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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 213

46. Then the generals of the Athenians came to the right wing and told Pausanias that which they had heard from Alexander. Upon this saying he being struck with fear of the Persians spoke as follows: "Since then at dawn the battle comes on, it is right that ye, Athenians, should take your stand opposite to the Persians, and we opposite to the Boeotians and those Hellenes who are now posted against you; and for this reason, namely because ye are acquainted with the Medes and with their manner of fighting, having fought with them at Marathon, whereas we have had no experience of these men and are without knowledge of them; for not one of the Spartans has made trial of the Medes in fight, but of the Boeotians and Thessalians we have had experience. It is right therefore that ye should take up your arms and come to this wing of the army, and that we should go to the left wing." In answer to this the Athenians spoke as follows: "To ourselves also long ago at the very first, when we saw that the Persians were being ranged opposite to you, it occurred to us to say these very things, which ye now bring forward before we have uttered them; but we feared lest these words might not be pleasing to you. Since however ye yourselves have made mention of this, know that your words have caused us pleasure, and that we are ready to do this which ye say.".

47. Both then were content to do this, and as dawn appeared they began to change their positions with one another: and the Boeotians perceiving that which was being done reported it to Mardonios, who, when he heard it, forthwith himself also endeavoured to change positions, bringing the Persians along so as to be against the Lacedemonians: and when Pausanias learnt that this was being done, he perceived that he was not unobserved, and he led the Spartans back again to the right wing; and just so also did Mardonios upon his left.

48. When they had been thus brought to their former positions, Mardonios sent a herald to the Spartans and said as follows: "Lacedemonians, ye are said forsooth by those who are here to be very good men, and they have admiration for you because ye do not flee in war nor leave your post, but stay there and either destroy your enemies or perish yourselves. In this however, as it now appears, there is no truth; for before we engaged battle and came to hand-to-hand conflict we saw you already flee and leave your station, desiring to make the trial with the Athenians first, while ye ranged yourselves opposite to our slaves. These are not at all the deeds of good men in war, but we were deceived in you very greatly; for we expected by reason of your renown that ye would send a herald to us, challenging us and desiring to fight with the Persians alone; but though we on our part were ready to do this, we did not find that ye said anything of this kind, but rather that ye cowered with fear. Now therefore since ye were not the first to say this, we are the first. Why do we not forthwith fight, 52 ye on behalf of the Hellenes, since ye have the reputation of being the best, and we on behalf of the Barbarians, with equal numbers on both sides? and if we think it good that the others should fight also, then let them fight afterwards; and if on the other hand we should not think it good, but think it sufficient that we alone should fight, then let us fight it out to the end, and whichsoever of us shall be the victors, let these be counted as victorious with their whole army.".


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