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DESTRUCTION OF THE PERSIAN HOST
THE Persian preparations for war were hastened by news
that all the Ionian cities had rebelled. These were,
as you remember, Greek colonies founded on the coast of
Asia Minor. They had little by little fallen into the
hands of the Persians; but, as they hated to submit to
foreign rule, they had long planned a revolt.
The Athenians, who knew that the Persians were talking
of coming over to conquer them, now offered to help the
Ionians, and sent some troops over to Asia Minor.
These joined the rebels, and together they managed to
 surprise and burn to the ground the rich city of
Sardis, which belonged to Darius.
A messenger was sent in hot haste to bear these tidings
to The Great King; and when he heard them, he was very
angry indeed. In his wrath, he said that he would
punish both rebels and Athenians, and immediately sent
his army into Ionia.
The first part of his vow was easily kept, for his
troops soon defeated the Ionian army, and forced the
rebels to obey him once more. When Darius heard this
he was much pleased; and then, sending for his bow, he
shot an arrow in the direction of Athens, to show that
the punishment of the Athenians would be his next care.
As he was afraid of forgetting these enemies in the
pressure of other business, he gave orders that a slave
should appear before him every day while he sat at
dinner, and solemnly say, "Master, remember the
When the preparations for this distant war were ended,
the Persian army set out for Greece. In order to reach
that country, it had to march a long way through the
northern part of Asia Minor, cross a narrow strait
called the Hellespont, and pass along the coast of
the Ægean Sea, through Thrace and Scythia.
In these countries the Persian army met the fierce and
warlike Scythians mounted on their fleet-footed
horses, and was nearly cut to pieces. The Persians
were so frightened by the attack of these foes, that
they refused to go any farther, and even beat a hasty
 The Persian fleet in the mean while had sailed along
bravely. It soon came to the promontory formed by
Mount Athos, a tall mountain which sometimes casts a
shadow eighty miles long over the sea. Here a terrible
tempest overtook the fleet, and the waves rose so high
that six hundred vessels were dashed to pieces.
All the rest of the Persian vessels were so damaged by
the storm, that it was soon decided that they had
better return home. The soldiers of The Great King
were of course greatly discouraged by these
misfortunes; but Darius was more than ever determined
to conquer Greece, and at once began
to gather a second army and to build a second fleet.