THERE can be no doubt that during Darius' absence across the Danube the Ionians lost an opportunity eminently favourable, such as never again returned, for emancipating themselves from the Persian dominion. Their despots, especially the Milesian Histiæus, were not induced to preserve the bridge across that river committed to their care by any honourable reluctance to betray the trust reposed in them, but simply by selfish regard to the maintenance of their own unpopular dominion. 1 And we may remark that the real character of this impelling motive, as well as the deliberation accompanying it, may be assumed as resting upon very good evidence, since we are now arrived within the personal knowledge of the Milesian historian Hekatæus, who took an active part in the Ionic revolt a few years afterwards, and who may perhaps have been personally engaged in this expedition.
Extricated from the perils of Scythian warfare, Darius marched southward from the Danube through Thrace to the Hellespont, where he crossed from Sestus into Asia. He left, however, a considerable army in Europe, under the command of Megabazus, to accomplish the conquest of Thrace. Perinthus on the Propontis made a brave resistance, but was at length subdued; after which all the Thracian tribes, and all the Grecian colonies between the Hellespont and the Strymon, were forced to submit, giving earth and water, and becoming subject to tribute. Near the lower Strymon was the Edonian town of Myrkinus, which Darius ordered to be made over to Histiæus of Milêtus; for both this Milesian, and Kôês of Mitylênê, had been desired by the Persian king to name their own reward for their fidelity to him on the passage over the Danube. Kôês requested that he might be constituted despot of Mitylênê, which was accomplished by Persian authority; but Histiæus solicited that the territory near Myrkinus might be given to him for the foundation of a colony. As soon as the Persian conquests extended thus far, the site in question was presented to Histiæus, who entered actively upon his new scheme. We shall find the territory near Myrkinus eminent hereafter as the site of Amphipolis; it offered
1 Histiæus had pointed out that the annihilation of Darius' army in Scythia would lead to popular risings against the Greek tyrants who had accompanied the expedition. - ED.