Herodotus Readings

Peter Derow

Wadham College

Herodotus and his histories have been the subject of much inquiry, which is as it should be. Amidst all this inquiry, it is pleasing to find that two of the very shortest books about Herodotus are also two of the very best. One, called economically 'Herodotus', was written by John Gould and appeared in 1989. The other was published by Charles Fornara in 1971. The title is longer - 'Herodotus, an interpretative essay' - but the book is shorter. Shorter because its task is more circumscribed. Fornara does not aim to tell us about the Histories as a whole. He aims rather to explain why Herodotus wrote them, or why he wrote them the way he did. There is a lot more about Herodotus and his world in Gould's book, but the question of why Herodotus wrote is there, too, and the answer he comes to is a different one. I have myself always liked Fornara's little book and so welcome the idea of taking this chance to revisit in a positive way some of what he said. I do not have in mind to set one book against the other in detail, for I suspect that in the end we are not talking contradiction in any strong form. Not that the truth lies somewhere in the middle - this is not something truth often does - rather that there are two truths, the question being one of emphasis, or viewpoint. Nor do I have in mind to reinstate Fornara tel quel. That would not be very interesting, and, besides, I have one or two doubts there as well. All the same, I think that in the end Fornara's truth, or at least a main import of his Herodotus will remain, for me, prepollent.

I do not want to proceed by way of contending quotations, but a certain amount of that is unavoidable. Fornara insisted that Herodotus' thinking was bound to his present: "Every other author", he says, "is seen as responding to the conditions of his own time - i.e., the time in which he actually is writing. But Herodotus is interpreted as if he were motivated directly by the subject of his choice. The fallacy could not be more distortive of his intent and aims." (p. 41) Or again:

"He directed his work to the Greek world in general and more particularly to a class which he, like Thucydides (II.8.4) considered hostile to the state of Athens. Finally, since it is Herodotus' technique to mesh his narrative with the predictable thoughts of his contemporaries, we must remind ourselves constantly that the people for whom he was writing were living during the outbreak of the Archidamian War."(p. 74) (see n.1) Or yet again:

"The present tragedy was built on an earlier triumph and literally required that triumph in order to evolve. So Herodotus became the historian of the Persian War with the recognition of the equivocal meaning this victory would have for later times. He wrote his history in order to explain that inevitable and tragic ambiguity which is the essence of his work." (pp. 90-91) This kind of approach, focussing as much upon Herodotus' own history as upon the history that he wrote, has been influential over the past couple of decades, as Gould acknowledges, but he reckons that there is a danger that the pendulum has swung too far towards the Thucydidization, one might say, of Herodotus.

"I should not want to say that at some level of consciousness Herodotus did not perceive the events of his own lifetime as somehow falling into the same pattern as the events of two generations earlier that he was engaged in narrating, but to see that parallelism as forming the 'message' of his work and the reason for his writing is to focus the reader's attention on things that are peripheral to Herodotus' purpose and to preclude understanding of the tradition in which he sees himself as working. It implies that Herodotus' obligation in writing is to his contemporary readers and (in spite of Fornara's careful distinctions) it makes his purpose closely parallel to that of Thucydides, in that they both see the narrative of past events as justified by present or future understanding of human experience. That is not quite what Herodotus himself says,(2) and the difference is an important one. In his introductory sentence, he implies firstly that the obligation he is discharging is to the heroic figures of his own narrative, and secondly that the justification of his narrative lies in its function of preserving the human past from oblivion, from being erased from memory by the passage of time." (pp. 118-19) For Gould, Herodotus is allied "not with Thucydides, for whom the function of historical writing was to make human experience intelligible to future generations, but with Homer" (p. 119). Herodotus' rôle is that of:

"memorialist, without whom human achievement has no existence outside the present. That perception of his role is very different, therefore, from Thucydides' perception of his, and relates Herodotus not only to poetry (to the poetry of Pindar, for example, as well as to that of Homer) but to an awareness of the brevity and precariousness of human achievement that is part of the deep consciousness of illiterate cultures." (p. 120) So is seen Herodotus' purpose. The question of meaning is a different one:

"just as the Iliad is not a poem with a 'moral' but a moral poem (in the sense that it prompts us to think seriously about issues of morality, and that we can not read the story attentively without so thinking), so Herodotean narrative prompts reflection about the nature of political action without having that reflection, in the form of a message, as its pre-existing cause." (p. 120) This is important. It wants looking at, but I want to do this by way of focussing on the one really fundamental difference between these two views of Herodotus and what he was up to. One of these readings is essentially optimistic, the other profoundly pessimistic. For Gould,

"the most lasting of all impressions that one takes away from a reading of his narrative is exhilaration. It comes from the sense one has of Herodotus' inexhaustible curiosity and vitality. He responds with ever-present delight and admiration to the 'astonishing' variety of human achievement and invention in a world which he acknowledges as tragic; he makes you laugh, not by presenting experience as comic, but by showing it as constantly surprising and stimulating; he makes you glad to have read him by showing men responding to suffering and disaster with energy and ingenuity, resilient and undefeated." (p. 134) Fornara's feeling at the end is different, but he also arrives at it by a different route:

"Let us think ourselves back to the Archidamian War and ask what our train of thought would be after reading that last portion about Athens at Sestos, even if we missed the hint Herodotus supplies (IX.117 ad fin.).(3) In one quick and comprehensive mental stride we would cover the intervening period - think of Athens' league, the retaliatory war against Persia, the reduction of rebellious subjects and transition to empire, and, finally, the outbreak of another war begun for the sake of freedom. And so we come full circle, sharing with Herodotus some of his sadness and pessimism. Herodotus' audience could not have avoided making some such connection of idea. Unlike us, they had no presuppositions about his historical method, automatically accepted his dramatic technique, and could not have compartmentalized the Athens and Sparta of the Persian War from the same states in their own time." (pp. 81-82). And he adds, rightly:

"That Herodotus saw the entire period as a continuum is shown by VI.98.(4) That the entire period down to the death of Artaxerxes were three continuous generations of human misery indicates the connection he made between contemporary events and that prior triumph. Indeed, how otherwise could he have taken so grim a view of that 'splendid victory'?" (p. 82 n. 10) It is, in no small measure, a question of viewpoint. Gould's final assessment is not predicated upon a particular time or place. Fornara's is, and it is only when we 'think ourselves back to the Archidamian War' (and when we focus on Herodotus as historian of the Persian War) that we come to share some of Herodotus' 'sadness and pessimism'. (Perhaps thinking ourselves back to the U.S. in the few years before 1971 might not be without relevance.) Now, I have no wish to deny Herodotus his timelessness or to insist that everything he wrote was directly or indirectly about the geopolitical misery of his own day. On the other hand, I hope that no one would maintain that nothing of what he wrote was so directed. His famous praise of Athens in 7.139 is directly addressed to a contemporary audience, and I am sure that the story of the Sestos campaign(5) would have rung at least some of Fornara's bells; it is with the skeleton of Herodotus' narrative here that Thucydides began the pentekontaetea (1.89.2) and his story of the development of Athenian might, kratos, into Athenian dominion or empire, arche. This very contemporary (I do not say 'Thucydidean') aspect of Herodotus is important, too, and I would like now to look at some of what it seems to me Herodotus has to say to, and maybe about, the people around him.

Sestos is not a bad place to begin, or to continue from. When they discover the bridge is down, the Peloponnesians go home. The following campaign and the capture of Sestos Herodotus makes a solely Athenian venture (unlike, by the way, Thucydides, who has Ionian and Hellespontine allies there as well).(6) The Athenians, as Fornara says (p. 81 n. 9), 'are on the move'. But surely more than this is going on. The final action of the campaign, the deed of Xanthippus and the Athenians, with which Herodotus ends the story of the war is the execution of Arta˙ktes. 'They nailed him to boards and hanged him up; and his son they stoned to death before his eyes.' Not a nice man, Arta˙ktes - 'terrible and impious', Herodotus called him, 'deinos...kai atasthalos' (9.116.1), but this is still a rough way to go, and nothing is known against his son.(7) Downright chilling, I should say, but maybe that's only me. Or maybe not: Macan (on 7.33) reckoned that 'the story of this barbarous vengeance made a deep impresssion on Herodotus', and for How and Wells (on 9.120) 'This barbarity [was] unusual on the part of Greeks'. That's as may be. Arta˙ktes is, at any rate, the only person in Herodotus to meet this fate, and the story of his crucifixion is told twice. Once here, in context and in detail, and once before this when the Hellespontine bridge is being built across the sea to that point between Sestos and Madytos (7.33); a brief report, but credit for the deed is still reserved to Xanthippos and the Athenians. It is just after that first telling that we hear how Xerxes had the original architects of the bridge beheaded (7.35) and how he punished poor Pythios the Lydian for requesting exemption from military service for his eldest son: the king had the lad cut in half and marched the Persian army between the pieces (7.38-9). One might be tempted to suggest that Herodotus' story of Xerxes' campaign marches between the crucifixions of Arta˙ktes just as Xerxes' army marches between the halves of the eldest son of Pythios the Lydian. I shall remark only that Herodotus chose to conclude his story of the campaign with a singular piece of Athenian brutality that might be thought to leave a singularly bad taste.

