Ancient Greece: A Sketch of Its Art, Literature & Philosophy Viewed in Connexion with Its External History from Earliest Times to the Age of Alexander the Great

By H. B. Cotterill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE PERSIAN INVASIONS

( 500-478)

SECTIONS: THE GREEKS AND CARTHAGINIANS IN SICILY: PINDAR

IN the last chapter the thread of the narrative was dropped at the arrival of Darius at Sardis after his Thracian and Scythian expedition of 512. He had left Megabazus with an army of 80,000 men in Thrace, the greater part of which, as well as Paeonia, to the west of the Strymon, was brought under Persian dominion and remained tributary to the Great King for some fifteen years.

When Darius left Sardis for Susa he appointed his brother Artaphernes satrap of the western province of the Persian Empire. The Greek cities on the mainland were governed by Greek tyrants who were responsible to this Persian satrap at Sardis. For some years things went on quietly. Then came the explosion known as the Ionian revolt, and this was followed by the Persian invasions of Greece: first (after an unsuccessful attempt by Mardonius) the invasion by the fleet and army of Darius under the command of Datis and Artaphernes, who were beaten at Marathon; then the far more serious invasion by Xerxes, whom the Greeks defeated at Salamis.

The story of the Ionic revolt and the Persian invasions is told by Herodotus in the last four books of his history. With an art that veils itself in seeming artlessness he leads us leisurely onward with his simple, unaffected tale, lingering ever and again over what some may deem unessential details, and making long and delightful digressions, but leaving nevertheless in the mind a far more distinct picture than that which we gain

-234-

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