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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 85

7. So when Xerxes had been persuaded to make an expedition against Hellas, then in the next year after the death of Dareios he made a march first against those who had revolted. Having subdued these and having reduced all Egypt to slavery much greater than it had suffered in the reign of Dareios, he entrusted the government of it to Achaimenes his own brother, a son of Dareios. Now this Achaimenes being a governor of Egypt was slain afterwards by Inaros the son of Psammetichos, a Libyan.

8. Xerxes then after the conquest of Egypt, being about to take in hand the expedition against Athens, summoned a chosen assembly of the best men among the Persians, that he might both learn their opinions and himself in the presence of all declare that which he intended to do; and when they were assembled, Xerxes spoke to them as follows: (a) "Persians, I shall not be the first to establish this custom in your nation, but having received it from others I shall follow it: for as I am informed by those who are older than myself, we never yet have kept quiet since we received this supremacy in succession to the Medes, when Cyrus overthrew Astyages; but God thus leads us, and for ourselves tends to good that we are busied about many things. Now about the nations which Cyrus and Cambyses and my father Dareios subdued and added to their possessions there is no need for me to speak, since ye know well: and as for me, from the day when I received by inheritance this throne upon which I sit 6 I carefully considered always how in this honourable place I might not fall short of those who have been before me, nor add less power to the dominion of the Persians: and thus carefully considering I find a way by which not only glory may be won by us, together with a land not less in extent nor worse than that which we now possess, (and indeed more varied in its productions), but also vengeance and retribution may be brought about. Wherefore I have assembled you together now, in order that I may communicate to you that which I have it in my mind to do. (b) I design to yoke the Hellespont with a bridge, and to march an army through Europe against Hellas, in order that I may take vengeance on the Athenians for all the things which they have done both to the Persians and to my father. Ye saw how my father Dareios also was purposing to make an expedition against these men; but he has ended his life and did not succeed in taking vengeance upon them. I however, on behalf of him and also of the other Persians, will not cease until I have conquered Athens and burnt it with fire; seeing that they did wrong unprovoked to me and to my father. First they went to Sardis, having come with Aristagoras the Milesian our slave, and they set fire to the sacred groves and the temples; and then secondly, what things they did to us when we disembarked in their land, at the time when Datis and Artaphrenes were commanders of our army, ye all know well, as I think. 7 (c) For these reasons 8 I have resolved to make an expedition against them, and reckoning I find in the matter so many good things as ye shall hear:—if we shall subdue these and the neighbours of these, who dwell in the land of Pelops the Phrygian, we shall cause the Persian land to have the same boundaries as the heaven of Zeus; since in truth upon no land will the sun look down which borders ours, but I with your help shall make all the lands into one land, having passed through the whole extent of Europe. For I am informed that things are so, namely that there is no city of men nor any race of human beings remaining, which will be able to come to a contest with us, when those whom I just now mentioned have been removed out of the way. Thus both those who have committed wrong against us will have the yoke of slavery, and also those who have not committed wrong. (d) And ye will please me best if ye do this:—whensoever I shall signify to you the time at which ye ought to come, ye must appear every one of you with zeal for the service; and whosoever shall come with a force best equipped, to him I will give gifts such as are accounted in our land to be the most honourable. Thus must these things be done: but that I may not seem to you to be following my own counsel alone, I propose the matter for discussion, bidding any one of you who desires it, declare his opinion."


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