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This webpage reproduces a section of
published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

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) Herodotus

 p159  Book IX: chapters 1‑89

The flags in the text are links to the Greek as printed on facing pages in the Loeb edition.
In the left margin, links to Rawlinson's translation (Vol. IV, with valuable notes),
and to the running commentary by How and Wells.
Cartouches are links to in‑depth articles at Livius.Org or LacusCurtius.

[link to original Greek text] 1 Rawlinson p383 H & W Mardonius, when Alexander returned and told him what he had heard from the Athenians, set forth from Thessaly and led his army with all zeal against Athens;1 and to whatsoever country he came he took its people along with him. The rulers of Thessaly repented no whit of what they had already done, and were but readier than before to further his march; and Thorax of Larissa, who had aided to give Xerxes safe-conduct in his flight, did now without disguise open a passage for Mardonius into Hellas.

[link to original Greek text] 2 But when the army in its march was come into Boeotia, the Thebans sought to stay Mardonius, advising him that he could find no country better fitted than theirs for encampment; he should not (they pleaded) go further, but rather halt there and so act as to subdue all Hellas without fighting. For as long as the Greeks who before had been of the same way of thinking remained in accord, it would be a hard matter even for the whole world to overcome them by force of arms; "but if you do as we advise," said the Thebans as they spoke, "you will without trouble be master of all their counsels of battle. Send money to the men that have power in their cities, and thereby you will divide Hellas against  p161 itself; and after that, with your partisans to aid, you will easily subdue those who are your adversaries."

[link to original Greek text] 3 Rawlinson p384 Such was their counsel, but he would not follow it; rather he was imbued with a wondrous desire to take Athens once more; this was partly of mere perversity, and partly because he thought to signify to the king at Sardis by a line of beacons across the islands that he held Athens. Yet on his coming to Attica he found the Athenians no more there than before, but, as he learnt, the most of them were on shipboard at Salamis; and he took the city, but no men therein. There were ten months between the king's taking of the place and the later invasion of Mardonius.

[link to original Greek text] 4 When Mardonius came to Athens, he sent to Salamis one Murychides, a man of the Hellespont, bearing the same offer as Alexander the Macedonian had ferried across to the Athenians. He sent this the second time because, albeit he knew already the Athenians' unfriendly purpose, he expected that they would abate their stiff-neckedness now that Attica was the captive of his spear and lay at his mercy.

[link to original Greek text] 5 For this reason he sent Murychides to Salamis, who came before the council and told them Mardonius' message. Then Lycidas, one of the councillors, gave it for his opinion that it seemed to him best to receive the offer brought to them by Murychides and lay it before the people. This was the opinion which he declared, either because he had been bribed by Mardonius, or because the plan pleased him; but the Athenians in the council were very wroth, and so too when they heard of it were they that were outside; and they made a ring  p163 round Lycidas and stoned him to death. But they suffered Murychides the Hellespontian to depart unharmed. There was much noise at Salamis over the business of Lycidas; and when the Athenian women learnt what was afoot, one calling to another and bidding her fellow, they went of their own motion to the house of Lycidas, and stoned to death his wife and his children.

[link to original Greek text] 6 Rawlinson p386 H & W Now this was how the Athenians had passed over to Salamis. As long as they expected that the Peloponnesian army would come to their aid, so long they abode in Attica. But when the Peloponnesians were ever longer and slower in action, and the invader was said to be already in Boeotia, they did then convey all their goods out of harm's way and themselves crossed over to Salamis; and they sent envoys to Lacedaemon, who should upbraid the Lacedaemonians for suffering the foreigner to invade Attica and not meeting him in Boeotia with the Athenians to aid; and should bid the Lacedaemonians withal remember what promises the Persian had made to Athens if she would change sides, and warn them that the Athenians would devise some succour for themselves if the Lacedaemonians sent them no help.

[link to original Greek text] 7 For the Lacedaemonians were at this time holiday-making, keeping the festival of Hyacinthus,2 and their chiefest care was to give the god his due; moreover, the wall that they were building on the Isthmus was by now even getting its battlements. When the Athenian envoys were arrived at Lacedaemon, bringing with them envoys from Megara  p165 and Plataeae, they came before the ephors and said: "The Athenians have sent us with this message: The king of the Medes is ready to give us back our country, and to make us his confederates, equal in right and standing, in all honour and honesty, and to give us withal whatever land we ourselves may choose besides our own. But we, for that we would not sin against Zeus the god of Hellas, and think it shame to betray Hellas, have not consented, but refused, and this though the Greeks are dealing with us wrongfully and betraying us to our hurt, and though we know that it is rather for our advantage to make terms with the Persian than to wage war with him; yet we will not make terms with him, of our own free will. Thus for our part we act honestly by the Greeks; but what of you, who once were in great dread lest we should make terms with the Persian? Because now you have clear knowledge of our temper and are sure that we will never betray Hellas, and because the wall that you are building across the Isthmus is well-nigh finished, to‑day you take no account of the Athenians, but have deserted us for all your promises that you would withstand the Persian in Boeotia, and have suffered the foreigner to march into Attica. For the nonce, then, the Athenians are angry with you; for that which you have done beseems you ill. But now they pray you to send with us an army with all speed, that we may await the foreigner's onset in Attica; for since we have lost Boeotia, in our land the fittest battle-ground is the Thriasian plain."

[link to original Greek text] 8 Rawlinson p388 When the ephors, it would seem, heard that, they delayed answering till the next day, and again  p167 till the day after; and this they did for ten days, putting off from day to day. In the meantime all the Peloponnesians were fortifying the Isthmus with might and main, and they had the work well-nigh done. Nor can I say why it was that when Alexander the Macedonian came to Athens3 the Lacedaemonians were urgent that the Athenians should not take the Persian part, yet now made no account of that; except it was that now they had the Isthmus fortified and thought they had no more need of the Athenians, whereas when Alexander came to Attica their wall was not yet built, and they were working in great fear of the Persians.

[link to original Greek text] 9 But the manner of their answering at last and sending the Spartan army was this: On the day before that hearing which should have been the last, Chileüs, a man of Tegea, who had more authority with the Lacedaemonians than any other of their guests, learnt from the ephors all that the Athenians had said; and having heard it he said, as the tale goes, to the ephors, "Sirs, this is how the matter stands: if the Athenians be our enemies and the foreigner's allies, then though you drive a strong wall across the Isthmus the Persian has an effectual door opened for passage into the Peloponnese. Nay, hearken to them, ere the Athenians take some new resolve that will bring calamity to Hellas."

[link to original Greek text] 10 This was the counsel he gave to the ephors, who straightway took it to heart; saying no word to the envoys who were come from the cities, they bade march before dawn of day five thousand Spartans, with seven helots appointed to attend each of them;  p169 and they gave the command to Pausanias son of Cleombrotus. The leader's place belonged of right to Pleistarchus son of Leonidas; but he was yet a boy, and Pausanias his guardian and cousin. For Cleombrotus, Pausanias' father and Anaxandrides' son, was no longer living; after he led away from the Isthmus the army which had built the wall, he lived but a little while ere his death. The reason of Cleombrotus' leading his army away from the Isthmus was that while he was offering sacrifice for victory over the Persian the sun was darkened in the heavens. Pausanias chose as his colleague a man of the same family,4 Euryanax son of Dorieus.

[link to original Greek text] 11 Rawlinson p390 H & W So Pausanias' army had marched away from Sparta; but as soon as it was day, the envoys came before the ephors, having no knowledge of the expedition, and being minded themselves too to depart each one to his own place; and when they were come, "You Lacedaemonians," they said, "abide still where you are, keeping your Hyacinthia and disporting yourselves, leaving your allies deserted; the Athenians, for the wrong that you do them and for lack of allies, will make their peace with the Persian as best they can, and thereafter, seeing that plainly we shall be the king's allies, we will march with him against whatever land his men lead us. Then will you learn what the issue of this matter shall be for you." Thus spoke the envoys; and the ephors swore to them that they believed their army to be even now at Orestheum,5 marching  p171 against the "strangers," as they called the foreigners. Having no knowledge of this, the envoys questioned them further as to what the tale might mean, and thereby learnt the whole truth; whereat they marvelled, and took the road with all speed after the army; and with them went likewise five thousand chosen men-at‑arms of the Lacedaemonian countrymen.6

[link to original Greek text] 12 Rawlinson p392 So they made haste to reach the Isthmus. But the Argives had already promised Mardonius that they would hinder the Spartan from going out to war; and as soon as they informed that Pausanias and his army had departed from Sparta, they sent as their herald to Attica the swiftest runner of long distances that they could find; who, when he came to Athens, spoke on this wise to Mardonius: "I am sent by the Argive to tell you that the young men have gone out from Lacedaemon to war, and that the Argives cannot stay them from so doing; wherefore, may fortune grant you good counsel."

[link to original Greek text] 13 So spoke the herald, and departed back again; and when Mardonius heard that, he was no longer desirous of remaining in Attica. Before he had word of it, he had held his hand, desiring to know the Athenians' plan and what they would do, and neither harmed nor harried the land of Attica, for he still ever supposed that they would make terms with him; but when he could not move them, and learnt all the truth of the matter, he drew off from before Pausanias' army ere it entered the Isthmus; but first he burnt Athens, and utterly overthrew and demolished whatever wall or house or temple was left standing. The reason of his  p173 marching away was, that Attica was no country for horsemen's work, and if he should be worsted in a battle there was no way of retreat save one so narrow that a few men could stay his passage.7 Wherefore it was his plan to retreat to Thebes and do battle where he had a friendly city at his back and ground fitted for horsemen.

[link to original Greek text] 14 So Mardonius drew his men off, and when he had now set forth on his road there came a message that over and above the rest an advance guard of a thousand Lacedaemonians was arrived at Megara; at which hearing he took counsel how he might first make an end of these; and he turned about and led his army against Megara, his horse going first and overrunning the lands of that city. That was the most westerly place in Europe to which this Persian armament attained.

[link to original Greek text] 15 Presently there came a message to Mardonius that the kings were gathered together on the Isthmus. Thereupon he marched back again through Decelea; for the rulers of Boeotia sent for those of the Asopus country that dwelt near, and these guided him to Sphendalae and thence to Tanagra, where he camped for the night; and on the next day he turned thence to Scolus, where he was in Theban territory. There he laid waste the lands of the Thebans, though they took the Persian part; not for any il‑will that he bore them, but because sheer necessity drove him to make a strong place for his army, and to have this for a refuge if the fortune of battle were other than he desired. His army covered the ground from Erythrae past  p175 Hysiae and reached into the lands of Plataeae, where it lay ranked by the Asopus river. I say not that the walled camp which he made was so great; each side of it was of a length of about ten furlongs.

[link to original Greek text] 16 Rawlinson p395 H & W While the foreigners were employed about this work, Attaginus son of Phrynon, a Theban, made great preparation and invited Mardonius with fifty who were the most notable of the Persians to be his guests at a banquet. They came as they were bidden; the dinner was given at Thebes. Now here follows the end of that matter, which was told me by Thersandrus of Orchomenus, one of the most notable men of that place. Thersandrus too (he said) was bidden to this dinner, and fifty Thebans besides; and Attaginus made them sit, not each man by himself, but on each couch a Persian and a Theban together. Now after dinner while they drank one with another, the Persian that sat with him asked Thersandrus in the Greek tongue of what country he was; and Thersandrus answered that he was of Orchomenus. Then said the Persian: "Since now you have eaten at the board with me and drunk with me thereafter, I would fain leave some record of my thought, that you yourself may have such knowledge as to take fitting counsel for your safety. See you those Persians at the banquet, and that host which we left encamped by the river side? of all these in a little while you shall see but a little remnant left alive"; and as he said this, the Persian wept bitterly. Marvelling at this saying, Thersandrus answered: "Must you not then tell this to Mardonius  p177 and those honourable Persians that are with him?" "Sir," said the Persian, "that which heaven wills to send no man can turn aside; for even truth finds none to believe it. What I have said is known to many of us Persians; but we follow, in the bonds of necessity. And it is the hatefulest of all human sorrows to have much knowledge and no power." This tale I heard from Thersandrus of Orchomenus; who said to me, moreover, that he had straightway told it the others before the fight of Plataeae.

[link to original Greek text] 17 Rawlinson p396 So Mardonius was making his encampment in Boeotia; all the Greeks of that region who took the Persian part furnished fighting men, and they joined with him in his attack upon Athens, except only the Phocians; as to taking the Persian part, that they did in good sooth, albeit not willingly but of necessity. But when a few days were past after the Persians' coming to Thebes, there came a thousand Phocian men-at‑arms, led by Harmocydes, the most notable of their countrymen. These also being arrived at Thebes, Mardonius sent horsemen and bade the Phocians take their station on the plain by themselves. When they had so done, straightway appeared the whole of the Persian cavalry; and presently it was bruited about through all the Greek army that was with Mardonius, and likewise among the Phocians themselves, that Mardonius would shoot them to death. Then their general Harmocydes exhorted them: "Men of Phocis," he said, "seeing it is plain that death at these fellows' hands stares us in the face (we being, as I surmise, maligned by the Thessalians); now it is meet for  p179 every one of you to play the man; for it is better to end our lives in action and fighting than tamely to suffer a shameful death. Nay, but we will teach them that they whose slaying they have devised are men of Hellas." Thus he exhorted them.

[link to original Greek text] 18 But when the horsemen had encircled the Phocians they rode at them as it were to slay them, and drew their bows to shoot, and 'tis like that some did even shoot. The Phocians fronted them every way, drawing in together and closing their ranks to the best of their power; whereat the horsemen wheeled about and rode back and away. Now I cannot with exactness say if they came at the Thessalians' desire to slay the Phocians, but, when they saw the men preparing to defend themselves, feared lest they themselves should suffer some hurt, and so rode away back (for such was Mardonius' command), — or if Mardonius desired to test the Phocians' mettle. But when the horsemen had ridden away, Mardonius sent a herald, with this message: "Men of Phocis, be of good courage; for you have shown yourselves to be valiant men, and not as it was reported to me. And now push this war zealously forward; for you will outdo neither myself nor the king in this rendering of service."8 Thus far went the Phocian business.

[link to original Greek text] 19 Rawlinson p398 H & W As for the Lacedaemonians, when they were come to the Isthmus, they encamped there. When the rest of the Peloponnesians who chose the better cause heard that, seeing the Spartans setting forth to war, they deemed it was not for them to be behind the Lacedaemonians in so doing. Wherefore they all marched from the Isthmus (the omens of  p181 sacrifice being favourable) and came to Eleusis; and when they had offered sacrifice there also and the omens were favourable, they held on their march further, having now the Athenians with them, who had crossed over from Salamis and joined with them at Eleusis. When they came (as it is said) to Erythrae in Boeotia, they learnt that the foreigners were encamped by the Asopus, and taking note of that they arrayed themselves over against the enemy on the lower hills of Cithaeron.

[link to original Greek text] 20 The Greeks not coming down into the plain, Mardonius sent against them all his horse, whose commander was Masistius (whom the Greeks call Macistius), a man much honoured among the Persians; he rode a Nesaean horse that had a golden bit and was at all points gaily adorned. Thereupon the horsemen rode up to the Greeks and charged them by squadrons, doing them much hurt thereby and calling them women.

[link to original Greek text] 21 Now it chanced that the Megarians were posted in that part of the field which was openest to attack, and here the horsemen found the readiest approach. Wherefore, being hard pressed by the charges, the Megarians sent a herald to the generals of the Greeks, who came to them and thus spoke: "From the men of Megara to their allies: We cannot alone withstand the Persian horse (albeit we have till now held our ground with patience and valour, though hard pressed) in this post whereunto we were first appointed; and now be well assured that we will leave our post, except you send others to take our place therein." Thus the herald reported, and  p183 Pausanias inquired among the Greeks if any would offer themselves to go to that place and relieve the Megarians by holding the post. None other would go; but the Athenians took it upon themselves, even three hundred picked men of Athens, whose captain was Olympiodorus son of Lampon.

[link to original Greek text] 22 These were they who took it upon themselves, and were posted at Erythrae in advance of the whole Greek army; and they took with them the archers also. For a long time they fought; and the end of the battle was as I shall show. The horsemen charged by squadrons; and Masistius' horse, being at the head of the rest, was smitten in the side by an arrow, and rearing up in its pain it threw Masistius; who when he fell was straightway set upon by the Athenians. His horse they took then and there, and he himself was slain fighting, though at first they could not kill him; for the fashion of his armour was such, that he wore a purple tunic over a cuirass of golden scales that was within it; and it was all in vain that they smote at the cuirass, till someone saw what they did and stabbed him in the eye, so that he fell dead. But as chance would have it the rest of the horsemen knew nought of this; for they had not seen him fall from his horse, or die; and they wheeled about and rode back without perceiving what was done. But as soon as they halted they saw what they lacked, since there was none to order them; and when they perceived what had chanced, they gave each other the word, and all rode together to recover the dead body.

[link to original Greek text] 23 Rawlinson p400 When the Athenians saw the horsemen riding at them, not by squadrons as before, but all together,  p185 they cried to the rest of the army for help. While all their foot was rallying to aid, there waxed a sharp fight over the dead body. As long as the three hundred stood alone, they had the worst of the battle by far, and were nigh leaving the dead man; but when the main body came to their aid, then it was the horsemen that could no longer hold their ground, nor avail to recover the dead man, but they lost others of their comrades too besides Masistius. They drew off therefore and halted about two furlongs off, where they consulted what they should do; and resolved, as there was none to lead them, to ride away to Mardonius.

[link to original Greek text] 24 When the cavalry returned to the camp, Mardonius and all the army made very great mourning for Masistius, cutting their own hair and the hair of their horses and beasts of burden, and lamenting loud and long; for the sound of it was heard over all Boeotia, inasmuch as a man was dead who was next to Mardonius most esteemed by all Persia and the king.

[link to original Greek text] 25 H & W So the foreigners honoured Masistius' death after their manner; but the Greeks were much heartened by their withstanding and repelling of the horsemen. And first they laid the dead man on a cart and carried him about their ranks; and the body was worth the viewing, for stature and goodliness; where they would even leave their ranks and come to view Masistius. Presently they resolved that they would march down to Plataeae; for they saw that the ground there was in all ways fitter by much for encampment than at Erythrae, and chiefly because it was better watered. To this place, and to the Gargaphian spring that was there,  p187 they resolved that they must betake themselves and encamp in their several battalions; and they took up their arms and marched along the lower slopes of Cithaeron past Hysiae to the lands of Plataeae, and when they were there they arrayed themselves nation by nation near the Gargaphian spring and the precinct of the hero Androcrates, among low hills and in a level country.

[link to original Greek text] 26 Rawlinson p402 There, in the ordering of their battle, arose much dispute between the Tegeans and the Athenians; for each of them claimed that they should hold the second9 wing of the army, justifying themselves by tales of deeds new and old. First said the Tegeans: "Of all the allies we have ever had the right to hold this post, in all campaigns ancient and late of the united Peloponnesian armies, ever since that time when the Heracleidae after Eurystheus' death essayed to return into the Peloponnese; that right we then gained, for the achievement which we will relate. When we mustered at the Isthmus for war, along with the Achaeans and Ionians who then dwelt in the Peloponnese, and encamped over against the returning exiles, then (it is said) Hyllus10 proclaimed his counsel that army should not be risked against army in battle, but that that champion in the host of the Peloponnesians whom they chose for their best should fight with him in single combat on agreed conditions. The Peloponnesians resolving that this should be so, they swore a compact that if Hyllus should vanquish the Peloponnesian champion, the Heraclidae should return to the land of their fathers, but if he were himself vanquished, then  p189 contrariwise the Heraclidae should depart and lead their army away, and not seek to return to the Peloponnese till a hundred years were past. Then our general and king Echemus, son of Phegeus' son Eëropus, offered himself and was chosen out of all the allied host; and he fought that duel and slew Hyllus. For that feat of arms the Peloponnesians of that day granted us this also among other great privileges which we have never ceased to possess, that in all united campaigns we should ever lead the army's second wing. Now with you, men of Lacedaemon, we have no rivalry, but forbear and bid you choose the command of whichever wing you will; but this we say, that our place is at the head of the other, as ever aforetime. And setting aside that feat which we have related, we are worthier than the Athenians to hold that post; for many are the fields on which we have fought with happy event in regard to you, men of Lacedaemon, and others besides. It is just, therefore, that we and not the Athenians should hold the second wing; for never early or late have they achieved such feats of arms as we."

[link to original Greek text] 27 Rawlinson p405 Thus they spoke; and thus the Athenians replied: "It is our belief that we are here gathered in concourse for battle with the foreigner, and not for discourses; but since the man of Tegea has made it his business to speak of all the valorous deeds, old and new, which either of our nations has at any time achieved, needs must that we prove to you how we, rather than Arcadians, have in virtue of our valour an hereditary right to the place of honour. These Tegeans say that they slew the leader of the Heracleidae at the Isthmus; now when those same Heracleidae  p191 had till then been rejected by every Greek people to whom they resorted to escape the tyranny of the Mycenaeans, we and none other received them;11 and with them we vanquished those that then dwelt in the Peloponnese, and we broke the pride of Eurystheus. Furthermore, when the Argives who had marched with Polynices12 against Thebes had there made an end of their lives and lay unburied, know that we sent our army against the Cadmeans and recovered the dead and buried them in Eleusis; and we have on record our great victory against the Amazons who once came from the river Thermodon and broke into Attica; and in the hard days of Troy we were second to none. But since it is idle to recall these matters — for they that were erstwhile valiant may now be of lesser mettle, and they that lacked mettle then may be better men now — enough of these doings of old time; and we, if we are known for no achievement (as we are, for more and greater than are any men in Hellas), yet from our feat of arms at Marathon we deserve to have this honour, yea, and more beside; seeing that alone of all Greeks we met the Persian single-handed, nor failed in that high enterprise, but overcame six and forty nations. Is it not our right to hold this post, for nought but that one feat? Yet seeing that this is no time for wrangling about our place in the battle, we are ready to obey you, men of Lacedaemon! and take whatso place and face whatso enemy you deem most fitting; wheresoever you set us, we will strive to be valiant  p193 men. Command us then, as knowing that we will obey." Thus the Athenians answered; and the whole army shouted aloud that the Athenians were worthier to hold the wing than the Arcadians. Thus the Athenians were proofread preferred to the men of Tegea, and gained that place.

[link to original Greek text] 28 Rawlinson p408 H & W Presently the whole Greek army was arrayed as I shall show, both the later and the earliest comers. On the right wing were ten thousand Lacedaemonians; five thousand of these, who were Spartans, had a guard of thirty-five thousand light-armed helots, seven appointed for each man. The Spartans chose the Tegeans for their neighbours in the battle, both to do them honour, and for their valour; there were of these fifteen hundred men-at‑arms. Next to these in the line were five thousand Corinthians, at whose desire Pausanias suffered the three hundred Potidaeans from Pallene then present to stand by them. Next to these were six hundred Arcadians from Orchomenus, and after them three thousand men of Sicyon. By these a thousand Troezenians were posted, and after them two hundred men of Lepreum, then four hundred from Mycenae and Tiryns, and next to them a thousand from Phlius. By these stood three hundred men of Hermione. Next to the men of Hermione were six hundred Eretrians and Styreans; next to them, four hundred Chalcidians; next again, five hundred Ampraciots. After these stood eight hundred Leucadians and Anactorians, and next to them two hundred from  p195 Pale in Cephallenia; after them in the array, five hundred Aeginetans; by them stood three thousand men of Megara, and next to these six hundred Plataeans. At the end, and first in the line, were the Athenians, on the left wing, eight thousand men; their general was Aristides son of Lysimachus.

[link to original Greek text] 29 Rawlinson p410 H & W All these, save the seven appointed to attend each Spartan, were men-at‑arms, and the whole sum of them was thirty-eight thousand and seven hundred. This was the number of men-at‑arms that mustered for war against the foreigner; as regarding the number of the light-armed men, there were in the Spartan array seven for each man-at‑arms, that is, thirty-five thousand, and every one of these was equipped for war; the light-armed from the rest of Lacedaemon and Hellas were as one to every man-at‑arms, and their number was thirty-four thousand and five hundred.

[link to original Greek text] 30 So the sum of all the light-armed men that were fighters was sixty-nine thousand and five hundred, and of the whole Greek army mustered at Plataeae, men-at‑arms and light-armed fighting men together, eleven times ten thousand, lacking eighteen hundred. But the Thespians who were there present made up the full tale of an hundred and ten thousand; for the survivors13 of the Thespians were also present with the army, eighteen hundred in number. These then were arrayed, and encamped by the Asopus.

[link to original Greek text] 31 When Mardonius' foreigners had finished their  p197 mourning for Masistius, and heard that the Greeks were at Plataeae, they also came to the part of the Asopus river nearest to them. When they were there they were arrayed for battle by Mardonius as I shall show. He posted the Persians facing the Lacedaemonians; and seeing that the Persians by far outnumbered the Lacedaemonians, they were arrayed in deeper ranks and their line ran fronting the Tegeans also. In his arraying of them he chose out the strongest part of the Persians to set it over against the Lacedaemonians, and posted the weaker by them facing the Tegeans; this he did being so informed and taught by the Thebans. Next to the Persians he posted the Medes, fronting the men of Corinth and Potidaea and Orchomenus and Sicyon; next to the Medes, the Bactrians, fronting men of Epidaurus, Troezen, Lepreum, Tiryns, Mycenae, and Phlius. After the Bactrians he set the Indians, fronting the men of Hermione and Eretria and Styra and Chalcis. Next to the Indians he posted the Sacae, fronting the Ampraciots, Anactorians, Leucadians, Paleans, and Aeginetans; next to the Sacae, and over against the Athenians and Plataeans and Megarians, the Boeotian and Locrians and Malians and Thessalians and the thousand that came from Phocis; for not all the Phocians took the Persian part, but some of them gave their aid to the Greek cause; these had been beleaguered on Parnassus, and issued out from thence to harry Mardonius' army and the Greeks that were with him. Besides these,  p199 he arrayed against the Athenians Macedonians also and the dwellers about Thessaly.

[link to original Greek text] 32 Rawlinson p412 These that I have named were the greatest of the nations set in array by Mardonius that were of most note and account; but there was also in the army a mixed multitude of Phrygians, Thracians, Mysians, Paeonians, and the rest, besides Ethiopians and the Egyptian swordsmen called Hermotybies and Calasiries,14 who are the only fighting men in Egypt. These had been fighters on shipboard, till Mardonius while yet at Phalerum disembarked them from their ships; for the Egyptians were not appointed to serve in the land army which Xerxes led to Athens. Of the foreigners, then, there were three hundred thousand, as I have already shown; as for the Greek allies of Mardonius, none knows the number of them, for they were not counted; but as far as guessing may serve, I suppose them to have been mustered to the number of fifty thousand. These were the footmen that were set in array; the cavalry were separately ordered.

