Quarry the granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a thread of silk; then may you hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man. — John Cardinal Newman

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Miltiades' Disgrace

The victory of Marathon was a great triumph for the Athenians; and Miltiades, who had so successfully led them, was loaded with honors. His portrait was painted by the best artist of the day, and it was placed in one of the porticos of Athens, where every one could see it.

At his request, the main part of the booty was given to the gods, for the Greeks believed that it was owing to divine favor that they had conquered their enemies. The brazen arms and shields which they had taken from the ten thousand Persians killed were therefore melted, and formed into an immense statue of Athene, which was placed on the Acropolis, on a pedestal so high that the glittering lance which the goddess held could be seen far out at sea when the sunbeams struck its point.

The Athenians vented their triumph and delight in song and dance, in plays and works of art of all kinds; for they wished to commemorate the glorious victory which had cost them only a hundred and ninety men, while the enemy had lost ten thousand.

One of their choicest art treasures was made by Phidias, the greatest sculptor the world has ever known, out of a beautiful block of marble which Darius had brought from Persia. The great king had intended to set it up in Athens as a monument of his victory over the Greeks. It was used instead to record his defeat; and when finished, the statue represented Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, whose place it was to punish the proud and insolent, and to make them repent of their sins.

Miltiades was, as we have seen, the idol of the Athenian people after his victory at Marathon. Unfortunately, however, they were inclined to be fickle, and when they saw that Miltiades occupied such a high rank, many began to envy him.

Themistocles was particularly jealous of the great honors that his friend had won. His friends soon noticed his gloomy, discontented looks; and when they inquired what caused them, Themistocles said it was because the thought of the trophies of Miltiades would not let him sleep. Some time after, when he saw that Miltiades was beginning to misuse his power, he openly showed his dislike.

Not very far from Athens, out in the Ægean sea, was the island of Paros. The people living there were enemies of Miltiades, and he, being sole head of the fleet, led it thither to avenge his personal wrongs.

The expedition failed, however; and Miltiades came back to Athens, where Themistocles and the indignant citizens accused him of betraying his trust, tried him, and convicted him of treason.

Had they not remembered the service that he had rendered his country in defeating the Persians at Marathon, they would surely have condemned him to death. As it was, the jury merely sentenced him to pay a heavy fine, saying that he should remain in prison until it was paid.

Miltiades was not rich enough to raise this large sum of money, so he died in prison. His son Cimon went to claim his body, so that he might bury it properly; but the hard-hearted judges refused to let him have it until he had paid his father's debt.

Thus forced to turn away without his father's corpse, Cimon visited his friends, who lent him the necessary money. Miltiades, who had been the idol of the people, was now buried hurriedly and in secret, because the ungrateful Athenians had forgotten all the good he had done them, and remembered only his faults.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province