Herodotus' attitude towards Athens has been much discussed. Views of the historian as a great fan of the place or of its 'first man' Pericles, have been much queried during the past while. Rightly so. I think particularly of Strasburger in Historia 1955, and Fornara's Chapter III, 'Herodotus and Athens'.(8) Herodotus comes out of Fornara with a balanced view of Athens. That he fully appreciated Athens' role in repelling the Persians is indisputable: this is clear in 7.139, as is his awareness that others would be loth to share this appreciation. But does the positive side go much further than this? I am not at all sure that it does, and I rather think that Herodotus did not specially admire Athens or even, on balance, like it very much at all. I have taken the story of Xanthippos, the Athenians and Arta˙ktes, prominent at the end of the book, as indicative of something like this. There is, of course, more to it.

Not too far into Book I we meet the Athenians as the tyranny of Peisistratos is established over them.(9) The Athenians are said to be cleverest of the Greeks, but it is the Athenians who are collectively hoodwinked when Peisistratos rides into town in the company of a woman dressed up as Athena, the silliest ploy by far that Herodotus had ever heard of. So much for the Athenians' reputation (it was only that) for intelligence, sophie. This is not the only time that the Athenians are fooled. Having failed to elicit support for his revolt in an audience with Cleomenes (not forgetting Gorgo) at Sparta, Aristagoras of Miletos tried the same at Athens.(10) And there he was successful, tricking (diaballein) 30,000 Athenians in a way that he could not do to one Spartan (or two). How did he do it? By flattering them with the greatness of their power, by a plea of kinship, and by the promise of much wealth for an easy campaign. This is not flattering, and the episode is given another edge when Herodotus tells us that the twenty ships that the Athenians were thus persuaded to send were 'the beginning of evils for both Greeks and barbarians'. A very sharp edge indeed.

Aristagoras' success reminds one of another occasion when the Athenians were persuaded to undertake an expedition in a not entirely dissimilar way. After the victory of Marathon the ascendant Miltiades induced them to give him seventy ships.(11) Miltiades did not say where or against whom the ships would be used, only that the expedition would enrich the Athenians as it was against a land where a great deal of gold could be easily gained. In the end he failed to get them any money or to 'win Paros for them as an additional property'. He was successfully prosecuted for deceiving the people (6.136) by Xanthippos - Xanthippos who, we learn not many pages on (7.33), turned out to be good at these things. We remember that Aristagoras had said that the pickings in Asia were easy (eupetes in both cases), and we may remember also that one of the things impelling Croesus to undertake his campaign against Cappadocia (and thus Persia) was the desire to gain additional property for himself (prosktesasthai is again the word in 1.73.1).

Greed and Athens go together in Herodotus. We see it at the collective level in the episodes just noticed. We see it at the individual level in the ridiculous case of Alcmaeon, the founder, for Herodotus, of the special wealth of the Alcmaeonids, in 6.125. Croesus wished to reward Alcmaeon for his assistance to the Lydians at the Delphic oracle, so he 'made him a present of all the gold he could carry away on his person'. Alcmaeon wore the largest boots and clothes he could find, stuffed them and his mouth with as much gold dust as he could and 'came out of the treasure house,' as Herodotus says 'barely able to drag his buskins with him and looking like anything other than a human being, his mouth being so stuffed and his whole person swollen.' This story comes just after Herodotus' defence of the Alcmaeonids against the charge of treachery-by-shield-signal at Marathon. He does not believe they did it (he is, however, in no doubt that someone did [6.124]). The greatest service of that family to Athens was their part in the liberation of the city from the tyranny of the Peisistratids.(12) It is worth insisting on what Herodotus says about this: what the Alcmaeonidae did was by trickery to induce the Spartans to free Athens. But the greediest person in the whole book is Themistocles, who 'never stopped wanting more' (ou gar epaueto pleonekteon, 8.112.1), and with him, in 8.111-2, individual and collective Athenian greed are merged. Themistocles' approach to the Andrians after Salamis gives rise to an 'Andrian Dialogue', as it were (8.111):