[link to original Greek text] 33 Rawlinson p415 When they had all been arrayed in their nations and their battalions, on the second day thereafter both armies offered sacrifice. For the Greeks, Tisamenus it was that sacrificed; for he was with their army as a diviner; he was an Elean by birth, a Clytiad of the Iamid clan,15 and the Lacedaemonians gave him the freedom of their city. For when Tisamenus was inquiring of the oracle at Delphi concerning issue, the priestess prophesied to him that he should win five great victories. Not understanding  p201 that oracle, he betook himself to bodily exercises, thinking so to win in such-like sports; and having trained himself for the Five Contests,16 he came within one wrestling bout of winning the Olympic prize, in a match with Hieronymus of Andros. But the Lacedaemonians perceived that the oracle given to Tisamenus spake of the lists not of sport but of war; and they essayed to bribe Tisamenus to be a leader in their wars, jointly with their kings of Heracles' line. But when he saw that the Spartans set great store by his friendship, with this knowledge he set his price higher, and made it known to them that for no reward would he do their will save for the gift of full citizenship and all a citizen's rights. Hearing that, the Spartans at first were angry and ceased wholly from their request; but when the dreadful menace of the Persian host overhung them they consented and granted his demand. But when he saw their purpose changed, he said that not even so and with that only would he be content; his brother Hegias too must be made a Spartan on the same terms as himself.

[link to original Greek text] 34 Rawlinson p418 H & W By so saying he imitated Melampus, in so far as one may compare demands for kingship and for citizenship. For when the women of Argos had gone mad, and the Argives would fain hire him to come from Pylos and heal them of that madness,17 Melampus demanded half their kingship for his wages; which the Argives could not suffer, and so departed; but when the madness spread among their women,  p203 thereat they promised what Melampus demanded and were ready to give it to him. Thereupon, seeing their purpose changed, he asked yet more, and said that he would not do their will except they gave a third of their kingship to his brother Bias; and the Argives, driven thus into a strait, consented to that also.

[link to original Greek text] 35 Thus the Spartans too were so eagerly desirous of winning Tisamenus that they granted all his demand. When they had granted him this also, then did Tisamenus of Elis, now become a Spartan, ply his divination for them and aid them to win five very great victories. None on earth save Tisamenus and his brother ever became citizens of Sparta. Now the five victories were these: one, the first, this victory at Plataeae; next that which was won at Tegea over the Tegeans and Argives; after that, over all the Arcadians save the Mantineans at Dipaea; next, over the Messenians at Ithome; lastly, the victory at Tanagra over the Athenians and Argives, which was the last won of the five victories.18

[link to original Greek text] 36 Rawlinson p420 H & W This Tisamenus had now been brought by the Spartans and was the diviner of the Greeks in the lands of Plataeae. Now the sacrifices boded good to the Greeks if they should but defend themselves, but evil if they should cross the Asopus and be the first to attack.

[link to original Greek text] 37 But Mardonius' sacrifices also boded nought to his liking if he should be zealous to attack first, and good if he should but defend himself; for he too used the Greek manner of sacrifice; Hegesistratus  p205 of Elis was his diviner, the most notable of the sons of Tellias. This man had been put in prison and doomed to die by the Spartans for the much harm that he had done them. Being in this evil case, inasmuch as he was in peril of his life and like to be very grievously maltreated ere his death, he did a deed well nigh past believing: being made fast in iron-bound stocks, he got an iron weapon that was brought in some wise into his prison, and straightway conceived a plan of such hardihood as we have never known; reckoning how best the rest of it might get free, he cut off his own foot at the instep. This done, he burrowed through the wall out of the way of the guards that kept ward over him, and so escaped to Tegea; all night he journeyed and all day he hid and lay close in the woods, till on the third night he came to Tegea, while all the people of Lacedaemon sought him; and they were greatly amazed, seeing the half of his foot cut off and lying there, but not being able to find the man himself. Thus did he then escape from the Lacedaemonians and take refuge in Tegea, with at that time was unfriendly to Lacedaemon; and after he was healed and had made himself a foot of wood, he declared himself an open enemy of the Lacedaemonians. Yet the enmity that he bore them brought him no good at the last; for they caught him at his divinations in Zacynthus, and slew him.

[link to original Greek text] 38 Howbeit, the death of Hegesistratus happened after the Plataean business; at the present he was by the Asopus, hired by Mardonius for no small wage, where he sacrificed and wrought zealously, both for the hatred he bore the Lacedaemonians,  p207 and for gain. But when no favourable omens for battle could be won either by the Persians themselves or by the Greeks that were with them (for they too had a diviner of their own, Hippomachus of Leucas), and the Greeks the while were ever flocking in and their army grew, Timagenidesº son of Herpys, a Theban, counselled Mardonius to guard the outlet of the pass over Cithaeron, telling him that the Greeks were ever flocking in daily and that he would thereby cut off many of them.

[link to original Greek text] 39 The armies had now lain over against each other for eight days when he gave this counsel. Mardonius perceived that the advice was good; and when night had fallen he sent his horsemen to the outlet of the pass over Cithaeron that leads towards Plataeae, which pass the Boeotians call the Three Heads, and the Athenians the Oaks' Heads. This despatch of the horsemen was no fruitless one; for they caught five hundred beasts of burden issuing into the low country, bringing provision from the Peloponnese for the army, and men that came with the waggons; having taken which quarry the Persians slew without mercy, sparing neither man nor beast. When they had their fill of slaughter, they set what remained in their midst and drove them to Mardonius and his camp.

[link to original Greek text] 40 Rawlinson p422 After this deed they waited two days more, neither side desiring to begin the battle; for though the foreigners came to the Asopus to make trial of the Greeks' purpose, neither army crossed it. Howbeit Mardonius' horse was ever besetting and troubling the Greeks; for the Thebans, in their zeal for the Persian part, waged war heartily, and  p209 were ever guiding the horsemen to the encounter; thereafter it was the turn of the Persians and Medes, and they and none other would do deeds of valour.

[link to original Greek text] 41 Until the ten days were past no more was done than this; but on the eleventh day from their first encampment over against each other, the Greeks growing greatly in number and Mardonius being sore vexed by the delay, there was a debate held between Mardonius son of Gobryas and Artabazus son of Pharnaces, who stood as high as but few others in Xerxes' esteem; and their opinions in council were as I will show. Artabazus held it best that they should strike their camp with all speed and lead the whole army within the walls of Thebes, where they had much provision stored and fodder for their beasts of burden, and where they could sit at their ease and despatch the business by taking the great store they had of gold, minted and other, and silver and drinking-cups, and sending all this without stint to all places in Hellas, but especially to the chief men in the cities of Hellas; let them do this (said he) and the Greeks would quickly surrender their liberty; but let not the Persians risk the event of a battle. This opinion of his was the same as the Thebans', inasmuch as he too had especial foreknowledge; but Mardonius' counsel was more vehement and intemperate and nowise leaning to moderation; for (said he) he deemed that their army was by much stronger than the Greeks', and that they should give battle with all speed, and not suffer yet more Greeks to muster than were mustered already; as for the sacrifices of Hegesistratus, let them pay no heed to these, nor  p211 seek to wring good from them,19 but rather give battle after Persian custom.

[link to original Greek text] 42 H & W None withstood this argument, so that his opinion prevailed; for it was he and not Artabazus who was generalissimo of the army by the king's commission. He sent therefore for the leaders of the battalions and the generals of those Greeks that were with him, and asked them if they knew any oracle which prophesied that the Persians should perish in Hellas. They that were summoned said nought, some not knowing the prophecies, and some knowing them but deeming it perilous to speak; then said Mardonius himself: "Since, therefore, you either have no knowledge or are afraid to declare it, hear what I tell you out of the full knowledge that I have. There is an oracle that Persians are fated to come to Hellas and there all perish after they had plundered the temple at Delphi. We, therefore, knowing this same oracle, will neither approach that temple nor essay to plunder it; and in so far as destruction hangs on that, none awaits us. Wherefore as many of you as wish the Persians well may rejoice for that, as knowing that we shall overcome the Greeks." Having thus spoken he gave command to have all prepared and set in fair order for the battle that should be joined at the next day's dawn.

[link to original Greek text] 43 Rawlinson p424 Now for this prophecy, which Mardonius said was spoken of the Persians, I know it to have been made concerning not them but the Illyrians and the  p213 army of the Encheleës.20 But there is a prophecy made by Bacis concerning this battle:

By Thermodon's stream and the grassgrown banks of Asopus

Muster of Greeks for fight, and the ring of a foreigner's war‑cry,

Many a Median archer by death untimely o'ertaken

There in the battle shall fall when the day of his doom is upon him;

this prophecy, and others like to it that were made by Musaeus, I know to have been spoken of the Persians. As for the river Thermodon, it flows between Tanagra and Glisas.21

[link to original Greek text] 44 H & W After this questioning concerning oracles, and Mardonius' exhortation, night came on and the armies posted their sentries. Now when the night was far spent and it seemed that all was still in the camps and the men wrapt in deepest slumber, at that hour Alexander son of Amyntas, the general and king of the Macedonians, rode up to the Athenian outposts and sought to have speech of their generals. The greater part of the sentries abiding where they were, the rest ran to their generals, and told them that a horseman had ridden in from the Persian camp, imparting no other word save that he would have speech of the generals and called them by their names.

