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

Herodotus Book 8: Urania [140]

140. (a) Thus then, I say, Alexander the son of Amyntas was descended; and when he came to Athens sent from Mardonios, he spoke as follows: "Athenians, Mardonios speaks these words:--There has come to me a message from the king which speaks in this manner:--To the Athenians I remit all the offences which were committed against me: and now, Mardonios, thus do,--first give them back their own land; then let them choose for themselves another in addition to this, whichsoever they desire, remaining independent; and set up for them again all their temples, which I set on fire, provided that they consent to make a treaty with me. This message having come to me, it is necessary for me to do so, unless by your means I am prevented: and thus I speak to you now:--Why are ye so mad as to raise up war against the king? since neither will ye overcome him, nor are ye able to hold out against him for ever: for ye saw the multitude of the host of Xerxes and their deeds, and ye are informed also of the power which is with me at the present time; so that even if ye overcome and conquer us (of which ye can have no hope if ye are rightly minded), another power will come many times as large. Do not ye then desire to match yourselves with the king, and so to be both deprived of your land and for ever running a course for your own lives; but make peace with him: and ye have a most honourable occasion to make peace, since the king has himself set out upon this road: agree to a league with us then without fraud or deceit, and remain free. 140. α [1] ἐγεγόνεε μὲν δὴ ὧδε ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀμύντεω· ὡς δὲ ἀπίκετο ἐς τὰς Ἀθήνας ἀποπεμφθεὶς ὑπὸ Μαρδονίου, ἔλεγε τάδε. «ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, Μαρδόνιος τάδε λέγει. ἐμοὶ ἀγγελίη ἥκει παρὰ βασιλέος λέγουσα οὕτω. ᾽Ἀθηναίοισι τὰς ἁμαρτάδας τὰς ἐς ἐμὲ ἐξ ἐκείνων γενομένας πάσας μετίημι. [2] νῦν τε ὧδε Μαρδόνιε ποίεε· τοῦτο μὲν τὴν γῆν σφι ἀπόδος, τοῦτο δὲ ἄλλην πρὸς ταύτῃ ἑλέσθων αὐτοί, ἥντινα ἂν ἐθέλωσι, ἐόντες αὐτόνομοι· ἱρά τε πάντα σφι, ἢν δὴ βούλωνταί γε ἐμοὶ ὁμολογέειν, ἀνόρθωσον, ὅσα ἐγὼ ἐνέπρησα.᾽ τούτων δὲ ἀπιγμένων ἀναγκαίως ἔχει μοι ποιέειν ταῦτα, ἢν μὴ τὸ ὑμέτερον αἴτιον γένηται. [3] λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν τάδε. νῦν τί μαίνεσθε πόλεμον βασιλέι ἀειρόμενοι; οὔτε γὰρ ἂν ὑπερβάλοισθε οὔτε οἷοί τε ἐστὲ ἀντέχειν τὸν πάντα χρόνον. εἴδετε μὲν γὰρ τῆς Ξέρξεω στρατηλασίης τὸ πλῆθος καὶ τὰ ἔργα, πυνθάνεσθε δὲ καὶ τὴν νῦν παρ᾽ ἐμοὶ ἐοῦσαν δύναμιν· ὥστε καὶ ἢν ἡμέας ὑπερβάλησθε καὶ νικήσητε, τοῦ περ ὑμῖν οὐδεμία ἐλπὶς εἴ περ εὖ φρονέετε, ἄλλη παρέσται πολλαπλησίη. [4] μὴ ὦν βούλεσθε παρισούμενοι βασιλέι στέρεσθαι μὲν τῆς χώρης, θέειν δὲ αἰεὶ περὶ ὑμέων αὐτῶν, ἀλλὰ καταλύσασθε· παρέχει δὲ ὑμῖν κάλλιστα καταλύσασθαι, βασιλέος ταύτῃ ὁρμημένου. ἔστε ἐλεύθεροι, ἡμῖν ὁμαιχμίην συνθέμενοι ἄνευ τε δόλου καὶ ἀπάτης.

