Imatges de pàgina

Xerxes. man, he ordered all the persons to have their heads struck off, that had been charged with the direction and management of that undertaking.

$ Xerxes commanded two other bridges to be built, one for the army to pass over, and the other for the baggage and beasts of burden. He appointed workmen more able and expert than the former, who went about it in this manner. They placed three hundred and sixty vessels across, some of them having three banks of oars, and other fifty oars a-piece, with their sides turned towards the Euxine sea; and on the side that faced the Ægean sea, they put three hundred and fourteen. They then cast large anchors into the water on both sides, in order to fix and secure all these vessels against the violence of the winds, and against the current* of the water. On the east side they left three passages or vacant spaces between the vessels, that there might be room for small boats to go and come easily, as there was occasion, to and from the Euxine sea. After this upon the land on both sides they drove large piles into the earth, with huge rings fastened to them, to which were tied six vast cables, which went over each of the two bridges; two of which cables were made of hemp, and four of a sort of reeds called frea, which were made use of in those times for the making of cordage. Those that were made of hemp must have been of an extraordinary strength and thickness, since every cubit of those cables weighed a talent f. The cables laid over the whole extent of the vessels lengthwise, reached from one side to the other of the sea. When this part of the work was finished quite over the vessels length

s Herod. 1. vii. c. 33---36.

* Polybius remarks, that there is a current of water from the Jake Mæotis and the Euxine sea into the Egean sea, occasioned by the rivers, which empty themselves into those two seas. Pol. 1. iv. p. 307, 8.

A talent in weight consisted of 80 minæ, that is to say, of 42 pounds of our weight; and the mina consisted of 100 drachms.

wise, and over the cables we have been speaking of, Xerxes. they laid the trunks of trees, cut purposely for that use, and flat boats again over them, fastened and jointed together, to serve as a kind of floor or solid bottom: All which they covered over with earth, and added rails or battlements on each side, that the horses and cattle might not be frightened with seeing the sea in their passage. This was the form of those famous bridges built by Xerxes.

When the whole work was compleated, a day was appointed for their passing over. And as soon as the first rays of the sun began to appear, sweet odours of all kinds were abundantly spread over both of the bridges, and the way was strewed with myrtle. At the same time Xerxes poured out libations into the sea, and turning his face towards the sun, the principal object of the Persian worship, he implored the assistance of that god in the enterprize he had undertaken, and desired the continuance of his protection till he had made the entire conquest of Europe, and had brought it into subjection to his power: This done, he threw the vessel, which he used in making his libations, together with a golden cup, and a Persian scymitar, into the sea. The army was seven days and seven nights in passing over these streights; those who were appointed to conduct the march, lashing the poor soldiers all the while with whips, in order to quicken their speed, according to the custom of that nation, which properly speaking was only an huge assembly of slaves.

SECT. III. The number of Xerxes's forces. Demaratus delivers his sentiments freely upon that prince's enterprize.

"XERXES directing his march across the Thracian

Chersonesus, arrived at Dor, a city standing at the mouth of the Hebrus in Thrace; where hav

b Herod. 1. vii. c. 56.-99, & 184-187.

Xerxes. ing encamped his army, and given orders for his fleet to follow him along the shore, he reviewed them both.

He found the land-army, which he had brought out of Asia, consisted of seventeen hundred thousand foot, and fourscore thousand horse, which, with twenty thousand men that were absolutely necessary at least for conducting and taking care of the carriages and the camels, made in all eighteen hundred thousand men. When he had passed the Hellespont, the other nations that submitted to him, made an addition to his army of three hundred thousand men; which made all his land-forces together amount to two millions one hundred thousand men.

His fleet, as it was when it set out from Asia, con. sisted of twelve hundred and seven vessels, or gallies, all of three banks of oars, and intended for fighting. Each vessel carried two hundred men, natives of the country that fitted them out, besides thirty more, that were either Persians or Medes, or of the Sacæ; which made in all two hundred and seventy-seven thousand six hundred and ten men. The European nations augmented his fleet with an hundred and twenty vessels, each of which carried two hundred men, in all four and twenty thousand: These added to the other, amounted together to three hundred and one thousand six hundred and ten men.

