previous next

[80] When the city was taken the Xanthians ran to their houses and killed those dearest to them, all of whom willingly offered themselves to the slaughter. Upon hearing cries of lamentation, Brutus thought that plundering was going on, and he gave orders to the army to stop it; but when he knew what the facts were he commiserated the freedom-loving spirit of the citizens, and sent messengers to offer them terms. They hurled missiles at the messengers, and, after destroying their own families, placed the bodies on funeral piles, which they had previously erected in their houses, set fire to them, and slew themselves on the same. Brutus saved such of the temples as he could, but he captured only the slaves of the Xanthians; and of the citizens a few free women and hardly 150 men. Thus the Xanthians perished the third time by their own hands on account of their love of liberty; for when the city was besieged by Harpagus, the Mede, the general of Cyrus the Great, they destroyed themselves in like manner rather than be enslaved, and the city, shut up by Harpagus,1 then became the tomb of the Xanthians; and it is said that they suffered a similar fate at the hands of Alexander, the son of Philip, as they would not submit to obey him even after he had become the master of so large a portion of the earth.2

1 πόλις ἀμεληθεῖσα ὑπὸ ῾Αρπάγου: literally, "the city being uncared for by Harpagus." What this may mean it is hard to understand, since Harpagus was an enemy outside the walls. Mendelssohn accordingly suggests ἀποκλεισθεῖσα (shut up) in place of ἀμεληθεῖσα. I have adopted this emendation, but it is pure conjecture.

2 Plutarch's account of the siege and destruction of Xanthus is very like Appian's. He refers also to its earlier destruction in the Persian war (Life of Brutus, 30, 31). The latter event is described by Herodotus (i. 176).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: