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

Herodotus Book 7: Polymnia [230]

230. Some say that Aristodemos came safe to Sparta in this manner, and on a pretext such as I have said; but others, that he had been sent as a messenger from the camp, and when he might have come up in time to find the battle going on, was not willing to do so, but stayed upon the road and so saved his life, while his fellow-messenger reached the battle and was slain. 230. [1] οἳ μέν νυν οὕτω σωθῆναι λέγουσι Ἀριστόδημον ἐς Σπάρτην καὶ διὰ πρόφασιν τοιήνδε, οἳ δὲ ἄγγελον πεμφθέντα ἐκ τοῦ στρατοπέδου, ἐξεὸν αὐτῷ καταλαβεῖν τὴν μάχην γινομένην οὐκ ἐθελῆσαι, ἀλλ᾽ ὑπομείναντα ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ περιγενέσθαι, τὸν δὲ συνάγγελον αὐτοῦ ἀπικόμενον ἐς τὴν μάχην ἀποθανεῖν.

213. When Aristodemos, I say, had returned home to Lacedemon, he had reproach and dishonour; and that which he suffered by way of dishonour was this,--no one of the Spartans would either give him light for a fire or speak with him, and he had reproach in that he was called Aristodemos the coward. 231. [1] ἀπονοστήσας δὲ ἐς Λακεδαίμονα ὁ Ἀριστόδημος εἶχε ὄνειδός τε καὶ ἀτιμίην· πάσχων δὲ τοιάδε ἠτίμωτο· οὔτε οἱ πῦρ οὐδεὶς ἔναυε Σπαρτιητέων οὔτε διελέγετο. ὄνειδος δὲ εἶχε ὁ τρέσας Ἀριστόδημος καλεόμενος. ἀλλ᾽ ὃ μὲν ἐν τῇ ἐν Πλαταιῇσι μάχῃ ἀνέλαβε πᾶσαν τὴν ἐπενειχθεῖσαν αἰτίην·

232. He however in the battle at Plataia repaired all the guilt that was charged against him: but it is reported that another man also survived of these three hundred, whose name was Pantites, having been sent as a messenger to Thessaly, and this man, when he returned back to Sparta and found himself dishonoured, is said to have strangled himself.

232. [1] λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἄλλον ἀποπεμφθέντα ἄγγελον ἐς Θεσσαλίην τῶν τριηκοσίων τούτων περιγενέσθαι, τῷ οὔνομα εἶναι Παντίτην· νοστήσαντα δὲ τοῦτον ἐς Σπάρτην, ὡς ἠτίμωτο, ἀπάγξασθαι.

233. The Thebans however, of whom the commander was Leontiades, being with the Hellenes had continued for some time to fight against the king's army, constrained by necessity; but when they saw that the fortunes of the Persians were prevailing, then and not before, while the Hellenes with Leonidas were making their way with speed to the hillock, they separated from these and holding out their hands came near to the Barbarians, saying at the same time that which was most true, namely that they were on the side of the Medes and that they had been among the first to give earth and water to the king; and moreover that they had come to Thermopylai constrained by necessity, and were blameless for the loss which had been inflicted upon the king: so that thus saying they preserved their lives, for they had also the Thessalians to bear witness to these words. However, they did not altogether meet with good fortune, for some had even been slain as they had been approaching, and when they had come and the Barbarians had them in their power, the greater number of them were branded by command of Xerxes with the royal marks, beginning with their leader Leontiades, the same whose son Eurymachos was afterwards slain by the Plataians, when he had been made commander of four hundred Thebans and had seized the city of the Plataians.

