[9.101] A strange coincidence too it was, that both the battles should have been fought near a precinct of Eleusinian Ceres. The fight at Plataea took place, as I said before, quite close to one of Ceres' temples; and now the battle at Mycale was to be fought hard by another. Rightly, too, did the rumour run, that the Greeks with Pausanias had gained their victory; for the fight at Plataea fell early in the day, whereas that at Mycale was towards evening. That the two battles were really fought on the same day of the same month became apparent when inquiries were made a short time afterwards. Before the rumour reached them, the Greeks were full of fear, not so much on their own account, as for their countrymen, and for Greece herself, lest she should be worsted in her struggle with Mardonius. But when the voice fell on them, their fear vanished, and they charged more vigorously and at a quicker pace. So the Greeks and the barbarians rushed with like eagerness to the fray; for the Hellespont and the Islands formed the prize for which they were about to fight.
[9.102] The Athenians, and the force drawn up with them, who formed one half of the army, marched along the shore, where the country was low and level; but the way for the Lacedaemonians and the troops with them, lay across hills and a torrent-course. Hence, while the Lacedaemonians were effecting their their passage round, the Athenians on the other wing had already closed with the enemy. So long as the wicker bucklers of the Persians continued standing, they made a stout defence, and had not even the worst of the battle; but when the Athenians, and the allies with them, wishing to make the victory their own, and not share it with the Lacedaemonians, cheered each other on with shouts, and attacked them with the utmost fierceness, then at last the face of things became changed. For, bursting through the line of shields, and rushing forwards in a body, the Greeks fell upon the Persians; who, though they bore the charge and for a long time maintained their ground, yet at length took refuge in their intrenchment. Here the Athenians themselves, together with those who followed them in the line of battle, the Corinthians, the Sicyonians, and the Troezenians, pressed so closely on the steps of their flying foes, that they entered along with them into the fortress. And now, when even their fortress was taken, the barbarians no longer offered resistance, but fled hastily away, all save only the Persians. They still continued to fight in knots of a few men against the Greeks, who kept pouring into the intrenchment. And here, while two of the Persian commanders fled, two fell upon the field: Artayntes and Ithamitres, who were leaders of the fleet, escaped; Mardontes, and the commander of the land force, Tigranes, died fighting.
[9.103] The Persians still held out, when the Lacedaemonians, and their part of the army, reached the camp, and joined in the remainder of the battle. The number of Greeks who fell in the struggle here was not small; the Sicyonians especially lost many, and, among the rest, Perilaus their general.
The Samians, who served with the Medes, and who, although disarmed, still remained in the camp, seeing from the very beginning of the fight that the victory was doubtful, did all that lay in their power to render help to the Greeks. And the other Ionians likewise, beholding their example, revolted and attacked the Persians.
[9.104] As for the Milesians, who had been ordered, for the better security of the Persians, to guard the mountain-paths, - that in case any accident befell them such as had now happened, they might not lack guides to conduct them into the high tracts of Mycale, - and who had also been removed to hinder them from making an outbreak in the Persian camp; they, instead of obeying their orders, broke them in every respect. For they guided the flying Persians by wrong roads, which brought them into the presence of the enemy; and at last they set upon them with their own hands, and showed themselves the hottest of their adversaries. Ionia, therefore, on this day revolted a second time from the Persians.
[9.105] In this battle the Greeks who behaved with the greatest bravery were the Athenians; and among them the palm was borne off by Hermolycus, the son of Euthynus, a man accomplished in the Pancratium. This Hermolycus was afterwards slain in the war between the Athenians and Carystians. He fell in the fight near Cyrnus in the Carystian territory, and was buried in the neighbourhood of Geraestus. After the Athenians, the most distinguished on the Greek side were the Corinthians, the Troezenians, and the Sicyonians.