140. (b) These things Mardonios charged me to say to you, O Athenians; and as for me, I will say nothing of the goodwill towards you on my part, for ye would not learn that now for the first time; but I ask of you to do as Mardonios says, since I perceive that ye will not be able to war with Xerxes for ever,--if I perceived in you ability to do this, I should never have come to you speaking these words,--for the power of the king is above that of a man and his arm is very long. If therefore ye do not make an agreement forthwith, when they offer you great things as the terms on which they are willing to make a treaty, I have fear on your behalf, seeing that ye dwell more upon the highway than any of your allies, and are exposed ever to destruction alone, the land which ye possess being parted off from the rest and lying between the armies which are contending together. Nay, but be persuaded, for this is a matter of great consequence to you, that to you alone of the Hellenes the great king remits the offences committed and desires to become a friend."

140. β [1] Μαρδόνιος μὲν ταῦτα ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι ἐνετείλατό μοι εἰπεῖν πρὸς ὑμέας· ἐγὼ δὲ περὶ μὲν εὐνοίης τῆς πρὸς ὑμέας ἐούσης ἐξ ἐμεῦ οὐδὲν λέξω, οὐ γὰρ ἂν νῦν πρῶτον ἐκμάθοιτε, προσχρηίζω δὲ ὑμέων πείθεσθαι Μαρδονίῳ. [2] ἐνορῶ γὰρ ὑμῖν οὐκ οἵοισί τε ἐσομένοισι τὸν πάντα χρόνον πολεμέειν Ξέρξῃ· εἰ γὰρ ἐνώρων τοῦτο ἐν ὑμῖν, οὐκ ἄν κοτε ἐς ὑμέας ἦλθον ἔχων λόγους τούσδε· καὶ γὰρ δύναμις ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον ἡ βασιλέος ἐστὶ καὶ χεὶρ ὑπερμήκης. [3] ἢν ὦν μὴ αὐτίκα ὁμολογήσητε, μεγάλα προτεινόντων ἐπ᾽ οἷσι ὁμολογέειν ἐθέλουσι, δειμαίνω ὑπὲρ ὑμέων ἐν τρίβῳ τε μάλιστα οἰκημένων τῶν συμμάχων πάντων αἰεί τε φθειρομένων μούνων, ἐξαίρετον μεταίχμιόν τε τὴν γῆν ἐκτημένων. [4] ἀλλὰ πείθεσθε· πολλοῦ γὰρ ὑμῖν ἄξια ταῦτα, εἰ βασιλεύς γε ὁ μέγας μούνοισι ὑμῖν Ἑλλήνων τὰς ἁμαρτάδας ἀπιεὶς ἐθέλει φίλος γενέσθαι.»

141. Thus spoke Alexander; and the Lacedemonians having been informed that Alexander had come to Athens to bring the Athenians to make a treaty with the Barbarians, and remembering the oracles, who it was destined that they together with the other Dorians should be driven forth out of the Peloponnese by the Medes and the Athenians combined, had been very greatly afraid lest the Athenians should make a treaty with the Persians; and forthwith they had resolved to send envoys. It happened moreover that they were introduced at the same time with Alexander; for the Athenians had waited for them, protracting the time, because they were well assured that the Lacedemonians would hear that an envoy had come from the Barbarians to make a treaty, and that having heard it they would themselves send envoys with all speed. They acted therefore of set purpose, so as to let the Lacedemonians see their inclination. 141. [1] Ἀλέξανδρος μὲν ταῦτα ἔλεξε. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ πυθόμενοι ἥκειν Ἀλέξανδρον ἐς Ἀθήνας ἐς ὁμολογίην ἄξοντα τῷ βαρβάρῳ Ἀθηναίους, ἀναμνησθέντες τῶν λογίων ὥς σφεας χρεόν ἐστι ἅμα τοῖσι ἄλλοισι Δωριεῦσι ἐκπίπτειν ἐκ Πελοποννήσου ὑπὸ Μήδων τε καὶ Ἀθηναίων, κάρτα τε ἔδεισαν μὴ ὁμολογήσωσι τῷ Πέρσῃ Ἀθηναῖοι, αὐτίκα τέ σφι ἔδοξε πέμπειν ἀγγέλους. [2] καὶ δὴ συνέπιπτε ὥστε ὁμοῦ σφεων γίνεσθαι τὴν κατάστασιν· ἐπανέμειναν γὰρ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι διατρίβοντες, εὖ ἐπιστάμενοι ὅτι ἔμελλον Λακεδαιμόνιοι πεύσεσθαι ἥκοντα παρὰ τοῦ βαρβάρου ἄγγελον ἐπ᾽ ὁμολογίῃ, πυθόμενοί τε πέμψειν κατὰ τάχος ἀγγέλους. ἐπίτηδες ὦν ἐποίευν, ἐνδεικνύμενοι τοῖσι Λακεδαιμονίοισι τὴν ἑωυτῶν γνώμην.

