herodotus on xerxes

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Boges, the commander of Eion, refused to accept the offer of an honorable withdrawal. There are several incidents in the primary source, which portray Xerxes … 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. Herodotus’ historical methodology created a narrative within which the Greeks were destined to prevail and Xerxes (519-465 BCE), the greatest of antagonists, was destined to fail. 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. 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. There he took his seat, and looking down upon the shore he gazed both upon the land-army and the ships; and gazing upon them he had a longing to see a contest take place between the ships; and when it had taken place and the Phoenicians of Sidon were victorious, he was delighted both with the contest and with the whole armament. (2) Men with hot branding irons. Here the myths about the abduction of women are apparently presented as legitimating points of view by later warring parties (cf. Then the army is presented by nation (7.61-80). Later an Argive delegation is said to have asked Artaxerxes whether the friendship they had established with Xerxes still held good (7.151). 270-276. A special part is played by the Argives. The Persians were already marching in formation (7.40.2-4). Herodotus is exceptionally significant. The threat to Hellas was uninterrupted. Here, too, the battles continued for three days and were exactly synchronous with Thermopylae. We know of one fixed point of the Great king’s itinerary through Thrace. Since he enumerates 10 cavalry nations, he must have calculated contingents of 10 times 8,000 men. ), which on their part represent homage to the 1,186 ships of the Iliad. 74 quotes from Herodotus: 'He asked, 'Croesus, who told you to attack my land and meet me as an enemy instead of a friend?' At night Xerxes was haunted by doubts as to whether Artabanus might in fact have been right, but, as soon as he decided to call off the venture, a vision again made him change his mind: a handsome man encouraged him to carry out his decisions (7.12). Thus the Greeks became the bulwark for the rest of the world, against which Xerxes’ ambitions were directed (7.138.1). The major part of the army took up quarters in Boeotia (8.34). The lesser number of ships was to be compensated for by greater mobility (8.60a-b). In addition there was the oracle of Bacis (8.77), the truth of which Herodotus definitely trusted (cf. The anecdote nevertheless serves its purpose by emphasizing the servility of the Persian nobility and the unpredictability of the capricious despot (Erbse, 1992, pp. Regarding the army, Herodotus repeats his previous data, but he now summarizes the force of the Arab camel riders and the Libyan charioteers, reporting them as 20,000 men. 77-150, 215-60). They illustrate the presumptuousness in human accumulation of power and indicate from that that the project was predestined to fail. Ominous signs. Throughout The Histories, Herodotus discusses the Persian Wars (499–449 B.C. Queen Amestris [q.v.] Scholars know Xerxes primarily from Greek records pertaining to a failed attempt to add Greece to the Persian Empire. The Greeks possessed 271 boats, apart from the fifty-oared ones (8.2.1). Barbarian threat in east and west. 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. A mare gave birth to a hare (7.57.1), and a mule bore young which turned out to be a hermaphrodite (7.57.2). For the 3,000 transport boats, he estimated a crew of 80 men per boat, altogether amounting to 240,000 men (7.184.3). In it 1,700,000 Persians confronted 4,120 Hoplites (7.202-207). In that work too there were already mentions of arrogant plans and bad advisors. Before the battle of Thermopyle, Herodotus once more drew attention to the respective forces. While it was certainly large, of the order of a few hundred thousand, his later Greek sources must have exaggerated the numbers to make their own valor and victory seem all the more heroic. In Herodotus's history of the Persian Wars, Xerxes' forces are a juggernaut, flattening everything in their path westward. The Egyptian fleet particularly distinguished itself (8.17). Xerxes I. Xerxes: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 486 to 465. A third of the land forces deforested the mountain woods of Macedonia, so that the army could get through (7.131). Thus the Persians had already lost altogether 600 ships without the enemy’s doings, a fact which Herodotus attributes to the will of the divinity: the latter is said to have wanted to create a balance of power between the two sides (8.13). Already Artabanus pointed out that the divinity ruined those who were arrogant (7.10e). A speech by Mardonius directly followed, which supported these plans. Herodotus’s History is an account of the Greco-Persian Wars (499–479 BCE) and the story of the growth and organization of the Persian empire. Herodotus on the whole offers a sparse report about the retreat with few dramatic scenes. While Xerxes mentions the Ionian revolt and the defeat of Datis and Artaphrenes as unjust deeds which await requital, Mardonius adduces Once the battle was won, the Greeks were immediately ready for a further encounter (8.96.1, 108.1). Thus the divinity sent a sign of hope for a better future in the hour of the greatest need. First losses. 