[9.106] The Greeks, when they had slaughtered the greater portion of the barbarians, either in the battle or in the rout, set fire to their ships and burnt them, together with the bulwark which had been raised for their defence, first however removing therefrom all the booty, and carrying it down to the beach. Besides other plunder, they found here many caskets of money. When they had burnt the rampart and the vessels, the Greeks sailed away to Samos, and there took counsel together concerning the Ionians, whom they thought of removing out of Asia. Ionia they proposed to abandon to the barbarians; and their doubt was, in what part of their own possessions in Greece they should settle its inhabitants. For it seemed to them a thing impossible that they should be ever on the watch to guard and protect Ionia; and yet otherwise there could be no hope that the Ionians would escape the vengeance of the Persians. Hereupon the Peloponnesian leaders proposed that the seaport towns of such Greeks as had sided with the Medes should be taken away from them, and made over to the Ionians. The Athenians, on the other hand, were very unwilling that any removal at all should take place, and disliked the Peloponnesians holding councils concerning their colonists. So, as they set themselves against the change, the Peloponnesians yielded with a good will. Hereupon the Samians, Chians, Lesbians, and other islanders, who had helped the Greeks at this time, were received into the league of the allies; and took the oaths, binding themselves to be faithful, and not desert the common cause. Then the Greeks sailed away to the Hellespont, where they meant to break down the bridges, which they supposed to be still extended across the strait.
[9.107] The barbarians who escaped from the battle - a scanty remnant - took refuge in the heights of Mycale, whence they made good their retreat to Sardis. During the march, Masistes, the son of Darius, who had been present at the disaster, had words with Artayntes, the general, on whom he showered many reproaches. He called him, among other things, "worse than a woman," for the way in which he had exercised his command, and said there was no punishment which he did not deserve to suffer for doing the king's house such grievous hurt. Now with the Persians there is no greater insult than to call a man "worse than a woman." So when Artayntes had borne the reproaches for some while, at last he fell in a rage, and drew his scymitar upon Masistes, being fain to kill him. But a certain Halicarnassian, Xenagoras by name, the son of Praxilaus, who stood behind Artayntes at the time, seeing him in the act of rushing forward, seized him suddenly round the waist, and, lifting him from his feet, dashed him down upon the ground; which gave time for the spearmen who guarded Masistes to come to his aid. By his conduct here Xenagoras gained the favour, not of Masistes only, but likewise of Xerxes himself, whose brother he had preserved from death; and the king rewarded his action by setting him over the whole land of Cilicia. Except this, nothing happened upon the road; and the men continued their march and came all safe to Sardis. At Sardis they found the king, who had been there ever since he lost the sea-fight and fled from Athens to Asia.
[9.108] During the time that Xerxes abode at this place, he fell in love with the wife of Masistes, who was likewise staying in the city. He therefore sent her messages, but failed to win her consent; and he could not dare to use violence, out of regard to Masistes, his brother. This the woman knew well enough, and hence it was that she had the boldness to resist him. So Xerxes, finding no other way open, devised a marriage between his own son Darius and a daughter of this woman and Masistes - thinking that he might better obtain his ends if he effected this union. Accordingly he betrothed these two persons to one another, and, after the usual ceremonies were completed, took his departure for Susa. When he was come there, and had received the woman into his palace as his son's bride, a change came over him, and losing all love for the wife of Masistes, he conceived a passion for his son's bride, Masistes' daughter. And Artaynta - for so was she called - very soon returned his love.
[9.109] After a while the thing was discovered in the way which I will now relate. Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, had woven with her own hands a long robe, of many colours, and very curious, which she presented to her husband as a gift. Xerxes, who was greatly pleased with it, forthwith put it on; and went in it to visit Artaynta, who happened likewise on this day to please him greatly. He therefore bade her ask him whatever boon she liked, and promised that, whatever it was, he would assuredly grant her request. Then Artaynta, who was doomed to suffer calamity together with her whole house, said to him - "Wilt thou indeed give me whatever I like to ask?" So the king, suspecting nothing less than that her choice would fall where it did, pledged his word, and swore to her. She then, as soon as she heard his oath, asked boldly for the robe. Hereupon Xerxes tried all possible means to avoid the gift; not that he grudged to give it, but because he dreaded Amestris, who already suspected, and would now, he feared, detect his love. So he offered her cities instead, and heaps of gold, and an army which should obey no other leader. (The last of these is a thoroughly Persian gift.) But, as nothing could prevail on Artaynta to change her mind, at the last he gave her the robe. Then Artaynta was very greatly rejoiced, and she often wore the garment and was proud of it. And so it came to the ears of Amestris that the robe had been given to her.
