BOOK XI - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
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Page 230

CHAP. III.

The Victory of the Greeks over Mardonius at Platea.

XAnthippus being Archon of Athens, and Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, and Serrius Cornelius Cossus, Roman Consuls, the Persian Fleet (all but the Phaenicians) after the Battel at Salamis, lay about Cuma: And there continuing all Winter, at the Spring passed over to Samos to guard the Coasts of Ionia: The Fleet consisted of Four Hundred Sail; and because they were jealous of the Ionians, they kept a strict Eye upon the Cities there.

In Greece, upon the great Success of Salamis, which was chiefly owing to the Valour and Conduct of the Athenians, all were of Opinion that the Athenians (bering lifted up) would now contend with the Lacedemonians for the Dominion of the Seas: And this the Lacedemonians foresaw, and therefore used all their Arts and Endeavours to keep them under. And for that reason when they were to take notice of the Noble Actions in that Fight, and to distribute Rewards accordingly, the Lacedemonians prevailed by their Interest, that the Honour of the Day should be given to them of Aegina, and among the Athenians to Amynias, the Brother of Aesculus the Poet; because that he being General of the Gallies, first charg'd the Admiral of the Persians, and sunk both him and his Ship together.

But when the Athenians shewed their Resentment that they were so undeservedly slighted, the Lacedemonians were afraid, lest Themistocles (being provoked with the Indignity) should contrive some considerable Mischief against them and the rest of the Grecians: Therefore to stop his Mouth, they rewarded him doubly above all the rest. But when the People of Athens understood that he had accepted what was given him, they were much incens'd, and remov'd him from his Place as General, and put Xanthippus, of the Family of Ariphron, into his stead.

And now the Distaste given by the Grecians to the Athenians being spread Abroad, Embassadors came to Athens, both from the Persians and the Grecians. The Persian Embassadors spoke to this effect:

That if the Athenians would side with the Persians; they should have what part of Greece they would chuse; that Mardonius the Persian General would rebuild their Walls and their Temples; and that the City should have and enjoy its former Laws and Liberties. On the other Hand, the Lacedemonian Embassadors earnestly intreated them, that they would not make any League with the Barbarians, but preserve their ancient Amity with the Grecians, being so near one with them, both in Nation and Language.

To the Barbarians the Athenians gave this Return,

That the Persian had no Country so rich, nor Gold so heavy, which could tempt them to forsake their Confederates the Grecians in their necessity. And to the Lacedemonians they commanded Answer to be given, That as heretofore their care had been to preserve Greece, so for the future to their utmost Endeavour they would defend it. And in the mean time, desired that they would forthwith with all their Forces pass into Attica, in regard it was very apparent, that Mardonius when he came to understand the Athenians to be so Resolved against him, would invade Athens with all his Force

: And so it came to pass; for Mardonius Encamping in Beotia, first endeavour'd to draw the Cities of Peleponesus to a Defection, by sending Monies here and there to the Governors and Chief Men. And after when he received the Answer return'd him by the Athenians, he rag'd like a Mad Man, and forthwith marched with all his Army into Attica: For besides those which Xerxes left with him, he rais'd many out of Thrace and Macedonia, and other Confederate Cities, to the number of Two Hundred Thousand Men and upwards.



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