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So those of the Paeonians who had been captured were taken into Asia. Then Megabazus, having made the Paeonians captive, sent as messengers into Macedoniai.e. the country as extended by Alexander I east of the Axius to the Strymon. the seven Persians who (after himself) were the most honorable in his army. These were sent to Amyntas to demand earth and water for Darius the king. Now there is a very straight way from the Prasiad lake to Macedonia. First there is near the lake that mine from which Alexander later drew a daily revenue of a talent of silver, and when a person has passed the mine, he need only cross the mountain called DysorumApparently not far ing. Now there is a very straight way from the Prasiad lake to Macedonia. First there is near the lake that mine from which Alexander later drew a daily revenue of a talent of silver, and when a person has passed the mine, he need only cross the mountain called DysorumApparently not far from the lower Strymon. to be in Macedonia.
This was the stated end of their expedition, but they intended to subdue as many of the Greek cities as they could. Their fleet subdued the Thasians, who did not so much as lift up their hands against it; their land army added the Macedonians to the slaves that they had already, for all the nations nearer to them than Macedonia had been made subject to the Persians before this. Crossing over from Thasos they travelled near the land as far as Acanthus, and putting out from there they tried to round Athos. But a great and irresistible north wind fell upon them as they sailed past and dealt very roughly with them, driving many of their ships upon Athos. It is said that about three hundred ships were lost, and more than twenty thousand men. Since the coasts of Athos abound in wild beasts, some men were carried off by beasts and so perished; others were dashed against the rocks; those who could not swim perished because of that, and still others by the cold.
Thus it fared with the fleet; as for Mardonius and his land army, while they were encamped in Macedonia, the Brygi of Thrace attacked them by night and killed many of them, wounding Mardonius himself. But not even these could escape being enslaved by the Persians; Mardonius did not depart from those lands before he had subjugated them. After conquering them, he led his army away homewards, since the Brygi had dealt a heavy blow to his army and Athos an even heavier blow to his fleet. This expedition after an inglorious adventure returned back to Asia.
What have we to fear from them? Have they a massive population or abundance of wealth? Their manner of fighting we know, and we know how weak their power is; we have conquered and hold their sons, those who dwell in our land and are called Ionians and Aeolians and Dorians. I myself have made trial of these men, when by your father's command I marched against them. I marched as far as Macedonia and almost to Athens itself, yet none came out to meet me in battle.
Yet the Greeks are accustomed to wage wars, as I learn, and they do it most senselessly in their wrongheadedness and folly. When they have declared war against each other, they come down to the fairest and most level ground that they can find and fight there, so that the victors come off with great harm; of the vanquished I say not so much as a word, for they are utterly destroyed. Since they speak the same language, they should end their disputes by means of heralds or messengers, or by any way rather than fighting; if they must make war upon each other, they should each discover where they are in the strongest position and make the attempt there. The Greek custom, then, is not good; and when I marched as far as the land of Macedonia, it had not come into their minds to fight.
Thus Xerxes did this. He assigned the Phoenicians and Egyptians to make ropes of papyrus and white flax for the bridges,leuko/linon is apparently not really flax but “Esparto grass,” imported from Spain by the Phoenicians. and to store provisions for his army, so that neither the army nor the beasts of burden would starve on the march to Hellas. After making inquiry, he ordered them to store it in the most fitting places, carrying it to the various places from all parts of Asia in cargo ships and transports. They brought most of it to the White Headland (as it is called) in Thrace; some were dispatched to Tyrodiza in the Perinthian country or to Doriscus, others to Eion on the Strymon or to Macedonia
When he had arrived at Therma, Xerxes quartered his army there. Its encampment by the sea covered all the space from Therma and the Mygdonian country to the rivers Lydias and Haliacmon, which unite their waters in one stream and so make the border between the Bottiaean and the MacedonianNot the whole of Macedonia, but the region originally ruled by the Temenid dynasty, between the rivers Haliacmon and Axius and the foothills of Bermius. Edessa was the chief town. territory. In this place the foreigners lay encamped; of the rivers just mentioned, the Cheidorus, which flows from the Crestonaean country, was the only one which could not suffice for the army's drinking but was completely drained by it.
When Xerxes saw from Therma the very great height of the Thessalian mountains Olympus and Ossa and learned that the Peneus flows through them in a narrow pass, which was the way that led into Thessaly, he desired to view the mouth of the Peneus because he intended to march by the upper road through the highland people of Macedonia to the country of the Perrhaebi and the town of Gonnus;Xerxes' army might have entered Thessaly by marching along the coast between Olympus and the sea, and up the Peneus valley (the pass of Tempe) to Gonnus. Instead, it crossed the mountains; probably both by a route which runs across the southern slope of Olympus to Gonnus, and also by the Petra pass, further inland, between Olympus and Bermius. But Herodotus is mistaken in making the a)/nw o(do/s alone reach Gonnus; the Tempe route would have done the same. this, it was told him, was the safest way. He did exactly as he desired. He embarked on a Sidonian ship which he always used when he had some such bu