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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Herodotus, Histories, 7.228

nanThere is an inscription written over these men, who were buried where they fell, and over those who died before the others went away, dismissed by Leonidas. It reads as follows: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"Here four thousand from the Peloponnese once fought three million. /l /quote ,That inscription is for them all, but the Spartans have their own: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"Foreigner, go tell the Spartans that we lie here obedient to their commands. /l /quote ,That one is to the Lacedaemonians, this one to the seer: quote type="inscription" l met="dact"This is a monument to the renowned Megistias, /l lSlain by the Medes who crossed the Spercheius river. /l lThe seer knew well his coming doom, /l lBut endured not to abandon the leaders of Sparta. /l /quote ,Except for the seer's inscription, the Amphictyons are the ones who honored them by erecting inscriptions and pillars. That of the seer Megistias was inscribed by Simonides son of Leoprepes because of his tie of guest-friendship with the man.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

20 results
1. Homer, Odyssey, 15.225 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

2. Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1270-1274, 1269 (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1269. ἰδοὺ δʼ Ἀπόλλων αὐτὸς ἐκδύων ἐμὲ 1269. The oracular garment! having looked upon me
3. Aristophanes, Birds, 988 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

988. μήτ' ἢν Λάμπων ᾖ μήτ' ἢν ὁ μέγας Διοπείθης.
4. Aristophanes, Knights, 1085, 1084 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1084. οὐκ ὀρθῶς φράζει: τὴν Κυλλήνην γὰρ ὁ Φοῖβος
5. Aristophanes, Peace, 1125, 1047 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1047. οὗτός γέ πού 'σθ' ὁ χρησμολόγος οὑξ ̓Ωρεοῦ.
6. Euripides, Helen, 276, 275 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

275. δούλη καθέστηκ' οὖς' ἐλευθέρων ἄπο: 275. I have become a slave although I am free by birth; for among barbarians all are slaves except one. And the only anchor of my fortunes is gone, the hope that my husband would come one day and free me of my woes—he is dead, he no longer exists.
7. Euripides, Iphigenia At Aulis, 1400 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1400. And it is right, mother, that Hellenes should rule barbarians, but not barbarians Hellenes, those being slaves, while these are free. Chorus Leader
8. Herodotus, Histories, 1.2, 1.187, 2.83, 2.129, 3.14, 3.65, 3.124-3.125, 3.132.2, 5.44.2, 7.6, 7.15-7.18, 7.143, 7.219, 7.221, 7.226-7.227, 7.238, 8.27.3, 8.47, 8.65, 8.96, 9.1, 9.33.1, 9.36-9.38, 9.37.1, 9.41, 9.61-9.62 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

1.2. In this way, the Persians say (and not as the Greeks), was how Io came to Egypt, and this, according to them, was the first wrong that was done. Next, according to their story, some Greeks (they cannot say who) landed at Tyre in Phoenicia and carried off the king's daughter Europa. These Greeks must, I suppose, have been Cretans. So far, then, the account between them was balanced. But after this (they say), it was the Greeks who were guilty of the second wrong. ,They sailed in a long ship to Aea, a city of the Colchians, and to the river Phasis : and when they had done the business for which they came, they carried off the king's daughter Medea. ,When the Colchian king sent a herald to demand reparation for the robbery and restitution of his daughter, the Greeks replied that, as they had been refused reparation for the abduction of the Argive Io, they would not make any to the Colchians. 1.187. There was a trick, too, that this same queen contrived. She had a tomb made for herself and set high over the very gate of that entrance of the city which was used most, with writing engraved on the tomb, which read: ,“If any king of Babylon in the future is in need of money, let him open this tomb and take as much as he likes: but let him not open it unless he is in need; for it will be the worse for him.” ,This tomb remained untouched until the kingship fell to Darius. He thought it a very strange thing that he should never use this gate, or take the money when it lay there and the writing itself invited him to. ,The reason he did not use the gate was that the dead body would be over his head as he passed through. ,After opening the tomb, he found no money there, only the dead body, with writing which read: “If you were ever satisfied with what you had and did not disgrace yourself seeking more, you would not have opened the coffins of the dead.” Such a woman, it is recorded, was this queen. 2.83. As to the art of divination among them, it belongs to no man, but to some of the gods; there are in their country oracles of Heracles, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Ares, and Zeus, and of Leto (the most honored of all) in the town of Buto . Nevertheless, they have several ways of divination, not just one. 2.129. The next king of Egypt, they said, was Kheops' son Mycerinus. Disliking his father's doings, he opened the temples and let the people, ground down to the depth of misery, go to their business and their sacrifices; and he was the most just judge among all the kings. ,This is why he is praised above all the rulers of Egypt ; for not only were his judgments just, but Mycerinus would give any who were not satisfied with the judgment a present out of his own estate to compensate him for his loss. ,Though mild toward his people and conducting himself as he did, yet he suffered calamities, the first of which was the death of his daughter, the only child of his household. Deeply grieved over this misfortune, he wanted to give her a burial somewhat more sumptuous than ordinary; he therefore made a hollow cow's image of gilded wood and placed the body of his dead daughter therein. 3.14. On the tenth day after the surrender of the walled city of Memphis, Cambyses took Psammenitus king of Egypt, who had reigned for six months, and confined him in the outer part of the city with other Egyptians, to insult him; having confined him there, he tried Psammenitus' spirit, as I shall show. ,He dressed the daughter of the king as a slave and sent her out with a pitcher to fetch water, together with other girls from the families of the leading men, dressed like the daughter of the king. ,So when the girls went out before their fathers' eyes crying and lamenting, all the rest answered with cries and weeping, seeing their children abused; but Psammenitus, having seen with his own eyes and learned all, bowed himself to the ground. ,After the water-carriers had passed by, Cambyses next made Psammenitus' son go out before him with two thousand Egyptians of the same age, all with ropes bound round their necks and bridle-bits in their mouths; ,they were led out to be punished for those Mytileneans who had perished with their boat at Memphis ; for such was the judgment of the royal judges, that every man's death be paid for by the deaths of ten noble Egyptians. ,When Psammenitus saw them passing and perceived that his son was being led out to die, and all the Egyptians who sat with him wept and showed their affliction, he did as he had done at the sight of his daughter. ,After these too had gone out, it happened that there was one of his companions, a man past his prime, who had lost all his possessions, and had only what a poor man might have, and begged of the army; this man now went out before Psammenitus son of Amasis and the Egyptians confined in the outer part of the city. When Psammenitus saw him, he broke into loud weeping, striking his head and calling on his companion by name. ,Now there were men set to watch Psammenitus, who told Cambyses all that he did as each went forth. Wondering at what the king did, Cambyses made this inquiry of him by a messenger: ,“Psammenitus, Lord Cambyses wants to know why, seeing your daughter abused and your son going to his death, you did not cry out or weep, yet you showed such feeling for the beggar, who (as Cambyses learns from others) is not one of your kindred?” So the messenger inquired. Psammenitus answered: ,0“Son of Cyrus, my private grief was too great for weeping; but the unhappiness of my companion deserves tears—a man fallen from abundance and prosperity to beggary come to the threshold of old age.” When the messenger reported this, Cambyses and his court, it is said, thought the answer good. ,1And, the Egyptians say, Croesus wept (for it happened that he too had come with Cambyses to Egypt ) and the Persians that were there wept; Cambyses himself felt some pity, and he ordered that Psammenitus' son be spared from those that were to be executed, and that Psammenitus himself be brought in from the outer part of the city and brought before him. 3.65. At this time he said no more. But about twenty days later, he sent for the most prominent of the Persians that were about him, and thus addressed them: “Persians, I have to make known to you something which I kept most strictly concealed. ,When I was in Egypt I had a dream, which I wish I had not had; it seemed to me that a messenger came from home to tell me that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head. ,Then I feared that my brother would take away my sovereignty from me, and I acted with more haste than wisdom; for it is not in the power of human nature to run away from what is to be; but I, blind as I was, sent Prexaspes to Susa to kill Smerdis. When that great wrong was done I lived without fear, for I never thought that when Smerdis was removed another man might rise against me. ,But I mistook altogether what was to be; I have killed my brother when there was no need, and I have lost my kingdom none the less; for it was the Magus Smerdis that the divinity forewarned in the dream would revolt. ,Now he has been done for by me, and I would have you believe that Smerdis Cyrus' son no longer lives; the Magi rule the kingdom, the one that I left caretaker of my house, and his brother Smerdis. So then, the man is dead of an unholy destiny at the hands of his relations who ought to have been my avenger for the disgrace I have suffered from the Magi; ,and as he is no longer alive, necessity constrains me to charge you, men of Persia, in his place, with the last desire of my life. In the name of the gods of my royal house I charge all of you, but chiefly those Achaemenids that are here, not to let the sovereignty fall again into Median hands; if they have it after getting it by trickery, take it back through trickery of your own; if they have got it away by force, then by force all the stronger get it back. ,And if you do this, may your land bring forth fruit, and your women and your flocks and herds be blessed with offspring, remaining free for all time; but if you do not get the kingdom back or attempt to get it back, then I pray things turn out the opposite for you, and on top of this, that every Persian meet an end such as mine.” With that Cambyses wept bitterly for all that had happened to him. 3.124. Polycrates then prepared to visit Oroetes, despite the strong dissuasion of his diviners and friends, and a vision seen by his daughter in a dream; she dreamt that she saw her father in the air overhead being washed by Zeus and anointed by Helios; ,after this vision she used all means to persuade him not to go on this journey to Oroetes; even as he went to his fifty-oared ship she prophesied evil for him. When Polycrates threatened her that if he came back safe, she would long remain unmarried, she answered with a prayer that his threat might be fulfilled: for she would rather, she said, long remain unmarried than lose her father. 3.125. But Polycrates would listen to no advice. He sailed to meet Oroetes, with a great retinue of followers, among whom was Democedes, son of Calliphon, a man of Croton and the most skillful physician of his time. ,But no sooner had Polycrates come to Magnesia than he was horribly murdered in a way unworthy of him and of his aims; for, except for the sovereigns of Syracuse, no sovereign of Greek race is fit to be compared with Polycrates for magnificence. ,Having killed him in some way not fit to be told, Oroetes then crucified him; as for those who had accompanied him, he let the Samians go, telling them to thank him that they were free; those who were not Samians, or were servants of Polycrates' followers, he kept for slaves. ,And Polycrates hanging in the air fulfilled his daughter's vision in every detail; for he was washed by Zeus when it rained, and he was anointed by Helios as he exuded sweat from his body. 3.132.2. When the Egyptian physicians who until now had attended the king were about to be impaled for being less skilful than a Greek, Democedes interceded with the king for them and saved them; and he saved an Elean seer, too, who had been a retainer of Polycrates' and was forgotten among the slaves. Democedes was a man of considerable influence with the King. 5.44.2. This is the story which the Sybarites tell of Dorieus and his companions, but the Crotoniats say that they were aided by no stranger in their war with Sybaris with the exception of Callias, an Elean diviner of the Iamid clan. About him there was a story that he had fled to Croton from Telys, the tyrant of Sybaris, because as he was sacrificing for victory over Croton, he could obtain no favorable omens. 7.6. He said this because he desired adventures and wanted to be governor of Hellas. Finally he worked on Xerxes and persuaded him to do this, and other things happened that helped him to persuade Xerxes. ,Messengers came from Thessaly from the Aleuadae (who were princes of Thessaly) and invited the king into Hellas with all earnestness; the Pisistratidae who had come up to Susa used the same pleas as the Aleuadae, offering Xerxes even more than they did. ,They had come up to Sardis with Onomacritus, an Athenian diviner who had set in order the oracles of Musaeus. They had reconciled their previous hostility with him; Onomacritus had been banished from Athens by Pisistratus' son Hipparchus, when he was caught by Lasus of Hermione in the act of interpolating into the writings of Musaeus an oracle showing that the islands off Lemnos would disappear into the sea. ,Because of this Hipparchus banished him, though they had previously been close friends. Now he had arrived at Susa with the Pisistratidae, and whenever he came into the king's presence they used lofty words concerning him and he recited from his oracles; all that portended disaster to the Persian he left unspoken, choosing and reciting such prophecies as were most favorable, telling how the Hellespont must be bridged by a man of Persia and describing the expedition. ,So he brought his oracles to bear, while the Pisistratidae and Aleuadae gave their opinions. 7.15. Greatly frightened by the vision, Xerxes leapt up from his bed, and sent a messenger to summon Artabanus. When he came, Xerxes said, “Artabanus, for a moment I was of unsound mind, and I answered your good advice with foolish words; but after no long time I repented, and saw that it was right for me to follow your advice. ,Yet, though I desire to, I cannot do it; ever since I turned back and repented, a vision keeps coming to haunt my sight, and it will not allow me to do as you advise; just now it has threatened me and gone. ,Now if a god is sending the vision, and it is his full pleasure that there this expedition against Hellas take place, that same dream will hover about you and give you the same command it gives me. I believe that this is most likely to happen, if you take all my apparel and sit wearing it upon my throne, and then lie down to sleep in my bed.” 7.16. Xerxes said this, but Artabanus would not obey the first command, thinking it was not right for him to sit on the royal throne; at last he was compelled and did as he was bid, saying first: ,“O king, I judge it of equal worth whether a man is wise or is willing to obey good advice; to both of these you have attained, but the company of bad men trips you up; just as they say that sea, of all things the most serviceable to men, is hindered from following its nature by the blasts of winds that fall upon it. ,It was not that I heard harsh words from you that stung me so much as that, when two opinions were laid before the Persians, one tending to the increase of pride, the other to its abatement, showing how evil a thing it is to teach the heart continual desire of more than it has, of these two opinions you preferred that one which was more fraught with danger to yourself and to the Persians. ,Now when you have turned to the better opinion, you say that, while intending to abandon the expedition against the Greeks, you are haunted by a dream sent by some god, which forbids you to disband the expedition. ,But this is none of heaven's working, my son. The roving dreams that visit men are of such nature as I shall teach you, since I am many years older than you. Those visions that rove about us in dreams are for the most part the thoughts of the day; and in these recent days we have been very busy with this expedition. ,But if this is not as I determine and it has something divine to it, then you have spoken the conclusion of the matter; let it appear to me just as it has to you, and utter its command. If it really wishes to appear, it should do so to me no more by virtue of my wearing your dress instead of mine, and my sleeping in your bed rather than in my own. ,Whatever it is that appears to you in your sleep, surely it has not come to such folly as to infer from your dress that I am you when it sees me. We now must learn if it will take no account of me and not deign to appear and haunt me, whether I am wearing your robes or my own, but will come to you; if it comes continually, I myself would say that it is something divine. ,If you are determined that this must be done and there is no averting it, and I must lie down to sleep in your bed, so be it; this duty I will fulfill, and let the vision appear also to me. But until then I will keep my present opinion.” 7.17. So spoke Artabanus and did as he was bid, hoping to prove Xerxes' words vain; he put on Xerxes' robes and sat on the king's throne. Then while he slept there came to him in his sleep the same dream that had haunted Xerxes; it stood over him and spoke thus: ,“Are you the one who dissuades Xerxes from marching against Hellas, because you care for him? Neither in the future nor now will you escape with impunity for striving to turn aside what must be. To Xerxes himself it has been declared what will befall him if he disobeys.” 