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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 79

137. Now Miltiades son of Kimon had thus taken possession of the Lemnos:—After the Pelasgians had been cast out of Attica by the Athenians, whether justly or unjustly,—for about this I cannot tell except the things reported, which are these:—Hecataois on the one hand, the son of Hegesander, said in his history that it was done unjustly; for he said that when the Athenians saw the land which extends below Hymettos, which they had themselves given them 121 to dwell in, as payment for the wall built round the Acropolis in former times, when the Athenians, I say, saw that this land was made good by cultivation, which before was bad and worthless, they were seized with jealousy and with longing to possess the land, and so drove them out, not alleging any other pretext: but according to the report of the Athenians themselves they drove them out justly; for the Pelasgians being settled under Hymettos made this a starting-point and committed wrong against them as follows:—the daughters and sons of the Athenians were wont ever to go for water to the spring of Enneacrunos; for at that time neither they nor the other Hellenes as yet had household servants; and when these girls came, the Pelasgians in wantonness and contempt of the Athenians would offer them violence; and it was not enough for them even to do this, but at last they were found in the act of plotting an attack upon the city: and the narrators say that they herein proved themselves better men than the Pelasgians, inasmuch as when they might have slain the Pelasgians, who had been caught plotting against them, they did not choose to do so, but ordered them merely to depart out of the land: and thus having departed out of the land, the Pelasgians took possession of several older places and especially of Lemnos. The former story is that which was reported by Hecataios, while the latter is that which is told by the Athenians..

138. These Pelasgians then, dwelling after that in Lemnos, desired to take vengeance on the Athenians; and having full knowledge also of the festivals of the Athenians, they got 122 fifty-oared galleys and laid wait for the women of the Athenians when they were keeping festival to Artemis in Brauron; and having carried off a number of them from thence, they departed and sailed away home, and taking the women to Lemnos they kept them as concubines. Now when these women had children gradually more and more, they made it their practice to teach their sons both the Attic tongue and the manners of the Athenians. And these were not willing to associate with the sons of the Pelasgian women, and moreover if any of them were struck by any one of those, they all in a body came to the rescue and helped one another. Moreover the boys claimed to have authority over the other boys and got the better of them easily. Perceiving these things the Pelasgians considered the matter; and when they took counsel together, a fear came over them and they thought, if the boys were indeed resolved now to help one another against the sons of the legitimate wives, and were endeavouring already from the first to have authority over them, what would they do when they were grown up to be men? Then they determined to put to death the sons of the Athenian women, and this they actually did; and in addition to them they slew their mothers also. From this deed and from that which was done before this, which the women did when they killed Thoas and the rest, who were their own husbands, it has become a custom in Hellas that all deeds of great cruelty should be called "Lemnian deeds.".


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