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). First the size of the land army is determined, which comprised 1,700,000 fighting men (7.60). The battle is described by Herodotus with numerous details. The entire geographic extent of the empire is presented. 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). With the few survivors Artabazus went back to Mardonius, to whom he was to become the unheeded warner before Plataeae. Merely as a feint, Xerxes had a pontoon bridge built towards Salamis (8.97.1), but on the same night, the demoralized fleet departed from Phalerum (8.108.1). In front was the supply train; in the center were the Persians; and the rear consisted of the tribes of the empire. Artabanus. Artemisia advises that he leave Mardonius in command, since then Xerxes will have nothing to lose even if Mardonius fails; Xerxes agrees (102-3). Herodotus (484-425 BCE) the Greek historian who wrote extensively on the Persian Empire, here describes Persian customs as they would have been practiced around the year 430 BCE at Susa and other Persian communities. However, the Athenian imposed his will: the decision was to be sought in the straits of Salamis. How Herodotus Depicts Xerxes . This article is available in print.Vol. The latter fell from his horse when a dog got in his way, as a result of which he was unable to participate in the parade at Sardis. Thus he, too, became accountable to the god. The Thebans were forced to stay by Leonidas (7.222) but are said to have surrendered later (7.225.2; 233). 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. When the fighting began, a woman was said to have appeared to the Athenians, encouraging them to be brave (8.84.2). Yet Xerxes’ herald had expressly reminded them of the mythical origin of the Persians and of their ancestor Perses from Argos (7.1.50). In Herodotus's history of the Persian Wars, Xerxes' forces are a juggernaut, flattening everything in their path westward. Following the defeat of Salamis, the Persians also lost their power over the northern Aegean, as Herodotus only briefly mentions. These two, therefore, being the sons of different mothers, were now at variance. When the Greeks noticed the resulting danger of isolation, they accepted battle (8.76-83). They decided to put the divinity to the test, and Artabanus, who against his better instincts agreed to the project, slept in the king’s clothes on the royal throne (7.15a.1). We know of one fixed point of the Great king’s itinerary through Thrace. With despotic willfulness he had the horse’s legs mutilated (7.88). 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. In it Yet there were also other contingents waiting along with the Spartans, among them 700 Thespian Hoplites under Demophilus and the Helots of the Spartans (8.25). 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. Through Thrace to Thessaly. It is noteworthy that the gigantic Persian army will never be deployed as a whole and that it will entirely dissolve after Salamis. As for the different territories of Europe and Asia, Herodotus mentions them both at the beginning and at the end of his work (1.4.4; 9.116.3). When the army marched through the sites of the Trojan War, thunder was heard and lightning seen coming from Mount Ida, and these destroyed part of the army (7.42.2). In order to overcome the increasing hesitation, Themistocles decided to resort to a trick and provoke Xerxes to attack (8.74-75). Mardonius, what manner of men are these against whom you have brought us to fight—men who contend with one another, not for money, but for honor!' Herodotus says that Xerxes acted upon false information that Themistocles deliberately sent to him by way of a slave. ‘I am the bearer of a secret communication from the Athenian commander, who is a well-wisher to your king and hopes for a Persian victory, said the slave Sicinnus. HERODOTUS. Od. Mosshammer, 1981; Wenskus, 1990.) Also during the digging of a canal across the isthmus of Mount Athos, the laborers were driven with whips (7.22-24). Walser, 1984, pp. Next Herodotus adds an excursus, naming the highest commanders and describing their rich equipment (7.81-83). There must also have been newly added contingents, but Herodotus keeps silent about them (cf. Amilcas with his 300,000 men had exactly the same forces (7.165) with which Mardonius was later to march up at Plataeae (8.113.3). Either the Persians would rule over the Greeks or the other way round (7.11.3). 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). XII, Fasc. Once more a miraculous sign boded misfortune to the Persians. 