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Headword: Xerxês
Adler number: xi,54
Translated headword: Xerxes
Vetting Status: high
King of [the] Persians. This man, when his father Darius was dying and said "Remember Marathon,", mounted an expedition against Greece and first sent heralds requesting earth and water. And so the Athenians proclaimed the banishment of the envoys from the city, and they drove out the man who had advised listening to them, along with his wife and children; but the Spartans threw them into a well and threw earth onto them. When the god became angry,[1] they grew sick; when the oracle of the god told them to give satisfaction to Xerxes because of the heralds, Boulis and Sperchis[2] went voluntarily to the Persians to give satisfaction. In astonishment, he released them alive, and the disease stopped. Of infantry he deployed tens of thousands of Egyptians and Phoenicians and Cypriots. When he was in Sardis there was a solar eclipse. He kept ten thousand chosen men, whom he called the Immortals.[3] He also dug through Athos, a mountain of Macedonia. He also bridged the Hellespont between Sestos and Abydos; and when part had been destroyed by a storm, he lowered fetters into the sea and flogged the water. When some Greek grain-bearing ships were brought to him, he released them, saying it was slaves' food.[4] When he caught spies, he showed them his whole force and released them.
Look [further] in the 'Darics' [entry].[5]
Greek Original:
Xerxês, Persôn basileus. houtos tou patros Dareiou teleutôntos kai memnêso Marathônos eipontos, epi tên Hellada estrateuse kai prôton kêrukas epempsen aitountas gên kai hudôr. Athênaioi men oun tous presbeis exekêruxan ek tês poleôs, kai ton hupakouein sumbouleusanta kateleusan kai gunaika kai paidas: Lakedaimonioi de eis phrear embalontes gên epebalon. mênisantos de tou theou enosêsan: chrêsantos de tou theou dikas dounai Xerxêi huper tôn kêrukôn, Boulis kai Sperchis authairetoi es Persas anêlthon dôsontes dikas. ho de thaumasas aphêke zôntas, kai hê nosos epausato. ho de pezou men muriadas tôn Aiguptou te kai Phoinikôn kai Kupriôn estratopedeuen. en Sardei de genomenôi ho hêlios exelipen. eiche de epilektous murious, hous Athanatous ekalei. diôruxe de kai ton Athô, Makedonikon oros. ezeuxe kai ton Hellêsponton metaxu Sêstou kai Abudou: dialuthentos de hupo cheimônos merous, pedas te eis tên thalassan kathêke kai emastigou to hudôr. prosenechtheisôn de autôi kai sitagôgôn nêôn Hellênidôn, aphêke, trophên einai doulôn eipôn. kataskopous de labôn, deixas tên dunamin hapasan aphêke. zêtei en tôi Dareikous.
A potted biography of Xerxes (on whom see generally OCD4 s.v. Xerxes I); from an unidentifiable, late source deriving ultimately from the last three books of Herodotus.
[1] Herodotus identifies this "god" as the hero Talthybios, herald of Agamemnon in Homer and protector of his kind. (But the god of the oracle in the next sentence is Apollo.)
[2] So here and elsewhere in the Suda (beta 442, sigma 924); variants found elsewhere include Sperches and Spertis; but in Herodotus 7.133-7 the name is (Ionic) Sperthies, i.e. Sperthias or (conventionally) Sperchias.
[3] cf. alpha 707.
[4] The grain in question was evidently barley, not wheat.
[5] delta 72.
Keywords: biography; children; ethics; food; geography; historiography; history; medicine; military affairs; religion; science and technology; women
Translated by: James L. P. Butrica ✝ on 15 February 2000@12:32:45.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 6 August 2001@10:28:56.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 16 November 2005@08:31:56.
David Whitehead (another keyword; tweaks and cosmetics; raised status) on 30 August 2007@06:45:52.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 19 June 2013@03:34:58.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@06:09:38.


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