[9.110] Now when Amestris learnt the whole matter, she felt no anger against Artaynta; but, looking upon her mother, the wife of Masistes, as the cause of all the mischief, she determined to compass her death. She waited, therefore, till her husband gave the great royal banquet, a feast which takes place once every year, in celebration of the king's birthday - "Tykta" the feast is called in the Persian tongue, which in our language may be rendered "perfect" - and this is the only day in all the year on which the king soaps his head, and distributes gifts to the Persians. Amestris waited, accordingly, for this day, and then made request of Xerxes, that he would please to give her, as her present, the wife of Masistes. But he refused; for it seemed to him shocking and monstrous to give into the power of another a woman who was not only his brother's wife, but was likewise wholly guiltless of what had happened - the more especially as he knew well enough with what intent Amestris had preferred her request.
[9.111] At length, however, wearied by her importunity, and constrained moreover by the law of the feast, which required that no one who asked a boon that day at the king's board should be denied his request, he yielded, but with a very ill will, and gave the woman into her power. Having so done, and told Amestris she might deal with her as she chose, the king called his brother into his presence, and said -
"Masistes, thou art my brother, the son of my father Darius; and, what is more, thou art a good man. I pray thee, live no longer with the wife whom thou now hast. Behold, I will give thee instead my own daughter in marriage; take her to live with thee. But part first with the wife thou now hast - I like not that thou keep to her."
To this Masistes, greatly astonished, answered -
"My lord and master, how strange a speech hast thou uttered! Thou biddest me put away my wife, who has borne me three goodly youths, and daughters besides, whereof thou hast taken one and espoused her to a son of thine own - thou biddest me put away this wife, notwithstanding that she pleases me greatly, and marry a daughter of thine! In truth, O king! that I am accounted worthy to wed thy daughter, is an honour which I mightily esteem; but yet to do as thou sayest am I in no wise willing. I pray thee, use not force to compel me to yield to thy prayer. Be sure thy daughter will find a husband to the full as worthy as myself. Suffer me then to live on with my own wife."
Thus did Masistes answer; and Xerxes, in wrath, replied - "I will tell thee, Masistes, what thou hast gained by these words. I will not give thee my daughter; nor shalt thou live any longer with thy own wife. So mayest thou learn, in time to come, to take what is offered thee." Masistes, when he heard this, withdrew, only saying - "Master thou hast not yet taken my life."
[9.112] While these things were passing between Xerxes and his brother Masistes, Amestris sent for the spearmen of the royal bodyguard, and caused the wife of Masistes to be mutilated in a horrible fashion. Her two breasts, her nose, ears, and lips were cut off and thrown to the dogs; her tongue was torn out by the roots, and thus disfigured she was sent back to her home.
[9.113] Masistes, who knew nothing of what had happened, but was fearful that some calamity had befallen him, ran hastily to his house. There, finding his wife so savagely used, he forthwith took counsel with his sons, and, accompanied by them and certain others also, set forth on his way to Bactria, intending to stir up revolt in that province, and hoping to do great hurt to Xerxes: all which, I believe, he would have accomplished, if he had once reached the Bactrian and Sacan people; for he was greatly beloved by them both, and was moreover satrap of Bactria. But Xerxes, hearing of his designs, sent an armed force upon his track, and slew him while he was still upon the road, with his sons and his whole army. Such is the tale of King Xerxes' love and of the death of his brother Masistes.
[9.114] Meanwhile the Greeks, who had left Mycale, and sailed for the Hellespont, were forced by contrary winds to anchor near Lectum; from which place they afterwards sailed on to Abydos. On arriving here, they discovered that the bridges, which they had thought to find standing, and which had been the chief cause of their proceeding to the Hellespont, were already broken up and destroyed. Upon this discovery, Leotychides, and the Peloponnesians under him, were anxious to sail back to Greece; but the Athenians, with Xanthippus their captain, thought good to remain, and resolved to make an attempt upon the Chersonese. So, while the Peloponnesians sailed away to their homes, the Athenians crossed over from Abydos to the Chersonese, and there laid siege to Sestos.
[9.115] Now, as Sestos was the strongest fortress in all that region, the rumour had no sooner gone forth that the Greeks were arrived at the Hellespont, than great numbers flocked thither from all the towns in the neighbourhood. Among the rest there came a certain Oeobazus, a Persian, from the city of Cardia, where he had laid up the shore-cables which had been used in the construction of the bridges. The town was guarded by its own Aeolian inhabitants, but contained also some Persians, and a great multitude of their allies.
