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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 7: Polymnia [140]

140. For the Athenians had sent men to Delphi to inquire and were preparing to consult the Oracle; and after these had performed the usual rites in the sacred precincts, when they had entered the sanctuary and were sitting down there, the Pythian prophetess, whose name was Aristonike, uttered to them this oracle:

"Why do ye sit, O ye wretched? Flee thou to the uttermost limits,
Leaving thy home and the heights of the wheel-round city behind thee!
Lo, there remaineth now nor the head nor the body in safety,--
Neither the feet below nor the hands nor the middle are left thee,--
All are destroyed together; for fire and the passionate War-god,
Urging the Syrian car to speed, doth hurl them to ruin.
Not thine alone, he shall cause many more great strongholds to perish,
Yes, many temples of gods to the ravening fire shall deliver,--
Temples which stand now surely with sweat of their terror down-streaming,
Quaking with dread; and lo! from the topmost roof to the pavement
Dark blood trickles, forecasting the dire unavoidable evil.
Forth with you, forth from the shrine, and steep your soul in the sorrow!

140. [1] πέμψαντες γὰρ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἐς Δελφοὺς θεοπρόπους χρηστηριάζεσθαι ἦσαν ἕτοιμοι· καί σφι ποιήσασι περὶ τὸ ἱρὸν τὰ νομιζόμενα, ὡς ἐς τὸ μέγαρον ἐσελθόντες ἵζοντο, χρᾷ ἡ Πυθίη, τῇ οὔνομα ἦν Ἀριστονίκη, τάδε·

     [2] ὦ μέλεοι, τί κάθησθε; λιπὼν φεῦγ᾽ ἔσχατα γαίης
     δώματα καὶ πόλιος τροχοειδέος ἄκρα κάρηνα.
     οὔτε γὰρ ἡ κεφαλὴ μένει ἔμπεδον οὔτε τὸ σῶμα,
     οὔτε πόδες νέατοι οὔτ᾽ ὦν χέρες, οὔτε τι μέσσης
     λείπεται, ἀλλ᾽ ἄζηλα πέλει· κατὰ γάρ μιν ἐρείπει
     πῦρ τε καὶ ὀξὺς Ἄρης, Συριηγενὲς ἅρμα διώκων.
     [3] πολλὰ δὲ κἆλλ᾽ ἀπολεῖ πυργώματα κοὐ τὸ σὸν οἶον,
     πολλοὺς δ᾽ ἀθανάτων νηοὺς μαλερῷ πυρὶ δώσει,
     οἵ που νῦν ἱδρῶτι ῥεούμενοι ἑστήκασι,
     δείματι παλλόμενοι, κατὰ δ᾽ ἀκροτάτοις ὀρόφοισι
     αἷμα μέλαν κέχυται, προϊδὸν κακότητος ἀνάγκας.
     ἀλλ᾽ ἴτον ἐξ ἀδύτοιο, κακοῖς δ᾽ ἐπικίδνατε θυμόν.

141. Hearing this the men who had been sent by the Athenians to consult the Oracle were very greatly distressed; and as they were despairing by reason of the evil which had been prophesied to them, Timon the son of Androbulos, a man of the Delphians in reputation equal to the first, counselled them to take a suppliant's bough and to approach the second time and consult the Oracle as suppliants. The Athenians did as he advised and said: "Lord, we pray thee utter to us some better oracle about our native land, having respect to these suppliant boughs which we have come to thee bearing; otherwise surely we will not depart away from the sanctuary, but will remain here where we are now, even until we bring our lives to an end." When they spoke these words, the prophetess gave them a second oracle as follows:

"Pallas cannot prevail to appease great Zeus in Olympos,
Though she with words very many and wiles close-woven entreat him.
But I will tell thee this more, and will clench it with steel adamantine:
Then when all else shall be taken, whatever the boundary of Kecrops
Holdeth within, and the dark ravines of divinest Kithairon,
A bulwark of wood at the last Zeus grants to the Trito-born goddess
Sole to remain unwasted, which thee and thy children shall profit.
Stay thou not there for the horsemen to come and the footmen unnumbered;
Stay thou not still for the host from the mainland to come, but retire thee,
Turning thy back to the foe, for yet thou shalt face him hereafter.
Salamis, thou the divine, thou shalt cause sons of women to perish,
Or when the grain is scattered or when it is gathered together."

