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

The Sandal Sewn by Histiaeus

Now when Darius heard that Sardis had been destroyed, he sent for Histiaeus and said to him, 'O Histiaeus, I hear that the man to whom thou hast given thy city has been doing strange things. He has brought over men from Europe to help the Ionians whom I shall punish. . . . How can all this seem good to thee? And without thy counsel how could such a thing be done? See that thou bring not thyself into blame afresh.'

Histiaeus tried not to think of the slave whose head he had shaved and whom he had sent to Aristagoras, as he told the king that he had had nothing to do with the revolt in Ionia. He begged to be allowed to go to help Artaphernes to put down the rebellion. He would do even more to show his loyalty; he would seize the rich island of Sardinia to add to the possessions of the great king.

'Yea, I swear by the gods whom the king worshippeth,' he cried, 'that I will not put off the tunic in which I shall go down to Ionia, before I bring under thy power the mighty island of Sardinia.'

It was not difficult to persuade Darius that Histiaeus was innocent, for since the Greek had tarried for him at the bridge of boats the king was ever ready to believe in his loyalty. So to his great delight, Histiaeus was bidden to go to Sardis and help Artaphernes to put down the revolt.

But Artaphernes was less easily deceived than the great king. No sooner had Histiaeus arrived at Sardis than the Persian accused him of treachery.

'Why did the Ionians rebel against the king?' he asked the Greek in a stern voice.

'I cannot tell,' answered Histiaeus. 'I have marvelled at all the things which have happened.'

'O Histiaeus,' said Artaphernes, 'thou hast thus much to do with these matters. Thou didst sew this sandal and Aristagoras hath put it on.'

Then at length Histiaeus was afraid lest his deceit had been discovered, and lest he should be punished. So when night came he stole out of the city and went as speedily as might be to the sea. From that time he became a sea-robber or pirate, seizing any vessel from which he could hope to get booty, whether it belonged to Greek or to barbarian.

After a long time he was take prisoner by the Persians. Artaphernes ordered that he should be crucified and that his head should be sent to Darius.

But the great king was displeased that his general had not sent the Greek to him alive.

'If Histiaeus had been sent away alive to King Darius,' says Herodotus, 'he would not, I think, have suffered any harm, but his trespass would have been forgiven him.'

Even as it was, Darius was determined to show what honour was yet possible to his faithless servant. For he ordered his slaves to 'wash the head and adorn it well, and to bury it as the head of one who had done much good to himself and to the Persians.'

In 494 B.C., four years after the Athenians had sailed to the help of the Ionians, the revolt was crushed. Miletus, where the rebellion had begun, was punished more severely than the other rebellious cities.


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