Persia versus Greece:
The reconquest of the Ionian Greeks by Persia left the mainland Greeks
deeply unsettled. Since Athens and Eretria had taken a small but significant
part in the burning of Sardis, Darius remained determined to have revenge
on those two cities at least. Beyond that, the Persians faced the larger ques-
tion of whether their rule over Ionia could ever be secure as long as the
mainland Greeks remained free. Perhaps supposing that it would be safer to
conquer all the Greeks than only some, Darius began in the years 494 and
493 to lay plans for the subjugation of the Greek mainland. Many Greek
cities were all too willing to surrender without a fight.
“6.48–49” After this, Darius began to make trial of the spirit of the Greeks, to see whether they would offer resistance or submit to him. He therefore sent heralds to various places throughout Greece to demand earth and water for the king. At the same time, he sent other messengers to the coastal towns already under his dominion, requiring them to provide warships and cavalry transports. These vessels were duly provided, and many of the mainland cities of Greece gave the tokens demanded by the king, as did all the islanders whom the heralds visited.
Among the latter who gave earth and water were the Aeginetans. This act of submission immediately aroused the anger of the Athenians, who believed that they intended to join Darius in attacking Athens. Gladly seizing on this as a pretext, the Athenians put the matter before the Spartans, accusing the Aeginetans of having betrayed Greece by their action.
“6.50” In response to this accusation, Cleomenes, son of Anaxandrides and king of Sparta,1 crossed over to Aegina with the intention
1. We have already met this colorful Spartan monarch on two previous oc-
casions, as the leader of the series of Spartan interventions in Athenian poli
tics between 510 and 508 (p. 93), who later refused to help Aristagoras in his
revolt from Persia in 499 (5.49 ff.). He reigned roughly from 520 to 490 and,
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Publication information: Book title: On the War for Greek Freedom: Selections from the Histories. Contributors: Samuel Shirley - Translator, James Romm - Editor. Publisher: Hackett. Place of publication: Indianapolis. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 99.
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