Herodotus History translated into English
Book VIIReturn to Herodotus Index
The Seventh Book of the Histories, Called Polymnia (continues)
81. These were the nations which served in the campaign by land and had been appointed to be among the foot-soldiers. Of this army those who have been mentioned were commanders; and they were the men who sit it in order by divisions and numbered it and appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of tens of thousands, but the commanders of hundreds and of tens were appointed by the commanders of ten thousands; and there were others who were leaders of divisions and nations. 82. These, I say, who have been mentioned were commanders of the army; and over these and over the whole army together that went on foot there were in command Mardonios the son of Gobryas, Tritantaichmes the son of that Artabanos who gave the opinion that they should not make the march against Hellas, Smerdomenes the son of Otanes (both these being sons of brothers of Dareios and so cousins of Xerxes), Masistes the son of Dareios and Atossa, Gergis the son of Ariazos, and Megabyzos the son of Zopyros. 83. These were generals of the whole together that went on foot, excepting the ten thousand; and of these ten thousand chosen Persians the general was Hydarnes the son of Hydarnes; and these Persians were called "Immortals," because, if any one of them made the number incomplete, being overcome either by death or disease, another man was chosen to his place, and they were never either more or fewer than ten thousand. Now of all the nations, the Persians showed the greatest splendour of ornament and were themselves the best men. They had equipment such as has been mentioned, and besides this they were conspicuous among the rest for great quantity of gold freely used; and they took with them carriages, and in them concubines and a multitude of attendants well furnished; and provisions for them apart from the soldiers were borne by camels and beasts of burden.
84. The nations who serve as cavalry are these; not all however supplied cavalry, but only as many as here follow: -- the Persians equipped in the same manner as their foot-soldiers, except that upon their heads some of them had beaten-work of metal, either bronze or iron. 85. There are also certain nomads called Sagartians, Persian in race and in language and having a dress which is midway between that of the Persians and that of the Pactyans. These furnished eight thousand horse, and they are not accustomed to have any arms either of bronze or of iron excepting daggers, but they use ropes twisted of thongs, and trust to these when they go into war: and the manner of fighting of these men is as follows: -- when they come to conflict with the enemy, they throw the ropes with nooses at the end of them, and whatsoever the man catches by the throw, whether horse or man, he draws to himself, and they being entangled in toils are thus destroyed. 86. This is the manner of fighting of these men, and they were arrayed next to the Persians. The Medes had the same equipment as their men on foot, and the Kissians likewise. The Indians were armed in the same manner as those of them who served on foot, and they both rode horses and drove chariots, in which were harnessed horses or wild asses. The Bactrians were equipped in the same way as those who served on foot, and the Caspians likewise. The Libyans too were equipped like those who served on foot, and these also all drove chariots. So too the Caspians and Paricanians were equipped like those who served on foot, and they all rode on camels, which in swiftness were not inferior to horses. 87. These nations alone served as cavalry, and the number of the cavalry proved to be eight myriads, apart from the camels and the chariots. Now the rest of the cavalry was arrayed in squadrons, but the Arabians were placed after them and last of all, for the horses could not endure the camels, and therefore they were placed last, in order that the horses might not be frightened. 88. The commanders of the cavalry were Harmamithras and Tithaios sons of Datis, but the third, Pharnuches, who was in command of the horse with them, had been left behind at Sardis sick: for as they were setting forth from Sardis, an accident befell him of an unwished-for kind, -- as he was riding, a dog ran up under his horse's feet, and the horse not having seen it beforehand was frightened, and rearing up he threw Pharnuches off his back, who falling vomited blood, and his sickness turned to a consumption. To the horse however they forthwith at the first did as he commanded, that is to say, the servants led him away to the place where he had thrown his master and cut off his legs at the knees. Thus was Pharnuches removed from his command.
