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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsAthens: Its Rise And Fall - Vol 1 - Book 2 - Chapter 4
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Athens: Its Rise And Fall - Vol 1 - Book 2 - Chapter 4 Post by :imported_n/a Category :Nonfictions Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2700

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Athens: Its Rise And Fall - Vol 1 - Book 2 - Chapter 4

VOL I BOOK II CHAPTER IV

Histiaeus, Tyrant of Miletus, removed to Persia.--The Government of that City deputed to Aristagoras, who invades Naxos with the aid of the Persians.--Ill Success of that Expedition.--Aristagoras resolves upon Revolting from the Persians.--Repairs to Sparta and to Athens.-- The Athenians and Eretrians induced to assist the Ionians.--Burning of Sardis.--The Ionian War.--The Fate of Aristagoras.--Naval Battle of Lade.--Fall of Miletus.--Reduction of Ionia.--Miltiades.--His Character.--Mardonius replaces Artaphernes in the Lydian Satrapy.-- Hostilities between Aegina and Athens.--Conduct of Cleomenes.-- Demaratus deposed.--Death of Cleomenes.--New Persian Expedition.


I. We have seen that Darius rewarded with a tributary command the services of Grecian nobles during his Scythian expedition. The most remarkable of these deputy tyrants was Histiaeus, the tyrant of Miletus. Possessed of that dignity prior to his connexion with Darius, he had received from the generosity of the monarch a tract of land near the river Strymon, in Thrace, sufficing for the erection of a city called Myrcinus. To his cousin, Aristagoras, he committed the government of Miletus--repaired to his new possession, and employed himself actively in the foundations of a colony which promised to be one of the most powerful that Miletus had yet established. The site of the infant city was selected with admirable judgment upon a navigable river, in the vicinity of mines, and holding the key of commercial communication between the long chain of Thracian tribes on the one side, and the trading enterprise of Grecian cities on the other. Histiaeus was describing the walls with which the ancient cities were surrounded, when Megabazus, commander of the forces intended to consummate the conquest of Thrace, had the sagacity to warn the Persian king, then at Sardis, of the probable effects of the regal donation. "Have you, sire, done wisely," said he, "in permitting this able and active Greek to erect a new city in Thrace? Know you not that that favoured land, abounding in mines of silver, possesses, also, every advantage for the construction and equipment of ships; wild Greeks and roving barbarians are mingled there, ripe for enterprise--ready to execute the commands of any resolute and aspiring leader! Fear the possibility of a civil war--prevent the chances of the ambition of Histiaeus,--have recourse to artifice rather than to force, get him in your power, and prevent his return to Greece."

Darius followed the advice of his general, sent for Histiaeus, loaded him with compliments, and, pretending that he could not live without his counsels, carried him off from his Thracian settlement to the Persian capital of Susa. His kinsman, Aristagoras, continued to preside over the government of Miletus, then the most haughty and flourishing of the Ionian states; but Naxos, beneath it in power, surpassed it in wealth; the fertile soil of that fair isle--its numerous population--its convenient site--its abundant resources, attracted the cupidity of Aristagoras; he took advantage of a civil commotion, in which many of the nobles were banished by the people-- received the exiles--and, under the pretence of restoring them, meditated the design of annexing the largest of the Cyclades to the tyranny of Miletus.

He persuaded the traitorous nobles to suffer him to treat with Artaphernes--successfully represented to that satrap the advantages of annexing the gem of the Cyclades to the Persian diadem--and Darius, listening to the advice of his delegate, sent two hundred vessels to the invasion of Naxos (B. C. 501), under the command of his kinsman, Megabates. A quarrel ensued, however, between the Persian general and the governor of Miletus. Megabates, not powerful enough to crush the tyrant, secretly informed the Naxians of the meditated attack; and, thus prepared for the assault, they so well maintained themselves in their city, that, after a siege of four months, the pecuniary resources, not only of Megabates, but of Aristagoras, were exhausted, and the invaders were compelled to retreat from the island. Aristagoras now saw that he had fallen into the pit he had digged for others: his treasury was drained--he had incurred heavy debts with the Persian government, which condemned him to reimburse the whole expense of the enterprise--he feared the resentment of Megabates and the disappointment of Artaphernes--and he foresaw that his ill success might be a reasonable plea for removing him from the government of Miletus. While he himself was meditating the desperate expedient of a revolt, a secret messenger from Histiaeus suddenly arrived at Miletus. That wily Greek, disgusted with his magnificent captivity, had had recourse to a singular expedient: selecting the most faithful of his slaves, he shaved his scull, wrote certain characters on the surface, and, when the hair was again grown, dismissed this living letter to Aristagoras (264). The characters commanded the deputy to commence a revolt; for Histiaeus imagined that the quiet of Miletus was the sentence of his exile.

II. This seasonable advice, so accordant with his own views, charmed Aristagoras: he summoned the Milesians, and, to engage their zealous assistance, he divested himself of the tyranny, and established a republic. It was a mighty epoch that, for the stir of thought!-- everywhere had awakened a desire for free government and equal laws; and Aristagoras, desirous of conciliating the rest of Ionia, assisted her various states in the establishment of republican institutions. Coes, the tyrant of Mitylene, perished by the hands of the people; in the rest of Ionia, the tyrants were punished but by exile. Thus a spark kindled the universal train already prepared in thought, and the selfish ambition of Aristagoras forwarded the march of a revolution in favour of liberty that embraced all the cities of Ionia. But Aristagoras, evidently a man of a profound, though tortuous policy, was desirous of engaging not only the colonies of Greece, but the mother country also, in the great and perilous attempt to resist the Persian. High above all the states of the elder Greece soared the military fame of Sparta; and that people the scheming Milesian resolved first to persuade to his daring project.

Trusting to no ambassador, but to his own powers of eloquence, he arrived in person at Sparta. With a brazen chart of the world, as then known, in his hand, he sought to inspire the ambition of Cleomenes by pointing out the wide domains--the exhaustless treasures of the Persian realm. He depreciated the valour of its people, ridiculed their weapons, and urged him to the vast design of establishing, by Spartan valour, the magnificent conquest of Asia. The Spartans, always cold to the liberty of other states, were no less indifferent to the glory of barren victories; and when Aristagoras too honestly replied, in answer to a question of the king, that from the Ionian sea to Susa, the Persian capital, was a journey of three months, Cleomenes abruptly exclaimed, "Milesian, depart from Sparta before sunset;--a march of three months from the sea!--the Spartans will never listen to so frantic a proposal!" Aristagoras, not defeated, sought a subsequent interview, in which he attempted to bribe the king, who, more accustomed to bribe others than be bribed, broke up the conference, and never afterward would renew it.

III. The patient and plotting Milesian departed thence to Athens (B. C. 500): he arrived there just at the moment when the Athenian ambassadors had returned from Sardis, charged with the haughty reply of Artaphernes to the mission concerning Hippias. The citizens were aroused, excited, inflamed; equally indignant at the insolence, and fearful of the power, of the satrap. It was a favourable occasion for Aristagoras!

To the imagination of the reader this passage in history presents a striking picture. We may behold the great assembly of that lively, high-souled, sensitive, and inflammable people. There is the Agora; there the half-built temple to Aeacus;--above, the citadel, where yet hang the chains of the captive enemy;--still linger in the ears of the populace, already vain of their prowess, and haughty in their freedom, the menace of the Persian--the words that threatened them with the restoration of the exiled tyrant; and at this moment, and in this concourse, we see the subtle Milesian, wise in the experience of mankind, popular with all free states, from having restored freedom to the colonies of Ionia--every advantage of foreign circumstance and intrinsic ability in his favour,--about to address the breathless and excited multitude. He rose: he painted, as he had done to Cleomenes, in lively colours, the wealth of Asia, the effeminate habits of its people--he described its armies fighting without spear or shield--he invoked the valour of a nation already successful in war against hardy and heroic foes--he appealed to old hereditary ties; the people of Miletus had been an Athenian colony--should not the parent protect the child in the greatest of all blessings--the right to liberty? Now he entreats--now he promises,--the sympathy of the free, the enthusiasm of the brave, are alike aroused. He succeeds: the people accede to his views. "It is easier," says the homely Herodotus, "to gain (or delude) a multitude than an individual; and the eloquence which had failed with Cleomenes enlisted thirty thousand Athenians." (265)