"For the Andrians, the first of the islanders to be asked for money by Themistocles, had refused him. Themistocles put his proposition in these words: 'We Athenians have come with two great gods to aid us, Persuasion and Necessity [Peitho and Anagkaie], and so you should render up your money to us.' But the Andrians answered this by saying, 'It is indeed according to reason that the Athenians are great and prosperous, since they are so well off in useful gods; but for ourselves, the Andrians, we have a most plentiful poverty of land and two useless gods, who never quit our island but love to dwell in it without interruption, and these are Penury and Helplessness [Penie and Amechanie]. These are the gods we Andrians possess, and so we will give no money. For never could there be a power of the Athenians that would be stronger than the powerlessness of the Andrians." The Andrians' rhetoric profited them not, money poured in from elsewhere, and Themistocles and the Athenians were on the move.

They had indeed been on the move for some while before that, from the day they were freed of their tyrants. Herodotus' comment on the effect of the liberation is famous.(13) It is also interesting. The difference isegoria (equality and freedom of speech) made was that the Athenians, previously no better than their neighbours in military matters, now achieved military superiority (perhaps one shouldn't yet say 'supremacy'?) over them. This was because each of them could now be out for himself. The Attic race was no longer held back, katechomenon (1.59.1), as it had been under the tyranny. I am sure that Herodotus believed that freedom was better than tyranny for anyone, but I do wonder whether 5.78 is wholly free from irony. It is in any case here that Athenian auxesis, the growth of Athenian power, begins.

We have noticed some instances of how it continued in Herodotus. The big step, of course, occurred after Herodotus' war, but he tells us about it - in a fitting context and in no uncertain terms. He leaves no room for doubt that it is part of his story. This comes at the beginning of Book 8.(14) During the war the Athenians, for good reasons but also for selfish ones, did not dispute with the Spartans over leadership of the coalition forces. For the moment they had need of the others. But as soon as the Persian was repulsed they used the behaviour of Pausanias as a pretext to wrest the hegemony from the Spartans. They wanted it then, they'd wanted it before, and, at the first opportunity and by a device, they took it. This was not the Athenian line.(15) But it is what Herodotus told his contemporaries. And what followed from it, Athens' exercise of this hegemony, involves the greatest of the reasons why Herodotus did not like Athens.

Fornara wrote, reasonably, that 'an arche imposing douleia [an empire imposing slavery] would not have been popular with [Herodotus]' (51). One must be as specific about this as possible. A glance at the idea of tribute and what it meant to Herodotus makes the matter very clear. The mark of subjection to a ruling power in Herodotus is the payment of tribute, phoros. This is evident in many places, not least in 3.89-97 where he catalogues the subjects of the Persian empire and the tribute paid by each of them. This form of subjection was, for Herodotus, slavery, as he indicates very early on.(16) Croesus reduced some of the Greeks to the payment of tribute; before the reign of Croesus all the Greeks were free. This can only mean that the tribute, the phoros, imposed by Croesus deprived some of the Greeks of their freedom and made them into slaves. Phoros was the word for the tribute that the Athenians imposed upon and collected from their confederates (their 'non-combatant coalition partners'?), as Thucydides was, for some reason, at pains to point out (1.97.2). Tributary they were, and thereby also was slavery theirs according to Herodotus' straightforward logic. And by the same logic Athens was an enemy of freedom. Not of her own, of course, but then the imperial Persians enjoyed freedom, too, gained when Cyrus delivered them from the rule of the Medes (3.82.5, 7.2.3, etc.). I suspect that Herodotus was drawing attention to the identity of Persian and Athenian tribute when he remarked that the Ionians of his own time were still paying tribute in the amount assessed by Artaphernes,(17) but I would not insist on that. He did not, in any case, really need to remind his audience about Athenian tribute. Fornara is right about empire and slavery. Whether he is right to go on to say that Herodotus 'was wise enough, apparently, to be tolerant of Athens' course' (ibid.), is perhaps another question.

