Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/30

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BATTLE OF MARATHON.

deserved punishment as an Athenian citizen. The eminent service that he had done the state in conquering Lemnos and Imbros for it, pleaded strongly in his favour. The people refused to convict him. He stood high in public opinion. And when the coming invasion of the Persians was known, the people wisely elected him one of their generals for the year.

Two other men of high eminence in history, though their renown was achieved at a later period than that of Miltiades, were also among the ten Athenian generals at Marathon. One was Themistocles, the future founder of the Athenian navy, and the destined victor of Salamis. The other was Aristides, who afterwards led the Athenian troops at Platæa, and whose integrity and just popularity acquired for his country, when the Persians had finally been repulsed, the advantageous pre-eminence of being acknowledged by half of the Greeks as their imperial leader and protector. It is not recorded what part either Themistocles or Aristides took in the debate of the council of war at Marathon. But from the character of Themistocles, his boldness, and his intuitive genius for extemporising the best measures in every emergency[1] (a quality which the greatest of historians ascribes to him beyond all

  1. See the character of Themistocles in the 138th section of the first book of Thucydides, especially the last sentence. Kat t6 ^vfinav elnclv, <l>v<r€<ios fiev dwdfiei /ifXenys be ^paxvrryri Kpartaros dfj oStos avrotrxedidCfw ra deopra cycyero.