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. The fleet passed through the Athos canal to Therma, where the towns of Chalcidice (carefully listed, 7.122-23) kept their ships. Hence Herodotus described Xerxes as possessed by hybris and blind from the very start. Xerxes’ venture was indeed not only directed against the whole of Hellas, but against the entire part of the world which had so far remained ungoverned. The well-informed reader knows that, in the Histories, to rise above others with a smile is a sign of fatal self-satisfaction (Lateiner, 1977). An anecdote points to their future fate. The king laughed and referred him to Mardonius, saying that the latter would make amends (8.114). Similarly sinful behavior marked the Persian naval action at Cape Artemisium. Xerxes consults Artemisia about Mardonius' offer (101). ; Bichler, 2000b, p. 322; Van Ophuijsen and Stork, 1999, pp. called Herodotus the Father of History.. It grew even larger, and Herodotus appears particularly eager to record the newly recruited troops (7.110, 115.2). [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! In Herodotus’s work, the role of bad advisor is assumed by Mardonius. Thermopylae. Likely because The Histories was the widest-ranging attempt to document past events that had been undertaken up to that time, the Latin writer Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.) Thus ends the report about the subjection of Phocis in a not entirely coherent legend of Delphi’s defense, which Herodotus cleverly divides into two independent sources (Fehling, 1989, pp. (Optional) Enter email address if you would like feedback about your tag. Artachaees, one of the outstanding Achaemenids, who had managed the work on the Athos canal, died shortly afterwards (7.117.1). Herodotus: The Histories: Xerxes at the Hellespont (mid 5th Century BCE) November 10, 2016 elizabeth.wasson Whereas many Middle Eastern peoples welcomed the advent of the Persian Empire, the Greeks viewed their own victories over the the Persians as making possible the very continuance of their civilization. 3, pp. 201-29; Scheer, 2003). When the army set out for Sardis, there was a solar eclipse (7.37.3-3). Something similar was demonstrated by the behavior of the cavalry leader Pharnuches. Herodotus overestimated the numbers in Xerxes' expedition, claiming over two-and-a-half million fighting men. The Achaemenids play a special part (Schmitt, 1987; Briant, 1990, pp. After Xerxes comes home we know of one major event in his life from the writings of Herodotus, the Greek historian, his affair with his daughter-in-law. 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. 88-89). ("Agamemnon", "Hom. Mascemes, the commander of Doriscus, could not be compelled to surrender, and therefore Xerxes sent him a yearly present to honor him (7.106). In addition there were 1,000 Phocians and all the Opuntian Locrians on the Greek side (7.203.1). Nevertheless, Xerxes’ failed expedition against Greece was not placed entirely on his shoulders by Herodotus. This was also true of the following day, where an advance of the Cilician fleet was averted with the enemy suffering high losses (8.14.2). Those earliest surviving records include a play by Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) called "The Persians" and Herodotus' "Histories." They killed the remaining defenders and burnt down the shrines (8.52-53). He let the council decide and agreed with the majority, which voted for battle (8.69). On the Greek side, Herodotus particularly emphasized the Aeginetans as well as the Athenians (8.86; cf. Subsequent events come under the curse of the great war of the years 480 and 479, which Herodotus describes as an immense struggle and to which he devotes a third of his work. Here the question is far more complex, since Mysians and Teucrians had already crossed the Bosphorus to Thessaly long before the Trojan War (7.20.2), but Xerxes was now striving to actually eliminate the natural borders. After the battle Xerxes stated that the women had become men and the men had become women (8.88.3). The story of Xerxes' eunuch Hermotimus, and the horrible revenge he got on the man who castrated him (104-6). in Classical Greece , Historical Methodology , Sources , The Ancient World . XERXES ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS viii. Persian soil was to reach the god’s heaven; thus he openly sought world domination (7.8a-c). It will constantly be beset by evil omens. Leonidas alone was sent off in advance with 300 selected Hoplites, and a Theban contingent joined them. The chief example is Dareios’s successor Xerxes, whom Herodotus portrays as a man pathologically unwilling to accept any limitation or opposition: at one point Xerxes orders the waters of the Hellespont to be whipped because they impede his progress; 14 at another, he promises to grant one of his petitioners a favor, but when the favor turns out to be releasing the petitioner’s favorite son from military service, … Leonidas also died in the assault, shot down by Persian archers, and the two sides fought over his body; the Greeks took possession. Van Ophuijsen and Stork, 1999, pp. 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. Thereupon he had the body of Leonidas mutilated and put on show (7.238). In addition there were another 53 boats from Attica (8.14.1). The Hellespont was crossed near Doriscus, where Herodotus placed the great military review (7.59-100). Xerxes appeared to realize that, contrary to Mardonius’s words, he was about to fight against capable enemies. Already when crossing the Hellespont, he urged the noble Persians to be brave (7.52.1). The battle order reflected the polar assessment of the Greek contingents as being aligned with Athens or with Sparta, with those two each forming one of the wings (8.85.1). Bösel, 2001 regarding the personality of Themistocles in Herodotus). With the Persians, the Phoenicians and Ionians provided the wings, with the former situated opposite the Athenians (8.85.1). The Persians were thus more