The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI.
Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton

Part 2 out of 6

and fled to Narbata, about seven miles distant. John, the publican, and
twelve men of eminence went to Samaria to Florus, implored his aid, and
reminded him of the eight talents he had received. He threw them into
prison and demanded seventeen talents from the sacred treasury under
pretence of Caesar's necessities. This injustice and oppression caused
violent excitement in Jerusalem when the news reached that city. The
people assembled around the Temple with the loudest outcries; but it was
the purpose of Florus to drive the people to insurrection, and he gave
his soldiers orders to plunder the upper market and to put to death all
whom they met. Of men, women, and children there fell that day 3,600.

When Agrippa attempted to persuade the people to obey Florus till Caesar
should send someone to succeed him, the more seditious cast reproaches
on him, and got the king excluded from the city; nay, some had the
impudence to fling stones at him. At the same time they excited the
people to go to war, and some laid siege to the Roman garrison in the
Antonio; others made an assault on a certain fortress called Masada.
They took it by treachery, and slew the Romans. One, Menahem, a
Galilean, became leader of the sedition, and went to Masada and broke
open Herod's armoury, and gave arms not only to his own people, but to
other robbers, also. These he made use of for a bodyguard, and returned
in state to Jerusalem, and gave orders to continue the siege of the

The tower was undermined, and fell, and many soldiers were slain. Next
day the high-priest Ananias, and his brother Hezekiah, were slain by the
robbers. By these successes Menahem was puffed up and became barbarously
cruel; but he was slain, as were also the captains under him, in an
attack led on by Eleazar, a bold youth who was governor of the Temple.

_II.--The Gathering of Great Storms_

And now great calamities and slaughters came on the Jews. On the very
same day two dreadful massacres happened. In Jerusalem the Jews fell on
Netilius and the band of Roman soldiers whom he commanded after they had
made terms and had surrendered, and all were killed except the commander
himself, who supplicated for mercy, and even agreed to submit to
circumcision. On that very day and hour, as though Providence had
ordained it, the Greeks in Caesarea rose, and in a single hour slew over
20,000 Jews, and so the city was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants. For
Florus caught those who escaped, and sent them to the galleys. By this
tragedy the whole nation was driven to madness. The Jews rose and laid
waste the villages all around many cities in Syria, and they descended
on Gadara, Hippo, and Gaulonitus, and burnt and destroyed many places.
Sebaste and Askelon they seized without resistance, and they razed
Anthedon and Gaza to the ground, pillaging the villages all around, with
great slaughter.

When thus the disorder in all Syria had become terrible, Cestius Gallus,
the Roman commander at Antioch, marched with an army to Ptolemais and
overran all Galilee and invested Jerusalem, expecting that it would be
surrendered by means of a powerful party within the walls. But the plot
was discovered, and the conspirators were flung headlong from the walls,
and an attack by Cestius on the north side of the Temple was repulsed
with great loss. Seeing the whole country around in arms, and the Jews
swarming on all the heights, Cestius withdrew his army and retired in
the night, leaving 400 of his bravest men to mount guard in the camp and
to display their ensigns, that the Jews might be deceived.

But at break of day it was discovered that the camp was deserted by the
army, and the Jews rushed to the assault and slew all the Roman band.
This happened in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero.

_III.--Judea in Rebellion Against Rome_

Nero was at this time in Achaia. To him, as ambassador, Cestius, sent in
order to lay the blame on Florus, Costobar and Saul, two brothers of the
Herodian family, who, with Philip, the son of Jacimus, the general of
Agrippa, had escaped from Jerusalem. Meantime, a great massacre of the
Jews took place at Damascus. Then those in Jerusalem who had pursued
after Cestius called a general assembly in the Temple, and elected their
governors and commanders. Their choice fell on Joseph, the son of
Gorion, and Ananus, the chief priest, who were invested with absolute
authority in the city; but Eleazar was passed over, for he was suspected
of aiming at kingly power, as he went about attended by a bodyguard of
zealots. But as commanding within the Temple he had made himself master
of the public treasures, and in a short time the need of money and his
extreme subtlety won over the multitude, and all real authority fell
into his hands. To the other districts they sent the men most to be
trusted for courage and fidelity.

Josephus was appointed to the command of Galilee, with particular charge
of the strong city of Gamala. He raised in that province in the north an
army of more than a hundred thousand young men, whom he armed and
exercised after the Roman manner; and he formed a council of seventy,
and appointed seven judges in each city. He sought to unite the people
and to win their goodwill. But great trouble arose from the treachery of
his enemy, John of Gischala, who surpassed all men in craft and deceit.
He gathered a force of 4,000 robbers and wasted Galilee, while he
inflamed the dissensions in the cities, and sent messengers to Jerusalem
accusing Josephus of tyranny. Tiberias and several cities revolted, but
Josephus suppressed the risings, severely punishing many of the leaders.
John retired to the robbers at Masada, and took to plundering Idumsea.

_IV.--Vespasian and Josephus_

Nero, on learning from the messengers the state of affairs, at first
regarded the revolt lightly; but presently grew alarmed, and appointed
to the command of the armies in Syria, and the task of subduing the
Jews, Vespasian, who had pacified the West when it was disordered by the
Germans, and had also recovered Britain for the Romans. He came to
Antioch in the early spring, and was there joined by Agrippa and all his
forces. He marched to Ptolemais, where he was met by his son Titus, who
had, with expedition unusual in the winter season, sailed from Achaia to
Alexandria. So the Roman army now numbered 60,000 horsemen and footmen,
besides large numbers of camp followers who were also accustomed to
military service and could fight on occasion.

The war was now opened. Josephus attempted no resistance in the open
field, and the people had been directed to fly to the fortified cities.
The strongest of all these was Jotapata, and here Josephus commanded in
person. Being very desirous of demolishing it, Vespasian besieged it
with his whole army. It was defended with the greatest vigour, but was,
after fierce conflicts, taken in the thirteenth year of the reign of
Nero, on the first day of the month Panemus (July). During this dreadful
siege, and at the capture, 40,000 men fell. The Romans sought in vain
for the body of Josephus, their stubborn enemy. He had leaped down the
shaft of a dry well leading to a long cavern. A woman betrayed the
hiding-place, and Josephus was taken and brought before the conqueror,
of whom he had demanded from his captors a private conference. To
Vespasian he announced that he and his son would speedily attain the
imperial dignity. Vespasian was conciliated by the speech of his
prisoner, whom he treated with kindness; for though he did not release
him from his bonds, he bestowed on him suits of clothes and other
precious gifts.

Joppa, Tiberias, Taricheae, and Gamala were taken, both Romans and Jews
perishing in the conflicts. Soon afterwards, by the capture of Gischala,
all Galilee was subdued, John of Gischala fleeing to Jerusalem.

_V.--The Prelude to the Great Siege_

While the cities of Galilee thus arrested the course of the Roman
eagles, Jotapata and Gamala setting the example of daring resistance,
the leaders of the nation in Jerusalem, instead of sending out armies to
the relief of the besieged cities, were engaged in the most dreadful
civil conflicts.

The fame of John of Gishala had gone before him to Jerusalem, and the
multitude poured forth to do him honour. He falsely represented the
Roman forces as being very greatly weakened, and declared that their
engines had been worn out in the sieges in Galilee. He was a man of
enticing eloquence, to whom the young men eagerly gave heed. So the city
now began to be divided into hostile factions, and the whole of Judea
had before set to the people of Jerusalem the fatal example of discord.
For every city was torn to pieces by civil animosities. Not only the
public councils, but even numerous families were distracted by the peace
and war dispute. Through all Judea the youth were ardent for war, while
the elders vainly endeavoured to allay the frenzy. Bands of desperate
men began to spread over the land, plundering houses, while the Roman
garrisons in the towns, rather rejoicing in their hatred to the race
than wishing to protect the sufferers, afforded little help.

Large numbers of these evil men stole into the city and grew into a
daring faction, who robbed houses openly, and many of the most eminent
citizens were murdered by these Zealots, as they were called, from their
pretence that they had discovered a conspiracy to betray the city to the
Romans. They dismissed many of the sanhedrin from office and appointed
men of the lowest degree, who would support them in their violence, till
the leaders of the people became slaves to their will.

At length resistance was provoked, led by Ananus, oldest of the chief
priests, a man of great wisdom, and the robber Zealots took refuge in
the Temple and fortified it more strongly than before. They appointed as
high-priest one Phanias, a coarse and clownish rustic, utterly ignorant
of the sacerdotal duties, who when decked in the robes of office caused
great derision. This sport and pastime for the Zealots caused the more
religious people to shed tears of grief and shame; and the citizens,
unable to endure such insolence, rose in great numbers to avenge the
outrage on the sacred rites. Thus a fierce civil war broke out in which
very many were slain.

Then John of Gischala with great treachery, outwardly siding with
Ananus, and secretly aiding the Zealots, sent messengers inviting the
Idumaeans to come to his help, of whom 20,000 broke into the city during
a stormy night, and slew 8,500 of the people.

_VI.--The Siege and Fall of Jerusalem_

Nero died after having reigned thirteen years and eight days, and
Vespasian, being informed of the event, waited for a whole year, holding
his army together instead of proceeding against Jerusalem. Galba was
made emperor, and slain, as was also Otho, his successor; and then,
after the defeat and death of the emperor Vitellius, Vespasian was
proclaimed by the East. He had preferred to leave the Jews to waste
their strength by their internal feuds while he sent his lieutenants
with forces to reduce various surrounding districts instead of attacking
Jerusalem. When he became emperor, he released Josephus from his bonds,
honouring him for his integrity. Hastening his journey to Rome,
Vespasian commanded Titus to subdue Judea.

At Jerusalem were now three factions raging furiously. Eleazar, son of
Simon, who was the first cause of the war, by persuading the people to
reject the offerings of the emperors to the Temple, and had led the
Zealots and seized the Temple, pretended to cherish righteous wrath
against John of Gishala for the bloodshed he had occasioned. But he
deserted the Zealots and seized the inner court of the Temple, so that
there was war between him and Simon, son of Gioras. Thus Eleazar, John,
and Simon each led a band in constant fightings, and the Temple was
everywhere defiled by murders.

Now, as Titus was on his march he chose out 600 select horsemen, and
went to take a view of the city, when suddenly an immense multitude
burst forth from the gate over against the monuments of Queen Helena and
intercepted him and a few others. He had on neither helmet nor
breastplate, yet though many darts were hurled at him, all missed him,
as if by some purpose of Providence, and, charging through the midst of
his foes, he escaped unhurt. Part of the army now advanced to Scopos,
within a mile of the city, while another occupied a station at the foot
of the Mount of Olives.

Seeing this gathering of the Roman forces, the factions within Jerusalem
for the first time felt the necessity for concord, as Eleazar from the
summit of the Temple, John from the porticoes of the outer court, and
Simon from the heights of Sion watched the Roman camps forming thus so
near the walls. Making terms with each other, they agreed to make an
attack at the same moment. Their followers, rushing suddenly forth along
the valley of Jehoshaphat, fell with violence on the 10th legion,
encamped at the foot of the Mount of Olives, and working there unarmed
at the entrenchments. The soldiers fell back, many being killed.
Witnessing their peril, Titus, with picked troops, fell on the flank of
the Jews and drove them into the city with great loss.

The Roman commander now carefully pushed forward his approaches,
leveling the whole plain of Scopos to the outward wall and destroying
all the beautiful gardens with their fountains and water-courses, and
the army took up a position all along the northern and the western wall,
the footmen being drawn up in seven lines, with the horsemen in three
lines behind, and the archers between. Jerusalem was fortified by three
walls. These were not one within the other, for each defended one of the
quarters into which the city was divided.

The first, or outermost, encompassed Bezetha, the next protected the
citadel of the Antonia and the northern front of the Temple, and the
third, or old, and innermost wall was that of Sion. Many towers, 35 feet
high and 35 feet broad, each surmounted with lofty chambers and with
great tanks for rain water, guarded the whole circuit of the walls, 90
being in the first wall, 14 in the second, and 60 in the third. The
whole circuit of the city was about 33 stadia (four miles). From their
pent-houses of wicker the Romans, with great toil day and night,
discharged arrows and stones, which slew many of the citizens.

At three different places the battering rams began their thundering
work, and at length a corner tower came down, yet the walls stood firm,
for there was no breach. Suddenly the besieged sallied forth and set
fire to the engines. Titus came up with his horsemen and slew twelve
Jews with his own hands. One was taken prisoner and was crucified before
the walls as an example, being the first so executed during the siege.
The Jews now retreated to the second wall, abandoning the defence of
Bezetha, which the Romans entered. Titus instantly ordered the second
wall to be attacked, and for five days the conflict raged more fiercely
than ever. The Jews were entirely reckless of their own lives,
sacrificing themselves readily if they could kill their foes. On the
fifth day they retreated from the second wall, and Titus entered that
part of the lower city which was within it with I,000 picked men.

But, being desirous of winning the people, he ordered that no houses
should be set on fire and no massacres should be committed. The
seditious, however, slew everyone who spoke of peace, and furiously
assailed the Romans. Some fought from the walls, others from the houses,
and such confusion prevailed that the Romans retired; then the Jews,
elated, manned the breach, making a wall of their own bodies.

Thus the fight continued for three days, till Titus a second time
entered the wall. He threw down all the northern part and strongly
garrisoned the towers on the south. The strong heights of Sion, the
citadel of the Antonia, and the fortified Temple still held out Titus,
eager to save so magnificent a place, resolved to refrain for a few days
from the attack, in order that the minds of the besieged might be
affected by their woes, and that the slow results of famine might
operate. He reviewed his army in full armour, and they received their
pay in view of the city, the battlements being thronged by spectators
during this splendid defiling, who looked on in terror and dismay. Then
Titus sent Josephus to address them and to persuade them to yield, but
the Zealots reviled him and hurled darts at him; but many began to
desert, Titus permitted them to come in unmolested. John and Simon in
their anger watched every outlet and executed any whom they suspected of
designing to follow.

The famine increased, and the misery of the weaker was aggravated by
seeing the stronger obtaining food. All natural affection was
extinguished, husbands and wives, parents and children snatching the
last morsel from each other. Many wretched men were caught by the Romans
prowling in the ravines by night to pick up food, and these were
scourged, tortured, and crucified. In the morning sometimes 500 of these
victims were seen on crosses before the walls. This was done to terrify
the rest, and it went on till there was not wood enough for crosses.
Terrible crimes were committed in the city. The aged high-priest,
Matthias, was accused of holding communication with the enemy. Three of
his sons were killed in his presence, and he was executed in sight of
the Romans, together with sixteen other members of the sanhedrin, and
the parents of Josephus were thrown into prison. The famine grew so
woeful that a woman devoured the body of her own child. At length, after
fierce fighting, the Antonia was scaled, and Titus ordered its

Titus now promised that the Temple should be spared if the defenders
would come forth and fight in any other place, but John and the Zealots
refused to surrender it. For several days the outer cloisters and outer
court were attacked with rams, but the immense and compact stones
resisted the blows. As many soldiers were slain in seeking to storm the
cloisters, Titus ordered the gates to be set on fire. A soldier flung a
blazing brand into a gilded door on the north side of the chambers. The
Jews, with cries of grief and rage, grasped their swords and rushed to
take revenge on their enemies or perish in the ruins.

The slaughter was continued while the fire raged. Soon no part was left
but a small portion of the outer cloisters. Titus next spent eighteen
days in preparations for the attack on the upper city, which was then
speedily captured. And now the Romans were not disposed to display any
mercy, night alone putting an end to the carnage. During the whole of
this siege of Jerusalem, 1,100,000 were slain, and the prisoners
numbered 97,000.

* * * * *


History of the Jews

Henry Hart Milman, D.D., was born in London on February 10,
1791, died on September 24, 1868, and was buried in St. Paul's
Cathedral, of which for the last nineteen years of his life he
was Dean. He was the youngest son of Sir Francis Milman,
physician to George III, and was educated at Greenwich, Eton
and Oxford. Although as a scholarly poet he had a considerable
reputation, his literary fame rests chiefly on his fine
historical works, of which fifteen volumes appeared, including
the "History of the Jews," the "History of Christianity to the
Abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire," and the "History
of Latin Christianity to the Pontificate of Nicholas V." The
appearance of the "History of the Jews" in 1830 caused no
small consternation among the orthodox, but among the Jews
themselves it was exceptionally well received. Dean Milman
wrote several hymns, including "Ride on, ride on in majesty,"
"When our heads are bowed in woe." Although this history
carries the Jewish race down to modern times, it is included
in the section of THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS treating of
ancient history, as it is the history of an ancient race, not
of a definite country.

_I.--Dissolution of the Jewish States_

By the destruction of Jerusalem and of the fortified cities of Machaerus
and Masada, which had held out after it, the political existence of the
Jewish nation was annihilated; it was never again recognised as one of
the states or kingdoms of the world. We have now to trace a despised and
obscure race in almost every region of the world. We are called back,
indeed, for a short time to Palestine, to relate new scenes of revolt,
ruin, and persecution. Not long after the dissolution of the Jewish
state it revived again in appearance, under the form of two separate
communities--one under a sovereignty purely spiritual, the other partly
spiritual and partly temporal, but each, comprehending all the Jewish
families in the two great divisions of the world. At the head of the
Jews on this side of the Euphrates appeared the Patriarch of the West;
the chief of the Mesopotamian communities, assumed the striking but more
temporal title of Resch-Glutha, or Prince of the Captivity.

That Judaism should have thus survived is one of the most marvellous of
historic phenomena. But, for the most part, the populous cities beyond
the Jordan, the dominions of Agrippa, and Samaria escaped the
devastation; and, according to tradition, the sanhedrin was spared in
the general wreck.

After a brief interval of peace for the Jews scattered through the world
during the reign of Nerva, their settlements in Babylonia, Egypt,
Cyrene, and Judea broke out in rebellion against the intolerant
religious policy of the otherwise sagacious and upright Trajan. Great
atrocities were committed by revolting Jews in Egypt, and the
retaliation was terrible. It is said that 220,000 Jews fell before the
remorseless vengeance of their enemies. The flame spread to Cyprus,
where it was quenched by Hadrian, afterwards emperor. He expelled the
Jews from the island. When Hadrian ascended the throne, in 117 A.D., he
issued an edict which was tantamount to the total suppression of
Judaism, for it interdicted circumcision, the reading of the law, and
the observance of the Sabbath.

At this momentous juncture, when universal dismay prevailed, it was
announced that the Messiah had appeared. He had come in power and glory.
His name fulfilled the prophecy of Balaam. Barcochab, the Son of the
Star, was that star which was to "arise out of Jacob." Wonders attended
on his person; he breathed flames from his mouth which, no doubt, would
burn up the strength of the proud oppressor, and wither the armies of
the tyrannical Hadrian. Above all, Akiba, the greatest of the rabbins,
the living oracle of divine truth, espoused the claims of the new
Messiah; he was called the standard-bearer of the Son of the Star. Of
him also wondrous stories were told. The first expedition of Barcochab
was to the ruins of Jerusalem, where a rude town had sprung up. Here he
openly assumed the title of king. But he and his followers avoided a
battle in the open field. On the arrival of the famous Julius Severus to
take command of the Roman forces, the rebel Jews were in possession of
fifty of the strongest castles and nearly a thousand villages. Severus
attacked the strongholds in detail, reducing them by famine, and
gradually brought the war to a close.

Over half a million Jews perished during the struggle, and the whole of
Judea was a desert in which wolves and hyenas howled through the streets
of the desolate cities. Hadrian established a new city on the site of
Jerusalem, which he called AElia Capitolina, and peopled with a colony of
foreigners. An edict was issued prohibiting any Jew from entering the
new city on pain of death, and the more effectually to enforce the
edict, the image of a swine was placed over the gate leading to

_II.--Judaism and Christianity_

For the fourth time the Jewish people seemed on the brink of
extermination. Nebuchadrezzar, Antiochus, Titus, and Hadrian had
successively exerted their utmost power to extinguish their existence as
a separate people. Yet in less than sixty years after the war under
Hadrian, before the close of the second century after Christ, the Jews
present the extraordinary spectacle of two separate and regularly
organised communities--one under the Patriarch of Tiberias,
comprehending all of Israelitish descent who inhabited the Roman Empire;
the other under the Prince of the Captivity, to whom all the eastern
Jews paid allegiance. By the mild temper of Antoninus Pius, the Jews
were restored to their ancient privileges. Though still forbidden to
enter Jerusalem, they were permitted to acquire the freedom of Rome, to
establish many settlements in Italy, and to enjoy municipal honours.

This gentle treatment assuaged the stern temper of the race. Awakened
from their dream of prophecy and conquest, they assumed the behaviour of
peaceable and industrious subjects. The worship of the synagogue became
the great bond of racial union, and through centuries held the scattered
nation in the closest uniformity.

The middle of the third century beheld all Israel incorporated into
their two communities, under their patriarch and their caliphate. The
Resch-Glutha, or Prince of the Captivity, lived in all the state and
splendour of an oriental potentate, far outshining in his pomp his rival
sovereign in Tiberias. The most celebrated of the rabbinical sovereigns
was Jehuda, sometimes called the nasi or patriarch. His life was of such
spotless purity that he was named the Holy. He was the author of a new
constitution for the Jewish people, for he embodied in the celebrated
Mischna all the authorised traditions of the schools and courts, and all
the authorised interpretations of the Mosaic law. Both in the East and
the West the Jews maintained their seclusion from the rest of the world.
The great work called the Talmud, formed of the Mischna and the Gemara
(or compilation of comments), was composed during a period of thirty
years of profound peace for the masters of the Babylonian schools, under
Persian rule. This remains a monumental token of learning and industry
of the eastern Jewish rabbins of the third and fourth centuries.

The formal establishment of Christianity by Constantine the Great, in
the early part of the fourth century, might have led to Jewish
apprehension lest the Synagogue should be eclipsed by the splendour of
its triumphant rival, the Christian Church; but the Rabbinical authority
had raised an insurmountable barrier around the Synagogue. And,
unhappily, the Church had lost its most effective means of
conversion--its miraculous powers, its simple doctrine, and the
blameless lives of its believers. Constantine enacted severe laws
against the Jews, which seem in great part to have been occasioned by
their own fiery zeal. But, still earlier than these enactments, Spain
had given the signal for hostility towards the Jews. A decree was passed
at the Council of Elvira prohibiting Jewish and Christian farmers and
peasants from mingling together at harvest home and other festivals.

In Egypt, during the reign of Constantius, who succeeded his father
Constantine, the hot-headed Jews of Alexandria provoked the enactment by
that emperor of yet severer laws, by mingling themselves in the factions
of Arians and Athanasians, which distracted that restless city. They
joined with the pagans on the side of the Arian bishop, and committed
frightful excesses. An insurrection in Judea, which terminated in the
destruction of Dio Caesarea, gave further pretext for exaction and
oppression. But the apostasy of the emperor for a time revived the hopes
of the race, especially when he issued his memorable edict decreeing the
rebuilding of the Temple on Mount Moriah, and the restoration of the
Jewish worship in its original splendour.

The whole Jewish world was now in commotion. Julian entrusted the
execution of the project to his favourite, Alypius, while he advanced
with his ill-fated army to the East. The Jews crowded from the most
distant quarters to assist in the work. But terrible disappointment
ensued. Fire destroyed the work, and various catastrophes frustrated the
enterprise, and the death of Julian rendered it hopeless.