7.18. With this threat (so it seemed to Artabanus) the vision was about to burn his eyes with hot irons. He leapt up with a loud cry, then sat by Xerxes and told him the whole story of what he had seen in his dream, and next he said: ,“O King, since I have seen, as much as a man may, how the greater has often been brought low by the lesser, I forbade you to always give rein to your youthful spirit, knowing how evil a thing it is to have many desires, and remembering the end of Cyrus' expedition against the Massagetae and of Cambyses' against the Ethiopians, and I myself marched with Darius against the Scythians. ,Knowing this, I judged that you had only to remain in peace for all men to deem you fortunate. But since there is some divine motivation, and it seems that the gods mark Hellas for destruction, I myself change and correct my judgment. Now declare the gods' message to the Persians, and bid them obey your first command for all due preparation. Do this, so that nothing on your part be lacking to the fulfillment of the gods' commission.” ,After this was said, they were incited by the vision, and when daylight came Xerxes imparted all this to the Persians. Artabanus now openly encouraged that course which he alone had before openly discouraged. 7.143. Now there was a certain Athenian, by name and title Themistocles son of Neocles, who had lately risen to be among their chief men. He claimed that the readers of oracles had incorrectly interpreted the whole of the oracle and reasoned that if the verse really pertained to the Athenians, it would have been formulated in less mild language, calling Salamis “cruel” rather than “divine ” seeing that its inhabitants were to perish. ,Correctly understood, the gods' oracle was spoken not of the Athenians but of their enemies, and his advice was that they should believe their ships to be the wooden wall and so make ready to fight by sea. ,When Themistocles put forward this interpretation, the Athenians judged him to be a better counsellor than the readers of oracles, who would have had them prepare for no sea fight, and, in short, offer no resistance at all, but leave Attica and settle in some other country. 7.219. The seer Megistias, examining the sacrifices, first told the Hellenes at Thermopylae that death was coming to them with the dawn. Then deserters came who announced the circuit made by the Persians. These gave their signals while it was still night; a third report came from the watchers running down from the heights at dawn. ,The Hellenes then took counsel, but their opinions were divided. Some advised not to leave their post, but others spoke against them. They eventually parted, some departing and dispersing each to their own cities, others preparing to remain there with Leonidas. 7.221. Not the least proof I have of this is the fact that Leonidas publicly dismissed the seer who attended the expedition, for fear that he might die with them. This was Megistias the Acarian, said to be descended from Melampus, the one who told from the sacrifices what was going to happen to them. He was dismissed but did not leave; instead he sent away his only son who was also with the army. 7.226. This then is how the Lacedaemonians and Thespians conducted themselves, but the Spartan Dieneces is said to have exhibited the greatest courage of all. They say that he made the following speech before they joined battle with the Medes: he had learned from a Trachinian that there were so many of the barbarians that when they shot their missiles, the sun was hidden by the multitude of their arrows. ,He was not at all disturbed by this and made light of the multitude of the Medes, saying that their Trachinian foreigner brought them good news. If the Medes hid the sun, they could fight them in the shade instead of in the sun. This saying and others like it, they claim, Dieneces the Lacedaemonian left behind as a memorial. 7.227. Next after him two Lacedaemonian brothers, Alpheus and Maron, sons of Orsiphantus, are said to have been most courageous. The Thespian who gained most renown was one whose name was Dithyrambus son of Harmatides. 7.238. Having spoken in this way, Xerxes passed over the place where the dead lay and hearing that Leonidas had been king and general of the Lacedaemonians, he gave orders to cut off his head and impale it. ,It is plain to me by this piece of evidence among many others, that while Leonidas lived, king Xerxes was more incensed against him than against all others; otherwise he would never have dealt so outrageously with his dead body, for the Persians are beyond all men known in the habit of honoring valiant warriors. They, then, who received these orders did as I have said. 8.27.3. When the Phocians were besieged on Parnassus, they had with them the diviner Tellias of Elis; Tellias devised a stratagem for them: he covered six hundred of the bravest Phocians with gypsum, themselves and their armor, and led them to attack the Thessalians by night, bidding them slay whomever they should see not whitened. 8.47. All these people who live this side of Thesprotia and the Acheron river took part in the war. The Thesprotians border on the Ampraciots and Leucadians, who were the ones who came from the most distant countries to take part in the war. The only ones living beyond these to help Hellas in its danger were the Crotonians, with one ship. Its captain was Phayllus, three times victor in the Pythian games. The Crotonians are Achaeans by birth. 8.65. Dicaeus son of Theocydes, an Athenian exile who had become important among the Medes, said that at the time when the land of Attica was being laid waste by Xerxes' army and there were no Athenians in the country, he was with Demaratus the Lacedaemonian on the Thriasian plain and saw advancing from Eleusis a cloud of dust as if raised by the feet of about thirty thousand men. They marvelled at what men might be raising such a cloud of dust and immediately heard a cry. The cry seemed to be the “Iacchus” of the mysteries, ,and when Demaratus, ignorant of the rites of Eleusis, asked him what was making this sound, Dicaeus said, “Demaratus, there is no way that some great disaster will not befall the king's army. Since Attica is deserted, it is obvious that this voice is divine and comes from Eleusis to help the Athenians and their allies. ,If it descends upon the Peloponnese, the king himself and his army on the mainland will be endangered. If, however, it turns towards the ships at Salamis, the king will be in danger of losing his fleet. ,Every year the Athenians observe this festival for the Mother and the Maiden, and any Athenian or other Hellene who wishes is initiated. The voice which you hear is the ‘Iacchus’ they cry at this festival.” To this Demaratus replied, “Keep silent and tell this to no one else. ,If these words of yours are reported to the king, you will lose your head, and neither I nor any other man will be able to save you, so be silent. The gods will see to the army.” ,Thus he advised, and after the dust and the cry came a cloud, which rose aloft and floated away towards Salamis to the camp of the Hellenes. In this way they understood that Xerxes' fleet was going to be destroyed. Dicaeus son of Theocydes used to say this, appealing to Demaratus and others as witnesses. 8.96. When the battle was broken off, the Hellenes towed to Salamis as many of the wrecks as were still there and kept ready for another battle, supposing that the king could still make use of his surviving ships. ,A west wind had caught many of the wrecks and carried them to the shore in Attica called Colias. Thus not only was all the rest of the oracle fulfilled which Bacis and Musaeus had spoken about this battle, but also what had been said many years before this in an oracle by Lysistratus, an Athenian soothsayer, concerning the wrecks carried to shore there. Its meaning had eluded all the Hellenes: quote type="oracle" l met="dact"The Colian women will cook with oars. /l lBut this was to happen after the king had marched away. /l /quote 9.1. When Alexander returned and told him what he had heard from the Athenians, Mardonius set forth from Thessaly and led his army with all zeal against Athens; he also took with him all the people to whose countries he came along the way. The rulers of Thessaly did not repent of what they had already done and were readier than before to further his march. Thorax of Larissa, who had given Xerxes safe-conduct in his flight, now, without any attempt of concealment, opened a passage for Mardonius into Hellas. 9.33.1. On the second day after they had all been arrayed according to their nations and their battalions, both armies offered sacrifice. It was Tisamenus who sacrificed for the Greeks, for he was with their army as a diviner; he was an Elean by birth, a Clytiad of the Iamid clan, and the Lacedaemonians gave him the freedom of their city. 9.36. This Tisamenus had now been brought by the Spartans and was the diviner of the Greeks at Plataea. The sacrifices boded good to the Greeks if they would just defend themselves, but evil if they should cross the Asopus and be the first to attack. 9.37. Mardonius' sacrifices also foretold an unfavorable outcome if he should be zealous to attack first, and good if he should but defend himself. He too used the Greek manner of sacrifice, and Hegesistratus of Elis was his diviner, the most notable of the sons of Tellias. This man had been put in prison and condemned to die by the Spartans for the great harm which he had done them. ,Being in such bad shape inasmuch as he was in peril of his life and was likely to be very grievously maltreated before his death, he did something which was almost beyond belief; made fast in iron-bound stocks, he got an iron weapon which was brought in some way into his prison, and straightway conceived a plan of such courage as we have never known; reckoning how best the rest of it might get free, he cut off his own foot at the instep. ,This done, he tunneled through the wall out of the way of the guards who kept watch over him, and so escaped to Tegea. All night he journeyed, and all day he hid and lay hidden in the woods, till on the third night he came to Tegea, while all the people of Lacedaemon sought him. The latter were greatly amazed when they saw the half of his foot which had been cut off and lying there but not were unable to find the man himself. ,This, then, is the way in which he escaped the Lacedaemonians and took refuge in Tegea, which at that time was unfriendly to Lacedaemon. After he was healed and had made himself a foot of wood, he declared himself an open enemy of the Lacedaemonians. Yet the enmity which he bore them brought him no good at the last, for they caught him at his divinations in Zacynthus and killed him. 9.37.1. Mardonius' sacrifices also foretold an unfavorable outcome if he should be zealous to attack first, and good if he should but defend himself. He too used the Greek manner of sacrifice, and Hegesistratus of Elis was his diviner, the most notable of the sons of Tellias. This man had been put in prison and condemned to die by the Spartans for the great harm which he had done them. 9.38. The death of Hegesistratus, however, took place after the Plataean business. At the present he was by the Asopus, hired by Mardonius for no small wage, where he sacrificed and worked zealously, both for the hatred he bore the Lacedaemonians and for gain. ,When no favorable omens for battle could be won either by the Persians themselves or by the Greeks who were with them (for they too had a diviner of their own, Hippomachus of Leucas), and the Greeks kept flocking in and their army grew, Timagenides son of Herpys, a Theban, advised Mardonius to guard the outlet of the pass over Cithaeron, telling him that the Greeks were coming in daily and that he would thereby cut off many of them. 9.41. Until ten days had passed, no more was done than this. On the eleventh day from their first encampment opposite each other, the Greeks growing greatly in number and Mardonius being greatly vexed by the delay, there was a debate held between Mardonius son of Gobryas and Artabazus son of Pharnaces, who stood as high as only few others in Xerxes' esteem. ,Their opinions in council were as I will show. Artabazus thought it best that they should strike their camp with all speed and lead the whole army within the walls of Thebes. Here there was much food stored and fodder for their beasts of burden; furthermore, they could sit at their ease here and conclude the business by doing as follows: ,they could take the great store they had of gold, minted and other, and silver drinking-cups, and send all this to all places in Hellas without stint, excepting none, but especially to the chief men in the cities of Hellas. Let them do this (he said) and the Greeks would quickly surrender their liberty; but do not let the Persians risk the event of a battle. ,This opinion of his was the same as the Thebans, inasmuch as he too had special foreknowledge. Mardonius' counsel, however, was more vehement and intemperate and not at all leaning to moderation. He said that he thought that their army was much stronger than the Greeks and that they should give battle with all speed so as not to let more Greeks muster than were mustered already. As for the sacrifices of Hegesistratus, let them pay no heed to these, nor seek to wring good from them, but rather give battle after Persian custom. 9.61. When the Athenians heard that, they attempted to help the Lacedaemonians and defend them with all their might. But when their march had already begun, they were set upon by the Greeks posted opposite them, who had joined themselves to the king. For this reason, being now under attack by the foe which was closest, they could at the time send no aid. ,The Lacedaemonians and Tegeans accordingly stood alone, men-at-arms and light-armed together; there were of the Lacedaemonians fifty thousand and of the Tegeans, who had never been parted from the Lacedaemonians, three thousand. These offered sacrifice so that they would fare better in battle with Mardonius and the army which was with him. ,They could get no favorable omen from their sacrifices, and in the meanwhile many of them were killed and by far more wounded (for the Persians set up their shields for a fence, and shot showers of arrows). Since the Spartans were being hard-pressed and their sacrifices were of no avail, Pausanias lifted up his eyes to the temple of Hera at Plataea and called on the goddess, praying that they might not be disappointed in their hope. 9.62. While he was still in the act of praying, the men of Tegea leapt out before the rest and charged the barbarians, and immediately after Pausanias' prayer the sacrifices of the Lacedaemonians became favorable. Now they too charged the Persians, and the Persians met them, throwing away their bows. ,First they fought by the fence of shields, and when that was down, there was a fierce and long fight around the temple of Demeter itself, until they came to blows at close quarters. For the barbarians laid hold of the spears and broke them short. ,Now the Persians were neither less valorous nor weaker, but they had no armor; moreover, since they were unskilled and no match for their adversaries in craft, they would rush out singly and in tens or in groups great or small, hurling themselves on the Spartans and so perishing.
9. Xenophon, The Persian Expedition, 1.5.11-1.5.12, 2.6.9-2.6.15, 3.1.38, 3.2.29-3.2.31, 5.6.29 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

2.6.9. This result he accomplished by being severe; for he was gloomy in appearance and harsh in voice, and he used to punish severely, sometimes in anger, so that on occasion he would be sorry afterwards. 2.6.10. Yet he also punished on principle, for he believed there was no good in an army that went without punishment; in fact, he used to say, it was reported, that a soldier must fear his commander more than the enemy if he were to perform guard duty or keep his hands from friends or without making excuses advance against the enemy. 2.6.11. In the midst of dangers, therefore, the troops were ready to obey him implicitly and would choose no other to command them; for they said that at such times his gloominess appeared to be brightness, and his severity seemed to be resolution against the enemy, so that it appeared to betoken safety and to be no longer severity. 2.6.12. But when they had got past the danger and could go off to serve under another commander, many would desert him; for there was no attractiveness about him, but he was always severe and rough, so that the soldiers had the same feeling toward him that boys have toward a schoolmaster. 2.6.13. For this reason, also, he never had men following him out of friendship and good-will, but such as were under him because they had been put in his hands by a government or by their own need or were under the compulsion of any other necessity, yielded him implicit obedience. 2.6.14. And as soon as they began in his service to overcome the enemy, from that moment there were weighty reasons which made his soldiers efficient; for they had the feeling of confidence in the face of the enemy, and their fear of punishment at his hands kept them in a fine state of discipline. 2.6.15. Such he was as a commander, but being commanded by others was not especially to his liking, so people said. He was about fifty years old at the time of his death. 3.1.38. And now, firstly, I think you would do the army a great service if you should see to it that generals and captains are appointed as speedily as possible to take the places of those who are lost. For without leaders nothing fine or useful can be accomplished in any field, to put it broadly, and certainly not in warfare. For discipline, it seems, keeps men in safety, while the lack of it has brought many ere now to destruction. 3.2.29. It remains for me to mention the one matter which I believe is really of the greatest importance. You observe that our enemies did not muster up courage to begin hostilities against us until they had seized our generals; for they believed that so long as we had our commanders and were obedient to them, we were able to worst them in war, but when they had got possession of our commanders, they believed that the want of leadership and of discipline would be the ruin of us. 3.2.30. Therefore our present commanders must show themselves far more vigilant than their predecessors, and the men in the ranks must be far more orderly and more obedient to their commanders now than they used to be. 3.2.31. We must pass a vote that, in case anyone is disobedient, whoever of you may be at hand at the time shall join with the officer in punishing him; in this way the enemy will find themselves mightily deceived; for to-day they will behold, not one Clearchus, Clearchus was notoriously a stern disciplinarian; cp. Xen. Anab. 2.6.8 ff. but ten thousand, who will not suffer anybody to be a bad soldier.
10. Xenophon, The Cavalry General, 6.2 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

11. Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.3.3, 3.4.16, 4.2.5 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3.3.3. But Diopeithes, a man very well versed in oracles, said in support of Leotychides that there was also an oracle of Apollo which bade the Lacedaemonians beware of the lame kingship. Agesilaus was lame. Lysander, however, made reply to him, on behalf of Agesilaus, that he did not suppose the god was bidding them beware lest a king of theirs should get a sprain and become lame, but rather lest one who was not of the royal stock should become king. For the kingship would be lame in very truth when it was not the descendants of Heracles who were at the head of the state. 3.4.16. After this, when spring was just coming on, he 395 B.C. gathered his whole army at Ephesus; and desiring to train the army, he offered prizes both to the heavy-armed divisions, for the division which should be in the best physical condition, and to the cavalry divisions, for the one which should show the best horsemanship; and he also offered prizes to peltasts and bowmen, for all who should prove themselves best in their respective duties. Thereupon one might have seen all the gymnasia full of men exercising, the hippodrome full of riders, and the javelin-men and bowmen practising. 4.2.5. Accordingly they made preparations to follow with him. As for Agesilaus, he left behind him in Asia Euxenus as governor, and with him a garrison of not less than four thousand men, so that he could keep the cities safe; and seeing that most of his own soldiers were more desirous of remaining than of undertaking a campaign against Greeks, in the desire to lead with him the best men and as many as possible he offered prizes to the cities, for the one which should send the best force, and to the captains of the mercenaries, for the one who should join the expedition with the best equipped company of hoplites, of bowmen, and of peltasts. He likewise announced to the commanders of cavalry that he would also give a prize of victory to the one who should furnish the best mounted and best equipped battalion.
12. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus, 1.6.20-1.6.25, 2.1.22 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

