138.The King is said to have been astonished at the boldness of his character,and told him
to wait1 a year as he proposed.In the interval he made himself acquainted, as far as he could, with the Persian
language and the manners of the country.
When the year was over, he arrived at the court and became a greater man there than any
Hellene had ever been before. This was due partly to his previous2 reputation, and partly to the hope which he inspired in the King's mind that he
would enslave Hellas to him; above all, his ability had been tried and not found wanting.
For Themistocles was a man whose natural force was unmistakable; this was
the quality for which he was distinguished above all other men;from his own native
acuteness, and without any study either before or at the time, he was the ablest judge
of the course to be pursued in a sudden emergency,and could best divine what was likely
to happen in the remotest future.Whatever he had in hand he had the power of explaining to others,and even where he had
no experience he was quite competent to form a sufficient judgment;no one could foresee
with equal clearness the good or evil event which was hidden in the future.In a word, Themistocles, by natural power of mind and with the least preparation, was
of all men the best able to extemporise the right thing to be done.
A sickness put an end to his life,although some say that he poisoned himself because
he felt that he could not accomplish what he had promised to the King.
There is a monument of him in the agora of the Asiatic Magnesia,where he was
governor—the King assigning to him, for bread, Magnesia, which produced a
revenue of fifty talents3 in the year;
for wine, Lampsacus, which was considered to be the richest in wine of any district then
known; and Myus for meat.
His family say that his remains were carried home at his own request and buried in
Attica, but secretly;for he had been accused of treason and had fled from his country,
and he could not lawfully be interred there.Such was the end of Pausanias the Lacedaemonian, and Themistocles the Athenian, the two
most famous Hellenes of their day.
Going to the Court of Persia, he acquires the favour of the King and receives
great honour, but shortly after dies.
The greatness of his character. His natural acuteness and foresight his power of
persuasion, his readiness in an emergency.
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