[8.121] Meanwhile the Greeks, finding that they could not capture Andros, sailed away to Carystus, and wasted the lands of the Carystians, after which they returned to Salamis. Arrived here, they proceeded, before entering on any other matter, to make choice of the first-fruits which should be set apart as offerings to the gods. These consisted of divers gifts; among them were three Phoenician triremes, one of which was dedicated at the Isthmus, where it continued to my day; another at Sunium; and the third, at Salamis itself, which was devoted to Ajax. This done, they made a division of the booty, and sent away the first-fruits to Delphi. Thereof was made the statue, holding in its hand the beak of a ship, which is twelve cubits high, and which stands in the same place with the golden one of Alexander the Macedonian.
[8.122] After the first-fruits had been sent to Delphi, the Greeks made inquiry of the god, in the name of their whole body, if he had received his full share of the spoils and was satisfied therewith. The god made answer that all the other Greeks had paid him his full due, except only the Eginetans; on them he had still a claim for the prize of valour which they had gained at Salamis. So the Eginetans, when they heard this, dedicated the three golden stars which stand on the top of a bronze mast in the corner near the bowl offered by Croesus.
[8.123] When the spoils had been divided, the Greeks sailed to the Isthmus, where a prize of valour was to be awarded to the man who, of all the Greeks, had shown the most merit during the war. When the chiefs were all come, they met at the altar of Neptune, and took the ballots wherewith they were to give their votes for the first and for the second in merit. Then each man gave himself the first vote, since each considered that he was himself the worthiest; but the second votes were given chiefly to Themistocies. In this way, while the others received but one vote apiece, Themistocles had for the second prize a large majority of the suffrages.
[8.124] Envy, however, hindered the chiefs from coming to a decision, and they all sailed away to their homes without making any award. Nevertheless Themistocles was regarded everywhere as by far the wisest man of all the Greeks; and the whole country rang with his fame. As the chiefs who fought at Salamis, notwithstanding that he was really entitled to the prize, had withheld his honour from him, he went without delay to Lacedaemon, in the hope that he would be honoured there. And the Lacedaemonians received him handsomely, and paid him great respect. The prize of valour indeed, which was a crown of olive, they gave to Eurybiades; but Themistocles was given a crown of olive too, as the prize of wisdom and dexterity. He was likewise presented with the most beautiful chariot that could be found in Sparta; and after receiving abundant praises, was, upon his departure, escorted as far as the borders of Tegea, by the three hundred picked Spartans, who are called the Knights. Never was it known, either before or since, that the Spartans escorted a man out of their city.
[8.125] On the return of Themistocles to Athens, Timodemus of Aphidnae, who was one of his enemies, but otherwise a man of no repute, became so maddened with envy that he openly railed against him, and, reproaching him with his journey to Sparta, said - "'Twas not his own merit that had won him honour from the men of Lacedaemon, but the fame of Athens, his country." Then Themistocles, seeing that Timodemus repeated this phrase unceasingly, replied -
"Thus stands the case, friend. I had never got this honour from the Spartans, had I been a Belbinite - nor thou, hadst thou been an Athenian!"
[8.126] Artabazus, the son of Pharnaces, a man whom the Persians had always held in much esteem, but who, after the affair of Plataea, rose still higher in their opinion, escorted King Xerxes as far as the strait, with sixty thousand of the chosen troops of Mardonius. When the king was safe in Asia, Artabazus set out upon his return; and on arriving near Palline, and finding that Mardonius had gone into winter-quarters in Thessaly and Macedonia, and was in no hurry for him to join the camp, he thought it his bounden duty, as the Potidaeans had just revolted, to occupy himself in reducing them to slavery. For as soon as the king had passed beyond their territory, and the Persian fleet had made its hasty flight from Salamis, the Potidaeans revolted from the barbarians openly; as likewise did all the other inhabitants of that peninsula.
[8.127] Artabazus, therefore, laid siege to Potidaea; and having a suspicion that the Olynthians were likely to revolt shortly, he besieged their city also. Now Olynthus was at that time held by the Bottiaeans, who had been driven from the parts about the Thermaic Gulf by the Macedonians. Artabazus took the city, and, having so done, led out all the inhabitants to a marsh in the neighbourhood, and there slew them. After this he delivered the place into the hands of the people called Chalcideans, having first appointed Critobulus of Torone to be governor. Such was the way in which the Chalcideans got Olynthus.
[8.128] When this town had fallen, Artabazus pressed the siege of Potidaea all the more unremittingly; and was pushing his operations with vigour, when Timoxenus, captain of the Scionaeans, entered into a plot to betray the town to him. How the matter was managed at first, I cannot pretend to say, for no account has come down to us: but at the last this is what happened. Whenever Timoxenus wished to send a letter to Artabazus, or Artabazus to send one to Timoxenus, the letter was written on a strip of paper, and rolled round the notched end of an arrow-shaft; the feathers were then put on over the paper, and the arrow thus prepared was shot to some place agreed upon. But after a while the plot of Timoxenus to betray Potidaea was discovered in this way. Artabazus, on one occasion, shot off his arrow, intending to send it to the accustomed place, but, missing his mark, hit one of the Potidaeans in the shoulder. A crowd gathered about the wounded man, as commonly happens in war; and when the arrow was pulled out, they noticed the paper, and straightway carried it to the captains who were present from the various cities of the peninsula. The captains read the letter, and, finding who the traitor was, nevertheless resolved, out of regard for the city of Scione, that as they did not wish the Scionaeans to be thenceforth branded with the name of traitors, they would not bring against him any charge of treachery. Such accordingly was the mode in which this plot was discovered.
[8.129] After Artabazus had continued the siege by the space of three months, it happened that there was an unusual ebb of the tide, which lasted a long while. So when the barbarians saw that what had been sea was now no more than a swamp, they determined to push across it into Pallene, And now the troops had already made good two-fifths of their passage, and three-fifths still remained before they could reach Palline, when the tide came in with a very high flood, higher than had ever been seen before, as the inhabitants of those parts declare, though high floods are by no means uncommon. All who were not able to swim perished immediately; the rest were slain by the Potidaeans, who bore down upon them in their sailing vessels. The Potidaeans say that what caused this swell and flood, and so brought about the disaster of the Persians which ensued therefrom, was the profanation, by the very men now destroyed in the sea, of the temple and image of Neptune, situated in their suburb. And in this they seem to me to say well. Artabazus afterwards led away the remainder of his army, and joined Mardonius in Thessaly. Thus fared it with the Persians who escorted the king to the strait.
[8.130] As for that part of the fleet of Xerxes which had survived the battle, when it had made good its escape from Salamis to the coast of Asia, and conveyed the king with his army across the strait from the Chersonese to Abydos, it passed the winter at Cyme. On the first approach of spring, there was an early muster of the ships at Samos, where some of them indeed had remained throughout the winter. Most of the men-at-arms who served on board were Persians, or else Medes; and the command of the fleet had been taken by Mardontes, the son of Bagaeus, and Artayntes, the son of Artachaeus; while there was likewise a third commander, Ithamitres, the nephew of Artayntes, whom his uncle had advanced to the post. Further west than Samos, however, they did not venture to proceed; for they remembered what a defeat they had suffered, and there was no one to compel them to approach any nearer to Greece. They therefore remained at Samos, and kept watch over Ionia, to hinder it from breaking into revolt. The whole number of their ships, including those furnished by the Ionians, was three hundred. It did not enter into their thoughts that the Greeks would proceed against Ionia; on the contrary, they supposed that the defence of their own country would content them, more especially as they had not pursued the Persian fleet when it fled from Salamis, but had so readily given up the chase. They despaired, however, altogether of gaining any success by sea themselves, though by land they thought that Mardonius was quite sure of victory. So they remained at Samos, and took counsel together, if by any means they might harass the enemy, at the same time that they waited eagerly to hear how matters would proceed with Mardonius.
[8.131] The approach of spring, and the knowledge that Mardonius was in Thessaly, roused the Greeks from inaction. Their land force indeed was not yet come together; but the fleet, consisting of one hundred and ten ships, proceeded to Egina, under the command of Leotychides. This Leotychides, who was both general and admiral, was the son of Menares, the son of Agesilaus, the son of Hippocratides, the son of Leotychides, the son of Anaxilaus, the son of Archidamus, the son of Anaxandrides, the son of Theopompus, the son of Nicander, the son of Charillus, the son of Eunomus, the son of Polydectes, the son of Prytanis, the son of Euryphon, the son of Procles, the son of Aristodemus, the son of Aristomachus, the son of Cleodaeus, the son of Hyllus, the son of Hercules. He belonged to the younger branch of the royal house. All his ancestors, except the two next in the above list to himself, had been kings of Sparta. The Athenian vessels were commanded by Xanthippus, the son of Ariphron.
