5 f.; Calmeyer, 1987). So far the Persians were moving on already conquered ground, for Darius had pushed the border forward to Thessaly (7.108.1). called Herodotus the Father of History.. Earth and sea shook at sunrise (8.64). 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. The Carians also were encouraged to break away (8.22.1-2; cf. The Greeks were barely able to bury their dead before they were forced to retreat (8.18). The latter for a while occupied the place of Artabanus, who had been sent back to Susa with the royal scepter, to look after the household and rulership of the Great King. Home » Sources » Content » Herodotus » Herodotus on Xerxes in Abydus, About Pictures Sources Countries Languages Categories Tags Thanks FAQ Donate Contact Articles Stubs. Herodotus, incidentally, devotes a dozen lengthy paragraphs to Xerxes’ discussion with his nobles and generals describing the decision to carry out the campaign against Greece (7. The major part of the army was drowned during an attempt to attack on the seaward side; Herodotus refers to local sources, who reported that the reason for the disaster was a heinous deed perpetrated against a Poseidon shrine (8.129). Salamis. ("Agamemnon", "Hom. As at Marathon, the heroic accomplishments of the defenders increased with the absence of expected support; for the Greeks were looking forward to the Olympic Games, and the Spartans, the Carnean festival (7.206.2). Herodotus on the whole offers a sparse report about the retreat with few dramatic scenes. Van Ophuijsen and Stork, pp. Xerxes’ pride in his lineage made him blind against any danger (7.11.2). All rights reserved. He married the princess Amestris, daughter of Otanes, who would become mother to his sons Darius, Hystaspes, Artaxerxes I, Achamenes, and daughters Amytis and Rhodogune. Xerxes then gathers together the noble Persians and states his reasons and expectations for attacking Hellas, backed up by Mardonios. Herodotus' catalogue can be compared to contemporary Persian documents, like Xerxes' own list of subject countries (click here). Herodotus here adds a digression about the Hellenic communities which had rejected the demand, whereby he particularly underlined Sparta’s and Athens’s love of freedom (7.134-44). Xerxes consults Artemisia about Mardonius' offer (101). After the military review at Doriscus, Demaratus appeared as warner. This place is called Thermopylae by most of the Hellenes, but by the natives and … Then the army is presented by nation (7.61-80). The Greek capture of Sestus marks the end of the ongoing tale of the Hellespont in the Histories—that border, the crossing of which ended up in a huge debacle for the Persians; henceforth it would be the Greeks preparing to make the crossing. Like Xerxes, he appears in the posture of the capricious-magnanimous despot. After Thermopylae, the massive force, guided by the Thessalians, moved across Doris and into the land of the Phocians (8.31). When Mardonius pointed out the weak points of the Greeks, Herodotus may also have been expressing some criticisim directed against contemporary Athenian imperialism (Fornara 1971, pp. In addition there was the oracle of Bacis (8.77), the truth of which Herodotus definitely trusted (cf. The English translation Arrogance: The Conquests of Xerxes by Frederick H. Martens appeared in 1930. Thus Xerxes in his blindness considered the brave defenders of Thermopyle as foolish (8.24.2). In 480 Artemisia led a small squadron of eastern Greek ships in Xerxes’ invasion force against the Greek mainland states. He destroyed his fortune, killed his family, and burnt himself to death on the pyre (7.107). 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. Only 1,000 dead Persians remained on the battlefield (8.24.1). The Persians mustered 712 triremes: 592 ships of their own—1,207 minus 600 minus 15—as well as 120 boats from the European allies (7.185.1). Yet according to Herodotus’s calculations, he still had 1,680,000 footsoldiers. He let the council decide and agreed with the majority, which voted for battle (8.69). Devastating Athens and Attica. Themistocles believed, however, that the enemy could be defeated, if the Persians were deprived of the aid of the Ionians (8.19.1). The intact Persian army also appeared to be shocked and no longer marched towards the Peloponnese. This is important because of the fact that the succeeding deceptive visions were not affecting an innocent person. This article is available in print.Vol. On their nocturnal escape, the crews mistake the Attic cliffs for hostile ships (8.107). 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. 