142. So when Alexander had ceased speaking, the envoys from Sparta followed him forthwith and said: "As for us, the Lacedemonians sent us to ask of you not to make any change in that which concerns Hellas, nor to accept proposals from the Barbarian; since this is not just in any way nor honourable for any of the Hellenes to do, but least of all for you, and that for many reasons. Ye were they who stirred up this war, when we by no means willed it; and the contest came about for your dominion, but now it extends even to the whole of Hellas. Besides this it is by no means to be endured that ye Athenians, who are the authors of all this, should prove to be the cause of slavery to the Hellenes, seeing that ye ever from ancient time also have been known as the liberators of many. We feel sympathy however with you for your sufferings and because ye were deprived of your crops twice and have had your substance ruined now for a long time. In compensation for this the Lacedemonians and their allies make offer to support your wives and all those of your households who are unfitted for war, so long as this war shall last: but let not Alexander the Macedonian persuade you, making smooth the speech of Mardonios; for these things are fitting for him to do, since being himself a despot he is working in league with a despot: for you however they are not fitting to do, if ye chance to be rightly minded; for ye know that in Barbarians there is neither faith nor truth at all."

Thus spoke the envoys:

142. [1] ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λέγων Ἀλέξανδρος, διαδεξάμενοι ἔλεγον οἱ ἀπὸ Σπάρτης ἄγγελοι «ἡμέας δὲ ἔπεμψαν Λακεδαιμόνιοι δεησομένους ὑμέων μήτε νεώτερον ποιέειν μηδὲν κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλάδα μήτε λόγους ἐνδέκεσθαι παρὰ τοῦ βαρβάρου. [2] οὔτε γὰρ δίκαιον οὐδαμῶς οὔτε κόσμον φέρον οὔτε γε ἄλλοισι Ἑλλήνων οὐδαμοῖσι, ὑμῖν δὲ δὴ καὶ διὰ πάντων ἥκιστα πολλῶν εἵνεκα. ἠγείρατε γὰρ τόνδε τὸν πόλεμον ὑμεῖς οὐδὲν ἡμέων βουλομένων, καὶ περὶ τῆς ὑμετέρης ἀρχῆθεν ὁ ἀγὼν ἐγένετο, νῦν δὲ φέρει καὶ ἐς πᾶσαν τὴν Ἑλλάδα· [3] ἄλλως τε τούτων ἁπάντων αἰτίους γενέσθαι δουλοσύνης τοῖσι Ἕλλησι Ἀθηναίους οὐδαμῶς ἀνασχετόν, οἵτινες αἰεὶ καὶ τὸ πάλαι φαίνεσθε πολλοὺς ἐλευθερώσαντες ἀνθρώπων. πιεζευμένοισι μέντοι ὑμῖν συναχθόμεθα, καὶ ὅτι καρπῶν ἐστερήθητε διξῶν ἤδη καὶ ὅτι οἰκοφθόρησθε χρόνον ἤδη πολλόν. [4] ἀντὶ τούτων δὲ ὑμῖν Λακεδαιμόνιοί τε καὶ οἱ σύμμαχοι ἐπαγγέλλονται γυναῖκάς τε καὶ τὰ ἐς πόλεμον ἄχρηστα οἰκετέων ἐχόμενα πάντα ἐπιθρέψειν, ἔστ᾽ ἂν ὁ πόλεμος ὅδε συνεστήκῃ. μηδὲ ὑμέας Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μακεδὼν ἀναγνώσῃ, λεήνας τὸν Μαρδονίου λόγον. [5] τούτῳ μὲν γὰρ ταῦτα ποιητέα ἐστί· τύραννος γὰρ ἐὼν τυράννῳ συγκατεργάζεται· ὑμῖν δὲ οὐ ποιητέα, εἴ περ εὖ τυγχάνετε φρονέοντες, ἐπισταμένοισι ὡς βαρβάροισι ἐστὶ οὔτε πιστὸν οὔτε ἀληθὲς οὐδέν.» ταῦτα ἔλεξαν οἱ ἄγγελοι.