IV. The Athenians agreed to send to the succour of their own colonists, the Ionians, twenty vessels of war. Melanthius, a man of amiable character and popular influence, was appointed the chief. This was the true commencement of the great Persian war.

V. Thus successful, Aristagoras departed from Athens. Arriving at Miletus, he endeavoured yet more to assist his design, by attempting to arouse a certain colony in Phrygia, formed of Thracian captives (266) taken by Megabazus, the Persian general. A great proportion of these colonists seized the occasion to return to their native land-- baffled the pursuit of the Persian horse--reached the shore--and were transported in Ionian vessels to their ancient home on the banks of the Strymon. Meanwhile, the Athenian vessels arrived at Miletus, joined by five ships, manned by Eretrians of Euboea, mindful of former assistance from the Milesians in a war with their fellow-islanders, the Chalcidians, nor conscious, perhaps, of the might of the enemy they provoked.

Aristagoras remained at Miletus, and delegated to his brother the command of the Milesian forces. The Greeks then sailed to Ephesus, debarked at Coressus, in its vicinity, and, under the conduct of Ephesian guides, marched along the winding valley of the Cayster-- whose rapid course, under a barbarous name, the traveller yet traces, though the swans of the Grecian poets haunt its waves no more--passed over the auriferous Mount of Tmolus, verdant with the vine, and fragrant with the saffron--and arrived at the gates of the voluptuous Sardis. They found Artaphernes unprepared for this sudden invasion-- they seized the city (B. C. 499).--the satrap and his troops retreated to the citadel.

The houses of Sardis were chiefly built of reeds, and the same slight and inflammable material thatched the roofs even of the few mansions built of brick. A house was set on fire by a soldier--the flames spread throughout the city. In the midst of the conflagration despair gave valour to the besieged--the wrath of man was less fearful than that of the element; the Lydians, and the Persians who were in the garrison, rushed into the market-place, through which flowed the river of Pactolus. There they resolved to encounter the enemy. The invaders were seized with a sudden panic, possibly as much occasioned by the rage of the conflagration as the desperation of the foe; and, retiring to Mount Tmolus, took advantage of the night to retrace their march along the valley of the Cayster.

VI. But the Ionians were not fated to return in safety: from the borders of the river Halys a troop of Persians followed their retreat, and overtaking them when the Ephesian territory was already gained, defeated the Ionians with a great slaughter, amid which fell the leader of the Eretrians.

The Athenians were naturally disappointed with the result of this expedition. Returning home, they refused all the overtures of Aristagoras to renew their incursions into Asia. The gallant Ionians continued, however, the hostilities they had commenced against Darius. They sailed to the Hellespont, and reduced Byzantium, with the neighbouring cities. Their forces were joined by the Cyprians, aroused against the Persian yoke by Onesilus, a bold usurper, who had dethroned his brother, the prince of Salamis, in Cyprus; and the conflagration of Sardis dazzling the Carians, hitherto lukewarm, united to the Ionian cause the bulk of that hardy population. The revolt now assumed a menacing and formidable aspect. Informed of these events, Darius summoned Histiaeus: "The man," said he, "whom you appointed to the government of Miletus has rebelled against me. Assisted by the Ionians, whom I shall unquestionably chastise, he has burnt Sardis. Had he your approbation? Without it would he have dared such treason? Beware how you offend a second time against my authority." Histiaeus artfully vindicated himself from the suspicions of the king. He attributed the revolt of the Ionians to his own absence, declared that if sent into Ionia he would soon restore its inhabitants to their wonted submission, and even promised to render the Island of Sardinia tributary to Persia.

VII. Deluded by these professions, Darius dismissed the tyrant of Miletus, requiring only his return on the fulfilment of his promises. Meanwhile, the generals of Darius pressed vigorously on the insurgents. Against Onesilus, then engaged in reducing Amathus (the single city in Cyprus opposed to him), Artybius, a Persian officer, conducted a formidable fleet. The Ionians hastened to the succour of their Cyprian ally--a battle ensued both by land and sea: in the latter the Ionians defeated, after a severe contest, the Phoenician auxiliaries of Persia--in the former, a treacherous desertion of some of the Cyprian troops gave a victory to the Persian. The brave Onesilus, who had set his fate upon the issue of the field, was among the slain. The Persians proceeded to blockade, and ultimately to regain, the Cyprian cities: of these, Soli, which withstood a siege of five months, proffered the most obdurate resistance; with the surrender of that gallant city, Cyprus once more, after a year of liberty, was subjected to the dominion of the great king.

This success was increased by the reduction of several towns on the Hellespont, and two signal defeats over the Carians (B. C. 498), in the last of which, the Milesians, who had joined their ally, suffered a prodigious loss. The Carians, however, were not subdued, and in a subsequent engagement they effected a great slaughter among the Persians, the glory of which was enhanced by the death of Daurises, general of the barbarians, and son-in-law to Darius. But this action was not sufficiently decisive to arrest the progress of the Persian arms. Artaphernes, satrap of Sardis, and Otanes, the third general in command, led their forces into Ionia and Aeolia:--the Ionian Clazomenae, the Aeolian Cuma, were speedily reduced.

VIII. The capture of these places, with the general fortunes of the war, disheartened even the patient and adventurous Aristagoras. He could not but believe that all attempts against the crushing power of Darius were in vain. He assembled the adherents yet faithful to his arms, and painted to them the necessity of providing a new settlement. Miletus was no longer secure, and the vengeance of Darius was gathering rapidly around them. After some consultation they agreed to repair to that town and territory in Thrace which had been given by Darius to Histiaeus (267). Miletus was intrusted to the charge of a popular citizen named Pythagoras, and these hardy and restless adventurers embarked for Thrace. Aristagoras was fortunate enough to reach in safety the settlement which had seemed so formidable a possession to the Persian general; but his usual scheming and bold ambition, not contented with that domain, led him to the attack of a town in its vicinity. The inhabitants agreed to resign it into his hands, and, probably lulled into security by this concession, he was suddenly, with his whole force, cut off by an incursion of the Thracian foe. So perished (B. C. 497) the author of many subsequent and mighty events, and who, the more we regard his craft, his courage, his perseverance, and activity, the vastness of his ends, and the perseverance with which he pursued them, must be regarded by the historian as one of the most stirring and remarkable spirits of that enterprising age.

IX. The people of Miletus had not, upon light grounds or with feeble minds, embarked in the perilous attempt to recover their liberties. Deep was the sentiment that inspired--solemn and stern the energy which supported them. The Persian generals now collected in one body their native and auxiliary force. The Cyprians, lately subdued (B. C. 496), were compelled to serve. Egypt and Cilicia swelled the armament, and the skill of the Phoenicians rendered yet more formidable a fleet of six hundred vessels. With this power the barbarians advanced upon Miletus. Most, if not all, of the Ionian states prepared themselves for the struggle--delegates met at the Panionium--it was agreed to shun the Persians upon land--to leave to the Milesians the defence of their city--to equip the utmost naval force they could command--and, assembling in one fleet off the small isle of Lade, opposite to Miletus, to hazard the battle upon the seas. Three hundred and fifty triremes were provided, and met at the appointed place. The discipline of the navy was not equal to the valour of the enterprise; Dionysius, commander of the Phocaeans, attempted, perhaps too rigorously, to enforce it;--jealousy and disgust broke out among the troops--and the Samian leaders, whether displeased with their allies, or tempted by the Persians, who, through the medium of the exiled tyrants of Greece, serving with them, maintained correspondence with the Ionians, secretly agreed to desert in the midst of the ensuing battle. This compact made, the Phoenicians commenced the attack, and the Ionians, unsuspicious of treachery, met them with a contracted line. In the beginning of the engagement, the Samians, excepting only eleven ships (whose captains were afterward rewarded by a public column in their native market-place), fulfilled their pledge, and sailed away to Samos. The Lesbians, stationed next them, followed their example, and confusion and flight became contagious. The Chians alone redeemed the character of the allies, aided, indeed, by Dionysius the Phocaean, who, after taking three of the enemy's ships, refused to retreat till the day was gone, and then, sailing to Phoenicia, sunk several trading vessels, enriched himself with their spoil, and eventually reaching Sicily, became renowned as a pirate, formidable to the Carthaginian and Tyrsenian families of the old Phoenician foe, but holding his Grecian countrymen sacred from his depredations.