The irruption of the Northern Barbarians during the latter half of the
fourth to about the end of the fifth century so completely disorganised
the whole frame of society that the condition of its humblest members
could not but be powerfully influenced thereby. The Jews were widely
dispersed in all those countries on which the storm fell--in Belgium,
the Rhine districts, Germany, where it was civilised, Gaul, Italy, and
Spain. Not only did the Jews in their scattered colonies engage actively
in mercantile pursuits, but one great branch of commerce fell chiefly
into their hands--the internal slave-trade of Europe.

The Church beheld this evil with grief and indignation, and popes issued
rescripts and interdicts. Fierce hostility grew up between Church and
Synagogue. The Church had not then the power--it may be hoped it had not
the will--to persecute. It was fully occupied with the task of seeking
to impart to the fierce conquerors--the Vandals; Goths, and other
Barbarians--the humanising and civilising knowledge of Christianity.

A great enemy arose in the person of the Emperor Justinian, who was
provoked by savage conflicts between the Jews and the Samaritans to
issue severe enactments against both, which led to the fall of the
patriarchate. In the East, under the rule during the same period of the
Persian king, Chosroes the Just, or Nushirvan, who began his reign in
531 A.D., the position was not more favourable for the Jews of

_III.--The Golden Age of Judaism_

During the conflict between Persian and Roman emperors a power was
rapidly growing up in the secret deserts of Arabia which was to erect
its throne on the ruins of both. The Jews were the first opponents and
the first victims of Mohammed. At least a hundred and twenty years
before Christ, Jewish settlers had built castles in Sabaea and
established an independent kingdom, known as Homeritis, which was
subdued by an Arab chieftain and came to an end. But the Jews were still
powerful in the Arabian peninsula. Mohammed designed to range all the
tribes under his banner; but his overtures were scorned, and he ordered
a massacre of all who refused to accept the Koran.

On one day 700 Jews were slain in Medina while the Prophet looked on
without emotion. But the persecution of the Jews by the Mohammedans was
confined to Arabia, for under the empire of the caliphs they suffered no
further oppression than the payment of tribute. Spain had maintained its
odious distinction in the West, and it is not surprising that the
suffering Jews by active intrigue materially assisted the triumphant
invasion of the country by the Saracens. And in France the Jews became
numerous and wealthy, and traded with great success.

We enter on a period which may be described as the Golden Age of the
modern Jews. The religious persecutions of this race by the Mohammedans
were confined within the borders of Arabia. The Prophet was content with
enforcing uniformity of worship within the sacred peninsula which gave
him birth. The holy cities of Medina and Mecca were not to be profaned
by the unclean footstep of the unbeliever. His immediate successors rose
from stern fanatics to ambitious conquerors. Whoever would submit to the
dominion of the caliph might easily evade the recognition of the
Prophet's title. The Jews had reason to rejoice in the change of
masters. An Islamite sovereign would not be more oppressive than a
Byzantine on the throne of Constantinople or a Persian on the throne of
Ctesiphon. In every respect the Jew rose in the social scale under his
Mohammedan rulers. Provided he demeaned himself peaceably, and paid his
tribute, he might go to the synagogue rather than to the mosque.

In the time of Omar, the second caliph, the coinage, already a trust of
great importance, had been committed to the care of a Jew. And the Jews
acted as intermediate agents in the interworking of European
civilisation, its knowledge, arts, and sciences, into the oriental mind,
and in raising the barbarian conquerors from the chieftains of wild,
marauding tribes into magnificent and enlightened sovereigns. The caliph
readily acknowledged as his vassal the Prince of the Captivity, who
maintained his state as representative of the Jewish community. And in
the West, during the reigns of Pepin and Charlemagne, the treatment of
Jews became much more liberal than before. Their superior intelligence
and education, in a period when nobles and kings, and even the clergy,
could not always write their names, pointed them out for offices of
trust. They were the physicians, the ministers of finance, to monarchs.
They even became ambassadors. The Golden Age of the Jews endured in
increasing prosperity during the reign of Louis the Debonnaire, or the
Pious, at whose court they were so powerful that their interest was
solicited by the presents of kings. In the reign of Charles the Bald,
the Jews maintained their high estate, but dark signs of the approaching
Age of Iron began to lower around.

_IV.--The Iron Age of Judaism_

Our Iron Age commences in the East, where it witnessed the extinction of
the Princes of the Captivity by the ignominious death of the last
sovereign, the downfall of the schools, and the dispersion of the
community, which from that period remained an abject and degraded part
of the population. During the ninth and tenth centuries the Caliphate
fell into weakness and confusion, and split up into several kingdoms
under conflicting sovereigns, and at the same time Judaism in the East
was distracted by continual disputes between the Princes of the
Captivity and the masters of the schools. The tribunals of the civil and
temporal powers of the Eastern Jewish community were in perpetual
collision, so that this singular state was weakened internally by its
own dissensions.

When a violent and rapacious caliph, Ahmed Kader, ascended the throne,
he cast a jealous look on the powers of his vassal sovereign, and,
without pretext, he seized Scherira, the prince of the community, now a
hundred years old, imprisoned him and his son Hai, and confiscated their
wealth. Hai escaped to resume his office and to transmit its honours and
its dangers to Hezekiah, who was elected chief of the community, but
after a reign of two years was arrested with all his family by order of
the caliph Abdallah Kaim ben Marillah (A.D. 1036). The schools were
closed. Many of the learned fled to Spain, where the revulsion under the
Almohades had not yet taken place; all were dispersed. Among the rest
two of the sons of the unfortunate Prince of the Captivity effected
their escape to Spain, while the last of the House of David who reigned
over the Jews of the Dispersion in Babylonia perished on the scaffold.

The Jewish communities in Palestine suffered a slower but more complete
dissolution. Benjamin of Tudela in the compilation of his travels in the
twelfth century gives a humiliating account of the few brethren who
still clung, in dire poverty and meanness, to their native land. In Tyre
he found 400 Jews, mostly glass-blowers. There were in Jerusalem only
200, almost all dyers of wool. Ascalon contained 153 Jews; Tiberias, the
seat of learning, and of the kingly patriarchate, but fifty. In the
Byzantine Empire the number of Jews had greatly diminished.

We pursue our dark progress to the West, where we find all orders
gradually arrayed in fierce and implacable animosity against the race of
Israel. Every passion was in arms against them. In that singular
structure, the feudal system, which rose like a pyramid from the
villeins, or slaves attached to the soil, to the monarch who crowned the
edifice, the, Jews alone found no proper place. In France and England
they were the actual property of the king, and there was nowhere any
tribunal to which they could appeal.

The Jew, often acquiring wealth in commerce, might become valuable
property of some feudatory lord. He was granted away, he was named in a
marriage settlement, he was pawned, he was sold, he was stolen. Even
Churchmen of the highest rank did not disdain such lucrative property.
Louis, King of Provence, granted to the Archbishop of Aries all the
possessions which his predecessors have held of former kings, including
the Jews. Philip the Fair bought of his brother, Charles of Valois, all
the Jews of his dominions and lordships.

The Jew, making money as he knew how to do by trade and industry, was a
valuable source of revenue, and was tolerated only as such, but he was a
valuable possession. Chivalry, the parent of so much good and evil, was
a source of unmitigated wretchedness to the Jew--for religious
fanaticism and chivalry were inseparable, the knight of the Middle Ages
being bound with his good sword to extirpate all the enemies of Christ
and His Virgin Mother. The power of the clergy tended greatly to
increase this general detestation against the unhappy Jew. And when
undisciplined fanatics of the lowest order, under the guidance of Peter
the Hermit and Walter the Penniless, were fired with the spirit of the
Crusades, fearful massacres of Jews were perpetrated in Treves, Metz,
Spiers, Worms, and Cologne. Everywhere the tracks of the Crusaders were
deeply marked with Jewish blood.

Half a century after the shocking massacres of Jews during the First
Crusade, another storm gathered, as the monk Rodolph passed through
Germany preaching the duty of wreaking vengeance on all the enemies of
God. The terrible cry of "Hep!"--the signal for the massacre of
Israelites--ran through the cities of the Rhine. Countless atrocities
took place as the Crusaders passed on, as the Jews record with triumph,
to perish by plague, famine, and the sword.

_V.--The Jews in England_

In the Dark Ages England was not advanced beyond the other nations of
Europe in the civil or religious wisdom of toleration. There were Jews
in England under the Saxons. And during the days of the Norman kings
they were established in Oxford and in London. They taught Hebrew to
Christian as well as to Jewish students. But they increased in both
wealth and unpopularity, false tales about atrocities committed by them
being bruited abroad. In many towns furious rabbles at different times
attacked the Jewish quarters, burnt the dwellings, and put the inmates
cruelly to death, as at York, where hundreds perished during a riot in
the reign of Richard I. King John by cruel measures extorted large sums
from wealthy Jews.

The Church was also their implacable enemy, securing many repressive
enactments against them. Jewish history has a melancholy
sameness--perpetual exactions, the means of enforcing them differing
only in their cruelty. When parliament refused to maintain the
extravagant royal expenditure, nothing remained but still further to
drain Hebrew veins. In the reign of Henry III. a tale was spread of the
crucifixion of a Christian child, called Hugh of Lincoln. The story
refutes itself, but it created horror throughout the country. For this
crime eighteen of the richest Jews of Lincoln were hanged, and many more
flung into dungeons.

The death of Henry brought no respite, for Edward acted with equal
harshness. At length he issued the famous irrevocable edict of total
expulsion from the realm. Their departure was fixed for October 10,
1290. All who delayed were to be hanged without mercy. The Jews were
pursued from, the kingdom with every mark of popular triumph in their
sufferings. In one day 16,511 were exiled; all their property, debts,
obligations, mortgages were escheated to the king. A like expulsion had
been effected in France; and Spain, where the Jews were of a far nobler
rank, was not to be outdone in bigotry.

During the reign of John I., in 1388 A.D., a fierce popular preacher of
Seville, Ferdinand Martinez, Arch-deacon of Ecija, excited the populace
to excesses against the Jews. The streets of the noble city ran with
blood, and 4,000 victims perished. The cruel spirit spread through the
kingdom, and appalling massacres followed in many cities. A series of
intermittent persecutions followed both in Spain and Portugal, in reign
after reign. Jews and Protestants together went through awful ordeals at
the hands of the Inquisition. When her glory had declined, Spain, even
in her lowest decrepitude, indulged in what might seem the luxury of

It was in the reign of Charles II. that the Jews found opportunity to
steal insensibly back into England. Cromwell had felt very favourably
disposed towards them, but had not dared to permit the re-establishment
which they had openly sought. But the necessities of Charles and his
courtiers quietly accomplished the, change, and the race has ever since
maintained its footing, and no doubt contributed a fair share to the
national wealth. Russia throughout her history adhered to her hostility
to the Jews, but expulsion became impossible with such vast numbers. It
is estimated that Russia contains half the Jewish population of the
world, notwithstanding that Russia proper from ancient times has been
sternly inhospitable to the Jewish race, while Poland has ever been

The most important measures of amelioration in the lot of the Jews in
England were passed in 1723, when they acquired the right to possess
land; in 1753, when parliament enacted the Naturalisation Bill; in 1830,
when they were admitted to civic corporations; in 1833, when they were
admitted to the profession of advocates; in 1845, when they were
rendered eligible for the office of alderman and lord mayor; and in
1858, when the last and crowning triumph of the principle was achieved
by the admission of Jews into parliament.

In Asia, the Jews are still found in considerable numbers on the verge
of the continent; in China, they are now found in one city alone, and
possess only one synagogue. In Mesopotamia and Assyria the ancient seats
of the Babylonian Jews are still occupied by 5,270 families. But England
and Anglo-Saxon countries generally have been the most favourable to the
race. Perhaps the most remarkable fact in the history of modern Judaism
is the extension of the Jews in the United States. Writing in 1829, I
stated, on the best authority then attainable, their numbers at 6,000.
They are now [in 1863] reckoned at 75,000.

