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Darius the Great by  Jacob Abbott

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[233] IN the history of a great military conqueror, there seems to be often some one great battle which in importance and renown eclipses all the rest. In the case of Hannibal it was the battle of Cannę, in that of Alexander the battle of Arbela. Cęsar's great conflict was at Pharsalia, Napoleon's at Waterloo. Marathon was, in some respects, Darius's Waterloo. The place is a beautiful plain, about twelve miles north of the great city of Athens. The battle was the great final contest between Darius and the Greeks, which, both on account of the awful magnitude of the conflict, and the very extraordinary circumstances which attended it, has always been greatly celebrated among mankind.

The whole progress of the Persian empire, from the time of the first accession of Cyrus to the throne, was toward the westward, till it reached the confines of Asia on the shores of the Ęgean Sea. All the shores and islands of [234] this sea were occupied by the states and the cities of Greece. The population of the whole region, both on the European and Asiatic shores, spoke the same language, and possessed the same vigorous, intellectual, and elevated character. Those on the Asiatic side had been conquered by Cyrus, and their countries had been annexed to the Persian empire. Darius had wished very strongly, at the commencement of his reign, to go on in this work of annexation, and had sent his party of commissioners to explore the ground, as is related in a preceding chapter. He had, however, postponed the execution of his plans, in order first to conquer the Scythian countries north of Greece, thinking, probably, that this would make the subsequent conquest of Greece itself more easy. By getting a firm foothold in Scythia, he would, as it were, turn the flank of the Grecian territories, which would tend to make his final descent upon them more effectual and sure.

This plan, however, failed; and yet, on his retreat from Scythia, Darius did not withdraw his armies wholly from the European side of the water. He kept a large force in Thrace, and his generals there were gradually extending and strengthening their power, and prepar- [235] ing for still greater conquests. They attempted to extend their dominion, sometimes by negotiations, and sometimes by force, and they were successful and unsuccessful by turns, whichever mode they employed.


One very extraordinary story is told of an attempted negotiation with Macedon, made with a view of bringing that kingdom, if possible, under the Persian dominion, without the necessity of a resort to force. The commanding general of Darius's armies in Thrace, whose name, as was stated in the last chapter, was Megabyzus, sent seven Persian officers into Macedon, not exactly to summon the Macedonians, in a peremptory manner, to surrender to the Persians, nor, on the other hand, to propose a voluntary alliance, but for something between the two. The communication was to be in the form of a proposal, and yet it was to be made in the domineering and overbearing manner with which the tyrannical and the strong often make proposals to the weak and defenseless.

The seven Persians went to Macedon, which, as will be seen from the map, was west of Thrace, and to the northward of the other Grecian countries. Amyntas, the king of Macedon, gave them a very honorable reception. At [236] length, one day, at a feast to which they were invited in the palace of Amyntas, they became somewhat excited with wine, and asked to have the ladies of the court brought into the apartment. They wished "to see them," they said. Amyntas replied that such a procedure was entirely contrary to the usages and customs of their court; but still, as he stood somewhat in awe of his visitors, or, rather, of the terrible power which the delegation represented, and wished by every possible means to avoid provoking a quarrel with them, he consented to comply with their request. The ladies were sent for. They came in, reluctant and blushing, their minds excited by mingled feelings of indignation and shame.

The Persians, becoming more and more excited and imperious under the increasing influence of the wine, soon began to praise the beauty of these new guests in a coarse and free manner, which overwhelmed the ladies with confusion, and then to accost them familiarly and rudely, and to behave toward them, in other respects, with so much impropriety as to produce great alarm and indignation among all the king's household. The king himself was much distressed, but he was afraid to act de- [237] cidedly. His son, a young man of great energy and spirit, approached his father with a countenance and manner expressive of high excitement, and begged him to retire from the feast, and leave him, the son, to manage the affair. Amyntas reluctantly allowed himself to be persuaded to go, giving his son many charges, as he went away, to do nothing rashly or violently. As soon as the king was gone, the prince made an excuse for having the ladies retire for a short time, saying that they should soon return. The prince conducted them to their apartment, and then selecting an equal number of tall and smooth-faced boys, he disguised them to represent the ladies, and gave each one a dagger, directing him to conceal it beneath his robe. These counterfeit females were then introduced to the assembly in the place of those who had retired. The Persians did not detect the deception. It was evening, and, besides, their faculties were confused with the effects of the wine. They approached the supposed ladies as they had done before, with rude familiarity; and the boys, at a signal made by the prince when the Persians were wholly off their guard, stabbed and killed every one of them on the spot.