[link to original Greek text] 45 Hearing that, the generals straightway went with the men to the outposts; and when they were come Alexander said to them: "Men of Athens, I give you this my message in trust as a secret that  p215 you must reveal to none but Pausanias, lest you even be my undoing; in truth I would not tell it to you were it not by reason of my great care for all Hellas: for I myself am by ancient descent a Greek, and I would not willingly see Hellas change her freedom for slavery. I tell you, then, that Mardonius and his army cannot get from the sacrifices omens of his liking; else had you fought long ere this. But now it is his purpose to pay no heed to the sacrifices, and join battle at the first glimmer of dawn; for he is in dread, as I surmise, lest you should muster to a greater host. Therefore I bid you make ready; and if (as may be) Mardonius should delay and not join battle, wait patiently where you are; for he has but a few days' provision left. But if this war end as you would wish, then must you take thought how to save me too from slavery, who of my zeal have done so desperate a deed as this for the cause of Hellas, in my desire to declare to you Mardonius' intent, that so the foreigners may not fall upon you suddenly ere you yet expect them. I that speak am Alexander the Macedonian." With that he rode away back to the camp and his own place therein.

[link to original Greek text] 46 Rawlinson p426 The Athenian generals went to the right wing and told Pausanias what they had heard from Alexander. At the message Pausanias was struck with fear of the Persians, and said: "Since, therefore, the battle is to begin at dawn, it is best that you Athenians should take your stand fronting the Persians, and we fronting the Boeotians and the Greeks that are posted over against you, by reason that you  p217 have fought with the Medes at Marathon and know them and their manner of fighting, but we have no experience or knowledge of those men; we Spartans have experience of the Boeotians and Thessalians, but not one of us has put the Medes to the test. Nay, let us take up our equipment and remove, you to this wing and we to the left." "We, too," the Athenians answered, "even from the moment when we saw the Persians posted over against you, had it in mind to make that proffer that now has first come from you; but we feared lest we should displease you by making it. But since you have spoken the wish yourselves, we too hear your words very gladly and are ready to do as you say."

[link to original Greek text] 47 Both being satisfied with this, they exchanged their places in the ranks at the first light of dawn. The Boeotians marked that and made it known to Mardonius; who, when he heard, forthwith essayed to make a change for himself also, by moving the Persians along to front the Lacedaemonians. But when Pausanias perceived what was this that was being done, he saw that his act was known, and led the Spartans back to the right wing; and Mardonius did in like manner on the left of his army.

[link to original Greek text] 48 When all were at the former posts again, Mardonius sent a herald to the Lacedaemonians with this message: "Men of Lacedaemon, you are said by the people of these parts to be very brave men; it is their boast of you that you neither flee from the field nor leave your post, but abide there and either slay your enemies or are yourselves slain. But it would seem that in all this there is no truth; for ere we can join battle and fight hand to hand, we have seen you even now fleeing and leaving your  p219 station, using Athenians for the first assay of your enemy, and arraying yourselves over against those that are but our slaves. This is no brave men's work; nay, we have been grievously mistaken in you; for by what we heard of you, we looked that you should send us a herald challenging the Persians and none other to fight with you; and that we were ready to do; but we find you making no such proffer, but rather quailing before us. Now, therefore, since the challenge comes not from you, take it from us instead. What hinders that we should fight with equal numbers on both sides, you for the Greeks (since you have the name of being their best), and we for the foreigners? and if it be willed that the others fight also, let them fight later after us; but if contrariwise it be willed that we alone suffice, then let us fight it out, and which side soever wins, let that serve as a victory for the whole army."

[link to original Greek text] 49 Rawlinson p428 Thus proclaimed the herald; and when he had waited awhile and none made him any answer, he departed back again, and at his return told Mardonius what had befallen him. Mardonius was overjoyed thereat and proud of this semblance of victory, and sent his cavalry to attack the Greeks. The horsemen rode at them and shot arrows and javelins among the whole Greek army to its great hurt, inasmuch as they were mounted archers and ill to close with; and they troubled and choked the Gargaphian spring, whence all the army of the Greeks drew its water. None indeed but the Lacedaemonians were posted near the spring, and it was far from the several stations of the other Greeks,  p221 whereas the Asopus was near; but they would ever go to the spring, because they were barred from the Asopus, not being able to draw water from that river by reason of the horsemen and the arrows.

[link to original Greek text] 50 H & W In this turn of affairs, seeing that their army was cut off from water and disordered by the horsemen, the generals betook themselves to Pausanias on the right wing, and debated concerning this and other matters; for there were other causes that troubled them more than what I have told; they had no food left, and their followers whom they had sent into the Peloponnese to bring provision thence had been cut off by the horsemen, and could not make their way to the army.

[link to original Greek text] 51 So they resolved in their council that if the Persians delayed through that day to give battle, they would go to the Island.22 This is ten furlongs distant from the Asopus and the Gargaphian spring, whereby their army then lay, and in front of the town of Plataeae. It is like to an island on dry land, by reason that the river in its course down from Cithaeron into the plain is parted into two channels, and there is about three furlongs' space between till presently the two channels unite again; and the name of that river is Oëroë, who (say the people of the country) was the daughter of Asopus. To that place then they planned to remove, that they might have water in plenty for their use, and not be harmed by the  p223 horsemen, as now when they were face to face; and they resolved to make their removal in the second watch of the night, lest the Persians should see them setting forth and the horsemen press after them and disorder their array. Further, they resolved that when they were come to that place, which is encircled by the divided channels of Asopus' daughter Oëroë as she flows from Cithaeron, they would in that night send half of their army to Cithaeron, to fetch away their followers who were gone to get the provision; for these were cut off from them on Cithaeron.

[link to original Greek text] 52 Rawlinson p430 Having formed this design, all that day they suffered unending hardship from the cavalry that continually beset them; but when the day ended and the horsemen ceased from troubling, then at that hour of the night whereat it was agreed that they should depart the most of them arose and took their departure, not with intent to go to the place whereon they had agreed; instead of that, once they were afoot they got quit to their great content of the horsemen, and escaped to the town of Plataeae, and came in their flight to the temple of Here which is without that town, twenty furlongs distant from the Gargaphian spring; thither they came, and piled their arms before the temple.

[link to original Greek text] 53 So they encamped about the temple of Here. But Pausanias seeing their departure from the camp, gave out orders to the Lacedaemonians to take up their arms likewise and follow after the others that went before, supposing that these were making for the place whither they had agreed to go. Thereupon, all the rest of the captains being ready to obey Pausanias, Amompharetus son of Poliades, the leader  p225 of the Pitanate23 battalion, refused to flee from the strangers or (save by compulsion) bring shame on Sparta; the whole business seemed strange to him, for he had not been present in the council lately held. Pausanias and Euryanax liked little enough that Amompharetus should disobey them; but they misliked yet more that his refusing should compel them to abandon the Pitanate battalion; for they feared that if they fulfilled their agreement with the rest of the Greeks and abandoned him, Amompharetus and his men would be left behind to perish. Thus considering, they held the Laconian army unmoved, and strove to persuade Amompharetus that he did not aright.

[link to original Greek text] 54 Rawlinson p432 H & W So they reasoned with Amompharetus, he being the only man left behind of all the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans. As for the Athenians, they stood unmoved at their post, well knowing that the purposes and the promises of Lacedaemonians were not alike. But when the army removed from its place, they sent a horseman of their own who should see if the Spartans were essaying to march or if they were wholly without any purpose of departure, and should ask Pausanias withal what the Athenians must do.

[link to original Greek text] 55 When the messenger was come to the Lacedaemonians, he saw them arrayed where they had been, and their chief men by now in hot dispute. For though Euryanax and Pausanias reasoned with Amompharetus, that the Lacedaemonians should not be imperilled by abiding there alone, they could in no  p227 wise prevail with him; and at the last, when the Athenian messenger came among them, hot words began to pass; and in this wrangling Amompharetus took up a stone with both hands and cast it down before Pausanias' feet, crying that it was his pebble wherewith he voted against fleeing from the strangers (meaning thereby the foreigners).α Pausanias called him a madman and distraught; then the Athenian messenger putting the question wherewith he was charged, he bade the man tell the Athenians of his present condition, and prayed them to join themselves to the Lacedaemonians and do as they did in respect of departure.

[link to original Greek text] 56 So the messenger went back to the Athenians. But when dawn found the dispute still continuing, Pausanias having all this time held his army halted, now gave the word and led all the rest away between the hillocks, the Tegeans following; for he supposed that Amompharetus would not stay behind when the rest of the Lacedaemonians left him and indeed such was the event. The Athenians set themselves in array and marched, but not by the same way as the Lacedaemonians, who clung close to the broken ground and the lower slopes of Cithaeron, to escape from the Persian horse, but the Athenians marched down into the plain instead.

[link to original Greek text] 57 Now Amompharetus at first supposed that Pausanias would never have the heart to leave him and his men, and he was instant that they should remain where they were and not quit their post; but when Pausanias' men went forward on their way, he deemed that they had left him in good earnest, and so bidding his battalion take up its  p229 arms he led it at a foot's pace after the rest of the column; which having gone as far as ten furlongs away was waiting for Amompharetus, halting by the stream Moloïs and the place called Argiopium, where is set a shrine of Eleusinian Demeter. The reason of their waiting was that, if Amompharetus and his battalion should not leave the place where it was posted but abide there still, they might return and succour him. No sooner had Amompharetus' men come up than the foreigners' cavalry attacked the army; for the horsemen did according as they had ever been wont, and when they saw no enemy on the ground where the Greek array had been on the days before this, they rode ever forward and attacked the Greeks as soon as they overtook them.