89. Of the triremes the number proved to be one thousand two hundred and seven, and these were they who furnished them: -- the Phenicians, together with the Syrians who dwell in Palestine furnished three hundred; and they were equipped thus, that is to say, they had about their heads leathern caps made very nearly in the Hellenic fashion, and they wore corslets of linen, and had shields without rims and javelins. These Phenicians dwelt in ancient time, as they themselves report, upon the Erythraian Sea, and thence they passed over and dwell in the country along the sea coast of Syria; and this part of Syria and all as far as Egypt is called Palestine. The Egyptians furnished two hundred ships: these men had about their heads helmets of plaited work, and they had hollow shields with the rims large, and spears for sea-fighting, and large axes: the greater number of them wore corslets, and they had large knives. 90. These men were thus equipped; and the Cyprians furnished a hundred and fifty ships, being themselves equipped as follows, -- their kings had their heads wound round with fillets, and the rest had tunics, but in other respects they were like the Hellenes. Among these there are various races as follows, -- some of them are from Salamis and Athens, others from Arcadia, others from Kythnos, others again from Phenicia and others from Ethiopia, as the Cyprians themselves report. 91. The Kilikians furnished a hundred ships; and these again had about their heads native helmets, and for shields they carried targets made of raw ox- hide: they wore tunics of wool and each man had two javelins and a sword, this last being made very like the Egyptian knives. These in old time were called Hypachaians, and they got their later name from Kilix the son of Agenor, a Phenician. The Pamphylians furnished thirty ships and were equipped in Hellenic arms. These Pamphylians are of those who were dispersed from Troy together with Amphilochos and Calchas. 92. The Lykians furnished fifty ships; and they were wearers of corslets and greaves, and had bows of cornel-wood and arrows of reeds without feathers and javelins and a goat-skin hanging over their shoulders, and about their heads felt caps wreathed round with feathers; also they had daggers and falchions. The Lykians were formerly called Termilai, being originally of Crete, and they got their later name from Lycos the son of Pandion, an Athenian. 93. The Dorians of Asia furnished thirty ships; and these had Hellenic arms and were originally from the Peloponnese. The Carians supplied seventy ships; and they were equipped in other respects like Hellenes but they had also falchions and daggers. What was the former name of these has been told in the first part of the history. 94. The Ionians furnished a hundred ships, and were equipped like Hellenes. Now the Ionians, so long time as they dwelt in the Peloponnese, in the land which is now called Achaia, and before the time when Danaos and Xuthos came to the Peloponnese, were called, as the Hellenes report, Pelasgians of the Coast-land, and then Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthos. 95. The islanders furnished seventeen ships, and were armed like Hellenes, this also being a Pelasgian race, though afterwards it came to be called Ionian by the same rule as the Ionians of the twelve cities, who came from Athens. The Aiolians supplied sixty ships; and these were equipped like Hellenes and used to be called Pelasgians in the old time, as the Hellenes report. The Hellespontians, excepting those of Abydos (for the men of Abydos had been appointed by the king to stay in their place and be guards of the bridges), the rest, I say, of those who served in the expedition from the Pontus furnished a hundred ships, and were equipped like Hellenes: these are colonists of the Ionians and Dorians.
96. In all the ships there served as fighting-men Persians, Medes, or Sacans;: and of the ships, those which sailed best were furnished by the Phenicians, and of the Phenicians the best by the men of Sidon. Over all these men and also over those of them who were appointed to serve in the land-army, there were for each tribe native chieftains, of whom, since I am not compelled by the course of the inquiry,[89a] I make no mention by the way; for in the first place the chieftains of each separate nation were not persons worthy of mention, and then moreover within each nation there were as many chieftains as there were cities. These went with the expedition too not as commanders, but like the others serving as slaves; for the generals who had the absolute power and commanded the various nations, that is to say those who were Persians, having already been mentioned by me. 97. Of the naval force the following were commanders, -- Ariabignes the son of Dareios, Prexaspes the son of Aspathines, Megabazos the son of Megabates, and Achaimenes the son of Dareios; that is to say, of the Ionian and Carian force Ariabignes, who was the son of Dareios and of the daughter of Gobryas; of the Egyptians Achaimenes was commander, being brother of Xerxes by both parents; and of the rest of the armament the other two were in command: and galleys of thirty oars and of fifty oars, and light vessels, and long ships to carry horses had been assembled together, as it proved, to the number of three thousand. 98. Of those who sailed in the ships the men of most note after the commanders were these, -- of Sidon, Tetramnestos son of Anysos; of Tyre, Matten son of Siromos; or Arados, Merbalos son of Agbalos; of Kilikia, Syennesis son of Oromedon; of Lykia, Kyberniscos son of Sicas; of Cyprus, Gorgos son of Chersis and Timonax son of Timagoras; of Caria, Histiaios son of Tymnes, Pigres son of Hysseldomos, and Damasithymos son of Candaules. 99. Of the rest of the officers I make no mention by the way (since I am not bound to do so), but only of Artemisia, at whom I marvel most that she joined the expedition against Hellas, being a woman; for after her husband died, she holding the power herself, although she had a son who was a young man, went on the expedition impelled by high spirit and manly courage, no necessity being laid upon her. Now her name, as I said, was Artemisia and she was the daughter of Lygdamis, and by descent she was of Halicarnassos on the side of her father, but of Crete by her mother. She was ruler of the men of Halicarnassos and Cos and Nisyros and Calydna, furnishing five ships; and she furnished ships which were of all the fleet reputed the best after those of the Sidonians, and of all his allies she set forth the best counsels to the king. Of the States of which I said that she was leader I declare the people to be all of Dorian race, those of Halicarnassos being Troizenians, and the rest Epidaurians. So far then I have spoken of the naval force.