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Xerxes. fought in two different places, the Spartans were the first who broke in upon the Persian forces and put them into disorder. Mardonius, their general, falling dead of a wound he had received in the engagement, all his army betook themselves to flight; and those Greeks, who were engaged against Aristides, did the same thing, as soon as they understood the Barbarians were defeated. The latter ran away to their former camp, which they had quitted, where they were sheltered and fortified with an inclosure of wood. The Lacedæmonians pursued them thither, and attacked them in their entrenchment; but this they did poorly and weakly, like people that were not much accustomed to sieges, and to attack walls. The Athenian troops, having advice of this, left off pursuing their Grecian adversaries, and marched to the camp of the Persians, which after several assaults they carried, and made an horrible slaughter of the enemy.
Artabazus, who from Mardonius's imprudent management had but too well foreseen the misfortune that befell them, after having distinguished him. self in the engagement, and given all possible proofs of his courage and intrepidity, made a timely retreat with the forty thousand men he commanded; and preventing his flight from being known by the expedition of his march, he arrived safe at Byzantium, and from thence returned into Asia. Of all the rest of the Persian army, not four thousand men escaped after that day's slaughter: All were killed and cut to pieces by the Grecians, who by that means delivered themselves at once from all further invasions from that nation, no Persian army having ever appeared after that time on this side of the Hellespont.
This battle was fought on the fourth day of the 3525. month* Boedromion, according to the Athenian Ant. J. C.
Pausan. 1. v. p. 532.
This day answers to the eighth of our September.
manner of reckoning. Soon after, the allies, as a Xerxes. testimony of their gratitude to Heaven, caused a statue of Jupiter to be made at their joint and common expences, which they placed in his temple at Olympia. The names of the several nations of Greece, that were present in the engagement, were engraven on the right side of the pedestal of the statue, the Lacedæmonians first, the Athenians next, and all the rest in order.
"One of the principal citizens of Ægina came and addressed himself to Pausanias, desiring him to avenge the indignity that Mardonius and Xerxes had shewn to Leonidas, whose dead body was hung up on a gallows by their order, and urging him to use Mardonius's body after the same manner. As a farther motive for doing so he added, that by thus satisfy ing the manes of those that were killed at Thermopylæ, he would be sure to immortalize his own name throughout all Greece, and make his memory precious to the latest posterity. Carry thy base * counsel elsewhere," replied Pausanias. "Thou "must have a very wrong notion of true glory, to "imagine, that the way for me to acquire it is to "resemble the Barbarians.. If the esteem of the "people of Egina is not to be purchased but by
such a proceeding, I shall be content with preserv"ing that of the Lacedæmonians only, amongst "whom the base and ungenerous pleasure of re
venge is never put in competition with that of "shewing clemency and moderation to their ene"mies, and especially after their death. As for the "souls of my departed countrymen, they are sufficiently avenged by the death of the many thou"sand Persians slain upon the spot in the last engagement."
* A dispute, which arose between the Athenians and Lacedæmonians, about determining which of the two people should have the prize of valour ad
u Herod. 1. ix. c. 77, 78.
* Plut. in Arist. p. 431.
Xerxes. judged to them, as also which of them should have the privilege of erecting a trophy, had like to have sullied all the glory, and imbittered the joy of their late victory. They were just on the point of carrying things to the last extremity, and would certainly have decided the difference with their swords, had not Aristides prevailed upon them, by the wisdom of his counsel and reasonings, to refer the determi nation of the matter to the judgment of the Grecians in general. This proposition being accepted by both parties, and the Greeks being assembled upon the spot to decide the contest, Theogiton of Megara, speaking upon the question, gave it as his opinion, that the prize of valour ought to be adjudged neither to Athens nor to Sparta, but to some other city; unless they desired to kindle a civil war, of more fatal consequences than that they had just put an end to. After he had finished his speech, Cleocritus of Corinth rose up to speak his sentiments of the matter: And when he began, nobody doubted but he was going to claim that honour for the city of which he was a member and a native; for Corinth was the chief city of Greece in power and dignity after those of Athens and Sparta. But every body was agreeably deceived when they found, that all his discourse tended to the praise of the Platans, and that the conclusion he made from the whole was, that in order to extinguish so dangerous a contention, they ought to adjudge the prize to them only, against whom neither of the contending parties could have any grounds of anger or jealousy. This discourse and proposal were received with a general applause by the whole assembly. Aristides immediately assented to it on the part of the Athenians, and Pausanias on the part of the Lacedæmonians.
y All parties being thus agreed, before they began to divide the spoil of the enemy, they put fourscore talents aside for the Plateans, who laid them out
y Her. 1. ix. c. 79, 80.
80,000 crowns French, about 18,000. sterling
in building a temple to Minerva, in erecting a statue Xerxes to her honour, and in adorning the temple with curious and valuable paintings, which were still in being in Plutarch's time, that is to say, above six hundred years afterwards, and which were then as fresh as if they had lately come out of the hands of the painters. As for the trophy, which had been another article of the dispute, the Lacedæmonians erected one for themselves in particular, and the Athenians another.
The spoil was immense: In Mardonius's camp they found prodigious sums of money in gold and silver, besides cups, vessels, beds, tables, necklaces, and bracelets of gold and silver, not to be valued or numbered. It is observed by a certain * historian, that these spoils proved fatal to Greece, by becoming the instruments of introducing avarice and luxury among her inhabitants. According to the religious custom of the Grecians, before they divided the treasure, they appropriated the tythe or tenth part of the whole to the use of the gods. The rest was distributed equally among the cities and nations that had furnished troops; and the chief officers who had distinguished themselves in the field of battle were likewise distinguished in this distribution. They scnt a present of a golden tripod to Delphos, in the inscription upon which Pausanias caused these words to be inserted; That he had defeated the Barbarians at Platea, and that in acknowledgment of that victory he had made this present to Apollo.
This arrogant inscription, wherein he ascribed the honour both of victory and the offering to himself only, offended the Lacedæmonian people, who, in order to punish his pride in the very point and place where he thought to exalt himself, as also to do jus
z Cor. Nep. in Pausan, c. i.
* Victo Mardonia castra referta regalis opulentiæ capta, unde pri mùm Græcos, diviso inter se auro Persico, divitiarum luxuria cepit. Justin. ii. c. 11.
Xerxes. tice to their confederates, caused his name to be raz. ed out, and that of the cities which had contributed to the victory to be put in the stead of it. Too ardent a thirst after glory on this occasion did not give him leave to consider, that a man loses nothing by a discreet modesty, which forbears the setting too high a value upon one's own services, and which by screening a man from envy * serves really to enhance his reputation.
Pausanias gave still a farther specimen of his Spartan spirit and humour, in two entertainments which he ordered to be prepared a few days after the engagement; one of which was costly and magnificent, in which was served all the variety of delicacies and dainties that used to be served at Mardonius's table; and the other was plain and frugal, after the manner of the Spartans. Then comparing the two entertainments together, and observing the difference of them to his officers, whom he had invited on purpose; "What a madness," says he, “was it in Mardonius, "who was accustomed to such a luxurious diet, to 66 come and attack a people like us, that know how "to live without all dainties and superfluities, and "want nothing of that kind."
a All the Grecians sent to Delphos to consult the oracle, concerning the sacrifice it was proper to offer. The answer they received from the gods was, that they should erect an altar to Jupiter Liberator; but that they should take care not to offer any sacrifice upon it, before they had extinguished all the fire in the country, because it had been polluted and profaned by the Barbarians; and that they should come as far as Delphos to fetch pure fire, which they were to take from the altar, called the common altar.
This answer being brought to the Grecians from the oracle, the generals immediately dispersed themselves throughout the whole country, and caused all
a Plut. in Artist. p. 331, 332.
Ipsa dissimulatione fama famam auzit. Tacit.