[link to original Greek text] 58 Rawlinson p434 H & W When Mardonius learnt that the Greeks had departed under cover of night, and saw the ground deserted, he called to him Thorax of Larissa and his brothers Eurypylus and Thrasydeïus, and said: "What will you now say, sons of Athens! when you see this place deserted? for you, who are their neighbours, ever told me that the Lacedaemonians fled from no battlefield and were surpassing masters of war; yet these same men you lately saw changing from their post, and now you and all of us see that they have fled away in the night that is past; no sooner must they measure themselves in battle with those that are in very truth the bravest on earth, than they plainly showed that they are men of no account, and all other Greeks likewise. Now you for your part were strangers to the Persians, and I could readily pardon you for praising these fellows, who were in some sort known to you; but I marvelled much more at Artabazus, that he should be  p231 so sore affrighted by the Lacedaemonians as to give us a craven's advice to strike our camp, and march away to be beleaguered in Thebes; of which advice the king shall yet learn from me. This shall be matter for speech elsewhere; but now, we must not suffer our enemies to do as they desire; they must be pursued till they be overtaken and pay the penalty for all the harm they have wrought the Persians."

[link to original Greek text] 59 With that, he led the Persians at speed across the Asopus in pursuit of the Greeks, supposing that they were in flight; it was the army of Lacedaemon and Tegea alone that was his goal; for the Athenians marched another way over the broken ground, and were out of his sight. Seeing the Persians setting forth in pursuit of the Greeks, the rest of the foreign battalions straightway raised their standards and pursued likewise, each at the top of his speed, no battalion having order in its ranks nor place assigned in the line.

[link to original Greek text] 60 So they ran pell-mell and shouting, as though they would utterly make an end of the Greeks; but Pausanias, when the cavalry attacked him, sent a horseman to the Athenians, with this message: "Men of Athens, in this great issue which must give freedom or slavery to Hellas, we Lacedaemonians and you Athenians have been betrayed by the flight of our allies in the night that is past. Now therefore I am resolved what we must forthwith do; we must protect each other by fighting as best we can. If the cavalry had attacked you first, it had been for us and the Tegeans with us, who are faithful to Hellas, to succour you; but now, seeing that the whole  p233 brunt of their assault falls on us, it is right that you should come to the aid of that division which is hardest pressed. But if, as may be, aught has befallen you whereby it is impossible that you should aid us, yet do us the service of sending your archers. We are assured that you will hearken to us, as knowing that you have been by far more zealous than all others in this present war."

[link to original Greek text] 61 Rawlinson p436 When the Athenians heard that, they essayed to succour the Lacedaemonians and defend them with all their might; but when their march was already begun they were set upon by the Greeks posted over against them, who had joined themselves to the king; wherefore they could now send no aid, being troubled by the foe that was closest. Thus it was that the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans stood alone; men-at‑arms and light-armed together, there were of the Lacedaemonians fifty thousand and of the Tegeans, who had never been parted from the Lacedaemonians, three thousand; and they offered sacrifice, the better to join battle with Mardonius and the army that was with him. But as they could get no favourable omen from their sacrifices, and in the meanwhile many of them were slain and by far more wounded (for the Persians set up their shields for a fence, and shot showers of arrows innumerable), it was so, that, the Spartans being hard pressed and their sacrifices of no avail, Pausanias lifted up his eyes to the temple of Here at Plataeae and called on the goddess, praying that they might nowise be disappointed of their hope.

[link to original Greek text] 62 While he yet prayed, the men of Tegea leapt out before the rest and charged the foreigners; and immediately after Pausanias' prayer the sacrifices of  p235 the Lacedaemonians grew to be favourable; which being at last vouchsafed to them, they too charged the Persians, and the Persians met them, throwing away their bows. And first they fought for the fence of shields; and when that was down, thereafter the battle waxed fierce and long about the temple of Demeter itself, till they grappled and thrust; for the foreigners laid hold of the spears and broke them short. Now the Persians were neither the less valorous nor the weaker; but they had no armour, and moreover they were unskilled and no match for their adversaries in craft; they would rush out singly and in tens or in groups great or small, hurling themselves on the Spartans and so perishing.

[link to original Greek text] 63 Rawlinson p438 Where Mardonius was himself, riding a white horse in the battle and surrounded by a thousand picked men who were the flower of the Persians, there they pressed their adversaries hardest. So long as Mardonius was alive the Persians stood their ground and defended themselves, overthrowing many Lacedaemonians; but when Mardonius was slain and his guards, who were the strongest part of the army, fallen likewise, then the rest too yielded and gave ground before the men of Lacedaemon. For what chiefly wrought them harm was that they wore no armour over their raiment, and fought as it were naked against men fully armed.

[link to original Greek text] 64 On that day the Spartans gained from Mardonius their full measure of vengeance for the slaying of Leonidas, according to the oracle, and the most glorious of victories ever known to men was won by Pausanias, the son of Cleombrotus, who was the son of Anaxandrides. (I have named the  p237 rest of Pausanias' ancestors in the lineage of Leonidas; for they are the same for both.) As for Mardonius, he was slain by Aeimnestus, a Spartan of note; who long after the Persian business did in time of war lead three hundred men to battle at Stenyclerus against the whole army of Messenia, and was there slain, he and his three hundred.

[link to original Greek text] 65 But at Plataeae, the Persians being routed by the Lacedaemonians fled in disorder to their own camp and within the wooden walls that they had made in the lands of Thebes. And herein is a marvellous thing, that though the battle was hard by the grove of Demeter there was no sign that any Persian had been slain in the precinct, or entered into it; most of them fell near the temple in unconsecrated ground; and I judge — if it be not a sin to judge of the ways of heaven — that the goddess herself denied them entry, for that they had burnt her temple, the shrine at Eleusis.

[link to original Greek text] 66 H & W Thus far then went this battle. But Artabazus son of Pharnaces had from the very first misliked the king's leaving Mardonius, and now all his counselling not to join battle had been of no avail; and in his displeasure at what Mardonius was doing he himself did as I will show. He had with him a great army, even as many as forty thousand men; knowing well what would be the event of the battle, no sooner had the Greeks and Persians met than he led these with purpose fixed, bidding them follow him all together whither he should lead them, according to whatsoever they should see to be his intent; and with that command he made pretence  p239 of leading them to battle. But as he came farther on his way he saw the Persians already fleeing; whereat he led his men no longer in the same array, but took to his heels and fled with all speed not to the wooden fort nor to the walled city but to Phocis, that so he might make his way with all despatch to the Hellespont.

[link to original Greek text] 67 Rawlinson p440 So Artabazus and his army turned that way. All the rest of the Greeks that were on the king's side fought of set purpose ill; but not so the Boeotians; they fought for a long time against the Athenians. For those Thebans that took the Persian part showed no small zeal in the battle, and had no will to fight slackly, insomuch that three hundred of their first and best were there slain by the Athenians. But at last the Boeotians too yielded; and they fled to Thebes, not by the way that the Persians had fled and all the multitude of the allies, a multitude that had fought no fight to the end nor achieved any feat of arms.

[link to original Greek text] 68 This flight of theirs ere they had even closed, because they saw the Persians flee, proves to me that it was on the Persians that all the fortune of the foreigners hung. Thus they all fled, save only the cavalry, Boeotian and other; which did in so far advantage the fleeing men as it kept ever between them and their enemies, and shielded its friends from the Greeks in their flight.

[link to original Greek text] 69 So the Greeks followed in victory after Xerxes' men, pursuing and slaying. In this rout that grew apace there came a message to the rest of the Greeks, who lay at the temple of Here and had kept away from the fight, that there had been a  p241 battle and that Pausanias' men were victorious; which when they heard, they set forth in no ordered array, they that were with the Corinthians keeping to the spurs of the mountain and the hill country, by the road that led upward straight to the temple of Demeter, and they that were with the Megarians and Phliasians following the levelest way over the plain. But when the Megarians and Phliasians were come near to the enemy, the Theban horsemen (whose captain was Asopodorus son of Timander) espied them approaching in haste and disorder, and rode at them; by which onfall they laid six hundred of them low, and pursued and swept the rest to Cithaeron.

[link to original Greek text] 70 So these perished, one regarding them. But when the Persians and the rest of the multitude had fled within the wooden wall, they made a shift to get them up on the towers before the coming of the Lacedaemonians, which done they strengthened the wall as best they could; and when the Lacedaemonians were now arrived there began a stiff battle for the wall. For as long as the Athenians were not there, the foreigners defended themselves, and had greatly the advantage of the Lacedaemonians, they having no skill in the assault of walls; but when the Athenians came up, the fight for the wall waxed hot and continued long. But at the last the Athenians did by valour and steadfast endeavour scale the wall and breach it, by which breach the Greeks poured in; the first to enter were the Tegeans, and it was they who plundered the tent of Mardonius, taking from it beside all else the manger of his horses, that was all of bronze and a thing worth the beholding. The Tegeans dedicated  p243 this manger of Mardonius in the temple of Athene Alea; all else that they took they brought into the common stock, as did the rest of the Greeks. As for the foreigners, they drew no more to a head once the wall was down, but they were crazed with panic fear, as men hunted down in a narrow space where many myriads were herded together; and such a slaughter were the Greeks able to make, that of two hundred and sixty thousand, that remained after Artabazus had fled with his forty thousand, scarce three thousand were left alive. Of the Lacedaemonians from Sparta there were slain in the battle ninety‑one in all; of the Tegeans, seventeen; and of the Athenians, fifty‑two.24

[link to original Greek text] 71 Rawlinson p443 H & W Among the foreigners they that fought best were the Persian foot and the horse of the Sacae, and of men, it is said, the bravest was Mardonius; among the Greeks, the Tegeans and Athenians bore themselves gallantly, but the Lacedaemonians excelled all in valour. Of this my only clear proof is (for all these vanquished the foes opposed to them) that the Lacedaemonians met the strongest part of the army, and overcame it. According to my judgment, he that bore himself by far the best was Aristodemus, who had been reviled and dishonoured for being the only man of the three hundred that came alive from Thermopylae;25 and the next after him in valour were Posidonius and Philocyon and Amompharetus. Nevertheless when there was talk, and question who had borne himself  p245 most bravely, those Spartans that were there judged that Aristodemus had achieved great feats because by reason of the reproach under which he lay he plainly wished to die, and so pressed forward in frenzy from his post, whereas Posidonius had borne himself well with no desire to die, and must in so far be held the better man. This they may have said of mere jealousy; but all the aforesaid who were slain in that fight received honour, save only Aristodemus; he, because he desired death by reason of the reproach afore-mentioned, received none.

[link to original Greek text] 72 Rawlinson p444 These won the most renown of all that fought at Plataeae. Callicrates is not among them; for he died away from the battle, he that, when he came to the army, was the goodliest Lacedaemonian, aye, or Greek, in the Hellas of that day. He, when Pausanias was offering sacrifice, was wounded in the side by an arrow where he sat in his place; and while his comrades were fighting, he was carried out of the battle and died a lingering death, saying to Arimnestus, a Plataean, that it was no grief for him to die for Hellas' sake; his sorrow was rather that he had struck no blow and achieved no deed worthy of his merit, for all his eager desire so to do.

[link to original Greek text] 73 Of the Athenians, Sophanes son of Eutychides is said to have won renown, a man of the township of Decelea; that Decelea whose people once did a deed that was for all time serviceable, as the Athenians themselves say. For of old when the sons of Tyndarus strove to win Helen26 back and  p247 broke with a great host into Attica, and were turning the townships upside down because they knew not where Helen had been hidden, then (it is said) the Deceleans (and, as some say, Decelus himself, because he was angered by the pride of Theseus and feared for the whole land of Attica) revealed the whole matter to the sons of Tyndarus, and guided them to Aphidnae, which Titacus, one of the country's oldest stock, betrayed to the Tyndaridae. For that deed the Deceleans have ever had and still have at Sparta freedom from all dues and chief places at feasts, insomuch that even as late as in the war that was waged many years after this time between the Athenians and Peloponnesians, the Lacedaemonians laid no hand on Decelea when they harried the rest of Attica.27

[link to original Greek text] 74 Rawlinson p446 H & W Of that township was Sophanes, who now was the best Athenian fighter in the battle; concerning which, two tales are told. By the first, he bore an anchor of iron made fast to the great deal of his cuirass with a chain of bronze; which anchor he would ever cast whenever he drew nigh to his enemies in onset, that so the enemies as they left their ranks might not avail to move him from his place; and when they were put to flight, it was his plan that he would weigh his anchor and so pursue them. So runs this tale; but the second that is told is at variance with the first, and relates that he bore no anchor of iron made fast to his cuirass, but that his shield, which he ever whirled round and never kept still, had on it an anchor for device.

 p249  [link to original Greek text] 75 Another famous feat of arms Sophanes achieved: when the Athenians were beleaguering Aegina, he challenged and slew Eurybates the Argive, a victor in the Five Contests. But long after this Sophanes, who had borne himself thus gallantly, came by his death; being general of the Athenians with Leagrus, son of Glaucon, he was slain at Datus28 but the Edonians in a battle for the gold-mines.

[link to original Greek text] 76 Immediately after the Greeks had laid low the foreigners at Plataeae, there came to them a woman, deserting from the enemy, who was the concubine of Pharandates, a Persian, son of Teaspis. She, learning that the Persians were destroyed and the Greeks victorious, decked herself (as did also her attendants) with many gold ornaments and the fairest raiment that she had, and so lighting from her carriage came to the Lacedaemonians while they were yet at the slaughtering; and seeing Pausanias ordering all that business, whose name and country she knew from her often hearing of it, she knew that it was he, and thus besought him, clasping his knees: "Save me, your suppliant, O king of Sparta! from captive slavery; for you have done me good service till this hour, by making an end of yonder men, that regard not aught that is divine in heaven or earth. Coan am I by birth, daughter to Hegetorides, son of Antagoras; in Cos the Persian laid violent hands on me and held me prisoner." "Be of good cheer, lady," Pausanias answered, "for that you are my suppliant, and for your tale withal, if  p251 you be verily daughter to Hegetorides of Cos, for he is my closest friend, of all that dwell in those lands." Thus saying, he gave her for the nonce in charge to those of the ephors that were present, and thereafter sent her to Aegina, whither she herself desired to go.

[link to original Greek text] 77 Rawlinson p449 Immediately after the coming of this woman, came the men of Mantinea, when all was over; who, learning that they were come too late for the battle, were greatly distressed, and said that they deserved to punish themselves therefor. Hearing that the Medes with Artabazus were fleeing, they would have pursued after them as far as Thessaly; but the Lacedaemonians would not suffer them to pursue fleeing men; and returning to their own land the Mantineans banished the leaders of their army from the country. After the Mantineans came the men of Elis, who also went away sorrowful in like manner as the Mantineans, and after their departure banished their leaders likewise. Such were the doings of the Mantineans and Eleans.

[link to original Greek text] 78 H & W Now there was at Plataeae in the army of the Aeginetans one Lampon, son of Pytheas, a leading man of Aegina; he sought Pausanias with most unrighteous counsel, and having made haste to come said to him: "Son of Cleombrotus, you have done a deed of surpassing greatness and glory; by heaven's favour you have saved Hellas, and thereby won greater renown than any Greek known to men. But now you must finish what remains to do, that your fame may be yet the greater, and that no foreigner may hereafter make bold unprovoked to wreak his mad and wicked will on the Greeks. When Leonidas  p253 was slain at Thermopylae, Mardonius and Xerxes cut off his head and set it on a pole; make them a like return, and you will win praise from all Spartans, and the rest of Hellas besides; for if you impale Mardonius you will be avenged for your father's brother Leonidas."

[link to original Greek text] 79 Rawlinson p450 So said Lampon, thinking to please. But Pausanias answered him thus: "Sir Aeginetan, I thank you for your goodwill and forethought; but you have missed the mark of right judgment; for first you exalt me on high and my fatherland and my deeds withal, yet next you cast me down to mere nothingness when you counsel me to insult the dead, and say that I shall win more praise if I so do; but that were an act more proper for foreigners than for Greeks, and one that we deem matter of blame even in foreigners. Nay, for myself, I would fain in this business find no favour either with the people of Aegina or whoso else is pleased by such acts; it is enough for me if I please the Spartans by righteous deed and righteous speech. As for Leonidas, whom you would have me avenge, I hold that he has had full measure of vengeance; the uncounted souls of these that you see have done honour to him and the rest of those who died at Thermopylae. But to you this is my warning, that you come not again to me with words like these nor give me such counsel; and be thankful now that you go unpunished."

[link to original Greek text] 80 With that answer Lampon departed. Then Pausanias made a proclamation, that no man should touch the spoil, and bade the helots gather all the stuff together. They, scattering all about the camp, found there tents adorned with gold and silver, and couches gilded and silver-plated, and golden bowls  p255 and cups and other drinking-vessels; and sacks they found on wains, wherein were seen cauldrons of gold and silver; and they stripped from the dead that lay there their armlets and torques, and daggers of gold; as for many-coloured raiment, it was nothing regarded. Much of all this the helots showed, as much as they could not conceal; but much they stole and sold to the Aeginetans; insomuch that the Aeginetans thereby laid the foundation of their great fortunes, by buying gold from the helots as though it were bronze.

[link to original Greek text] 81 Having brought all the stuff together they set apart a tithe for the god of Delphi, whereof was made and dedicated that tripod that rests upon the bronze three-headed serpent,29 nearest to the altar; another they set apart for the god of Olympia, whereof was made and dedicated a bronze figure of Zeus, ten cubits high; and another for the god of the Isthmus, whereof came a bronze Poseidon seven cubits high; all which having set apart they divided the remnant, and each received according to his desert of the concubines of the Persians, and the gold and silver, and all the rest of the stuff, and the beasts of burden. How much was set apart and given to those who had fought best at Plataeae, no man says; but I think that they also received gifts; but tenfold of every kind, women, horses, talents, camels, and all other things likewise, was set apart and given to Pausanias.

 p257  [link to original Greek text] 82 Rawlinson p453 H & W This other story is also told. Xerxes in his flight from Hellas, having left to Mardonius his own establishment, Pausanias, seeing Mardonius' establishment with its display of gold and silver and gaily-coloured tapestry, bade the bakers and the cooks to prepare a dinner in such wise as they were wont to do for Mardonius. They did his bidding; whereat Pausanias, when he saw golden and silvern couches richly covered, and tables of gold and silver, and all the magnificent service of the banquet, was amazed at the splendour before him, and for a jest bade his own servants prepare a dinner after Laconian fashion. When that meal was ready and was far different from the other, Pausanias fell a‑laughing, and sent for the generals of the Greeks. They being assembled, Pausanias pointed to the fashion after which either dinner was served, and said: "Men of Hellas, I have brought you hither because I desired to show you the foolishness of the leader of the Medes; who, with such provision for life as you see, came hither to take away from us ours, that is so pitiful." Thus, it is said, Pausanias spoke to the generals of the Greeks.