[238] Megabyzus sent an embassador to inquire what became of his seven messengers; but the Macedonian prince contrived to buy this messenger off by large rewards, and to induce him to send back some false but plausible story to satisfy Megabyzus. Perhaps Megabyzus would not have been so easily satisfied had it not been that the great Ionian rebellion, under Aristagoras and Histięus, as described in the last chapter, broke out soon after, and demanded his attention in another quarter of the realm.

The Ionian rebellion postponed, for a time, Darius's designs on Greece, but the effect of it was to make the invasion more certain and more terrible in the end; for Athens, which was at that time one of the most important and powerful of the Grecian cities, took a part in that rebellion against the Persians. The Athenians sent forces to aid those of Aristagoras and Histięus, and, in the course of the war, the combined army took and burned the city of Sardis. When this news reached Darius, he was excited to a perfect phrensy of resentment and indignation against the Athenians for coming thus into his own dominions to assist rebels, and there destroying one of his most important [239] capitals. He uttered the most violent and terrible threats against them, and, to prevent his anger from getting cool before the preparations should be completed for vindicating it, he made an arrangement, it was said, for having a slave call out to him every day at table, "Remember the Athenians!"

It was a circumstance favorable to Darius's designs against the states of Greece that they were not united among themselves. There was no general government under which the whole naval and military force of that country could be efficiently combined, so as to be directed, in a concentrated and energetic form, against a common enemy. On the other hand, the several cities formed, with the territories adjoining them, so many separate states, more or less connected, it is true, by confederations and alliances, but still virtually independent, and often hostile to each other. Then, besides these external and international quarrels, there was a great deal of internal dissension. The monarchical and the democratic principle were all the time struggling for the mastery. Military despots were continually rising to power in the various cities, and after they had ruled, for a time, over their subjects with a rod of iron, the [240] people would rise in rebellion and expel them from their thrones. These revolutions were continually taking place, attended, often, by the strangest and most romantic incidents, which evinced, on the part of the actors in them, that extraordinary combination of mental sagacity and acumen with childish and senseless superstition so characteristic of the times.

It is not surprising that the populace often rebelled against the power of these royal despots, for they seem to have exercised their power, when their interests or their passions excited them to do it, in the most tyrannical and cruel manner. One of them, it was said, a king of Corinth, whose name was Periander, sent a messenger, on one occasion, to a neighboring potentate—with whom he had gradually come to entertain very friendly relations—to inquire by what means he could most certainly and permanently secure the continuance of his power. The king thus applied to gave no direct reply, but took the messenger out into his garden, talking with him by the way about the incidents of his journey, and other indifferent topics. He came, at length, to a field where grain was growing, and as he walked along, he occupied himself in cutting off, with his sword, [241] every head of the grain which raised itself above the level of the rest. After a short time he returned to the house, and finally dismissed the messenger without giving him any answer whatever to the application that he had made. The messenger returned to Periander, and related what had occurred. "I understand his meaning," said Periander. "I must contrive some way to remove all those who, by their talents, their influence, or their power, rise above the general level of the citizens." Periander began immediately to act on this recommendation. Whoever, among the people of Corinth, distinguished himself above the rest, was marked for destruction. Some were banished, some were slain, and some were deprived of their influence, and so reduced to the ordinary level, by the confiscation of their property, the lives and fortunes of all the citizens of the state being wholly in the despot's hands.

This same Periander had a wife whose name was Melissa. A very extraordinary tale is related respecting her, which, though mainly fictitious, had a foundation, doubtless, in fact, and illustrates very remarkably the despotic tyranny and the dark superstition of the times. Melissa died and was buried; but her garments, [242] for some reason or other, were not burned, as was usual in such cases. Now, among the other oracles of Greece, there was one where departed spirits could be consulted. It was called the oracle of the dead. Periander, having occasion to consult an oracle in order to find the means of recovering a certain article of value which was lost, sent to this place to call up and consult the ghost of Melissa. The ghost appeared, but refused to answer the question put to her, saying, with frightful solemnity,

"I am cold; I am cold; I am naked and cold. My clothes were not burned; I am naked and cold."

