It was for these reasons, as we have stated above,1
that Themistocles fled from
to Admetus, the king of the Molossians; and
taking refuge at Admetus' hearth he became his suppliant. The king at first received him
kindly, urged him to be of good courage, and, in general, assured him that he would provide for
but when the Lacedaemonians dispatched some of the
most distinguished Spartans as ambassadors to Admetus and demanded the person of Themistocles
for punishment, stigmatizing him as the betrayer and destroyer of the whole Greek world, and
when they went further and declared that, if Admetus would not turn him over to them, they
together with all the Greeks would make war on him, then indeed the king, fearing on the one
hand the threats and yet pitying the suppliant and seeking to avoid the disgrace of handing him
over, persuaded Themistocles to make his escape with all speed without the knowledge of the
Lacedaemonians and gave him a large sum of gold to meet his expenses on the flight.
And Themistocles, being persecuted as he was on every side, accepted the
gold and fled by night out of the territory of the Molossians, the king furthering his flight
in every way; and finding two young men, Lyncestians by birth, who were traders and therefore
familiar with the roads, he made his escape in their company.
By travelling only at night he eluded the Lacedaemonians, and by virtue of the goodwill of
the young men and the hardship they endured for him he made his way to Asia
. Here Themistocles had a personal friend, Lysitheides by
name, who was highly regarded for his fame and wealth, and to him he fled for refuge.
Now it so happened that
Lysitheides was a friend of Xerxes the king and on the occasion of his passage through
had entertained the entire Persian
Consequently, since he enjoyed an intimate acquaintance with the king and yet wished out of
mercy to save Themistocles, he promised to co-operate with him in every way.
But when Themistocles asked that he lead him to Xerxes, at first he
demurred, explaining that Themistocles would be punished because of his past activities against
the Persians; later, however, when he realized that it was for the best, he acceded, and
unexpectedly and without harm he got him through safe to Persia
For it was a custom among the Persians
that when one conducted a concubine to the king one brought her in a closed wagon, and no man
who met it interfered or came face to face with the passenger; and it came about that
Lysitheides availed himself of this means of carrying out his undertaking.
After preparing the wagon and embellishing it with costly hangings he
put Themistocles in it; and when he had got him through in entire safety, he came into the
presence of the king, and after he had conversed with him cautiously he received pledges from
the king that he would do Themistocles no wrong. Then Lysitheides introduced him to the
presence of the king, who, when he had allowed Themistocles to speak and learned that he had
done the king no wrong, absolved him from punishment.