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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 235

117. When however autumn came and the siege still went on, the Athenians began to be vexed at being absent from their own land and at the same time not able to conquer the fortress, and they requested their commanders to lead them away home; but these said that they would not do so, until either they had taken the town or the public authority of the Athenians sent for them home: and so they endured their present state. 118.

118. Those however who were within the walls had now come to the greatest misery, so that they boiled down the girths of their beds and used them for food; and when they no longer had even these, then the Persians and with them Artaÿctes and Oiobazos ran away and departed in the night, climbing down by the back part of the wall, where the place was left most unguarded by the enemy; and when day came, the men of the Chersonese signified to the Athenians from the towers concerning that which had happened, and opened the gates to them. So the greater number of them went in pursuit, and the rest occupied the city..

119. Now Oiobazos, as he was escaping 119 into Thrace, was caught by the Apsinthian Thracians and sacrificed to their native god Pleistoros with their rites, and the rest who were with him they slaughtered in another manner: but Artaÿctes with his companions, who started on their flight later and were overtaken at a little distance above Aigospotamoi, defended themselves for a considerable time and were some of them killed and others taken alive: and the Hellenes had bound these and were bringing them to Sestos, and among them Artaÿctes also in bonds together with his son..

120. Then, it is said by the men of the Chersonese, as one of those who guarded them was frying dried fish, a portent occurred as follows,—the dried fish when laid upon the fire began to leap and struggle just as if they were fish newly caught: and the others gathered round and were marvelling at the portent, but Artaÿctes seeing it called to the man who was frying the fish and said: "Stranger of Athens, be not at all afraid of this portent, seeing that it has not appeared for thee but for me. Protesilaos who dwells at Elaius signifies thereby that though he is dead and his body is dried like those fish, 120 yet he has power given him by the gods to exact vengeance from the man who does him wrong. Now therefore I desire to impose this penalty for him, 121—that in place of the things which I took from the temple I should pay down a hundred talents to the god, and moreover as ransom for myself and my son I will pay two hundred talents to the Athenians, if my life be spared." Thus he engaged to do, but he did not prevail upon the commander Xanthippos; for the people of Elaius desiring to take vengeance for Protesilaos asked that he might be put to death, and the inclination of the commander himself tended to the same conclusion. They brought him therefore to that headland to which Xerxes made the passage across, or as some say to the hill which is over the town of Madytos, and there they nailed him to boards 122 and hung him up; and they stoned his son to death before the eyes of Artaÿctes himself..


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