* * * * *



The "Father of History," as Herodotus has been styled, was
born at Halicarnassus, the centre of a Greek colony in Asia
Minor, between the years 490 and 480 B.C., and lived probably
to sixty, dying about the year 425 B.C. A great part of his
life was occupied with travels and investigations in those
lands with which his history is mainly concerned. His work is
the earliest essay in history in a European language. It is a
record primarily of the causes and the course of the first
great contest between East and West; and is a storehouse of
curious and delightful traveller's gossip as well as a
faithful record of events. The canons of evidence in his day
were defective, for obvious reasons; a miscellaneous divine
interposition in human affairs was taken for granted, and
science had not yet reduced incredible marvels to ordinary
natural phenomena. Nevertheless, Herodotus was a shrewd and
careful critic, honest, and by no means remarkably credulous.
If he had not acquired the conception of history as an exact
science, he made it a particularly attractive form of
literature, to which his simplicity of style gives a slight
but pleasant archaic flavour. This epitome has been specially
prepared far THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS from the Greek text.

_I.--The Rise of Persian Power_

I will not dispute whether those ancient tales be true, of Io and Helen,
and the like, which one or another have called the sources of the war
between the Hellenes and the barbarians of Asia; but I will begin with
those wrongs whereof I myself have knowledge. In the days of Sadyattes,
king of Lydia, and his son Alyattes, there was war between Lydia and
Miletus. And Croesus, the son of Alyattes, made himself master of the
lands which are bounded by the river Halys, and he waxed in power and
wealth, so that there was none like to him. To him came Solon, the
Athenian, but would not hail him as the happiest of all men, saying that
none may be called happy until his life's end.

Thereafter trouble fell upon Croesus by the slaying of his son when he
was a-hunting. Then Cyrus the Persian rose up and made himself master of
the Medes and Persians, and Croesus, fearing his power, was fain to go
up against him, being deceived by an oracle; but first he sought to make
alliance with the chief of the states of Hellas. In those days,
Pisistratus was despot of Athens; but Sparta was mighty, by the laws of
Lycurgus. Therefore Croesus sent envoys to the Spartans to make alliance
with them, which was done very willingly. But when Croesus went up
against Cyrus, his army was put to flight, and Cyrus besieged him in the
city of Sardis, and took it, and made himself lord of Lydia. He would
have slain Croesus, but, finding him wise and pious, he made him his

Now, this Cyrus had before overthrown the Median king, Astyages, whose
daughter was his own mother. For her father, fearing a dream, wedded her
to a Persian, and when she bore a child, he gave order for its slaying.
But the babe was taken away and brought up by a herdsman of the
hill-folk. But in course of time the truth became known to Astyages, and
to Harpagus, the officer who had been bidden to slay the babe, and to
Cyrus himself. Then Harpagus, fearing the wrath of Astyages, bade Cyrus
gather together the Persians--who in those days were a hardy people of
the mountains--and made himself king over the Medians; which things
Cyrus did, overthrowing his grandfather Astyages. And in this wise began
the dominion of the Persians.

The Ionian cities of Asia were zealous to make alliance with Cyrus when
he had overthrown Croesus. But he held them of little account, and
threatened them, and the Lacedaemonians also, who sent him messengers
warning him to let the Ionians alone. And he sent Harpagus against the
cities of the Ionians, of whom certain Phocaeans and Teians sailed away
to Rhegium and Abdera rather than become the slaves of the barbarians;
but the rest, though they fought valiantly enough, were brought to
submission by Harpagus.

While Harpagus was completing the subjugation of the West, Cyrus was
making conquest of Upper Asia, and overthrew the kingdom of Assyria, of
which the chief city was Babylon, a very wonderful city, wherein there
had ruled two famous queens, Semiramis and Nitocris. Now, this queen had
made the city wondrous strong by the craft of engineers, yet Cyrus took
it by a shrewd device, drawing off the water of the river so as to gain
a passage. Thus Babylon also fell under the sway of the Persian. But
when Cyrus would have made war upon Tomyris, the queen of the Massagetae,
who dwelt to the eastward, there was a very great battle, and Cyrus
himself was slain and the most part of his host. And Cambyses, his son,
reigned in his stead.

_II.--Wars of Egypt and Persia_

Cambyses set out to conquer Egypt, taking in his army certain of the
Greeks. But of all that I shall tell about that land, the most was told
to me by the priests whom I myself visited at Memphis and Thebes and
Heliopolis. They account themselves the most ancient of peoples. If the
Ionians are right, who reckon that Egypt is only the Nile Delta, this
could not be. But I reckon that the whole Egyptian territory is. Egypt,
from the cataracts and Elephantine down to the sea, parted into the
Asiatic part and the Libyan part by the Nile.

For the causes of the rising and falling of the Nile, the reasons that
men give are of no account. And of the sources whence the river springs
are strange stories told of which I say not whether they be true or
false: but the course of it is known for four months' journey by land
and water, and in my opinion it is a river comparable to the Ister.

The priests tell that the first ruler of Egypt was Menes, and after him
were three hundred and thirty kings, counting one queen, who was called
Nitocris. After them came Sesostris, who carried his conquest as far as
the Thracians and Scythians; and later was Rhampsinitus, who married his
daughter to the clever thief who robbed his treasure-house; and after
him Cheops, who built the pyramid, drawing the stones from the Arabian
mountain down to the Nile. Chephren also, and Mycerinus built pyramids,
and the Greeks have a story--which is not true--that another was built
by Rhodopis. And in the reign of Sethon, Egypt was invaded by
Sennacherib the Assyrian, whose army's bowstrings were eaten by

A thing more wonderful than the pyramids is the labyrinth near Lake
Moeris, and still more wonderful is Lake Moeris itself, all which were
made by the twelve kings who ruled at once after Sethon. And after them,
Psammetichus made himself the monarch; and after him his great grandson
Apries prospered greatly, till he was overthrown by Amasis. And Amasis
also prospered, and showed favour to the Greeks. But for whatever
reason, in his day Cambyses made his expedition against Egypt, invading
it just when Amasis had died, and his son Psammenitus was reigning.

Cambyses put the Egyptian army to rout in a great battle, and conquered
the country, making Psammenitus prisoner. Yet he would have set him up
as governor of the province, according to the Persian custom, but that
Psammenitus was stirred up to revolt, and, being discovered, was put to
death. Thereafter Cambyses would have made war upon Carthage, but that
the Phoenicians would not aid him; and against the Ethiopians, who are
called "long-lived," but his army could get no food; and against the
Ammonians, but the troops that went were seen no more.

Now, madness came upon Cambyses, and he died, having committed many
crimes, among which was the slaying of his brother Smerdis. And there
rose up one among the Magi who pretended to be Smerdis, and was
proclaimed king. But this false Smerdis was one whose ears had been cut
off, and he was thus found out by one of his wives, the daughter of a
Persian nobleman, Otanes. Then seven nobles conspired together, since
they would not be ruled over by one of the Magi; and having determined
that it was best to have one man for ruler, rather than the rule of the
people or of the nobles, they slew Smerdis and made Darius, the son of
Hystaspes, their king.

Then Darius divided the Persian empire into twenty satrapies, whereof
each one paid its own tribute, save Persia itself, and he was lord of
all Asia, and Egypt also.

In the days of Cambyses, Polycrates was despot of Samos, being the first
who ever thought to make himself a ruler of the seas. And he had
prospered marvellously. But Oroetes, the satrap of Sardis, compassed his
death by foul treachery, and wrought many other crimes; whom Darius in
turn put to death by guile, fearing to make open war upon him. And not
long afterwards, he sent Otanes to make conquest of Samos. And during
the same days there was a revolt of the Babylonians; and Darius went up
against Babylon, yet for twenty months he could not take it. Howbeit, it
was taken by the act of Zopyrus, who, having mutilated himself, went to
the Babylonians and told them that Darius had thus evilly entreated him,
and so winning their trust, he made easy entry for the Persian army, and
so Babylon was taken the second time.

_III.--Persian Arms in Europe_

Now, Darius was minded to make conquest of the Scythians--concerning
which people, and the lands beyond those which they inhabit, there are
many marvels told, as of a bald-headed folk called Argippaei; and the
Arimaspians or one-eyed people; and the Hyperborean land where the air
is full of feathers. Of these lands are legends only; nothing is known.
But concerning the earth's surface, this much is known, that Libya is
surrounded by water, certain Phoenicians having sailed round it. And of
the unknown regions of Asia much was searched out by order of Darius.

The Scythians themselves have no cities; but there are great rivers in
Scythia, whereof the Ister is the greatest of all known streams, being
greater even than the Nile, if we reckon its tributaries. The great god
of the Scythians is Ares; and their war customs are savage exceedingly,
and all their ways barbarous. Against this folk Darius resolved to

His plan was to convey his army across the Bosphorus on a bridge of
boats, while the Ionian fleet should sail up to the Ister and bridge
that, and await him. So he crossed the Bosphorus and marched through
Thrace, subduing on his way the Getse, who believe that there is no true
death. But when he passed the Ister, he would have taken the Ionians
along with him; but by counsel of Coes of Mitylene, he resolved to leave
them in charge of the bridge, giving order that, after sixty days, they
might depart home, but no sooner.

Then the Scythians, fearing that they could not match the great king's
army, summoned the other barbaric peoples to their aid; among whom were
the Sauromatians, who are fabled to be the offspring of the Amazons. And
some were willing, but others not. Therefore the Scythians retired
before Darius, first towards those peoples who would not come to their
help; and so enticed him into desert regions, yet would in no wise come
to battle with him.

Now, at length, Darius found himself in so evil a plight that he began
to march back to the Ister. And certain Scythians came to the Ionians,
and counselled them to destroy the bridge, the sixty days being passed.
And this Miltiades, the Athenian despot of the Chersonese, would have
had them do, so that Darius might perish with all his army; but
Histiaeus of Miletus dissuaded them, because the rule of the despots was
upheld by Darius. And thus the Persian army was saved, Megabazus being
left in Europe to subdue the Hellespontines. When Megabazus had subdued
many of the Thracian peoples, who, indeed, lack only union with each
other to make them the mightiest of all nations, he sent an embassy to
Amyntas, the king of Macedon, to demand earth and water. But because
those envoys insulted the ladies of the court, Alexander, the son of
Amyntas, slew them all, and of them or all their train was never aught
heard more.

Now Darius, with fair words, bade Histiseus of Miletus abide with him at
the royal town of Susa. Then Aristagoras, the brother of Histiaeus,
having failed in an attempt to subdue Naxos, and fearing both
Artaphernes, the satrap of Sardis, and the Persian general Megabazus,
with whom he had quarrelled, sought to stir up a revolt of the Ionian
cities; being incited thereto by secret messages from Histiseus.

To this end, he sought alliance with the Lacedaemonians; but they would
have nothing to do with him, deeming the venture too remote. Then he
went to Athens, whence the sons of Pisistratus had been driven forth
just before. For Hipparchus had been slain by Harmodius and Aristogiton,
and afterwards Hippias would hardly have been expelled but that his
enemies captured his children and so could make with him what terms they
chose. But the Pisistratidse having been expelled, the city grew in
might, and changes were made in the government of it by Cleisthenes the
Alcmaeonid. But the party that was against Cleisthenes got aid from
Cleomenes of Sparta; yet the party of Cleisthenes won.

Then, since they reckoned that there would be war with Sparta, the
Athenians had sought friendship with Artaphernes at Sardis; but since he
demanded earth and water they broke off. But because Athens was waxing
in strength, the Spartans bethought them of restoring the despotism of
the Pisistratidae. But Sosicles, the Corinthian, dissuaded the allies of
Sparta from taking part in so evil a deed. Then Hippias sought to stir
up against the Athenians the ill-will of Artaphernes, who bade them take
back the Pisistratidae, which they would not do.

Therefore, when Aristagoras came thither, the Athenians were readily
persuaded to promise him aid. And he, having gathered the troops of the
Ionians, who were at one with him, marched with them and the Athenians
against Sardis and took the city, which by a chance was set on fire. But
after that the Athenians refused further help to the Ionians, who were
worsted by the Persians. But the ruin of the Ionians was at the
sea-fight of Lade, where the men of Chios fought stoutly; but they of
Samos and Lesbos deserting, there was a great rout.

_IV.--Marathon and Thermopylae_

Thereafter King Darius, being very wroth with the Athenians for their
share in the burning of Sardis, sent a great army across the Hellespont
to march through Thrace against Athens, under his young kinsman
Mardonius. But disaster befell these at the hands of the Thracians, and
the fleet that was to aid them was shattered in a storm; so that they
returned to Asia without honour. Then Darius sent envoys to demand earth
and water from the Greek states; and of the islanders the most gave
them, and some also of the cities on the mainland; and among these were
the Aeginetans, who were at feud with Athens.

But of those who would not give the earth and water were the Eretrians
of Eubcea. So Darius sent a great armament by sea against Eretria and
Athens, led by Datis and Artaphernes, which sailed first against
Eretria. The Athenians, indeed, sent aid; but when they found that the
counsels of the Eretrians were divided, so that no firm stand might be
made, they withdrew. Nevertheless, the Eretrians fought valiantly behind
their walls, till they were betrayed on the seventh day. But the
Persians, counselled by Hippias, sailed to the bay of Marathon.

Then the Athenians sent the strong runner Pheidippides to call upon the
Spartans for aid; who promised it, yet for sacred reasons would not move
until the full moon. So the Athenian host had none to aid them save the
loyal Plataeans, valiant though few. Yet in the council of their generals
the word of Miltiades was given for battle, whereto the rest consented.
Then the Athenians and Plataeans, being drawn up in a long line, charged
across the plain nigh a mile, running upon the masses of the Persians;
and, breaking them upon the wings, turned and routed the centre also
after long fighting, and drove them down to the ships, slaying as they
went; and of the ships they took seven. And of the barbarians there fell
6,400 men, and of the Athenians, 192. But as for the story that the
Alcmaeonidae hoisted a friendly signal to the Persians, I credit it not
at all.

Now, Darius was very wroth with the Greeks when he heard of these
things, and made preparation for a mighty armament to overthrow the
Greeks, and also the Egyptians, who revolted soon afterwards. But he
died before he was ready, and Xerxes, his son, reigned in his stead.
Then, having first crushed the Egyptians, he, being ruled by Mardonius,
gathered a council and declared his intent of marching against the
Hellenes; which resolution was commended by Mardonius, but Artabanus,
the king's uncle, spoke wise words of warning. Then Xerxes would have
changed his mind, but for a dream which came to him twice, and to
Artabanus also, threatening disaster if he ceased from his project; so
that Artabanus was won over to favour it.

Then Xerxes made vast provision for his invasion for the building of a
bridge over the Hellespont, and the cutting of a canal through the
peninsula of Athos, where the fleet of Mardonius had been shattered. And
from all parts of his huge empire he mustered his hosts first in
Cappadocia, and marched thence by way of Sardis to the Hellespont. And
because, when the bridge was a building, a great storm wrecked it, he
bade flog the naughty waves of the sea. Then, the bridge being finished,
he passed over with his host, which took seven days to accomplish.

And when they were come to Doriscus he numbered them, and found them to
be 1,700,000 men, besides his fleets. And in the fleet were 1,207 great
ships, manned chiefly by the Phoenicians and the Greeks of Asia, having
also Persian and Scythian fighting men on board. But when Demaratus, an
exiled king of Sparta, warned Xerxes of the valour of all the Greeks,
but chiefly of the Spartans, who would give battle, however few they
might be, against any foe, however many, his words seemed to Xerxes a
jest, seeing how huge his own army was.

Now, Xerxes had sent to many of the Greek states heralds to demand earth
and water, which many had given; but to Athens and Sparta he had not
sent, because there the heralds of his father Darius had been evilly
entreated. And if it had not been for the resolution of the Athenians at
this time, all Hellas would have been forced to submit to the Great
King; for they, in despite of threatening oracles, held fast to their
defiance, being urged thereto by Themistocles, who showed them how those
oracles must mean that, although they would suffer evil things, they
would be victorious by means of wooden bulwarks, which is to say, ships;
and thus they were encouraged to rely upon building and manning a mighty
fleet. And all the other cities of Greece resolved to stand by them,
except the Argives, who would not submit to the leadership of the
Spartans. And in like manner Gelon, the despot of Syracuse in Sicily,
would not send aid unless he were accepted as leader. Nor were the men
of Thessaly willing to join, since the other Greeks could not help them
to guard Thessaly itself, as the pass of Tempe could be turned.

Therefore the Greeks resolved to make their stand at Thermopylae on land,
and at the strait of Artemisium by sea. But at the strong pass of
Thermopylae only a small force was gathered to hold the barbarians in
check, there being of the Spartans themselves only 300, commanded by the
king Leonidas. And when the Persians had come thither and sought to
storm the pass, they were beaten back with ease, until a track was found
by which they might take the defenders in the rear. Then Leonidas bade
the rest of the army depart except his Spartans. But the Thespians also
would not go; and then those Spartans and Thespians went out into the
open and died gloriously.

_V.--Destruction of the Persian Hosts_

During these same days the Greek fleet at Artemisium fought three
several engagements with the Persian fleet, in which neither side had
much the better. And thereafter the Greek fleet withdrew, but was
persuaded to remain undispersed in the bay of Salamis. The
Peloponnesians were no longer minded to attempt the defence of Attica,
but to fortify their isthmus, so that the Athenians had no choice but
either to submit or to evacuate Athens, removing their families and
their goods to Troezen or Aegina or Salamis. In the fleet, their
contingent was by far the largest and best, but the commanding admiral
was the Spartan Eurybiades. Then the Persians, passing through Boeotia,
but, being dispersed before Delphi by thunderbolts and other portents,
took possession of Athens, after a fierce fight with the garrison in the

Then the rest of the Greek fleet was fain to withdraw from Salamis, and
look to the safety of the Peloponnese only. But Themistocles warned them
that if they did so, the Athenians would leave them and sail to new
lands and make themselves a new Athens; and thus the fleet was persuaded
to hold together at Salamis. Yet he did not trust only to their
goodwill, but sent a messenger to the Persian fleet that the way of
retreat might be intercepted. For the Persian fleet had gathered at
Phalerum, and now looked to overwhelm the Grecian fleet altogether,
despite the council of Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus, who would have
had them not fight by sea at all. When Aristides, called the Just, the
great rival of Themistocles, came to the Greeks with the news that their
retreat by sea was cut off, then they were no longer divided, but
resolved to fight it out.

In the battle, the Aeginetans and the Athenians did the best of all the
Greeks, and Themistocles best among the commanders; nor was ever any
fleet more utterly put to rout than that of the Persians, among whom
Queen Artemisia won praise unmerited. As for King Xerxes, panic seized
him when he saw the disaster to his fleet, and he made haste to flee. He
consented, however, to leave Mardonius behind with 300,000 troops in
Thessaly, he being still assured that he could crush the Greeks. And it
was well for him that Themistocles was over-ruled in his desire to
pursue and annihilate the fleet, then sail to the Hellespont and destroy
the bridge.

When the winter and spring were passed, Mardonius marched from Thessaly
and again occupied Athens, which the Athenians had again evacuated, the
Spartans having failed to send succour. But when at length the
Lacedaemonians, fearing to lose the Athenian fleet, sent forth an army,
the Persians fell back to Boeotia. So the Greek hosts gathered near
Plataea to the number of 108,000 men, but the troops of Mardonius were
about 350,000. Yet, by reason of doubtful auguries, both armies held
back, till Mardonius resolved to attack, whereof warning was brought to
the Athenians by Alexander of Macedon. But when the Spartan Pausanias,
the general of the Greeks, heard of this, he did what caused no little
wonder, for he proposed that the Athenians instead of the Lacedaemonians
should face the picked troops of the Persians, as having fought them at
Marathon. But Mardonius, seeing them move, moved his picked troops also.
Then Mardonius sent some light horse against the Greeks by a fountain
whence flowed the water for the army; which, becoming choked, it was
needful to move to a new position. But the move being made by night,
most of the allies withdrew into the town. But the Spartans, and Tegeans
and Athenians, perceiving this, held each their ground till dawn.

Now, in the morning the picked Persian troops fell on the Spartans, and
their Grecian allies attacked the Athenians. But, Mardonius being slain,
the Persians fled to their camp, which was stormed by the Spartans and
Tegeans, and the Athenians, who also had routed their foes; and there
the barbarians were slaughtered, so that of 300,000 men not 3,000 were
left alive. But Artabazus, who, before the battle, had withdrawn with
40,000 men, escaped by forced marches to the Hellespont.

And on that same day was fought another fight by sea at Mycale in Ionia,
where also the barbarians were utterly routed, for the fleet had sailed
thither. And thence the Greeks sailed to Sestos, captured the place, and
so went home.

* * * * *


The Peloponnesian War

The Athenian historian, Thucydides, was born about 471 B.C.,
within ten years of the great repulse of the Persian invasion.
Before he was thirty, the great political ascendancy of
Pericles was completely established at Athens, and the
ascendancy of Athens among the Greek states was unchallenged,
except by Sparta. He was forty at the beginning of the
Peloponnesian War. Thucydides was appointed to a military
command seven years later, but his failure in that office
caused his banishment. From that time he remained an exiled
spectator of events; the date of his death is uncertain. His
great work is the history of the Peloponnesian War to its
twentieth year, where his history is abruptly broken off. To
Herodotus, history presented itself as a drama; Thucydides
views it with the eyes of a philosophical statesman, but
writes it also with extraordinary descriptive power, not only
in pregnant sentences which have never been effectively
rendered in translation, but in passages of sustained
intensity, of which it would be vain to reproduce fragments.
The abridged translation given here has been made direct from
the Greek.

_I.--The Beginning of the War_

I have written the account of the war between Athens and Sparta, since
it is the greatest and the most calamitous of all wars hitherto to the
Greeks. For the contest with the Medes was decided in four battles; but
this war was protracted over many years, and wrought infinite injury and

Of the immediate causes of the war the first is to be found in the
affairs of Epidamnus, Corcyra, and Corinth, of which Corcyra was a
colony. Of the Greek states, the most were joined either to the Athenian
or the Peloponnesian league, but Corcyra had joined neither. But having
a quarrel with Corinth about Epidamnus, she now formed an alliance with
Athens, whose intervention enraged the Corinthians.

They then helped Potidaea, a Corinthian colony, but an Athenian
tributary, to revolt from Athens. Corinth next appealed to Sparta, as
the head of Hellas, to intervene ere it should be too late and check the
Athenian aggression, which threatened to make her the tyrant of all
Greece. At Sparta the war party prevailed, although King Archidamus
urged that sufficient pressure could be brought to bear without actual

The great prosperity and development of Athens since the Persian war had
filled other states with fear and jealousy. She had rebuilt her city
walls and refortified the port of Piraeus after the Persian occupation;
Sparta had virtually allowed her to take the lead in the subsequent
stages of the war, as having the most effective naval force at command.
Hence she had founded the Delian league of the maritime states, to hold
the seas against Persia. At first these states provided fixed
contingents of ships and mariners; but Athens was willing enough to
accept treasure in substitution, so that she might herself supply the
ships and men.

Thus the provision of forces by each state to act against Persia was
changed in effect into a tribute for the expansion of the Athenian
fleet. The continuous development of the power of Athens had been
checked only momentarily by her disastrous Egyptian expedition. Her
nominal allies found themselves actually her tributary dependencies, and
various attempts to break free from her yoke had made it only more
secure and more burdensome.

Hence the warlike decision of Sparta was welcomed by others besides
Corinth. But diplomatic demands preceded hostilities. Sparta and Athens
sent to each other summons and counter-summons for the "expulsion of the
curse," that is of all persons connected with certain families which lay
under the curse of the gods.

In the case of Athens, this amounted to requiring the banishment of her
greatest citizen and statesman, Pericles. To this the Spartans added the
demand that the Athenians should "restore the freedom of Hellas," and
should specifically remove certain trading disabilities imposed on the
people of Megara.

At this crisis Pericles laid down the rules of policy on which Athens
ought to act--rules which required her to decline absolutely to submit
to any form of dictation from Sparta. When a principle was at stake, it
made no difference whether the occasion was trivial or serious. Athens
could face war with confidence. Her available wealth was far greater--a
matter of vital importance in a prolonged struggle. Her counsels were
not divided by the conflicting interests of allies all claiming to
direct military movements and policy. Her fleet gave her command of the
sea, and enabled her to strike when and where she chose. If
Peloponnesian invaders ravaged Attica, still no permanent injury would
be done comparable to that which the Athenians could inflict upon them.
The one necessity was to concentrate on the war, and attempt no
extension of dominion while it was in progress.

War was not yet formally declared when the Thebans attempted to seize
Plataea, a town of Boeotia, which had long been closely allied to Athens.
The attempt failed, and the Thebans were put to death; but the Plataeans
appealed to Athens for protection against their powerful neighbour, and
when the Athenian garrison was sent to them, this was treated as a
_casus belli_.

Preparations were urged on both sides; Sparta summoned her allies to
muster their contingents on the Isthmus for the invasion of Attica,
nearly all the mainland states joining the Peloponnesian league. The
islanders and the cities in Asia Minor, on the other hand, were nearly
all either actually subject to Athens or in alliance with her.

As Pericles advised, the Athenians left the country open to the ravages
of the invading forces, and themselves retired within the city. In spite
of the resentment of those who saw their property being laid waste,
Pericles maintained his ascendency, and persuaded the people to devote
their energies to sending out an irresistible fleet, and to establishing
a great reserve both of ships and treasure, which were to be an annual
charge and brought into active use only in the case of dire emergency.
The fleet sailed round the Peloponnese, and the ravages it was able to
inflict, with the alarm it created, caused the withdrawal of the forces
in Attica.

In that winter Pericles delivered a great funeral oration, or panegyric,
in memory of the Athenians who had so far fallen gloriously in defence
of their country, in which he painted the characteristic virtues of the
Athenian people in such a fashion as to rouse to the highest pitch the
patriotic pride of his countrymen, and their confidence in themselves,
in their future, and in their leader.

_II.--Early Successes of Athens_

In the second year of the war, Athens suffered from a fearful visitation
of the plague, which, however, made no way in the Peloponnese. It broke
out also among the reinforcements dispatched to Potidaea; and it required
all the skill of Pericles to reconcile the Athenians to the continuation
of the war, after seeing their territories overrun for the second time
for six weeks. By dint of dwelling on the supreme importance of their
decisive command of the sea, and on the vast financial resources which
secured their staying power, he maintained his ascendency until his
death in the following year, though he had to submit to a fine. The
events which followed his death only confirmed the profundity of his
political judgment, and the accuracy with which he had gauged the
capacities of the state. In that winter Potidaea was forced to capitulate
to the Athenians.

In the summer of the third year, the Lacedaemonians called on the
Plataeans to desert the Athenian alliance. On their refusal, Plataea was
besieged by the allied forces of the Peloponnesians. With splendid
resolution, the Plataeans defeated the attempt of the allies to force an
entry till they were able to complete and withdraw behind a second and
more easily tenable line of defence, when the Peloponnesians settled
down to a regular investment. The same year was marked by the brilliant
operations of the Athenian admiral Phormio in the neighbourhood of

On the other hand, a Peloponnesian squadron threatened the Piraeus,
caused some temporary panic, and awakened the Athenians to the necessity
of maintaining a look-out, but otherwise effected little. The year is
further noted for the invasion of Macedonia by the Thracian or Scythian
king Sitalces, who was, however, induced to retire.

In the next year, Lesbos revolted against the Athenian supremacy. As a
result, an Athenian squadron blockaded Mitylene. The Lacedaaeonians were
well pleased to accept alliance with a sea-power which claimed to have
struck against Athens, not as being subject to her, but in anticipation
of attempted subjugation. The prompt equipment, however, of another
Athenian fleet chilled the naval enthusiasm of Sparta.

During this winter the Plataeans began to feel in straits from shortage
of supplies, and it was resolved that a party of them should break
through the siege lines, and escape to Athens, a feat of arms which was
brilliantly and successfully accomplished.

In the next--the fifth--summer, Mitylene capitulated; the fate of the
inhabitants was to be referred to Athens. Here Cleon had now become the
popular leader, and he persuaded the Athenians to order the whole of the
adult males to be put to death. The opposition, however, succeeded in
getting this bloodthirsty resolution rescinded. The second dispatch,
racing desperately after the first, did not succeed in overtaking it,
but was just in time to prevent the order for the massacre from being
carried out. Lesbos was divided among Athenian citizens, who left the
Lesbians in occupation as before, but drew a large rental from them.

In the same summer the remaining garrison of Plataea surrendered to the
Lacedaemonians, on terms to be decided by Lacedaemonian commissioners.
Before them the Plataeans justified their resistance, but the
commissioners ignored the defence, and, on the pretext that the only
question was whether they had suffered any "wrong" at the hands of the
Plataeans, and that the answer to that was obvious, put the Plataeans to
death and razed the city to the ground.

Meanwhile, at Corcyra, the popular and the oligarchical parties, who
favoured the Athenians and Peloponnesians respectively, had reached the
stage of murderous hostility to each other. The oligarchs captured the
government, and were then in turn attacked by the popular party; and
there was savage faction fighting. An attempt was made by the commander
of the Athenian squadron at Naupactus to act as moderator; the
appearance of a Peloponnesian squadron and a confused sea-fight,
somewhat in favour of the latter, brought the popular party to the verge
of a compromise. But the Peloponnesians retired on the reported approach
of a fresh Athenian fleet, and a democratic reign of terror followed.

"The father slew the son, and the supplicants were torn from the temples
and slain near them." And thus was initiated the peculiar horror of this
war--the desperate civil strife in one city after another, oligarchs
hoping to triumph by Lacedaemonian and democrats by Athenian, support,
and either party, when uppermost, ruling by terror. It was at this time
also that the Ionian and Dorian cities of Sicily, headed by Leontini and
Syracuse respectively, went to war with each other, and an Athenian
squadron was first induced to participate in the struggle.

Among the operations of the next, or sixth, summer was a campaign which
the Athenian commander Demosthenes conducted in AEtolia--successful at
the outset, but terminating in disaster, which made the general afraid
to return to Athens. He seized a chance, however, of recovering his
credit by foiling a Lacedaemonian expedition against Naupactus; and in
other ways he successfully established a high military reputation, so
that he was no longer afraid to reappear at Athens.

Next year, the Athenians dispatched a larger fleet with Sicily for its
objective. Demosthenes, however, who had a project of his own in view,
was given an independent command. He was thus enabled to seize and
fortify Pylos, a position on the south-west of Peloponnese, with a
harbour sheltered by the isle of Sphacteria. The Spartans, in alarm,
withdrew their invading force from Attica, and attempted to recover
Pylos, landing over 400 of their best men on Sphacteria. The locality
now became the scene of a desperate struggle, which finally resulted in
the Spartans on Sphacteria being completely isolated.

So seriously did the Lacedaemonians regard this blow that they invited
the Athenians to make peace virtually in terms of an equal alliance; but
the Athenians were now so confident of a triumphant issue that they
refused the terms--chiefly at the instigation of Cleon. Some supplies,
however, were got into Sphacteria, owing to the high rewards offered by
the Lacedaemonians for successful blockade-running. At this moment,
Cleon, the Athenian demagogue, having rashly declared that he could
easily capture Sphacteria, was taken at his word and sent to do it. He
had the wit, however, to choose Demosthenes for his colleague, and to
take precisely the kind of troops Demosthenes wanted; with the result
that within twenty days, as he had promised, the Spartans found
themselves with no other alternatives than annihilation or surrender.
Their choice of the latter was an overwhelming blow to Lacedaemonian

_III.--Victories of Lacedaemon_

The capture of the island of Cythera in the next summer gave the
Athenians a second strong station from which they could constantly
menace the Peloponnese. On the other hand, in this year the Sicilians
were awakening to the fact that Athens was not playing a disinterested
part on behalf of the Ionian states, but was dreaming of a Sicilian
empire. At a sort of peace congress, Hermocrates of Syracuse
successfully urged all Sicilians to compose their quarrels on the basis
of _uti possidetis,_ and thus deprive the Athenians of any excuse for
remaining. Thus for the time Athenian aspirations in that quarter were

At Megara this year the dissensions of the oligarchical and popular
factions almost resulted in its capture by the Athenians. The
Lacedaemonian Brasidas, however--who had distinguished himself at
Pylos--effected an entry, so that the oligarchical and Peloponnesian
party became permanently established in power. The most important
operations were now in two fields. Brasidas made a dash through Thessaly
into Macedonia, in alliance with Perdiccas of Macedon, with the hope of
stirring the cities of Chalcidice to throw off the Athenian yoke; and
the democrats of Boeotia intrigued with Athens to assist in a general
revolution. Owing partly to misunderstandings and partly to treachery,
the Boeotian democrats failed to carry out their programme, the
Athenians were defeated at Delium, and Delium itself was captured by the

Meanwhile, Brasidas succeeded in persuading Acanthus to revolt, he
himself winning the highest of reputations for justice and moderation as
well as for military skill. Later in the year he suddenly turned his
forces against the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which he induced to
surrender by offering very favourable terms before Thucydides, who was
in command of Thasos, arrived to relieve it. The further successes of
Brasidas during this winter made the Athenians ready to treat for peace,
and a truce was agreed upon for twelve months. Brasidas, however,
continued to render aid to the subject cities which revolted from
Athens--this being now the ninth year of the war--but he failed in an
attempt to capture Potidaea.

The period of truce terminating without any definite peace being arrived
at, the summer of the tenth year is chiefly notable for the expedition
sent under Cleon to recover Amphipolis, and for a recrudescence of the
old quarrel in Sicily between Leontini and Syracuse. Before Amphipolis,
the incompetent Cleon was routed by the skill of Brasidas; but the
victor as well as the vanquished was slain, though he lived long enough
to know of the victory. Their deaths removed two of the most zealous
opponents of the peace for which both sides were now anxious. Hence at
the close of the tenth year a definite peace was concluded.

The Lacedaemonians, however, were almost alone in being fully satisfied
by the terms, and the war was really continued by an anti-Laconian
confederation of the former Peloponnesian allies, who saw in the peace a
means to the excessive preponderance of Athens and Sparta. Argos was
brought into the new confederacy in the hope of establishing her nominal
equality with Sparta. For some years from this point the combinations of
the states were constantly changing, while Athens and Sparta remained
generally on terms of friendliness, the two prominent figures at Athens
being the conservative Nicias and the restless and ambitious young
intriguer Alcibiades.

In the fourteenth year there were active hostilities between Argos, with
which by this time Athens was in alliance, and Lacedaemon, issuing in
the great battle of Mantinea, where there was an Athenian contingent
with the Argives. This was notable especially as completely restoring
the prestige of the Lacedaemonian arms, their victory being decisive. The
result was a new treaty between Sparta and Argos, and the dissolution of
the Argive-Athenian alliance; but this was once more reversed in the
following year, when the Argive oligarchy was attacked successfully by
the popular party.

The next year is marked by the high-handed treatment of the island of
Melos by the Athenians. This was one of the very few islands which had
not been compelled to submit to Athens, but had endeavoured to remain
neutral. Thither the Athenians now sent an expedition, absolutely
without excuse, to compel their submission.

The Melians, however, refused, and gave the Athenians a good deal of
trouble before they could be subdued, when the adult male population was
put to death, and the women and children enslaved. At this time the
Athenians resolved, under colour of an appeal for assistance from the
Sicilian city of Egesta, deliberately to set about the establishment of
their empire in Sicily. The aggressive policy was vehemently advocated
by Alcibiades, and opposed by Nicias. Nevertheless, he, with Alcibiades
and Lamachus, was appointed to command the expedition, which was
prepared on a scale of unparalleled magnificence. It was on the point of
starting, when the whole city was stirred to frenzy by the midnight
mutilation of the sacred images called Hermae, an act laid at the door of
Alcibiades, along with many other charges of profane outrages. Of set
purpose, however, the enemies of Alcibiades refused to bring him to
trial. The expedition sailed. The Syracusans were deaf to the warnings
of Hermocrates until the great fleet had actually arrived at Rhegium.

Nicias was now anxious to find an excuse, in the evident falsity of
statements made by the Egestans, for the fleet to content itself with
making a demonstration and then returning home. The scheme of
Alcibiades, however, was adopted for gaining over the other Sicilian
states in order to crush Syracuse. But at this moment dispatches arrived
requiring the return of Alcibiades to stand trial. Athens was in a panic
over the Hermae affair, which was supposed to portend an attempt to
reestablish the despotism which had been ended a hundred years before by
the expulsion of the Pisistratidae. Alcibiades, however, made his escape,
and for years pursued a life of political intrigue against the Athenian

Nicias and Lamachus, left in joint command, drew off the Syracusan
forces by a ruse, and were thus enabled to occupy unchecked a strong
position before Syracuse. Although, however, they inflicted a defeat on
the returned Syracusan forces, they withdrew into winter quarters; the
Syracusans were roused by Hermocrates to improve their military
organisation; and both sides entered on a diplomatic contest for winning
over the other states of Sicily. Alcibiades, now an avowed enemy of
Athens, was received by the Lacedaemonians, whom he induced to send an
able Spartan officer, Gylippus, to Syracuse, and to determine on the
establishment of a military post corresponding to that of Pylos on Attic
soil at Decelea.

_IV.--The Disaster of Syracuse_

In the spring the Athenians succeeded in establishing themselves on the
heights called Epipolae, overlooking Syracuse, began raising a wall of
circumvallation, and carried by a surprise the counter-stockade which
the Syracusans were raising. In one of the skirmishes, while the
building of the wall was in progress, Lamachus was killed; otherwise
matters went well for the Athenians and ill for the Syracusans, till
Gylippus was allowed to land at Himera, force his way into Syracuse, and
give new life. Nicias was guilty of the blunder of allowing Gylippus to
land at Himera, to aid the defence, at the moment when it was on the
point of capitulation. A long contest followed, the Athenians
endeavouring to complete the investing lines, the Syracusans to pierce
them with counterworks. Nicias sent to Athens for reinforcements, while
the Syracusans were energetically fitting out a fleet and appealing for
air in the Peloponnese. Nicias, in fact, was extremely despondent and
anxious to resign; the Athenians, however, answered his dispatches by
preparing a great reinforcement under the command of Demosthenes,
without accepting the resignation of Nicias. The Lacedaemonians, however,
also sent some reinforcements; at the same time they formally declared
war, and carried out the plan of occupying and fortifying Decelea, which
completely commanded the Athenian territory and was the cause of untold
loss and suffering.

Now, at Syracuse the besieged took the offensive both by sea and land,
and were worsted on the water, but captured some of the Athenian forts,
commanding the entry to the besiegers' lines--a serious disaster. By the
time that Demosthenes with his reinforcements reached Sicily nearly the
whole island had come over to the side of Syracuse. Before this, the
Syracusans had again challenged an engagement both by sea and land, with
results indecisive on the first day but distinctly in their favour on
the second. At this juncture, Demosthenes arrived, and, seeing the
necessity for immediate action, made a night attack on the Syracusan
lines; but, his men falling into confusion after a first success, the
attempt was disastrously repulsed.

Demosthenes was quick to realise that the whole situation was hopeless;
but Nicias lacked nerve to accept the responsibility of retiring, and
also had some idea that affairs within Syracuse were favourable. His
obstinacy gave Demosthenes and his colleague Eurymedon the impression
that he was guided by secret information. And now it became the primary
object of Gylippus and the Syracusans to keep the Athenians from
retiring. Another naval defeat reduced the Athenians to despair; they
resolved that they must cut their way out.

The desperate attempt was made, but by almost hopeless men against an
enemy now full of confidence. To the excited, almost agonised, watchers
on shore, it seemed for a brief space that the ships might force a
passage; the fight was a frenzied scuffle; but presently the terrible
truth was realised--the Athenian ships were being driven ashore. The
last hope of escape by sea was gone, for, though there were still ships
enough, the sailors were too utterly demoralised to make the attempt.

Hermocrates and Gylippus, sure that a retreat by land would not be
tried, succeeded by a trick in detaining the Athenians till they had
themselves sent out detachments to hold the roads. On the third day the
Athenians began their retreat in unspeakable misery, amid the
lamentations of the sick and wounded, whom they were forced to leave
behind. For three days they struggled on, short of food and perpetually
harassed, cut off from all communications. On the third day their
passage was barred in a pass, and they found themselves in a trap. On
the third night they attempted to break away by a different route, but
the van and the rear lost touch. Overtaken by the Syracusans,
Demosthenes attempted to fight a rearguard action, but in vain, and he
was forced to surrender at discretion with his whole force. Next day,
Nicias with the van was overtaken, and, after a ghastly scene of
confusion and slaughter, the remnants of the vanguard were forced to
surrender also. Nicias and Demosthenes were put to death; great numbers
were seized as private spoil by their captors, the rest of the
prisoners--more than 7,000--were confined for weeks under the most
noisome conditions in the quarries, and finally the survivors were sold
as slaves. So pitiably ended that once magnificent enterprise in the
nineteenth year of the war.

The terrific disaster filled every enemy of Athens with confident
expectation of her immediate and utter ruin. Lacedaemonians anticipated
an unqualified supremacy. At Athens there was a stubborn determination
to prepare for a desperate stand; but half the islanders were intriguing
for Lacedaemonian or Persian aid in breaking free, while Alcibiades
became extremely busy.

The first Peloponnesian squadron which attempted to move was promptly
driven into Piraeus by an Athenian fleet and blockaded. On the open
revolt of some of the states, the Athenians for the first time brought
into play their reserve fund and reserve navy--the emergency had arisen.
While one after another of the subject cities revolted, the Athenians
struck hard at Chios, and especially Miletus, and obtained marked
successes. Meanwhile, a revolution in Samos had expelled the oligarchy
and re-established the democracy, to which the Athenians accorded
freedom, thereby securing an ally. In Lesbos also they recovered their
challenged supremacy.

Phrynicus now came into prominence as a shrewd commander and a crafty
politician, while the intricate intrigues of Alcibiades, whose great
object was to recover his position at Athens, created perpetual
confusion. These events took place in the twentieth year of the war, and
to them must be added a Lacedaemonian treaty with Persia through the
satrap Tissaphernes. All the leading men, however, were engaged in
playing fast and loose, each of them having his personal ambitions in
view. Of this labyrinth of plots and counter-plots, the startling
outcome was the sudden abrogation of the constitution at Athens and the
capture of the government by a committee of five with a council of four
hundred and a supplementary assembly of five thousand--in place of the
whole body of citizens as formerly. The Five and the Four Hundred in
effect were the Government, and established a reign of terror.

At Athens, the administration thus formed was effective; but the army
and fleet at Satnos repudiated the revolution and swore loyalty to the
democracy, claiming to be the true representatives of the Athenian
state. Moreover, they allied themselves with Alcibiades, expecting
through him to receive Persian support; and, happily for Athens, he
succeeded in restraining the fleet--which was still more than a match
for all adversaries--from sailing back to the Piraeus to subvert the rule
of the Four Hundred. The more patriotic of the oligarchs saw, in fact,
that the best hopes for the state lay in the establishment of a limited
democracy; with the result that the extreme oligarchs, who would have
joined hands with the enemy, were overthrown, and the rule of the Five
Thousand replaced that of the Four Hundred, providing Athens with the
best administration it had ever known. A great naval victory was won by
the Athenian fleet, under the command of Thrasybulus, over a slightly
larger Peloponnesian fleet at Cynossema.

* * * * *



Xenophon was born at Athens about B.C. 430, and died probably
in 355. He was an Athenian gentleman who in his early-manhood
was an intimate member of the Socratic circle. In 401 he
joined the expedition of Cyrus, recorded in the "Anabasis,"
and did not again take up his residence in Athens. The
"Anabasis" must be introduced by an historical note. In the
year 404 B.C. the Peloponnesian war was brought to a close by
a peace establishing the Lacedaemonian supremacy consequent
upon the crowning disaster to the Athenians at Aegos Potami.
In the same year the Persian king Darius Nothus died, and was
succeeded on the throne by his son Artaxerxes. His younger
son, Cyrus, determined to make a bid for the throne. He had
personal knowledge of the immense superiority of the Greek
soldiery and the Greek discipline over those of the Eastern
nations. Accordingly, he planned to obtain the services of a
large contingent of Greek mercenaries, who had become the more
readily available since the internecine struggle between the
two leading states of Hellas had been brought to an end. The
term "Anabasis," or "going up," applies properly to the
advance into the interior; the retreat, with which the work is
mainly concerned, is the "Katabasis." The author writes his
record in the third person. This epitome has been specially
adapted for THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS from the Greek text.

_I.--The Going-up of Cyrus_

Cyrus, the younger brother of Artaxerxes the king, began his
preparations for revolt by gradually gathering and equipping an army on
the pretext of hostile relations between himself and another of the
western satraps, Tissaphernes. Notably, he secretly furnished Clearchus,
a Lacedaemonian, with means to equip a Greek force in Thrace; another
like force was ready to move from Thessaly under Aristippus; while a
Boeotian, Proxenus, and two others friends were commissioned to collect
more mercenaries to aid in the war with Tissaphernes.

Next, an excuse for marching up-country, at the head of all these
forces, was found in the need of suppressing the Pisidians. He advanced
from Sardis into Phrygia, where his musters were completed at Celaenae. A
review was held at Tyriaeum, where the Cilician queen, who had supplied
funds, was badly frightened by a mock charge of the Greek contingent.
When the advance had reached Tarsus, there was almost a mutiny among the
Greeks, who were suspicious of the intentions of Cyrus. The diplomacy,
however, of their principal general, Clearchus, the Lacedaemonian,
coupled with promises of increased pay, prevailed, though it had long
been obvious that Pisidia was not the objective of the expedition.

Further reinforcements were received at Issus, the eastern seaport of
Cilicia; Cyrus then marched through the Cilician gate into Syria. At
Myriandrus two Greek commanders, probably through jealousy of Clearchus,
deserted. Cyrus won popularity by refusing to presume thereon; and the
whole force now struck inland to Thapsacus, on the Euphrates.

At Thapsacus, Cyrus announced his purpose. The Greek soldiers were angry
with their generals for having, as they supposed, wilfully misled them,
but were mollified by promise of large rewards. One of the commanders,
Menon, won the approval of Cyrus by being the first to lead his own
contingent across the Euphrates on his own initiative. The advance was
now conducted by forced marches through a painfully sterile country. In
the course of this, the troops of Clearchus and Menon very nearly came
to blows; the intervention of Proxenus only made matters worse; and
order was restored by the arrival of Cyrus, who pointed out that the
whole expedition must be ruined if the Greeks fell out among themselves.

By this time, Artaxerxes had realised that the repeated warnings of
Tissaphernes and others were justified; and as the expedition neared
Babylonia, signs of the enemy became apparent in the deliberate
devastation of the country. Here Orontes, one of the principal Persian
officers of Cyrus, was convicted of treason and put to death.

The army was again reviewed, the whole force amounting to some 100,000
barbarians and nearly 14,000 Greeks; the enemy were reputed to number
over 1,000,000, though not so many took part in the engagement. Cyrus
now advanced, expecting battle immediately at an entrenched pass; but,
finding this unoccupied, he did not maintain battle order; which was
hurriedly taken up on news of the approach of the royal forces. The
Greeks, under Clearchus, occupied the right wing, Cyrus being in the
centre, and Ariaeus on the left. The king's army was so large that its
centre extended beyond the left of Cyrus.

The Greeks advanced on the royalist left, which broke and fled almost
without a blow. Thinking that the Greeks might be intercepted and cut
off, Cyrus charged the centre in person with his bodyguard, and routed
the opposing troops; but dashing forward in the hope of capturing
Artaxerxes, was himself pierced by a javelin, and fell dead on the
field. So ended the career of the most brilliant Persian since Cyrus the
Great had established the Persian Empire; brave, accomplished, the
mirror of honour, just himself and the rewarder of justice in others,
generous and most loyal to his friends.

_II.--The Homeward March_

When Cyrus fell, the left wing, under Ariaeus, broke and fled. The Greeks
had meantime poured on in pursuit of the royalist left, while the main
body of the royalists were in possession of the rebel camp, though a
Greek guard, which had been left there, held the Greek quarter.
Artaxerxes, however, had no mind to give battle to the returning Greek

It was not till next day that Clearchus and his colleagues learned by
messengers from Ariaeus that Cyrus was slain, and that Ariaeus had fallen
back to the last halting-place, where he proposed to wait twenty-four
hours, and no more, before starting in his retreat westward. Clearchus
replied, that the Greeks, for their part, had been victorious, and that
if Ariaeus would rejoin them they would win the Persian crown for him,
since Cyrus was dead. The next message was from Artaxerxes inviting the
Greeks to give up their arms; to which they replied that he might come
and take them if he could, but if he meant to treat them as friends,
they would be no use to him without their arms, if as enemies, they
would keep them to defend themselves.

Though no formal appointment was made, the Greeks recognised Clearchus
as their leader. They fell back to join Ariaeus, who declined the
proposal to seat him on the Persian throne; and it was agreed to follow
a new route in retreat to Ionia, the way by which the force had advanced
being now impracticable.

Now, however, Artaxerxes began to negotiate through Tissaphernes, the
Greeks maintaining a bold and even contemptuous front, warranted by the
king's obvious fear of risking an engagement.

Finally, an offer came to conduct the Greeks back to Grecian territory,
providing them, at their own cost, with necessaries. Prolonged delays,
however, aroused suspicions of treachery among the Greeks, who
distrusted Tissaphernes and Ariaeus alike; but Clearchus held it better
not to break openly with the Persians. The march at last began along a
northerly route towards the Black Sea, the Greeks keeping rigidly apart
from the Persian forces which accompanied them, in readiness for an

At the crossing of the Tigris suspicion was particularly active, the
conduct of Ariaeus being especially dubious; but still no overt
hostilities were attempted until the river Zabatus was reached, after
three weeks of marching. Here Clearchus endeavoured to end the extremely
strained relations between the Greeks and the barbarian commanders by an
interview with Tissaphernes. Both men carefully repudiated any idea of
hostile intentions, and the Persian invited Clearchus and the Greek
officers generally to attend a conference. Not all, but a considerable
number--five generals, including Clearchus, Proxenus, and Menon, with
twenty more officers and nearly two hundred others--attended. At a given
signal all were treacherously massacred; but a fugitive reached the
Greek camp, where the men sprang to arms. Ariaeus, approaching with an
escort, declared that Clearchus had been proved guilty of treason, but
was received with fierce indignation, and withdrew.

Of the murdered generals, Clearchus was a man of high military capacity,
but a harsh disciplinarian, feared and respected, but very unpopular;
Proxenus, a particular friend of Xenophon, was an amiable but not a
strong man; Menon, the Thessalian, was a crafty and hypocritical
time-server, of whom no good can be spoken.

The ten thousand Greeks were now in an ugly predicament; they were a
thousand miles from home, while between them and the Black Sea lay the
mountains of Armenia. They were surrounded by hostile hordes, and were
without cavalry. They had no recognised chief, and their most trusted
leaders were gone. The whole company seemed paralysed under a universal
despondency. It was at this juncture that Xenophon, an Athenian
gentleman-volunteer, was stirred to action by a dream. He rose and
roused the officers of the contingent of Proxenus, to which he was
attached. Heartened by an address, in which he pointed out that, on the
one hand they had to depend on their own courage, skill, and
resourcefulness, and, on the other, were released from all obligation to
the Persians, they unanimously chose him their leader, and at his
instigation roused the senior officers of all the other contingents to
assemble for deliberation.

The council thus summoned, inspired again by the words of Xenophon,
vigorously backed up by other leaders, appointed new generals, among
them Xenophon himself, and set about actively to organise a retreat to
the sea. The contagion of resolute determination spread through the
ranks of the whole force. Cheirisophus the Lacedaemonian was given the
chief command, the two youngest generals, Xenophon and Timerion, were
placed in charge of the rear-guard. A troop of slingers was organised;
all horses with the arroy were sequestrated to form a cavalry squadron.
The army started on its march through the unknown, formed in a hollow
square, which was shortly so organised that the columns could be
broadened or narrowed according to the ground without creating

They soon found themselves able to repulse without difficulty even
attacks in force by the troops of Tissaphernes, the enemy being entirely
outmatched in hand-to-hand fighting. The slingers and archers, however,
proved troublesome, and hostile forces, though keeping out of reach,
were never far off. At last Tissaphernes and Ariaeus drew off altogether,
and the Greek generals having as alternative courses the march east upon
Susa, north upon Babylon, and west towards Ionia, decided to revert to
the course northwards to the Black Sea.

_III.--The Sea! The Sea!_

This route led at first through the country of the Carduchi, a very
warlike folk who had never been subjugated. Here there was a good deal
of hard fighting, the Carduchi being adepts in hill warfare, and
particularly expert archers. Such was the length and weight of their
arrows that Greeks collected them, and used them as javelins. Seven days
of this brought the retreating force to the river Centrites, which parts
the Carduchian mountains from the province of Armenia. With a barely
fordable river, troops in evidence on the other side, and the Carduchi
hanging on their rear, the passage offered great difficulties, solved by
the discovery of a much shallower ford. A feint at one point by the
rearguard drew off the enemy on the opposite bank, while the main body
crossed at the shallows, which the rearguard also managed to pass by a
successful ruse which misled the Carduchi.

The Persian governor of Western Armenia, Tiribazus, offered safe passage
through his province, but scouts brought information that large forces
were collecting, and would dispute the passage of a defile through which
the army must pass. This point, however, was reached by a forced march,
and the enemy was put to rout.

For some days after this the marching was very severe; the men had to
struggle forward on very nearly empty stomachs, through blizzards,
suffering terribly from frostbite and the blinding effect of the snow on
their eyes, so that at times nothing short of actual threats from the
officers could induce the exhausted men to toil forward; and all the
time the enemy's skirmishers were harassing the troops and cutting off
stragglers. These, however, were finally dispersed by a sudden onslaught
of the rearguard, and after this a more populous district was reached,
where food and wine abounded, and the Greeks, who were not ill-received,
made some days' halt to recuperate.

Here a guide was obtained for the next stages; but on the third night he
deserted, because Cheirisophus had lost his temper and struck him. This
incident was the only occasion of a serious difference between Xenophon
and the elder commander. On the seventh day after this the river Phasis
was crossed; but two days later, on approaching a mountain pass, it was
seen to be occupied in force. A council of war was held, at which some
jesting passed, Xenophon remarking on the reputation of the
Lacedaemonians as adepts in thieving, a jibe which Cheirisophus retorted
on the Athenians; as the business in hand was to "steal a match" on the
enemy, each encouraged the other to act up to the national reputation.
In the night, a detachment of volunteers captured the ridge above the
pass; the enemy facing the main body beat a hasty retreat when they
found their position turned.

Another five days brought the army into the country of the Taochi, where
the Greeks had to rush a somewhat dangerous position in order to capture
supplies. A space of some twenty yards was open to such a storm of
missiles from above that it could only be passed by drawing the enemy's
fire and making a dash before fresh missiles were accumulated. When this
was accomplished, however, the foe offered no practical resistance, but
flung themselves over the cliffs.

Eighteen days later the Greeks reached a town called Gymnise, where they
obtained a guide. Their course lay through tribes towards whom the
governor was hostile, and the Greeks had no objection to gratifying him
by spoiling and burning on their way. On the fifth day after leaving
Gymnise, a mountain pass was reached.

When the van cleared the top of the mountain, there arose a great
shouting. And when Xenophon heard it, and they of the rear-guard, they
supposed that other enemies were ranged against them, for the men of the
land which had been ravaged were following behind; but when the clamour
grew louder and nearer, and the new arrivals doubled forward to where
the shouting was, so that it became greater and greater with the added
numbers, Xenophon thought this must be something of moment. Therefore,
taking Lycias and the horsemen, he rode forward at speed to give aid;
and then suddenly they were aware of the soldiers' shout, the word that
rang through the lines--"The sea! the sea!" Then every man raced,
rear-guard and all, urging horses and the very baggage-mules to the top
of their speed, and when they came to the top, they fell on each other's
necks, and the generals, and officers, too, with tears of delight. And
in a moment, whoever it was that passed the word, the men were gathering
stones, and there they reared a mighty column.

And as for the lucky guide, he betook himself home laden with presents.

Of what befell between this point and the actual arrival of the army on
the coast of the Black Sea at the Grecian colony of Trapezus [Trebizond]
the most curious incident was that of the soldiers lighting upon great
quantities of honey, which not only made them violently ill, but had an
intoxicating effect, attributed to the herbs frequented by the bees in
that district. This necessitated a halt of some days. The second day's
march thence brought them to Trapezus, where they made sacrificial
thank-offerings to the gods, and further celebrated the occasion by
holding athletic games.

_IV.--The End of the Expedition_

But Trapezus was not Greece, and the problem of transport was serious.
The men, sick of marching, were eager to accomplish the rest of their
journey by sea. Cheirisophus the general, as being a personal friend of
the Lacedaemonian admiral stationed at Byzantium, was commissioned to
obtain ships from him to take the Greeks home.

Cheirisophus departed. The army, which still numbered over ten thousand
persons, was willing enough to maintain its military organisation for
foraging and for self-defence; also to make such arrangements as were
practicable for collecting ships in case Cheirisophus should fail them;
but the men flatly refused to consider any further movement except by

So they stayed where they were, maintaining their supplies by raids on
the natives; but time passed, and there were no tidings of Cheirisophus.
At last, they saw nothing for it but to put the sick and other
non-combatants aboard of the vessels which had been secured, send them
on by sea, and themselves march by the coast to Cerasus, another Greek
colony. Thence they continued their westward progress, in which they met
with considerable resistance from the natives, who were barbarians of a
primitive type, until they came to Cotyora.

This was another settlement from Sinope; but it received the Greeks very
inhospitably, so that the latter continued their practice of ravaging
the neighbouring territories. It was now eight months since the
expedition had started on its homeward march. Here a deputation arrived
from Sinope to protest against their proceedings; but Xenophon pointed
out that while they were perfectly willing to buy what they needed and
behave as friends, if they were not allowed to buy, self-preservation
compelled them to take by force. Ultimately, the deputation promised to
send ships from Sinope to convey them thither.

During the time of waiting there was some risk of the force breaking
itself up, and some inclination to make attacks on the officers,
including Xenophon. The formulation of charges, however, enabled him
amply to justify the acts complained of, and order generally was
restored. At last, however, a sufficient number of ships were collected
to convey the force to Sinope, where also Cheirisophus put in his
long-delayed appearance.

Cheirisophus came practically without ships and with nothing but vague
promises from the admiral at Byzantium. At this point it occurred to the
army that it would be better to have a single commander for the whole


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