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were equal on both sides of the question. Hereupon Miltiades addressed himself to Callimachus, who was then a Polemarch, and had a right of voting as well as the ten commanders. He very warmly represented to him, that the fate of their country was then in his hands; and that his single vote was to determine whether Athens should preserve her liberty, or be enslaved ; and that he had it in his power by one word, to become as famous as Harmodius and Aristogiton, the authors of that liberty which the Athenians enjoyed. Callimachus pronounced that word in favour of Miltiades's opinion ; and accordingly a battle was resolved upon.
Aristides, reflecting that a command which changes every day, must necessarily be feeble, unequal, not of a piece, often contrary to itself, and incapable either of projecting or executing any uniform design, was of opiniosi, that their danger was both too great and too pressing for them to expose
their affairs to such inconveniencies. In order to prevent them, he judged it necessary to vest the whole power in one single person : and, to induce his colleagues to act conformably, he himself set the first example of resignation. When the day came on which it was his turn to take upon him the command, he resigned it to Miltiades, as the more able and experienced general. The other commanders did the same, all sentiments of jealousy giving way to the love of the public good: and, by this day's behaviour we may learn, that it is almost as glorious to acknowledge merit in other persons, as to have it in one's self. Miltiades, however, thought fit to wait till his own day came. Then, like an able captain, he endeavoured by the advantage of the ground to gain what he wanted in strength and number. He drew up his army at the foot of a mountain, that the enemy should not be able either to surround him, or charge him in the rear. On the two sides of his army he caused large trees to be thrown, which were cut down on purpose, in order to cover his flanks, and render the Persian cavalry useless. Datis their commander, was very sensible that the place was not advantageous for him: but, relying upon the number of his troops, which was infinitely superior to that of the Athenians; and, besides, not being willing to stay till the reinforcement of the Spartans arrived, he determined to engage. The Athenians did not wait for the enemy's charging them. As soon as the signal of battle was given, they ran against the enemy with all the fury imaginable. The Persians looked upon this first step of the Athe
a The Polemarch at Athens was both an officer and a considerable magis trate. equally employed to command in the army, and to administer justice. ! shall give a larger account of this officer in another place.
nians as a piece of madness, considering their army was so small, and utterly destitute both of cavalry and archers : but they were quickly undeceived. Herodotus observes, that this was the first time the Grecians began an engagement by running in this manner; which may seem somewhat astonishing. And, indeed, was there not reason to apprehend that their running would in some measure weaken the troops, and blunt the edge of their first impetuosity; and that the soldiers, having quitted their ranks, might be out of breath, spent, and in disorder, when they came to the enemy; who, waiting to receive them in good order, and without stirring, ought, one would think, to be in a condition to sustain their charge advantageously? This consideration engaged Pompey, at the battle of Pharsalia, to keep his troops steady, and to forbid them making any movement, till the enemy made the first attack. But Cæsar blames Pompey's conduct in this respect, and gives this reason for it: that the impetuosity of an army's motion in running to engage, inspires the soldiers with a certain enthusiasm and martial fury, gives an additional force to their blows, and increases and inflames their courage, which, by the rapid movement of so many thousand men together, is blown up and kindled, if I may use that expression, like flames by the wind. i leave it to military men to decide the point between those. two great captains, and return to my subject.
The battle was very fierce and obstinate. Miltiades had made the wings of his army exceeding strong, but had left the main body more weak, and not so deep; the reason of which seems manifest enough. Having but 10,000 men to oppose to such a numerous and vast army, it was impossible for him either to make an extensive front, or to give an equal depth to his battalions. He was obliged therefore to take his choice; and he imagined, that he could gain the victory no otherwise than by the efforts he should make with his two wings, to break and disperse those of the Persians; not doubting but, when his wings were once victorious, they would be able to attack the enemy's main body in flank, and complete the victory without much difficulty. This was the same plan 'as Hannibal followed afterwards at the battle of Cannæ, which succeeded so well with him, and which indeed can scarce ever fail of succeeding. The Persians then at
a Cæs in Bell. Civil. 1. lii. 6 Plut in Pom. p. 656. et in Cæs. p. 719. c Quod nobis quidem nulla ratione factum a Pompeio videtur : propterea quod est quædam incitatio atque alacritas naturaliter innata omnibus, quæ stadio pugnæ incenditor. Hanc non reprimere, sed augere imperatores debent. Cæs.
Καίσαρ περί τέτο διαμαρτείν φησι τον Πομπηίον, αγνοήσαντα, την μετά. δρόμο και φοβεράν εν αρχή γινομένην σύρραξιν, ώς έντε ταϊς πληγαϊς βίαν τροsίθηση, και συνεκκαίει τον θύμον και πάνταν αναρριχιζόμενον.
Plate in Cæs
tacked the main body of the Grecian-army, and made their greatest effort particularly upon their front. This was led by Aristides and Themistocles, who supported the attack a long time with an intrepid courage and bravery, but were at length obliged to give ground. At that very instant came up their two victorious wings, which had defeated those of the enemy, and put them to flight. Nothing could be more seasonable for the main body of the Grecian army, which began to be broken, being quite borne down by the number of the Persians. The scale was quickly turned, and the barbarians were entirely routed. They all betook themselves to flight not towards their camp, but to their ships, that they ! might make their escape. The Athenians pursued them thither, and set many of their vessels on fire. It was on this occasion that Cynægyrus, the brother of the poet Æschylus, who laid hold of one of the ships, in order to get into it with those that fled, a had his right hand cut off, and fell into the sea, and was drowned. The Athenians took seven ships. They had not above 200 men killed on their side in this engagement; whereas on the side of the Persians above 6000 were slain, without reckoning those who fell into the sea as they endeavoured to escape, or those that were consumed with the ships set on fire.
