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army so numerous as this; and amongst all these millions of men, there was not one that could vie with Xerxes in point of beauty, either for the comeliness of his face or the tallness of his person.
But this is a poor merit or pre-eminence for a prince, when attended with no other. Accordingly Justin, after he has mentioned the number of these troops, adds, that this vast body of forces wanted a chief: Huic tanto agmini dux defuit.
We should be hardly able to conceive how it was possible to find a sufficient quantity of provisions for such an immense number of persons, if the * historian had not informed us, that Xerxes had employed four whole years in making preparations for this expedition. We have seen already how many vessels of burden there were, that coasted along continually to attend
upon and supply the land army; and doubtless there were fresh ones arriving every day, that furnished the camp with a sufficient plenty of all things necessary.
+ Herodotus acquaints us with the method they made use of to calculate their forces, which were almost innumerable. They assembled 10,000 men in a particular place, and ranked them as close together as was possible; after which they described a circle quite round them, and erected a little wall upon that circle about half the height of a man's body; when this was done, they made the whole army successively pass though this space, and thereby knew to what number it amounted.
Herodotus gives us also a particular account of the different armour of all the nations this army consisted of. Besides the generals of every nation, who each of them cominanded the troops of their respective country, the land army was under the command of six Persian generals, viz. Mardonius, the son of Gobryas ; Tirintatechimus, the son of Artabanes, and Smerdonus, son io Otanes, both near relations to the king; Masistus, son of Darius and Atossa ; Gergis, son of Ariazers; and Megabysus, son of Zopyrus. The 10,000 Persians, who were called the Immortal Band, were commanded by Hydarnes. The cavalry had its particular commanders.
There were likewise four Persian generals who comanded the fleet. In ț Herodotus we have a particular account of all the nations by wbich it was fitted out. Artemisa, queen of Halicarnassus, who, from the death of her husband, governed the kingdom for her son, who was still a minor, brought but five vessels along with her ; but they were the best equipped, and the lightest ships in the whole fleet, next to those of the Sidonians. This princess distinguished herself in this war, by her sir ular courage, and still more by her prudence and conduct. Herodotus observes, that among all the commanders in the army, there was not one who gave Xerxes so good advice and such wise counsel as this queen; but he was not prudent enough to apply it to his advantage.
When Xerxes had numbered his whole forces by land and sea, he asked Demaratus, if he thought the Grecians would dare to expect him. I have already taken notice, that this Demaratus was one of the two kings of Sparta, who, being exiled by the faction of his enemies, had taken refuge at the Persian court, where he was entertained with the greatest marks of honour and beneficence. || As the courtiers were one day expressing their surprize that a king should suffer himself to be banished, and desired him to acquaint them with the reason of it: “It is,” says he, “because the
* Herod. J. vii. c. 20, Ibid. c. 60.
| Ibid. ). vii. c. 89, 90. . Plut. in Apopth. Lacon. p. 220.
law is more powerful than the kings at Sparta.” This prince was very much considered in Persia : but neither the injustice of the Spartan citizens, nor the kind treatment of the Persian king, could make him forget his country.* As soon as he knew that Xerxes was making preparations for the war, he found means to give the Grecians secret intelligence of it: and now, being obliged on this occasion to speak his sentiments to the king, he did it with such a noble freedom and dignity, as became a Spartan, and a king of Sparta.
† Demaratus, before he answered the king's question desired to know whether it was his pleasure that he should flatter him, or that he should speak his thoughts to him freely and truly. Xerxes having declared that he desired him to act with entire sincerity, he spoke in the following terms : “ Great prince,” says Demaratus, “ since it is agreeable to your pleasure
and commands, I shall deliver my sentiments to you with the utmost “ truth and sincerity. It must be confessed, that, from the beginning of
time, Greece has been trained up, and accustomed to poverty : but then " she has introduced and established virtue within her territories, which “wisdom cultivates, and the rigour of her laws maintains. And it is by " the use which Greece knows how to make of this virtue that she equally “ defends herself against the inconveniences of poverty, and the yoke of " servitude. But, to speak only of the Lacedæmonians, my particular " country men, you may assure yourself, that as they are born and bred up " in liberty, they will never hearken to any proposals that tend to slavery. “ Though they were deserted and abandoned by all the other Grecians, and " reduced to a band of 1000 men, or even to a more inconsiderable num“ber, they will still come out to meet you, and not refuse to give you bat“tle.” Xerxes, upon hearing this discourse, fell a laughing; and as he could not comprehend how men in such a state of liberty and independence, as the Lacedæmonians were described to enjoy, who had no master to force and compel them to it, could be capable of exposing themselves in such a manner to danger and death; Demaratus replied, f“ The Spartans " indeed are free, and under no subjection to the will of any man; but at " the same time they have laws, to which they are subject, and of which " they stand in greater awe than your subjects do of your majesty. Now,
by these laws they are forbid ever to fly in battle, let the number of their “ enemies be ever so superior; and are commanded, by abiding firm in “ their post, either to conquer or to die."
