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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 164

25. When the herald had proclaimed this, then boats were of all things most in request, so many were they who desired to see this sight; and when they had passed over they went through the dead bodies and looked at them: and every one supposed that those who were lying there were all Lacedemonians or Thespians, though the Helots also were among those that they saw: however, they who had passed over did not fail to perceive that Xerxes had done that which I mentioned about the bodies of his own dead; for in truth it was a thing to cause laughter even: on the one side there were seen a thousand dead bodies lying, while the others lay all gathered together in the same place, four thousand 17 of them. During this day then they busied themselves with looking, and on the day after this they sailed back to the ships at Histaia, while Xerxes and his army set forth upon their march.

26. There had come also to them a few deserters from Arcadia, men in want of livelihood and desiring to be employed. These the Persians brought into the king's presence and inquired about the Hellenes, what they were doing; and one man it was who asked them this for all the rest. They told them that the Hellenes were keeping the Olympic festival and were looking on at a contest of athletics and horsemanship. He then inquired again, what was the prize proposed to them, for the sake of which they contended; and they told them of the wreath of olive which is given. Then Tigranes 18 the son of Artabanos uttered a thought which was most noble, though thereby he incurred from the king the reproach of cowardice: for hearing that the prize was a wreath and not money, he could not endure to keep silence, but in the presence of all he spoke these words: "Ah! Mardonios, what kind of men are these against whom thou hast brought us to fight, who make their contest not for money but for honour!" Thus was it spoken by this man.

27. In the meantime, so soon as the disaster at Thermopylai had come about, the Thessalians sent a herald forthwith to the Phokians, against whom they had a grudge always, but especially because of the latest disaster which they had suffered: for when both the Thessalians themselves and their allies had invaded the Phokian land not many years before this expedition of the king, they had been defeated by the Phokians and handled by them roughly. For the Phokians had been shut up in Mount Parnassos having with them a soothsayer, Tellias the Eleian; and this Tellias contrived for them a device of the following kind:—he took six hundred men, the best of the Phokians, and whitened them over with chalk, both themselves and their armour, and then he attacked the Thessalians by night, telling the Phokians beforehand to slay every man whom they should see not coloured over with white. So not only the sentinels of the Thessalians, who saw these first, were terrified by them, supposing it to be something portentous and other than it was, but also after the sentinels the main body of their army; so that the Phokians remained in possession of four thousand bodies of slain men and shields; of which last they dedicated half at Abai and half at Delphi; and from the tithe of booty got by this battle were made the large statues which are contending for the tripod in front of the temple 19 at Delphi, and others similar to these are dedicated as an offering at Abai.


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