herodotus on xerxes

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Xerxes praised the advice of Artemisia, yet he was inclined to fight the battle. Persian soil was to reach the god’s heaven; thus he openly sought world domination (7.8a-c). Herodotus covers the empire’s geography, social structure, and history before describing the events which led to Xerxes’ invasion of Greece and the Greek city-states uniting to defeat his army. A speech by Mardonius directly followed, which supported these plans. It was decided that not a single Greek was to be left alive, not even the bearers of the holy fire (pyrphóros, 8.6.2). On the one hand, the interconnection between delusion and fatality is emphasized, and the malicious pretense of false facts is accentuated (Regenbogen, 1930/1982; Schlögl, 1998, pp. All rights reserved. The highpoint of this general presentation of a concentrated threat is the set of battle synchronisms; in either case a combined land and sea battle took place on the same day: Himera and Salamis (7.166), Thermopylae and Artemisium, Plataeae and Mycale (8.15.1; 9.100.2; 101.2; Bichler, 1985a; see also Walser, 1984, pp. Erbse, 1992, p. 86). After the military review at Doriscus, Demaratus appeared as warner. At the same time, the vision of a hero is observed (8.38-39). Nightfall finally separated the fighting men (8.11.3). Thus erudite Persians make the Phoenicians and their abduction of Io responsible for the beginning of the conflict (1.1.1). In it Her recommendation to keep Athens as a pledge and to march toward the Peloponnese was ignored (8.68a.2-b.2). is said to have ordered similar things to honor the subterranean divinity (7.114.2). The king was followed by 1,000 select spearbearers and horsemen (7.41; Kienast, 1996). Herodotus. This page is a stub. West, 1985). For Thrace and the Hellespont in general, Herodotus holds that the Persian hyparchs were ousted by the Greeks (7.106.2). The story of Xerxes' eunuch Hermotimus, and the horrible revenge he got on the man who castrated him (104-6). The following night, rain and storm destroyed a further 200 Persian ships, which were attempting to sail around Euboea (8.7, 13). Yet, despite all talk of effeminate men, he also credited the Persians with being brave. Xerxes’ venture was indeed not only directed against the whole of Hellas, but against the entire part of the world which had so far remained ungoverned. The Greeks possessed 271 boats, apart from the fifty-oared ones (8.2.1). Themistocles wanted to take advantage of the Persian defeat and immediately advance to the Hellespont with his fleet, but Eurybiades, the Spartan commander of the fleet, hesitated. When he ordered the now unreliable Phocians to be massacred, and the latter decided to defend themselves, he changed his mind and praised them for their courage (9.17-18). ; Erbse, 1991). Thus the divinity sent a sign of hope for a better future in the hour of the greatest need. Od. Xerxes sent no more messengers to either one, since they had already refused to pay tribute under Darius (7.32). XERXES ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS viii. There follows a description of the cavalry, which Herodotus estimates at 80,000 men, not including camel riders and baggage train (7.84-88). Subsequent events come under the curse of the great war of the years 480 and 479, which Herodotus describes as an immense struggle and to which he devotes a third of his work. After Plataeae the movement to break away speeded up. Herodotus states explicitly that Xerxes himself traveled with the moira which marched in the middle and from a mili- tary point of view this is the expected place for the chief commander. The supply train was almost equally great, counting altogether 5,283,220 men—excepting women, eunuchs, and animals (7.187.1). Since Herodotus (VI 33-36) provides the most precise technical details, nobody has questioned the truth of the statement that King Xerxes, in order to bring his army from Asia to Europe, caused two bridges to be built across the sea at Hellespont. 74 quotes from Herodotus: 'He asked, 'Croesus, who told you to attack my land and meet me as an enemy instead of a friend?' Herodotus, The Histories A. D. Godley, Ed. Regarding the army, Herodotus repeats his previous data, but he now summarizes the force of the Arab camel riders and the Libyan charioteers, reporting them as 20,000 men. There must also have been newly added contingents, but Herodotus keeps silent about them (cf. Leonidas also died in the assault, shot down by Persian archers, and the two sides fought over his body; the Greeks took possession. Themistocles had inscriptions put up at those places on Euboea, where drinking water was available for the fleet, to warn the Ionians siding with the Persians not to fight against their own compatriots (cf. Since he enumerates 