Xerxes was not offended at the liberty wherewith Demaratus spoke to him, and continued his march.
THE LACEDEMONIANS AND ATHENIANS SEND TO THEIR ALLIES IN VAIN TO
REQUIRE SUCCOURS FROM THEM.THE COMMAND OF THE FLEET IS GIVEN TO THE LACEDÆMONIANS.
LACEDÆMON || and Athens, which were the two most powerful cities of Greece, and the cities against which Xerxes was most exasperated, were not indolent or asleep, whilst so formidable an enemy was approaching: Having received intelligence long before, of the designs of this prince they had sent spies to Sardis, in order to have a more exact information of
* Amicior patriæ post fugam, quam regi post beneficia. Justin. † Herod. I. vii. c. 101–105. Herod. I. vii. c. 145, 146.
the number and quality of his forces. These spies were seized, and as they were just going to be put to death, Xerxes countermanded it, and gave orders that they should be conducted through his army, and then sent back without any harm being done to them. At their return, the Grecians understood what they had to apprehend from so potent an enemy.
They sent deputies at the same time to Argos, into Sicily to Gelon tyrant of Syracuse, to the isles of Corcyra and Crete, to desire succoura from them, and to form a league against the common enemy.
* The people of Argos offered a very considerable succour, on condition that they should have an equal share of the authority and command with the Lacedæmonians. The latter consented, that the king of Argos should have the same authority as either of the two kings of Sparta. This was granting them a great deal; but into what errors and miscbiefs are not men led by a mistaken point of honour, and a foolish jealousy of command ! The Argives were not contented with this offer, and refused to enter into the league with the Grecians, without considering, that if they suffered them to be destroyed, their own ruin must inevitably follow.
+ The deputies proceeded from Argos to Sicily, and addressed themselves to Gelon, who was the most potent prince of the Greeks at that time. He promised to assist them with 200 vessels of three benches of oars, with an army of 20,000 foot and 2000 horse, 2000 light armed soldiers, and the same number of bowmen and slingers, and to supply the Grecian army with provisions during the whole war, on condition they would make him generalissimo of all the forces both by land and sea. The Lacedæmoni. ans were highly offended at such a proposal. Gelon then abated somewhat in his demands, and promised the same, provided he had at least the command either of the fleet or of the army. This proposal was strenuously opposed by the Athenians, who made answer that they alone had a right to command the fleet in case the Lacedæmonians were willing to give it up. Gelon had a more substantial reason for not leaving Sicily unprovided of troops, which was the approach of the formidable army of the Carthaginians, commanded by Amilcar, which consisted of 300,000 men.
| The inhabitants of Corcyra, now called Corfu, gave the envoys a more favourable answer, and immediately put to sea with a fleet of 60 vessels : but they advanced no farther than to the coasts of Laconia, pretending they were hindered by contrary winds, but in reality waiting to see the success of an engagement, that they might afterwards rauge theinselves on the side of the conqueror.
| The people of Crete, having consulted the Delpbic oracle, to know what resolutions they were to take on this occasion, absolutely refused to enter into the league.
$ Thus were the Lacedæmonians and Athenians left almost to themselves, all the rest of the cities and nations having submitted to the heralds that Xerxes had sent to require earth and water of them, excepting the people of Thespia and of Platæa. I In so pressing a danger, their first care was to put an end to all discord and division among themselves; for wbich reason the Athenians made peace with the people of Ægina, with whom they were actually at war.
** Their next care was to appoint a general: for there never was any occa
* Herod. ). vii. c. 148–152.
Ibid. c. 168.
ibid. c. 145.
šion wherein it was more necessary to choose one capable of so important a trušt, than in the present conjuncture when Greece was upon the point of being attacked by the whole force of Asia. The most able and experienced captains, terrified at the greatness of the danger, had taken the resolution of not presenting themselves as candidates. There was a certain citizen at Athens, whose name was Epicydes, who had some eloquence, but in other respects was a person of mu merit, was in disreputation for his want of courage, and notorious for his avarice ; notwithstanding all which, it was apprehended that in the assembly of the people, the votes would run in his favour. Themistocles, who was sensible, * that in calm weather almost any mariner may be capable of conducting a vessel, but that in storms and tempests the most able pilots are at a loss, was convinced that the commonwealth was ruined, if Epicydes was chosen general, whose venal and mercenary soul gave them the justest reason to fear that he was not proof against the Persian gold. There are occasions when in order to act wisely, I had almost said regularly, it is necessary to dispense with and rise above all rule. Themistocles, who knew very well that in the present state of affairs he was the only person capable of commanding, did for that reason make no scruple of employing bribes and presents to remove his competitor: fand having found means to make the ambition of Epicydes amends, hy gratifying bis avarice, he got himself elected general in his stead. We may here, I think, very justly apply to Themistocles what Titus Livius says of Fabius on a like occasion. This great commander finding, when Hannibal was in the heart of Italy, that the people were going to make a man of no merit consul, employed all his own credit, as well as that of his friends, to be continued in the consulship, without being concerned at the clamour that might be raised against him; and he succeeded in the attempt. The historian adds; “ | The conjuncture of affairs, and the “extreme danger the commonwealth was exposed to, were arguments of “ such weight, that they prevented any one from being offended at a conduct " which might appear to be contrary to rules, and removed all suspicion of " Fabius' baving acted upon any motive of interest or ambition. On the " contrary the public admired his generosity and greatness of soul, in that " as he knew the commonwealth had occasion for an accomplished gene
ral, and could not be ignorant or doubtful of his own singular merit in " that respect, he had chosen rather in some sort to hazard his own reputa
tion, and perhaps expose his character to the reproaches of envious tongues, than to be wanting in any service he could render his country.”