[9.116] The whole district was under the rule of Artayctes, one of the king's satraps; who was a Persian, but a wicked and cruel man. At the time when Xerxes was marching against Athens, he had craftily possessed himself of the treasures belonging to Protesilaus the son of Iphiclus, which were at Elaesus in the Chersonese. For at this place is the tomb of Protesilaus, surrounded by a sacred precinct; and here there was great store of wealth, vases of gold and silver, works in brass, garments, and other offerings, all which Artayctes made his prey, having got the king's consent by thus cunningly addressing him -
"Master, there is in this region the house of a Greek, who, when he attacked thy territory, met his due reward, and perished. Give me his house, I pray thee, that hereafter men may fear to carry arms against thy land."
By these words he easily persuaded Xerxes to give him the man's house; for there was no suspicion of his design in the king's mind. And he could say in a certain sense that Protesilaus had borne arms against the land of the king; because the Persians consider all Asia to belong to them, and to their king for the time being. So when Xerxes allowed his request, he brought all the treasures from Elaesus to Sestos, and made the sacred land into cornfields and pasture land; nay, more, whenever he paid a visit to Elaesus, he polluted the shrine itself by vile uses. It was this Artayctes who was now besieged by the Athenians - and he was but ill prepared for defence; since the Greeks had fallen upon him quite unawares, nor had he in the least expected their coming.
[9.117] When it was now late in the autumn, and the siege still continued, the Athenians began to murmur that they were kept abroad so long; and, seeing that they were not able to take the place, besought their captains to lead them back to their own country. But the captains refused to move, till either the city had fallen, or the Athenian people ordered them to return home. So the soldiers patiently bore up against their sufferings.
[9.118] Meanwhile those within the walls were reduced to the last straits, and forced even to boil the very thongs of their beds for food. At last, when these too failed them, Artayctes and Oeobazus, with the native Persians, fled away from the place by night, having let themselves down from the wall at the back of the town, where the blockading force was scantiest. As soon as day dawned, they of the Chersonese made signals to the Greeks from the walls, and let them know what had happened, at the same time throwing open the gates of their city. Hereupon, while some of the Greeks entered the town, others, and those the more numerous body, set out in pursuit of the enemy.
[9.119] Oeobazus fled into Thrace; but there the Apsinthian Thracians seized him, and offered him, after their wonted fashion, to Pleistorus, one of the gods of their country. His companions they likewise put to death, but in a different manner. As for Artayctes, and the troops with him, who had been the last to leave the town, they were overtaken by the Greeks, not far from Aegospotami, and defended themselves stoutly for a time, but were at last either killed or taken prisoners. Those whom they made prisoners the Greeks bound with chains, and brought with them to Sestos. Artayctes and his son were among the number.
[9.120] Now the Chersonesites relate that the following prodigy befell one of the Greeks who guarded the captives. He was broiling upon a fire some salted fish, when of a sudden they began to leap and quiver, as if they had been only just caught. Hereat, the rest of the guards hurried round to look, and were greatly amazed at the sight. Artayctes, however, beholding the prodigy, called the man to him, and said -
"Fear not, Athenian stranger, because of this marvel. It has not appeared on thy account, but on mine. Protesilaus of Elaeus has sent it to show me, that albeit he is dead and embalmed with salt, he has power from the gods to chastise his injurer. Now then I would fain acquit my debt to him thus. For the riches which I took from his temple, I will fix my fine at one hundred talents - while for myself and this boy of mine, I will give the Athenians two hundred talents, on condition that they will spare our lives."
Such were the promises of Artayctes; but they failed to persuade Xanthippus. For the men of Elaeus, who wished to avenge Protesilaus, entreated that he might be put to death; and Xanthippus himself was of the same mind. So they led Artayctes to the tongue of land where the bridges of Xerxes had been fixed - or, according to others, to the knoll above the town of Madytus; and, having nailed him to a board, they left him hanging thereupon. As for the son of Artayctes, him they stoned to death before his eyes.
[9.121] This done, they sailed back to Greece, carrying with them, besides other treasures, the shore cables from the bridges of Xerxes, which they wished to dedicate in their temples. And this was all that took place that year.