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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 114

116. Then when he had come to Acanthos, Xerxes proclaimed a guest-friendship with the people of Acanthos and also presented them with the Median dress 107 and commended them, perceiving that they were zealous to serve him in the war and hearing of that which had been dug.

117. And while Xerxes was in Acanthos, it happened that he who had been set over the making of the channel, Artachaies by name, died of sickness, a man who was highly esteemed by Xerxes and belonged to the Achaimenid family; also he was in stature the tallest of all the Persians, falling short by only four fingers of being five royal cubits 108 in height, and he had a voice the loudest of all men; so that Xerxes was greatly grieved at the loss of him, and carried him forth and buried him with great honour, and the whole army joined in throwing up a mound for him. To this Artachaies the Acanthians by the bidding of an oracle do sacrifice as a hero, calling upon his name in worship.

118. King Xerxes, I say, was greatly grieved at the loss of Artachaies: and meanwhile the Hellenes who were entertaining his army and providing Xerxes with dinners had been brought to utter ruin, so that they were being driven from house and home; seeing that when the Thasians, for example, entertained the army of Xerxes and provided him with a dinner on behalf of their towns upon the mainland, Antipater the son of Orgeus, who had been appointed for this purpose, a man of repute among the citizens equal to the best, reported that four hundred talents of silver had been spent upon the dinner.

119. Just so or nearly so in the other cities also those who were set over the business reported the reckoning to be: for the dinner was given as follows, having been ordered a long time beforehand, and being counted by them a matter of great importance:—In the first place, so soon as they heard of it from the heralds who carried round the proclamation, the citizens in the various cities distributed corn among their several households, and all continued to make wheat and barley meal for many months; then they fed cattle, finding out and obtaining the finest animals for a high price; and they kept birds both of the land and of the water, in cages or in pools, all for the entertainment of the army. Then again they had drinking-cups and mixing-bowls made of gold and of silver, and all the other things which are placed upon the table: these were made for the king himself and for those who ate at his table; but for the rest of the army only the things appointed for food were provided. Then whenever the army came to any place, there was a tent pitched ready wherein Xerxes himself made his stay, while the rest of the army remained out in the open air; and when it came to be time for dinner, then the entertainers had labour; but the others, after they had been satiated with food and had spent the night there, on the next day tore up the tent and taking with them all the movable furniture proceeded on their march, leaving nothing, but carrying all away with them.


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