The Persian armament now bent all its vengeance on Miletus; they besieged it both by land and by sea--every species of military machine then known was directed against its walls, and, in the sixth year after the revolt of Aristagoras, Miletus fell (B. C. 494)--Miletus, the capital of Ionia--the mother of a hundred colonies! Pittacus, Thales, Arctinus, were among the great names she gave to science and to song. Worthy of her renown, she fell amid the ruins of that freedom which she showed how nobly she could have continued to adorn by proving how sternly she could defend. The greater part of the citizens were slain--those who remained, with the women and the children, were borne into slavery by the victors. Their valour and renown touched the heart of Darius, and he established the captives in a city by that part of the Erythraean Sea which receives the waters of the Barbarian Tigris. Their ancient territories were portioned out between the Persians and the Carians of Pedasa.

X. The Athenians received the news of this fatal siege with the deepest sorrow, and Herodotus records an anecdote illustrative of the character of that impassioned people, and interesting to the history of their early letters. Phrynichus, a disciple of Thespis, represented on the stage the capture of Miletus, and the whole audience burst into tears. The art of the poet was considered criminal in thus forcibly reminding the Athenians of a calamity which was deemed their own: he was fined a thousand drachmae, and the repetition of the piece forbidden--a punishment that was but a glorious homage to the genius of the poet and the sensibility of the people.

After innumerable adventures, in which he exhibited considerable but perverted abilities, Histiaeus fell into the hands of Artaphernes, and died upon the cross. Darius rebuked the zeal of the satrap, and lamented the death of a man, whose situation, perhaps, excused his artifices.

And now the cloud swept onward--one after one the Ionian cities were reduced--the islands of Chios, Lesbos, Tenedos, depopulated; and all Ionia subjugated and enslaved. The Persian fleet proceeded to subdue all the towns and territories to the left of the Hellespont. At this time their success in the Chersonesus drove from that troubled isthmus a chief, whose acute and dauntless faculties made him subsequently the scourge of Persia and the deliverer of Greece.

XI. We have seen Miltiades, nephew to the first of that name, arrive at the Chersonesus--by a stroke of dexterous perfidy, seize the persons of the neighbouring chieftains--attain the sovereignty of that peninsula, and marry the daughter of a Thracian prince. In his character was united, with much of the intellect, all the duplicity of the Greek. During the war between Darius and the Scythians, while affecting to follow the Persian army, he had held traitorous intercourse with the foe. And proposed to the Grecian chiefs to destroy the bridge of boats across the Danube confided to their charge; so that, what with the force of the Scythians and the pressure of famine, the army of Darius would have perished among the Scythian wastes, and a mighty enemy have been lost to Greece--a scheme that, but for wickedness, would have been wise. With all his wiles, and all his dishonesty, Miltiades had the art, not only of rendering authority firm, but popular. Driven from his state by the Scythian Nomades, he was voluntarily recalled by the very subjects over whom he had established an armed sovereignty--a rare occurrence in that era of republics. Surrounded by fierce and restless foes, and exercised in constant, if petty warfare, Miltiades had acquired as much the experience of camps as the subtleties of Grecian diplomacy; yet, like many of the wise of small states, he seems to have been more crafty than rash--the first for flight wherever flight was the better policy --but the first for battle if battle were the more prudent. He had in him none of the inconsiderate enthusiasm of the hero--none of the blind but noble subservience to honour. Valour seems to have been for his profound intellect but the summation of chances, and when we afterward find him the most daring soldier, it is only because he was the acutest calculator.

On seeing the Phoenician fleet, raider Persia, arrive off the Isle of Tenedos, which is opposite the Chersonesus, Miltiades resolved not to wait the issue of a battle: as before he had fled the Scythian, so now, without a struggle, he succumbed to the Phoenician sword. He loaded five vessels with his property--with four he eluded the hostile fleet--the fifth, commanded by his eldest son, was pursued and taken (268). In triumphant safety the chief of the Chersonesus arrived at Athens. He arrived at that free state to lose the dignity of a Thracian prince, and suddenly to be reminded that he was an Athenian citizen. He was immediately prosecuted for the crime of tyranny. His influence or his art, admiration of his genius, or compassion of his reverses, however, procured him an acquittal. We may well suppose that, high-born and wealthy, he lost no occasion of cementing his popularity in his native state.

XII. Meanwhile, the Persians suspended for that year all further hostilities against the Ionians. Artaphernes endeavoured to conciliate the subdued colonies by useful laws, impartial taxes, and benign recommendations to order and to peace. The next year, however, that satrap was recalled (B. C. 492), and Mardonius, a very young noble, the son-in-law of Darius, was appointed, at the head of a considerable naval and military force, to the administration of the affairs in that part of the Persian empire. Entering Ionia, he executed a novel, a daring, but no unstatesman-like stroke of policy. He removed all the Ionian tyrants, and everywhere restored republican forms of government; deeming, unquestionably, that he is the securest master of distant provinces who establishes among them the institutions which they best love. Then proceeding to the Hellespont, Mardonius collected his mighty fleets and powerful army, and passed through Europe towards the avowed objects of the Persian vengeance-- the cities of Eretria and Athens.

From the time that the Athenians had assisted the forces of Miletus and long in the destruction of Sardis, their offence had rankled in the bosom of Darius. Like most monarchs, he viewed as more heinous offenders the foreign abetters of rebellion, than the rebels themselves. Religion, no doubt, conspired to augment his indignation. In the conflagration of Sardis the temple of the great Persian deity had perished, and the inexpiated sacrilege made a duty of revenge. So keenly, indeed, did Darius resent the share that the remote Athenians had taken in the destruction of his Lydian capital, that, on receiving the intelligence, he is said to have called for his bow, and, shooting an arrow in the air, to have prayed for vengeance against the offenders; and three times every day, as he sat at table, his attendants were commanded to repeat to him, "Sir, remember the Athenians."

XIII. But the design of Mardonius was not only directed against the Athenians and the state of Eretria, it extended also to the rest of Greece: preparations so vast were not meant to be wasted upon foes apparently insignificant, but rather to consolidate the Persian conquests on the Asiatic coasts, and to impress on the neighbouring continent of Europe adequate conceptions of the power of the great king. By sea, Mardonius subdued the islanders of Thasus, wealthy in its gold-mines; by land he added to the Persian dependances in Thrace and Macedonia. But losses, both by storm and battle, drove him back to Asia, and delayed for a season the deliberate and organized invasion of Greece.

In the following year (B. C. 491), while the tributary cities Mardonius had subdued were employed in constructing vessels of war and transports for cavalry, ambassadors were despatched by Darius to the various states of Greece, demanding the homage of earth and water--a preliminary calculated to ascertain who would resist, who submit to, his power--and certain to afford a pretext, in the one case for empire, in the other for invasion. Many of the cities of the continent, and all the islands visited by the ambassadors, had the timidity to comply with the terms proposed. Sparta and Athens, hitherto at variance, united at once in a haughty and indignant refusal. To so great a height was the popular rage in either state aroused by the very demand, that the Spartans threw the ambassadors into their wells, and the Athenians, into their pit of punishment, bidding them thence get their earth and water; a singular coincidence of excess in the two states--to be justified by no pretence--to be extenuated only by the reflection, that liberty ever becomes a species of noble madness when menaced by foreign danger. (269)

XIV. With the rest of the islanders, the people of Aegina, less resolute than their near neighbours and ancient foes, the Athenians, acceded to the proposal of tribute. This, more than the pusillanimity of the other states, alarmed and inflamed the Athenians; they suspected that the aeginetans had formed some hostile alliance against them with the Persians, and hastened to accuse them to Sparta of betraying the liberties of Greece. Nor was there slight ground for the suspicions of the Athenians against Aegina. The people of that island had hereditary and bitter feuds with the Athenians, dating almost from their independence of their parent state of Epidaurus; mercantile jealousies were added to ancestral enmity, and the wares of Athens were forbidden all application to sacred uses in Aegina. We have seen the recent occasion on which Attica was invaded by these hostile neighbours, then allied with Thebes: and at that period the naval force of gins was such as to exceed the unconscious and untried resources of the Athenians. The latter had thus cause at once to hate and to dread a rival placed by nature in so immediate a vicinity to themselves, that the submission of Aegina to the Persian seemed in itself sufficient for the destruction of Athens.

XV. The Athenian ambassadors met with the most favourable reception at Sparta. The sense of their common danger, and sympathy in their mutual courage, united at once these rival states; even the rash and hitherto unrelenting Cleomenes eagerly sought a reconciliation with his former foe. That prince went in person to Aegina, determined to ascertain the authors of the suspected treachery;--with that characteristic violence which he never provided the means to support, and which so invariably stamps this unable and headstrong Spartan, as one who would have been a fool, if he had not been a madman--Cleomenes endeavoured to seize the persons of the accused. He was stoutly resisted, and disgracefully baffled, in this impotent rashness; and his fellow-king, Demaratus, whom we remember to have suddenly deserted Cleomenes at Eleusis, secretly connived with the Aeginetans in their opposition to his colleague, and furnished them with an excuse, by insinuating that Cleomenes had been corrupted by the Athenians. But Demaratus was little aware of the dark and deadly passions which Cleomenes combined with his constitutional insanity. Revenge made a great component of his character, and the Grecian history records few instances of a nature more vehemently vindictive.

There had been various rumours at Sparta respecting the legitimacy of Demaratus. Cleomenes entered into a secret intrigue with a kinsman of his colleague, named Leotychides, who cherished an equal hatred against Demaratus (270); the conditions between them were, that Cleomenes should assist in raising Leotychides to the throne of Demaratus, and Leotychides should assist Cleomenes in his vengeance against Aegina. No sooner was this conspiracy agreed upon than Leotychides propagated everywhere the report that the birth of Demaratus was spurious. The Spartans attached the greatest value to legitimacy,--they sent to consult the Pythian--and Cleomenes, through the aid of Colon, a powerful citizen of Delphi, bribed the oracle to assert the illegitimacy of his foe. Demaratus was deposed. Sinking at once into the rank of a private citizen, he was elected to some inferior office. His enemy, Leotychides, now upon his throne, sent him, by way of insult, a message to demand which he preferred--his past or his present dignity. Demaratus was stung, and answered, that the question might fix the date of much weal or much wo to Sparta; saying this, he veiled his head--sought his home--sacrificed to Jupiter--and solemnly adjured his mother to enlighten him as to his legitimacy. The parental answer was far from unequivocal, and the matron appeared desirous of imputing the distinction of his birth to the shade of an ancient Spartan hero, Astrobachus, rather than to the earthly embrace of her husband. Demaratus heard, and formed his decision: he escaped from Sparta, baffled his pursuers, and fled into Asia, where he was honourably received and largely endowed by the beneficent Darius.

