translated by George Rawlinson

Book VII

Such, they say, was the reply made by the council, in spite of the oracle which forbade them to enter into a league with the Greeks. For, while not without fear of disobeying the oracle, they were greatly desirous of obtaining a thirty years’ truce, to give time for their sons to grow to man’s estate. They reflected, that if no such truce were concluded, and it should be their lot to suffer a second calamity at the hands of the Persians, it was likely they would fall hopelessly under the power of Sparta. But to the demands of the Argive council the Lacedaemonian envoys made answer—“They would bring before the people the question of concluding a truce. With regard to the leadership, they had received orders what to say, and the reply was that Sparta had two kings, Argos but one—it was not possible that either of the two Spartans should be stripped of his dignity—but they did not oppose the Argive king having one vote like each of them.” The Argives say that they could not brook this arrogance on the part of Sparta, and rather than yield one jot to it, they preferred to be under the rule of the barbarians. So they told the envoys to be gone, before sunset, from their territory, or they should be treated as enemies.

Such is the account which is given of these matters by the Argives themselves. There is another story, which is told generally through Greece, of a different tenor. Xerxes, it is said, before he set forth on his expedition against Greece, sent a herald to Argos, who on his arrival spoke as follows: “Men of Argos, King Xerxes speaks thus to you. We Persians deem that the - Next