It is said that the king approved his
intention, and told him to do as he said.He employed the interval in making what progress he could in the study of
the Persian tongue, and of the customs of the country.
Arrived at Court at the end of the year, he attained to very high
consideration there, such as no Hellene has ever possessed before or since; partly from his splendid antecedents, partly from the hopes which he held
out of effecting for him the subjugation of Hellas, but principally by the
proof which experience daily gave of his capacity.
For Themistocles was a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of
genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite
extraordinary and unparalleled.By his own native capacity, alike unformed and unsupplemented by study, he
was at once the best judge in those sudden crises which admit of little or
of no deliberation, and the best prophet of the future, even to its most
distant possibilities.An able theoretical expositor of all that came within the sphere of his
practice, he was not without the power of passing an adequate judgment in
matters in which he had no experience.He could also excellently divine the good and evil which lay hid in the
unseen future.In fine, whether we consider the extent of his natural powers, or the
slightness of his application, this extraordinary man must be allowed to
have surpassed all others in the faculty of intuitively meeting an
Disease was the real cause of his death; though there is a story of his having ended his life by poison, on finding
himself unable to fulfil his promises to the king.
However this may be, there is a monument to him in the market-place of
Asiatic Magnesia.He was governor of the district, the king having given him Magnesia, which
brought in fifty talents a year, for bread, Lampsacus, which was considered
to be the richest wine country, for wine, and Myus for other provisions.
His bones, it is said, were conveyed home by his relatives in accordance
with his wishes, and interred in Attic ground.This was done without the knowledge of the Athenians; as it is against the law to bury in Attica an outlaw for treason.So ends the history of Pausanias and Themistocles, the Lacedaemonian and
the Athenian, the most famous men of their time in Hellas.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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