Where I am sure that Fornara is wrong, though, is in his primary contention, which has the evil empire of Athens in some sense generated by the great victory over Persia. 'Cyrus won freedom for the Persians and proceeded to impose slavery on others. It is no understatement to say that for Herodotus this was an immutable law of history' (p. 78). I may be wrong, but I do not think that everyone in Herodotus acted in this way. 'All that he had learned about history, all that he had seen about the way man reacts, combined to show him how triumph brings a momentum leading to egoism and excess. The present tragedy [viz., the Archidamian War] was built on an earlier triumph and literally required that triumph in order to evolve' (p. 90). This last is ingenious, but it is not Herodotus. It is Thucydides. Herodotus did not write Thucydides 1.99, where the development of Athens' imperial position is explained in terms of the dynamic interrelation of power and dominion. He never wrote anything like it. What he wrote instead was 8.3.2, already noticed, where the Athenians seized the chance to do what they had for some time been wanting to do and stole hegemony from the Lacedaemonians. They had, as we have seen and as Fornara himself rightly observed, been on the move even before that. And there is more.

I venture to assert that Herodotus, unlike Thucydides and probably unlike most of us, was capable of taking oracles seriously, at least if they were reputable ones. He tells of some very reputable ones in 5.90 and 5.93.(18) They are about the damage that Athens would one day do to the Spartans and to the Corinthians, they were on record even before the tyrants were expelled from Athens and they found fulfilment, it is safe to say, in the years after Herodotus brought the Athenians home from Sestos in Book 9. Oracles were important to Herodotus, and so were portents. There is a particularly striking one at the end of Book 6.(19) It is notable, and very Herodotean, that the imperial children learn their Athenian ways and inherit their Athenian imperiousness from their mothers without any visible contribution from their fathers. Here we see that the Athenians were indeed destined to rule. The percipient Pelasgians saw it, too, and tried to avert it, but portents are about the inevitable and the inevitable is just that. I should, perhaps, say that I do not believe that it is only Athenian dominion over Lemnos that is at issue here, any more than I believe that the very similar story told about the ten-year-old Cyrus in 1.114 is only about his dominion over the people in the town where he was growing up with his foster-parents.

One small point. Lemnos had fallen to the Athenians some years before Marathon and the end of book 6. Herodotus did not have to tell this story here, as, for example, Thucydides was bound to relate the Athenian expedition to Melos immediately before the Sicilian campaign because that is when it happened. That Herodotus does tell this story here, just before the narrative of Xerxes' great expedition and great defeat by the Greeks, suggests to me that he is doing something with it. Whatever else is going on, he is alerting us to the Athenians of the next three books, and indeed of the next half-century and more.

That was by the way. What we learn from, I should say what Herodotus shows by, oracle and portent is that Athenian power and dominion were in the category of what had to be (to creon genesthai), and, like everything else in that category, they had always been there. Some people had seen it, but that made no difference. Croesus, Astyages, and the faithful Artabanus, amongst others, had tried to avert "what had to be". Herodotus is clear about the futility of such attempts. So for what the Pelasgians and later, perhaps, the Spartans tried to do about Athens. Herodotus knew this and wanted his readers to know it too. It is hard to see how this knowledge, unlike the paradigmatic sort that Thucydides sought to impart, would have helped them. A grim thought. But this is not all that Herodotus knew and wanted his readers to know. Croesus went to death's door and back to learn that human prosperity did not abide but came and went in cycles.(20) Herodotus learned that by doing history.(21) And, as they both knew, that sort of knowledge can help.

This has brought us back to the beginning of Herodotus and also to the end of what I want to say. Fornara is right to insist that Herodotus addressed himself to, and engaged his readers in, the war, misery, and imperial slavery of his own time, although he was wrong, as I have tried to show, to see Herodotus as locating their genesis in any historical events; what happened was not necessitated, it was inevitable. But Croesus' wheel turns up as well as down, and Herodotus wrote the proem (to which Gould chiefly refers), as well as 1.5.3-4 (which is programmatic for Fornara) and all the other passages noted. It does depend on where and how you look, and maybe also why. Ineluctable suffering and exhilaration are both there. So they should be in dealing with Herodotus, for they are the reciprocal elements of passion, without which there is nothing human and certainly not much ancient history of any real value. But which one first? If I have put suffering first, you might think it is because of these last two weeks, or because I spend too much time reading Polybius or Thucydides. But then Herodotus did leave us with Arta˙ktes nailed to a board and a heap of bloody stones before him on the ground.


