15 The Athenians, then, being enriched by the spoils
of war, as well as in glory, applied themselves to rebuild their city. Having enlarged the compass of their walls, they
became an object of suspicion to the Lacedaemonians, naturally reflecting how great power a city, when fortified, might
secure to a people for whom it had done so much when in a state of ruin. They therefore sent ambassadors to admonish them
that “they should not build what might prove a stronghold for the enemy, and a place of shelter for them ill a future war.”
Themistocles, seeing that envy was entertained towards the rising hopes of his city, but not thinking it prudent to deal
abruptly with the Spartans, made answer to the ambassadors, that “deputies should be sent to Lacedaemon to confer with them
about the matter.” After thus dismissing the messengers, he exhorted his countrymen “to expedite the work.” Allowing some
time to elapse, he set out, with some others, as an embassy to Sparta; but sometimes pretending ill health on the road,
sometimes complaining of the tardiness of his colleagues, without whom nothing could be properly done, and thus putting off
from day to day, he endeavoured to gain time for his countrymen to finish the erection of their walls. In the meanwhile, word
was brought to the Spartans that the work was advancing at Athens with great speed; and they accordingly sent ambassadors a
second time to ascertain the truth. Themistocles then sent a letter by the hand of a slave, to the magistrates of the
Athenians, desiring them “to take the ambassadors into custody, and keep them as hostages, lest any violent measures should
be adopted against himself at Sparta.” He then went to the public assembly of the Lacedaemonians, and told them that “Athens
was now well fortified, and could sustain a war, if any should be made upon it, not only with arms, but with walls; and that
their ambassadors were detained by way of hostages at Athens, in case they should on that account resolve on anything
injurious towards himself.” He then upbraided them severely “for seeking to increase their power, not by their own valour,
but by weakening their allies." Being then permitted to depart, he was received by his countrymen as if he had triumphed over
After this occurrence, the Spartans, that they might not impair their strength in idleness, and that they might take
vengeance for the war which had been twice made upon Greece by the Persians, proceeded to lay waste the Persian territories.
They chose Pausanias to be general of their army, and that of their allies, who, coveting, instead of the mere office of
general, the entire sovereignty of Greece, treated with Xerxes for a marriage with his daughter, as a reward for betraying
his country, restoring him, at the same time, his prisoners, that the good feeling of the king might be secured by such an
obligation. He wrote also to Xerxes, “to put to death whatever messengers he sent to him, lest the negociation should be
betrayed by their babbling.” But Aristides, the general of the Athenians, and his associate in the command, by traversing the
attempts of his colleague, and taking prudent precautions on the occasion, defeated his treasonable designs. Not long after,
Pausanias was brought to trial and condemned.
Xerxes, when he found that this perfidious scheme was discovered, made fresh preparations for war. The Greeks nominated as
their general Cimon the Athenian, the son of Miltiades, under whose command the battle of Marathon was fought; a young man
whose future greatness his manifestations of affection towards his father foretold. For he redeemed the body of his father
(who had been thrown into prison on a charge of embezzling the public money, and had died there), taking his fetters on
himself,23 that it might receive the rites of sepulture. Nor did he, in his conduct of the war,
disappoint the opinion of those who chose him; for, not falling in merit below his father, he forced Xerxes, defeated both by
land and sea, to retreat in trepidation to his own dominions.
1 On the supposition that men sprung out of the ground. See Lucretius, v. 803; Ovid. Met. i. 80;
Diod. Sic. i. 10.
2 Ignis, qui et mundum genuit.] This was the opinion of Heraclitus and some other
philosophers. See Lucretius, i. 636.
3 Nisi excluso Nilo.] Excluded from the land, or confined to its
4 Hominum vetustate ultimam.] “The farthest back in the antiquity of its inhabitants."
5 A tergo.] i. e. towards the west.
6 Asia Minor.Wetzel.
7 In plaustris.] See Hor. Od. iii. 24, 9.
8 Ferinis aut murinis.] By mures is to be understood small animals in general, as
cats, weasels, badgers, rabbits, hares, foxes. Thus Hesychius says that the SI/MWR is a MUO\S A)GRI/ON EI)=DOS among the
Parthians, the skin of which they use for garments. So Ammianus Marcellinus, xxxi. 2, says of the Huns, that they wear
garments ex pellibus silvestrium murium consarcinatis.Wetzel. By mus Ponticus, Plin. H. N. x. 73,
is generally understood the ermine or squirrel. Seneca, Ep. 90, says, that the Scythians wear skins vulpium ac murium.
See also Plin. H. N. xxx. 6.
9 One expedition only is mentioned by Herodotus.Wetzel.
10 Lenonibus.] Messenger, mediator, or conciliator, seems to have been the primary
meaning of the word leno. Priscian derives it from lenio. Maxima lena mora est, says Ovid; and vox
sua lena fuit, A. Am. iii. 316.
11 Herodotus, on the contrary, with Diodorus Siculus, and Dicaearchus, say, that the Scythians
were put to flight by Sesostris, who conquered every nation that he attacked.Wetzel.
12 Herodotus, iv. 110, 117, gives a different account; and another is given by Diod. Siculus,
ii. 45. Compare Orosius, i. 15; Ammian. Marcellinus, lib. xxii.; Eustath. on Dionysius; Strabo, lib, ii. says much on this
subject, deeming all the accounts fabulous.Lemaire.
13 From A) privative, and MAZO/S, breast.
14 Asia Minor.
15 See, on the praise of Athens, Lucret. vi. 1; Aelian. Var. Hist. iii. 38; Strabo, lib. xix.;
Thucyd. lib. i.; Diod. Sic. lib. i.
16 All other historians call him Hipparchus. See Thucyd. i. 20.
17 In regnum.] Wetzel, with most editors, has in regno, but in regnum is
much more to the purpose.
18 Quid? si non haec et Dario prius, et nunc Xerxes, belli causa nobiscum foret, &c.] I
have not attempted to translate the commencement of this sentence literally. Some editions have a note of interrogation after
quid, and others not, and some have quod si; but, as Scheffer says, no one of these readings is satisfactory.
Lemaire plausibly conjectures Quasi non haec, &c.
19 Ex ista obsidione.] They being hemmed in by the Persian fleet like
20 Abditis insulis.] He calls the islands abditae because they were situated in
the innermost recess of the [Saronic] gulf.Vossius. We may suppose Salamis and Aegina to be
meant.Vorstius. See Corn. Nep. Them. 2, 8; Herod. viii. 41.
21 Xerxes himself.
22 Erat res spectaculo digna, et aestimatione sortis humanae, rerum varietate
mirandae.] Such is the reading of Wetzel and Gronovius. Some editions omit the et. Wetzel gives this comment: “It
was a spectacle deserving of attentive contemplation, and one from which you might judge of the lot of man; of the wonderful
changeableness of which Xerxes was an example.”
23 Translatis in se vinculis.] Whether this act was altogether voluntary is discussed
by J. A. Bos on Corn. Nep. Cim. c. 1.