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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 100

51. After this Artabanos said: "O king, since thou dost urge us not to have fear of anything, do thou I pray thee accept a counsel from me; for when speaking of many things it is necessary to extend speech to a greater length. Cyrus the son of Cambyses subdued all Ionia except the Athenians, so that it was tributary to the Persians. These men therefore I counsel thee by no means to lead against their parent stock, seeing that even without these we are able to get the advantage over our enemies. For supposing that they go with us, either they must prove themselves doers of great wrong, if they join in reducing their mother city to slavery, or doers of great right, if they join in freeing her: now if they show themselves doers of great wrong, they bring us no very large gain in addition; but if they show themselves doers of great right, they are able then to cause much damage to thy army. Therefore lay to heart also the ancient saying, how well it has been said that at the first beginning of things the end does not completely appear."

52. To this Xerxes made answer: "Artabanos, of all the opinions which thou hast uttered, thou art mistaken most of all in this; seeing that thou fearest lest the Ionians should change side, about whom we have a most sure proof, of which thou art a witness thyself and also the rest are witnesses who went with Dareios on his march against the Scythians,—namely this, that the whole Persian army then came to be dependent upon these men, whether they would destroy or whether they would save it, and they displayed righteous dealing and trustworthiness, and nought at all that was unfriendly. Besides this, seeing that they have left children and wives and wealth in our land, we must not even imagine that they will make any rebellion. 50 Fear not then this thing either, but have a good heart and keep safe my house and my government; for to thee of all men I entrust my sceptre of rule."

53. Having thus spoken and having sent Artabanos back to Susa, next Xerxes summoned to his presence the men of most repute among the Persians, and when they were come before him, he spoke to them as follows: "Persians, I assembled you together desiring this of you, that ye should show yourselves good men and should not disgrace the deeds done in former times by the Persians, which are great and glorious; but let us each one of us by himself, and all together also, be zealous in our enterprise; for this which we labour for is a common good for all. And I exhort you that ye preserve in the war without relaxing your efforts, because, as I am informed, we are marching against good men, and if we shall overcome them, there will not be any other army of men which will ever stand against us. Now therefore let us begin the crossing, after having made prayer to those gods who have the Persians 51 for their allotted charge."


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