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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 206

22. These they were who undertook the task and were posted at Erythrai in advance of the other Hellenes who ere there present, having chosen to go with them the bow-men also. For some time then they fought, and at last an end was set to the fighting in the following manner:—while the cavalry was attacking by squadrons, the horse of Masistios, going in advance of the rest, was struck in the side by an arrow, and feeling pain he reared upright and threw Masistios off; and when he had fallen, the Athenians forthwith pressed upon him; and his horse they took and himself, as he made resistance, they slew, though at first they could not, for his equipment was of this kind,—he wore a cuirass of gold scales underneath, and over the cuirass he had put on a crimson tunic. So as they struck upon the cuirass they could effect nothing, until some one, perceiving what the matter was, thrust into his eye. Then at length he fell and died; and by some means the other men of the cavalry had not observed this take place, for they neither saw him when he had fallen from his horse nor when he was being slain, and while the retreat and the turn 24 were being made, they did not perceive that which was happening; but when they had stopped their horses, then at once they missed him, since there was no one to command them; and when they perceived what had happened, they passed the word to one another and all rode together, that they might if possible recover the body..

23. The Athenians upon that, seeing that the cavalry were riding to attack them no longer by squadrons but all together, shouted to the rest of the army to help them. Then while the whole number of those on foot were coming to their help, there arose a sharp fight for the body; and so long as the three hundred were alone they had much the worse and were about to abandon the body, but when the mass of the army came to their help, then the horsemen no longer sustained the fight, nor did they succeed in recovering the body; and besides him they lost others of their number also. Then they drew off about two furlongs away and deliberated what they should do; and it seemed good to them, as they had no commander, to ride back to Mardonios..

24. When the cavalry arrived at the camp, the whole army and also Mardonios made great mourning for Masistios, cutting off their own hair and that of their horses and baggage-animals and giving way to lamentation without stint; for all Boeotia was filled with the sound of it, because one had perished who after Mardonios was of the most account with the Persians and with the king..

25. The Barbarians then were paying honours in their own manner to Masistios slain: but the Hellenes, when they had sustained the attack of the cavalry and having sustained it had driven them back, were much more encouraged; and first they put the dead body in a cart and conveyed it along their ranks; and the body was a sight worth seeing for its size and beauty, wherefore also the men left their places in the ranks and went one after the other 25 to gaze upon Masistios. After this they resolved to come down further towards Plataia; for the region of Plataia was seen to be much more convenient for them to encamp in than that of Erythrai, both for other reasons and because it is better watered. To this region then and to the spring Gargaphia, which is in this region, they resolved that they must come, and encamp in their several posts. So they took up their arms and went by the lower slopes of Kithairon past Hysiai to the Plataian land; and having there arrived they posted themselves according to their several nations near the spring Gargaphia and the sacred enclosure of Androcrates the hero, over low hills or level ground.


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