| The Athenians also passed a decree to recal home all their people that were in banishment. They were afraid lest Aristides should join their enemies, and lest his credit should carry over a great many others to the side of the barbarians. But they had a very false notion of their citizen, who was infinitely remote from such sentiments. Be that as it would, on this extraordinary juncture they thought fit to recal him; and Themistocles
* Quilibet nautarum vectorumque tranquillo mari gubernare potest : ubi orta sava tempestas est, ac turbato mari rapitur vento navis tum viro et gubernatore opus est.
Liv. I. xxiv. n. 8. * Χρημασι την φιλοτιμιαν εξωνησατοπαρα τα Επικυδε.
I 'Tempus ac necessitas belli, ac discrimen summa rerum, faciebant nequis aut in exemplum exquireret, aut suspectum cupiditatis imperii consulem haberet
. Quin laudabant potius magnitudinem animi, quod, cum summo imperatore esse opus reip. sciret, seque eum haud dubie esse, minoris invidiam suam, si qua ex re orietur, quam utilitatem reip. fecissset. Liv. I. xxiv. n. 9.
| Plut. in Arist. p. 322, 323.
was so far from opposing the decree for that purpose, that he promoted it with all his credit and authority. The hatred and division of these great men had nothing in thein of that implacable, bitter, and outrageous spirit, which prevailed among the Romans in the latter times of the republic. The danger of the state was the means of their reconciliation, and when their service was necessary to the preservation of the republic, they laid aside all their jealousy and rancour: and we shall see, by the sequel, that Aristides was so far from secretly thwarting his ancient rival, that he zealously contributed to the success of his enterprises, and to the advancement of his glory.
The alarm increased in Greece in proportion as they received advice that the Persian army advanced. If the Athenians and Lacedæmonians had been able to make no other resistance than with their land forces, Greece had been utterly ruined and reduced to slavery. This exigence taught them how to set a right value upon the prudent foresight of Themistocles, who, upon some other pretext, had caused 100 galleys to be built. Instead of judging like the rest of the Athenians, who looked upon the victory of Marathon as the end of the war, he, on the contrary, considered it rather as the beginning, or as the signal of still greater battles, for which it was necessary to prepare the Athenian people: and from that very time he began to think of raising Athens to a superiority over Sparta, which for a long time had been the mistress of all Greece. With this view he judged it expedient to make the Athenian power entirely maritime, perceiving very plainly, that, as she was so weak by land, she had no other way to render herself necessary to her allies, or formidable to her enemies.
His opinion herein prevailed among the people in spite of the opposition of Miltiades, whose difference of opinion undoubtedly arose from the little probability there was, that a people entirely unacquainted with fighting at sea, and that were only capable of fitting out and arming very small vessels, should be able to withstand so formidable a power as that of the Persians, who had both a numerous land army, and a fleet of above 1000 ships.
* The Athenians had some silver mines in a part of Attica called Laurium, the whole revenues and products of which used to be distributed amongst them. Themistocles had the courage to propose to the people, that they should abolish these distributions, and employ that money in building vessels with three benches of oars, in order to make war upon the people of Ægina, against whom he endeavoured to inflame their ancient jealousy. No people are ever willing to sacrifice their private interests to the general utility of the public: for they seldom have so much generosity or public spirit, as to purchase the welfare or preservation of the state at their own expence. The Athenian people, however, did it upon this occasion: moved by the lively remonstrances of Themistocles, they consentcd that the money which arose from the product of the mines, should be employed in the building of 100 galleys. Against the arrival of Xerxes they doubled the number, and to that feet Greece owed its preservation.
† When they came to the point of naming a general for the command of the navy, the Athenians, who alone had furnished the two thirds of it, laid claim to that honour, as appertaining to them, and their pretensions were certainly just and weil grounded. It happened, however, that the suffrages of the allies all concurred in favour of Eurybiades, a Lacedæmonian. Themistocles, though very aspiring after glory, thought it incumbent upon liim on this occasion to neglect his own interests for the common good of
* Plut. in Themist. p. 113.
† Herod, I. viii. c. 213.