143. and to Alexander the Athenians made answer thus: "Even of ourselves we know so much, that the Mede has a power many times as numerous as ours; so that there is no need for thee to cast this up against us. Nevertheless because we long for liberty we shall defend ourselves as we may be able: and do not thou endeavour to persuade us to make a treaty with the Barbarian, for we on our part shall not be persuaded. And now report to Mardonios that the Athenians say thus:--So long as the Sun goes on the same course by which he goes now, we will never make an agreement with Xerxes; but we will go forth to defend ourselves against him, trusting in the gods and the heroes as allies, for whom he had no respect when he set fire to their houses and to their sacred images. And in the future do not thou appear before the Athenians with any such proposals as these, nor think that thou art rendering them good service in advising them to do that which is not lawful; for we do not desire that thou shouldest suffer anything unpleasant at the hands of the Athenians, who art their public guest and friend." 143. [1] Ἀθηναῖοι δὲ πρὸς μὲν Ἀλέξανδρον ὑπεκρίναντο τάδε. «καὶ αὐτοὶ τοῦτό γε ἐπιστάμεθα ὅτι πολλαπλησίη ἐστὶ τῷ Μήδῳ δύναμις ἤ περ ἡμῖν, ὥστε οὐδὲν δέει τοῦτό γε ὀνειδίζειν. ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως ἐλευθερίης γλιχόμενοι ἀμυνεύμεθα οὕτω ὅκως ἂν καὶ δυνώμεθα. ὁμολογῆσαι δὲ τῷ βαρβάρῳ μήτε σὺ ἡμέας πειρῶ ἀναπείθειν οὔτε ἡμεῖς πεισόμεθα. [2] νῦν τε ἀπάγγελλε Μαρδονίῳ ὡς Ἀθηναῖοι λέγουσι, ἔστ᾽ ἂν ὁ ἥλιος τὴν αὐτὴν ὁδὸν ἴῃ τῇ περ καὶ νῦν ἔρχεται, μήκοτε ὁμολογήσειν ἡμέας Ξέρξῃ· ἀλλὰ θεοῖσί τε συμμάχοισι πίσυνοί μιν ἐπέξιμεν ἀμυνόμενοι καὶ τοῖσι ἥρωσι, τῶν ἐκεῖνος οὐδεμίαν ὄπιν ἔχων ἐνέπρησε τούς τε οἴκους καὶ τὰ ἀγάλματα. [3] σύ τε τοῦ λοιποῦ λόγους ἔχων τοιούσδε μὴ ἐπιφαίνεο Ἀθηναίοισι, μηδὲ δοκέων χρηστὰ ὑπουργέειν ἀθέμιστα ἔρδειν παραίνεε· οὐ γάρ σε βουλόμεθα οὐδὲν ἄχαρι πρὸς Ἀθηναίων παθεῖν ἐόντα πρόξεινόν τε καὶ φίλον.»

