Front Matter 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

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor

Sardis Is Destroyed

The Ionians knew that they would not be able to throw off the Persian yoke without help from their kinsfolk in Greece. So Aristagoras was appointed to go to Sparta to beg king Cleomenes to help the Ionians, who were of the same race as were he and his people.

When Aristagoras reached Sparta he tried to tempt the king to help the Ionians by telling him of the wealth he might gain for himself. After Artaphernes was conquered at Sardis it would, he said, be an easy matter to go to Susa and seize the treasures of the great king. He then showed Cleomenes a thing he had never seen before—a map engraved in bronze. Aristagoras pointed out to him all the countries he might make his own if he would aid the Ionians in their revolt.

The king listened and looked, then he dismissed the Greek, promising to think over the matter. In three days he sent for Aristagoras and asked him how long it took to journey from Ionia to Susa.

'Three months,' answered the messenger.

'O stranger,' then said Cleomenes, 'depart from Sparta before the sun goes down; thou art no friend to the Lacedaemonians when thou seekest to lead them three months' journey from the sea.'

In spite of the king's command, Aristagoras still tarried in Sparta. He had made up his mind that he would see Cleomenes once again ere he left the country.

So one day, taking an olive branch in his hand as a sign of peace, he went to the king's house. He found Cleomenes alone with his little daughter Gorgo, a child about eight years old.

Aristagoras begged the king to send his daughter away, but Cleomenes said, 'Pay no heed to the child.'

Then the Greek tried to bribe the king to send help to Ionia. Ten talents he offered, twenty, thirty, but in vain. Forty, fifty! Surely, thought Aristagoras, the king would be won by fifty talents.

But at that moment little Gorgo interfered. 'Father,' she said, 'the stranger will corrupt you unless you rise up and go.'

Cleomenes listened to the child's words and knew that they were wise. He rose and left the room, and Aristagoras knew that he had been beaten by the little princess.

But although Sparta would not help, Athens might. So Aristagoras went to the beautiful city and found that the Athenians were willing to send twenty ships to the aid of the Ionians. 'These ships,' said Herodotus, 'were the beginnings of evil both to the Greeks and to the barbarians.'

In 498 B.C. the Athenian fleet was ready. It sailed across the Ægean and the troops landed at Ephesus, where they were joined by the Ionians. Together they marched upon Sardis.

Artaphernes saw that he could not hope to hold the town against the force that was approaching. So he left the city to be plundered, while he with a small band of soldiers took refuge in the Acropolis.

As they met with little resistance, the Athenians at once began to pillage the town. One of the soldiers set fire to a house, and as many of them were made of wickerwork, while all the roofs were thatched, the flames spread quickly through the city until Sardis was destroyed. Then the Greeks, loaded with plunder, began to march back to Ephesus, but on the way they were met by a troop of Persians and defeated. The Athenians now determined to go home. Aristagoras begged them to stay, but they paid no heed to his request, and hastening to the shore they embarked and set sail for Athens. Nor did the Athenians take any further share in the Ionic revolt.

But they had already done enough to rouse the anger of Darius. The great king knew that it would be easy to punish Aristagoras and the Ionians. As for the strangers who had burned Sardis, one of his capital towns, they, whoever they were, should suffer most heavily. He was told that the strangers were the Athenians.

'The Athenians—who are they?' he demanded haughtily. And when he had been told he sent for a bow and shot an arrow high into the air, saying as he did so, 'O Zeus, suffer me to avenge myself on the Athenians.' He then bade one of his slaves say to him three times each day as he sat at dinner, 'O king, remember the Athenians.'

Meanwhile Aristagoras saw that there was little chance of the revolt being successful against the forces of Darius. So, like a coward rather than like a brave leader, he deserted those whom he had encouraged to rebel and fled to Thrace. Here, while besieging a town, he was slain.