141. [1] ταῦτα ἀκούσαντες οἱ τῶν Ἀθηναίων θεοπρόποι συμφορῇ τῇ μεγίστῃ ἐχρέωντο. προβάλλουσι δὲ σφέας αὐτοὺς ὑπὸ τοῦ κακοῦ τοῦ κεχρησμένου, Τίμων ὁ Ἀνδροβούλου, τῶν Δελφῶν ἀνὴρ δόκιμος ὅμοια τῷ μάλιστα, συνεβούλευέ σφι ἱκετηρίην λαβοῦσι δεύτερα αὖτις ἐλθόντας χρᾶσθαι τῷ χρηστηρίῳ ὡς ἱκέτας. [2] πειθομένοισι δὲ ταῦτα τοῖσι Ἀθηναίοισι καὶ λέγουσι «ὦναξ, χρῆσον ἡμῖν ἄμεινόν τι περὶ τῆς πατρίδος, αἰδεσθεὶς τὰς ἱκετηρίας τάσδε τάς τοι ἥκομεν φέροντες, ἢ οὔ τοι ἄπιμεν ἐκ τοῦ ἀδύτου, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτοῦ τῇδε μενέομεν ἔστ᾽ ἂν καὶ τελευτήσωμεν,» ταῦτα δὲ λέγουσι ἡ πρόμαντις χρᾷ δεύτερα τάδε·

     [3] οὐ δύναται Παλλὰς Δί᾽ Ὀλύμπιον ἐξιλάσασθαι
     λισσομένη πολλοῖσι λόγοις καὶ μήτιδι πυκνῇ.
     σοὶ δὲ τόδ᾽ αὖτις ἔπος ἐρέω ἀδάμαντι πελάσσας.
     τῶν ἄλλων γὰρ ἁλισκομένων ὅσα Κέκροπος οὖρος
     ἐντὸς ἔχει κευθμών τε Κιθαιρῶνος ζαθέοιο,
     τεῖχος Τριτογενεῖ ξύλινον διδοῖ εὐρύοπα Ζεύς
     μοῦνον ἀπόρθητον τελέθειν, τὸ σὲ τέκνα τ᾽ ὀνήσει.
     [4] μηδὲ σύ γ᾽ ἱπποσύνην τε μένειν καὶ πεζὸν ἰόντα
     πολλὸν ἀπ᾽ ἠπείρου στρατὸν ἥσυχος, ἀλλ᾽ ὑποχωρεῖν
     νῶτον ἐπιστρέψας· ἔτι τοι ποτε κἀντίος ἔσσῃ.
     ὦ θείη Σαλαμίς, ἀπολεῖς δὲ σὺ τέκνα γυναικῶν
     ἤ που σκιδναμένης Δημήτερος ἢ συνιούσης.

142. This seemed to them to be (as in truth it was) a milder utterance than the former one; therefore they had it written down and departed with it to Athens: and when the messengers after their return made report to the people, many various opinions were expressed by persons inquiring into the meaning of the oracle, and among them these, standing most in opposition to one another:--some of the elder men said they thought that the god had prophesied to them that the Acropolis should survive; for the Acropolis of the Athenians was in old time fenced with a thorn hedge; and they conjectured accordingly that this saying about the "bulwark of wood" referred to the fence: others on the contrary said that the god meant by this their ships, and they advised to leave all else and get ready these. Now they who said that the ships were the bulwark of wood were shaken in their interpretation by the two last verses which the prophetess uttered:

"Salamis, thou the divine, thou shalt cause sons of women to perish,
Or when the grain is scattered or when it is gathered together."

In reference to these verses the opinions of those who said that the ships were the bulwark of wood were disturbed; for the interpreters of oracles took these to mean that it was fated for them, having got ready for a sea-fight, to suffer defeat round about Salamis.

142. [1] ταῦτα σφι ἠπιώτερα γὰρ τῶν προτέρων καὶ ἦν καὶ ἐδόκεε εἶναι, συγγραψάμενοι ἀπαλλάσσοντο ἐς τὰς Ἀθήνας. ὡς δὲ ἀπελθόντες οἱ θεοπρόποι ἀπήγγελλον ἐς τὸν δῆμον, γνῶμαι καὶ ἄλλαι πολλαὶ γίνονται διζημένων τὸ μαντήιον καὶ αἵδε συνεστηκυῖαι μάλιστα. τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἔλεγον μετεξέτεροι δοκέειν σφίσι τὸν θεὸν τὴν ἀκρόπολιν χρῆσαι περιέσεσθαι. ἡ γὰρ ἀκρόπολις τὸ πάλαι τῶν Ἀθηναίων ῥηχῷ ἐπέφρακτο. [2] οἳ μὲν δὴ κατὰ τὸν φραγμὸν συνεβάλλοντο τοῦτο τὸ ξύλινον τεῖχος εἶναι, οἳ δ᾽ αὖ ἔλεγον τὰς νέας σημαίνειν τὸν θεόν, καὶ ταύτας παραρτέεσθαι ἐκέλευον τὰ ἄλλα ἀπέντας. τοὺς ὦν δὴ τὰς νέας λέγοντας εἶναι τὸ ξύλινον τεῖχος ἔσφαλλε τὰ δύο τὰ τελευταῖα ῥηθέντα ὑπὸ τῆς Πυθίης, 

     ὦ θείη Σαλαμίς, ἀπολεῖς δὲ σὺ τέκνα γυναικῶν
     ἤ που σκιδναμένης Δημήτερος ἢ συνιούσης.

[3] κατὰ ταῦτα τὰ ἔπεα συνεχέοντο αἱ γνῶμαι τῶν φαμένων τὰς νέας τὸ ξύλινον τεῖχος εἶναι· οἱ γὰρ χρησμολόγοι ταύτῃ ταῦτα ἐλάμβανον, ὡς ἀμφὶ Σαλαμῖνα δεῖ σφεας ἑσσωθῆναι ναυμαχίην παρασκευασαμένους.

143. Now there was one man of the Athenians who had lately been coming forward to take a place among the first, whose name was Themistocles, called son of Neocles. This man said that the interpreters of oracles did not make right conjecture of the whole, and he spoke as follows, saying that if these words that had been uttered referred really to the Athenians, he did not think it would have been so mildly expressed in the oracle, but rather thus, "Salamis, thou the merciless," instead of "Salamis, thou the divine," at least if its settlers were destined to perish round about it: but in truth the oracle had been spoken by the god with reference to the enemy, if one understood it rightly, and not to the Athenians: therefore he counselled them to get ready to fight a battle by sea, for in this was their bulwark of wood. When Themistocles declared his opinion thus, the Athenians judged that this was to be preferred by them rather than the advice of the interpreters of oracles, who bade them not make ready for a sea-fight, nor in short raise their hands at all in opposition, but leave the land of Attica and settle in some other. 143. [1] ἦν δὲ τῶν τις Ἀθηναίων ἀνὴρ ἐς πρώτους νεωστὶ παριών, τῷ οὔνομα μὲν ἦν Θεμιστοκλέης, παῖς δὲ Νεοκλέος ἐκαλέετο. οὗτος ὡνὴρ οὐκ ἔφη πᾶν ὀρθῶς τοὺς χρησμολόγους συμβάλλεσθαι, λέγων τοιάδε· εἰ ἐς Ἀθηναίους εἶχε τὸ ἔπος εἰρημένον ἐόντως, οὐκ ἂν οὕτω μιν δοκέειν ἠπίως χρησθῆναι, ἀλλὰ ὧδε «ὦ σχετλίη Σαλαμίς» ἀντὶ τοῦ «ὦ θείη Σαλαμίς,» εἴ πέρ γε ἔμελλον οἱ οἰκήτορες ἀμφ᾽ αὐτῇ τελευτήσειν· [2] ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐς τοὺς πολεμίους τῷ θεῷ εἰρῆσθαι τὸ χρηστήριον συλλαμβάνοντι κατὰ τὸ ὀρθόν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐς Ἀθηναίους· παρασκευάζεσθαι ὦν αὐτοὺς ὡς ναυμαχήσοντας συνεβούλευε, ὡς τούτου ἐόντος τοῦ ξυλίνου τείχεος. [3] ταύτῃ Θεμιστοκλέος ἀποφαινομένου Ἀθηναῖοι ταῦτα σφίσι ἔγνωσαν αἱρετώτερα εἶναι μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ τῶν χρησμολόγων, οἳ οὐκ ἔων ναυμαχίην ἀρτέεσθαι, τὸ δὲ σύμπαν εἰπεῖν οὐδὲ χεῖρας ἀνταείρεσθαι, ἀλλὰ ἐκλιπόντας χώρην τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἄλλην τινὰ οἰκίζειν.