*This article is a somewhat altered version of a paper written for a seminar on Herodotus organized by Professors George Forrest and John Gould in Oxford in 1991. Although much of the thinking goes back some while before that, the paper itself was written and delivered in January of that year, during the time when the war in the Gulf was in its early and most televised stages. Some traces of that context are visible. I am grateful to George Forrest for the invitation to speak about how two people in particular have read Herodotus. In that sense, as in many others, this would not have been written without him, although I suspect that he is not entirely in agreement. (Herodotus himself, unless otherwise noted, appears here in the translation, generally sensitive and sometimes elegant, of David Grene, Herodotus. The History, Chicago and London, 1987). I am grateful for many comments received from many people on the occasion, including the organizers themselves and, above all, Professor David Lewis. To Simon Hornblower I am particularly indebted both for constructive discussion of a number of individual points and for encouragement without which I would have hesitated a great deal longer still before offering this to the printed page. To Classics Ireland also my thanks, and my wishes for a long and peaceful history.

1. It is, of course, crucial to Fornara's view that Herodotus was writing, and thinking, up until the early years of the Archidamian war. Such is standard opinion (see, e.g., F. Jacoby, RE Suppbd 2. 231-2; Ph.-E. Legrand, Hérodote. Introduction [Paris, 1942, 1966; vol. 1 of the Budé Herodotus], 18-23), and I think that it is right. For Gould (p. 18), he died soon after 430 with the work finished (for Jacoby it was between 430 and 424 with the work unfinished). That the work was finished seems to me much the more likely. That Herodotus was aware of Athens' empire and widespread hostility to it and of the war between Athens and Sparta is guaranteed by some of the passages quoted or mentioned here (esp. 6.98, 7.139) and by others (most notably 7.233 and, especially, 9.73); this is what matters.
2. "I, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, am here setting forth my history, that time may not draw the colour from what man has brought into being, nor those great and wonderful deeds, manifested by both Greeks and barbarians, fail of their report, and, together with all this, the reason why they fought one another." (Proem)
3. Fornara translates 9.117, and addresses the question of translation involved, as follows (p. 81 n. 9).
"When autumn came and they were still besieging the place, the Athenians became impatient since they were away from home and could not take the fortification. They asked their generals to lead them back. But the generals said they would not until they took the place or until the Athenian government summoned them. houto de estergon ta pareonta". The position of "houto" requires that either we translate "so greatly did the soldiers like the present situation," which is nonsense, or "so greatly did the generals (or even "to koinon") like the present situation." The alternative meaning of "stergein", "to put up with," makes no good sense with "houto"
There is force in this. There is also, in the insistence upon the presence of "houto", an implicit reminder that the appearance of the phrase "estergon ta paronta" in Hellenica Oxyrhynchia 6.3 (for which 'contentum esse' in V. Bartoletti's Teubner edition captures, in its potential ambiguity, the sense of other renderings) is not quite parallel. Grene's 'so the men endured their present lot' is surely not a contender.
4. "Delos was shaken by an earthquake, and the Delians say that this was the first and the last time it was shaken before my time. This was perhaps manifested by the god as a portent of the troubles that were to come. [2] For in the days of Darius, son of Hystaspes, and of Xerxes, the son of Darius, and of Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes - these three successive generations - more ills befell Greece than in all twenty generations before Darius. Some of these came about through the Persians, and some by the acts of the chief peoples of Greece warring against one another (Grene's translation omits the phrase "peri tes arche"). [3] Thus it is not at all out of the way that Delos should have been shaken by an earthquake though never before shaken."
5. "The Greeks who had started out from Mycale toward the Hellespont first came to anchor at Lectum, being held up by the winds, and from there they came to Abydos and found the bridges broken down, which they thought they would still find securely fastened, and this was one of the chief reasons why they had come to the Hellespont. [2] So the Peloponnesians who were with Leotychides resolved to sail away to Greece; but the Athenians and their general, Xanthippus, were for staying where they were and for attacking the Chersonese. So the Peloponnesians sailed off, and the Athenians crossed over from Abydos into the Chersonese and besieged Sestos, ... [117] When the autumn came upon them still at the siege, the Athenians were vexed, being away from their own land and not able to capture the fortification; so they asked