<<<
>>>

The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 150

237. To him Xerxes made answer as follows: "Achaimenes, I think that thou speakest well, and so will I do; but Demaratos speaks that which he believes to be best for me, though his opinion is defeated by thine: for I will not certainly admit that which thou saidest, namely that he is not well-disposed to my cause, judging both by what was said by him before this, and also by that which is the truth, namely that though one citizen envies another for his good fortune and shows enmity to him by his silence, 240 nor would a citizen when a fellow-citizen consulted him suggest that which seemed to him the best, unless he had attained to a great height of virtue, and such men doubtless are few; yet guest-friend to guest-friend in prosperity is well-disposed as nothing else on earth, and if his friend should consult him, he would give him the best counsel. Thus then as regards the evil-speaking against Demaratos, that is to say about one who is my guest-friend, I bid every one abstain from it in the future."

238. Having thus said Xerxes passed in review the bodies of the dead; and as for Leonidas, hearing that he had been the king and commander of the Lacedemonians he bade them cut off his head and crucify him. And it has been made plain to me by many proofs besides, but by none more strongly than by this, that king Xerxes was enraged with Leonidas while alive more than with any other man on earth; for otherwise he would never have done this outrage to his corpse; since of all the men whom I know, the Persians are accustomed most to honour those who are good men in war. They then to whom it was appointed to do these things, proceeded to do so.

239. I will return now to that point of my narrative where it remained unfinished. 241 The Lacedemonians had been informed before all others that the king was preparing an expedition against Hellas; and thus it happened that they sent to the Oracle at Delphi, where that reply was given them which I reported shortly before this. And they got this information in a strange manner; for Demaratos the son of Ariston after he had fled for refuge to the Medes was not friendly to the Lacedemonians, as I am of opinion and as likelihood suggests supporting my opinion; but it is open to any man to make conjecture whether he did this thing which follows in a friendly spirit or in malicious triumph over them. When Xerxes had resolved to make a campaign against Hellas, Demaratos, being in Susa and having been informed of this, had a desire to report it to the Lacedemonians. Now in no other way was he able to signify it, for there was danger that he should be discovered, but he contrived thus, that is to say, he took a folding tablet and scraped off the wax which was upon it, and then he wrote the design of the king upon the wood of the tablet, and having done so he melted the wax and poured it over the writing, so that the tablet (being carried without writing upon it) might not cause any trouble to be given by the keepers of the road. Then when it had arrived at Lacedemon, the Lacedemonians were not able to make conjecture of the matter; until at last, as I am informed, Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes and wife of Leonidas, suggested a plan of which she had herself thought, bidding them scrape the wax and they would find writing upon the wood; and doing as she said they found the writing and read it, and after that they sent notice to the other Hellenes. These things are said to have come to pass in this manner. 242


<<<
>>>