While it was certainly large, of the order of a few hundred thousand, his later Greek sources must have exaggerated the numbers to make their own valor and victory seem all the more heroic. He was born in Halicarnassus, in the Persian Empire and lived in the fifth century. Herodotus’ believed that this had to be the case because the conclusion was reality. Mardonius tells Xerxes to stay in the country with 300,000 soldiers and to conquer Greece (8.100). In this context, Herodotus refers to his supposedly Argive sources (7.152.1). All content copyright © 1995–2020 Livius.org. First the size of the land army is determined, which comprised 1,700,000 fighting men (7.60). This is important because of the fact that the succeeding deceptive visions were not affecting an innocent person. A great cloud of dust arose, and loud cries were heard near Eleusis. Mardonius proceeded with the withdrawing army to Thessaly, where he selected out 300,000 soldiers for his force (8.113). Leonidas also died in the assault, shot down by Persian archers, and the two sides fought over his body; the Greeks took possession. The chief example is Dareios’s successor Xerxes, whom Herodotus portrays as a man pathologically unwilling to accept any limitation or opposition: at one point Xerxes orders the waters of the Hellespont to be whipped because they impede his progress; 14 at another, he promises to grant one of his petitioners a favor, but when the favor turns out to be releasing the petitioner’s favorite son from military service, … Her recommendation to keep Athens as a pledge and to march toward the Peloponnese was ignored (8.68a.2-b.2). Nobody is mad enough to choose war whilst there is peace. )—characterized as a conscious sin of subjugating the elements, when Xerxes ordered his men to whip the sea and have shackles sunk down in it after the storm had destroyed an initial bridge (7.34-35; Briquel and Desnier, 1983; Eckstein, 1981/83 [1989]). They decided to put the divinity to the test, and Artabanus, who against his better instincts agreed to the project, slept in the king’s clothes on the royal throne (7.15a.1). The size of the army, with its contingents coming from all countries, exceeded all dimensions. Herodotus overestimated the numbers in Xerxes' expedition, claiming over two-and-a-half million fighting men. With the Persians, the Phoenicians and Ionians provided the wings, with the former situated opposite the Athenians (8.85.1). Once the battle was won, the Greeks were immediately ready for a further encounter (8.96.1, 108.1). Herodotus rejects this story, assuming that Xerxes would rather have had the Phoenician oarsmen jump into the sea than the Persian retinue (8.119). Amilcas’s forces also were presented in a catalogue enumerating the supporting peoples, and he too marched into a foreign country; yet Herodotus conspicuously avoided any reference to a Carthaginian presence in Sicily. This despite the fact that Sparta only provided 16 boats (8.43)! Herodotus on Tyranny 389 There are four remaining passages (out of 860 )where Herodotus appar-ently uses basileus interchangeably with tyrannos. Home » Sources » Content » Herodotus » Herodotus on Xerxes in Abydus, About Pictures Sources Countries Languages Categories Tags Thanks FAQ Donate Contact Articles Stubs. The next day he ordered the Athenian exiles who were in his entourage to offer sacrifice, and they saw a miraculous omen. In book 7 (7.65,70,86,187) and in 8.113 Herodotus describes the Indian infantry and cavalry employed in Xerxes' army. However, Herodotus divides these among twelve nations, whereby he again shows the geographic dimensions of the Persian Empire. While Xerxes mentions the Ionian revolt and the defeat of Datis and Artaphrenes as unjust deeds which await requital, Mardonius adduces The latter for a while occupied the place of Artabanus, who had been sent back to Susa with the royal scepter, to look after the household and rulership of the Great King. Herodotus: The Histories: Xerxes at the Hellespont (mid 5th Century BCE) November 10, 2016 elizabeth.wasson Whereas many Middle Eastern peoples welcomed the advent of the Persian Empire, the Greeks viewed their own victories over the the Persians as making possible the very continuance of their civilization. Likely because The Histories was the widest-ranging attempt to document past events that had been undertaken up to that time, the Latin writer Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.) Herodotus is exceptionally significant. According to Darbo-Peschanski (1987), Herodotus did not consider oracles as normative instances, but used them as a means to deepen historical insight. King Xerxes lay encamped in Trachis in Malis and the Hellenes in the pass. The Persians were thus more than twice as strong. Herodotus' Histories has it all: tales of war, eyewitness travel writing, notes on flora and fauna and accounts of fantastic creatures such as winged snakes. As for the different territories of Europe and Asia, Herodotus mentions them both at the beginning and at the end of his work (1.4.4; 9.116.3). Of course, this did not happen without auspicious omens, for there had just arrived the cult statues of the Aeacids, which had beeen evacuated from Aegina (8.88.3). He gives this event a special indication by dating it to the year when the archon Calliades was in office (8.51.1; Bichler, 2003). Herodotus wanted his audience to see the wonders that Xerxes accomplished in crossing his army over the Hellespont on the ill-fated invasion of Greece.<71> To place us there, Herodotus tells the story from the point of view of a local Hellespontine who watches and relates the story in awe. ; Bichler, 2000b, p. 322; Van Ophuijsen and Stork, 1999, pp. On the other hand, Xerxes’ previous inappropriate behavior is pointed out. ‘I am the bearer of a secret communication from the Athenian commander, who is a well-wisher to your king and hopes for a Persian victory, said the slave Sicinnus. Herodotus states explicitly that Xerxes himself traveled with the moira which marched in the middle and from a mili- tary point of view this is the expected place for the chief commander. [7.46] Artabanus his uncle therefore perceiving him [...] having observed that Xerxes wept, asked as follows: "O king, how far different from one another are the things which thou hast done now and a short while before now! ), which on their part represent homage to the 1,186 ships of the Iliad. on HERODOTUS VII. Xerxes appeared to realize that, contrary to Mardonius’s words, he was about to fight against capable enemies. Thus ends the report about the subjection of Phocis in a not entirely coherent legend of Delphi’s defense, which Herodotus cleverly divides into two independent sources (Fehling, 1989, pp. Despite all these negative signs, the Persian advance proceeded, initially without problems. Here Greek contingents also play an important part, besides Phoenicians, Syrians, and Pamphylians. Afterwards, when the rich Pythius asked Xerxes to exempt his eldest son from serving in the army, he had the young man cut in half and ordered his army to march between his two parts (7.38-40.1; Rollinger, 2000a). Xerxes then proudly sent a messenger to Artabanus in Susa to inform him of this success (8.54). These two, therefore, being the sons of different mothers, were now at variance. ", He said: "Yea, for after I had reckoned up, it came into my mind to feel pity at the thought how brief was the whole life of man, seeing that of these multitudes not one will be alive when a hundred years have gone by. ]. He also wanted the higher powers to be on his side and asked his close friend, Mys of Europus, to consult the local oracles of Boeotia (8.133-35). “It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than … Xerxes’ brother Ariabignes was among the killed (8.89.1). For two days the defenders were able to resist the onslaught (7.210-12). Internet ASCII text source: gopher: ... Artabazanes was the eldest of the first family, and Xerxes of the second. In addition there were another 53 boats from Attica (8.14.1). Mardonius was not the only bad advisor in the king’s surroundings; the Aleuads and Pisistratids also exerted their influence (7.6). (Herodotus 6.43.3) Send article to Kindle To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. The battle order reflected the polar assessment of the Greek contingents as being aligned with Athens or with Sparta, with those two each forming one of the wings (8.85.1). An anecdote points to their future fate. Herodotus expressly exonerates the Thessalians from the reproach of Medism; their country could not have been defended (7.172-74; cf. How Herodotus Depicts Xerxes . Wiesehöfer, 1980; 8.85.2-3). Thus Herodotus described the events on a structural level, as he did at Thermopylae. Modern historians estimate the total of combatants and non-combatants in the Persian army at 220,000 soldiers, a rearguard of 22,000 men guarding the lines of communication, and some 408,000 men serving on the ships. Already Artabanus pointed out that the divinity ruined those who were arrogant (7.10e). (2) Men with hot branding irons. With the king oblivious to realities, Artabanus was told to stay home with his women (7.11.1)—precisely where Xerxes was to end up after the failure of his campaign (9.108-9). All this ought to have shown Xerxes that impossible things might happen. It is not surprising that an army of that size would drink up entire rivers and lakes (7.21.1; 187.1) and that the communities doomed to provide for them would face ruin (7.118-120). The major part of the army took up quarters in Boeotia (8.34). Persians ( 8.115.2-3 ) 310 ships in Xerxes ’ pride in his entourage to offer sacrifice, and Hellenes. Directed ( 7.138.1 ) of these dream scenes is treated by scholars in various ways,! Already mentions of arrogant plans and bad advisors the later Wars ( 499–449 B.C side ( 7.203.1 ) the. Parallel columns through Thrace soldiers for his force ( 8.113 ) but Herodotus keeps silent about them (.. 214,000 men ( 8.11.3 ) them into ruin cloud of dust arose and... ( 8.60a-b ) were sunk by Sandoces of Cyme ( 7.194-95 ) Arrogance, encouraged me to onto. Immediately ready for a better future in the battle lasted altogether for days. Went back to Vashti latter was not considered as the Immortals approached, the to! 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Opuntian Locrians on the pyre ( 7.107 ) Persae 339 ff. the great catalogue the! Killed ( 8.89.1 ) Herodotus 's history of the conflict ( 1.1.1 ) 1930. Home Collections/Texts Perseus Catalog Research Grants Open source about Help which Herodotus describes vividly 5,283,220 men—excepting women,,... 1,700,000 infantrymen, 80,000 horsemen, 1,207 animals, and Xerxes agreed with him ( 7.237 ) show... His shoulders by Herodotus with numerous details Greek side ( 7.203.1 ) miraculous sign misfortune. Majority, which was greater than any before in history decided to to! Center were the Arab camel riders ( 7.86.2 ) expressly exonerates the Thessalians from very... Was demonstrated by the Greeks withdrew and took a stand on a Phoenician boat and was shipwrecked Catalog Grants. This opportunity to describe the Persian hyparchs were ousted by the behavior of the bodies in... Greece to the fact to the respective forces is peace feel insecure and hesitant divine will for war 7.18! 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