in Attica. SALAMIS. 9. Route. 109
'But when at length the snowy-steeded day
Burst o'er the main, all beautiful to see,
First from the Greeks a tuneful shout uprose,
Well-omened, and, with replication loud,
Leapt the blithe echo from the rocky shore.
Fear seized the Persian host, no longer tricked
By vain opinion; not like wavering flight
Billowed the solemn paean of the Greeks,
But like the shout of men to battle urging
With lusty cheer. Then the fierce trumpet's voice
Blazed o'er the main; and on the salt sea flood
Forthwith the oars, with measured plash, descended.
And all their lines, with dexterous speed displayed,
Stood with opposing front. The right wing first,
Then the whole fleet bore down, and straight uprose
A mighty shout. Sons of the Greeks, advance !
Your country free, your children free, your wives!
The altars of your native Gods deliver,
And your ancestral tombs. — All's now at stake !
A like salute from our whole line back-rolled
In Persian speech. Nor more delay, but straight
Trireme on trireme, brazen beak on beak
Dashed furious. A Greek ship led on the attack
And from the prow of a Phoenician struck
The figure-head; and now the grapple closed
Of each ship with his adverse desperate.
At first the main line of the Persian fleet
Stood the harsh shock; but soon their multitude
Became their ruin; in the narrow frith
They might not use their strength, and, jammed together,
Their ships with brazen beaks did bite each other,
And shattered their own oars. Meanwhile the Greeks
Stroke after stroke dealt dexterous all around,
Till our ships showed their keels, and the blue sea
Was seen no more, with multitude of ships
And corpses covered. All the shores were strewn,
And the rough rocks, with dead; till, in the end,
Each ship in the barbaric host, that yet
Had oars, in most disordered flight rowed off.
As men that fish for tunnies, so the Greeks,
With broken booms, and fragments of the wreck,
Struck our snared men, and hacked them, that the sea.
With wail and moaning, was possessed around,
Till black-eyed night shot darkness o'er the fray.'
As under these circumstances the Persian fleet had no time to take
on board the troops landed on Psyttaleia, Aristides hastily collected a
band of armed citizens, who with the women had watched the combat
from the shore, landed on the island, and, under the very eyes of the
loudly lamenting Xerxes, destroyed:
'The bloom of all the Persian youth, in spirit
The bravest, and in birth the noblest princes'.
The above passage, from the 'Persians' of jEschylus (translated by
Prof. J. S. Blackie), is the account of the battle placed in the mouth of the
messenger sent to inform Queen Atossa, in the royal palace at Susa, of its
disastrous result. ^Eschylus himself fought in the battle and eight years
later (in March, 472 B. C.) his tragedy was performed in the Theatre of
Dionysos at Athens. We may therefore place implicit confidence in the
accuracy of his account.
From Keratopyrgos the road leads along the shore for 2 M. more,
commanding an excellent view of the bay and the island, and ends
at the ferry (Perama) to Salamis. While waiting for the boat the