|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 PAUSANIAS
PAUSANIAS, the Spartan king, was very proud of the
great victory he had won over the Persians at Platæa,
and of the praise and booty he had received.
 He was so proud of it, that he soon became unbearable,
and even wanted to become ruler of all Greece.
he had at first pretended to despise the luxury which
he had seen in the tent of Mardonius, he soon began to
put on the Persian dress and to copy their manners, and
demanded much homage from his subjects. This greatly
displeased the simple Greeks, and he soon saw that they
would not help him to become sole king.
In his ambition to rule alone, he entirely forgot all
that was right, and, turning traitor, secretly offered
to help the Persians if they would promise to make him
king over all Greece.
This base plot was found out by the ephors, the
officers whose duty it was to watch the kings, and they
ordered his own guards to seize him. Before this order
could be carried out, however, Pausanias fled, and took
refuge in a neighboring temple, where, of course, no
one could lay violent hands upon him.
As the ephors feared he might even yet escape to
Persia, and carry out his wicked plans, they ordered
that the doors and windows of the temple should all be
It is said that as soon as this command had been given,
Pausanias' mother brought the first stone, saying she
preferred that her son should die, rather than live to
be a traitor.
Thus walled in, Pausanias slowly starved to death, and
the barriers were torn down only just in time to allow
him to be carried out, and breathe his last in the open
air. The Spartans would not let him die
 in the temple, because they thought his dying breath
would offend the gods.
As Themistocles had been a great friend of Pausanias,
he was accused of sharing his plans. The Athenians
therefore rose up against him in anger, ostracized him,
and drove him out of the country to end his life in
After wandering aimlessly about for some time,
Themistocles finally went to the court of Artaxerxes, the son and successor of Xerxes.
The Persian monarch, we are told, welcomed him warmly,
gave him a Persian wife, and set aside three cities to
supply him with bread, meat, and wine. Themistocles
soon grew very rich, and lived on the fat of the land;
and a traveler said that he once exclaimed, "How much
we should have lost, my children and I,
had we not been ruined by the Athenians!"
Artaxerxes, having thus provided for all Themistocles'
wants, and helped him to pile up riches, fancied that
his gratitude would lead him to perform any service the
king might ask. He therefore sent for Themistocles one
day, and bade him lead a Persian army against the
But, although Themistocles had been exiled from his
country, he had not fallen low enough to turn traitor.
He proudly refused to fight; and it is said that he
preferred to commit suicide, rather than injure the
people he had once loved so dearly.
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