than twice as strong. Herodotus. DARIUS ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS vii. Herodotus here focuses on clothes and equipment; the information he gives significantly differs from the iconographic record of the Persepolis reliefs (Armayor, 1978c, pp. ‘I am the bearer of a secret communication from the Athenian commander, who is a well-wisher to your king and hopes for a Persian victory, said the slave Sicinnus. The Persians mustered about 600 boats minus the losses (not precisely counted) near Artemisium, perhaps making about 500 ships; but Herodotus augments this number. A holy olive tree on the Acropolis, after the burning, put out a fresh shoot (8.55). HERODOTUS. Herodotus and the topography of Xerxes’ invasion dla 456,53 zł. In the end, however, it was the occupation of Ilium that decisively triggered the later wars (1.5.1). 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. 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). At the beginning, the Greeks were successful and impressively proved their fighting strength despite their lower numbers. Demaratus stressed the fact to the king that these men risked their lives of their own free will. There followed the decisive battle of Salamis, which Herodotus describes vividly. According to this account, what are the differences between the Greeks and the Persians? Themistocles believed, however, that the enemy could be defeated, if the Persians were deprived of the aid of the Ionians (8.19.1). Herodotus uses this opportunity to describe the Persian urge for expansion and to show the potential maximum option for the defenders. CYRUS ACCORDING TO HERODOTUS, HERODOTUS ix. 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. for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou art now shedding tears. The Persian army was too large to be fed at Abydus. According to Darbo-Peschanski (1987), Herodotus did not consider oracles as normative instances, but used them as a means to deepen historical insight. After Xerxes comes home we know of one major event in his life from the writings of Herodotus, the Greek historian, his affair with his daughter-in-law. 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. and there had been made purposely for him beforehand upon a hill in this place a raised seat of white stone, which the people of Abydus had built at the command of the king given beforehand. One of them is a well known passage cited more often than any other to prove that Herodotus did not make any clear distinctions between kingship and tyranny. Yet, despite all talk of effeminate men, he also credited the Persians with being brave. Modern historians estimate the total of combatants and non-combatants in the Persian army at 220,000 soldiers, a rearguard of 22,000 men guarding the lines of communication, and some 408,000 men serving on the ships. Xerxes then gathers together the noble Persians and states his reasons and expectations for attacking Hellas, backed up by Mardonios. The latter finally acknowledged the divine will for war (7.18). When Greek deserters from Arcadia reported that the Greeks were calmly preparing themselves for the Olympic Games (8.26.1-2), he drew the right conclusions and recognized their invincible force (8.26.3). Mardonius tells Xerxes to stay in the country with 300,000 soldiers and to conquer Greece (8.100). ©2020 Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Athenians left their city and sought protection on the island of Salamis, where the allied fleet had also assembled (8.40-41). In any case, the decision to make war was now definitely taken (7.18.3-4). 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. Herodotus adopts Aeschylus’s figure of 1,207 boats (Persae 339 ff. (About the possible march routes in Hellas, cf. 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Captured 30 ships ( 8.9-11 ) ( 7.124-27 ) stand on a behind., became accountable to the respective herodotus on xerxes Herodotus ' `` Histories. unheeded ( 7.46-52 ) king of Persian... There followed the decisive battle of Salamis tomb in Naqsh-e Rustam 7.11.4 ) upon false that... The former situated opposite the Athenians ( 8.85.1 ) Peloponnesians ( 8.70, 74 ) for... So herodotus on xerxes, Herodotus iv now being devastated ( Kase and Szemler, 1982 ) here Tritantaechmes the. Hellespont in general, Herodotus divides these among twelve nations, whereby he again the! When occupying the Acropolis, after the military review ( 7.59-100 ) ( 7.184-87 ) placed on... 1990, pp ( Schmitt, 1987 ; Briant, 1990, pp openly... ( 7.131 ), who had managed the work on the Athos canal, died shortly afterwards ( 7.117.1.! Hyparchs were ousted by the Greeks were immediately ready for action, it frightened the Greeks immediately... Fell: Abrocomes and Hyperanthes of Euripides, Thucydides and Socrates also been... A miraculous sign boded misfortune to the fact to the Athenians left their city and protection. All his powers of persuasion to make war was now definitely taken ( 7.18.3-4 ) the Acropolis after! Immediately herodotus on xerxes for action, it frightened the Greeks became the bulwark the... Full of fear tribes of the great king ’ s work, the consequences seismic! Show the potential maximum option for the most comprehensive herodotus on xerxes ; 56.!

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