Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of arms and the man

But at this time [490 BC], Nikodromos led the common people in an attempted revolt, which was put down by the affluent Aeginetans [Aegina is an island southwest of Athens]. The victors led out the captive rebels in order to execute them, and because of what happened next, they came under a curse that they were unable to counter through sacrifice, since they were driven off the island before they could appease the goddess. They had taken 700 of the people alive, and while they were leading them out to be executed, one of the captives broke out of his bonds and fled to the porch of Demeter Thesmophoros. There he grasped the door handles and clung to them so tightly that, although they tried to drag him away, they were unable to loosen his grip on the doors, so they cut off his hands and took him like that, with his hands still clinging fast to the door handles.
(from paragraph 91)

They fought in the battle at Marathon for a long time. The barbarians prevailed in the center of the line, where the Persians themselves and the Sakai were deployed, and as the barbarians were winning here, they broke through the line of the Hellenes and chased them inland; but at the same time, the Athenians and Plataeans were prevailing on the wings. In their victory there, they allowed the barbarian troops that they had routed to flee and then, drawing both of their wings together, they fought those enemy troops who had broken through the center; in this encounter, too, the Athenians were victorious, and as the Persians fled, the Athenians pursued them and cut them down until they reached the sea, where they called for fire and started to seize the ships.

It was in this struggle that the polemarch Kallimachos perished, having proven himself a noble and courageous warrior; Stesilaos son of Thrasylaos, one of the generals, also died. In addition, Kynegeiros son of Euphorion fell, for while seizing the sternpost of a ship, his hand was chopped off by an axe. Many other famous Athenians died in this conflict as well.
(paragraphs 113 and 114)

Quotes are from Book Six of The Landmark Herodotus, translation by Andrea L. Purvis

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