You may regard it as certain, therefore, that our city would be quick to entrust itself to your hands, if you so desire. For you possess the highest qualifications for such a trust: you are of aristocratic birth, of Erechtheus' line,1 a priest serving the gods who under the leadership of Iacchus took the field against the barbarian;2 and in our day you outshine your predecessors in the splendour of your priestly office in the festival;3 and you possess a person more goodly to the eye than any other in the city and one at the same time able to withstand effort and hardship.
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1 Callias's family belonged to the priestly clan of the Ceryces, who traced their lineage back to Ceryx, son of Hermes and Aglaurus. The latter, however, was not a descendant of Erechtheus, but one of his nurses.
2 Herodotus (VIII, 65) and Plutarch (Life of Themistocles, XV) report the tradition that while the Greek fleet was at anchor near Salamis just before the critical sea-fight, great elation was caused at sight of a big cloud of dust (or, in the later version, a brilliant light) off toward Eleusis, and a wonderful sound as of the Eleusinian festival with its cries to Iacchus, followed by a cloud that drifted directly toward the fleet.
3 In addition to being one of the priestly Ceryces, Callias was an hereditary torch-bearer in the Eleusinian festival.
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