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gives in his tragedy called the Persians *, as on his certain knowledge, in the following words
Xerxes, I know did into battle lead
Seven and two hundred. So is it agreed. The Athenians had a hundred and eighty; in every ship eighteen men fought upon the deck, four of whom were archers, and the rest men-at-arms. As Themistocles had fixed upon the most advantageous place, so with no less sagacity, he chose the best time of fighting. For he would not bring up his galleys to face the Persians, nor begin the fight, till the time of day was come when there regularly blows in a fresh breeze from the open sea, and brings in with it a strong swell into the channel; which was no inconvenience to the Greek ships, which were low-built and little above the water, but did much hurt to the Persians, which had high sterns and lofty decks, and were heavy and cumbrous in their movements, as it presented them broadside to the quick charges of the Greeks, who kept their eyes upon the motions of Themistocles, as their best example, and more particularly because opposed to his ship, Ariamenes, admiral to Xerxes, a brave man, and by far the best and worthiest
* The play was firsť acted within a very few years after the battle, so that this is the contemporary account, or one of the contemporary accounts. The words are put in the mouth of a Persian who had fled from the battle, and tells Atossa, the mother of Xerxes, of the defeat. Æschylus himself, and his brother Cynægirus, had fought with honour at Marathon; and it is commonly said that Aminias the Decelean, mentioned just below, was also his brother, but for this there is no good authority.
of the king's brothers, was seen throwing darts and shooting arrows from his huge galley, as from the walls of a castle. Aminias the Decelean and Sosicles the Pedian, who sailed in the same vessel, upon the ships meeting stem to stem and transfixing each the other with their brazen prows, so that they were fastened together, when Ariamenes attempted to board theirs, ran at him with their pikes, and thrust him into the sea; his body, as it floated amongst other shipwrecks,
was known by Artemisia*, and carried to Xerxes. 15 It is related, that just at this time, in the middle of
the fight, a great flame rose into the air above the city of Eleusis, and that sounds and voices were heard through all the Thriasian plain, as far as the sounding like a number of men accompanying and escorting the mystic Iacchus t, and that a cloud seemed to form and rise from the place from whence the sounds came, and passing forward, descended upon the galleys. Others believed that they saw apparitions in the shape of armed men, reaching out their hands from the island of Ægina before the Grecian galleys; and supposed they were the Æacidæț, whom they had invoked to their aid before the battle. The first man that took a ship
* Artemisia was an Asiatic Greek princess, who ruled over Halicarnassus, and served under Xerxes with five galleys, and received great honour at his hands.
+ There was annually a great procession, in which the image of the mystic Iacchus or Bacchus, the god of wine, was carried out from the town of Athens, amid a concourse of worshippers, to pay a visit of honour to his mother Demeter (Earth-mother), or Ceres, at Eleusis. See the “Life of Alcibiades,” page 166. The battle was fought just about the time for the procession.
The Æacidæ or descendants of Æacus were the native and
was Lycomedes, an Athenian, captain of a galley, who cut down its ensign, and dedicated it to Apollo the Laurel-crowned, at Phlya. And as the Persians fought in a narrow arm of the sea, and could bring but part of their fleet to fight, and fell foul of one another, the Greeks thus equalled them in strength, and fought with them till the evening, and forced them back, and obtained, as says Simonides *, that noble and famous victory, than which neither amongst the Greeks nor barbarians was ever known more glorious exploit on the seas, by the joint valour indeed and zeal of all who fought, but by the wisdom and sagacity of Themistocles.
After this sea fight, Xerxes, enraged at his ill-fortune, 16 attempted, by casting great heaps of earth and stones into the sea, to stop up the channel and to make a dam, upon which he might lead his land forces over into the island of Salamis. And Themistocles, being desirous to try the judgment of Aristides, told him that he proposed to set sail for the Hellespont, to break the bridge of ships, so as to shut up, he said, Asia a prisoner within Europe. But Aristides disliking the design said, “We have hitherto fought with an enemy who has regarded little else but his pleasure and luxury; but if we shut him up within Greece, and drive him to necessity, he that is master of such great forces will no longer sit. quietly with an umbrella of gold over his head, looking upon the fight for his pleasure; but in such a strait
tutelar heroes of Ægina and Salamis. His sons were Telamon and Peleus, and their sons Ajax and Achilles.
* Simonides most likely wrote an ode in celebration of the rictory. There are fragments remaining of odes which he wrote in honour of the battles of Artemisium and Thermopylæ.
will attempt all things; he will be resolute, and appear himself in person upon all occasions, he will correct his errors, and supply what he has formerly omitted through remissness, and will be better advised in all things. Therefore, it is no way our interest, Themistocles," he said, “ to take away the bridge that is already made, but rather to build another, if it were possible, that he might make his way out of Europe with the more expedition.” To which Themistocles answe
swered, If this be requisite, it will be well for us to use our art and industry, to rid ourselves of him as soon as may be;" and to this purpose he found out among the captives one of the king of Persia's eunuchs, named Arnaces, whom he sent to the king, to inform him that the Greeks, being now victorious by sea, had decreed to sail to the Hellespont, where the boats were fastened together, and destroy the bridge; but that Themistocles being concerned for the king revealed this to him, that he might hasten towards the Asiatic seas, and pass over into his own dominions; and in the mean time he would cause delays, and hinder the confederates from pursuing him. Xerxes no sooner heard this, but being very much terrified, he proceeded to retreat out of Greece with all
speed; and the prudence of Themistocles and Aristides Battle in this, was afterwards more fully shown by the battle
of Platæa, where Mardonius, with a very small fraction B.C. 479. of the forces of Xerxes, put the Greeks in danger of
losing all. 17 Herodotus writes, that of all the cities of Greece,
Ægina was held to have performed the best service in the battle; while all single men yielded to Themistocles, though, out of envy, unwillingly; and when they re
turned to the entrance of Peloponnesus, where the several commanders delivered their suffrages at the altar, to determine who was most worthy, every one gave the first vote for himself and the second for Themistocles. The Lacedæmonians carried him with them to Sparta, where, giving the rewards of valour to Eurybiades, and of wisdom and conduct to Themistocles, they crowned him with olive, presented him with the best chariot in the city, and sent three hundred young men to accompany him to the confines of their country. And at the next Olympic games, when Themistocles 76th
Olym entered the course, the spectators took no farther notice piad. of those who were contesting the prizes, but spent the whole day in looking upon him, showing him to the strangers, admiring him, and applauding him by clapping their hands, and other expressions of joy, so that he himself, much gratified, confessed to his friends that he then reaped the fruit of all his labours for the Greeks. He was indeed by nature a great lover of honour,
18 is evident from the anecdotes recorded of him. When chosen admiral by the Athenians, he would not quite conclude any single matter of business, either public or private, but deferred all till the day they were to set sail, that, by despatching a great quantity of business all at once, and having to meet a great variety of people, he might make an appearance of greatness and power. Viewing the dead bodies cast up by the sea, he perceived bracelets and necklaces of gold about them, yet passed on, only showing them to a friend that followed him, saying, “Take you these things, for you are not Themistocles.” He said to Antiphates, a