Herodotus VI: 109


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Greek

τοῖσι δὲ Ἀθηναίων στρατηγοῖσι ἐγίνοντο δίχα αἱ γνῶμαι, τῶν μὲν οὐκ ἐώντων συμβαλεῖν (ὀλίγους γὰρ εἶναι στρατιῇ τῇ Μήδων συμβάλλειν) τῶν δὲ καὶ Μιλτιάδεω κελευόντων. [2] ὡς δὲ δίχα τε ἐγίνοντο καὶ ἐνίκα ἡ χείρων τῶν γνωμέων, ἐνθαῦτα, ἦν γὰρ ἑνδέκατος ψηφιδοφόρος ὁ τῷ κυάμῳ λαχὼν Ἀθηναίων πολεμαρχέειν (τὸ Παλαιὸν γὰρ Ἀθηναῖοι ὁμόψηφον τὸν πολέμαρχον ἐποιεῦντο τοῖσι στρατηγοῖσι), ἦν δὲ τότε πολέμαρχος Καλλίμαχος Ἀφιδναῖος: πρὸς τοῦτον ἐλθὼν Μιλτιάδης ἔλεγε τάδε. [3] ‘ἐν σοὶ νῦν Καλλίμαχε ἐστὶ ἢ καταδουλῶσαι Ἀθήνας ἢ ἐλευθέρας ποιήσαντα μνημόσυνα λιπέσθαι ἐς τὸν ἅπαντα ἀνθρώπων βίον οἷα οὐδὲ Ἁρμόδιός τε καὶ Ἀριστογείτων λείπουσι. νῦν γὰρ δὴ ἐξ οὗ ἐγένοντο Ἀθηναῖοι ἐς κίνδυνον ἥκουσι μέγιστον, καὶ ἢν μέν γε ὑποκύψωσι τοῖσι Μήδοισι, δέδοκται τὰ πείσονται παραδεδομένοι Ἱππίῃ, ἢν δὲ περιγένηται αὕτη ἡ πόλις, οἵη τε ἐστὶ πρώτη τῶν Ἑλληνίδων πολίων γενέσθαι. [4] κῶς ὦν δὴ ταῦτα οἷά τε ἐστὶ γενέσθαι, καὶ κῶς ἐς σέ τοι τούτων ἀνήκει τῶν πρηγμάτων τὸ κῦρος ἔχειν, νῦν ἔρχομαι φράσων. ἡμέων τῶν στρατηγῶν ἐόντων δέκα δίχα γίνονται αἱ γνῶμαι, τῶν μὲν κελευόντων τῶν δὲ οὒ συμβάλλειν. [5] ἢν μέν νυν μὴ συμβάλωμεν, ἔλπομαι τινὰ στάσιν μεγάλην διασείσειν ἐμπεσοῦσαν τὰ Ἀθηναίων φρονήματα ὥστε μηδίσαι: ἢν δὲ συμβάλωμεν πρίν τι καὶ σαθρὸν Ἀθηναίων μετεξετέροισι ἐγγενέσθαι, θεῶν τὰ ἴσα νεμόντων οἷοί τε εἰμὲν περιγενέσθαι τῇ συμβολῇ. [6] ταῦτα ὦν πάντα ἐς σὲ νῦν τείνει καὶ ἐκ σέο ἤρτηται. ἢν γὰρ σὺ γνώμῃ τῇ ἐμῇ προσθῇ, ἔστι τοι πατρίς τε ἐλευθέρη καὶ πόλις πρώτη τῶν ἐν τῇ Ἑλλάδι: ἢν δὲ τὴν τῶν ἀποσπευδόντων τὴν συμβολὴν ἕλῃ, ὑπάρξει τοι τῶν ἐγὼ κατέλεξα ἀγαθῶν τὰ ἐναντία.’

Translation

The Athenian generals were of divided opinion, some advocating not fighting because they were too few to attack the army of the Medes; others, including Miltiades, advocating fighting. [2] While they were divided, and the inferior plan was getting the upper hand, an eleventh man had a vote, chosen by lot to be polemarch of Athens, and by ancient custom the Athenians made the polemarch equal in voting power to the generals. Callimachus of Aphidnae was polemarch at this time. Miltiades approached him and said, [3] “Callimachus, it is now in your hands to enslave Athens or make her free, and thereby leave behind for all posterity a memorial such as not even Harmodius and Aristogeiton left. Now the Athenians have come to their greatest danger since they first came into being, and, if the grovel o the Medes, it has been made clear what they will suffer when handed over to Hippias. But if the city prevails, it will take first place among Hellenic cities. [4] So I will tell you how this can happen, and how it has devolved upon you to hold the supreme power on these matters. The opinions of us who are the ten generals are divided, some urging to attack, others urging not to. [5] If we do not attack now, I expect that great strife will fall upon and shake the spirit of the Athenians, leading them to medize. But if we attack now, before anything unwholesome corrupts the Athenians, we can win the battle, if the gods are fair. [6] Therefore all this concerns you and depends on you: if you assent to my view, your country will be free and your city the first in Hellas. But if you choose the view of those eager to avoid battle, you will have the opposite to all the good things I enumerated.”