A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 B.C

By George Grote; J. M. Mitchell et al. | Go to book overview

12 [XLII]

BATTLES OF PLATÆA AND MYKALE - FINAL REPULSE OF THE PERSIANS

THOUGH the defeat at Salamis deprived the Persians of all hope from farther maritime attack of Greece, they still anticipated success by land from the ensuing campaign of Mardonius. Their fleet, after having conveyed the monarch himself with his accompanying land-force across the Hellespont, retired to winter at Kymê and Samos. Early in the spring they were reassembled - to the number of 400 sail, but without the Phenicians - at the naval station of Samos, intending, however, only to maintain a watchful guard over Ionia, and hardly supposing that the Greek fleet would venture to attack them.

For a long time, the conduct of that fleet was such as to justify such belief in its enemies. Assembled at Ægina in the spring, to the number of 110 ships, under the Spartan king Leotychidês, it advanced as far as Delos, but not farther eastward: nor could all the persuasions of Chian and other Ionian envoys despatched both to the Spartan authorities and to the fleet, and promising to revolt from Persia as soon as the Grecian fleet should appear, prevail upon Leotychidês to hazard any aggressive enterprise. Ionia and the eastern waters of the Ægean had now been for fifteen years completely under the Persians, and so little visited by the Greeks, that a voyage thither appeared, especially to the maritime inexperience of a Spartan king, like going to the Pillars of Hêraklês: 1 not less venturesome than the same voyage appeared, fifty-two years afterwards, to the Lacedæmonian admiral Alkidas, when he first hazarded his fleet amidst the preserved waters of the Athenian empire.

Meanwhile the hurried and disastrous retreat of Xerxês had produced less disaffection among his subjects and allies than might have been anticipated. Alexander, King of Macedon, the Thessalian Aleuadæ, and the Bœotian leaders, still remained in hearty co-operation with Mardonius: nor were there any, except the Phokians, whose fidelity to him appeared questionable, among all the Greeks north-west of the boundaries of Attica and Megaris. It was only in the Chalkidic peninsula that any actual revolt occurred. Potidæa, situated on

1 Herodot., viii. 131, 132; compare Thukyd., iii. 29-32.

Herodotus says that the Chian envoys had great difficulty in inducing Leotychidês to proceed even as far as Delos.

-274-

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