Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Δευτέρα, 27 Αυγούστου 2018

Herodotus original text about the heroic battle of Marathon against Persians

And first, while they were yet in the city, the generals sent as a herald to Sparta Phidippides, an Athenian, and one, moreover, that was a runner of long distances and made that his calling. This man, as he said himself and told the Athenians, when he was in the Parthenian hills above Tegea, met with Pan; who, calling to Phidippides by name, bade him say to the Athenians, "Why is it that ye take no thought for me, that am your friend, and ere now have oft been serviceable to you, and will be so again?" This story the Athenians believed to be true, and when their state won to prosperity they founded a temple of Pan beneath the acropolis, and for that message sought the god's favour with yearly sacrifices and torch-races. But now, at the time when he was sent by the generals and said that Pan had appeared to him, this Phidippides was at Sparta on the day after he left Athens; and he came before the rulers and said, "Lacedaemonians, the Athenians entreat you to send them help, and not suffer a most ancient city of Hellas to be brought into bondage by foreigners; for even now Eretria has been enslaved, and Hellas is the weaker by the loss of a notable city." Thus Phidippides gave the message wherewith he was charged, and the Lacedaemonians resolved to send help to the Athenians; but they could not do this immediately, being loath to break their law; for it was the ninth day of the first part of the month, and they would make no expedition (they said) on the ninth day, when the moon was not full.
So they waited for the full moon. As for the Persians, they were guided to Marathon by Hippias son of Pisistratus. Hippias in the past night had seen a vision in his sleep, wherein he thought that he lay with his own mother; he interpreted this dream to signify that he should return to Athens and recover his power, and so die an old man in his own mother-country. Thus he interpreted the vision; for the nonce, being the Persians' guide, he carried the slaves taken in Eretria to the island of the Styreans called Aeglea; moreover, it was he who made the ships to anchor when they had put in at Marathon, and who set the foreigners in array when they were landed. Now while he dealt with these matters he fell a‑sneezing and a‑coughing more violently than he was wont; he was well stricken in years, and the most of his teeth were loose; whereby the violence of his cough made one of his teeth to fall out. It fell into the sand, and Hippias used all diligence to find it; but the tooth being nowhere to be seen, he said lamentably to them that stood by, "This land is none of ours, nor shall we avail to subdue it; my tooth has all the share of it that was for me."
This then Hippias guessed to be the fulfilment of his dream. The Athenians were arrayed in the precinct of Heracles, and now the whole power of the Plataeans came to their aid; for the Plataeans had put themselves under the protection of Athens, and the Athenians had taken upon them many labours for their sake. The manner of the Plataeans' so doing was this: Being hard pressed by the Thebans, they had offered themselves to the first comers, Cleomenes son of Anaxandrides and the Lacedaemonians; but these would not accept them, and said: "We dwell afar off, and such aid as ours would be found but cold comfort to you; for you might be enslaved many times over ere any of us heard of it. We counsel you to put yourselves in the protection of the Athenians, who are your neighbours, and can defend you right well." This counsel the Lacedaemonians gave not so much out of their goodwill to the Plataeans, as because they desired that the Athenians should bring trouble on themselves by making enemies of the Boeotians. The Lacedaemonians, then, gave them this counsel; the Plataeans obeyed it, and when the Athenians were sacrificing to the twelve gods they came as suppliants and sat them down by the altar, and so put themselves under protection. Hearing of this the Thebans sent an army against the Plataeans, and the Athenians came to the Plataeans' aid; but when they were about to join general, the Corinthians would not suffer them; as they chanced to be there, they made a reconciliation at the instance of both the parties, and drew a frontier line on the condition that the Thebans should not meddle with such Boeotians as desired not to be reckoned as part and parcel of Boeotia. Having given this judgment the Corinthians took their departure; but when the Athenians were on their way home the Boeotians set upon them and were worsted in the fight. The Athenians then made a frontier beyond that which had been assigned by the Corinthians for the Plataeans, and set the Asopus itself for the Theban border on the side of Plataea and Hysiae. In the manner aforesaid the Plataeans had put themselves in the protection of the Athenians, and now they came to Marathon to aid them.
