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Datis, the general of the Persians and a Mede by descent, having received from his ancestors the tradition that the Athenians were descendants of Medus, who had established the kingdom of Media, sent a message to the Athenians declaring that he was come with an army to demand the return of the sovereignty which had belonged to his ancestors; for Medus, he said, who was the oldest of his own ancestors, had been deprived of the kingship by the Athenians, and removing to Asia had founded the kingdom of Media. Consequently, he went on to say, if they would return the kingdom to him, he would forgive them for this guilty actOf expelling his ancestor. and for the campaign they had made against Sardis; but if they opposed his demand, they would suffer a worse fate than had the Eretrians.Eretria was plundered and burned by the Persians a few days before the battle of Marathon, 490 B.C. Miltiades, voicing the decision reached by the ten general
‘The long speech of the Athenians I do not pretend to understand. They said a good deal in praise of themselves, but nowhere denied that they are injuring our allies and Peloponnese. And yet if they behaved well against the Mede then, but ill towards us now, they deserve double punishment for having ceased to be good and for having become bad. We meanwhile are the same then and now, and shall not, if we are wise, disregard the wrongs of our allies, or put off till to-morrow the duty of assisting those who must suffer to-day. Others have much money and ships and horses, but we have good allies whom we must not give up to the Athenians, nor by lawsuits and words decide the
The Lacedaemonians did not betray any open signs of anger against the Athenians at what they heard. The embassy, it seems, was prompted not by a desire to obstruct, but to guide the counsels of their government: besides, Spartan feeling was at that time very friendly towards Athens on account of the patriotism which she had displayed in the struggle with the Mede. Still the defeat of their wishes could not but cause them secret annoyance. The envoys of each state departed home without complaint.