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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

William Smith, A Smaller History of Ancient Greece

 

 

 

CHAPTER VIII

The Persian Wars. - The Battles of Thermopylae Salamis, and Plataea, B.C. 480-479

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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In the spring of B.C. 480 Xerxes set out from Sardis with his vast host. Upon reaching Abydos on the Hellespont the army crossed over to Europe by the bridge of boats. Xerxes surveyed the scene from a marble throne. His heart swelled within him at the sight of such a vast assemblage of human beings; but his feelings of pride and pleasure soon gave way to sadness, and he burst into tears at the reflection that in a hundred years not one of them would be alive. Xerxes continued his march through Europe along the coast of Thrace. Upon arriving at the spacious plain of Doriscus, which is traversed by the river Hebrus, he resolved to number his forces. He found that the whole armament, both military and naval, consisted of 2,317,610 men. In his march from Doriscus to Thermopylae he received a still further accession of strength; and accordingly when he reached Thermopylae the land and sea forces amounted to 2,641,610 fighting men. The attendants are said to have been more in number than the fighting men; but if they were only equal, the number of persons who accompanied Xerxes to Thermopylae reaches the astounding figure of 5,283,220! The number is quite incredible; but though the exact number of the invading army cannot be determined, we may safely conclude, from all the circumstances of the case, that it was the largest ever assembled at any period of history.

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