233. [1] οἱ δὲ Θηβαῖοι, τῶν ὁ Λεοντιάδης ἐστρατήγεε, τέως μὲν μετὰ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐόντες ἐμάχοντο ὑπ᾽ ἀναγκαίης ἐχόμενοι πρὸς τὴν βασιλέος στρατιήν· ὡς δὲ εἶδον κατυπέρτερα τῶν Περσέων γινόμενα τὰ πρήγματα, οὕτω δή, τῶν σὺν Λεωνίδῃ Ἑλλήνων ἐπειγομένων ἐπὶ τὸν κολωνόν, ἀποσχισθέντες τούτων χεῖράς τε προέτεινον καὶ ἤισαν ἆσσον τῶν βαρβάρων, λέγοντες τὸν ἀληθέστατον τῶν λόγων, ὡς καὶ μηδίζουσι καὶ γῆν τε καὶ ὕδωρ ἐν πρώτοισι ἔδοσαν βασιλέι, ὑπὸ δὲ ἀναγκαίης ἐχόμενοι ἐς Θερμοπύλας ἀπικοίατο καὶ ἀναίτιοι εἶεν τοῦ τρώματος τοῦ γεγονότος βασιλέι. [2] ὥστε ταῦτα λέγοντες περιεγίνοντο· εἶχον γὰρ καὶ Θεσσαλοὺς τούτων τῶν λόγων μάρτυρας· οὐ μέντοι τά γε πάντα εὐτύχησαν· ὡς γὰρ αὐτοὺς ἔλαβον οἱ βάρβαροι ἐλθόντας, τοὺς μὲν τινὰς καὶ ἀπέκτειναν προσιόντας, τοὺς δὲ πλεῦνας αὐτῶν κελεύσαντος Ξέρξεω ἔστιζον στίγματα βασιλήια, ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ Λεοντιάδεω· τοῦ τὸν παῖδα Εὐρύμαχον χρόνῳ μετέπειτα ἐφόνευσαν Πλαταιέες στρατηγήσαντα ἀνδρῶν Θηβαίων τετρακοσίων καὶ σχόντα τὸ ἄστυ τὸ Πλαταιέων.

234. Thus did the Hellenes at Thermopylai contend in fight; and Xerxes summoned Demaratos and inquired of him, having first said this: "Demaratos, thou art a good man; and this I conclude by the truth of thy words, for all that thou saidest turned out so as thou didst say. Now, however, tell me how many in number are the remaining Lacedemonians, and of them how many are like these in matters of war; or are they so even all of them?" He said: "O king, the number of all the Lacedemonians is great and their cities are many, but that which thou desirest to learn, thou shalt know. There is in Lacedemon the city of Sparta, having about eight thousand men; and these are all equal to those who fought here: the other Lacedemonians are not equal to these, but they are good men too." To this Xerxes said: "Demaratos, in what manner shall we with least labour get the better of these men? Come set forth to us this; for thou knowest the courses of their counsels, seeing that thou wert once their king." 234. [1] οἱ μὲν δὴ περὶ Θερμοπύλας Ἕλληνες οὕτω ἠγωνίσαντο, Ξέρξης δὲ καλέσας Δημάρητον εἰρώτα ἀρξάμενος ἐνθένδε. «Δημάρητε, ἀνὴρ εἶς ἀγαθός. τεκμαίρομαι δὲ τῇ ἀληθείῃ· ὅσα γὰρ εἶπας, ἅπαντα ἀπέβη οὕτω. νῦν δέ μοι εἰπέ, κόσοι τινὲς εἰσὶ οἱ λοιποὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, καὶ τούτων ὁκόσοι τοιοῦτοι τὰ πολέμια εἴτε καὶ ἅπαντες.» [2] ὃ δ᾽ εἶπε «ὦ βασιλεῦ, πλῆθος μὲν πολλὸν πάντων τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων καὶ πόλιες πολλαί· τὸ δὲ θέλεις ἐκμαθεῖν, εἰδήσεις. ἔστι ἐν τῇ Λακεδαίμονι Σπάρτη πόλις ἀνδρῶν ὀκτακισχιλίων μάλιστα, καὶ οὗτοι πάντες εἰσὶ ὅμοιοι τοῖσι ἐνθάδε μαχεσαμένοισι· οἵ γε μὲν ἄλλοι Λακεδαιμόνιοι τούτοισι μὲν οὐκ ὅμοιοι, ἀγαθοὶ δέ.» [3] εἶπε πρὸς ταῦτα Ξέρξης «Δημάρητε, τέῳ τρόπῳ ἀπονητότατα τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων ἐπικρατήσομεν; ἴθι ἐξηγέο· σὺ γὰρ ἔχεις αὐτῶν τὰς διεξόδους τῶν βουλευμάτων οἷα βασιλεὺς γενόμενος. »

235. He made answer: "O king, if thou dost in very earnest take counsel with me, it is right that I declare to thee the best thing. What if thou shouldest send three hundred ships from thy fleet to attack the Laconian land? Now there is lying near it an island named Kythera, about which Chilon, who was a very wise man among us, said that it would be a greater gain for the Spartans that it should be sunk under the sea than that it should remain above it; for he always anticipated that something would happen from it of such a kind as I am now setting forth to thee: not that he knew of thy armament beforehand, but that he feared equally every armament of men. Let thy forces then set forth from this island and keep the Lacedemonians in fear; and while they have a war of their own close at their doors, there will be no fear for thee from them that when the remainder of Hellas is being conquered by the land-army, they will come to the rescue there. Then after the remainder of Hellas has been reduced to subjection, from that moment the Lacedemonian power will be left alone and therefore feeble. If however thou shalt not do this, I will tell thee what thou must look for. There is a narrow isthmus leading to the Peloponnese, and in this place thou must look that other battles will be fought more severe than those which have taken place, seeing that all the Peloponnesians have sworn to a league against thee: but if thou shalt do the other thing of which I spoke, this isthmus and the cities within it will come over to thy side without a battle." 235. [1] ὃ δ᾽ ἀμείβετο «ὦ βασιλεῦ, εἰ μὲν δὴ συμβουλεύεαί μοι προθύμως, δίκαιόν με σοί ἐστι φράζειν τὸ ἄριστον· εἰ τῆς ναυτικῆς στρατιῆς νέας τριηκοσίας ἀποστείλειας ἐπὶ τὴν Λάκαιναν χώρην. [2] ἔστι δὲ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῇ νῆσος ἐπικειμένη τῇ οὔνομα ἐστὶ Κύθηρα, τὴν Χίλων ἀνὴρ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν σοφώτατος γενόμενος κέρδος μέζον ἂν ἔφη εἶναι Σπαρτιήτῃσι κατὰ τῆς θαλάσσης καταδεδυκέναι μᾶλλον ἢ ὑπερέχειν, αἰεί τι προσδοκῶν ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς τοιοῦτο ἔσεσθαι οἷόν τοι ἐγὼ ἐξηγέομαι, οὔτι τὸν σὸν στόλον προειδώς, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως φοβεόμενος ἀνδρῶν στόλον. [3] ἐκ ταύτης τῆς νήσου ὁρμώμενοι φοβεόντων τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους. παροίκου δὲ πολέμου σφι ἐόντος οἰκηίου, οὐδὲν δεινοὶ ἔσονταί τοι μὴ τῆς ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος ἁλισκομένης ὑπὸ τοῦ πεζοῦ βοηθέωσι ταύτῃ. καταδουλωθείσης δὲ τῆς ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος ἀσθενὲς ἤδη τὸ Λακωνικὸν μοῦνον λείπεται. [4] ἢν δὲ ταῦτα μὴ ποιέῃς, τάδε τοι προσδόκα ἔσεσθαι. ἔστι τῆς Πελοποννήσου ἰσθμὸς στεινός· ἐν τούτῳ τῷ χώρῳ πάντων Πελοποννησίων συνομοσάντων ἐπὶ σοὶ μάχας ἰσχυροτέρας ἄλλας τῶν γενομενέων προσδέκεο ἔσεσθαί τοι. ἐκεῖνο δὲ ποιήσαντι ἀμαχητὶ ὅ τε ἰσθμὸς οὗτος καὶ αἱ πόλιες προσχωρήσουσι.»;

