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XERXES.

without encountering any resistance. But the detachment which had been sent against Delphi met with a signal defeat: according to tradition it was by no mortal hands that they were turned to flight, but the god defended his own sanctuary, and hurled down immense crags upon the invaders. That the Persians failed in their attempt upon Delphi must be received as an historical fact; for the offerings of the Lydian kings, and others of an earlier time, were still seen there by Herodotus-; but the means by which they were repulsed must remain unknown. About the same time as Xerxes entered Athens, his fleet arrived in the bay of Phalerum. He now resolved upon an engagement with the Greek fleet. The history of this memo­rable battle, of the previous dissensions among the Greek commanders, and of the glorious victory of the Greeks at the last, is fully related elsewhere. [themistocles.] Xerxes witnessed the battle from a lofty seat, which was erected for him on the shore of the mainland on one of the declivities of Mount Aegaleos, and thus beheld with his own eyes the defeat and dispersion of his mighty arma­ment. The Greeks expected a renewal of the battle on the following day, but Xerxes now be­came alarmed for his own safety, and resolved to leave Greece immediately. He was confirmed in his resolution by Mardonius, who undertook to complete the conquest with 300,000 of his troops. Xerxes accordingly ordered the fleet to sail to the Hellespont, and there to guard the bridge till his arrival ; he left Mardonius the number of troops which he requested, and with the remainder set out on his march homewards. His own personal escort consisted of 60,000 men under the command of Artabazus, and he reached the Hellespont in forty-five days from the time of his departure from Attica. His troops suffered much in the retreat from the want of provisions, and many died of hunger ; but the account which Aeschylus gives in the " Persae " of the dreadful calamities which overtook the retreating army is probably much exaggerated.* On arriving at the Hellespont, Xerxes found the bridge of boats destroyed by a storm, and he crossed over to Asia by ship. He entered Sardis towards the end of the year, b. c. 480, humbled and defeated, only eight months after he had left it full of arrogance and sure of victory.

In the following year, b. c. 479, the war was continued in Greece ; but Mardonius was defeated at Plataea by the combined forces of the Greeks, and on the same day another victory was gained over the Persians at Mycale in Ionia. [mardo­nius.] Next year, b. c. 478, the Persians lost their last possession in Europe by the capture of Sestos on the Hellespont. Thus the struggle was virtually brought to an end, though the war still continued for several years longer. We know little more of the personal history of Xerxes. Soon after his arrival at Sardis he fell in love with the wife of his brother Masistes, whom he solicited in vain to yield to his desires. In order to gain her, he married her daughter Artaynte to his own son Dareius ; but shortly afterwards he transferred his affections from the mother to the daughter. His

* See Grote, History of Greece, vol. v. pp. 190, 191, note, where forcible reasons are adduced to show that the loss of the army in crossing the river Strymon is probably a fable.

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XERXES.

amour with Artaynte became known to Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, by his giving to his favourite a cloak which Amestris had woven for him with her own hands. Amestris meditated and took dire revenge. She obtained possession of the wife of Masistes, and mutilated her in a horrible man­ner. Masistes therefore attempted to escape to Bactria with his sons, of which country he was satrap, intending there to raise the standard of revolt ; but Xerxes, who anticipated his object, sent some troops after him, who killed both him and his sons. (Herod, ix. 108—113.) In b.c. 465 Xerxes, after a reign of twenty years, was murdered by Artabanus and the eunuch Spami-tres, or Mithridates, as he is also called. Arta­banus was an Hyrcanian by birth, and one of the highest officers of his court. He had seven sons in the prime of life, and resolved to place himself upon the throne of Persia and found a new dy­nasty. For this purpose it was necessary to get rid of the sons of Xerxes. According to Ctesias and Justin, Xerxes had left only two sons, Dareius and Artaxerxes, but Diodorus mentions a third, Hystaspes, who was satrap of Bactria and absent from court at his father's death. As soon as Xerxes was slain, the conspirators informed Arta­xerxes that Dareius had been the murderer of his father, and persuaded the young prince to give in­stant orders for the execution of his brother. Ar­tabanus shortly afterwards attempted to murder Artaxerxes, but the plot was discovered, and Arta­banus and his sons were put to death. (Diod. xi. 69 ; Ctesias, Pers. c. 29 ; Justin, iii. 1.)

Herodotus (vii. 187) describes Xerxes as the tallest and handsomest man amidst the vast host which he led against Greece. His character appears to have been worse than most of the Per­sian monarchs ; for, according to Herodotus, he was a coward as well as a cruel tyrant. The three last books of Herodotus are the great authority for the invasion of Greece by Xerxes ; and among modern writers the history is best related by Mr. Grote in the fifth volume of his History of Greece, to which we have been much indebted in drawing up the preceding narrative.

XERXES II. (Ee'plTjs), the only legitimate son of Artaxerxes I., succeeded his father as king of Persia in b. c. 425, but was murdered after a short reign of only two months by his half-brother Sog-dianus or Secundianus, who thus became king. (Diod. xii. 71 ; Ctesias, Pers. c. 44.)

COIN OF XERXES, KING OF ARSAMOSATA.

XERXES (Hep^s), king of Arsamosata, in the western part of Armenia. Polybius relates that Antiochus was preparing to lay siege to Arsamo­sata, but Xerxes submitted to him, and received in consequence the daughter of the Syrian king in marriage. This Antiochus was probably Antiochus III. There are coins of Xerxes extant, of which a specimen is annexed. (Polyb. viii. 25 ; Droysen, Gescfiiclite des Hellenismus, vol. ii. p. 73 ; Eckhel vol. iii. p. 204.")

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