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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Chambers's London Journal
Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 52, Ma...
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Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 52, May 21, 1842.
Blanchard, Edward Litt Leman.
11 October 2015
London: W. Strange ... W. Clements ... and G. Berger
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W - unjealous pride. This P‘ “av auocarrox MEN nzcoua usr ro LEAD, nvrr nirrxcunr -ro nerve-aasir TD covcnrv, nor iareossrau T0 nNsLAvn."-Loan asouorum. Nuiunian 52. The Victories of Plates and Mycnie. THE Persian reserve, under Mardonius, passed the winter in Thessaly, while the wreck of the tleet sheltered itselfat Samos. During this period of relaxation, the Persians had recruited their resources, and made pre- parations for the future campaign. Ilaving again ad- vanced into the province of Boeotia, Mardonius, in the hope that gold would obtain him that victory his arms had failed in procuring sent Alexander, a 'ing of Macedon, for the purpose of tempting the Athenians to withdraw from the Grecian confederacy; he made oE’er to rebuild their city, to restore them the plunder, even confer on them the government of all Greece when it should be subjugated to the throne of Persia. These extensive proposals alarmed the Spartans in no slight degree, and they in turn sent messengers to Athens to dissuade their countrymen from the acceptance of the Persian offers. Aristides was that year the chief archon, in addition to being the treasurer of the confedei-acy, and the general controller of the common funds. That noble Greek was even more hurt at the doubts of the Spartans than he was at the insoleuce of the Macedonian envoy; his words on this occasion were ‘such as became his high character, such as reflected honour on the cause he led, and justified still more the confidence the country reposed in his integrity. To Alexander he de vered the message, that so long as the sun, the god of the Persians, shone in the heavens, so long would the Athenians be the enemies of Persia-so long would they resolutely and perseveringly seek revenge on the de- stroyer of their city, and the polluters of their temples. It is not surprising that barbarians, to whom silver and gold are the only deities, should think thus to seduce the Athenians from the path of honour, but that the lace- dxmonians should think thus meanly of the Athenians, to whom the safety of Greece is confided, is indeed to be wondered at. Our fidelity is not to be shaken by mountains of gold ; every field ravaged, every house hred, is a testimony ofour mortal enmity to the Persians. Mardonius, enraged at the failure and exposure of his scheme, again set his forces in motion, resolved toreduce the scarcely rebuilt city to ashes a second time. Yet in the midst of this impending danger, the Athenians clung with patriotic fondness to the policy and commands of Aristides. As they were about to leave the open city to the wrath of the invader, rather than yield to his terms, a senator proposedin the popular assembly that an accommodation should be entered into rather than that the town should he again laid in ruins. and the whole population compelled to seek safety in fliglit. This idea of submission awoke the popular fury to so great a degree, that the people in a tumult stoned Lycidus, the proposer, to death, while the women and children wreaked alike vengeance, on his wife mid family. This dreadful evidence of resolute unanimity only seivei to inflame Mardonius in a greater degree against the de- voted city: the torrent of warlike numb:-rs again rolled over the streets and fields of Attica--riot and de- struction attested the resence of the destroyer, while’tlic neighbouring islands atfordcil a precarious shelter to the women and their infants. That scene of destruction, that savage work of spoil, had soon an ample revenge. , ' . . . The Spartans, with their usual intrepid daring, 33. sembled for the fray; a contingent of five thousand citizens was enrolled for the national defence; each soldier being accompanied by seven llelots, who, when emancipated from domestic thraldom, on all occasions acted as be- came a Spartan ally, and did lIfm",‘“ '9 '1“? "Ema"! prowess of which they were the witnesses and nnitators. This band of forty thousand warriors. 119‘ ““'““" 97 “'lli<IlI ever thought of returning homeward, unless plumed with victory, were in ihemsg,-1:953 host before whom the Persian hordes could not stand and live--from whose right arms Greece expected to regain its freedom. and to whose example till the confederntes looked with rmcil valour induced in n 9- Mardonius to arrest his progress through the hilly coun- N..'2o. voi. II. SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1842. try of Attica, well knowing that his numbers would avail him little in his battle with so adroit an enemy among the deliles and passes of the mountains. He therefore returned backward upon Bmotia, and in that cbuntryawaited the advance of the Grecian allies. The allies, amounting in all to only seventy thousand, of which eight thousand were Athenians, followed him to the Asopus, on the banks of which the contending hosts stood idly by and locked on each other, both un- willing to commence so precarious an engagement, as ' one or other of them must quit the advantages of their position, ere an attack could be made. For the space of ten days did these hating foes stand girdcd and prepared before each other, the quiet river tlowing smoothly on between. During this time discord, on a point of honour, arose among the Greeks, who were under the general coinman of Pausanius, a Laced.-cmonian the Spartans, from their numbers, their acknowledged bravery, and system of tactics, were unanimously ac- corded the rigbt wing of the army, while the Tygacans dis- puted the possession of the left with the Athenians. The moderation anl magnrinirnity ofAristides was again displayed: he sought no merit for himself or for his countrymen: he claimed no honour for the past: he re- minded themnot of Marathon or Salamis, but pointed to the Persian tents, and there sought to win the prize of honour-a prize which would be awarded alike to the ables: commander and the meanest sentinel. lle had not come to contend with friends, but to dispute the field with their enemies-not to boast of their ancestors, but to imitate them; and any post assigned them, no matter what, they would maintain to the death, and endeavour to make it thepath to pcrsonalhonour and martial glory. No argument, no boast, could maintain itselfagaiiisttbis moderation, this heroic virtue of Aristides ; his country- men were permitted to retain the post they occupied, and unanimity restored tothe councils of the Greeks. Mean- while, the supplies of water and other necessaries from the rear began to fail, and the allies resolved to retreat during the night to a more convenient situation. The noise and confusion consequent on the breaking up of the encampment reached the ears of the Persians, and they attributed to fear the conduct which had been governed by sound policy. Mardonius instantly re- solved to pursue them in their flight, and came up with the rear guard near the small city of Platma. llis im- petuous ardour, however, soon received a check , rear was the band oftlie Spartans, by whom on all occa- sions the most dangerous situation were occupied. Spondily throwing themselves into their invulnerable phalanx, they formed nl)1lrI'i(‘!