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of his former administration; and, by showing himself more tractable and indulgent towards others, he found out the secret of pleasing all that plundered the commonwealth. For, as he neither reproved them, nor narrowly inspected their accounts, all those plunderers grown fat with spoil and rapine, now extolled Aristides to the skies. It would have been easy for him, as we perceive, to have enriched himself in a post of that nature, which seems, as it were, to invite a man to it by the many favourable opportunities it lays in his way; especially as he had to do with officers, who, for their part, were intent upon nothing but robbing the public, and would have been ready to conceal the frauds of the treasurer their master, upon condition he did them the same favour.
These very officers now made interest with the people to have him continued a third year in the same employment. But when the . time of election was come, just as they were upon the point of electing Aristides unanimously, he rose up, and warmly reproved the Athenian people; What, says he, when I managed your treasure with all the fidelity and diligence an honest man is capable of, 1 met with the most cruel treatment, and the most mortifying return; and now that I have abandoned it to the mercy of all these robbers of the public, I am an admirable man, and the best of citizens! I cannot help declaring to you that I am more ashamed of the honour you do me this day, than I was of the condemnation you passed against me this time twelvemonth; and with grief I find that it is more glorious with us to be complaisant to knaves, than to save the treasures of the republic. By this declaration he silenced the public plunderers, and gained the esteem of all good men.
Such were the characters of these two illustrious Athenians, who began to display the extent of their merit, when Darius turned his arms against Greece. If. Darius sends heralds into Greece, in order to sound the people,
and to require them to submit.
Before this prince would directly engage in this en. Ant. J. C. 493. terprise, he judged it expedient, first of all, to sound the Grecians, and to know in what manner the different states stood affected towards him.* With this view he sent heralds into all parts of Greece, to require earth and water in his name this was the form used by the Persians when they exacted submission from those they were desirous of bringing under subjection. On the arrival of these heralds, many of the Grecian cities, dreading the power of the Persians, complied with their demands : and among these were the inhabitants of Ægina, a little isle, over against and not far from Athens. This proceeding of the people of Ægina was looked upon as a public treason. The Athenians
A. M. 3511.
* Herod. I. vi. c. 49–86.
represented the matter to the Spartans, who immediately sent Cleomenes, one of their kings, to apprehend the authors of it. The people of Ægina refused to deliver them, under pretence that he came without his colleague. This colleague Wus Demaratus, who had himself suggested that excuse.
As soon as Cleomenes was returned to Sparta, in order to be revenged on Demaratus for that affront, he endeavoured to get him deposed, as not being of the royal family; and succeeded in his attempt by the assistance of the priestess of Delphi, whom he had suborned to give an answer favourable to his designs. Demaratus, not being able to endure so gross an affront, banished himself from his country, and retired to Darius, who received him with open arms, and gave him a considerable establishment in Persia. He was succeeded in the throne by Leutychides, who joined his colleague, and went with him to Ægina from whence they brought away ten of the principal inhabitants, and committed them to the custody of the Athenians, their declared enemies. Cleomenes dying not long after, and the fraud he had committed at Delphi being discovered, the Lacedæmonians endeavoured to oblige the people of Athens to set those prisoners at liberty; but they refused.
T'he Persian heralds that went to Sparta and Athens,* were not so favourably received as those that had been sent to the other cities. One of them was thrown into a well, and the other into a deep ditch, and were bid to take thence earth and water. I should be less surprised at this unworthy treatment, Athens alone had been concerned in it. It was a proceeding suitable enough to a popular government, rash, impetuous, and violent; where reason is seldom heard, and every thing determined by passion. But I do not here recognize the Spartan equity and gravity. They were at liberty to refuse what was demanded; but to treat public officers in such a manner was an open violation of the law of nations. If what historians say on this head be true,t the crime did not remain unpunished. Talthybius, one of Agamemnon's heralds, was honoured at Sparta as a god, and had a temple there. He revenged the indignities done to the heralds of the king of Persia, and made the Spartans feel the effects of his wrath, by bringing many terrible accidents upon them. In order to appease him, and to expiate their offence, they sent afterwards several of their chief citizens into Persia, who voluntarily offered themselves as victims for their country. They were delivered into the hands of Xerxes, who would not let them suffer, but sent them back to their own country. As for the Athenians, Talthybius executed his vengeance on the family of Miltiades, who was principally concerned in the outrage committed upon Darius's heralds.