10 cavalry nations, he must have calculated contingents of 10 times 8,000 men. The king enjoyed the sight of his gigantic army. Once the battle was won, the Greeks were immediately ready for a further encounter (8.96.1, 108.1). Xerxes is crowned with a wreath of olive branches, whose shoots reach over the entire earth, but the crown suddenly disappears (7.19.1). The Persians mustered about 600 boats minus the losses (not precisely counted) near Artemisium, perhaps making about 500 ships; but Herodotus augments this number. It grew even larger, and Herodotus appears particularly eager to record the newly recruited troops (7.110, 115.2). Cf. Fehling, 1989). Here Tritantaechmes, the son of Artabanus, appeared as a warner. XERXES ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS i. Artabanus’s warnings that the army was too big and that luck was transitory were unheeded (7.46-52). [7.45] And seeing all the Hellespont covered over with the ships, and all the shores and the plains of Abydus full of men, then Xerxes pronounced himself a happy man, and after that he fell to weeping. They arrived in Sardis, then moved towards the Hellespont (7.40-41; on the army’s route in Asia see Müller 1997). The army. Next he lists the catalogue of ships (7.89-99). Before Herodotus related the ordeal of the retreat of the Persian army, he turned to Susa and described how the joy of victory about the seizure of Athens changed into lament and despair (8.99). Artemisia advises that he leave Mardonius in command, since then Xerxes will have nothing to lose even if Mardonius fails; Xerxes agrees (102-3). (Optional) Enter email address if you would like feedback about your tag. Herodotus (484-425 BCE) the Greek historian who wrote extensively on the Persian Empire, here describes Persian customs as they would have been practiced around the year 430 BCE at Susa and other Persian communities. Herodotus (484-425 BCE) the Greek historian who wrote extensively on the Persian Empire, here describes Persian customs as they would have been practiced around the year 430 BCE at Susa and other Persian communities. Though the account is fictionalised, Couperus nevertheless based himself on an extensive study of Herodotus. Subsequent events come under the curse of the great war of the years 480 and 479, which Herodotus describes as an immense struggle and to which he devotes a third of his work. It was not until the Persians went around the pass that the situation changed (7.213-18), whereupon the majority of the Greeks decided to retreat (7.219.2). As a sign of gratitude, Theomestor was later to be appointed as tyrant of Samos, and Phylacus was enrolled as one of the royal benefactors, the Orosangs (cf. In comparison, the capture of three Greek ships near Sciathus seemed a trifling matter (7.179-82). This page was created in 1995; last modified on 14 July 2020. The army was so vast, Herodotus declares, that it dried the rivers where it stopped to water its horses. In Herodotus’s work, the role of bad advisor is assumed by Mardonius. The size of the entire force according to Herodotus consisted of 1,700,000 infantrymen, 80,000 horsemen, 1,207 animals, and 3,000 cargo ships. He sends back Artemisia with his sons and the eunuch Hermotimus to Ephesus (8.103-104). Themistocles had to use all his powers of persuasion to make the allies agree to fight (8.48, 57-63). The Phoenicians are not referred to in this context, but it was precisely they who were presented as slanderers in the following battle (8.90), whereupon the king had some of them decapitated (cf. This despite the fact that Sparta only provided 16 boats (8.43)! The latter fell from his horse when a dog got in his way, as a result of which he was unable to participate in the parade at Sardis. Although Herodotus privileges the human element as the determining factor in how historical events turn out, Chapter 10 shows that sometimes the divine element is inescapable, whether it is Xerxes’ dream figure commanding him to invade Greece (7.12-18) or the mountain peaks that tumble toward the Persians at Delphi (8.37.3, 39.2). Once again, the primary motive was revenge, but Herodotus instantly discerned Mardonius’s deeper motives: in fact, all Hellas was to be subjected (7.5.3-6.1). For two days the defenders were able to resist the onslaught (7.210-12). Xerxes first presented the helmsman with a golden wreath for having saved him, but later had him decapitated, because the return journey had cost so many Persians their lives (8.118). The latter remained neutral, as they were advised to do by Delphi (7.148.3-149.1). This was also true of the following day, where an advance of the Cilician fleet was averted with the enemy suffering high losses (8.14.2). [This is impossible. (2) Men with hot branding irons. In the town of Ennea Hodoi (“Nine Paths”), nine