‘ to the further progress of 5': which bore them, before the unpitying sword, and the arm which gave it power, the onward march was staycd. The Athenians, on hearing oftlie attack, vanquished a body of recreant Greeks in Persian pay and came u just as Mardonius, madden:-d at the prospect ofanother defeat, hastened into the tight, and fell covered with woilintls, as he v1alilnly::pi(go:voured :0 inspire. his t:-cop: W“ I C0l.H'iI”‘Q. 9 P 9CRI'nE I OHCE IXTHVETSB 01'] like in retti-eats from the pursuing Greeks, the flight became more disastrous than the attack. There was no quarto: gs].-ed ‘or given; extermination pursued its bloody and uninterrupted work ;. every stroke of the murderous sword hewed down a victim, from every gash issued fortlipa life, and II long tract ofcoputry gave dreadful testimony of that day a horrible toil. ,Led on by dClpombrotns,( brpghernto Leonlidas, Sue S‘part!ilinsfpp]:- sue tie enemy 0 cc mp w ere is eat 0 e hero of Thermopylaa wait amply avenged. The Persians, in the last madness of espiiir assayed to fortify their entrenchments, end, like the ’stag at bay, to withstand the fury of their destroyers. Stern and determined slaughter was in the Spart:in's eye, and death was on his sword. Ilavoc on all sides pliedits fearful task, and the reekin gore ofa sweltering, foe proclaimed the ex- ‘EYII. the sweetness of Grecian revenge. One hundred‘ the enemy. No one gained a passage tlirough theirf bristling line; before the scrried spears, and the hands i Pmcr-2 THREE HALFPENCE. while a band, more swift than the others, escaped to the llellespont, and there, in all the disorder which terror and a. coward love of life produced, sought an inglorious passage into Asia. in that same evening was the Persian deet destroyed at Mycale, and an almost equal retribution obtained upon the forces there. The ships of the invaders, after the battle of Salainis, had withdrawn to Samos, whither, in the commencement of the spring operations. they were pursued by the heat ofthe confederates. The Persians, utterly unable to cope with their enemies at sea, drew their vessels zuliore, at Mycale, and fortified them with walls and trenches kept by an army of sixty thousand men. But neither walls of wood, nor breasts of steel, were proof against the fury oftlie Greeks ; before their fierce assault all opposition fell powerless; the Athe- nians and Corinthians marched direct to the attack, while the Spartans took a compass round some hills and .precipices,to obtain possession ofan eminence, and from thence harass the enemy. lire this latter manoeuvre, however, was accomplished, the day had become an event of fate: the Persians, after ii short struggle, gave way, and sought a last succcur in precipitate retreat. T e ramparts were broken‘ own, the ships destroyed by fire, and the whole camp utterly demolished. Scarcely ii man escaped: Tigr.-mes, the Persian coin- mander, and forty thousand men, lay dea upon t a smoking ground-the last sacrifice of ambitious inva- sion to the power of valour and the love of freedom. Thus ended the attack of Xerxes upon the liberties of Greece-thus was the great empire began by Cyrus arrested in its course of conquest-and thus was a mighty lesson given to the world, that not in numerical strength, but in the cool valour of independent minds, the best means of victory. The nations who had been subdued by the Persian armies, and who had even heard in thcdistance the numbers in the army ofxerxcs with terror, accounted from the beginning the small states ofGreece as follows in captivity, and seemed resigned to the fate which gave to Persia the em ire of the world. The expulsion from Greece was hear through thebroad domain of Asia with amazement, and the name and character of the Greeks were sung alike with songs of triumph and tears ofjoy. They were looked upon as the champions of the human race, an t is the first tide of universal a probation in which that country was held, rolled on an on through every barbarous dime- througli lands subdued-through territories hopeful tube ree. An empire, whose only governor was the sword, became stricken with incurable palsy, and from that moment the seeds of decay took rapid growth in Media and through all its dependencies. Take from ambition its power of conquest and it becomes contemptible ; throw round its foul fruits the disgraces of defeat and it is speedily troddenbeneath the feet of slaves. They who crouched in sullen fear, and quaked in silence, when thefoe ursuedhis victorious way-who yielded up their liberties and sold their services to those they thought in- vincible-were the first to spurn the power they had wor- shipped, and to hope, through the labour of others, that the day of danger and of death was passed-that the sway of foreign rule had withered, and a cheap inde- pendence scattered through the world. Thus they who fight for freedom struggle never merely for themselves; every deed of conquest is a victory for universe in , and the defcatof one tyrant is a portion of the life blood drawn from every other. Therefore, even to this day, is Greece renowned for battle and for song. mi st her future brawls, above her spoils of conquest, living beyond her fall, and untamisbed by decay, the patriot, the scholar, the enthusiast, and’ the xhilosophcr, all seek and find examples from the story of her life ; and chief among her deeds of unapproacbable renown is her bold front at Marathon, her struggle at Thermopylee, her daring at Salamis, and her resolute bravery at Plataca and Mycale. Not in the long annals of courage, noun the cherished records of martial fame, is there a spectacle E‘ ‘< thousand men fell in the retreat on “ old I’lataca's day,’ h more sublime than Greece standing unspotted, unsub- dned, upon the Persian’: grave. -