When this answer was reported to Periander, he determined to make a great sacrifice and offering, such as should at once appease the restless spirit. He invited, therefore, a general assembly of the women of Corinth to witness some spectacle in a temple, and when they were convened, he surrounded them with his guards, seized them, stripped them of most of their clothing, and then let them go free. The clothes thus taken were then all solemnly burned, as an expiatory offering, with invocations to the shade of Melissa.

The account adds, that when this was done, [243] a second messenger was dispatched to the oracle of the dead, and the spirit, now clothed and comfortable in its grave, answered the inquiry, informing Periander where the lost article might be found.

The rude violence which Periander resorted to in this case seems not to have been dictated by any particular desire to insult or injure the women of Corinth, but was resorted to simply as the easiest and most convenient way of obtaining what he needed. He wanted a supply of valuable and costly female apparel, and the readiest mode of obtaining it was to bring together an assembly of females dressed for a public occasion, and then disrobe them. The case only shows to what an extreme and absolute supremacy the lofty and domineering spirit of ancient despotism attained.

It ought, however, to be related, in justice to these abominable tyrants, that they often evinced feelings of commiseration and kindness; sometimes, in fact, in very singular ways. There was, for example, in one of the cities, a certain family that had obtained the ascendency over the rest of the people, and had held it for some time as an established aristocracy, taking care to preserve their rank and power [244] from generation to generation, by intermarrying only with one another. At length, in one branch of the family, there grew up a young girl named Labda, who had been a cripple from her birth, and, on account of her deformity, none of the nobles would marry her. A man of obscure birth, however, one of the common people, at length took her for his wife. His name was Eetion. One day, Eetion went to Delphi to consult an oracle, and as he was entering the temple, the Pythian called out to him, saying that a stone should proceed from Labda which should overwhelm tyrants and usurpers, and free the state. The nobles, when they heard of this, understood the prediction to mean that the destruction of their power was, in some way or other, to be effected by means of Labda's child, and they determined to prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy by destroying the babe itself so soon as it should be born.

They accordingly appointed ten of their number to go to the place where Eetion lived and kill the child. The method which they were to adopt was this: They were to ask to see the infant on their arrival at the house, and then it [245] was agreed that whichever of the ten it was to whom the babe was handed, he should dash it down upon the stone floor with all his force, by which means it would, as they supposed, certainly be killed.

This plan being arranged, the men went to the house, inquired, with hypocritical civility, after the health of the mother, and desired to see the child. It was accordingly brought to them. The mother put it into the hands of one of the conspirators, and the babe looked up into his face and smiled. This mute expression of defenseless and confiding innocence touched the murderer's heart. He could not be such a monster as to dash such an image of trusting and happy helplessness upon the stones. He looked upon the child, and then gave it into the hands of the one next to him, and he gave it to the next, and thus it passed through the hands of all the ten. No one was found stern and determined enough to murder it, and at last they gave the babe back to its mother and went away.

The sequel of this story was, that the conspirators, when they reached the gate, stopped to consult together, and after many mutual criminations and recriminations, each impugn- [246] ing the courage and resolution of the rest, and all joining in special condemnation of the man to whom the child had at first been given, they went back again, determined, in some way or other, to accomplish their purpose. But Labda had, in the mean time, been alarmed at their extraordinary behavior, and had listened, when they stopped at the gate, to hear their conversation. She hastily hid the babe in a corn measure; and the conspirators, after looking in every part of the house in vain, gave up the search, supposing that their intended victim had been hastily sent away. They went home, and not being willing to acknowledge that their resolution had failed at the time of trial, they agreed to say that their undertaking had succeeded, and that the child had been destroyed. The babe lived, however, and grew up to manhood, and then, in fulfillment of the prediction announced by the oracle, he headed a rebellion against the nobles, deposed them from their power, and reigned in their stead.

