|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 |
THE victory of Marathon was a great triumph for the
Athenians; and Miltiades, who had so successfully led
them, was loaded with honors. His portrait was painted
by the best artist of the day, and it was placed in one
of the porticos of Athens, where every one could see
At his request, the main part of the booty was given to
the gods, for the Greeks believed that it was owing to
divine favor that they had conquered their enemies. The
brazen arms and shields which they had taken from the
ten thousand Persians killed were therefore melted, and
formed into an immense statue of Athene, which was
placed on the Acropolis, on a pedestal so high that the
glittering lance which the goddess held could be seen
far out at sea when the sunbeams struck its point.
The Athenians vented their triumph and delight in song
and dance, in plays and works of art of all kinds;
 for they wished to commemorate the glorious victory
which had cost them only a hundred and ninety men,
while the enemy had lost ten thousand.
One of their choicest art treasures was made by
Phidias, the greatest sculptor the world has ever
known, out of a beautiful block of marble which Darius
had brought from Persia. The great king had intended to
set it up in Athens as a monument of his victory over
the Greeks. It was used instead to record his defeat;
and when finished, the statue represented Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, whose place it was to
punish the proud and insolent, and to make them repent
of their sins.
Miltiades was, as we have seen, the idol of the
Athenian people after his victory at Marathon.
Unfortunately, however, they were inclined to be
fickle, and when they saw that Miltiades occupied such
a high rank, many began to envy him.
Themistocles was particularly jealous of the great
honors that his friend had won. His friends soon
noticed his gloomy, discontented looks; and when they
inquired what caused them, Themistocles said it was
because the thought of the trophies of Miltiades would
not let him sleep. Some time after, when he saw that
Miltiades was beginning to misuse his power, he openly
showed his dislike.
Not very far from Athens, out in the Ægean
sea, was the island of Paros. The people living there
were enemies of Miltiades, and he, being sole head of
the fleet, led it thither to avenge his personal
The expedition failed, however; and Miltiades
 back to Athens, where Themistocles and the indignant
citizens accused him of betraying his trust, tried him,
and convicted him of treason.
Had they not remembered the service that he had
rendered his country in defeating the Persians at
Marathon, they would surely have condemned him to
death. As it was, the jury merely sentenced him to pay
a heavy fine, saying that he should remain in prison
until it was paid.
Miltiades was not rich enough to raise this large sum
of money, so he died in prison. His son Cimon went to
claim his body, so that he might bury it properly; but
the hard-hearted judges refused to let him have it
until he had paid his father's debt.
Thus forced to turn away without his father's corpse,
Cimon visited his friends, who lent him the necessary
money. Miltiades, who had been the idol of the people,
was now buried hurriedly and in secret, because the
ungrateful Athenians had forgotten all the good he had
done them, and remembered only his faults.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics