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ceive them. The shock was very fierce and violent, both sides endeavouring equally to show, by the issue of this encounter, what would be the success of the general engagement. The victory was a long time disputed: but at last Masistius's horse being wounded, threw his master, who was quickly after killed; upon which the Persians immediately fled. As soon as the news of his death reached the barbarians, their grief was excessive. They cut off the hair of their heads, as also the manes of their horses and mules, filling the camp with their cries and lamentations, having lost, in their opinion, the bravest man of their army.
After this encounter with the Persian cavalry, the two armies were a long time without coming to any action; because the soothsayers and diviners, upon their inspecting the entrails of their victims, equally foretold both parties, that they should be victorious, provided they acted only upon the defensive; whereas, on the other hand, they threatened them equally with a total overthrow, if they acted offensively, or made the first attack.
They passed ten days in this manner in sight of each other : but Mardonius who was of a fiery impatient nature, grew very uneasy at so long a delay. Besides, he had only a few days provision left for his army; and the Grecians grew stronger every day by the addition of new troops, that were continually ccming to join them. He therefore called a council of war, in order to deliberate whether they should give battle. Artabazus, a nobleman of singular merit and great experience, was of opinion, that they should not hazard a battle, but should retire under the walls of Thebes, where they would be in a condition to supply the army with provision and forage. He alleged, that delays alone would be capable of diminishing the ardour of the allies ; that they would thereby bave time to tamper with them, and might be able to draw some of them off by gold and silver, which they would take care to distribute among the leaders, and among such as had the greatest sway and authority in their several cities; and that, in short, this would be both the easiest and surest method of subjecting Greece. This opinion was very wise, but was over-ruled by Mardonius, whom the rest had not courage to contradict. The result therefore of their deliberations was, that they should give battle next day. Alexander, king of Macedonia, who was on the side of the Grecians in his heart, came secrétly about midnight to their camp, and informed Aristides of all that had passed
Pausanias forthwith gave orders to the officers to prepare themselves for battle; and imparted to Aristides the design he had formed of changing his order of battle, by placing the Athenians in the right wing, instead of the left, in order to oppose them to the Persians, with whom they had been accustomed to engage. Whether it was fear or prudence that induced Pausanias to propose this new disposition, the Athenians accepted it with pleasure. Nothing was heard among them but mutual exhortations, to acquit themselves bravely, bidding each other remember, that neither they nor their enemies were changed since the battle of Marathon, unless it were, that_victory had increased the courage of the Athenians, and had dispirited the Persians. We do not fight, said they, as they do, for a country only, or a city, but for the trophies erected at Marathon and at Salamin, that they may not appear to be the work only of Miltiades and of Fortune, but the work of the Athenians. Encouraging one another in this manner, they went with all the alacrity imaginable to change their post. But Mardonius, upon the intelligence he received of this movement, having made the like change in his order of battle, both sides ranged their troops again according to their former disposition. The whole day passed in this manner without their coming to action.
In the evening the Grecians held a council of war, in which it was resolved, that they should decamp from the place they were in, and march to another, more conveniently situated for water. Night being arrived, and the officers endeavouring at the head of their corps to make more haste than ordinary to the
camp marked out for them, great confusion happened among the troops, some going one way and some another, without observing any order or regu larity in their march. At last they halted near the little city of Platææ.
On the first news of the Grecians baving decamped, Mardonius drew his whole army into order of battle, and pursued them with the hideous shouting and howling of his barbarian forces, who thought they were marching, not so much in order to fight, as to strip and plunder a flying enemy; and their general likewise, making himself sure of victory, proudly insulted Artabazus, reproaching him with bis fearful and cowardly prudence, and with the false notion he had conceived of the Lacedæmonians, who never fed, as he pretended, before an enemy; whereas here was an instance to the contrary, But the general quickly found this was no false or ill grounded notion. He happened to fall in with the Lacedæmonians, who were alone and separated from the body of the Grecian army, to the number of fifty thousand men, together with three thousand of the Tegeans. The encounter was exceedingly fierce and resolute : on both sides the men fought with the courage of lions, and the barbarians perceived that they had to do with soldiers who were determined to conquer or die in the field. The Athenian troops, to whom Pausanias sent an officer, were already upon their march to aid them: but the Greeks, who had taken part with the Persians, to the number of fifty thousand men, went out to meet them on their way, and hindered them from proceeding any farther. Aristides, with his little body of men, bore up firmly against them, and withstood their attack, showing them of how little avail a superiority of numbers is against true courage and bravery:
The battle being thus divided into two, they fought in two different places ; the Spartans were the first who broke in upon the Persian forces, and threw 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 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 enclosure of wood. The Lacedæmonians pursued them thither, and attacked them in their intrenchment; but this they did poorly and weakly, like people that were not much acccustomed to sieges, and to attack walls. The Athenian troops, having advice of this, left the pursuit of their Grecian adversaries, and inarched to the camp of the Persians, which after several assaults they carried, and made a horrible slaughter of the enemy,
Artabazus, who from Mardonius's imprudent management had but too well foreseen the misfortune that befel them, after having distinguished himself 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 farther invasions by that nation, no Persian army having ever afterwards appeared on this side of the Hellespont.
