouse their curiosity. But time had passed, and the Athenians had already got so far along with the construction that, when the Lacedaemonian ambassadors arrived in Athens and with denunciations and threats of violence upbraided them, the Athenians took them into custody, saying that they would release them only when the Lacedaemonians in turn should release the ambassadors who  p233 accompanied Themistocles. 4 In this manner the Laconians were outgeneralled and compelled to release the Athenian ambassadors in order to get back their own. And Themistocles, having by means of so clever a stratagem fortified his native land speedily and without danger, enjoyed high favour among his fellow citizens.

5 While the events we have described were taking place, a war broke out between the Romans and the Aequi and the inhabitants of Tusculum, and meeting the Aequi in battle the Romans overcame them and slew many of the enemy, and then they took Tusculum after a siege and occupied the city of the Aequi.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cp. chap. 1.

2 Palermo.

3 Although Diodorus states below that Hamilcar was slain in battle, Herodotus (7.179) says that he threw himself into the fire on which he was pouring libations and offering whole victims in order to bring victory. If this self-immolation is authentic, the god of the whom he was sacrificing was in all probability the Phoenician Melcarth, the Biblical Moloch.

4 Gelon and his two brothers Hieron and Thrasybulus; cp. chap. 67. Diodorus, as a native Sicilian, has not let the opportunity escape him of magnifying the exploits of his fellow countrymen.

5 Herodotus (7.166) says that the battle of Himera took place on the same day as the battle of Salamis.

6 "Swimming-bath."

7 i.e. a "fifty-litra," the litra being a silver coin of Sicily.

8 This acclaim recognized his rule as constitutional, not "tyrannical."

9 The two chief deities of Sicily; cp. Book 5.2.

10 The Scholia to Pindar, Pythian 1, l. 152 give the inscription, which has been attributed to Simonides (frag. 106 Diehl, 170 Edmonds); the text and translation are from Edmonds:

φαμὶ Γέλων’, Ἱέρωνα, Πολύζαλον, Θρασύβουλον,

παῖδας Δεινομένεος, τοὺς τρίποδας θέμεναι

ἐξ ἑκατὸν λιτρᾶν καὶ πεντήκοντα ταλάντων

Δαμαρετίου χρυσοῦ, τᾶς δεκάτας δεκάταν,

βάρβαρα νικάσαντες ἔθνη· πολλὰν δὲ παρασχεῖν

σύμμαχον Ἕλλασιν χεῖρ’ ἐς ἐλευθερίαν.

"I say that Gelo, Hiero, Polyzalus, and Thrasybulus, sons of Deinomenes, dedicated these tripods out of fifty talents and a hundred litres of the gold of Damaretê, being a tithe of the booty they had of their victory over the Barbarian nations when they gave a great army to fight beside the Greeks for freedom."

11 Silvanus is an error for Vibulanus and Tricostus for Cossus.

12 This Day of Freedom was commemorated every four years at Plataea, probably on the 27th of August. On the date see Munro in the Camb. Anc. Hist. 4, pp339 f.

13 Lycurgus, Against Leocrates, 81, gives the same oath with some slight variations, adding at this point: "and I will exact a tithe of all who have chosen the part of the barbarian." In the light of Diodorus' own statement in chap. 33, the clause may well have been in the oath.

14 And therefore regent.

15 The size of the Greek army is probably slightly exaggerated, that of the Persian greatly.

16 The gold tripod proper was carried off by the Phocians in the Sacred War. But the bronze pillar, eighteen feet high, which supported it and was composed of three intertwined serpents, was removed by the emperor Constantine and is still to be seen in the Atmeidan (formerly Hippodrome) in Istanbul. It carries the names of thirty-one Greek states which took part in the Persian Wars, and the opening words of the inscription as well as the statement of Thucydides (1.132) show that it was a memorial for the entire war, and not for the battle of Plataea alone, as the context of Diodorus would suggest and as the geographer Pausanias (5.23.1; 10.13.9) specifically states.

17 This inscription is found only in Diodorus, and is dubiously attributed to Simonides (frag. 102 Diehl; 168 Edmonds).

18 Herodotus (7.228) states that these two inscriptions were set up at Thermopylae, as indeed they were. They are commonly ascribed to Simonides (frags. 91, 92 Diehl; 118, 119 Edmonds, both of whom prefer the text of Herodotus).

19 The father of Pericles.

20 Ephorus, whom Diodorus was following here, was an Ionian and so exaggerates the part played by the Samians and Milesians in the victory.

21 Held by the Persians as sureties of the faithfulness of the Greek contingents to their oaths of loyalty to the Persians.

22 The Greeks dwelling on the islands of the Aegean Sea.

23 480 B.C.

24 Tyrant of Syracuse, 317‑289 B.C. Diodorus (Books 19, 21, 22) is the chief source on his career.

25 485‑478 and 478‑467 B.C. respectively.

26 i.e. in their search for building material.

27 In Sparta; presumably the ephors.

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