UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
The guard which had accompanied him were reduced by famine and disease.
Here the fleet had been ordered to congregate after the defeat at
Salamis. The king found his ships, but the great bridge had been
destroyed by the storms. He and his forces were carried to the opposite
side, and were safe in Asia. And in the company there were no Athenians
As soon as the Greek commanders at Salamis saw themselves victorious they
began a pursuit of the Persian fleet. This they kept up as far as the
island of Andros. The people of many of the Cyclades had sided with the
Persians in the recent struggle, and were now made to feel severely the
folly of such a course; for Themistocles punished them with little mercy
for their defection from the national cause. From Andros onward the
Persian armament pursued its course without molestation to the
Hellespont, where it received the king and a remnant of his forces, and
carried them across to Asia.
Xerxes did not regard his flight from Greece as an abandonment of the
purposes for which the expedition was undertaken. Before determining his
own course after the battle of Salamis, he held a conference with
Mardonius, to whom he entrusted the completion of the conquest of Greece.
For this purpose three hundred thousand men were left under his command.
Mardonius flattered his master with the assurance that the reverses which
he had suffered were but temporary checks to the general progress of
subjugation, that one great object of the invasion-the destruction of
Athens-had been accomplished, that in the following spring he himself
would complete the work, and that Xerxes might now retire from the
country without dishonor. This specious theory of the results of the
invasion had a soothing effect on the king, who gladly left his son-in-
law behind to finish or be finished, and himself speedily returned to the
ease of his own capital. His throne in the palace of Susa was an easier
seat than that which he had filled for a day on the cliff above Salamis!
While the battle of Salamis was fighting, another conflict was raging
between the Greeks of Sicily and the Carthaginians, who had invaded the
island. The people of Sicily were like the Greeks of Hellas, divided into
two parties. One of these favored the predominance of Carthaginian
influence in the island, while the other upheld the national spirit,
favoring independence. A certain Terillus, governor of Himera, had been
expelled by Theron, the despot of Agrigentum. The deposed ruler and his
adherents invited in the Carthaginians, who, in B. C. 480, came three
hundred thousand strong under the lead of Hamilcar, and proceeded to be-
siege Himera. But Gelon, the governor of Syracuse, came to the rescue of
the city with an army of fifty-five thousand troops, and with this force-
comparatively small as it was-attacked and routed the Carthaginians with
a loss, if we may trust Diodorus, of one-half of their army, Hamilcar
being among the slain. The Carthaginian fleet was then set on fire and
consumed. The victory of the Sicilian Greeks was, if possible, more
complete than that which their countrymen were at that hour winning in
the bay of Salamis.
With the opening of spring the remnant of the Persian fleet in the
AEgean, numbering four hundred vessels, gathered at the island of Samos.
At this time the Grecian squadron of one hundred and ten ships lay at
AEgina; but, notwithstanding the great disparity in the numerical
strength of the two armaments, the Persians made no sign of a disposition
to venture a battle. It was their business rather to keep a watch on the
Ionian cities, which were again showing signs of insurrection.
Meanwhile, Mardonius began his campaign for the completion of the
conquest of the Greek states. His first measures were diplomatic. He
consulted the oracles of Boeotia and Phocis, and promulgated the idea of
a Perso-Athenian alliance against the Spartans. Alexander, the then king
of Macedonia, was sent to the authorities of Athens with flattering
overtures. Their city should be restored. Their territory should be
extended. The king of Persia would become their friend. Sparta should be
humiliated. The first place should be given to Athens. But the seductions
of the foe were all in vain. Alexander was