|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
DEATH OF THE CONSPIRATORS
HARMODIUS and Aristogiton, having decided to get rid of the
tyrants, told their plans to a few of their friends.
Secret meetings were held at the house of a brave lady
called Leæna ("the lioness"), who was the only woman
in the plot.
As the Athenians were in the habit of attending the
feast in armor, the young men waited until then to
carry out their plans. They mingled with the crowd,
found a good place near the tyrants, and all at once
drew their swords from their scabbards and attacked
Harmodius was so quick that he managed to kill
Hipparchus; but, before his companions could join and
protect him, he was cut down by the tyrants' guards.
Aristogiton, his friend, rushed forward to save him,
but was made prisoner, and dragged before Hippias, who
bade him tell the names of his companions. The young
man at first refused to speak; but after a while,
pretending to yield, he named some of the tyrants'
friends who were helping him oppress the Athenians.
 The tyrant, in dismay, sent for the accused, and had
them and Aristogiton killed without trial. When he
found out his mistake, he again tried to learn the
names of the real conspirators. He knew that Harmodius
and Aristogiton had often visited Leæna: so he had her
imprisoned and tortured, to make her tell the names of
the conspirators, because he wanted to kill them all as
he had killed Aristogiton.
The brave woman, knowing that the lives of several
young men depended upon her, and that a single word
might cause their death, resolved not to utter a sound.
In spite of the most awful tortures, she therefore kept
her mouth tightly closed; and when she was finally set
free, they found that she had bitten off her tongue for
fear of betraying her friends.
Poor Leæna did not live long after this; and when she
died, she was buried in a beautiful tomb, over which
her friends put the image of a lioness without a
tongue, to remind the people of her courage.
The Athenians were very sorry for her death, and
mourned the brave youths Harmodius and Aristogiton for
a long time; but the tyranny of the son of Pisistratus
daily grew more cruel and disagreeable.
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