361 PERSIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
left in Thrace a division of eighty thousand men under the command of Megabazus, with
orders to subdue that country to the authority of Persia. The general was successful in
the discharge of his duty, and carried his conquest from the Propontis to the borders of
Macedonia. An embassy was sent into the latter country to demand earth and water, the
usual tokens of submission, and Amyntas, the king, acceding to the request, became a
vassal of Persia. Thus was gained an Asiatic foothold on the soil of Europe.
After his return to Susa, Darius dismissed for a while his designs of conquest in the
West, and gave himself to the work of adorning his capital. While engaged in this work,
however, news came of a revolt which was the immediate precursor of one of the most heroic
episodes in the history of the world. The Greek towns of the Ionian and Aeolian
confederacies along the coasts of Asia Minor had, in common with the rest of the world,
fallen under the domination of Persian governors. These rulers were generally despotic and
odious to the people. They were regarded as foreign tyrants, and were associated in the
public mind with Darius and his government: they were a part of it.
At this time the governor of Miletus was Histiaeus, who had accompanied the king on his
Scythian campaign. He it was who had .guarded the bridge over the Danube unheeding the
solicitations of treason, and had thus secured for his master those distant parts. With
some of the Persian governors, however, he had quarreled, and, being wronged by them, took
sides with the anti-Persian party in the city. His son-in-law, Aristagoras, also a
prominent leader in Miletus, advanced the daring project of throwing off the Persian yoke.
The Ionian and Aeolian cities were induced to join in the enterprise. An embassy was sent
to Athens as the mother city of Miletus, and she promised to her sorrow to furnish a
contingent of twenty ships. Eretria was also solicited, and agreed to furnish five ships.
Only the austere Sparta would promise nothing. Aristagoras returned to Miletus, and in a
short time it was determined to strike out boldly and attack Sardis, the capital of Asia
Minor. With singular audacity the Greeks proceeded against the city and took it at the
first onset. Artaphemes shut himself up in the citadel. The assailants began to plunder
the accumulated treasures, especially those at the shrine of Apollo. A fire broke out, and
the greater part of the city was laid in ashes. The news of the daring exploit spread
everywhere, and a general uprising, which would have been impossible in any other than a
community of Greeks, followed along the whole coast.
It was, however, a deed of rashness rather than bravery. Darius hurried his forces to the
West, and the petty principalities gave way before vindictive leadership and weight of
numbers. Cyprus, which. had been gained by the Greeks, was retaken. The Carians were
overcome after a brave resistance. One after another the Ionian and Aeolian towns went
down before the onslaughts of the Persians. Aristagoras took to flight. Miletus was the
last, as she had been the first, of the rebel cities. She made a stubborn defense. The
remnants of the Greek armaments assembled to her aid, but were defeated by the Persian
fleet. The city fell. Her people were seized and carried away to the shores of the Persian
Gulf. What might, under sagacious and unwavering leadership, have been a permanent
recovery of independence by the Asiatic Greeks, had ended in smoke and vapor. Besides,
there were the insults of Athens and Eretria still to be avenged by a king whose memory
rarely failed him in such matters. For fear, however, that vengeance might slumber, a
secretary was employed to repeat each morning in the monarch's ear, "Sire, remember
The king remembered Athens. Determining to proceed at once against that city, he appointed
Mardonius, his son-in- law^ commander of the expedition, which was to press forward by way
of Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly into Greece. As a measure preparatory to the campaign,
and designed to secure beyond all contin