236. After him spoke Achaimenes, brother of Xerxes and also commander of the fleet, who chanced to have been present at this discourse and was afraid lest Xerxes should be persuaded to do this: "O king," he said, "I see that thou art admitting the speech of a man who envies thy good fortune, or is even a traitor to thy cause: for in truth the Hellenes delight in such a temper as this; they envy a man for his good luck, and they hate that which is stronger than themselves. And if, besides other misfortunes which we have upon us, seeing that four hundred of our ships have suffered wreck, thou shalt send away another three hundred from the station of the fleet to sail round Peloponnese, then thy antagonists become a match for thee in fight; whereas while it is all assembled together our fleet is hard for them to deal with, and they will not be at all a match for thee: and moreover the whole sea- force will support the land-force and be supported by it, if they proceed onwards together; but if thou shalt divide them, neither wilt thou be of service to them nor they to thee. My determination is rather to set thy affairs in good order and not to consider the affairs of the enemy, either where they will set on foot the war or what they will do or how many in number they are; for it is sufficient that they should themselves take thought for themselves, and we for ourselves likewise: and if the Lacedemonians come to stand against the Persians in fight, they will assuredly not heal the wound from which they are now suffering." 236. [1] λέγει μετὰ τοῦτον Ἀχαιμένης, ἀδελφεός τε ἐὼν Ξέρξεω καὶ τοῦ ναυτικοῦ στρατοῦ στρατηγός, παρατυχών τε τῷ λόγῳ καὶ δείσας μὴ ἀναγνωσθῇ Ξέρξης ποιέειν ταῦτα, «ὦ βασιλεῦ, ὁρῶ σε ἀνδρὸς ἐνδεκόμενον λόγους ὃς φθονέει τοι εὖ πρήσσοντι ἢ καὶ προδιδοῖ πρήγματα τὰ σά. καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ τρόποισι τοιούτοισι χρεώμενοι Ἕλληνες χαίρουσι· τοῦ τε εὐτυχέειν φθονέουσι καὶ τὸ κρέσσον στυγέουσι. [2] εἰ δ᾽ ἐπὶ τῇσι παρεούσῃσι τύχῃσι, τῶν νέες νεναυηγήκασι τετρακόσιαι, ἄλλας ἐκ τοῦ στρατοπέδου τριηκοσίας ἀποπέμψεις περιπλέειν Πελοπόννησον, ἀξιόμαχοί τοι γίνονται οἱ ἀντίπαλοι· ἁλὴς δὲ ἐὼν ὁ ναυτικὸς στρατὸς δυσμεταχείριστός τε αὐτοῖσι γίνεται, καὶ ἀρχὴν οὐκ ἀξιόμαχοί τοι ἔσονται, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ναυτικὸς τῷ πεζῷ ἀρήξει καὶ ὁ πεζὸς τῷ ναυτικῷ ὁμοῦ πορευόμενος· εἰ δὲ διασπάσεις, οὔτε σὺ ἔσεαι ἐκείνοισι χρήσιμος οὔτε ἐκεῖνοι σοί. [3] τὰ σεωτοῦ δὲ τιθέμενον εὖ γνώμην ἔχω τὰ τῶν ἀντιπολέμων μὴ ἐπιλέγεσθαι πρήγματα, τῇ τε στήσονται τὸν πόλεμον τά τε ποιήσουσι ὅσοι τε πλῆθος εἰσί. ἱκανοὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοί γε αὐτοὶ ἑωυτῶν πέρι φροντίζειν εἰσί, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἡμέων ὡσαύτως. Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ ἢν ἴωσι ἀντία Πέρσῃσι ἐς μάχην, οὐδὲν τὸ παρεὸν τρῶμα ἀκεῦνται. »

237. To him Xerxes made answer as follows: "Achaimenes, I think that thou speakest well, and so will I do; but Demaratos speaks that which he believes to be best for me, though his opinion is defeated by thine: for I will not certainly admit that which thou saidest, namely that he is not well-disposed to my cause, judging both by what was said by him before this, and also by that which is the truth, namely that though one citizen envies another for his good fortune and shows enmity to him by his silence, nor would a citizen when a fellow-citizen consulted him suggest that which seemed to him the best, unless he had attained to a great height of virtue, and such men doubtless are few; yet guest- friend to guest-friend in prosperity is well-disposed as nothing else on earth, and if his friend should consult him, he would give him the best counsel. Thus then as regards the evil-speaking against Demaratos, that is to say about one who is my guest-friend, I bid every one abstain from it in the future."

