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EXAMPLE 2. Of the Phocian Women.

The action of the women of Phocis hath not fallen under the cognizance of any noted writer of that age, and vet there was never a more memorable deed of virtue wrought by women,—the which is attested by those famous sacred rites performed by the Phocians at Hyampolis, and by ancient decrees. The total history of the transaction is particularly recorded in the Life of Daiphantus.

The story of those women is this. There was an implacable war between the Thessalians and the Phocians. For these (the Phocians) slew all the Thessalian governors and magistrates in the cities of Phocis in one day. Whereupon they (the Thessalians) slew two hundred and fifty Phocian hostages, and with their whole host marched up against them through Locris, publishing their resolution to spare no men that were of age, and to sell the women and children for slaves. Daiphantus therefore, the son of Bathyllius, a triumvir, governor of Phocis, persuaded the Phocian men themselves to go to meet the Thessalians in battle; but as for the women, together with their children, that they should assemble them from all the parts of Phocis into one place, which they should pile round with combustible matter, and should leave a watch, to whom they should give in charge, that if he perceived that the men were conquered, he should immediately set fire to the pile and burn all the bodies to ashes. The counsels were agreed to by sone, but one stands up and saith: It is just that these things be consented to by the women also, and [p. 344] if they do not cheerfully submit to it, they should have no force offered to them. The account of this discourse being come to the women, they assembled together by themselves, and carried it by vote, and applauded Daiphantus as a man that best consulted the affairs of Phocis; they say also, that the children meeting together privately voted the same things. These matters being thus settled, the Phocians joining battle at Cleonae, a town of Hyampolis, got the victory. Hence the Grecians call this vote of the Phocian women Aponoia (the desperate resolve). And of all the festivals this of the Elaphebolia is the greatest, which they observe to Diana in Hyampolis to this day, in remembrance of this victory.

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load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1889)
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