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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 203

12. They then, I say, were hastening towards the Isthmus; and the Argives so soon as they heard that Pausanias with his army had gone forth from Sparta, sent as a herald to Attica the best whom they could find of the long-distance runners, 12 because they had before of their own motion engaged for Mardonios that they would stop the Spartans from going forth: and the herald when he came to Athens spoke as follows: "Mardonios, the Argives sent me to tell thee that the young men have gone forth from Lacedemon, and that the Argives are not able to stop them from going forth: with regard to this therefore may it be thy fortune to take measures well." 13.

13. He having spoken thus departed and went back; and Mardonios was by no means anxious any more to remain in Attica when he heard this message. Before he was informed of this he had been waiting, because he desired to know the news from the Athenians as to what they were about to do; and he had not been injuring or laying waste the land of Attica, because he hoped always that they would make a treaty with him; but as he did not persuade them, being now informed of everything he began to retire out of the country before the force of Pausanias arrived at the Isthmus, having first set fire to Athens and cast down and destroyed whatever was left standing of the walls, houses or temples. Now he marched away for this cause, namely first because Attica was not a land where horsemen could act freely, and also because, if he should be defeated in a battle in Attica, there was no way of retreat except by a narrow pass, so that a few men could stop them. He intended therefore to retreat to Thebes, and engage battle near to a friendly city and to a country where horsemen could act freely.

14. Mardonios then was retiring out of the way, and when he was already upon a road a message came to him saying that another body of troops in advance of the rest 14 had come to Megara, consisting of a thousand Lacedemonians. Being thus informed he took counsel with himself, desiring if possible first to capture these. Therefore he turned back and proceeded to lead his army towards Megara, and the cavalry going in advance of the rest overran the Megaran land: this was the furthest land in Europe towards the sun-setting to which this Persian army came..

15. After this a message came to Mardonios that the Hellenes were assembled at the Isthmus; therefore he marched back by Dekeleia, for the chiefs of Boeotia 15 had sent for those of the Asopians who dwelt near the line of march, and these were his guides along the road to Sphendaleis and thence to Tanagra. So having encamped for the night at Tanagra and on the next day having directed his march to Scolos, he was within the land of the Thebans. Then he proceeded to cut down the trees in the lands of the Thebans, although they were on the side of the Medes, moved not at all by enmity to them, but pressed by urgent necessity both to make a defence for his camp, and also he was making it for a refuge, in case that when he engaged battle things should not turn out for him as he desired. Now the encampment of his army extended from Erythrai along by Hysiai and reached the river Asopos: he was not however making the wall to extend so far as this, but with each face measuring somewhere about ten furlongs. 16


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