Ibid. I. vii. c. 135, 36. Paus, in Lacon. p. 182, 183.
* Herod. I. vii. c. 133. 138. Vol. II. 2 F
The Persians defeated at Marathon by Miltiades. The
melancholy end of that general.
A. M. 3514. Darius immediately sent away Datis and ArtapherAnt. J. C. 490.
nes, whom he had appointed generals in the room of Mardonius. Their instructions were to give up Eretria and Athens to be plundered, to burn all the houses and temples therein, to make all the inhabitants of both places prisoners, and to send them to Darius; for which purpose they went provided with a great number of chains and fetters. They set sail with a fleet of 5 or 600 ships,* and an army of 500,000 men. After having made themselves masters of the isles in the Ægean sea, which they did withont difficulty, they lurned their course towards Eretria, a city of Eubea, which they took after a siege of seven days by the treachery of some of the principal inhabitants : they reduced it entirely to ashes, put all the inhabitants in chains and sent them to Persia. Darius,t contrary to their expectation, treated them kindly, and gave them a village in the country of Cissia for their habitation, which was but a day's journey from Susa, where Apollonius Tyaneus found soine of their descendants 600 years afterwards.
After this success at Eretria, the Persians advanced towards Attica. Hippias conducted them to Marathon, a little town by the sea-side. They took care to acquaint the Athenians with the fate of Eretria; and to let them know, that not an inhabitant of that place had escaped their vengeance, in hopes that this news would induce them to surrender immediately. The Athenians had sent to Lacedæmon, to desire succours against the common enemy, which the Spartans granted them instantly, and without deliberation; but which could not set out till some days after, on account of an ancient custom and a superstitious maxim amongst them, that did not admit them to begin a march before the full of the moon. Not one of their other allies prepared to succour them, so great terror had the formidable army of the Persians spread on every side. The inhabitants of Platææ alone furnished them with 1000 soldiers. In this extremity the Athenians were obliged to arm their slaves, which had never been done there before this occasion.
The Persian army commanded by Datis consisted of 100,000 foot, and 10,000 horse: that of the Athenians amounted in all but to 10,000 men. It was iteaded by ten generals, of whom Miltiades was the chief; and these ten were to have the command of the whole army, each for a day, one after another. There was a great dispute among these generals whether they should hazard a battle, or expect the entmy within their walls. The latter opinion had a greai majority, and appeared very reasonable. For, what appearance of success could there be in facing with a handful of soldiers so numerous and formidable an army as that of the Persians? Mil tiades, however, declared for the contrary opinion, and showed that the only means to exalt the courage of their own troops, and to strike a terror into those of the enemy, was to advance boldly towards them with an air of confidence and intrepidity. Aristides strenuously defended this opinion, and brought some of the other commanders into it; so when the suffrages came to be taken, they were equal on both sides of the question. Hereupon Miltiades addressed himself to Callimachus, who was then polemarch,* and had a right of voting as well as the ten commanders. He very warn.ly represented to him, that the fate of their country was then in his hands; and that his single vote was to determine whether Athens should preserve her liberty, or be enslaved; and that he had it in his power by one word to become as famous as Harmodius and Aristogiton, the authors of that liberty which the Athenians enjoyed. Callimachus pronounced that word in favour of Miltiades's opinion; and accordingly a battle was resolved upon.
* Plut. in Moral. p. 829. | Herod. I. iv. c. 119. | Philostr. 1. i. c. 17. :
Herod. I. vi. c. 102—120. Cor. Nep. ir. Milt. c. iv.--vi. Justin. l. ji. c. 3. Plut in Aristid. v. 321.