[link to original Greek text] 83 Rawlinson p454 But in later days many of the Plataeans also found chests full of gold and silver and all else. Moreover there were sights to see among these dead, when their bones (which the Plataeans gathered into one place) were laid bare of flesh: there was found a skull whereof the bone was all  p259 one without suture, and a jawbone wherein the teeth of the upper jaw were one whole, a single bone, front teeth and grinders; and there were to be seen the bones of a man of five cubits' stature.

[link to original Greek text] 84 As for the body of Mardonius, it was made away with on the day after the battle; by whom, I cannot with exactness say; but I have heard of very many of all countries that buried Mardonius, and I know of many that were richly rewarded for that act by Mardonius' son Artontes; but which of them it was that stole away and buried the body of Mardonius I cannot learn for a certainty, albeit some report that it was buried by Dionysophanes, an Ephesian. Such was the manner of Mardonius' burial.

[link to original Greek text] 85 But the Greeks, when they had divided the spoil at Plataeae, buried their dead each severally in their place. The Lacedaemonians made three vaults; there they buried their "irens,"30 among whom were Posidonius and Amompharetus and Philocyon and Callicrates. In one of the tombs, then, were the "irens," in the second the rest of the Spartans, and in the third the helots. Thus the Lacedaemonians buried their dead; the Tegeans buried all theirs together in a place apart, and the Athenians did likewise with their own dead; and so did the Megarians and Phliasians with those who had been slain by the horsemen. All the tombs of these peoples were filled with dead; but as for the rest of the states whose tombs are to be seen at Plataeae,  p261 their tombs are but empty barrows that they built for the sake of men that should come after, because they were ashamed to have been absent from the battle. In truth there is one there that is called the tomb of the Aeginetans, which, as I have been told, was built as late as ten years after, at the Aeginetans' desire, by their patron and protector Cleades son of Autodicus, a Plataean.

[link to original Greek text] 86 Rawlinson p456 As soon as the Greeks had buried their dead at Plataeae, they resolved in council that they would march against Thebes and demand surrender of those who had taken the Persian part, but specially of Timagenidas and Attaginus, who were chief among their foremost men; and that, if these men were not delivered to them, they would not withdraw from before the city till they should have taken it. Being thus resolved, they came with this intent on the eleventh day after the battle and laid siege to the Thebans, demanding the surrender of the men; and the Thebans refusing this surrender, they laid their lands waste and assaulted the walls.

[link to original Greek text] 87 H & W Seeing that the Greeks would not cease from their harrying, when nineteen days were past, Timagenidas thus spoke to the Thebans: "Men of Thebes, since the Greeks have so resolved that they will not raise the siege till Thebes be taken or we be delivered to them, now let not the land of Boeotia increase the measure of its ills for our sake; nay, if it is money they desire and their demand for our surrender is but a pretext, let us give them money out of our common treasury (for it was by the common will and not ours alone that we took the Persian part); but if they be besieging the town for no other cause save to have us, then we will give  p263 ourselves up to be tried by them." This seeming to be very well and reasonably said, the Thebans immediately sent a herald to Pausanias, offering to surrender the men.

[link to original Greek text] 88 On these terms they made an agreement; but Attaginus escaped out of the town; his sons were seized, but Pausanias held them free of guilt, saying that the sons were nowise accessory to the treason. As for the rest of the men whom the Thebans surrendered, they supposed that they would be put on trial, and were confident that they would defeat the impeachment for bribery; but Pausanias had that very suspicion of them, and when they were put into his hands he sent away the whole allied army, and carried the men to Corinth, where he put them to death. Such were the doings at Plataeae and Thebes.

[link to original Greek text] 89 Artabazus the son of Pharnaces was by now far on his way in his flight from Plataeae. The Thessalians, when he came among them, entertained him hospitably and inquired of him concerning the rest of the army, knowing nothing of what had been done at Plataeae. Artabazus understood that if he told them the whole truth about the fighting, he would imperil his own life and the lives of all that were with him; for he thought that every man would set upon him if they heard the story; wherefore, thus reasoning, even as he had revealed nothing to the Phocians so he spoke thus to the Thessalians: "I myself, men of Thessaly, am pressing with all speed and diligence to march into Thrace, being despatched from the army for a certain purpose with these whom you see; and you may look to see Mardonius and that host of his yonder, marching  p265 close after me. It is for you to entertain him, and show that you do him good service; for if you so do, you will not afterwards repent of it." So saying, he used all diligence to lead his army away straight towards Thrace through Thessaly and Macedonia, brooking in good sooth no delay and following the shortest inland road. So he came to Byzantium, but he left behind many of his army, cut down by the Thracians or overcome by hunger and weariness; and from Byzantium he crossed over in boats. In such case Artabazus returned into Asia.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 In the summer of 479. Mardonius occupied Athens in July.

2 A festival said to be of pre‑Dorian origin, commemorating the killing of Hyacinthus by Apollo.

Thayer's Note: For good details, see the article Hyacinthia in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

3 cp. VIII.135.

4 His cousin; Euryanax was son of Dorieus, who was a brother of Pausanias' father Cleombrotus.

5 Other references place Orestheum N. W. of Sparta, therefore hardly on the direct route to the Isthmus.

6 Inhabitants of the country districts of Laconia, not enjoying the full privileges of Spartans.

7 He would have to retreat into Boeotia by way of the pass over Cithaeron.

8 That is, serve us and we will serve you.

9 That is, the wing which was not held by the Lacedaemonians themselves.

10 Son of Heracles.

11 Hyllus, pursued by his enemy Eurystheus, took refuge with the Athenians, and with their aid defeated and killed Eurystheus and his sons.

12 When Polynices tried to recover Thebes from his brother Eteocles; see Aeschylus' "Seven against Thebes."

13 That is, who had not fallen at Thermopylae.

14 The Egyptian military classes mentioned in Bk. II.164.

15 The Iamidae were a priestly family, the members of which were found in all parts of Hellas. The Clytiadae were also Elean priests, but quite separate from the Iamidae; so Stein is probably right in bracketing Κλυτιάδην.

16 The five events of the Pentathlum were running, jumping, wrestling, and throwing of the spear and the discus.

Thayer's Note: See the article Pentathlon in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

17 According to the legend, the Argive women were driven mad by Dionysus for refusing to take part in his orgies, and cured by Melampus. Many Greek authors refer to it, with varying details.

18 The battle at Ithome was apparently in the third Messenian war; that at Tanagra, in 457 B.C. (Thucyd. I.107). Nothing is known of the battles at Tegea and Dipaea.

19 Lit. to do violence, compel the gods, like "superos votis fatigare" in Latin.

20 Referring to a legendary expedition of these north-western tribes, directed against Hellas and Delphi in particular.

21 A little to the N. W. of Thebes.

22 Several streams flow N. or N. W. from Cithaeron, and unite eventually to form the small river Oëroë. Between two of these there is a long strip of land, which is perhaps the νῆσος; but it is not now actually surrounded by water, as Herodotus describes it.

For some notice of controversy about the battlefield of Plataeae, see the Introduction to this volume.

23 Thucydides (1.20) denies the existence of a Πιτανάτης λόχος as a formal part of the Spartan army; it is not clear what Herodotus means. For Pitana v. III.55.

24 These figures must refer to the ὁπλῖται alone, leaving out of account the Laconian περίοικοι and the rest of the light-armed troops. Plutarch says that 60,300 Greeks fell at Plataea.

25 Cp. VII.231.

26 According to legend, the Dioscuri came to recover their sister Helen, who had been carried off to Aphidnae in Attica by Theseus and Pirithous.

27 But in the later part of the Peloponnesian war the Lacedaemonians established themselves at Decelea and held it as a menace to Athens (413 B.C.).

28 In the attempt to establish an Athenian settlement at Amphipolis in 465 (Thucyd. I.100, V.102). Datus was on the Thracian seaboard opposite Thasos.

29 The bronze three-headed serpent supporting the cauldron was intended apparently to commemorate the whole Greek alliance against Persia. The serpent pedestal still exists, in the Atmeidan (formerly Hippodrome) at Constantinople, whither it was transported by Constantine; it has been fully exposed and its inscription deciphered since 1856. The names of thirty‑one Greek states are incised on eleven spirals, from the third to the thirteenth. For a fuller account see How and Wells' note ad loc.

Thayer's Note: An exhaustive article on the inscription is given by Rawlinson in his Note A, Vol. IV pp483‑488. For other details of the Serpent Column, and photos, see the page at Livius.Org.

30 Spartan young men between the ages of twenty and thirty.

Lendering's Note:

α History becoming farce: when the Greeks voted, they used pebbles; Amompharetus casts a rock (πέτρον).

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