144. To Alexander they thus made answer, but to the envoys from Sparta as follows: "That the Lacedemonians should be afraid lest we should make a treaty with the Barbarian was natural no doubt; but it seems to be an unworthy fear for men who know so well the spirit of the Athenians, namely that there is neither so great quantity of gold anywhere upon the earth, nor any land so much excelling in beauty and goodness, that we should be willing to accept it and enslave Hellas by taking the side of the Medes. For many and great are the reasons which hinder us from doing this, even though we should desire it; first and greatest the images and houses of the gods set on fire or reduced to ruin, which we must necessarily avenge to the very utmost rather than make an agreement with him who did these deeds; then secondly there is the bond of Hellenic race, by which we are of one blood and of one speech, the common temples of the gods and the common sacrifices, the manners of life which are the same for all; to these it would not be well that the Athenians should become traitors. And be assured of this, if by any chance ye were not assured of it before, that so long as one of the Athenians remains alive, we will never make an agreement with Xerxes. We admire however the forethought which ye had with regard to us, in that ye took thought for us who have had our substance destroyed, and are willing to support the members of our households; and so far as ye are concerned, the kindness has been fully performed: but we shall continue to endure as we may, and not be a trouble in any way to you. Now therefore, with full conviction this is so, send out an army as speedily as ye may: for, as we conjecture, the Barbarian will be here invading our land at no far distant time but so soon as he shall be informed of the message sent, namely that we shall do none of those things which he desired of us. Therefore before he arrives here in Attica, it is fitting that ye come to our rescue quickly in Bœotia." Thus the Athenians made answer, and upon that the envoys went away back to Sparta. 144. [1] πρὸς μὲν Ἀλέξανδρον ταῦτα ὑπεκρίναντο, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἀπὸ Σπάρτης ἀγγέλους τάδε. «τὸ μὲν δεῖσαι Λακεδαιμονίους μὴ ὁμολογήσωμεν τῷ βαρβάρῳ, κάρτα ἀνθρωπήιον ἦν· ἀτὰρ αἰσχρῶς γε οἴκατε ἐξεπιστάμενοι τὸ Ἀθηναίων φρόνημα ἀρρωδῆσαι, ὅτι οὔτε χρυσός ἐστι γῆς οὐδαμόθι τοσοῦτος οὔτε χώρη κάλλεϊ καὶ ἀρετῇ μέγα ὑπερφέρουσα, τὰ ἡμεῖς δεξάμενοι ἐθέλοιμεν ἂν μηδίσαντες καταδουλῶσαι τὴν Ἑλλάδα. [2] πολλά τε γὰρ καὶ μεγάλα ἐστι τὰ διακωλύοντα ταῦτα μὴ ποιέειν μηδ᾽ ἢν ἐθέλωμεν, πρῶτα μὲν καὶ μέγιστα τῶν θεῶν τὰ ἀγάλματα καὶ τὰ οἰκήματα ἐμπεπρησμένα τε καὶ συγκεχωσμένα, τοῖσι ἡμέας ἀναγκαίως ἔχει τιμωρέειν ἐς τὰ μέγιστα μᾶλλον ἤ περ ὁμολογέειν τῷ ταῦτα ἐργασαμένῳ, αὖτις δὲ τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἐὸν ὅμαιμόν τε καὶ ὁμόγλωσσον καὶ θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι ἤθεά τε ὁμότροπα, τῶν προδότας γενέσθαι Ἀθηναίους οὐκ ἂν εὖ ἔχοι. [3] ἐπίστασθέ τε οὕτω, εἰ μὴ πρότερον ἐτυγχάνετε ἐπιστάμενοι, ἔστ᾽ ἂν καὶ εἷς περιῇ Ἀθηναίων, μηδαμὰ ὁμολογήσοντας ἡμέας Ξέρξῃ. ὑμέων μέντοι ἀγάμεθα τὴν προνοίην τὴν πρὸς ἡμέας ἐοῦσαν, ὅτι προείδετε ἡμέων οἰκοφθορημένων οὕτω ὥστε ἐπιθρέψαι ἐθέλειν ἡμέων τοὺς οἰκέτας. [4] καὶ ὑμῖν μὲν ἡ χάρις ἐκπεπλήρωται, ἡμεῖς μέντοι λιπαρήσομεν οὕτω ὅκως ἂν ἔχωμεν, οὐδὲν λυπέοντες ὑμέας. νῦν δέ, ὡς οὕτω ἐχόντων, στρατιὴν ὡς τάχιστα ἐκπέμπετε. [5] ὡς γὰρ ἡμεῖς εἰκάζομεν, οὐκ ἑκὰς χρόνου παρέσται ὁ βάρβαρος ἐσβαλὼν ἐς τὴν ἡμετέρην, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὰν τάχιστα πύθηται τὴν ἀγγελίην ὅτι οὐδὲν ποιήσομεν τῶν ἐκεῖνος ἡμέων προσεδέετο. πρὶν ὦν παρεῖναι ἐκεῖνον ἐς τὴν Ἀττικήν, ἡμέας καιρός ἐστι προβοηθῆσαι ἐς τὴν Βοιωτίην.» οἳ μὲν ταῦτα ὑποκριναμένων Ἀθηναίων ἀπαλλάσσοντο ἐς Σπάρτην.

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