[8.132] When the whole fleet was collected together at Egina, ambassadors from Ionia arrived at the Greek station; they had but just come from paying a visit to Sparta, where they had been intreating the Lacedaemonians to undertake the deliverance of their native land. One of these ambassadors was Herodotus, the son of Basileides. Originally they were seven in number; and the whole seven had conspired to slay Strattis the tyrant of Chios; one, however, of those engaged in the plot betrayed the enterprise; and the conspiracy being in this way discovered, Herodotus, and the remaining five, quitted Chios, and went straight to Sparta, whence they had now proceeded to Egina, their object being to beseech the Greeks that they would pass over to Ionia. It was not, however, without difficulty that they were induced to advance even so far as Delos. All beyond that seemed to the Greeks full of danger; the places were quite unknown to them, and to their fancy swarmed with Persian troops; as for Samos, it appeared to them as far off as the Pillars of Hercules. Thus it came to pass, that at the very same time the barbarians were hindered by their fears from venturing any further west than Samos, and the prayers of the Chians failed to induce the Greeks to advance any further east than Delos. Terror guarded the mid region.
[8.133] The Greek fleet was now on its way to Delos; but Mardonius still abode in his winter-quarters in Thessaly. When he was about to leave them, he despatched a man named Mys, a European by birth, to go and consult the different oracles, giving him orders to put questions everywhere to all the oracles whereof he found it possible to make trial. What it was that he wanted to know, when he gave Mys these orders, I am not able to say, for no account has reached me of the matter; but for my own part, I suppose that he sent to inquire concerning the business which he had in hand, and not for any other purpose.
[8.134] Mys, it is certain, went to Lebadeia, and, by the payment of a sum of money, induced one of the inhabitants to go down to Trophonius; he likewise visited Abae of the Phocians, and there consulted the god; while at Thebes, to which place he went first of all, he not only got access to Apollo Ismenius (of whom inquiry is made by means of victims, according to the custom practised also at Olympia), but likewise prevailed on a man, who was not a Theban but a foreigner, to pass the night in the temple of Amphiaraus. No Theban can lawfully consult this oracle, for the following reason: Amphiaraus by an oracle gave the Thebans their choice, to have him for their prophet or for their helper in war; he bade them elect between the two, and forego either one or the other; so they chose rather to have him for their helper. On this account it is unlawful for a Theban to sleep in his temple.
[8.135] One thing which the Thebans declare to have happened at this time is to me very surprising. Mys, the European, they say, after he had gone about to all the oracles, came at last to the sacred precinct of Apollo Ptous. The place itself bears the name of Ptoum; it is in the country of the Thebans, and is situated on the mountain side overlooking Lake Copais, only a very little way from the town called Acraephia. Here Mys arrived, and entered the temple, followed by three Theban citizens - picked men whom the state had appointed to take down whatever answer the god might give. No sooner was he entered than the prophet delivered him an oracle, but in a foreign tongue; so that his Theban attendants were astonished, hearing a strange language when they expected Greek, and did not know what to do. Mys, however, the European, snatched from their hands the tablet which they had brought with them, and wrote down what the prophet uttered. The reply, he told them, was in the Carian dialect. After this, Mys departed and returned to Thessaly.
[8.136] Mardonius, when he had read the answers given by the oracles, sent next an envoy to Athens. This was Alexander, the son of Amyntas, a Macedonian, of whom he made choice for two reasons. Alexander was connected with the Persians by family ties; for Gygaea, who was the daughter of Amyntas, and sister to Alexander himself, was married to Bubares, a Persian, and by him had a son, to wit, Amyntas of Asia; who was named after his mother's father, and enjoyed the revenues of Alabanda, a large city of Phrygia, which had been assigned him by the king. Alexander was likewise (and of this too Mardonius was well aware), both by services which he had rendered, and by formal compact of friendship, connected with Athens. Mardonius therefore thought that, by sending him, he would be most likely to gain over the Athenians to the Persian side. He had heard that they were a numerous and a warlike people, and he knew that the disasters which had befallen the Persians by sea were mainly their work; he therefore expected that, if he could form alliance with them, he would easily get the mastery of the sea (as indeed he would have done, beyond a doubt), while by land he believed that he was already greatly superior; and so he thought by this alliance to make sure of overcoming the Greeks. Perhaps, too, the oracles leant this way, and counselled him to make Athens his friend: so that it may have been in obedience to them that he sent the embassy.
