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While the captains of the Hellenes were acting on this plan, Aristides noticed that Psyttaleia, a small island lying in the straits in front of Salamis, was full of the enemy. He therefore embarked in small boats the most ardent and the most warlike of the citizens, made a landing on Psyttaleia, joined battle with the Barbarians, and slew them all, save the few conspicuous men who were taken alive. Among these were three sons of the King's sister Sandauce,1 whom he straightway sent to Themistocles, [2] and it is said that, in obedience to some oracle or other, and at the bidding of Euphrantides the seer, they were sacrificed to Dionysus Carnivorous. Then Aristides lined the islet all round with his hoplites, and lay in wait for any who should be cast up there, that no friend might perish, and no foe escape. For the greatest crowding of the ships, and the most strenuous part of the battle, seems to have been in this region. And for this reason a trophy was erected on Psyttaleia. [3]

After the battle, Themistocles, by way of sounding Aristides, said that the deed they had now performed was a noble one, but a greater still remained, and that was to capture Asia in Europe, by sailing up to the Hellespont as fast as they could and cutting in twain the bridges there. But Aristides cried out with a loud voice and bade him abandon the proposal, and seek rather with all diligence how they might most speedily expel the Mede from Hellas, [4] lest, being shut in and unable to make his escape, from sheer necessity he throw this vast force of his upon the defensive. So Themistocles sent once more the eunuch Arnaces,2 a prisoner of war, bidding him tell the King that the Hellenes had actually set out on a voyage to attack the bridges, but that he, Themistocles, had succeeded in turning them back, wishing to save the King.

1 Cf. Plut. Them. 13.2.

2 Cf. Plut. Them. 16.2f.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 8.76
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    • Plutarch, Themistocles, 16.2
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