It is the great paradox of the modern world that at the very time when the world decided that people should not be coerced about their form of religion, it also decided that they should be coerced about their form of education. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




The Advance of the Second Host

Darius was very busy preparing this other army to march against Greece. While the men were being drilled, he sent two messengers to the Greek towns and islands, bidding them surrender and give him earth and water.

By demanding "earth and water," Darius meant that he wanted them to recognize him as their king, and as master of all their land and vessels. The inhabitants of many of the islands and towns were so frightened by the messages sent by The Great King, that they humbly yielded; but when the messengers came to Sparta and Athens, they met with a different reception.

In both cities the people proudly replied that they were their own masters, and would not yield to the demands of the Persian king. Then, angered by the insolent command to give earth and water, the Spartans entirely forgot that the life of an ambassador is sacred. In their rage, they seized the Persians, flung one into a pit and the other into a well, and told them to take all the earth and water they wanted.

This conduct made Darius all the more angry, and he hastened his preparations as much as he could. He was so active that in a short time he was able to start out again, with an army of a hundred and twenty thousand men.

The generals of this force were Datis and Artaphernes, who were guided and advised by the traitor Hippias. The fleet was to land the army on the plain of Marathon, close by the sea, and only one day's journey from Athens.

When the Athenians heard that the Persians were coming, they immediately decided to ask the Spartans, who were now their allies, to come to their aid, and help them drive back the enemy. As there was no time to lose, they chose as their messenger a fleet-footed Athenian, who made the journey of a hundred and fifty miles in a few hours, running every step of the way, and only seldom pausing to rest.

The Spartans listened breathlessly to his tidings, and promised that they would help the Athenians; but they added, that they would not be able to start until the moon was full, for they thought that they would be beaten unless they set out at a certain time.

The Persians in the mean while were advancing rapidly, so the Athenians started out to meet them with no other help than that of their neighbors the Platæans. The whole Greek force numbered only ten thousand men, and was under the command of the ten Athenian generals who were each entitled to the leadership for a day in turn.

Among these ten Athenian generals were three remarkable men,—Miltiades, Aristides, and Themistocles. They consulted together, hoping to find a plan by which their small army could successfully oppose the Persian host, which was twelve times greater.

Themistocles
Themistocles.


At last Miltiades proposed a plan which might succeed, provided there was but one chief, and all obeyed him well. Aristides, who was not only a good man, but also remarkably just and wise, at once saw the importance of such a plan, and offered to give up his day's command, and to carry out his friend's orders just as if he were nothing but a common soldier.

The other generals, not wishing to appear less generous than he, also gave up their command to Miltiades, who thus found himself general in chief of the Athenian and Platæan armies. So he speedily made his preparations, and drew up his small force on the plain of Marathon, between the mountains and the sea.



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