[8.137] This Alexander was descended in the seventh degree from Perdiccas, who obtained the sovereignty over the Macedonians in the way which I will now relate. Three brothers, descendants of Temenus, fled from Argos to the Illyrians; their names were Gauanes, Aeropus, and Perdiccas. From Illyria they went across to Upper Macedonia, where they came to a certain town called Lebaea. There they hired themselves out to serve the king in different employs; one tended the horses; another looked after the cows; while Perdiccas, who was the youngest, took charge of the smaller cattle. In those early times poverty was not confined to the people: kings themselves were poor, and so here it was the king's wife who cooked the victuals. Now, whenever she baked the bread, she always observed that the loaf of the labouring boy Perdiccas swelled to double its natural size. So the queen, finding this never fail, spoke of it to her husband. Directly that it came to his ears, the thought struck him that it was a miracle, and boded something of no small moment. He therefore sent for the three labourers, and told them to begone out of his dominions. They answered, "they had a right to their wages; if he would pay them what was due, they were quite willing to go." Now it happened that the sun was shining down the chimney into the room where they were; and the king, hearing them talk of wages, lost his wits, and said, "There are the wages which you deserve; take that - I give it you!" and pointed, as he spoke, to the sunshine. The two elder brothers, Gauanes and Aeropus, stood aghast at the reply, and did nothing; but the boy, who had a knife in his hand, made a mark with it round the sunshine on the floor of the room, and said, "O king! we accept your payment." Then he received the light of the sun three times into his bosom, and so went away; and his brothers went with him.
[8.138] When they were gone, one of those who sat by told the king what the youngest of the three had done, and hinted that he must have had some meaning in accepting the wages given. Then the king, when he heard what had happened, was angry, and sent horsemen after the youths to slay them. Now there is a river in Macedonia to which the descendants of these Argives offer sacrifice as their saviour. This stream swelled so much, as soon as the sons of Temenus were safe across, that the horsemen found it impossible to follow. So the brothers escaped into another part of Macedonia, and took up their abode near the place called "the Gardens of Midas, son of Gordias." In these gardens there are roses which grow of themselves, so sweet that no others can come near them, and with blossoms that have as many as sixty petals apiece. It was here, according to the Macedonians, that Silenus was made a prisoner. Above the gardens stands a mountain called Bermius, which is so cold that none can reach the top. Here the brothers made their abode; and from this place by, degrees they conquered all Macedonia.
[8.139] From the Perdiccas of whom we have here spoken, Alexander was descended in the following way:- Alexander was the son of Amyntas, Amyntas of Alcetas; the father of Alcetas was Aeropus; of Aeropus, Philip; of Philip, Argaeus; of Argaeus, Perdiccas, the first sovereign. Such was the descent of Alexander.
[8.140] When Alexander reached Athens as the ambassador of Mardonius, he spoke as follows:-
"O men of Athens, these be the words of Mardonius. 'The king has sent a message to me, saying, "All the trespasses which the Athenians have committed against me I freely forgive. Now then, Mardonius, thus shalt thou act towards them. Restore to them their territory; and let them choose for themselves whatever land they like besides, and let them dwell therein as a free people. Build up likewise all their temples which I burned, if on these terms they will consent to enter into a league with me." Such are the orders which I have received, and which I must needs obey, unless there be a hindrance on your part. And now I say unto you, - why are ye so mad as to levy war against the king, whom ye cannot possibly overcome, or even resist for ever? Ye have seen the multitude and the bravery of the host of Xerxes; ye know also how large a power remains with me in your land; suppose then ye should get the better of us, and defeat this army - a thing whereof ye will not, if ye be wise, entertain the least hope - what follows even then but a contest with a still greater force? Do not, because you would fain match yourselves with the king, consent to lose your country and live in constant danger of your lives. Rather agree to make peace; which ye can now do without any tarnish to your honour, since the king invites you to it. Continue free, and make an alliance with us, without fraud or deceit.'
"These are the words, O Athenians! which Mardonius had bid me speak to you. For my own part, I will say nothing of the good will I bear your nation, since ye have not now for the first time to become acquainted with it. But I will add my intreaties also, and beseech you to give ear to Mardonius; for I see clearly that it is impossible for you to go on for ever contending against Xerxes. If that had appeared to me possible, I would not now have come hither the bearer of such a message. But the king's power surpasses that of man, and his arm reaches far. If then ye do not hasten to conclude a peace, when such fair terms are offered you, I tremble to think of what you will have to endure - you, who of all the allies lie most directly in the path of danger, whose land will always be the chief battleground of the contending powers, and who will therefore constantly have to suffer alone. Hearken then, I pray you, to Mardonius! Surely it is no small matter that the Great King chooses you out from all the rest of the Greeks, to offer you forgiveness of the wrongs you have done him, and to propose himself as your friend and ally!"