The Sardians, being engaged in war with the Smyrnaeans, besieged Smyrna, and sent them word by their
ambassadors, that they would never raise the siege till the
Smyrnaeans should deliver up their wives to their embraces.
The men of Smyrna would have been hard put to it upon
this pinching necessity, if it had not been for the advice
of a pretty wench that was a maid-servant to Phylarchus.
Her counsel to her master was this; that instead of sending free women, they should rather dress up the servants
and send them. The Smyrnaeans followed their advice;
and when the Sardians had wearied themselves with their
mistresses, the Smyrnaeans easily overcame them. From
whence there is a festival day observed under the name of
Eleutheria, which is celebrated among the Smyrnaeans
with great solemnity; the servants being dressed up with
all the ornaments of the free women.—Dositheus, in the
Third Book of his Lydian History.
Atepomarus, a king of the Gauls, being in war with the
Romans, made a public declaration, that he would never
agree to a peace till the Romans should prostitute their
wives to them. The Romans advised with the maid-servants, and sent them in the place of the free women; the
barbarians plied the work so hard, that they were soon
tired and fell asleep. Retana (who was the authoress of
the counsel) climbed a fig-tree, and so got on the wall; and
finding how it was, gave notice of it to the consuls. The
Romans upon this made a sally and routed the enemy; in
memory whereof was instituted the Servants' Holiday, and
this was the rise of it.—Aristides Milesius, in the First
Book of his Italian History.