The Persian Wars. - The Battles of Thermopylae Salamis, and Plataea, B.C. 480-479
From Doriscus Xerxes his march along the coast through Thrace and Macedonia. The principal cities through which he passed had to furnish a day's meal for the immense host, and for this purpose had made preparations many months before-hand. The cost of feeding such a multitude brought many cities to the brink of ruin. At Acanthus his fleet sailed through the isthmus of Athos and after doubling the promontories of Sithonia and Pallene joined him at the city of Therma, better known by its later name of Thessalonica. Thence he continued his march through the southern part of Macedonia and Thessaly, meeting with no opposition till he reached the celebrated pass of Thermopylae.
The mighty preparations of Xerxes had been no secret in Greece; and during the preceding winter a congress of the Grecian states had been summoned by the Spartans and Athenians to meet at the isthmus of Corinth. But so great was the terror inspired by the countless hosts of Xerxes that many of the Grecian states at once tendered their submission to him, and others refused to take any part in the congress. The only people, north of the isthmus of Corinth, who remained faithful to the cause of Grecian liberty, were the Athenians and Phocians, and the inhabitants of the small Boeotian towns of Plataea and Thespiae. The other people in northern Greece were either partisans of the Persians, like the Thebans, or were unwilling to make any great sacrifices for the preservation of their independence. In Peloponnesus, the powerful city of Argos and the Achaeans stood aloof. From the more distant members of the Hellenic race no assistance was obtained. Gelon, the ruler of Syracuse, offered to send a powerful armament, provided the command of the allied forces was intrusted to him; but the envoys did not venture to accept a proposal which would have placed both Sparta and Athens under the control of a Sicilian tyrant.
To Chapter IX : From the end of the Persian Wars to the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, B.C. 479-431
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