Besides this fleet, which consisted all of large vessels, the small gallies of thirty and fifty oars, the transport ships, the vessels that carried the provisions, and that were employed in other uses, amounted to three thousand. If we reckon but eighty men in each of these vessels, one with another, that made in the whole two hundred and forty thousand men.

Thus when Xerxes arrived at Thermopylæ, his land and sea-forces together made up the number of two millions, six hundred and forty one thousand, six hundred and ten men, without including servants, eunuchs, women, sutlers, and other people of that sort, which usually follow an army, and of which the

number at this time was equal to that of the forces: Xerxes. So that the whole number of souls that followed Xerxes in this expedition, amounted to five millions two hundred eighty-three thousand two hundred and twenty. This is the computation which Herodotus makes of them, and in which Plutarch and Isocrates agree with him. Diodorus Siculus, Pliny, Ælian, and others, fall very short of this number in their calculation: But their accounts of the matter appear to be less authentick than that of Herodotus, who lived in the same age this expedition was made, and who repeats the inscription engraved, by the order of the Amphictyons, upon the monument of those Grecians who were killed at Thermopyla, which expressed that they fought against three millions of men.

For the sustenance of all these persons there must be every day consumed, according to Herodotus's computation, above an hundred and ten thousand three hundred and forty medimni's of flour, (the medimnus was a measure, which, according to Budæus, was equivalent to six of our bushels) allowing for every head the quantity of a choenix, which was the daily portion or allowance that masters gave their slaves among the Grecians. We have no account in history of any other army so numerous as this. And amongst all these millions of men, there was not one that could vie with Xerxes in point of beauty, either for the comeliness of his face, or the tallness of his person. But this is a poor merit or pre-eminence for a prince, when attended with no other. Accordingly Justin, after he has mentioned the number of these troops, adds, that this vast body of forces wanted a chief: Huic tanto agmini dux defuit.

We shall hardly be able to conceive how it was possible to find a sufficient quantity of provisions for such an immense number of persons, if the histo

i Diod. 1. xi. p. 3. * Herod. 1. vii. c. 187.

Plin. 1. xxxiii. c. 10. Ælian. 1. xiii. c. 3.
Ibid. c. 20.

Xerxes. rian had not informed us, that Xerxes had employed four whole years in making preparations for this expedition. We have seen already how many vessels of burthen there were, that coasted along continually to attend upon and supply the land-army: And doubtless there were fresh ones arriving every day, that furnished the camp with a sufficient plenty of all things necessary.

m Herodotus acquaints us with the method they made use of to calculate their forces, which were almost innumerable. They assembled ten thousand men in a particular place, and ranked them as close together as was possible; after which they described a circle quite round them, and erected a little wall upon that circle about half the height of a man's body; when this was done, they made the wholę army successively pass through this space, and thereby knew to what number it amounted.

Herodotus gives us also a particular account of the different armour of all the nations this army con sisted of. Besides the generals of every nation, who each of them commanded the troops of their respective country, the land-army was under the command of six Persian generals; viz. Mardonius, the son of Gobryas; Tirintatechmus, the son of Artabanes, and Smerdonus, son to Otanes, both near relations to the king; Masistus, son of Darius and Atossa; Gergis, son of Ariazes; and Megabyzus, son of Zopyrus. The ten thousand Persians, who were called the immortal band, were commanded by Hydarnes. The cavalry had its particular commanders.

There were likewise four Persian generals who commanded the fleet. In Herodotus we have a particular account of all the nations by which it was fitted out. Artemisa queen of Halicarnassus, who from the death of her husband governed the kingdom for her son, that was still a minor, brought but five vessels along with her; but they were the best equipped, and the lightest ships in the whole fleet, Herod. 1. vii. c. 60, n Ibid. c. 89, 99.

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