The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies. — Robert Conquest

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor

Darius Rewards Histiaeus

Meanwhile a band of Scythians had reached the banks of the Danube. The Ionians had already loosed some of the boats on the farther side, that the enemy might think that the bridge was useless. And they, seeing this, and thinking that it would be impossible for Darius to cross the river, turned back to meet him.

But that same night, after a terrible march, the great king reached the river unnoticed by the Scythians. He saw at once that there were no boats on his side of the river. Had the Ionians gone home and left him to fall into the hands of his enemy?

Then he bade one of his men who was noted for the strength of his voice to call aloud for Histiaeus of Miletus. No sooner was this done than an answering shout was heard, and Histiaeus sent in haste to restore the bridge of boats. When the boats were secure, Darius with his weary army crossed to the other side, and was greeted with every token of loyalty by the Greeks.

The king was grateful to Histiaeus when he heard that it was he who had persuaded the other tyrants to await his return, after the sixty days had passed, and he bade him ask for whatever he wished.

Now the tyrant longed to build a strong city far from the control of the Persian power. So he asked for land in the country called Thrace, which stretches north of Macedon to the river Danube, and Darius granted his request.

But Megabazus, the general of the great king, did not trust Histiaeus, and when he came to Sardis, where the king's court was, he said to Darius, 'O king, what hast thou done? Thou hast given to a Greek who is wise and crafty a city in Thrace, where there is much timber for building ships and blades for oars, and mines of silver, and round it there are many people, both Greek and barbarian, who will take him for a chief and do his will by night and by day. See then that he make not war against thee in time to come.'

Darius feared lest Megabazus was right, and he determined to send for Histiaeus and keep him at his own court. Yet as Megabazus might have made a mistake, the message the king sent to the Greek was a kind one.

'O Histiaeus,' said the king, 'I have pondered it well, and I find none who is better minded to me and to my kingdom than thou art. This I know, for I have learnt it, not by words but in deed. And now I purpose to do great things. Come therefore to me in any wise, that I may entrust them to thee.

These words pleased Histiaeus. It seemed to him that the great king was treating him even as one of his counsellors. But when he reached the king's court and was told what the commands of Darius were, he was not so well content.

'O Histiaeus,' said the king, 'there is nothing more precious than a wise and kind friend, and I knew that this thou art to me. So now thou must leave Miletus and the new city which thou has built, and come with me to my court at Susa.'

The Greek found it hard to hide his anger and disappointment. Rather would he be tyrant at Miletus, or ruler in his new city, than a favoured courtier at Susa.

Aristagoras, the brother-in-law of Histiaeus, was now made tyrant of Miletus, while Darius appointed his own brother Artaphernes to be ruler of Sardis.


Front Matter

The Great God Pan
The Six Pomegranate Seeds
The Birth of Athene
The Two Weavers
The Purple Flowers
Danae and Her Little Son
The Quest of Perseus
Andromeda and Sea-Monster
Acrisius Killed by Perseus
Achilles and Briseis
Menelaus and Paris Do Battle
Hector and Andromache
The Horses of Achilles
The Death of Hector
Polyphemus the Giant
Odysseus Escapes from Cave
Odysseus Returns to Ithaca
Argus the Hound Dies
The Bow of Odysseus
The Land of Hellas
Lycurgus and His Nephew
Lycurgus Returns to Sparta
Training of the Spartans
The Helots
Aristomenes and the Fox
The Olympian Games
The Last King of Athens
Cylon Fails to be Tyrant
Solon Frees the Slaves
Athenians Take Salamis
Pisistratus Becomes Tyrant
Harmodius and Aristogiton
The Law of Ostracism
The Bridge of Boats
Darius Rewards Histiaeus
Histiaeus Shaves His Slave
Sardis Is Destroyed
Sandal Sewn by Histiaeus
Earth and Water
Battle of Marathon
Miltiades Sails to Paros
Aristides is Ostracised
The Dream of Xerxes
Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
Bravest Men of All Hellas
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Artemisium
Themistocles at Salamis
Themistocles Tricks Admirals
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Plataea
Delian League
Themistocles Deceives Spartans
Themistocles is Ostracised
Eloquence of Pericles
Pericles and Elpinice
The City of Athens
Great Men of Athens
Thebans Attack Plataeans
Attica Invaded by Spartans
Last Words of Pericles
Siege of Plataea
The Sentence of Death
Brasidas Loses His Shield
The Spartans Surrender
Brasidas the Spartan
Amphipolus Surrenders
Alcibiades the Favourite
Socrates the Philosopher
Alcibiades Praises Socrates
Images of Hermes Destroyed
Alcibiades Escapes to Sparta
The Siege of Syracuse
Athenian Army is Destroyed
Alcibiades Returns to Athens
Antiochus Disobeys Alcibiades
Walls of Athens Destroyed
March of the Ten Thousand
Pelopidas and Epaminondas
Seven Conspirators
Battle of Leuctra
Death of Epaminondas
The Two Brothers
Timoleon exiles Dionysius
Icetes Attacks Timoleon
Battle of Crimisus
Demosthenes' Wish
Greatest Orator of Athens
The Sacred War
Alexander and Bucephalus
Alexander and Diogenes
Battle of Granicus
The Gordian Knot
Darius Gallops from Battle
Tyre Stormed by Alexander
Battle of Gaugamela
Alexander Burns Persepolis
Alexander Slays Foster-Brother
Porus and His Elephant
Alexander Is Wounded
The Death of Alexander
Demosthenes in the Temple