Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way. — Pascal

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor




Miltiades Sails to the Island of Paros

Until the Greeks won their great victory at Marathon, in 490 B.C., they had always feared the Persians. Now their fear was forgotten. They had still a long struggle before the Persians were banished from their land, but, inspired by the memory of Marathon, the Greeks fought bravely and were sure always that they would be the victors. 'It was as though on the day of Marathon the gods had said to the Athenians, "Go on and prosper." '

Among those who fought on this famous field was Themistocles. He was young then and fought in the ranks, but he was yet to become one of the greatest men that Athens ever knew. Aristides too was there, of whom as of Themistocles there are many things to tell; Æschylus, the great tragic poet, also bore arms at Marathon.

When the battle was over, it was found that the Athenians had lost only one hundred and ninety-two men, while of the Persians six thousand four hundred lay dead upon the field. In spite of this the army of the Persians was still large enough to attack the unwalled city of Athens.

Soon after the battle a bright shield was hung on one of the heights of the city, and it was said that a traitor had signalled to the enemy that now was the time to attack her. But Miltiades saw the light as well as the Persians, and guessing what it meant, he took his army back to Athens by a forced march. He arrived in time to see the fleet of the enemy as it approached the harbour.

But when the Persian general saw that he need not hope to take the city unawares, he did not venture to risk another battle. An army already flushed with victory would soon scatter his dejected troops. So he ordered the fleet to sail for Asia.

While Miltiades was making a forced march back to Athens, Aristides was left at Marathon with a band of soldiers to guard the prisoners and the plunder, for his honesty was already well known.

Neither he himself touched any of the treasures of the Persian camp, nor did he allow his followers to plunder. Callias, the torchbearer, 'most cruel and impious of men,' did, it is true, seize a treasure, but he did so unknown to Aristides. For one of the Persians, thinking Callias was of noble rank and hoping to win his favour, fell at his feet, and then, rising, took his hand and led him to a ditch in which a large quantity of gold had been hidden.

Callias seized the treasure, then lest the Persian should tell what had happened, he slew him.

The Spartans who had promised to help to fight against their country's foe did not forget to march to Marathon when the moon was full. They even marched one hundred and fifty miles in three days, but in spite of this they reached the battlefield too late to share in the victory.

A mound was raised over the Athenians who had perished, about half a mile from the sea. If you go to where

'The mountains look on Marathon,

And Marathon looks on the sea,'

you may see it still.

After the victory, Miltiades was the hero of Athens. He knew that the citizens would grant what he chose to ask, so he begged for a fleet of seventy ships. He knew of a land where gold and treasures were to be had in abundance. Thither would he sail and return to enrich the city.

The fleet was entrusted to him, but Miltiades did not sail to the wonderful land of which he had told, but, so it is said, to the island of Paros. Here in the capital city, which was also called Paros, dwelt a citizen with whom the Athenian had a quarrel. To punish him, Miltiades laid siege to the town, but again and again his attacks were repulsed. Then one day as he was on his way to the temple of Demeter, Miltiades was seized with sudden panic. In his haste to leave the sacred grove he leaped over a fence, and in doing so he hurt his thigh.

When he returned to Athens he was no longer in favour with the people whom he had deceived. Wounded as he was, he was carried into court on a couch and was condemned to pay a heavy fine. But he died before he had collected the money.

Meanwhile Darius heard how his army had been defeated at Marathon. In his wrath he vowed that he would never rest until he had conquered Greece.

Three years he spent, preparing once again to invade Europe. His heralds were sent all over his wide dominions to gather together a great army. Horses and corn too the king demanded should be sent 'much more than before.'

But the great king never carried out his plan of again attacking Greece, for he died in 485 B.C., after having reigned for thirty-six years. His son Xerxes succeeded to the throne of Persia.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Wonderland
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