1.6.21. This, my son, is the road to compulsory obedience, indeed, but there is another road, a short cut, to what is much better—namely, to willing obedience. For people are only too glad to obey the man who they believe takes wiser thought for their interests than they themselves do. And you might recognize that this is so in many instances but particularly in the case of the sick: how readily they call in those who are to prescribe what they must do; and at sea how cheerfully the passengers obey the captain; and how earnestly travellers desire not to get separated from those who they think are better acquainted with the road than they are. But when people think that they are going to get into trouble if they obey, they will neither yield very much for punishment nor will they be moved by gifts; for no one willingly accepts even a gift at the cost of trouble to himself. 1.6.22. You mean to say, father, that nothing is more effectual toward keeping one’s men obedient than to seem to be wiser than they? Yes said he, that is just what I mean. And how, pray, father, could one most quickly acquire such a reputation for oneself? There is no shorter road, my son, said he, than Be what you would seem to be really to be wise in those things in which you wish to seem to be wise; and when you examine concrete instances, you will realize that what I say is true. For example, if you wish to seem to be a good farmer when you are not, or a good rider, doctor, flute-player, or anything else that you are not, just think how many schemes you must invent to keep up your pretensions. And even if you should persuade any number of people to praise you, in order to give yourself a reputation, and if you should procure a fine outfit for each of your professions, you would soon be found to have practised deception; and not long after, when you were giving an exhibition of your skill, you would be shown up and convicted, too, as an impostor. 1.6.23. But how could one become really wise in foreseeing that which will prove to be useful? Obviously, my son, said he, by learning all that it is possible to acquire by learning, just as you learned tactics. But whatever it is not possible for man to learn, nor for human wisdom to foresee, that you may find out from the gods by the soothsayer’s art, and thus prove yourself wiser than others; and if you know anything that it would be best to have done, you would show yourself wiser than others if you should exert yourself to get that done; for it is a mark of greater wisdom in a man to strive to secure what is needful than to neglect it. 1.6.24. Yes; but as to the love of one’s subjects— The way to win affection and this, it seems to me at least, is one of the most important questions—the same course that you would take if you wished to gain the affection of your friends leads also to that; that is, I think, you must show yourself to be their benefactor. Yes, my son, said he; it is a difficult matter, however, always to be in a position to do good to whom you will; but to show that you rejoice with them if any good befall them, that you sympathize with them if any ill betide, that you are eager to help them in times of distress, that you are anxious that they be not crossed in any way, and that you try to prevent their being crossed; it is in these respects somehow that you ought rather to go hand in hand with them. 1.6.25. You mean to say, father, said he, that in everything the general must show more endurance than his men. Yes said he, that is just what I mean; however, never fear for that, my son; for bear in mind that the same toils do not affect the general and the private in the same way, though they have the same sort of bodies; but the honour of the general’s position and the very consciousness that nothing he does escapes notice lighten the burdens for him. 2.1.22. And as, in addition to this, he had further Competitive drill observed that people are much more willing to practise those things in which they have rivalry among themselves, he appointed contests for them in everything that he knew it was important for soldiers to practise. What he proposed was as follows: to the private soldier, that he show himself obedient to the officers, ready for hardship, eager for danger but subject to good discipline, familiar with the duties required of a soldier, neat in the care of his equipment, and ambitious about all such matters; to the corporal, that, besides being himself like the good private, he make his squad of five a model, as far as possible; to the sergeant, that he do likewise with his squad of ten, and the lieutet with his platoon The divisions of Cyrus’s army were as follows: 5 men to a corporal’s squad πεμπάς ); officer: corporal ( πεμπάδαρχος ); total men: 5. 2 corporals’ squads to a 1 sergeant’s squad δεκάς ; officer: sergeant δεκάδαρχος ; total men: 10. 5 sergeants’ squads to a platoon λόχος ; officer: lieutet λοχαγός ; total men: 50. 2 platoons to a company τάξις ; officer: captain ταξίαρχος ; total men: 100. 10 companies to a 1 regiment χιλιοστύς ; officer: colonel χιλίαρχος ; total men: 1,000. 10 regiments to a brigade μυριοστύς ; officer: general μυρίαρχος ); total men: 10,000. ; and to the captain, that he be unexceptionable himself and see to it that the officers under him get those whom they command to do their duty.
13. Lycurgus, Against Leocrates, 109, 108 (4th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

