previous next
Now, whereas all know that the Argives denied not to enter into the common league of the Grecians, though they thought not fit to follow and be under the command of the Lacedaemonians, who were their mortal enemies, and that this was no otherways, our author subjoins a most malicious cause for it, writing thus: ‘When they saw they were comprised by the Greeks, knowing that the Lacedaemonians would not admit them into a share of the command, they requested it, that they might have a pretence to lie still.’ ‘And of this,’ he says, ‘the Argive [p. 349] ambassadors afterwards put Artaxerxes in mind, when they attended him at Susa, and the King said, he esteemed no city more his friend than Argos.’ Then adding, as his manner is, to cover the matter, he says: ‘Of these things I know nothing certainly; but this I know, that all men have faults, and that the worst things were not done by the Argives; but I must tell such things as are reported, though I am not bound to believe them all; and let this be understood of all my narrations. For it is farther said that the Argives, when they were not able to sustain the war against the Lacedaemonians, called the Persians into Greece, willing to suffer any thing rather than the present trouble.’ 1 Therefore, as himself reports the Ethiopian to have said of the ointment and purple, ‘Deceitful are the beauties, deceitful the garments of the Persians,’ 2 may not any one say also of him, Deceitful are the phrases, deceitful the figures of Herodotus's speeches; as being perplexed, unsound, and full of ambiguities? For as painters set off and render more eminent the luminous part of their pictures by adding shadows, so he by his denials extends his calumnies, and by his dubious speeches makes his suspicions take deeper impression. If the Argives joined not with the other Greeks, but stood out through an emulation of the Lacedaemonians' command and valor, it cannot be denied but that they acted in a manner not beseeming their nobility and descent from Hercules. For it had been more honorable for the Argives under the rule of Siphnians and Cythnians to have defended the Grecian liberty, than contending with the Spartans for superiority to have avoided so many and such signal combats. And if it was they who brought the Persians into Greece, because their war against the Lacedaemonians succeeded ill, how came it to pass, that they did not at the coming of Xerxes openly join themselves to the Persians? Or if they would not [p. 350] fight under the King, why did they not, being left at home, make incursions into Laconia, or again attempt Thyreae, or by some other way disturb and infest the Lacedaemonians? For they might have greatly damaged the Grecians, by hindering the Spartans from going with so great an army to Plataea.

1 Herod. VII. 148-152.

2 Herod. III. 22.

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 (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1893)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: