Front Matter 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

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber

The Great Army

Xerxes' army marched in various sections across Asia Minor, and all the forces came together at the Hellespont. Here the king had ordered the building of two great bridges,—one for the troops, and the other for the immense train of baggage which followed him.

These bridges were no sooner finished than a rising storm entirely destroyed them. When Xerxes heard of the disaster, he not only condemned the unlucky engineers to death, but also had the waves flogged with whips, and ordered chains flung across the strait, to show that he considered the sea an unruly slave, who should be taught to obey his master.

Then, undaunted by his misfortune, the King of Persia gave orders for the building of new bridges; and when they were finished, he reviewed his army from the top of a neighboring mountain.

The sight must have been grand indeed, and the courtiers standing around were greatly surprised when they saw their master suddenly burst into tears. When asked the cause of his sorrow, Xerxes answered, "See that mighty host spread out as far as eye can reach! I weep at the thought that a hundred years hence there will be nothing left of it except, perhaps, a handful of dust and a few moldering bones!"


Crossing the Hellespont.

The king was soon comforted, however, and crossed the bridge first, attended by his bodyguard of picked soldiers, who were called the Immortals because they had never suffered defeat. All the army followed him, and during seven days and nights the bridge resounded with the steady tramp of the armed host; but, even when the rear guard had passed over the Hellespont, there were still so many slaves and baggage wagons, that it took them a whole month to file past.

That was a procession such as has never again been seen. You can imagine what a sight it was for all the boys and girls who lived near enough to the Hellespont to see this mighty parade, which continued night and day.

They saw not only the sacred chariot drawn by eight white horses, the glittering array of the Immortals, the burnished helmets and arms of the foot soldiers, and the silken canopies and tents over the grandees, but also countless chariots drawn by four horses, and provided on either side with sharp scythes, which were intended to mow down the enemy like ripe grain.

Besides these strange mowing machines, there were many other engines of war, which were all made to strike terror into the hearts of the Greeks, and to subdue completely the proud people who had so sorely defeated Darius' troops at Marathon.

To prevent his fleet from being wrecked as his father's was, Xerxes had given orders to dig a great canal across the isthmus that connected Mount Athos with the mainland; and through this the vessels sailed past the promontory safely.