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362 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

gency the loyalty of the Greek towns on the Asiatic coast, Darius now granted to these

that very freedom for which they had fought in the recent revolt, dismissed the tyrants

which had oppressed them, and conceded to them the right of democratic government. For the

king knew well that such a measure would give employment to the factious temper of the

Greek leaders in Ionia and Aeolia, and distract their attention wholly from the affairs of

their countrymen in the West.

As soon as this change in the government of the coast towns had been effected, Mardonius

began his advance through Thrace. At first, opposition melted before him. Thasos, with its

rich mines, was taken. Macedonia was obliged to acknowledge her tributary relation to the

Empire. Everything seemed to indicate the speedy reduction of the whole country to

complete submission. But while the Persian fleet was rounding Mount Athos a violent storm

arose and sent three hundred triremes and twenty thousand soldiers to the bottom. This

disaster was immediately followed by a successful onset made by the Brygi, a tribe of

Thracians dwelling between the Strymon and the Axius. These half-barbarians fell upon the

Persian land forces by night, killing many and wounding the general. But the veteran

Mardonius, by no means dismayed, followed his assailants and compelled them to submit. The

injury done to the fleet, however, was so great that the main object of the expedition had

to be abandoned: the Persians retreated into Thrace and thence into Asia Minor.

Still Darius remembered Athene. Within two years a second great army was organized and put

under command of Datis and Artaphernes. In B. C. 490 they set out to accomplish what

Mardonius had failed to do. Avoiding the dangerous route by way of the promontory of

Athos, the expedition sailed directly across the Aegean, and passing through the Cyclades

came at once upon the objects of its vengeance. Eretria was taken and leveled to the

ground. Then came the turn of Athens. Mean- while, Miltiades, governor of the Thracian

Chersonesus, who had accompanied Darius on his expedition against the Scythians, and

afterwards broken with the king by taking sides with the revolted Ionian cities, was

chosen, with nine other polemarchs, to protect Athens against the Persians. With great

skill he gained over his colleagues to agree to a battle. The plain of MARATHON was

selected, and here where the mountains look on the sea was fought that first battle that

gave freedom and immortality to the Greek race. The Persians, notwithstanding they

outnumbered the Greeks ten to one, having two hundred thousand men, while their opponents

could muster but twenty thousand, were disastrously beaten and buried back in a broken

rout upon Asia.1

Still Darius remembered Athens. He immediately began preparations on a gigantic scale for

subjugation of the audacious Greeks. For three years the whole energies of the Empire were

devoted to the organization and equipment of a force sufficiently great to overwhelm not

only Greece but the whole of Europe. Never before in history had such stupendous measures

been taken to secure the subjugation of a belligerent people. When, however, the

preparations were nearly completed, a revolt broke out in Egypt, and the attention of the

Persian king was thus for the time distracted by the necessities of a double field of war.

His energies, however rose with the emergency. He determined to lead one army in person,

and send the other under trusted generals to put down all opposition. But on the eve of

these great movements, the king, in the sixty-third year of his age and the thirty-sixth

of his reign, fell sick and died; and the unfinished work of revenge and subjugation was

left to Xerxes, his son and successor on the throne of the Empire. Thus ended the career

of Darius Hyspastis,

1 It is deemed best to reserve the full account of the Graeco-Persian wars for the

following Book, devoted to the history of Greece. It Is believed that the more plentiful

sources of information accessible from the Greek side of the conflict, and indeed every

circum- stance would indicate that the fuller narrative of the great struggle should be

recited from the Athenian point of view.