144. Another opinion too of Themistocles before this one proved the best at the right moment, when the Athenians, having got large sums of money in the public treasury, which had come in to them from the mines which are at Laureion, were intending to share it among themselves, taking each in turn the sum of ten drachmas. Then Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to give up this plan of division and to make for themselves with this money two hundred ships for the war, meaning by that the war with the Eginetans: for this war having arisen proved in fact the salvation of Hellas at that time, by compelling the Athenians to become a naval power. And the ships, not having been used for the purpose for which they had been made, thus proved of service at need to Hellas. These ships then, I say, the Athenians had already, having built them beforehand, and it was necessary in addition to these to construct others. They resolved then, when they took counsel after the oracle was given, to receive the Barbarian invading Hellas with their ships in full force, following the commands of the god, in combination with those of the Hellenes who were willing to join them.

144. [1] ἑτέρη τε Θεμιστοκλέι γνώμη ἔμπροσθε ταύτης ἐς καιρὸν ἠρίστευσε, ὅτε Ἀθηναίοισι γενομένων χρημάτων μεγάλων ἐν τῷ κοινῷ, τὰ ἐκ τῶν μετάλλων σφι προσῆλθε τῶν ἀπὸ Λαυρείου, ἔμελλον λάξεσθαι ὀρχηδὸν ἕκαστος δέκα δραχμάς· τότε Θεμιστοκλέης ἀνέγνωσε Ἀθηναίους τῆς διαιρέσιος ταύτης παυσαμένους νέας τούτων τῶν χρημάτων ποιήσασθαι διηκοσίας ἐς τὸν πόλεμον, τὸν πρὸς Αἰγινήτας λέγων. [2] οὗτος γὰρ ὁ πόλεμος συστὰς ἔσωσε ἐς τὸ τότε τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἀναγκάσας θαλασσίους γενέσθαι Ἀθηναίους. αἳ δὲ ἐς τὸ μὲν ἐποιήθησαν οὐκ ἐχρήσθησαν, ἐς δέον δὲ οὕτω τῇ Ἑλλάδι ἐγένοντο. αὗταί τε δὴ αἱ νέες τοῖσι Ἀθηναίοισι προποιηθεῖσαι ὑπῆρχον, ἑτέρας τε ἔδεε προσναυπηγέεσθαι. [3] ἔδοξέ τέ σφι μετὰ τὸ χρηστήριον βουλευομένοισι ἐπιόντα ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα τὸν βάρβαρον δέκεσθαι τῇσι νηυσὶ πανδημεί, τῷ θεῷ πειθομένους, ἅμα Ἑλλήνων τοῖσι βουλομένοισι.