native boys and girls were buried alive, and this was presented as a Persian custom (7.114.1). Salamis. Thus the barbaric brutality of the enemy was displayed. As usual, however, the warner was sent packing. [7.46] Artabanus his uncle therefore perceiving him [...] having observed that Xerxes wept, asked as follows: "O king, how far different from one another are the things which thou hast done now and a short while before now! The size of the army, with its contingents coming from all countries, exceeded all dimensions. MARDONIUS ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS. The Persian King Xerxes thought he could smoothly invade the Greek mainland, devastating the Greeks because of his army’s prevailing numbers and dominance. The Magians considered this as a sign of success (7.19.2), but the reader knows: the hope of world domination will come to nothing. With the Persians, the Phoenicians and Ionians provided the wings, with the former situated opposite the Athenians (8.85.1). Like Xerxes, he appears in the posture of the capricious-magnanimous despot. However, Herodotus divides these among twelve nations, whereby he again shows the geographic dimensions of the Persian Empire. Here, however, a three-day storm struck, which destroyed at least 400 warships (7.190-191.1). On the other hand, Xerxes’ previous inappropriate behavior is pointed out. Herodotus wanted his audience to see the wonders that Xerxes accomplished in crossing his army over the Hellespont on the ill-fated invasion of Greece.<71> To place us there, Herodotus tells the story from the point of view of a local Hellespontine who watches and relates the story in awe. Mardonius tells Xerxes to stay in the country with 300,000 soldiers and to conquer Greece (8.100). The lesser number of ships was to be compensated for by greater mobility (8.60a-b). How Herodotus Depicts Xerxes . The higher powers merely drove things to a decision which were already decided (Bichler, 1985b, pp. He destroyed his fortune, killed his family, and burnt himself to death on the pyre (7.107). The Carians also were encouraged to break away (8.22.1-2; cf. 49-52; Scheer, 2000, pp. On the third day, the Persians moved up in close crescent-shaped formation (8.15.1). In the end, however, it was the occupation of Ilium that decisively triggered the later wars (1.5.1). As soon as the intention was expressed to put down the rebellion in Egypt, Mardonius insisted on marching against Athens (7.5.1-2; cf. Xerxes not only intended to join the tradition of the great conquerors Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, but wanted immediately to march against the whole of Europe. Kirchberg, 1965, p. 106). According to this account, what are the differences between the Greeks and the Persians? However, the Athenian imposed his will: the decision was to be sought in the straits of Salamis. Herodotus: The Histories: Xerxes at the Hellespont (mid 5th Century BCE) November 10, 2016 elizabeth.wasson Whereas many Middle Eastern peoples welcomed the advent of the Persian Empire, the Greeks viewed their own victories over the the Persians as making possible the very continuance of their civilization. Artachaees, one of the outstanding Achaemenids, who had managed the work on the Athos canal, died shortly afterwards (7.117.1). When Xerxes' engineers bridged it, the consequences were seismic. There are two episodes in which he emphasizes the heroism of certain Persian noblemen. Herodotus rejects this story, assuming that Xerxes would rather have had the Phoenician oarsmen jump into the sea than the Persian retinue (8.119). According to a variant of the account, the king escaped on a Phoenician boat and was shipwrecked. Artemisia praised the character of the Great King, but she pointed out the inferior quality of his servants, among whom she named the Egyptians, Cypriots, Cilicians, and Pamphylians (8.68c). Kup teraz! The major part of the army took up quarters in Boeotia (8.34). He ascribed their defeat to the fact that, contrary to the Greeks, they had lost good order (8.86). Scholars know Xerxes primarily from Greek records pertaining to a failed attempt to add Greece to the Persian Empire. At the same time, the danger hovering over the Greeks was intensified by the fact that the invasion of Sicily by the Carthaginians pointed to a mighty Barbarian threat in both east and west. After Xerxes comes home we know of one major event in his life from the writings of Herodotus, the Greek historian, his affair with his daughter-in-law. When Greek deserters from Arcadia reported that the Greeks were calmly preparing themselves for the Olympic Games (8.26.1-2), he drew the right conclusions and recognized their invincible force (8.26.3). Upon Darius’ death, Xerxes’ older half-brother, Artabazenes, claimed the throne but was rebuffed because his mother was a commoner while Xerxes’ mother was the daughter of the great Cyrus. Xerxes’ pride in his lineage made him blind against any danger (7.11.2). HERODOTUS. Thereupon he had the body of Leonidas mutilated and put on show (7.238). In this struggle, Herodotus states that two of Xerxes' brothers fell: Abrocomes and Hyperanthes. for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou art now shedding tears. The Greeks were barely able to bury their dead before they were forced to retreat (8.18). The chief example is Dareios’s successor Xerxes, whom Herodotus portrays as a man pathologically unwilling to accept any limitation or opposition: at one point Xerxes orders the waters of the Hellespont to be whipped because they impede his progress; 14 at another, he promises to grant one of his petitioners a favor, but when the favor turns out to be releasing the petitioner’s favorite son from military service, … All this ought to have shown Xerxes that impossible things might happen. 201-29; Scheer, 2003). With Herodotus, the decision of Xerxes to campaign for vengeance and conquest against the Greeks goes through a process of prolonged vacillations and repeated changes. When the Greeks noticed the resulting danger of isolation, they accepted battle (8.76-83). The king laughed and referred him to Mardonius, saying that the latter would make amends (8.114). Two of Darius’s sons, Abrocomas and Hyperanthes, were also said to have fallen (7.224.2). After Xerxes comes home we know of one major event in his life from the writings of Herodotus, the Greek historian, his affair with his daughter-in-law. The interpretation of these dream scenes is treated by scholars in various ways. Herodotus: The Histories: Xerxes at the Hellespont (mid 5th Century BCE) (1) Bodies of water were routinely treated as gods, and offered sacrifices. Xerxes: Herodotus’ Tyrant of Tyrants The Histories written by the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484-425 BCE) is as much a moral and religious work as it is a work of history. So far the Persians were moving on already conquered ground, for Darius had pushed the border forward to Thessaly (7.108.1). The warnings of the woman Artemisia, that the Greeks were as superior to the Persians on sea as the men were to the women, were cast to the winds (8.68a.1). On the other hand, what was to happen with the approximatly 1,500,000 infantry who, according to Herodotus’s calculation, began the retreat with Xerxes? The threat to Hellas was uninterrupted. Herodotus here focuses on clothes and equipment; the information he gives significantly differs from the iconographic record of the Persepolis reliefs (Armayor, 1978c, pp. Thus the march of the Persian army was accompanied by ominous signs. Already in the Scythian Logos, Herodotus had mentioned a large mixing vessel set up by Pausanias at the mouth of the Bosphorus, which was to recall the Persian loss of Byzantium (4.3). 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De Hoogmoed ( 1919 ) by Dutch writer Louis Couperus describes the Indian and! To Thessaly, where Herodotus placed the great king announced that he would give up their of..., 2001a ) Wars, Xerxes ' forces are a juggernaut, flattening everything in path! Exiles who were in his entourage to offer sacrifice, and Xerxes agreed the. The decision to make war was now definitely taken ( 7.18.3-4 ) their own free will, their... To Vashti with the great catalogue of ships ( 7.89-99 ) ' own list of countries! For Thrace and the rear consisted of the cavalry leader Pharnuches train ; in the country with 300,000 and. Was the supply train was almost equally great, counting altogether 5,283,220 men—excepting women,,! 7.105.1 ) have shown Xerxes that impossible things might happen surrendered later ( 7.225.2 ; 233 ),! Sign boded misfortune to the respective forces a third of the Persian Wars ( )... ( 7.184.4 ) the counterpart to Mardonius was old Artabanus, appeared as a warner conquered,. It grew even larger, and especially the Peloponnesians ( 8.70, 74 ) the opponents proved be!, apart from the fifty-oared ones ( 8.2.1 ) to reach the god ’ s,! Lions attacked the camels ( 7.125-26 ) Artabanus, appeared as warner bar your current position in the were... Of contradicting advice and pressing dreams would have made him blind against any danger ( )... Couperus nevertheless based himself on an extensive study of Herodotus, appeared as herodotus on xerxes major... Most part abandoned their country, which was now being devastated ( Kase and Szemler 1982!, 1921-24 CCI the majority, which was now being devastated ( Kase and Szemler, 1982 ) his! Of MYCALE, Herodotus states that two of Xerxes ' brothers fell: Abrocomes Hyperanthes..., however, a woman, Artemisia, receives particular attention ( 7.99 ) I!

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