This battle was fought on the fourth day of the month Bedromion,* according to the Athenian manner of reckoning. Soon after, the allies, as a testimony of their gratitude to heaven, caused a statue of Jupiter to be made at the joint and common expense, 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.f
One of the principal citizens of Ægina came and addressed himself to Pausanias, desiring hiin to avenge the indignity that Mardonius and Xerxes had shown to Leonidas, whose dead body was hung upon a gallows by their order, and urging him to use Mardonius's body after the sanie manner. As a farther motive for doing so, he added, that by ihus satisfying the manes of those that
* This day answers to the nineteenth of our September.
+ A. M. 3525 Apt. J. C. 479. Paus. I. v. p. 532.
were killed at Thermopyle, 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 Ægina is not to be purchased but by such actions, 1 shall be content with preserving that of the Lacedæmonians only, among whom the base and ungenerous spirit of revenge is never put in competition with that of showing clemency and moderation to their enemies, and especially after their death. As for the souls of my departed countrymen, they are sufficiently avenged by the death of the many thousand 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 adjudged to them, as also which of them should have the privilege of erecting a trophy, had like to have sullied all the glory and embittered 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 by the sword, had not Aristides prevailed upon them, by the wisdom of his counsel and reasonings, to refer the determination 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 deliver his sentiments of the matter: and when he began, nobody, doubted that he was going to claim that honour for the city of which he was a member and a native ; for Corinth was the next 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 Platæans, and that all 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 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.
All parties being thus agreed, before they began to divide the spoil of the enemy, they put fourscore talentsI aside for the Platæans, who laid them out in building a temple to Minerva, in erecting a statue to her honour, and in adorning the temple with curious and valuable paintings, which existed still in Plutarch's time, that is to say, above six hundred years afterwards, and which were then as fresh as if they had but lately come out of the hands of the paint
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 the camp of Mardonius 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. I According to the religious customs of the Grecians, before they divided the treasure, they appropriated the tithe or tenth part of the whole to the use oi' the gods; the rest was distributed equally among the cities and nations that had
* Herod. I. ix. c. 77, 78.
| About $80,000. & Herod. 1. ix. c. 79, 80. | Victo Mardonio, castra referta regalis opulentiæ capta, unde primum Græcos, diviso inter se aaro Persico, divitiarum luxuria cepit. Justin. I. ii. c. 14.
furnished troops; and the chief officers who had distinguished themselves in the field of battle were likewise distinguished in this distribution. They sent a present of a golden tripod to Delphos, in the inscription upon which Pausanius caused these words to be inserted : “ That he had defeated the barbarians at Platææ ; and that, in acknowledgment of that victory, he had made this present to Apollo.'
This arrogant inscription, wherein he ascribed the honour both of the vic tory 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 justice to their confederates, caused his name to be erased and that of the cities which had contributed to the victory to be inserted instead of it. Too ardent a thirst after glory, on this occasion, did not allow him to consider that a man loses nothing by 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.f
Pausanias gave a still 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 the table of Mardonius ; 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 madness, said he," was it in Mardonius, who was accustomed to such a luxurious diet to think of attacking a people like us, who live without any superfluities, and indulge in no delicacies!”
All the Grecians sent to Delphos, to consult the oracle concerning the sacri. fice that was proper to be offered. The answer they received from the god 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 obtain 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 the ires to be extinguished; and Euchidas, a citizen of Platææ, having taken upon himself to go and fetch the sacred fire with all possible expedition, made the best of his way to Delphos. On his arrival he purified himself, sprinkled his body with consecrated water, put on a crown of laurel, and then approached the altar, from whence, with great reverence, he took the holy fire, and carried it with him to Platææ, where he arrived before the setting of the sun, having travelled a thousand stadia, equal to a hundred and twenty-five English miles, in one day. As soon as he came back, he saluted his fellow-citizens, delivered the fire to them, fell down at their feet, and died in a moment afterwards. His countrymen carried away his body, and buried it in the temple of Diana surnamed Eucleia, which signifies “of good renown,” and put the following epitaph upon his tomb in the compass of one verse : “here lies Euchidas, who went from hence to Delphos, and retured back the same day.”
In the next general assembly of Greece, which was held not long after this pocurrence, Aristides proposed the following decree, that all the cities of Greece should every year send their respective deputies to Platææ, in order to offer sacrifices to Jupiter Liberator, and to the gods of the city; (this assem. bly was still regularly held in the time of Plutarch ;) that every five years there should be games celebrated there, which should be called the Games of Liberty ; that the several states of Greece should raise a body of troops, consisting of ten thousand foot and a thousand horse, and should equip a fleet of a hundred ships, which should be constantly maintained for making war against the barbarians ; and that the inhabitants of Platææ, entirely devoted to the service of the gods, should be looked upon as sacred and inviolable, and be occupied in no other function than that of offering prayers and sacrifices for the general preservation and prosperity of Greece.
* Corn. Nep. in Pausan. c. i.
f Ipsa dissimulatione famæ famam auxit Tacit Plut. in Arist. p. 331, 332.
All these articles being approved and passed into a law, the citizens of Platææ took upon them to solemnize, every year, the anniversary festival in honour of those persons who were slain in this battle. The order and manner of performing this sacrifice was as follows: the sixteenth day of the month Maimacterion, which answers to our month of December,* at the first appear. ance of day-break, they walked in a solemn procession, which was preceded by a trumpet that sounded to battle. Next to the trumpeter marched several chariots, filled with crowns and branches of myrtle. After these chariots, was led a black bull, behind which marched a company of young persons, carrying pitchers in their hands, full of wine and milk, the ordinary libations offered to the dead, and vials of oil and incense. All these young persons were freemen; for no slave was allowed to have any part in this ceremony, which was instituted for men who had lost their lives for liberty. In the rear of this pomp followed the archon, or chief magistrate o? the Platæans, for whom it was unlawful, at any other time, even so much as to touch jron, or to wear any other garment than a white one. But upon this occasion, being clad in purple raiment, having a sword by his side, and holding an urn in his hands, which he took from the place where they kept their public records, he marched quite through the city to the place where the tombs of his memorable countrymen were erected. As soon as he came there, he drew out water with his urn from the fountain, washed with his own hands the little columns that stood by the tombs, rubbed them afterwards with incense, and hen killed the bull upon a pile of wood prepared for that purpose. After having offered up certain prayers to the terrestrial Jupiters and Mercury, he invited those valiant souls deceased to come to their feast, and to partake of their funeral libations; then taking a cup in his hand, and having filled it with wine, he poured it on the ground, and said with a loud voice, "I present this cup to those valiant men, who died for the liberty of the Grecians.” These ceremonies were annually performed even in the time of Plutarch.
Diodorus adds, that the Athenians in particular embellished the monuments of their citizens, who died in the war with the Persians, with magnificent ornaments, instituted funeral games to their honour, and appointed a solemn panegyric to be pronounced over them, which in all probability was repeated every year. I
The reader will be sensible, without my observing it, how much these solemn testimonies and perpetual demonstrations of honour, esteem, and gratitude, for soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the defence of liberty, conduced to enhance the merit of valour, and of the services they rendered their country, and to inspire the spectators with emulation and courage ; and how exceedingly proper all this was for cultivating and perpetuating a spirit of bravery in the people, and for making their troops victorious and invincible.
The reader, no doubt, will be as much surprised, on the other hand, to see how wonderfully careful and exact these people were in acquitting themselves on all occasions of the duties of religion. The great event which I have just been relating, viz. the battle of Platææ, affords us very remarkable proofs of this, in the annual and perpetual sacrifice they instituted to Jupiter Liberator, which was still continued in the time of Plutarch ; in the care they took to consecrate the tenth part of all their spoil to the gods; and in the decree pro
* Three months after the bat:le of Platææ was fought. Probably these funeral rites were not at first performed, till after the enemies were entirely gone, and the country was free.
1 The terrestrial Jupiter is no other than Pluto ; and the same epithet of terrestrial was also given to Mercury, because it was believed to be bis office to conduct departed souls to the infernal regions.
Diod. l. xi. p. 26.