Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber

The Great King

Hippias, the exiled tyrant of Athens, as we have already seen, had taken up his abode in Asia Minor, where he made several unsuccessful attempts to regain his power.

The Greek cities were not ready to help him, however, so he tried to get another ally. Now, the greatest ruler in Asia Minor was Darius, the king who won his throne by the aid of his horse and groom, as you will see in ancient history.

He was a powerful monarch,—so powerful that the Greeks, who had built cities all along the coast of Asia Minor, in the country called Ionia, never spoke of him except as "The Great King."

Darius' kingdom was so large that it was quite impossible for one person to govern it without help. He therefore divided it into satrapies, or provinces, each of which was under the care of a satrap, or governor. These men received their orders from the king, saw that they were obeyed in all the territory under their care, and kept Darius informed of all that was going on.

The Great King generally dwelt at Ecbatana, a city surrounded by seven walls, each painted in a different but very bright color. Inside the seventh and last wall stood the palace and treasure house, which was fairly overflowing with gold and precious stones.

As there were armed soldiers at every gate in the seven walls, only the people to whom the king was willing to grant an audience could enter.

Now, although so secluded, Darius knew perfectly well all that was happening in every part of his kingdom, and even in the neighboring states; for his satraps sent him messengers daily to report all the news, and he had many paid spies, whose duty it was to tell him all they knew.

He was therefore one of the first Eastern rulers who heard of the revolt of the Athenians; and soon after this he learned that Hippias had come to Asia, and was trying to induce the Greek cities to make war against the Athenians.

When Hippias arrived at Ecbatana in search of aid, he could not immediately see the king, but was obliged to send in a message written on a waxen tablet. This passed from hand to hand, and finally reached Darius, who, recognizing the name at the bottom of the request, graciously said that he would receive the exiled tyrant of Athens.


Front Matter

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province