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. (CC BY-SA 2.0 )How Herodotus Depicts Xerxes . Xerxes continued the preparations begun by Darius for another four years (7.20.1) in order to establish the greatest army of all times—including the mythical period (7.20.2). Xerxes wanted to conceal his own great losses and had most of the bodies buried in ditches. A third of the land forces deforested the mountain woods of Macedonia, so that the army could get through (7.131). A special part is played by the Argives. XERXES IN HERODOTUS' HISTORIES 199 who are yet to come" (7.9.1), takes over the idea of revenge from Xerxes and, in addition to that, brings into play exempla from the recent past. )—characterized as a conscious sin of subjugating the elements, when Xerxes ordered his men to whip the sea and have shackles sunk down in it after the storm had destroyed an initial bridge (7.34-35; Briquel and Desnier, 1983; Eckstein, 1981/83 [1989]). 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). “It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than … 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. 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. Herodotus’ believed that this had to be the case because the conclusion was reality. Xerxes then proudly sent a messenger to Artabanus in Susa to inform him of this success (8.54). This despite the fact that Sparta only provided 16 boats (8.43)! 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. He thus called to mind the fatal outcome of those of Darius’s ventures which had gone beyond divine limits with heedless lust for territory (7.10a.2-c.2; cf. HERODOTUS. Here Herodotus may have referred in part to trustworthy information (Lewis, 1985, pp. In spite of a huge sacrifice to Athene in Ilium, the army was seized with panic at night (7.43.2). CYRUS ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS ix. A new pontoon bridge of 700 ships was built (7.36), across which the gigantic army later was driven under the lash for seven days and seven nights (7.56.1). Herodotus uses this opportunity to describe the Persian urge for expansion and to show the potential maximum option for the defenders. Kup teraz! They were discouraged because of the occupation of Athens (8.50; 56). Anyone who has done even a day’s study of Classical Greece has surely encountered the Persian Wars and their huge legacy in Greece in the 5 … The fleet passed through the Athos canal to Therma, where the towns of Chalcidice (carefully listed, 7.122-23) kept their ships. Once they were conquered, no nation on earth would stand in his way any longer (7.209). Hence the Persians had more than 2,641,610 infantrymen fit for action (7.185.3), without counting the Thessalians and the allies of central Greece. The latter was not considered as an innocent victim of a higher fate, but as an arrogant and fickle man of power. Xerxes is also treated unfavorably in Herodotus’ ‘ The Histories’ as well, especially when one compares him with other Persian monarchs mentioned in the work, such as Cyrus and Darius I. (3) Literally: “18 1/2 inches weighing about 57 3/4 pounds.” 89 ff.). This page was created in 1995; last modified on 14 July 2020. According to Darbo-Peschanski (1987), Herodotus did not consider oracles as normative instances, but used them as a means to deepen historical insight. The passage, from Book I of his Histories, is interesting in the way Herodotus contrasts the behavior and values of the Persians with those of the Greeks, with the … When occupying the Acropolis, the Persians committed a grave sin. When the Persian fleet was ready for action, it frightened the Greeks, and especially the Peloponnesians (8.70, 74). How Herodotus Depicts Xerxes . Walser, 1984, pp. Before the battle of Thermopyle, Herodotus once more drew attention to the respective forces. 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. Here, too, the battles continued for three days and were exactly synchronous with Thermopylae. After reaching Abydos, the fleet sailed in formation for maneuvers at the Hellespont (7.44). Internet ASCII text source: gopher: ... Artabazanes was the eldest of the first family, and Xerxes of the second. THE HISTORIES AS A SOURCE FOR PERSIA AND PERSIANS, HERODOTUS iv. [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! Afterwards, when the rich Pythius asked Xerxes to exempt his eldest son from serving in the army, he had the young man cut in half and ordered his army to march between his two parts (7.38-40.1; Rollinger, 2000a). In addition there were another 53 boats from Attica (8.14.1). Internet ASCII text source: gopher: ... Artabazanes was the eldest of the first family, and Xerxes of the second. 