Page 0361

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

Athens."

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