One of the worst and most reckless of the Greek tyrants of whom we have been speaking was Hippias of Athens. His father, Pisistratus, had been hated all his life for his cruelties and his crimes; and when he died, leaving two [247] sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, a conspiracy was formed to kill the sons, and thus put an end to the dynasty. Hipparchus was killed, but Hippias escaped the danger, and seized the government himself alone. He began to exercise his power in the most cruel and wanton manner, partly under the influence of resentment and passion, and partly because he thought his proper policy was to strike terror into the hearts of the people as a means of retaining his dominion. One of the conspirators by whom his brother had been slain, accused Hippias's warmest and best friends as his accomplices in the deed, in order to revenge himself on Hippias by inducing him to destroy his own adherents and supporters. Hippias fell into the snare; he condemned to death all whom the conspirator accused, and his reckless soldiers executed his friends and foes together. When any protested their innocence, he put them to the torture to make them confess their guilt. Such indiscriminate cruelty only had the effect to league the whole population of Athens against the perpetrator of it. There was at length a general insurrection against him, and he was dethroned. He made his escape to Sardis, and there tendered his services to Artaphernes, offering to [248] conduct the Persian armies to Greece, and aid them in getting possession of the country, on condition that, if they succeeded, the Persians would make him the governor of Athens. Artaphernes made known these offers to Darius, and they were eagerly accepted. It was, however, very impolitic to accept them. The aid which the invaders could derive from the services of such a guide, were far more than counterbalanced by the influence which his defection and the espousal of his cause by the Persians would produce in Greece. It banded the Athenians and their allies together in the most enthusiastic and determined spirit of resistance, against a man who had now added the baseness of treason to the wanton wickedness of tyranny.

Besides these internal dissensions between the people of the several Grecian states and their kings, there were contests between one state and another, which Darius proposed to take advantage of in his attempts to conquer the country. There was one such war in particular, between Athens and the island of Ęgina, on the effects of which, in aiding him in his operations against the Athenians, Darius placed great reliance. Ęgina was a large and populous island not far from Athens. In account- [249] ing for the origin of the quarrel between the two states, the Greek historians relate the following marvelous story:

Ęgina, as will be seen from the map, was situated in the middle of a bay, southwest from Athens. On the other side of the bay, opposite from Athens, there was a city, near the shore, called Epidaurus. It happened that the people of Epidaurus were at one time suffering from famine, and they sent a messenger to the oracle at Delphi to inquire what they should do to obtain relief. The Pythian answered that they must erect two statues to certain goddesses, named Damia and Auxesia, and that then the famine would abate. They asked whether they were to make the statues of brass or of marble. The priestess replied, "Of neither, but of wood." They were, she said, to use for the purpose the wood of the garden olive.

This species of olive was a sacred tree, and it happened that, at this time, there were no trees of the kind that were of sufficient size for the purpose intended except at Athens; and the Epidaurians, accordingly, sent to Athens to obtain leave to supply themselves with wood for the sculptor by cutting down one of the trees from the sacred grove. The Athenians consent- [250] ed to this, on condition that the Epidaurians would offer a certain yearly sacrifice at two temples in Athens, which they named. This sacrifice, they seemed to imagine, would make good to the city whatever of injury their religious interests might suffer from the loss of the sacred tree. The Epidaurians agreed to the condition; the tree was felled; blocks from it, of proper size, were taken to Epidaurus, and the statues were carved. They were set up in the city with the usual solemnities, and the famine soon after disappeared.

Not many years after this, a war, for some cause or other, broke out between Epidaurus and Ęgina. The people of Ęgina crossed the water in a fleet of galleys, landed at Epidaurus, and, after committing various ravages, they seized these images, and bore them away in triumph as trophies of their victory. They set them up in a public place in the middle of their own island, and instituted games and spectacles around them, which they celebrated with great festivity and parade. The Epidaurians, having thus lost their statues, ceased to make the annual offering at Athens which they had stipulated for, in return for receiving the wood from which the statues were carved. The Athe- [251] nians complained. The Epidaurians replied that they had continued to make the offering as long as they had kept the statues; but that now, the statues being in other hands, they were absolved from the obligation. The Athenians next demanded the statues themselves of the people of Ęgina. They refused to surrender them. The Athenians then invaded the island, and proceeded to the spot where the statues had been erected. They had been set up on massive and heavy pedestals. The Athenians attempted to get them down, but could not separate them from their fastenings. They then changed their plan, and undertook to move the pedestals too, by dragging them with ropes. They were arrested in this undertaking by an earthquake, accompanied by a solemn and terrible sound of thunder, which warned them that they were provoking the anger of Heaven.

The statues, too, miraculously fell on their knees, and remained fixed in that posture!

The Athenians, terrified at these portentous signs, abandoned their undertaking and fled toward the shore. They were, however, intercepted by the people of Ęgina, and some allies whom they had hastily summoned to their aid, and the whole party was destroyed except one single man. He escaped.