their generals to lead them off home. But the generals refused until they had either captured the fort or the commonalty of Athens recalled them. houto de estergon ta pareonta (see above, n. 3) ... [120.4] But these promises [viz. by Arta˙ctes] did not move Xanthippus, the general. For the people of Elaeus were begging for the man's destruction as a revenge due to Protesilaus, and the general's own inclinations were that way anyhow. So they brought him down to the shore where Xerxes had bridged the strait (but others say that it was to the little hill above the city of Madytus), and they nailed him to boards and hanged him up; and his son they stoned to death before his eyes. [121] Having so done, they sailed away to Greece, bringing with them the rest of the stuff and, in especial, the gear of the bridges, intending to dedicate it at their shrines. And in that year nothing further was done." (9.114)
6. Thuc. 1.89.2 (Sestos is besieged by 'the Athenians and the allies from Ionia and the Hellespont'): contrast Herodotus 9.114.2-121 passim.
7. One is reminded of the death by stoning suffered by the wife and children of Lycidas at the hands of the Athenian women on Salamis early in Herodotus' narrative of the last phase of the Persian wars (9.5). For the stoning of Lycidas by the Athenian men there was at least something by way of reason.
8H. Strasburger, 'Herodot und das perikleische Athen,' Historia 4 (1955), 1-25, taking issue above all with Jacoby's assessment in RE Suppbd 2.
9. "Pisistratus accepted his [viz. Megacles'] offer and agreed on terms, and then, in order to bring about the restoration, they contrived between them by far the most simple-minded thing, in my judgement, that has ever been; for the Greek stock from the most ancient times has been distinguished from the barbarians for its cleverness and for being free from such silly simple-mindedness, and, of the Greeks, the Athenians were reputed to be the very first (toisi protoisi legomenoisi einai) in intelligence; yet these men perpetrated the following trick on the Athenians." (1.60.3)
10. "Athens was far the most powerful of the remaining cities. Aristagoras came before the popular assembly. He said all the same things that he had said in Sparta, about the riches of Asia and the Persian style of warfare and how these people were not used to spears or shields and would be right easy to conquer. [2] He said this, and also said that Miletus was a colony of Athens and that, given the greatness of Athenian power, they should certainly protect the Milesians. He promised them anything and everything, for he was very eager indeed, and in the end he persuaded them. It seems that it is easier to fool many men than one; Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian was only one, but Aristagoras could not fool him, though he managed to do so to thirty thousand Athenians. [3] The Athenians were convinced and voted to send twenty ships to help the Ionians, and they appointed as commander of the fleet Melanthius, one of their citizens who was notable in all respects. These were the ships that were the beginning of evils for both Greeks and barbarians." (5.97)
11. "After the Persian defeat at Marathon, Miltiades' former great fame in Athens grew still greater. He asked the Athenians for seventy ships and an army and money, without saying against what country these would be used - only that they would grow rich if they followed him. For he would lead them to a country where they might easily win an abundance of gold. With these claims he asked for the ships. The Athenians were excited by his words and gave them to him. ... So Miltiades sailed home in a very sad case, bringing no money with him for the Athenians, nor having won Paros for them as an additional property, though he had besieged it for twenty-six days and had devastated the island." (6.132)
12. "... and so it is they who freed Athens far more than Harmodius and Aristogiton, in my judgment! For those latter only exasperated the rest of the Pisistratidae when they killed Hipparchus, and they had no effect on ending the rule of the rest of the Pisistratidae. But the Alcmaeonidae manifestly freed Athens, if it was truly they who persuaded the Pythia to signify to the Lacedaemonians that they should free her, as my account has earlier indicated." (6.123.2)
13. "So Athens had increased in greatness. It is not only in respect of one thing but of everything that equality and free speech are clearly a good; take the case of Athens, which under the rule of princes proved no better in war than any of her neighbors but, once rid of those princes, was far the first of all. What this makes clear is that when held in subjection they would not do their best, for they were working for a taskmaster, but, when freed, they sought to win, because each was trying to achieve for his very self." (5.78)
14. "The supreme commander was provided by the Spartiates - Eurybiades, son of Euryclides; for the allies refused to follow the Athenians as leaders; unless a Laconian was in the chief position, they declared that they would break up the projected force. [3.1] There had been talk at the beginning, before ever they sent to Sicily about the alliance, that one ought to trust the fleet to the Athenians. When the allies objected, the Athenians gave way; they thought what mattered most was the survival of Greece and knew very well that if there was a dispute about the leadership, Greece would perish - and that thought was correct, for strife within the nation is as much a greater evil than a united war effort as war itself is more evil than peace. [3.2] So because the Athenians knew this, they put up no resistance, but yielded, but only so long as they had urgent need of the others, as they later proved. For as soon as they had driven out the Persian and were fighting for his territory rather than their own, the Athenians stripped the Lacedaemonians of their primacy (though nominally this was because of the arrogance of Pausanias). But all this happened afterwards." (8.2.2-3.2)
15. See Thuc. 1.75.2 (Athenians speaking at Sparta). Thucydides concurs in his narrative (1.95.1-2).
16. "This Croesus was the first of the barbarians of whom we know who subdued some of the Greeks to the payment of tribute and made friends of others. He subdued the Ionians, Aeolians, and Dorians who were in Asia, and he made the Lacedaemonians his friends. [3] But before Croesus' rule all the Greeks were free." (1.6.2-3)
17. "For that year nothing further was done by the Persians to the Ionians that tended to enmity, but indeed some very useful things. Artaphrenes, the viceroy of Sardis, sending for some from the cities to be his messengers, forced on the Ionians certain compacts: that they should submit their quarrels with one another to law instead of plundering and harrying one another. [2] This new course of action he forced upon them, and he measured out their territory in parasangs (which is the Persian name for a distance of thirty stades) and, using this as his measure of land, he fixed the tribute that each area should pay. They have continued to pay, district by district, according to the assessment of Artaphrenes, from then until my time. The amount of the assessment was much the same as it had been earlier." (6.42)
18. The Lacedaemonians had heard of what the Alcmaeonidae had contrived with the Pythia and of her plot against themselves and the Pisistratids, and they were doubly sorry; for they had driven out of Athens men who were Spartan guest-friends, and, for doing so, they had had no visible gratitude from the Athenians. [2] In addition, there were oracles predicting the many dreadful deeds that would be done upon them by the Athenians - oracles of which they were before quite ignorant but of which they now had information, for Cleomenes had brought them back to Sparta. Cleomenes had got these oracles from the Acropolis in Athens; the Pisistratids had owned them before, and, when they were expelled, they left them in the temple, and Cleomenes recovered them when they were so abandoned. [91] When the Lacedaemonians got these oracles and saw that the Athenians were gaining in power and not at all ready to be their subordinates, and whey they took cognizance that the Attic race, in its freedom, would be the equal of themselves but, if controlled by a despotism, would be weak and disposed to subjection - when they understood all this, they sent for Hippias, the son of Pisistratus, from Sigeum on the Hellespont." (5.90-91)
"That is what Socles said, the delegate from Corinth. Hippias answered him, invoking the very same gods against him: 'Verily,' he said, 'the Corinthians more than any other people will yet long for the Pisistratids when the appointed days are accomplished and they are sorely vexed by the Athenians.' [2] That was the answer of Hippias, for he knew the oracles more accurately than any other man." (5.93)
19. These women had children in great numbers, and they taught the children the Attic speech and Athenian ways. Their children would have nothing to do with the children born of the Pelasgian women, and, if one of them was struck by a Pelasgian child, all the others came to his assistance and so succored one another. And the Athenian children absolutely claimed to rule the others and were far more authoritative. [3] The Pelasgians took note of this and considered. In their consideration, a strange and terrible thought overcame them; if these Attic-born children even now were making a distinction, by coming to the help of their fellows against the more lawfully born, and were trying outright to rule them, what would they do when they grew up? [4] So they determined to kill the children of the Attic women. They did that and then killed the mothers into the bargain." (6.140.2: "... Thus it was that the Athenians and Miltiades came to possess Lemnos.") (6.138.2-4)
20. [Croesus advises Cyrus shortly before the latter's defeat and death] "But if you know that you too are a man and that even such are those you rule, learn this first of all: that all human matters are a wheel, and, as it turns, it never suffers the same men to be happy forever." (1.207)
21. "For of those that were great in earlier times most have now become small, and those that were great in my time were small in the time before. Since, then, I know that man's good fortune never abides in the same place, I will make mention of both alike." (1.5.4)

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