14. Theophrastus, Characters, 16.3 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

15. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 11.11.6 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

11.11.6.  And, speaking in general terms, these men alone of the Greeks down to their time passed into immortality because of their exceptional valour. Consequently not only the writers of history but also many of our poets have celebrated their brave exploits; and one of them is Simonides, the lyric poet, who composed the following encomium in their praise, worthy of their valour: of those who perished at Thermopylae All glorious is the fortune, fair the doom; Their grave's an altar, ceaseless memory's theirs Instead of lamentation, and their fate Is chant of praise. Such winding-sheet as this Nor mould nor all-consuming time shall waste. This sepulchre of valiant men has taken The fair renown of Hellas for its inmate. And witness is Leonidas, once king of Sparta, who hath left behind a crown of valour mighty and undying fame.
16. Plutarch, Lysander, 22.5-22.6 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

17. Plutarch, Pericles, 38.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

38.2. Certain it is that Theophrastus, in his Ethics, querying whether one’s character follows the bent of one’s fortunes and is forced by bodily sufferings to abandon its high excellence, records this fact, that Pericles, as he lay sick, showed one of his friends who was come to see him an amulet that the women had hung round his neck, as much as to say that he was very badly off to put up with such folly as that.
18. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.32.3, 3.11.5 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.32.3. Before turning to a description of the islands, I must again proceed with my account of the parishes. There is a parish called Marathon, equally distant from Athens and Carystus in Euboea . It was at this point in Attica that the foreigners landed, were defeated in battle, and lost some of their vessels as they were putting off from the land. 490 B.C. On the plain is the grave of the Athenians, and upon it are slabs giving the names of the killed according to their tribes; and there is another grave for the Boeotian Plataeans and for the slaves, for slaves fought then for the first time by the side of their masters. 3.11.5. At the altar of Augustus they show a bronze statue of Agias. This Agias, they say, by divining for Lysander captured the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami with the exception of ten ships of war. 405 B.C. These made their escape to Cyprus ; all the rest the Lacedaemonians captured along with their crews. Agias was a son of Agelochus, a son of Tisamenus.
19. Demosthenes, Orations, 25.79

20. Epigraphy, Seg, 29.361, 35.626

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acropolis,athenian Bowie (2021) 450
aeneas the tactician Eidinow (2007) 253
agios,tisamenos grandson Eidinow (2007) 253
aigospotami Eidinow (2007) 253
alexander the great Bremmer (2008) 138
alexidamus Bowie (2021) 456
amphictyons Bowie (2021) 315
anacreon Bowie (2021) 315
aphrodite,karneios of sparta Mikalson (2003) 212
archilochus,i,v,vii,ix,xi Bowie (2021) 315, 456
areopagos council Henderson (2020) 91
aristandros Bremmer (2008) 138; Eidinow (2007) 253
artabanus of persia Mikalson (2003) 141
artaüctes of persia Mikalson (2003) 141
athenian Bowie (2021) 460
bacchylides Bowie (2021) 456
balaam Bremmer (2008) 138
callimachus,polemarch Bowie (2021) 450
cambyses of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141
chresmologoi Mikalson (2003) 141
chrêsmologos Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
colophon Bowie (2021) 89
competition Bowie (2021) 315
corinth,corinthian Bowie (2021) 450
croesus of lydia,piety of Mikalson (2003) 141
croton Bowie (2021) 456
cyrus of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141
daimones Mikalson (2003) 141
dead,treatment of Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
dedications Mikalson (2003) 141
deictic Bowie (2021) 456, 460
delphic oracle,to spartans Mikalson (2003) 65
delphic oracle,wooden wall, Mikalson (2003) 141
dillery,john Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
diopeithes Eidinow (2007) 253
divination,and authority Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
divination,and patronage Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
divination,and war Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
dreams,of polycrates daughter Mikalson (2003) 141
dreams Mikalson (2003) 141
eagle,and snake Bremmer (2008) 138
egypt and egyptians Mikalson (2003) 141
elea Bowie (2021) 89
ephesos Henderson (2020) 91
epic,i Bowie (2021) 315
epinicion Bowie (2021) 456
epitaphs,from thermopylae Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
epitaphs Mikalson (2003) 66
euripides,on free greeks and slavish barbarians Isaac (2004) 278
eutaxia Henderson (2020) 91
euthynai Henderson (2020) 91
festival Bowie (2021) 315
festivals,carneia of sparta Mikalson (2003) 212
festivals,of war heroes at sparta Mikalson (2003) 65
festivals,olympic games Mikalson (2003) 212
greeks,celebrate victory over persians Isaac (2004) 278
hellene Bowie (2021) 460
heracles,sparta and Mikalson (2003) 65
herodotus Bowie (2021) 315, 450, 456, 460; Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
hierokles Eidinow (2007) 253
homer,iliad Eidinow (2007) 253
homer Bowie (2021) 315
homeric hymn to apollo Bowie (2021) 456
ibycus Bowie (2021) 315
impiety,of maltreating dead Mikalson (2003) 65
italy Bowie (2021) 89, 456
leocrates Bowie (2021) 460
leonidas Bremmer (2008) 138; Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
leonidas of sparta Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
locri Bowie (2021) 456
locrians of opous Mikalson (2003) 66
lysistratus of athens Mikalson (2003) 141
mania,in warfare Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
mania Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
manteis Mikalson (2003) 66, 141
marathon Bowie (2021) 450
martial Bowie (2021) 315
mede Bowie (2021) 89, 460
megistias Bowie (2021) 89, 315; Bremmer (2008) 138; Eidinow (2007) 253
megistias of acarnania Mikalson (2003) 66, 141
melampodids Eidinow (2007) 253
melampous Bremmer (2008) 138
melampus Mikalson (2003) 66
metapontum Bowie (2021) 456
mimnermus Bowie (2021) 315
miracles,at athens Mikalson (2003) 141
mopsus Bremmer (2008) 138
narrative elegy Bowie (2021) 89
nicias Bremmer (2008) 138
nomoi Mikalson (2003) 65
omens,to artaüctes Mikalson (2003) 141
omens,to athenians Mikalson (2003) 141
omens,to greeks Mikalson (2003) 141
omens,to spartans Mikalson (2003) 66
omens Mikalson (2003) 141
onomacritus Mikalson (2003) 141
page,denys Bowie (2021) 89, 460
pausanias Bowie (2021) 456, 460
pausanias of sparta,memorial of Mikalson (2003) 65
peek,w. Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
peloponnese Bowie (2021) 456, 460
persia,persian Bowie (2021) 315, 450
phayllus,of croton Bowie (2021) 456
philiades of megara Mikalson (2003) 66
philip ii Bremmer (2008) 138
philochoros,on divination Eidinow (2007) 253
plato,diotima (in symposion) Eidinow (2007) 253
polis Bowie (2021) 315
polyandrion Bowie (2021) 456
polycrates Bowie (2021) 315
polycrates of samos Mikalson (2003) 141
polykrates of samos Eidinow (2007) 253
prayers,of lydians Mikalson (2003) 141
prayers Mikalson (2003) 141
rhegium Bowie (2021) 456
rhodes Bowie (2021) 89
sacrifices,before battle Mikalson (2003) 66
sacrifices Mikalson (2003) 141
salamis Bowie (2021) 450, 456
samos Bowie (2021) 89
satyra of larissa Eidinow (2007) 253
seers,as warriors' Bremmer (2008) 138
seers Bremmer (2008) 138
semonides Bowie (2021) 89
ship Bowie (2021) 456
simonides Bowie (2021) 89, 315, 450, 460; Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
simonides of ceos Mikalson (2003) 65, 66, 212
skolia Bowie (2021) 89
smyrna Bowie (2021) 89
sophronistes Henderson (2020) 91
sparta Bowie (2021) 89; Henderson (2020) 91
spartan Bowie (2021) 315
spartans,treatment of dead Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
spartans Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
spercheius Bowie (2021) 89
sthorys of thasos Eidinow (2007) 253
stilbides Bremmer (2008) 138
strymon Bremmer (2008) 138
suda Bowie (2021) 460
sybil,the Eidinow (2007) 253
symmachos Eidinow (2007) 253
telenikos Bremmer (2008) 138; Eidinow (2007) 253
telmessos Bremmer (2008) 138
theognis and the theognidea Bowie (2021) 315
thermopylae,battle of Johnston and Struck (2005) 205
thermopylae Bowie (2021) 89, 315, 450, 456, 460
thespians Mikalson (2003) 65, 66
timaeus Bowie (2021) 456
timocreon Bowie (2021) 89
troy Bowie (2021) 315
tyrtaeus Bowie (2021) 89, 315
victor,pythian Bowie (2021) 456
virtues,eutaxia (discipline, good order) Henderson (2020) 91
virtues,peitharkhia (obedience) Henderson (2020) 91
virtues,sophrosyne (self-mastery, self-control, moderation, modesty) Henderson (2020) 91
west greek Bowie (2021) 456
xenia Mikalson (2003) 66
xenophanes Bowie (2021) 89
xenophon,on seers Eidinow (2007) 253
xenophon Henderson (2020) 91
xerxes of persia,dreams of Mikalson (2003) 141
xerxes of persia,impieties of Mikalson (2003) 65
xerxes of persia,oracles to Mikalson (2003) 141
zeus Mikalson (2003) 65