[252] This single fugitive, however, met with a worse fate than that of his comrades. He went to Athens, and there the wives and sisters of the men who had been killed thronged around him to hear his story. They were incensed that he alone had escaped, as if his flight had been a sort of betrayal and desertion of his companions. They fell upon him, therefore, with one accord, and pierced and wounded him on all sides with a sort of pin, or clasp, which they used as a fastening for their dress. They finally killed him.

The Athenian magistrates were unable to bring any of the perpetrators of this crime to conviction and punishment; but a law was made, in consequence of the occurrence, forbidding the use of that sort of fastening for the dress to all the Athenian women forever after. The people of Ęgina, on the other hand, rejoiced and gloried in the deed of the Athenian women, and they made the clasps which were worn upon their island of double size, in honor of it.

The war, thus commenced between Athens and Ęgina, went on for a long time, increasing in bitterness and cruelty as the injuries increased in number and magnitude which the belligerent parties inflicted on each other.

[253] Such was the state of things in Greece when Darius organized his great expedition for the invasion of the country. He assembled an immense armament, though he did not go forth himself to command it. He placed the whole force under the charge of a Persian general named Datis. A considerable part of the army which Datis was to command was raised in Persia; but orders had been sent on that large accessions to the army, consisting of cavalry, foot soldiers, ships, and seamen, and every other species of military force, should be raised in all the provinces of Asia Minor, and be ready to join it at various places of rendezvous.

Darius commenced his march at Susa with the troops which had been collected there, and proceeded westward till he reached the Mediterranean at Cilicia, which is at the northeast corner of that sea. Here large re-enforcements joined him; and there was also assembled at this point an immense fleet of galleys, which had been provided to convey the troops to the Grecian seas. The troops embarked, and the fleet advanced along the southern shores of Asia Minor to the Ęgean Sea, where they turned to the northward toward the island of Samos, which had been appointed as a rendezvous. At [254] Samos they were joined by still greater numbers coming from Ionia, and the various provinces and islands on that coast that were already under the Persian dominion. When they were ready for their final departure, the immense fleet, probably one of the greatest and most powerful which had then ever been assembled, set sail, and steered their course to the northwest, among the islands of the Ęgean Sea. As they moved slowly on, they stopped to take possession of such islands as came in their way. The islanders, in some cases, submitted to them without a struggle. In others, they made vigorous but perfectly futile attempts to resist. In others still, the terrified inhabitants abandoned their homes, and fled in dismay to the fastnesses of the mountains. The Persians destroyed the cities and towns whose inhabitants they could not conquer, and took the children from the most influential families of the islands which they did subdue, as hostages to hold their parents to their promises when their conquerors should have gone.



The mighty fleet advanced thus, by slow degrees, from conquest to conquest, toward the Athenian shores. The vast multitude of galleys covered the whole surface of the water, and, [257] as they advanced, propelled each by a triple row of oars, they exhibited to the fugitives who had gained the summits of the mountains the appearance of an immense swarm of insects, creeping, by an almost imperceptible advance, over the smooth expanse of the sea.

The fleet, guided all the time by Hippias, passed on, and finally entered the strait between the island of Eubœa and the main land to the northward of Athens. Here, after some operations on the island, the Persians finally brought their ships into a port on the Athenian side, and landed. Hippias made all the arrangements, and superintended the disembarkation.

In the mean time, all was confusion and dismay in the city of Athens. The government, as soon as they heard of the approach of this terrible danger, had sent an express to the city of Sparta, asking for aid. The aid had been promised, but it had not yet arrived. The Athenians gathered together all the forces at their command on the northern side of the city, and were debating the question, with great anxiety and earnestness, whether they should shut themselves up within the walls, and await the onset of their enemies there, or go forth to meet them on the way. The whole force which the [258] Greeks could muster consisted of but about ten thousand men, while the Persian host contained over a hundred thousand. It seemed madness to engage in a contest on an open field against such an overwhelming disparity of numbers. A majority of voices were, accordingly, in favor of remaining within the fortifications of the city, and awaiting an attack.

The command of the army had been intrusted, not to one man, but to a commission of three generals, a sort of triumvirate, on whose joint action the decision of such a question devolved. Two of the three were in favor of taking a defensive position; but the third, the celebrated Miltiades, was so earnest and so decided in favor of attacking the enemy themselves, instead of waiting to be attacked, that his opinion finally carried the day, and the other generals resigned their portion of authority into his hands, consenting that he should lead the Greek army into battle, if he dared to take the responsibility of doing so.

The two armies were at this time encamped in sight of each other on the plain of Marathon, between the mountain and the sea. They were nearly a mile apart. The countless multitude of the Persians extended as far as the eye could [259] reach, with long lines of tents in the distance, and thousands of horsemen on the plain, all ready for the charge. The Greeks, on the other hand, occupied a small and isolated spot, in a compact form, without cavalry, without archers, without, in fact, any weapons suitable either for attack or defense, except in a close encounter hand to hand. Their only hope of success depended on the desperate violence of the onset they were to make upon the vast masses of men spread out before them. On the one side were immense numbers, whose force, vast as it was, must necessarily be more or less impeded in its operations, and slow. It was to be overpowered, therefore, if overpowered at all, by the utmost fierceness and rapidity of action—by sudden onsets, unexpected and furious assaults, and heavy, vigorous, and rapid blows. Miltiades, therefore, made all his arrangements with reference to that mode of warfare. Such soldiers as the Greeks, too, were admirably adapted to execute such designs, and the immense and heterogeneous mass of Asiatic nations which covered the plain before them was exactly the body for such an experiment to be made upon. Glorying in their numbers and confident of victory, they were slowly advanc- [260] ing, without the least idea that the little band before them could possibly do them any serious harm. They had actually brought with them, in the train of the army, some blocks of marble, with which they were going to erect a monument of their victory, on the field of battle, as soon as the conflict was over!

At length the Greeks began to put themselves in motion. As they advanced, they accelerated their march more and more, until just before reaching the Persian lines, when they began to run. The astonishment of the Persians at this unexpected and daring onset soon gave place, first to the excitement of personal conflict, and then to universal terror and dismay; for the headlong impetuosity of the Greeks bore down all opposition, and the desperate swordsmen cut their way through the vast masses of the enemy with a fierce and desperate fury that nothing could withstand. Something like a contest continued for some hours; but, at the end of that time, the Persians were flying in all directions, every one endeavoring, by the track which he found most practicable for himself, to make his way to the ships on the shore. Vast multitudes were killed in this headlong flight; others became en- [261] tangled in the morasses and fens, and others still strayed away, and sought, in their terror, a hopeless refuge in the defiles of the mountains. Those who escaped crowded in confusion on board their ships, and pushed off from the shore, leaving the whole plain covered with their dead and dying companions.

The Greeks captured an immense amount of stores and baggage, which were of great cost and value. They took possession, too, of the marble blocks which the Persians had brought to immortalize their victory, and built with them a monument, instead, to commemorate their defeat. They counted the dead. Six thousand Persians, and only two hundred Greeks, were found. The bodies of the Greeks were collected together, and buried on the field, and an immense mound was raised over the grave. This mound has continued to stand at Marathon to the present day.

The battle of Marathon was one of those great events in the history of the human race which continue to attract, from age to age, the admiration of mankind. They who look upon war, in all its forms, as only the perpetration of an unnatural and atrocious crime, which rises to dignity and grandeur only by the very [262] enormity of its guilt, can not but respect the courage, the energy, and the cool and determined resolution with which the little band of Greeks went forth to stop the torrent of foes which all the nations of a whole continent had combined to pour upon them. The field has been visited in every age by thousands of travelers, who have upon the spot offered their tribute of admiration to the ancient heroes that triumphed there. The plain is found now, as of old, overlooking the sea, and the mountains inland, towering above the plain. The mound, too, still remains, which was reared to consecrate the memory of the Greeks who fell. They who visit it stand and survey the now silent and solitary scene, and derive from the influence and spirit of the spot new strength and energy to meet the great difficulties and dangers of life which they themselves have to encounter. The Greeks themselves, of the present day, notwithstanding the many sources of discouragement and depression with which they have to contend, must feel at Marathon some rising spirit of emulation in contemplating the lofty mental powers and the undaunted spirit of their sires. Byron makes one of them sing,


"The mountains look on Marathon,

And Marathon looks on the sea;

And musing there an hour alone,

I dreamed that Greece might still be free;

For, standing on the Persians' grave,

I could not deem myself a slave."

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