Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




The Battles of Salamis and Plataea

The fleets soon came face to face; and Xerxes took up his post on a mountain, where he sat in state upon a hastily built throne to see his vessels destroy the enemy. He had made very clever plans, and, as his fleet was far larger than that of the Greeks, he had no doubt that he would succeed in defeating them.

His plans, however, had been found out by Aristides, who was in the Island of Ægina; and this noble man rowed over to the fleet, at the risk of being caught by the enemy, to warn his fellow-citizens of their danger.

He first spoke to Themistocles, saying, "Rivals we have always been; let us now set all other rivalry aside, and only strive which can best serve his native country."

Themistocles agreed to this proposal, and managed affairs so wisely and bravely that the Greeks won a great victory. When they came home in triumph with much spoil, the women received them with cries of joy, and strewed flowers under their feet.

Marathon
Return of the Victorious Greeks.


From his high position, Xerxes saw his fleet cut to pieces; and he was so discouraged by this check, that he hastened back to Persia, leaving his brother-in-law Mardonius with an army of three hundred thousand men to finish the conquest of Greece.

The Greeks were so happy over their naval victory at Salamis, that they all flew to arms once more; and Pausanias, the Spartan king, the successor of Leonidas, was soon able to lead a large army against Mardonius.

The two forces met at Platæa, and again the Greeks won, although fighting against foes who greatly outnumbered them. Strange to relate, while Pausanias was winning one battle at Platæa, the other Spartan king, Eurybiades, defeated a new Persian fleet at Mycale.

These two victories finished the rout of the greatest army ever seen. Mardonius fled with the remnant of his host, leaving his tents, baggage, and slaves to the Greeks, who thus got much booty.

We are told that the Spartans, entering the Persian camp, were greatly amazed at the luxury of the tents. Pausanias stopped in the one that had been occupied by Mardonius, and bade the slaves prepare a meal such as they had been wont to lay before their master.

Then, calling his own Helots, he gave orders for his usual supper. When both meals were ready, they made the greatest contrast. The Persian tent was all decked with costly hangings, the table was spread with many kinds of rich food served in dishes of solid gold, and soft couches were spread for the guests.

The Spartan supper, on the contrary, was of the plainest description, and was served in ordinary earthenware. Pausanias called his officers and men, and, after pointing out the difference between the Spartan and the Persian style of living, he showed how much he liked plain food by eating his usual supper.

To reward Pausanias for his bravery and for defeating the enemy, the Greeks gave him a part of all that was best in the spoil. Next they set aside one tenth of it for Apollo, and sent it to his priest at Delphi as a token of gratitude for the favor of the god.

To show that they were grateful also to Zeus and Poseidon,—the gods who, they thought, had helped them to win their battles by land and by sea,—they sent statues to Olympia and Corinth; and they erected a temple in honor of Athene, the goddess of defensive war, on the battlefield of Platæa.



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