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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 205

18. While he was thus exhorting them, the horsemen having encompassed them round were riding towards them as if to destroy them; and they were already aiming their missiles as if about to discharge them, nay some perhaps did discharge them: and meanwhile the Phokians stood facing them gathered together and with their ranks closed as much as possible every way. Then the horsemen turned and rode away back. Now I am not able to say for certain whether they came to destroy the Phokians at the request of the Thessalians, and then when they saw them turn to defence they feared lest they also might suffer some loss, and therefore rode away back, for so Mardonios had commanded them; or whether on the other hand he desired to make trial of them and to see if they had in them any warlike spirit. Then, when the horsemen had ridden away back, Mardonios sent a herald and spoke to them as follows: "Be of good courage, Phokians, for ye proved yourselves good men, and not as I was informed. Now therefore carry on this way with zeal, for ye will not surpass in benefits either myself or the king." Thus far it happened as regards the Phokians.

19. When the Lacedemonians came to the Isthmus they encamped upon it, and hearing this the rest of the Peloponnesians who favoured the better cause, and some also because they saw the Spartans going out, did not think it right to be behind the Lacedemonians in their going forth. So from the Isthmus, when the sacrifices had proved favourable, they marched all together and came to Eleusis; and having performed sacrifices there also, when the signs were favourable they marched onwards, and the Athenians together with them, who had passed over from Salamis and had joined them at Eleusis. And then they had come to Erythrai in Boeotia, then they learnt that the Barbarians were encamping on the Asopos, and having perceived this they ranged themselves over against them on the lower slopes of Kithairon..

20. Then Mardonios, as the Hellenes did not descend into the plain, sent towards them all his cavalry, of which the commander was Masistios (by the Hellenes called Makistios), a man of reputation among the Persians, who had a Nesaian horse with a bridle of gold and in other respects finely caparisoned. So when the horsemen had ridden up to the Hellenes they attacked them by squadrons, and attacking 23 they did them much mischief, and moreover in contempt they called them women..

21. Now it happened by chance that the Megarians were posted in the place which was the most assailable of the whole position and to which the cavalry could best approach: so as the cavalry were making their attacks, the Megarians being hard pressed sent a herald to the commanders of the Hellenes, and the herald having come spoke these words: "The Megarians say:—we, O allies, are not able by ourselves to sustain the attacks of the Persian cavalry, keeping this position where we took post at the first; nay, even hitherto by endurance and valour alone have we held out against them, hard pressed as we are: and now unless ye shall send some others to take up our position in succession to us, know that we shall leave the position in which we now are." The herald brought report to them thus; and upon this Pausanias made trial of the Hellenes, whether any others would voluntarily offer to go to this place and post themselves there in succession to the Megarians: and when the rest were not desirous to go, the Athenians undertook the task, and of the Athenians those three hundred picked men of whom Olympidoros the son of Lampon was captain.


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