145. These oracles had been given before to the Athenians: and when those Hellenes who had the better mind about Hellas came together to one place, and considered their affairs and interchanged assurances with one another, then deliberating together they thought it well first of all things to reconcile the enmities and bring to an end the wars which they had with one another. Now there were wars engaged between others also, and especially between the Athenians and the Eginetans. After this, being informed that Xerxes was with his army at Sardis, they determined to send spies to Asia to make observation of the power of the king; and moreover they resolved to send envoys to Argos to form an alliance against the Persian, and to send others to Sicily to Gelon the son of Deinomenes and also to Corcyra, to urge them to come to the assistance of Hellas, and others again to Crete; for they made it their aim that if possible the Hellenic race might unite in one, and that they might join all together and act towards the same end, since dangers were threatening all the Hellenes equally. Now the power of Gelon was said to be great, far greater than any other Hellenic power.

145. [1] τὰ μὲν δὴ χρηστήρια ταῦτα τοῖσι Ἀθηναίοισι ἐγεγόνεε. συλλεγομένων δὲ ἐς τὠυτὸ τῶν περὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα Ἑλλήνων τῶν τὰ ἀμείνω φρονεόντων καὶ διδόντων σφίσι λόγον καὶ πίστιν, ἐνθαῦτα ἐδόκεε βουλευομένοισι αὐτοῖσι πρῶτον μὲν χρημάτων πάντων καταλλάσσεσθαι τάς τε ἔχθρας καὶ τοὺς κατ᾽ ἀλλήλους ἐόντας πολέμους· ἦσαν δὲ πρὸς τινὰς καὶ ἄλλους ἐγκεκρημένοι, ὁ δὲ ὦν μέγιστος Ἀθηναίοισί τε καὶ Αἰγινήτῃσι. [2] μετὰ δὲ πυνθανόμενοι Ξέρξην σὺν τῷ στρατῷ εἶναι ἐν Σάρδισι, ἐβουλεύσαντο κατασκόπους πέμπειν ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην τῶν βασιλέος πρηγμάτων, ἐς Ἄρος τε ἀγγέλους ὁμαιχμίην συνθησομένους πρὸς τὸν Πέρσην, καὶ ἐς Σικελίην ἄλλους πέμπειν παρὰ Γέλωνα τὸν Δεινομένεος ἔς τε Κέρκυραν κελεύσοντας βοηθέειν τῇ Ἑλλάδι καὶ ἐς Κρήτην ἄλλους, φρονήσαντες εἴ κως ἕν τε γένοιτο τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν καὶ εἰ συγκύψαντες τὠυτὸ πρήσσοιεν πάντες, ὡς δεινῶν ἐπιόντων ὁμοίως πᾶσι Ἕλλησι. τὰ δὲ Γέλωνος πρήγματα μεγάλα ἐλέγετο εἶναι, οὐδαμῶν Ἑλληνικῶν τῶν οὐ πολλὸν μέζω.

146. When they had thus resolved, they reconciled their enmities and then sent first three men as spies to Asia. These having come to Sardis and having got knowledge about the king's army, were discovered, and after having been examined by the generals of the land-army were being led off to die. For these men, I say, death had been determined; but Xerxes, being informed of this, found fault with the decision of the generals and sent some of the spearmen of his guard, enjoining them, if they should find the spies yet alive, to bring them to his presence. So having found them yet surviving they brought them into the presence of the king; and upon that Xerxes, being informed for what purpose they had come, commanded the spearmen to lead them round and to show them the whole army both foot and horse, and when they should have had their fill of looking at these things, to let them go unhurt to whatsoever land they desired. 146. [1] ὡς δὲ ταῦτα σφι ἔδοξε, καταλυσάμενοι τὰς ἔχθρας πρῶτα μὲν κατασκόπους πέμπουσι ἐς τὴν Ἀσίην ἄνδρας τρεῖς. οἳ δὲ ἀπικόμενοί τε ἐς Ξάρδις καὶ καταμαθόντες τὴν βασιλέος στρατιήν, ὡς ἐπάιστοι ἐγένοντο, βασανισθέντες ὑπὸ τῶν στρατηγῶν τοῦ πεζοῦ στρατοῦ ἀπήγοντο ὡς ἀπολεόμενοι. [2] καὶ τοῖσι μὲν κατεκέκριτο θάνατος, Ξέρξης δὲ ὡς ἐπύθετο ταῦτα, μεμφθεὶς τῶν στρατηγῶν τὴν γνώμην πέμπει τῶν τινας δορυφόρων, ἐντειλάμενος, ἢν καταλάβωσι τοὺς κατασκόπους ζῶντας, ἄγειν παρ᾽ ἑωυτόν. [3] ὡς δὲ ἔτι περιεόντας αὐτοὺς κατέλαβον καὶ ἦγον ἐς ὄψιν τὴν βασιλέος, τὸ ἐνθεῦτεν πυθόμενος ἐπ᾽ οἷσι ἦλθον, ἐκέλευε σφέας τοὺς δορυφόρους περιάγοντας ἐπιδείκνυσθαι πάντα τε τὸν πεζὸν στρατὸν καὶ τὴν ἵππον, ἐπεὰν δὲ ταῦτα θηεύμενοι ἔωσι πλήρεες, ἀποπέμπειν ἐς τὴν ἂν αὐτοὶ ἐθέλωσι χώρην ἀσινέας.

