With the treatment of the body of Leonidas (cf. ix. 78) we may
compare that of the corpse of Amasis by Cambyses (iii. 16).
Artaxerxes similarly maltreated that of his brother, the younger
Cyrus (Xen. Anab. i. 10. 1; iii. 1. 17), and the Parthian general
or Suren, that of M. Crassus (Plut. Crass. 32). Though the story
is in marked contrast with the generous treatment of Pytheas
(vii. 181; viii. 92), these parallels make it unlikely that it is a Greek
invention as contended by Wecklein (Ber. Bayer. Akad. (1876),
p. 285) and Duncker (vii. 258).
The whole chapter is with reason regarded as an interpolation by
Krger, followed by Abicht, Gomperz, Van Herwerden, and Macan.
There is no proper transition to Bk. VIII, a fact which leads Stein
to suspect an omission in the text. The formula introducing the
digression is strange, but as Macan points out, this anecdote is not
intended to be a resumption of the main thread of the story but to
supply an omission, and the words mean I will here return to
a place in the story where before I was guilty of an omission.
The author is excusing himself for putting in the story here, where
the only ground for its appearance is its connexion with Demaratus,
instead of in ch. 220, where it was required to explain how the
Spartans had early information of the intended Persian invasion.
Krger also regards as suspicious the postponement of the actual
story in favour of a disquisition on Demaratus' motives and the
author's assertion that the motive was ill-will, and subsequent
willingness to leave it an open question. Such hesitation, however,
may be easily paralleled from the genuine work of H. (cf. ii. 123. 1;
v. 45. 2). Krger's arguments from language are stronger. The
asyndeton ἐπύθοντο is intolerable, τὸ ἐς Δελφοὺς χρηστήριον is
hardly justified by (ii. 150) τὴν Σύρτιν τὴν ἐς Λιβύην; δελτίον δίπτυχον
is queer Greek, as δίπτυχα in this sense is late, and elsewhere H.
uses δέλτος (viii. 135); ἐπέτηξε and ἐκκνᾶν do not reappear till Aen.
Tact. ch. 31, nor συμμάχεται (middle) till Xenophon, or ὁδοφύλαξ
till Eustathius. It may be said that some of these strange words
are quoted by Pollux (Onom. x. 58) from H., and that the story,
though without names, goes back at least to (350 B. C.) Aeneas Tacticus
(l. c.), but these stylistic peculiarities and late words surely betray
a forger. The existence of an anonymous version of the story in
Aeneas, and a variant in Trogus Pompeius (Justin, ii. 10. 12-17),
in which a sister of Leonidas figures, and Demaratus' motive is
patriotic, really discredit the story, as suggesting that the narrative
as here given is a gradual and relatively late fabrication (Macan).
It is inferior to the similar stories of Harpagus (i. 123. 3, 4) and
Histiaeus (v. 35) on which it may have been modelled. Finally,
the extremely unfavourable impression given of Demaratus seems
un-Herodotean. It appears highly probable that some part of
the text connecting Books VII and VIII was early lost, and into
the gap this chapter was thrust by an interpolator. Even if it be
a genuine fragment it is misplaced here.
The story of Artemisium. 1-3 The fleet and its leadership.
4, 5 Bribery of Themistocles. 6-11 First engagement. 12, 13
Storm, wreck of Persian squadron off Euboea. 14-17 Second and
third days' fighting. 18-23 Retreat of the Greek and advance of
the Persian fleet.
Throughout there is a close parallel and connexion between the
accounts of the operations on sea and on land and of the forces at
Thermopylae and Artemisium. First, we have the description of
the double position (vii. 175-7) supplemented by a more detailed
topography of Thermopylae (vii. 198-201), secondly the story of the
movements of the fleets (vii. 179-95) and a brief account of the
march of Xerxes' army (vii. 196-7), finally a narrative of the struggle
at Thermopylae (vii. 202-33) and of the contemporary (ch. 15) seafights
at Artemisium (viii. 1-23). Yet, as it stands, the opening of
Book VIII is abrupt and not connected with the end of Book VII.
Probably the connexion and implied contrast between the land and
sea forces has been obscured by the later insertion of ch. 234-9
The summary of the Greek forces here given is parallel to that
prefixed to the fighting at Thermopylae (vii. 202). Similar lists
are given of the Greek fleets before Lade (vi. 8 n.) and before
Salamis (viii. 43 f.), and of the Greek army before Plataea (ix. 28).
But whereas at Plataea H. follows the line of battle from right to
left (as at Lade from east to west), and at Salamis adopts a geographical
order (Peloponnese, northern Greece, islands, &c.), here
he arranges the states according to the number of ships furnished
(ch. 2. 1), thus incidentally justifying the claim of Athens to command
at sea (ch. 3).
ne/as. Triremes, line-of-battle ships, excluding not only transports
(vii. 97) but even penteconters, which are not included in the total
by H. (viii. 2. 1, 48), though Diodorus (xi. 12) carelessly speaks of
For the Plataeans cf. vi. 108.
For the Athenian cleruchs in Chalcis cf. v. 77. 2 n.