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He says that the Thebans, being at the first with the Greeks, fought compelled by necessity.1 For belike not only Xerxes, but Leonidas also, had whipsters following his camp, by whom the Thebans were scourged and forced against their wills to fight. And what more savage libeller could be found than Herodotus, when he says that they fought upon necessity, who might have gone away and fled, and that they inclined to the Persians, whereas not one came in to help them. After this, he writes that, the rest making to the hill, the Thebans separated themselves from them, lifted up their hands to the barbarian, and coming near, cried with a most true voice, that they had favored the Persians, had given earth and water to the King, that now being forced by necessity they were come to Thermopylae, and that they were innocent of the King's wound. Having said these things, they obtained quarter; for they had the Thessalians for witnesses of all they said. Behold, how amidst the barbarians' exclamations, tumults of all sorts, flights and pursuits, their apology was heard, the witnesses examined; and the Thessalians, in the midst of those that were slain and trodden under foot, all being done in a very narrow passage, patronized [p. 356] the Thebans, to wit, because the Thebans had but a little before driven away them, who were possessed of all Greece as far as Thespiae, having conquered them in a battle, and slain their leader Lattamyas! For thus at that time stood matters between the Boeotians and the Thessalians, without any friendship or good-will. But yet how did the Thebans escape, the Thessalians helping them with their testimonies? Some of them, says he, were slain by the barbarians; many of them were by command of Xerxes marked with the royal mark, beginning with their leader Leontiades. Now the captain of the Thebans at Thermopylae was not Leontiades, but Anaxander, as both Aristophanes, out of the Commentaries of the Magistrates, and Nicander the Colophonian have taught us. Nor did any man before Herodotus know that the Thebans were stigmatized by Xerxes; for otherwise this would have been an excellent plea for them against his calumny, and this city might well have gloried in these marks, that Xerxes had punished Leonidas and Leontiades as his greatest enemies, having outraged the body of the one when he was dead, and caused the other to be tormented whilst living. But as to a man who makes the barbarian's cruelty against Leonidas when dead a sign that he hated him most of all men when living,2 and yet says that the Thebans, though favoring the Persians, were stigmatized by them at Thermopylae, and having been thus stigmatized, again cheerfully took their parts at Plataea, it seems to me that such a man—like that Hippoclides3 who stood on his head upon a table and gesticulated with his legs—would dance away the truth and exclaim, Herodotus cares not for that.

1 Herod. VII. 233.

2 Herod. VII. 238.

3 See Herod. VI. 126-130.

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