147. Such was the command which he gave, adding at the same time this saying, namely that if the spies had been put to death, the Hellenes would not have been informed beforehand of his power, how far beyond description it was; while on the other hand by putting to death three men they would not very greatly have damaged the enemy; but when these returned back to Hellas, he thought it likely that the Hellenes, hearing of his power, would deliver up their freedom to him themselves, before the expedition took place which was being set in motion; and thus there would be no need for them to have the labour of marching an army against them. This opinion of his is like his manner of thinking at other times; for when Xerxes was in Abydos, he saw vessels which carried corn from the Pontus sailing out through the Hellespont on their way to Egina and the Peloponnese. Those then who sat by his side, being informed that the ships belonged to the enemy, were prepared to capture them, and were looking to the king to see when he would give the word; but Xerxes asked about them whither the men were sailing, and they replied: "Master, to thy foes, conveying to them corn": he then made answer and said: "Are we not also sailing to the same place as these men, furnished with corn as well as with other things necessary? How then do these wrong us, since they are conveying provisions for our use?"

147. [1] ἐπιλέγων δὲ τὸν λόγον τόνδε ταῦτα ἐνετέλλετο, ὡς εἰ μὲν ἀπώλοντο οἱ κατάσκοποι, οὔτ᾽ ἂν τὰ ἑωυτοῦ πρήγματα προεπύθοντο οἱ Ἕλληνες ἐόντα λόγου μέζω, οὔτ᾽ ἄν τι τοὺς πολεμίους μέγα ἐσίναντο, ἄνδρας τρεῖς ἀπολέσαντες· νοστησάντων δὲ τούτων ἐς τὴν Ἑλλάδα δοκέειν ἔφη ἀκούσαντας τοὺς Ἕλληνας τὰ ἑωυτοῦ πρήγματα πρὸ τοῦ στόλου τοῦ γινομένου παραδώσειν σφέας τὴν ἰδίην ἐλευθερίην, καὶ οὕτω οὐδὲ δεήσειν ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς στρατηλατέοντας πρήγματα ἔχειν. [2] οἶκε δὲ αὐτοῦ αὕτη ἡ γνώμη τῇ γε ἄλλῃ. ἐὼν γὰρ ἐν Ἀβύδῳ ὁ Ξέρξης εἶδε πλοῖα ἐκ τοῦ Πόντου σιταγωγὰ διεκπλώοντα τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον, ἔς τε Αἴγιναν καὶ Πελοπόννησον κομιζόμενα. οἱ μὲν δὴ πάρεδροι αὐτοῦ ὡς ἐπύθοντο πολέμια εἶναι τὰ πλοῖα, ἕτοιμοι ἦσαν αἱρέειν αὐτά, ἐσβλέποντες ἐς τὸν βασιλέα ὁκότε παραγγελέει. [3] ὁ δὲ Ξέρξης εἴρετο αὐτοὺς ὅκῃ πλέοιεν· οἳ δὲ εἶπαν «ἐς τοὺς σοὺς πολεμίους, ὦ δέσποτα, σῖτον ἄγοντες.» ὁ δὲ ὑπολαβὼν ἔφη «οὐκῶν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐκεῖ πλέομεν ἔνθα περ οὗτοι, τοῖσί τε ἄλλοισι ἐξηρτυμένοι καὶ σίτῳ; τί δῆτα ἀδικέουσι οὗτοι ἡμῖν σιτία παρακομίζοντες;»

148. The spies then, having thus looked at everything and after that having been dismissed, returned back to Europe: and meanwhile those of the Hellenes who had sworn alliance against the Persian, after the sending forth of the spies proceeded to send envoys next to Argos. Now the Argives report that the matters concerning themselves took place as follows:--They were informed, they say, at the very first of the movement which was being set on foot by the Barbarian against Hellas; and having been informed of this and perceiving that the Hellenes would endeavour to get their alliance against the Persians, they had sent messengers to inquire of the god at Delphi, and to ask how they should act in order that it might be best for themselves: because lately there had been slain of them six thousand men by the Lacedemonians and by Cleomenes the son of Anaxandrides, and this in fact was the reason that they were sending to inquire: and when they inquired, the Pythian prophetess made answer to them as follows:

"Thou to thy neighbours a foe, by the gods immortal beloved,
Keep thou thy spear within bounds, and sit well-guarded behind it:
Guard well the head, and the head shall preserve the limbs and the body."

Thus, they say, the Pythian prophetess had replied to them before this; and afterwards when the messengers of the Hellenes came, as I said, to Argos, they entered the Council-chamber and spoke that which had been enjoined to them; and to that which was said the Council replied that the Argives were ready to do as they were requested, on condition that they got peace made with the Lacedemonians for thirty years and that they had half the leadership of the whole confederacy: and yet by strict right (they said) the whole leadership fell to their share, but nevertheless it was sufficient for them to have half.

148. [1] οἱ μέν νυν κατάσκοποι οὕτω θεησάμενοί τε καὶ ἀποπεμφθέντες ἐνόστησαν ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην, οἱ δὲ συνωμόται Ἑλλήνων ἐπὶ τῷ Πέρσῃ μετὰ τὴν ἀπόπεμψιν τῶν κατασκόπων δεύτερα ἔπεμπον ἐς Ἄργος ἀγγέλους. [2] Ἀργεῖοι δὲ λέγουσι τὰ κατ᾽ ἑωυτοὺς γενέσθαι ὧδε. πυθέσθαι γὰρ αὐτίκα κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς τὰ ἐκ τοῦ βαρβάρου ἐγειρόμενα ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, πυθόμενοι δέ, καὶ μαθόντες ὡς σφέας οἱ Ἕλληνες πειρήσονται παραλαμβάνοντες ἐπὶ τὸν Πέρσην, πέμψαι θεοπρόπους ἐς Δελφοὺς τὸν θεὸν ἐπειρησομένους ὥς σφι μέλλει ἄριστον ποιέουσι γενέσθαι· νεωστὶ γὰρ σφέων τεθνάναι ἑξακισχιλίους ὑπὸ Λακεδαιμονίων καὶ Κλεομένεος τοῦ Ἀναξανδρίδεω· τῶν δὴ εἵνεκα πέμπειν. [3] τὴν δὲ Πυθίην ἐπειρωτῶσι αὐτοῖσι ἀνελεῖν τάδε·

     ἐχθρὲ περικτιόνεσσι, φίλ᾽ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσιν,
     εἴσω τὸν προβόλαιον ἔχων πεφυλαγμένος ἧσο
     καὶ κεφαλὴν πεφύλαξο· κάρη δὲ τὸ σῶμα σαώσει.

ταῦτα μὲν τὴν Πυθίην χρῆσαι πρότερον· μετὰ δὲ ὡς ἐλθεῖν τοὺς ἀγγέλους ἐς δὴ τὸ Ἄργος, ἐπελθεῖν ἐπὶ τὸ βουλευτήριον καὶ λέγειν τὰ ἐντεταλμένα. [4] τοὺς δὲ πρὸς τὰ λεγόμενα ὑποκρίνασθαι ὡς ἕτοιμοι εἰσὶ Ἀργεῖοι ποιέειν ταῦτα, τριήκοντα ἔτεα εἰρήνην σπεισάμενοι Λακεδαιμονίοισι καὶ ἡγεόμενοι κατὰ τὸ ἥμισυ πάσης τῆς συμμαχίης. καίτοι κατά γε τὸ δίκαιον γίνεσθαι τὴν ἡγεμονίην ἑωυτῶν· ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως σφίσι ἀποχρᾶν κατὰ τὸ ἥμισυ ἡγεομένοισι. 

149. Thus they report that the Council made answer, although the oracle forbade them to make the alliance with the Hellenes; and they were anxious, they say, that a truce from hostilities for thirty years should be made, although they feared the oracle, in order, as they allege, that their sons might grow to manhood in these years; whereas if a truce did not exist, they had fear that, supposing another disaster should come upon them in fighting against the Persian in addition to that which had befallen them already, they might be for all future time subject to the Lacedemonians. To that which was spoken by the Council those of the envoys who were of Sparta replied, that as to the truce they would refer the matter to their public assembly, but as to the leadership they had themselves been commissioned to make reply, and did in fact say this, namely that they had two kings, while the Argives had one; and it was not possible to remove either of the two who were of Sparta from the leadership, but there was nothing to prevent the Argive king from having an equal vote with each of their two. Then, say the Argives, they could not endure the grasping selfishness of the Spartans, but chose to be ruled by the Barbarians rather than to yield at all to the Lacedemonians; and they gave notice to the envoys to depart out of the territory of the Argives before sunset, or, if not, they would be dealt with as enemies.

149. [1] ταῦτα μὲν λέγουσι τὴν βουλὴν ὑποκρίνασθαι, καίπερ ἀπαγορεύοντός σφι τοῦ χρηστηρίου μὴ ποιέεσθαι τὴν πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας συμμαχίην· σπουδὴν δὲ ἔχειν σπονδὰς γενέσθαι τριηκοντοέτιδας καίπερ τὸ χρηστήριον φοβεόμενοι, ἵνα δή σφι οἱ παῖδες ἀνδρωθέωσι ἐν τούτοισι τοῖσι ἔτεσι· μὴ δὲ σπονδέων ἐουσέων ἐπιλέγεσθαι, ἢν ἄρα σφέας καταλάβῃ πρὸς τῷ γεγονότι κακῷ ἄλλο πταῖσμα πρὸς τὸν Πέρσην, μὴ τὸ λοιπὸν ἔωσι Λακεδαιμονίων ὑπήκοοι. [2] τῶν δὲ ἀγγέλων τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς Σπάρτης πρὸς τὰ ῥηθέντα ἐκ τῆς βουλῆς ἀμείψασθαι τοῖσιδε· περὶ μὲν σπονδέων ἀνοίσειν ἐς τοὺς πλεῦνας, περὶ δὲ ἡγεμονίης αὐτοῖσι ἐντετάλθαι ὑποκρίνασθαι, καὶ δὴ λέγειν, σφίσι μὲν εἶναι δύο βασιλέας, Ἀργείοισι δὲ ἕνα· οὔκων δυνατὸν εἶναι τῶν ἐκ Σπάρτης οὐδέτερον παῦσαι τῆς ἡγεμονίης, μετὰ δὲ δύο τῶν σφετέρων ὁμόψηφον τὸν Ἀργεῖον εἶναι κωλύειν οὐδέν. [3] οὕτω δὴ οἱ Ἀργεῖοι φασὶ οὐκ ἀνασχέσθαι τῶν Σπαρτιητέων τὴν πλεονεξίην, ἀλλ᾽ ἑλέσθαι μᾶλλον ὑπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων ἄρχεσθαι ἤ τι ὑπεῖξαι Λακεδαιμονίοισι, προειπεῖν τε τοῖσι ἀγγέλοισι πρὸ δύντος ἡλίου ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι ἐκ τῆς Ἀργείων χώρης, εἰ δὲ μή, περιέψεσθαι ὡς πολεμίους.

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