That may or may not be so. But when he was led into the presence of the King and had made him obeisance, and was standing in silence, the King ordered the interpreter to ask him who he was, and, on the interpreter's asking, he said:
‘I who thus come to thee, O King, am Themistocles the Athenian, an exile, pursued by the Hellenes; and to me the Persians are indebted for many ills, but for more blessings, since I hindered the pursuit of the Hellenes, at a time when Hellas was brought into safety, and the salvation of my own home gave me an opportunity for showing some favour also to you.
Now, therefore, I may look for any sequel to my present calamities, and I come prepared to receive the favour of one who benevolently offers reconciliation, or to deprecate the anger of one who cherishes the remembrance of injuries. But do thou take my foes to witness for the good I wrought the Persians, and now use my misfortunes for the display of thy virtue rather than for the satisfaction of thine anger. For it is a suppliant of thine whom thou wilt save, but an enemy of the Hellenes whom thou wilt destroy.’
After these words Themistocles spoke of divine portents in his favour, enlarging upon the vision which he saw at the house of Nicogenes, and the oracle of Dodonaean Zeus, how when he was bidden by it to proceed to the namesake of the god, he had concluded that he was thereby sent to him, since both were actually
‘Great Kings,’ and were so addressed.
On hearing this the Persian made no direct reply to him, although struck with admiration at the boldness of his spirit;
but in converse with his friends it is said that he congratulated himself over what he called the greatest good fortune, and prayed Arimanius ever to give his enemies such minds as to drive their best men away from them; and then sacrificed to the gods, and straightway betook himself to his cups; and in the night, in the midst of his slumbers, for very joy called out thrice:
‘I have Themistocles the Athenian.’