XVI. Leotychides, elected to the regal dignity, accompanied Cleomenes to Aegina: the people of that isle yielded to the authority they could not effectually resist; and ten of their most affluent citizens were surrendered as hostages to Athens. But, in the meanwhile, the collusion of Cleomenes with the oracle was discovered--the priestess was solemnly deposed--and Cleomenes dreaded the just indignation of his countrymen. He fled to Thessaly, and thence passing among the Arcadians, he endeavoured to bind that people by the darkest oaths to take arms against his native city--so far could hatred stimulate a man consistent only in his ruling passion of revenge. But the mighty power of Persia now lowering over Lacedaemon, the Spartan citizens resolved to sacrifice even justice to discretion: it was not a time to distract their forces by new foes, and they invited Cleomenes back to Sparta, with the offer of his former station. He returned, but his violent career, happily for all, was now closed; his constitutional madness, no longer confined to doubtful extravagance, burst forth into incontrollable excess. He was put under confinement, and obtaining a sword from a Helot, who feared to disobey his commands, he deliberately destroyed himself--not by one wound, but slowly gashing the flesh from his limbs until he gradually ascended to the nobler and more mortal parts. This ferocious suicide excited universal horror, and it was generally deemed the divine penalty of his numerous and sacrilegious crimes: the only dispute among the Greeks was, to which of his black offences the wrath of Heaven was the most justly due. (271)

XVII. No sooner did the news of his suicide reach the Aeginetans than those proud and wealthy islanders sought, by an embassy to Sparta, to regain their hostages yet detained at Athens. With the death of Cleomenes, the anger of Sparta against Aegina suddenly ceased--or, rather, we must suppose that a new party, in fellowship with the Aeginetan oligarchy, came into power. The Spartans blamed Leotychides for his co-operation with Cleomenes; they even offered to give him up to the Aeginetans--and it was finally agreed that he should accompany the ambassadors of Aegina to Athens, and insist on the surrender of the hostages. But the Athenians had now arrived at that spirit of independence, when nor the deadly blows of Persia, nor the iron sword of Sparta, nor the treacherous hostilities of their nearest neighbour, could quell their courage or subdue their pride. They disregarded the presence and the orations of Leotychides, and peremptorily refused to surrender their hostages. Hostilities between Aegina and Athens were immediately renewed. The Aeginetans captured (B. C. 494) the sacred vessel then stationed at Sunium, in which several of the most eminent Athenians were embarked for the festival of Apollo; nor could the sanctity of the voyage preserve the captives from the ignominy of irons. The Athenians resolved upon revenge, and a civil dissension in Aegina placed it in their power. An Aeginetan traitor, named Nicodromus, offered them his assistance, and, aided by the popular party opposed to the oligarchical government, he seized the citadel. With twenty ships from Corinth, and fifty of their own, the Athenians invaded Aegina; but, having been delayed in making the adequate preparations, they arrived a day later than had been stipulated. Nicodromus fled; the oligarchy restored, took signal and barbarous vengeance upon such of their insurgent countrymen as fell into their hands. Meanwhile, the Athenian fleet obtained a victory at sea, and the war still continued.

XVIII. While, seemingly unconscious of greater dangers, Athens thus practised her rising energies against the little island of Aegina, thrice every day the servants of the Persian king continued to exclaim, "Sir, remember the Athenians!" (272) The traitor, Hippias, constantly about the person of the courteous monarch, never failed to stimulate still further his vengeance by appealing to his ambition. At length, Darius resolved no longer to delay the accomplishment of his designs. He recalled Mardonius, whose energy, indeed, had not been proportioned to his powers, and appointed two other generals-- Datis, a native of the warlike Media, and Artaphernes, his own nephew, son to the former satrap of that name. These were expressly ordered to march at once against Eretria and Athens. And Hippias, now broken in frame, advanced in age (273), and after an exile of twenty years, accompanied the Persian army--sanguine of success, and grasping, at the verge of life the shadow of his former sceptre.

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