Aristides, reflecting that a command which changes every day must necessarily be feeble, unequal, not of a piece, often contrary to itself, and incapable either of projecting or executing any uniform design, was of opinion, that their danger was both too great and too pressing for them to expose their affairs to such inconveniences. In order to prevent them, he judged it necessary to vest the whole power in one single person; and to induce his colleagues to act corformably, he himself set the first example of resignation. When the day came on which it was his turn to take upon him the command, he resigned it to Miltiades, as the more able and experienced general. The other commanders did the same, all sentiments of jealousy giving way to the love of the public good; and by this day's behaviour we may learn, that it is almost as glorious to acknowledge merit in other persons, as to have it in one's self. Miltiades, however, thought fit to wait till his own day came. Then, like an able captain, he endeavoured by the advantage of the ground to gain what he wanted in strength and number. He drew up his army at the foot of a mountain, that the enemy should not be able either to surround him, or charge him in the rear. On the two sides of the army he caused large trees to be thrown, which were cut down on purpose, in order to cover his flanks, and render the Persian cavalry useless. · Datis, their commander, was very sensible that the place was not advantageous for him; but, relying upon the number of his troops, which was infinitely superior to that of the Athenians, and, besides, not being willing to stay till the reinforcement of the Spartans arrived, he determined to engage. The Athenians did not wait for the enemy's charging them. As soon as the signal of battle was given, they ran against the enemy with all the fury imaginable. The Persians looked upon this first step of the Athenians as a piece of madness, considering their army was so small, and utterly destitute both of cavalry and archers: but they were quickly undeceived. Herodotus observes, that this was the first time the Grecians began an engagement by running in this manner; which may seem somewhat astonishing. And, indeed, was there not reason to apprehend, that their running would in some measure weaken the troops, and blunt the edge of their first impetuosity ? and that the soldiers, having quitted their ranks, might be out of breath, exhausted, and in disorder, when they came up to the enemy, wbo, waiting to receive them in good order, and without stirring, ought, one would think, to be in a condition to sustain their charge advantageously? This consideration engaged Pompey,* at the battle of Pharsalia, to keep his troops steady, and to forbid them making any movement till the enemy made the first attack; butt Cæsart blames Pompey's conduct in this respect, and gives this reason for it: that the impetuosity of an army's motion in running to engage, inspires the soldiers with a certain enthusiasm and martial fury, gives an additional force to their blows, and increases and inflames their courage, which, by the rapid movement of so many thousand men together, is blown up and kindled, if I may use that expression, like fames by the wind. I leave it to military men to decide the point between those two great captains, and return to my subject.
* The polemárch at Athens was both an officer and a considerable magistrate, equally employed to command in the army and to administer justice. I shall give a larger account of this officer in another place.
The battle was very fierce and obstinate. Miltiades had made the wings of his army exceeding strong, but had left the main body more weak, and not so deep; the reason of which seems manifest enough. Having but 10,000 men to oppose to such a multitude of the enemy, it was impossible for him either to make an extensive front, or to give an equal depth to his battalions. He was obliged therefore to take his choice; and he imagined that he could gain the victory no otherwise than by the efforts he should make with his two wings, to break and disperse those of the Persians; noi doubting but, when his wings were once victorious, they would be able to attack the enemy's main body in flank, and complete the victory without much difficulty. This was the same plan as Hannibal followed afterwards at the battle of Canne, which succeeded so well with him, and which indeed can scarce ever fail of succeed. ing. The Persians then attacked the main body of the Grecian army, and made their greatest effort particularly upon their front.
† Plut. in Pomp. p. 656. in Cæs. p. 719. I Quod nobis quidem nullâ ratione factum à Pompeio videtur: propterea quod est quæ cam incitatio atque alacritas naturaliter innata omnibus, quæ studio pugnæ incenditur Hanc non reprimere, sed augere imperatores debent. Cæs.
Καίσας περί τούτο διαμαρτείν φησί τον Πομπήίον, αγνοήσαντα, την κετά δρόμου και φοβεράν εν αρχή γινομένων σύρραξιν, ώς ένσε ταις πληγαις βίαν προστίθησι, και συνεκκαίει τον θύμoν εκ πάντων αναρριχιζόμενον. Plut. in Cæs.
* Cæs. in Bell. Civil. l. iii.