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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 26

85. The Athenians then report that in one single trireme were despatched those of their citizens who were sent by the State after this demand; who having come to Egina, attempted to tear up from off their pedestals the images, (alleging that they were made of wood which belonged to the Athenians), in order to carry them back with them: but not being able to get hold of them in this manner (say the Athenians) they threw ropes round them and were pulling them, when suddenly, as they pulled, thunder came on and an earthquake at the same time with the thunder; and the crew of the trireme who were pulling were made beside themselves by these, and being brought to this condition they killed one another as if they were enemies, until at last but one of the whole number was left; and he returned alone to Phaleron..

86. Thus the Athenians report that it came to pass: but the Eginetans say that it was not with a single ship that the Athenians came; for a single ship, and even a few more than one, they could have easily repelled, even if they had not happened to have ships of their own: but they say that the Athenians sailed upon their country with a large fleet of ships, and they gave way before them and did not fight a sea-battle. They cannot however declare with certainty whether they gave way thus because they admitted that they were not strong enough to fight the battle by sea, or because they intended to do something of the kind which they actually did. The Athenians then, they say, as no one met them in fight, landed from their ships and made for the images; but not being able to tear them up from their pedestals, at last they threw ropes round them and began to pull, until the images, as they were being pulled, did both the same thing (and here they report something which I cannot believe, but some other man may), for they say that the images fell upon their knees to them and that they continue to be in that position ever since this time. The Athenians, they say, were doing thus; and meanwhile they themselves (say the Eginetans), being informed that the Athenians were about to make an expedition against them, got the Argives to help them; and just when the Athenians had disembarked upon the Eginetan land, the Argives had come to their rescue, and not having been perceived when they passed over from Epidauros to the island, they fell upon the Athenians before these had heard anything of the matter, cutting them off secretly from the way to their ships; and at this moment it was that the thunder and the earthquake came upon them..

87. This is the report which is given by the Argives and Eginetans both, and it is admitted by the Athenians also that but one alone of them survived and came back to Attica: only the Argives say that this one remained alive from destruction wrought by them upon the army of Athens, while the Athenians say that the divine power was the destroyer. However, even this one man did not remain alive, but perished, they say, in the following manner:—when he returned to Athens he reported the calamity which had happened; and the wives of the men who had gone on the expedition to Egina, hearing it and being very indignant that he alone of all had survived, came round this man and proceeded to stab him with the brooches of their mantles, each one of them asking of him where her husband was. Thus he was slain; and to the Athenians it seemed that the deed of the women was a much more terrible thing even than the calamity which had happened; and not knowing, it is said, how they should punish the women in any other way, they changed their fashion of dress to that of Ionia,—for before this the women of the Athenians wore Dorian dress, very like that of Corinth,—they changed it therefore to the linen tunic, in order that they might not have use for brooches..


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