237. [1] ἀμείβεται Ξέρξης τοῖσιδε. «Ἀχαίμενες, εὖ τε μοι δοκέεις λέγειν καὶ ποιήσω ταῦτα. Δημάρητος δὲ λέγει μὲν τὰ ἄριστα ἔλπεται εἶναι ἐμοί, γνώμῃ μέντοι ἑσσοῦται ὑπὸ σεῦ. [2] οὐ γὰρ δὴ κεῖνό γε ἐνδέξομαι ὅκως οὐκ εὐνοέει τοῖσι ἐμοῖσι πρήγμασι, τοῖσί τε λεγομένοισι πρότερον ἐκ τούτου σταθμώμενος καὶ τῷ ἐόντι, ὅτι πολιήτης μὲν πολιήτῃ εὖ πρήσσοντι φθονέει καὶ ἔστι δυσμενὴς τῇ σιγῇ, οὐδ᾽ ἂν συμβουλευομένου τοῦ ἀστοῦ πολιήτης ἀνὴρ τὰ ἄριστά οἱ δοκέοντα εἶναι ὑποθέοιτο, εἰ μὴ πρόσω ἀρετῆς ἀνήκοι· σπάνιοι δὲ εἰσὶ οἱ τοιοῦτοι· [3] ξεῖνος δὲ ξείνῳ εὖ πρήσσοντι ἐστὶ εὐμενέστατον πάντων, συμβουλευομένου τε ἂν συμβουλεύσειε τὰ ἄριστα. οὕτω ὦν κακολογίης τῆς ἐς Δημάρητον, ἐόντος ἐμοὶ ξείνου πέρι, ἔχεσθαι τινὰ τοῦ λοιποῦ κελεύω. »

238. Having thus said Xerxes passed in review the bodies of the dead; and as for Leonidas, hearing that he had been the king and commander of the Lacedemonians he bade them cut off his head and crucify him. And it has been made plain to me by many proofs besides, but by none more strongly than by this, that king Xerxes was enraged with Leonidas while alive more than with any other man on earth; for otherwise he would never have done this outrage to his corpse; since of all the men whom I know, the Persians are accustomed most to honour those who are good men in war. They then to whom it was appointed to do these things, proceeded to do so.

238. [1] ταῦτα εἴπας Ξέρξης διεξήιε διὰ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ Λεωνίδεω, ἀκηκοὼς ὅτι βασιλεύς τε ἦν καὶ στρατηγὸς Λακεδαιμονίων, ἐκέλευσε ἀποταμόντας τὴν κεφαλὴν ἀνασταυρῶσαι. [2] δῆλά μοι πολλοῖσι μὲν καὶ ἄλλοισι τεκμηρίοισι, ἐν δὲ καὶ τῷδε οὐκ ἥκιστα γέγονε, ὅτι βασιλεὺς Ξέρξης πάντων δὴ μάλιστα ἀνδρῶν ἐθυμώθη ζῶντι Λεωνίδῃ· οὐ γὰρ ἄν κοτε ἐς τὸν νεκρὸν ταῦτα παρενόμησε, ἐπεὶ τιμᾶν μάλιστα νομίζουσι τῶν ἐγὼ οἶδα ἀνθρώπων Πέρσαι ἄνδρας ἀγαθοὺς τὰ πολέμια. οἳ μὲν δὴ ταῦτα ἐποίευν, τοῖσι ἐπετέτακτο ποιέειν.