But the counsels of the Athenian generals were divided; some advised that they should not fight, thinking they were too few to do battle with the Median army, and some, of whom was Miltiades, that they should. Now there was an eleventh that had a vote, namely, that Athenian who had been chosen as polemarch by lot, for by old Athenian custom the polemarch voted among the generals, and at this time the polemarch was Callimachus of Aphidnae; so their counsels being divided and the worse opinion like to prevail, Miltiades betook himself to this man. "Callimachus," said he, "it is for you to‑day to choose, whether you will enslave Athens, or free her and thereby leave such a memorial for all posterity as was left not even by Harmodius and Aristogiton. For now is Athens in greater peril than ever since she was first a city; and if her people bow their necks to the Medes, their fate is certain, for they will be delivered over to Hippias; but if our city be saved, she may well grow to be the first of Greek cities. How then this can be brought about, and how it comes that the deciding voice in these matters is yours, I will now show you. We ten generals are divided in counsel, some bidding us to fight and some to forbear. Now if we forbear to fight, it is likely that some great schism will rend and shake the courage of our people till they make friends of the Medes; but if we join battle before some at Athens be infected by corruption, then let heaven but deal fairly with us, and we may well win in this fight. It is you that all this concerns; all hangs on you; for if you join yourself to my opinion, you make your country free and your city the first in Hellas; but if you choose the side of them that would persuade us not to fight, you will have wrought the very opposite of the blessings whereof I have spoken."
By this plea Miltiades won Callimachus to be his ally; and with the polemarch's vote added it was resolved to fight. Thereafter the generals whose counsel was for fighting made over to Miltiades the day's right of leading that fell to each severally; he received it, but would not join battle till the day of his own leadership came round.
When his turn came, then were the Athenians arrayed for battle as I shall show: the right wing was commanded by Callimachus the polemarch; for it was then the Athenian custom, that the holder of that office should have the right wing. He being there captain, next to him came the tribes one after another in the order of their numbers; last of all the Plataeans were posted on the left wing. Ever since that fight, when the Athenians bring sacrifices to the assemblies that are held at the five-yearly festivals, the Athenian herald prays that all blessings may be granted to Athenians and Plataeans alike. But now, when the Athenians were arriving at Marathon, it so fell out that their line being equal in length to the Median, the middle part of it was but a few ranks deep, and here the line was weakest, each wing being strong in numbers.
Their battle being arrayed and the omens of sacrifice favouring, straightway the Athenians were let go and charged the Persians at a run. There was between the armies a space of not less than eight furlongs. When the Persians saw them come running they prepared to receive them, deeming the Athenians frenzied to their utter destruction, who being (as they saw) so few were yet charging them at speed, albeit they had no horsemen nor archers. Such was the imagination of the foreigners; but the Athenians, closing all together with the Persians, fought in admirable fashion; for they were the first Greeks, within my knowledge, who charged their enemies at a run, and the first who endured the sight of Median garments and men clad therein; till then, the Greeks were affrighted by the very name of the Medes.
For a long time they fought at Marathon; and the foreigners overcame the middle part of the line, against which the Persians themselves and the Sacae were arrayed; here the foreigners prevailed and broke the Greeks, pursuing them inland. But on either wing the Athenians and Plataeans were victorious; and being so, they suffered the routed of their enemies to fly, and drew their wings together to fight against those that had broken the middle of their line; and here the Athenians had the victory, and followed after the Persians in their flight, hewing them down, till they came to the sea. There they called for fire and laid hands on the ships. In this work was slain Callimachus the polemarch, after doing doughty deeds; there too died one of the generals, Stesilaus son of Thrasylaus; moreover, Cynegirus son of Euphorion fell there, his hand smitten off by an axe as he laid hold of a ship's poop, and many other famous Athenians. Seven ships the Athenians thus won; with the rest the Persians pushed off from shore, and taking the Eretrian slaves from the island wherein they had left them, sailed round Sunium, hoping to win to the city before the Athenians' coming. There was an accusation rife at Athens that this plan arose from a device of the Alcmeonidae, who, it was said, made a compact with the Persians and held up a shield for them to see when they were now on shipboard.
So the Persians sailed round Sunium; but the Athenians marched back with all speed to defend their city, and outstripped the foreigners in their coming; they came from one precinct of Heracles at Marathon, and encamped in another at Cynosarges. The foreign fleet lay a while off Phalerum, which was then the Athenians' arsenal; there they anchored, and thence sailed away back to Asia. In this fight at Marathon there were slain of the foreigners about six thousand four hundred men, and of the Athenians a hundred and ninety‑two. These are the numbers of them that fell on both sides. And it fell out that a marvellous thing happened: a certain Athenian, Epizelus son of Cuphagoras, while he fought doughtily in the mellay lost the sight of his eyes, albeit neither stabbed in any part nor shot, and for the rest of his life continued blind from that day. I heard that he told the tale of this mishap thus: a tall man-at‑arms (he said) encountered him, whose beard spread all over his shield; this apparition passed Epizelus by, but slew his neighbour in the line. Such was the tale Epizelus told, as I heard.
Datis journeyed with his army to Asia; and being arrived at Myconos he saw a vision in his sleep. What that vision was, no man says; but as soon as day broke, Datis made search through his ships; and finding in a Phoenician ship a gilt image of Apollo, he enquired whence this plunder had been taken. Learning from what temple it had come, he sailed in his own ship to Delos; where, the Delians being now returned to their island, Datis set the image in the temple, and charged the Delians to carry it away to the Theban place Delium, on the sea‑coast over against Chalcis. This charge given, Datis sailed back. But the Delians never carried that statue away; twenty years after that, the Thebans brought it to Delium, being so commanded by an oracle.
When Datis and Artaphrenes touched Asia in their voyage, they carried the enslaved Eretrians inland to Susa. Before the Eretrians were taken captive king Darius had been terribly wroth with them for doing him unprovoked wrong; but seeing them brought before him and subject to him, he did them no hurt, but gave them a domain of his own called Ardericca in the Cissian land to dwell in; this place is two hundred and ten furlongs distant from Susa, and forty from the well that is of three kinds, whence men bring up asphalt and salt and oil. This is the manner of their doing it: a windlass is used in the drawing, with half a skin made fast to it in place of a bucket; therewith he that draws dips into the well, and then pours into a tank, whence what is drawn is poured into another tank, and goes three ways; the asphalt and the salt grow forthwith solid; the oil, which the Persians call rhadinace, is dark and evil-smelling. There king Darius planted the Eretrians, and they dwelt in that place till my time, keeping their ancient language. Such was the fate of the Eretrians.
After the full moon two thousand Lacedaemonians came to Athens, making so great haste to reach it that they were in Attica on the third day from their leaving Sparta. Albeit they came too late for the battle, yet they desired to see the Medes; and they went to Marathon and saw them. Presently they departed back again, praising the Athenians and their achievement. It is to me a thing marvellous and incredible, that the Alcmeonidae could ever by agreement have held up a shield as a sign for the Persians, desiring to make Athens subject to foreigners and to Hippias; for it is plain to see that they were despot-haters as much as Callias (son of Phaenippus and father of Hipponicus), ay, and even more than he. Callias was the only Athenian who dared buy Pisistratus' possessions when they were put up to auction by the state after Pisistratus' banishment from Athens; and he devised other acts of bitter enmity against him.
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1 σχόλιο:

  1. They are darker than whites. Most Greek people are tan, with a tint of yellow in their skin, have dark, big, eyes, thick eyebrows, larger noses, round lips, and dark hair. Most of the time, they are shorter.

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