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H. clearly holds that the idea of throwing Persian gold into the scale, and of gaining by bribery what they had failed to win by force, dates from the defeat of Salamis (cf. ch. 5, 41 and Diod. xi. 28). Nor is it improbable that the question was then mooted. But the first clear instances of such bribery, the missions of Megabazus (457 B. C.; cf. Thuc. i. 109) and of Arthmius of Zeleia, are later. Though Plutarch (Them. 6) seems to place the latter at the time of Xerxes' invasion, and attributes the man's punishment to Themistocles, the words of the decree inscribed on the pillar in the Acropolis, Ἄρθμιος Πυθωνάκτος Ζελείτης ἄτιμος [ἔστω] καὶ πολέμιος τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Ἀθηναίων καὶ τῶν συμμάχων αὐτὸς καὶ γένος . . . ὅτι τὸν χρυσὸν τὸν ἐκ Μήδων εἰς Πελοπόννησον ἤγαγεν (Dem. Phil. iii. 41; de Fals. Leg. 271; Ael. Aristid. Dind. i. 310), make it probable that Athens was then at variance with the Peloponnesians. Again, though Plutarch ascribes the decree to Themistocles, Craterus (quoted by the scholiast on Aristides, l. c.) assigned it to Cimon. If so, Arthmius' mission must be placed after the outbreak of the war between Athens and the Peloponnese and the subsequent recall of Cimon, i.e. after 457 B. C. (cf. E. Meyer, iii. § 337; Busolt, ii. 653, n. 3).

ἀγνωμοσύνης: cf. v. 83. 1 n.

πυρσοῖσι. The use of fire-signals has its origin in the beacon lighted to warn the neighbourhood of a foe's approach. It was frequent in the fifth century (cf. vii. 183. 1; Thuc. ii. 94, iii. 22. 80; and esp. Aesch. Agam. 280 f. the signals telling the fall of Troy). Apparently the numbers and direction of a hostile force could be signalled (Thuc. l. c.); yet for want of an adequate code, only more or less foreseen contingencies could be signalled even in the days of Polybius, though much attention had been paid to the art (Polyb. x. 43 f.).

διὰ νήσων without article = the mid-Aegean isles (cf. iii. 96. 1; vii. 95. 1), but those west of Delos were no longer in Persian hands (viii. 132). Hence Rawlinson is led to suggest that this line of beacons like that described by Aeschylus (l. c.) was by Athos and Lemnos.

δεκάμηνος. Probably the reckoning is inclusive (Busolt, ii. 722, n. 2), so that as Xerxes took Athens about Sept. 25, 480 B. C. (viii. 65 n.), Mardonius occupied it before the end of June.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.109
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.94
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 280
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