239. I will return now to that point of my narrative where it remained unfinished. The Lacedemonians had been informed before all others that the king was preparing an expedition against Hellas; and thus it happened that they sent to the Oracle at Delphi, where that reply was given them which I reported shortly before this. And they got this information in a strange manner; for Demaratos the son of Ariston after he had fled for refuge to the Medes was not friendly to the Lacedemonians, as I am of opinion and as likelihood suggests supporting my opinion; but it is open to any man to make conjecture whether he did this thing which follows in a friendly spirit or in malicious triumph over them. When Xerxes had resolved to make a campaign against Hellas, Demaratos, being in Susa and having been informed of this, had a desire to report it to the Lacedemonians. Now in no other way was he able to signify it, for there was danger that he should be discovered, but he contrived thus, that is to say, he took a folding tablet and scraped off the wax which was upon it, and then he wrote the design of the king upon the wood of the tablet, and having done so he melted the wax and poured it over the writing, so that the tablet (being carried without writing upon it) might not cause any trouble to be given by the keepers of the road. Then when it had arrived at Lacedemon, the Lacedemonians were not able to make conjecture of the matter; until at last, as I am informed, Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes and wife of Leonidas, suggested a plan of which she had herself thought, bidding them scrape the wax and they would find writing upon the wood; and doing as she said they found the writing and read it, and after that they sent notice to the other Hellenes. These things are said to have come to pass in this manner. 239. [1] ἄνειμι δὲ ἐκεῖσε τοῦ λόγου τῇ μοι τὸ πρότερον ἐξέλιπε. ἐπύθοντο Λακεδαιμόνιοι ὅτι βασιλεὺς στέλλοιτο ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα πρῶτοι, καὶ οὕτω δὴ ἐς τὸ χρηστήριον τὸ ἐς Δελφοὺς ἀπέπεμψαν, ἔνθα δή σφι ἐχρήσθη τὰ ὀλίγῳ πρότερον εἶπον· ἐπύθοντο δὲ τρόπῳ θωμασίῳ. [2] Δημάρητος γὰρ ὁ Ἀρίστωνος φυγὼν ἐς Μήδους, ὡς μὲν ἐγὼ δοκέω καὶ τὸ οἰκὸς ἐμοὶ συμμάχεται, οὐκ ἦν εὔνοος Λακεδαιμονίοισι, πάρεστι δὲ εἰκάζειν εἴτε εὐνοίῃ ταῦτα ἐποίησε εἴτε καὶ καταχαίρων. ἐπείτε γὰρ Ξέρξῃ ἔδοξε στρατηλατέειν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἐὼν ἐν Σούσοισι ὁ Δημάρητος καὶ πυθόμενος ταῦτα ἠθέλησε Λακεδαιμονίοισι ἐξαγγεῖλαι. [3] ἄλλως μὲν δὴ οὐκ εἶχε σημῆναι· ἐπικίνδυνον γὰρ ἦν μὴ λαμφθείη· ὁ δὲ μηχανᾶται τοιάδε· δελτίον δίπτυχον λαβὼν τὸν κηρὸν αὐτοῦ ἐξέκνησε, καὶ ἔπειτα ἐν τῷ ξύλῳ τοῦ δελτίου ἔγραψε τὴν βασιλέος γνώμην, ποιήσας δὲ ταῦτα ὀπίσω ἐπέτηξε τὸν κηρὸν ἐπὶ τὰ γράμματα, ἵνα φερόμενον κεινὸν τὸ δελτίον μηδὲν πρῆγμα παρέχοι πρὸς τῶν ὁδοφυλάκων. [4] ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ ἀπίκετο ἐς τὴν Λακεδαίμονα, οὐκ εἶχον συμβαλέσθαι οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, πρίν γε δή σφι, ὡς ἐγὼ πυνθάνομαι, Κλεομένεος μὲν θυγάτηρ Λεωνίδεω δὲ γυνὴ Γοργὼ ὑπέθετο ἐπιφρασθεῖσα αὐτή, τὸν κηρὸν κνᾶν κελεύουσα, καὶ εὑρήσειν σφέας γράμματα ἐν τῷ ξύλῳ. πειθόμενοι δὲ εὗρον καὶ ἐπελέξαντο, ἔπειτα δὲ τοῖσι ἄλλοισι Ἕλλησι ἐπέστειλαν. ταῦτα μὲν δὴ οὕτω λέγεται γενέσθαι.

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