Hippias was killed in the battle. That ungrateful and perfidious citizen, in order to recover the unjust dominion usurped by his father Pisistratus over the Athenians, had the baseness to become a servile courtier to a barbarian prince, and to implore his aid against his native country. Urged on by hatred and revenge, he suggested all the means he could invent to load his country with chains : and even put himself at the head of its enemies, to reduce that city to ashes, to which he owed his birth, and against which he had no other ground of complaint, than that she would not acknowledge him for her tyrant. An ignominious death, together with everlasting infamy entailed upon his name, was the just reward of so black a treachery.
• Immediately after the battle, an Athenian soldier, still reeking with the blood of the enemy, quitted the army, and ran to Athens to carry his fellow-citizens the happy news of the victory. . When he arrived at the magistrates' house, he only uttered two words, co Rejoice the victory is ours:" and fell down dead at their feet.
a Justin adds, that Cynægyrus having first had his right and then his left hand cut off with an axe, laid bold of the vessel with his teeth, and would not let go. so violent was his rage against the enemy. This account is utterly tabulous, and has not the least appearance of truth
6 Plut. de glor Athen. p. 347.
cda.pric; Xu,1,.,7. I could not render the liveliness of the Greek en Fression in our language.
a The Persians had thought themselves so sure of victory, that they had brought marble to Marathon, in order to erect a trophy there. The Grecians took this marble, and caused a statue to be made of it by Phidias, in honour of the goddesso Nemesis, who had a temple near the place where the battle was fought.
The Persian fleet, instead of sailing by the islands, in order to re-enter Asia, doubled the cape of Sunium, with the design of surprising Athens, before the Athenian forces should arrive there to defend the city. But the latter had the precaution to march thither with nine tribes to secure their country; and performed their march with so much expedition, that they arrived there the same day. The distance from Marathon to Athens is about 40 miles, or 15 French leagues. This was a great exertion for an army that had just undergone a long and severe battle. By this means the design of their enemies miscarried.
Aristides, the only general that staid at Marathon with his tribe, to take care of the spoil and prisoners, acted suitably to the good opinion that was entertained of him: for, though gold and silver were scattered about in abundance in the enemy's camp, and though all the tents as well as galleys that were taken, were full of rich clothes and costly furniture, and treasure of all kinds to an immense value, he not only was not tempted to touch any of it himself, but hindered every body else from touching it. - As soon as the day of the full moon was over, the Lacedæmonians began their march with 2000 men; and, having travelled with all imaginable expedition, arrived in Attica after three days hard marching; the distance from Sparta to Attica being no less than 1200 stadia, or 150 English miles. “The battle was fought the day before they arrived: however, they proceeded to Marathon, where they found the fields covered with dead bodies and riches. After having congratulated the Athenians on the happy success of the battle, they returned to their own country.
They were hindered by a foolish and ridiculous superstition from having a share in the most glorious action records ed in history: for it is almost without example, that such an handful of men, as the Athenians were, should not only make head against so numerous an army as that of the Persians, but should entirely rout and defeat them. One is astonished to see so formidable a power attack so small a city and miscarry; and we are almost tempted to disbelieve the truth of an event that appears so improbable, which nevertheless is
a Paus. l. i. 6 This was the goddess, whose business it was to punish injustice and oppreso sion.
c Isocr. in Paneg. p. 113. VOL, III,
very certain and unquestionable. This battle alone shows what wonderful things may be performed by an able gene ral, who knows how to take his advantages; by the intrepidity of soldiers, that are not afraid of death ; by a zeal for one's country; the love of liberty ; an hatred and detestation of slavery and tyranny ; which were sentiments natural to the Athenians; but undoubtedly very much augmented and inflamed by the very presence of Hippias, whom they dreaded to have again for their master, after all that had passed between them.
Plato, in more places than one, makes it his business to extol the battle of Marathon, and is for having that action considered as the source and original cause of all the victories that were gained afterwards. It was undoubtedly this victory that deprived the Persian power of that terror which had rendered them so formidable, and made every thing stoop before them : it was this victory that taught the Grecians to know their own strength, and not to tremble before an enemy, terrible only in name ; that made them find, by experience, that victory does not depend so much upon the number, as the courage of troops; that set before their eyes, in a inost conspicuous light, the glory there is in sacrificing one's life in the defence of our country, and for the preservation of liberty; and lastly, that inspired them, through the whole course of succeeding ages, with a noble emulation and warm desire to imitate their ancestors, and not to degenerate from their virtue : for, on all important occasions, it was customary among them to put the people in mind or Miltiades and his invincible troop; that is, of that little army of heroes, whose intrepidity and bravery had done so much honour to Athens.
6 Those that were slain in the battle had all the honour immediately paid to them that was due to their ment. Illustrious monuments were erected to them all in the very place where the battle was fought ; upon which their own names and that of their tribes were recorded There were three distinct sets of monuments separately set up ; one for the Athenians, another for the Platæans, and a third for the slaves, whom they had admitted among their soldiers on that
· Miltiades's tomb was erected afterwards in the same place.
c The reflection Cornelius Nepos makes upon what the Athenians did to honour the memory of their general, deserves to be taken notice of. Formerly, says he, speaking of the Romans, our ancestors rewarded virtue by marks of distinction, that were not stately or magnificent, but hown a In Menex. p. 239, 210. et I. ij. de leg. p. 598, 699. • Paus. in Aitic. p. 60, 61.
c Cor. Nep. in Milt. c. 6.