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. Here Tritantaechmes, the son of Artabanus, appeared as a warner. Either the Persians would rule over the Greeks or the other way round (7.11.3). Mardonius tells Xerxes to stay in the country with 300,000 soldiers and to conquer Greece (8.100). The Thebans were forced to stay by Leonidas (7.222) but are said to have surrendered later (7.225.2; 233). It is noteworthy that the gigantic Persian army will never be deployed as a whole and that it will entirely dissolve after Salamis. 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. The Persians were already marching in formation (7.40.2-4). The following excerpts from Herodotus, Books 7 and 8, tell the story of Artemisia, queen of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, a city which was said to be the birthplace of Herodotus himself. The Persians mustered about 600 boats minus the losses (not precisely counted) near Artemisium, perhaps making about 500 ships; but Herodotus augments this number. 40-48). While Xerxes mentions the Ionian revolt and the defeat of Datis and Artaphrenes as unjust deeds which await requital, Mardonius adduces Herodotus, The Histories A. D. Godley, Ed. Thus the Greeks became the bulwark for the rest of the world, against which Xerxes’ ambitions were directed (7.138.1). The king was followed by 1,000 select spearbearers and horsemen (7.41; Kienast, 1996). All content copyright © 1995–2020 Livius.org. They illustrate the presumptuousness in human accumulation of power and indicate from that that the project was predestined to fail. The Greeks possessed 271 boats, apart from the fifty-oared ones (8.2.1). When the Greeks noticed the resulting danger of isolation, they accepted battle (8.76-83). Herodotus is exceptionally significant. Herodotus adopts Aeschylus’s figure of 1,207 boats (Persae 339 ff. 49-52; Scheer, 2000, pp. Herodotus reports that there were about 4,000 victims on the Greek side (7.228.2; 8.25.2) and 20,000 on the Persian side (8.24.1). The defenders provide 380 warships, in addition to the fifty-oar boats; these are listed with precision in a fleet catalogue (8.43-48). In addition, Herodotus again and again refers to Xerxes’ plan to conquer to whole of Europe (7.52.4; 209.4; 8.108.2-4). The following excerpts from Herodotus, Books 7 and 8, tell the story of Artemisia, queen of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, a city which was said to be the birthplace of Herodotus himself. Herodotus' Histories has it all: tales of war, eyewitness travel writing, notes on flora and fauna and accounts of fantastic creatures such as winged snakes. When Xerxes' engineers bridged it, the consequences were seismic. Xerxes covered the route to Therma on land (7.124-27). With the few survivors Artabazus went back to Mardonius, to whom he was to become the unheeded warner before Plataeae. After Plataeae the movement to break away speeded up. When the army set out for Sardis, there was a solar eclipse (7.37.3-3). For the 3,000 transport boats, he estimated a crew of 80 men per boat, altogether amounting to 240,000 men (7.184.3). 88-89). In it Hybris and deceptive visions. Mardonius proceeded with the withdrawing army to Thessaly, where he selected out 300,000 soldiers for his force (8.113). The supply train was almost equally great, counting altogether 5,283,220 men—excepting women, eunuchs, and animals (7.187.1). (8.16). 12 ff. Achaemenes, the commander of the fleet, advised against this plan (7.236), and Xerxes agreed with him (7.237). Xerxes, during his twenty-one year reign, was successfully able to hold an entire empire together that contained fifty million subjects, which tells historians that his organisation and administration of the empire was perhaps commendable. for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou art now shedding tears." HERODOTUS. (This cannot be astronomically proved. As the Immortals approached, the Greeks withdrew and took a stand on a hill behind the wall. Thus Herodotus described the events on a structural level, as he did at Thermopylae. Claim to world dominion. He estimated 200 men per trireme and reported the force of the fleet as amounting to 214,000 men (7.181.1). Thus the march of the empire the plan of a slave his tomb in Naqsh-e.. Was convened, to which Xerxes ’ pride in his lineage made him feel insecure and hesitant for having thyself! The country with 300,000 soldiers and to march onto your lands was not considered an... 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Then proudly sent a messenger to Artabanus in Susa to inform him of this success ( )! Encouraging them to be brave ( 8.84.2 ) page was created in 1995 ; last modified on July... That Themistocles deliberately sent to him by way of a huge sacrifice Athene... Hermotimus, and the battle is described by Herodotus 7.152.1 ) primarily from Greek records pertaining to a variant the! Posted online.If you enter several tags, separate with commas by Herodotus an! List of subject countries ( click here ) Phoenicians, Syrians, the!